I’m Attending The Trans 100 Live Event!

19 Mar

The Trans 100 Live Event is a big event among trans people. Every year, at the end of March, the community releases a list of the 100 most influential trans* people in the prior year.

The Trans 100 aims to provide an overview of the breadth and diversity of work being done in, by, and for the transgender community across the United States. New editions of The Trans 100 list are released every March at a live event in Chicago, Illinois.

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Update: My living situation

19 Mar

For the past several months, I have made my home in a “shelter” situation. It is a private home, which was managed by a relatively new 501(c)3 in cooperation with the property owner Logan Bruch. There were issues of lack of respect for the privacy of the individuals, autocratic behavior of the staff toward the residents, and just general mistreatment.

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Inevitable consequences of loss of income

26 Sep

When last I checked in, I had just heard about my salary being dropped to zero. I was left as a very part-time employee of the company that had employed me for the past 11 years. The loss of my income was felt, severely, by the household of which I have been a member for the last 18 months or so. As a refresher, I moved in with my daughter and her husband back in March of 2013, after that bad breakup.

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Under-employment

22 May

Beginning June 1, I will lose the salary that has kept me solvent for several years now. My employment (since 2003) has been on a salary plus commission basis. In the beginning, the commission part of that equation was the greater part. In the last few years, the commissionable work has declined, and I have been living on the salary. My employer has decided that my services aren’t sufficiently lucrative, and has informed me that the salary part of our agreement is canceled as of the end of this month. The only good news is that, so far, he hasn’t withdrawn my health insurance.

This will result in a severe financial hardship on my part. It’s very likely that I will default on a significant percentage of my consumer debt. I’m seriously considering bankruptcy. I have a few low balance credit cards and a car note. Those could be handled in consumer bankruptcy. The more significant issue is the utilities (gas, water, electricity, internet, and telco). Electricity, telco, and internet access are required for my continued employment, as I telecommute.

I’ve been looking into other employment possibilities, but unfortunately, the last ten years spent in a backwater of the IT industry have left me skills challenged. I simply don’t have any marketable skills, and can’t acquire them in a short enough period of time to make a difference. Add to that the fact that I am in transition, and you can see my dilemma.

I live with my daughter, and she and her husband are scrambling to make up the anticipated loss of income, and/or reduce the outgo. I’m hopeful, but also, quite honestly, terrified. Once again life asks me: “What now?”

Another first

1 May

So I got propositioned tonight.  Homeless drunk wanted to sleep with me. Oh, he built up to it, but he went there.  That’s another first for me.

Biologic Basis for Transsexuality, and Fibromyalgia

26 Apr

Yes, I realize that’s an odd juxtaposition. Give me a chance, and I’ll make the connection.

Thanks to a couple of relatively disparate conversations that happened to come into juxtaposition time wise, I have been thinking about some medical issues recently.

A  good while back, (June 2013) I shared (to my Google + account) an interesting news bit about the impending transition of a news helicopter reporter named Bob Tur. A friend reshared that post to a private transgender community on G+, where another friend stumbled upon it last night.

In this interview, Bob / Zoey (she asked to intersperse her names) mentioned biological bases for transsexuality, but did not elaborate. When my friend Jane saw that, she asked if there were any studies to support it. In short, yes there are, but they are very small studies in terms of persons included. One of the most interesting of these studies is

“A sex difference in the human brain and its relation to transsexuality” http://www.nature.com/nature/journal/v378/n6552/abs/378068a0.html

Wikipedia links to other studies as well. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_transsexualism

I’ve been convinced pretty much since I learned of the existence of transsexuality that it must have a biologic basis. Of course, we want to believe that, so I acknowledge confirmation bias in myself. That said, having this come up in my notifications after all this time was a trigger to another thought process I’ve been dealing with for some time.

Many of you know that I suffer from fibromyalgia, which is a generalized pain disorder, thought to be rooted in an abnormality of the nervous system. Here’s where that gets interesting with regards to me. The disorder in question is rare in men. It’s prevalence is 3.4% female, 0.5% male. Now, that’s where it gets interesting to me. Men seldom ever have fibro, women much more often.

I’m MTF transsexual, which per the study mentioned earlier, may have a basis in neurologic differences. Fibro is seven times more common in women, is believed to be neurologically based as well. Hmmm… My fibro is, in my mind, another data point indicating toward the biologic basis for transsexuality.

