Thursday, November 29, 2007

saying goodbye, or death is only a heartbeat away

i was just told that my grandmother passed away. she was 80, i believe. a very strong and determined woman, she raised 5 children, only to outlive three of them. she eloped at the age of 16, marrying my grandfather who was about to enter the navy during world war II. both parents disapproved of their relationship, so he came to her window and she ran away. they remained married for more than 50 years before he passed away a couple of years ago.

i'll never forget her telling me the story of their first meeting. she was playing softball, and my grandfather saw her playing, and ran up, spun her around, and kissed her, right in front of everyone. she punched him in the face. it was love.

most of my earliest and fondest memories involve them. they did the typical grandparent-y things, such as feed me lots of treats and take me shopping. but they were much more than just the typical holidays and special visit relatives.

to say i had a tough childhood would be an understatement, but i'm going to leave it at that. when i was 13, the summer before i was to enter high school, i was kicked out of my house. my grandparents generously took me in, caring for me and supporting me, eventually obtaining guardianship over me. i lived with them through high school, and seasonally during college. i felt so fortunate. my grandmother had diabetes and osteoporosis, which caused her to continually break her hips and legs until finally she was moved to a hospice/nursing home to receive better care. she fought bouts of depression and the eventual onset of alzheimer's before passing away.

her strict and devout baptist faith often caused the two of us to have heated discussions regarding religion and lifestyles. when i was six weeks old, she started taking me to church, and i regularly attended through a good portion of middle school, until puberty hit, and i became questioning and resentful toward a very close-minded faith. my grandmother loved jerry falwell and anita bryant, and i distinctly remember her sitting me down and asking me if i knew what homosexuality was and how it was evil. i never told her i'm gay. she once told me she wanted to live long enough to see me graduate from college and marry a nice boy. i told her that she shouldn't hold her breath, lol.

regardless of our political and personal differences, i admired her greatly. she was a strong woman, and basically raised her children on her own, as my grandfather owned a trucking company and was rarely home. she got a job at a time when women were supposed to stay at home, as a secretary and bookkeeper, and later worked part time at a grocery store, just because she loved to work. she watched one child die of crohn's disease, and buried another in the horrors of vietnam. a third died of alcoholism-induced diabetes, followed shortly by her husband, the single love of her life besides god. she's seen more tragedy and hardship than seems possible.

yet the woman was unshakable, and when angered, angels feared to tread. she was 5'2", and though my grandfather was 6'4" and a tough tattooed naval officer, he stayed out of her way. she was also charitable, loving, generous, and forgiving. i love her very much, and she'll be sorely missed. RIP

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

national trans* day of remembrance

all this past weekend, i've been holding and comforting him. he's so young, and still, everyone looks to him for guidance. he doesn't want it, but obligation weighs too heavily. he hoists the worries, agitation and fears of the entire group onto his tiny shoulders, facilitating discussions he doesn't want to have, offering advice to those years further along in their journeys. i see the strength and wisdom within his large, dark eyes and understand why they turn to him. the man is barely two decades old, and yet so firm in who he is! he's a bridge for those younger and older, face of a child and voice of an adult ~ universally relatable. for all his efforts he's still lost, confined in a form that's not his own.

he comes to me worn and exhausted, silent except to say that he's tired. there's a world of meaning behind those few words. he gently places his cheek on my lap. i stroke his head and down his back, feel the binding that constricts his skin, and cannot wait 'til he is able to live in a skin that is truly his. it's true that the ones most deserving of justice often receive the least. so i do my best to help, and hope that he knows i'm here. i can't pretend to understand what he's going through, but there's a part of me that wants him to just let me share a bit of that burden. when he smiles, it melts me.

for all those mourning, today and everyday, please know that you're not alone. someone wants to care for you, people will listen. or, if you're too defeated to speak, can offer a hand, a shoulder, or maybe a good joke or two.

youth that need someone to just listen for a while, and help, can call:

Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, and Transgender (GLBT) Youth Support Line

if you witness or experience a trans* hate crime :
Gay & Transgender Hate Crime Hotline

both of these numbers are toll-free in the us. and for all those we have lost, RIP. transgendered day of remembrance is a day we celebrate the lives of our friends, lovers, peers, both known and unknown to us. but it of course shouldn't be simply confined to one day. every day we keep those souls in our thoughts and hearts. a single day is hardly enough to hold all those victim to hate and bigotry. but it's a start.

