Tag Archives: civil rights

National Coming Out Day’s Offsping

colorized street in DCThe joke when I first started telling people I was queer was that it took a broken leg for me to do it. Truth be told, I started admitting I was pretty darn gay a couple of weeks before my fateful trip around Goldstein Auditorium on roller skates, but it made for a nice chuckle, and who am I to deny anyone a moment of fun? Besides, hobbling around on crutches with plaster caked up to my keister could potentially, I thought at the time, help me get a date. I was one of only a few people I knew (even still) who came out without a relationship as the main motivation.

This was May of 1991. I was about to turn 21, which, as it turned out, was much less a big deal for my life than I presumed it would be at the time. But I felt like freedom was close—I’d finished my junior year of college, and the humongous Real World pressed upon me—and I needed to fully explore it. Which okay, was a little challenging in my then-current condition.  Read More…

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Who Chaz Bono Is Not

Chaz Bono dancingI’ve had it. I gave Chaz Bono’s interview with The New York Times a tired, jaundiced eye because there was a lot of gender stereotyping going on in his comments, and at the time it reminded me of other problematic things I’ve heard transfolk say when the spotlight is upon them. But I freely admit that a lot  of this is about the questions culturally incompetent people ask (read: I don’t think David Letterman has any training in which questions to avoid asking trans-identified people), and the stress of coming up with responses on the spot. Given the documentary that focused on Chaz’s transition, and Chaz’s gracefulness during the Dancing with the Stars competition—in which people have questioned his manhood, his fitness, and his dance skills—I’d say Chaz is treading more carefully now, repeatedly speaking about listening to his elders in transition/transitude, and more importantly, speaking only for himself. I dare say it’s a level of diplomacy that Thomas Beatie, a.k.a. “the pregnant man” has not shown himself capable.

Certainly, I didn’t have high hopes for the national response to Chaz as a transsexual, but even skeptical moi is surprised at the intensity of the vitriol and resentment. Read More…

Old Enough to Know Themselves: Voices of Queer Teens

queer students at camp, jumping on a beachPlease welcome Rosa, a high school student from my home state, who is the latest guest blogger for Transplantportation while I attend to my wee one. I would also just like to note here that Rosa runs a Gay-Straight Alliance in her school, which have clearly shown to help with anti-bullying initiatives and increasing cultural competency of teachers, administration, and staff, when implemented in a school—something not available at Walla Walla High School, and banned this month by the Benton Franklin County School Board. We all need to push harder to include these student-focused groups in our schools.

When I was first asked to write a post in Ev’s absence I was incredibly excited to have a chance to bridge at least some of the gap between teenagers and adults. I so often feel like it’s nearly impossible for most teenagers to try to communicate with adults, and vice-versa. Adults view teens as these hormonally crazed aliens without a rational bone in their bodies. While teens view adults as these fascist rule makers with no purpose other than providing various doses of misery and “ruining their lives.” Read More…

Commodifying Transfolk

chaz bono dancing with the stars promo photoI will say right off the bat that I’m not the biggest fan of Dancing with the Stars. I like it enough to watch when someone I like—or greatly dislike—is on the show, much like I’ll watch American Idol on only a spotty basis. I really like dancing as an art form, especially given my total lack of physical grace, because I love to see the human form do things I didn’t know were possible, and then whoa, there’s music and lots of feathers to boot! But DWTS sometimes makes me sad, because the “stars” in question often seem to be scrapping for whatever vestiges of glory they can still obtain, and the whole faded Lola a la Copacobana thing is not my speed.

In short: I will watch Margaret Cho, Ralph Macchio, Jennifer Grey, Joey Fatone, and a whole host of others out of love and interest. I was not a fan of Kate Gosselin, Bristol Palin, or The Situation, but I still kept up with their performances. And that said, I do like how DWTS has included lots of out gay and lesbian personalities, like some of those I just mentioned and other folks like Lance Bass. It was only a matter of time before a trans man was selected for the dancing show. And so we have Chaz Bono, the “most famous” trans man out there. Or is he? Read More…

The Poverty of Consent

Dominique Strauss-Kahn

TRIGGER WARNING: This blog post is about sexual assault.

