Posts Tagged ‘LGBT’

Negatively Positive

February 18, 2009

Okay, I think I have some explaining to do. Many people have been asking me what’s going on with me. The simple answer is that while my political views have not changed, my attitude and approach has. It had too. I was waking up each morning not really wanting to get out of bed and questioning why I should. I was losing hope,  heading for a meltdown and I was scared.

I kept seeing the crap that was going on in D.C. with various organizations, the way transgender people were and are being treated by national gay and lesbian organizations and worse, by each other.

Then one day, I woke up and refused to focus all my attention and energy on all the negative bullshit. Is it still there? Hell yes. I’m not sticking my head in the sand, I just can’t let it run my life and poison my soul. I refuse to be my own worst enemy and if I am to be an effective advocate, I have to be healthy. God bless the wonderful people in our community who can point out all the injustices we face from all directions, each and every day. I love you very much but I can’t be one of you. At least not all the time. I do promise to protest with you and be there to support you and listen whenever you need me.

I need a little positive motion and I have made the choice to concentrate on the changes that I know I can help to make through positive motivation. We have a window of opportunity with a new administration, wonderful and powerful changes in our oldest and largest transgender organization, an out transgender man working for a Congressman. I won’t even get into the fantastic work being done by young people and grassroots efforts across the country. Times, they are a changing and I need to look forward with something to look forward to.

I want to be alive to see more changes happen and if I continued on that path of constant negativity,  I doubt I would have been around to see them.

On another note:

Here’s a gem that I dug up and I couldn’t help but notice how the words ring just as  true for us today as they did for the women’s movement back in 1976 when this song was performed.

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IFGE (Pt.2) and other stuff

February 14, 2009

Since I wrote my last post more than a few days ago a lot of things have happened. Controversy surrounding IFGE. Organizations becoming irrelevant and then made relevant again,  being accused of working with the devil and then not so much. I’ll tell ya, it’s really been a roller coaster ride. However, through the many twists and turns I have to say that I’m so very proud of our board of directors for standing firm and not letting any of it ruin the momentum that we have and not letting any of the negativity drag us down.  We survived and the spell has not been broken. This all just feels so right.

I had originally planned to write this post right after the flames began to fly. I had much more to say about what others were blogging about and the big stir that was created, but I don’t feel as though it’s an issue any longer. One of the things that I have learned from being part of many unhealthy yahoo chat groups is to address issues, handle them like an adult and move on together. We need to keep those lines of communications open, make those phone calls or accept those phone calls and talk about the issue at hand. I accepted one of those calls and am a better person for it. I also made more than a few and feel like progress is being made and a community is coming together in a way that has never happened before. If you don’t feel like you are a part of it but you’d like to be, send me an email at ethan@ifge.org.  The time is right my friends, join us and be a part of a movement that is affecting your life. This is our lives, this is our movement and we are all invited!

Breathing (IFGE conference part 1)

February 10, 2009

Last Tuesday I packed up my luggage and headed to Washington, D.C. where the IFGE conference was located.  I don’t get to be alone all that often so the 8 hour drive wasn’t that bad.

I rolled into town at about 1:30 am and was greeted by Denise Leclair, IFGE’s executive director. Of course she was awake, it was only 1:30 in the morning and Denise doesn’t usually hit the sack until at least 3:00 am.. Speaking of Denise, hats off to her and the rest of the people that pulled this conference off. It may have been smaller than usual but it was THE best conference I have ever been to and make no mistake, it was quite successful.

It almost felt more like a retreat than a conference. The workshops were close and intimate as were the meetings and gatherings at the bar in the evening. At one point I mentioned how close I felt to everyone and how much I felt we had all bonded. Lynn Conway turned to me and her exact words were, “can you feel it?” Indeed I could.

I feel so lucky lately to have had such positive experiences and community building opportunities with some of the most brilliant minds in our movement. I am truly humbled to have been a part of the whole experience.

It seems that everyone walked away feeling that same charge of electricity in the air. We were fueled by each others passions and exhilarated by each others knowledge.  There were times when I was sitting with some fantastic people having a great time and I knew this was something out of the ordinary.

You know the feeling that if it ended right then that it may never happen quite the same way again. uhh…anyway. To all the great friends I made and the old friends I met again and to the folks who made it all happen. Thank you for a fantastic time.

Land of a thousand words

January 31, 2009

This afternoon a young friend contacted me, he was very upset about a debate that had been lingering  on a blog about an article in the Dallas Voice and the use of the word  “tranny.”