So, let’s discuss. 🙂

Biological essentialism: can we not?

9 Mar

Excellent analysis of the ‘biological essentialism’ argument regarding who is a woman.

Another angry woman

Last week, I wrote about why I’m pro trans and pro choice. Given the sheer quantity of comments, I’m not sure I made myself clear enough.

I think that broad judgments based on perceived biology have historically had some bearing on the oppression of women. I also think that biological essentialism is meaningless and can only be deployed oppressively in the present day, as scientific and sociological understanding of gender and sex has progressed. Some time ago, I wrote about evolutionary psychology, and very charitably decided to pretend that perhaps all of the just-so stories explaining differences in behaviour of the sexes were true. And I concluded that even then, that does not mean it is in any way relevant now:

Wisdom teeth, though, were highly useful to humans when we first evolved. Humans were still a long way off inventing dental hygiene, and, so, tended to die…

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My daughter wrote this today. I couldn’t be more proud.

21 Dec

On her Facebook page:

With the widespread idiocy in the last few days regarding the LGBT community at large, and specifically the Trans community, let me explain the Trans experience in the most succinct way I know: Your brain, not your body is the seat, source, and home of your identity. If you, as you are now, with all your likes, dislikes, hates, loves, preferences, tastes, and all those things that define you as you, woke up tomorrow with the opposite gender’s genitals, you would be living in the Trans experience. Now, try for just 10 seconds to imagine not only the internal, “This is wrong!” but also having the entire world tell you that you CAN’T (not shouldn’t) but CANNOT be who you are at the very core of your soul. THAT is what it means to be Transgender.

Whether you understand why a transgender person is transgender or not; whether that is a choice you would make or not; whether you are comfortable around them or not; they deserve tolerance, understanding, support, love, and to be championed. No matter who the person was “before transition” they are still, at the core of their being, the same person “after transition”. If you loved them “before” why can’t you love them “after”. A “sister” doesn’t “become a brother”, they always were one, it’s just that you couldn’t SEE that they were a brother and not a sister. Transition is nothing more than making a physical change so that others can see what’s inside. In many ways, transition is on the same level as dying one’s hair, losing weight, having plastic surgery, or any other form of body modification done to make us feel more comfortable in our own skins. Yes, Transition is an extremely difficult process. Yes, it is far more extreme than dying one’s hair, and I have yet to meet a Trans person who didn’t take their choices with every ounce of the gravity that those choices deserve. Until you have personally had to choose between living a lie, dying a truthful suicide, or going through one of the world’s most humiliating processes of change, do not presume to assume that you “know what those people are really after.” I can tell you, from deep, direct, constant contact with not just one, but many Trans people, what they are really after is love, acceptance, and their own truth of identity. None of that should threaten or frighten you. If seeing them around does either of those things to you, that is ignorance, intolerance, and unacceptable. Get over yourself.

PS: This is not directed at anyone I know personally, but rather some things happening in the society.

Four Things You Should Know To Understand the EEOC Decision and the Need for ENDA

24 Sep

Excellent analysis of the impact of the EEOC decision regarding sex discrimination and trans people.

National Center for Transgender Equality's Blog

We have received some questions about the full legal and practical consequences of the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) Macy decision—and whether the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) is still legally or practically necessary for transgender people to experience equality on the job. The answer is complex and nuanced, but here’s the bottom line: the EEOC decision is incredibly useful, but we still need ENDA to end transgender job discrimination.

The EEOC decision has significantly moved us forward, but we need ENDA to take us the rest of the way. Until we are there, transgender people now have recourse with the EEOC that they can and should utilize (See our Know Your Rights at Work resource  for how to do so). Let me explain why both the EEOC ruling is so important, and why we still need ENDA.

 

1. What does the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission ruling do?

Before the…

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Not much of interest to report

27 Aug

Well, except that I’m now living in Atlanta. My son-in-law got a new job here in Atlanta. He started in July (on my birthday coincidentally) and we all moved here. If you follow along with me at all, you know that I telecommute. My physical location has absolutely nothing to do with my ability to perform my job, as long as I have reliable internet service. I’ve informed my employer about the move. It’s a non-issue to them. So that’s that. Hello Atlanta, goodbye rural Arkansas. Continue reading

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