A friend asked me to write something up about the debacle that was the case against Dominique Strauss-Kahn, the former head of the International Monetary Fund and presumed future candidate for the French Presidency. And then I sat in front of a blank screen, staring and staring and feeling more than one wave of frustration crash over me. Something bothered me about this case—the way it intersected with power, race, and gender hierarchies, its resurrection of the threadbare narrative of “she asked for/deserved it,” and finally, the hopelessness many of us felt because of the outcome of the case that never made it to trial. For if such a preponderance of evidence as was gathered against Mr. Strauss-Kahn still fails to be taken seriously, what possibility remains that any case will actually be heard on its merits? Read More…

The Headless Movement

March for Women's LivesI’ve said it before, and I suppose I’m saying it again; I don’t think there’s a progressive movement. I mean, of course, there’s a progressive movement, in that there are causes on the liberal and radical left that push specific interests. But the idea that a broad left wing will show up to march through the Mall in Washington, D.C. on a single issue, with no major fracture points on display, or that we’re beholden to a single figure who is speaks for even a majority of us, is dead on the vine. Read More…

Savage Defense

I was once a Savage Love reader, sure. I’ve known the definition of GGG pretty much since Dan Savage invented it, although I never realized until tonight that he came up with it and all of his acronyms just to save type space. Which makes sense, and is something that may fade away as newspapers trudge toward extinction. Almost a decade ago I read Skipping Towards Gommorah, and if there were big problems on the bigotry front, I missed them. And I laughed when Savage invented a new definition for “santorum” so much, I worked it into one of my novels-in-progress.

However, there came a day—I have no idea when—that I read his column and flinched. In giving some answer to a reader’s question he was too harsh, used a dose too strong of mockery, enacted an assumption that led inextricably to a position that I couldn’t abide. Like snowflakes at the leading edge of a cloud these added up over time, and eventually I stopped reading his column, and didn’t bother to spend time reading whatever was his next book. Read More…

Nothing Much to Celebrate

After all of the insider politics and hurt feelings, Maryland’s House Bill 235 was sent back to committee yesterday, an ignoble death at the end of their legislative session. Trouble had begun with the public accommodations clause of the bill was removed, leaving employment, education, and housing protections, but not covering transgender people in some of the most vulnerable situations they may face. Activists put pressure on Equality Maryland, one of the main organizations lobbying for the bill, and the sponsoring Delegate, Ms. Pena-Melnyk, and surprisingly, the activists were quickly dismissed as adversaries, and when they posted comments on Equality Maryland’s Web site and Facebook page, their comments were deleted, their accounts banned from future posting.

This development, unsurprisingly, did not go over well. Read More…

Equality Maryland and the Very Big Fail

a trans "ally" with the wrong approach

Originally, I was going to leave this alone. Enough other intelligent people were covering the recent events in Maryland’s push toward same-sex marriage and transgender civil rights that I didn’t think I’d be adding anything new to the conversation. I pulled back and used a broader lens to ask some questions about where we are as a queer community, thinking that this regional dispute was part of a larger debate and tension among the L, G, B, and T in le grande coalition.

And then this photo popped up on Equality Maryland’s Facebook fan page and a scant few hours later, it was gone, zapped into the nethersphere, along with whatever affronted comments had joined it temporarily. Fortunately I grabbed the photo before it had been cast out. Read More…

Crumb Fighting

LGB/t posterA joke made its way around the interwebs a couple of weeks ago:

A unionized public employee, a member of the Tea Party, and a CEO are sitting at a table. In the middle of the table there is a plate with a dozen cookies on it. The CEO reaches across, takes 11 cookies, looks at the Tea Partier, and says, “Look out for that union guy, he wants a piece of your cookie.”

It was worth a chuckle, I suppose, but I found it tough to laugh, because this wrangling over scraps is too commonplace in our trying times. I wish it were only about credit default swaps, mortgages, and job opportunities, but it isn’t. The battle for scarce resources is also taking place on the civil rights front. Read More…

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