Friday, November 16, 2007

shout out quick question friday...

hey all. just had a big long discussion with a friend on this subject, and i figured that i'd open it to the blogging world. okay, so here's the question at hand...

which is worse: the reality of an actual dramatic situation, or the worrying/anxiety surrounding the dramatic situation?

for me, it seems lately to be the getting worked up about a potential drama, rather than the actual situation itself. for instance: yesterday, a friend told me a very interesting story. she goes to see this non-traditional therapist that deals with auras and helps her manage her anxiety. most of the focus is on taking control of your environment and managing your senses so that you can recognize your fear and remove yourself from it, rather than dwelling in it. her therapist told her of an instance where she was able to successfully achieve this:

the therapist, we'll call her jen, is hearing impaired. jen is in a parking garage talking to a friend. a driver in a car behind them begins to back out of her spot, not noticing the chatting duo. unable to
hear the car approaching, the therapist continues to talk. several people walking by begin to shout at her and wave their hands in the air to warn about the car. jen finally sees hands waving, looks up, and sidesteps right into the path of the car. the driver at last sees her and stops ~ right on her foot. now jen could've freaked out, but instead she closes her eyes, breathes deeply, and calms herself before telling the woman to pull forward. she does, and jen's foot is freed. she is rushed to the hospital, where, after an examination and x-rays and such, the doctors tell her her foot is fine, because it was relaxed. if jen had tensed her foot at all, she'd've broken virtually every bone in her foot! and all because she was able to remove herself from the situation and calmly deal with it. it's all very buddhistic, isn't it?

anyway, with all my anxiety and irritations with the world lately, that story just really helped me, and being able to deal with things as they come, rather than worry about the potential negativity in what
could come. how do you guys feel about that? do you find actual situations to be worse than your perception of them? or do you have any cool stories of being able to remove yourself from your fear or worry?

i can't help but picture john cameron mitchell as the immortal hedwig saying "i feel so optimistic."

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

anxiety rears its ugly head again...

i don't know why i cycle this way, but it seems that every time i start to pay more attention to my blog, and keep up with everything i inevitably freak out and can't post for about a week or so. and i know i missed a lot last week.

i didn't get to participate in the
protest against judge deni for her horrid 'theft of services' ruling and her reelection (which she freaking WON), four of the jena six went into court for pre-trial, complete with nationwide protests, my company got bought by some large corporate giant which means i could lose my job, ENDA's transphobic version passed in the house, my roommate tried to fight some guy for groping me in the bar, and i went on a pretty cool date.

i also have had multiple panic attacks lately due to my doctor changing my meds yet again, and it's taken me about 4 days just to type this tiny bit of info. and now i'm stopping, because i can't handle typing any more. i'm so mad at myself, and i'm sorry for being so negative about life. keeping up with a blog shouldn't feel like work, but for some reason lately it does. hopefully my meds will even out and this will become a passion again.

Monday, November 5, 2007

how you can help celebrate ian benson's life

a big thank you to all who have linked to my site and given kind words of support re: the unfortunate passing of ian benson. friday night, a candlelight vigil was held in his honor at black river public school in holland, mi, where ian had attended the prior year. (he was home schooled beginning this year.) i lit my candle from home and quietly mourned the loss on my own. amazingly, the holland sentinel published a short piece on the event.

if you'd like to help celebrate ian's memory, and the memory of so many other trans* people whose lives ended much too prematurely, you can join in the amethyst ribbon campaign. donations/purchases can be made here.

**i officially changed ian's name from guarr to benson, per comments at questioning transphobia. ian was to have his name changed officially in the courts on the wednesday following his passing. RIP**

Saturday, November 3, 2007

mitt romney is SUCH a sweetheart...oops, i mean homophobe

pink news has published this little gem about republican presidential candidate mitt romney. apparently, he's so against gay adoption that he'd rather have a child with deceased parents than gay ones. wtf?! romney says:

And even where one member of the partnership may pass away, the memory and the characteristics of that gender, of that partner influence the development of a child. I'm in favour of promoting, as a society, the marriage of men and women and the development of children in that kind of setting.

how sweet. so two, healthy, attentive, and loving parents of the same sex is WORSE for a child than dealing with the trauma of dead ones? riiiiiighht.

i can't wait for his hypocritical mormon ass to get beaten out of the primary, even if it is by some idiot like rudy giuliani...

i'm so tired of hatred being flaunted under the guise of religion. religion and faith have nothing to do with hatred, yet they're inexplicably bound. people seem to feel that faith can explain away any kind of bigotry. newsflash: your religion doesn't hate or condemn people, YOU do. stop misappropriating your discrimination, intolerance, and ignorance. i realize that it's easier to blindly follow a faith that gives you hope. but when it starts preaching mistrust and condemnation of others for simply being different than you, why do you not question it?