My young friend was upset because he was being wrongly accused of being a transphobic bigot.  I’ve known of this young, gay man for quite some time and his work with the lgbt community has been fantastic. He is in his early 20s has only lived in very progressive states and has been engulfed in the lgbt culture of his time which includes the use of the word, Tranny.  The vast majority of his friends are 20 something year old transgender people who live a San Francisco. They use the word, Tranny in a matter of fact tone, not to belittle nor as a derogatory term but with pride and empowerment.

The person who is upset with this young man is a middle aged transgender woman who lives in the not so progressive state of Texas. This leaves a culture, age and geographical gap. My young friend, who was absolutely crushed by the transgender person’s accusations, asked me for my opinion on the matter and use of the word, Tranny. Here is what I wrote:

I use the word tranny in my broadcast title (the radical trannies) and I use it when I speak to other trangender people. I never use it as a term of disrespect. Do I believe in the reclaiming of words and their use of empowerment? Indeed I do. However, I would never think of referring to RuPaul as either  a nigger or a faggot. I have no problem using the word Queer because it is a general term and socially acceptable within our community.

I understand that the word tranny is being used and reclaimed by a younger population in a variety of geographical areas but it is still not widely used as a term of endearment and I highly doubt that the writer of the Dallas voice is all that endeared to transgender people. The Dallas Voice has a history of quite the contrary.  To top it off, Texas has the 3rd highest rate of trangender murders in the country and the unemployment rate for trangender people is off the charts. Most people who are transgender and live in TX, live way below the poverty level.
Many transgender people live in a world where the use of the word tranny is the same as being called a faggot, nigger or in some cases, what it was like to have a person call a black man “boy,” back in the 60s.

I wasn’t all that happy with the idea that the Dallas Voice used RuPaul as the official spokes person for the transgender community, since he has repeated more than once that he is NOT a transgender person but a gay man in drag.

The next time there is a question about gay culture, do you think the Dallas Voice will make me the official spokesman?

My young friend understands and agrees but is upset that he didn’t get the chance to express himself. He should have been given that chance. The only way we are going to bridge the gaps are with an open dialogue and communication. As for the Dallas Voice, they should really get a clue.

Our Ability to Change

September 22, 2008

Over the course of the past week or so I’ve been having conversations with people from my past who have come back into my life and have shown remarkable evidence of changes they have made in their lives. 

I’m not talking about a transgender transition but other kinds of changes. Changes in their beliefs and loss of bigotry and intolerance, total changes in personality.
 A few of those people talked about spiritual experiences while others spoke of their ignorance and lack of education on certain topics. Seeing these people again and their new found peace and acceptance got me thinking about our ability to change and how some of us can be so suspicious of it when people do change.

I find it rather comical and sad to watch the people in a community whose lives revolve around a transition and strive for acceptance be marred by suspicions of other people’s ability to change.

I know that over the past year I have consciously made some changes in my life and although I feel there are more I need to make, I am feeling pretty good about myself for a change.
Aren’t we all just a work in progress?

Trust

July 15, 2008

I’ve been tossing this around for quite some time because I wasn’t sure how to say what I need to say, so I’ve finally decided to just plunge right in.
I think that as a community we have found ourselves in an awkward place of mistrust. Mistrust of some of our community leaders who have once worked with HRC and have left some of us to question if they still are, will they go back, what are their motives, who should we trust, who should we believe?
What I’d like to explore is how do we get past all that and move on together. I don’t think we’ll be able to survive the fight we have in front of us if we can’t find some common ground.
Like in any relationship, trust is critical and once that trust has been lost or breeched, it is not so easy to recover. (Just to be clear, I’m talking strictly between the people in the transgender community, not HRC. I have no desire to work with HRC.)
In the past months since the ENDA bomb was dropped I’ve witnessed a bunch of opportunities lost over lack of trust (justified or not), overinflated egos, who should get the credit, who is going to win in the press, it’s sickening. We as a community have to find a way to make things right with each other.
I know there are more than a few stubborn people out there not even willing to admit there is an issue here and if there is, they are more than capable and able to handle it, but the truth is, no one is handling it and it’s an issue that is only getting bigger and if it’s not handled soon we all might as well take our toys and go home.
In the meantime, remember who it is that’s being hurt here.
If you need a refresher, look no further than these two links:
TransYouth Family Allies and
the list that seems never ending, Remembering Our Dead.

We can’t help the people at the second website but we can sure help the people from the first website from making it there.

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