Friday, November 2, 2007

RIP Ian Guarr

sadly, i received this email this morning from triangle foundation, michigan's leading LGBTQ activist organization, and i thought i'd share:

Dear [name removed],

It is with a heavy heart that I share the tragic loss of one of our community's beautiful children. Ian Guarr, a 16-year old transgender young man from West Michigan, took his own life on Monday. The Guarr family have been staunch allies and good friends of Triangle Foundation from the beginning of their journey. Ian's mother Amy is a founder of TransYouth Family Advocates (, a national organization addressing the issues facing transgender youth and a national partner of Triangle Foundation's Camping.OUT program.

Ian was one of my daughter Chloe's dearest friends. Ian was sensitive, thoughtful, brilliant, hilarious, and painfully shy. Our world is less bright without Ian's presence. Even with an amazingly supportive and loving family such as Ian had, the youth of our community face an incredibly difficult path. In the United States, every hour an LGBT youth commits suicide. The statistics for transgender youth are even more harrowing -- the attempted suicide rate is higher than 50%!

Ian's family did everything right. They loved, cared, and advocated for who Ian knew he really was –not just for who society wanted him to be. This community owes the Guarr family a debt of gratitude for all that they have done for Ian as well as for all transgender youth.

Triangle Foundation joins our friends at TransYouth Family Advocates and TransActive Education & Advocacy in once again renewing our commitment to working with and on behalf of transgender, gay, lesbian, bisexual and questioning youth who, like Ian, are struggling with a society that is often unwilling to accept them for the unique and beautiful people they are. Our work will continue until no young person feels that suicide is their only option.

Please join Triangle Foundation in sending our loving thoughts to Ian's family, loved ones, and the community which joins them in mourning his loss.


Colette Beighley and the Triangle Foundation family

PS. Please reply to this email if you would like Triangle Foundation to pass a message along to Ian's family.

If you are, or you know, a young person thinking of suicide, please know that you are not alone and help is available. Contact The Trevor Project immediately at 1-888-488-7386 or visit for help and more information.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

good luck alex ~ and dubai can kiss my homo ass!

so i posted a lighthearted entry earlier today, thinking i wanted to stay away from anything too heavy. but then i read this, and all that changed.

dubai is famous for its decadence and overindulgence in all things worldly. the shopping there is said to be some of the best in the world, and money changes hands there in the billions. it's beautiful, extremely modern, and sleek. oh, and then apparently they outlaw homosexuality and deny raped teen males justice.

alex's attack is horrid. absolutely horrifying. first, he's taken out to the desert, threatened and raped by three different men and dumped in front of a hotel. add to being gang-raped by three different guys the fear and shame brought upon his family. mix in a doctor that won't do blood tests or a proper examination, accuses him of being gay, and then officially states that there was no evidence of forced assault.

"Then he cleared the room and told Alex: 'I know you’re a homosexual. You can admit it to me. I can tell.'"

top it all off with the fact authorities withheld for months information that one of the men is HIV positive!! thank gods his parents are strong enough and supportive enough to be fighting for prosecution. to avoid ARREST, (arrest for being raped!!!!) alex had to flee the country. i'm surprised he stayed as long as he did (he left a month into his 10th grade year at school; he'd been attacked on bastille day, july 14th) but he stayed in order to pursue prosecution. now he's been told that he could be sentenced to a year in jail. even typing that almost made me vomit.

and his alleged attackers? all three claim innocence, despite the fact that their sperm was found inside of alex. also interesting:

"United Arab Emirates law does not recognize rape of males, only a crime called 'forced homosexuality.'"

note how they are sure to mention homosexuality within the framework of wrongdoing, but not rape. because the real crime here is being gay, not sexually assaulting another human being.

UAE's government is indeed fucked up. this is the worst kind of double (at least) victimization. and unless they seriously change their judicial system, i'm sure things like this will continue. being gay is not a crime. rape victims are just that; victims. i don't think it's that difficult to understand. best of luck, alex ~ though i don't quite get that his attorney says he's looking for the death penalty for his attackers? *shakes head*

true outlaws

last night, i went out to see the gepetto files, countercosby (that did an uncanny tribute to black sabbath), and astro-zombies (a misfits cover band) ~ all were a blast, especially the gepetto files. my friend ted creates these phenomenal puppets that will blow your mind!

anyway, at about 3am, my roommate and friend
insisted that i see this video of two of my favorite outlaws, waylon jennings and willie nelson. so i figured i'd share, being that today i'm a little foggy and bleary-eyed from last night's festivites, and kinda cranky from being forced to explain that i was laura palmer (from twin peaks) to drunken kids that had never seen the series (i mean, come on, people!)

anyway, i hope it brings y'all as big a smile as it did me: