Mycroft Masada is a trans and queer faith leader who moved to Gaithersburg, Maryland (Montgomery County near Washington DC) from their lifelong home of Boston in 2014. A TransFaith National Council member, TransEpiscopal Steering Committee member and former Congregation Am Tikva board member, Mycroft is particularly called to pursue LGBTQI+ and fat justice, and is an advocate, organizer, consultant, educator, trainer, writer and artist. They are married to Julia McCrossin, the massculine fatshion blogger, and with her they co-parent a dogter. Their central online home is MasadArts.blogspot.com.

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Thursday, November 28, 2019

Boston's Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire ~ 77th anniversary (1942 - 2019)


In addition to Thanksgiving and the 50th annual Day Of Mourning (for many Native people and communities), today is also the 77th anniversary of the fire in Boston’s Cocoanut Grove nightclub -- and thus the 77th yarzeit (death anniversary) of my paternal grandparents Adelaide “Addie” (Levin) Wasserman and Theodore “Ted” Wasserman (pictured, probably on their honeymoon in Bermuda), and my paternal great-aunt Sarah “Sadie” (Levin) Levin* (her husband, my great-uncle Benjamin “Ben” Levin, was with her at the Grove but survived).  (*Yes, Sadie was a Levin who married a Levin!) 

My father and his two brothers were orphaned, and two of their cousins lost their mother; my father was two, and his brothers were in infancy and seven. On the night of Saturday November 28th 1942 -- havdalah of Thanksgiving weekend -- corruption and other issues led to the deaths of almost 500 people (and injured more than 160 others). May their memories be a blessing, and blessed be the True Judge, as we say in Judaism.

When my father's parents and aunt were killed, they were much younger than even their youngest grandchild my brother is now; my brother Ted was named after this grandfather.  The Wassermans had recently moved from Portland Maine to Brookline Massachusetts -- a suburb of Boston where my father, and much later my brother and I, spent part of our childhoods. 

Another of Adelaide's sisters, Lillian "Libby" (Levin) Finn, and her husband Irving Finn, were part of the family party in Boston that night, but as usual Libby and Irving chose to go to a performance at Symphony Hall instead.  They began to find out about the fire after they left the Hall and saw all of the emergency vehicles.  Libby wrote a letter about the night not long afterwards, which I hope to read someday.  Libby and Irving adopted her sister Addie's three orphaned sons, their nephews.


Two months after the fire, on January 31st of 1943, Adelaide and Sadie’s eldest brother, Major Clarence “Clarry” Levin, was killed by a German landmine in North Africa, during World War II. Brothers Harold and Dr. Sydney Levin survived for many years.  


Today there are very few Grove survivors left, and much of what they and their fellows knew has been lost.   


And I do believe that this is a social in/justice story -- and indeed, I believe that all stories are – especially as the fire was largely the result of corruption within and between the club management and the City, and the deaths and injuries largely due to the club’s furnishings releasing extremely toxic gas when overheated.  And this is the primary reason why there has been so much silence around the Grove.  And as far too often, even though many positive changes resulted from the fire, the corruption and silence has led to the forgetting and thus repetition of history -- for instance, the Station nightclub fire in Rhode Island's West Warwick in 2003.  Too, climate change is increasing and worsening wildfires, in California and elsewhere.  

However, the 70th anniversary of the Grove fire in 2012 inspired more acknowledgement and even some action, including the formation of the Cocoanut Grove Coalition -- though I'm not sure how active they've been since.  


In 2013, for the 71st anniversary, there was an official ceremony at the site followed by a reception at a nearby hotel, and I attended both with my father; this included survivors and their families as well as the unveiling of a street sign saying “Cocoanut Grove Lane”, which joined a plaque in the sidewalk that had taken many years to install and had long been the only marker.  There was also an official event for the 75th anniversary, two years ago in 2017.


In January 2014, I moved to Gaithersburg Maryland (Montgomery County, bordering DC) after a lifetime in the Boston area, to begin living with my spouse Julia (who has always lived in this area, and needed to remain here).  I have missed my usual annual visit(s) to the Grove site, where I would leave flowers and/or other small gifts.  My father continued to visit, but then moved out of state to join my brother -- who is a firefighter and an EMT.  My father and I have been visited Boston a few times since we moved, and he has visited and photographed the Grove site.  

These two photos are by my father, Bill Wasserman, a lifelong professional photographer (who doesn't have a website).  



I have been angered and saddened to learn that since I moved, luxury condos have been built on the Grove site -- and how much more so that their management, some tenants and others have added insult to injury by complaining about having to remember the Grove fire, and have managed to have the commemorative plaque removed and moved down the street.  But, I am glad to hear that this mishigas prompted the mayor to announce that he supports the installation of a full-on memorial.  Too, an old friend of our family called the mayor's office to complain about the plaque's move, and the person who took the call said that they have been receiving a lot of calls about it and most if not all were also complaints. 

A great thing that happened in the last few years was that I connected online with Jessica Pollard Lantos, Research and Outreach Coordinator at Documenting Maine Jewry, because she found this blog post through Googling about the Grove (I'm not sure if her comment or the other will still appear here, after this update). Her grandparents and parents were friends and neighbors of my grandparents, in Massachusetts and Maine -- indeed, her grandfather was called from Portland to Boston to identify my grandfather's body. Jessica has her father's World War II journal and photographs, and has posted them on Facebook, and two entries mention my family (one when he hears about the fire, and the other when he hears about the death of his fellow soldier Great Uncle Clarry). She has written an article about the fire for DMJ's newsletter, and I look forward to reading and sharing it. As she says, while the Grove was never a Jewish place or filled with Jewish people, the loss of Jewish and other lives there was a significant loss for the Jewish communities in Auburn and Portland Maine.


And just this year, Jessica discovered that her mother had a photograph of my late grandfather, and gave it to my family -- to the left of Ted is Theodore Bernstein, who also died with his wife, Amelia, at the Grove (the Bernsteins lived less than half a mile from the Wassermans in Portland).

There is a new documentary about the Grove fire -- Zachary Graves-Miller's Six Locked Doors : The Legacy Of Cocoanut Grove; my father, another family member, and a friend of mine attended a Boston Public Library event about it last month.  And not too surprisingly, "Six" is not the only movie about the Grove in progress.  

There is also a newish play about the Grove fire -- James Hansen Prince's "Inferno : Fire At The Cocoanut Grove 1942", which premiered on the 72nd anniversary in 2014; 
Prince's grandfather-in-law Jimmy Jenkins died at the Grove (and Jimmy's aunt Mary Tittle was 103 at the time of the premiere!).  I have heard some good things about the play, and hope to at least read it soon.  

And I intend to read the old and new books about the fire -- especially now that eBook technology is making them much more accessible; though it turns out that a photo labeled as having Sadie in the background and Adelaide and Ted in the fore is incorrect about at least the latter.  Over the years, I have also been to presentations about the Grove at the Brighton and Boston Public Libraries.  

I will continue to work on this blog post, as well as a fuller piece about this part of our family’s story -- though I think a truly full version may need to wait until after more people pass away.  And I don't know how much information I will ever have. Sad to say, the trauma of the fire intensified the existing issues in our family, as in many others.  Which is a large part of why I feel so strongly about something that happened many years before I was born, and about family members, family friends and others who I never met.  


It is also fascinating and challenging for me -- as a transgender person and advocate -- that the Grove anniversary is a week after the international Transgender Day Of Remembrance (TDOR, November 20th, this year was the 21st annual); too, all of November is Trans Month.  And November is also Native Month -- and again, Thanksgiving Day is also the Day Of Mourning for many Native / Indigenous people and communities. 

ברוך אתה ה' א‑לוהינו מלך העולם, דין האמת.
Barukh atah Adonai Eloheinu melekh ha'olam, dayan ha-emet.
Blessed are You, Lord, our God, King of the universe, the Judge of Truth, the Just Judge.

Baruch Dayan HaEmet, Blessed is the True Judge.

Wednesday, November 20, 2019

Transgender Day Of Remembrance (TDOR) 2019 (21st annual)

TODAY, Wednesday November 20th, 2019, is the 21st annual Transgender Day Of Remembrance (TDOR), the center of Trans Week and Trans Month.

In 1998, the murder of Rita Hester, a Black transgender woman, in my hometown of Boston, led to the creation of this Day. The other trans people murdered in my home state of Massachusetts that we know of are Denise Pugliesi, Georgette Hart, Diane Carter, Monique Rogers, Debra Forte (the aunt of a trans colleague), Chanelle Pickett, Monique Thomas, and Lisa Daniels.  I also remember CJ Garber, the trans son of two ally colleagues (one of whom has since 
passed away), who died of an overdose.

When Rita was murdered, I was 22, and living in Boston, as I always had; born there in 1976, I had been out and about for several years as a trans person and advocate at the time she was taken.  In 2014 I moved here to Gaithersburg (Maryland) to begin living with my spouse.

At least two trans people were murdered in this country between last TDOR and the end of 2018 -- Tydi Dansbury and Keanna Mattel. In 2019, at least 22 have been murdered here -- and all but one are Black, all but two are women, and most are young. Hundreds more have been murdered in the rest of our world, and most of them are Latina and Latinx.
  • Dana Martin, 31, Montgomery, Alabama, January 6th.
  • Jazzaline Ware, age unknown, Memphis, sometime in March.
  • Ashanti Carmon, 27 -- like Zoe, who she knew, right here in Maryland, in Prince George’s County’s Fairmount Heights at the DC border, March 30th*.
  • Claire Legato, 21, Cleveland, shot April 15th and died May 14th.
  • Muhlaysia Booker, 23, Dallas, May 18th -- having survived a transphobic attack by a group on April 12th.
  • Michelle ‘Tamika’ Washington, 40, Philadelphia, May 19th.
  • Paris Cameron, 20, Detroit, May 25th -- Alunte Davis, 21, and Timothy Blancher, 20, both Black gay men, were also killed, and two other people were injured.
  • Chynal Lindsey, 26, Dallas, June 1st**.
  • Chanel Scurlock, 23, Lumberton, North Carolina, June 6th.
  • *Zoe Spears, 23 -- like Ashanti, who she knew, right here in Maryland, also in Prince George’s County’s Fairmount Heights at the DC border, June 13th.
  • Brooklyn Lindsey, 32, Kansas City, Missouri, June 25th.
  • Denali Berries Stuckey, 29, North Charleston, South Carolina, July 20th.
  • Tracy Single, 22, Houston, July 30th.
  • Bubba Walker, 55, Charlotte, North Carolina, end of July.
  • Kiki Fantroy, 21, Miami, July 31st.
  • Jordan Cofer, 22, Dayton, August 4th -- by his own brother, along with eight other people and almost many more.
  • Pebbles LaDime “Dime” Doe, 24, Allendale County, South Carolina, also on August 4th.
  • Bailey Reeves, 17, Baltimore -- only an hour from us here in Gaithersburg.
  • Bee Love Slater, 23, Clewiston, Florida, September 4th.
  • Jamagio Jamar Berryman, 30, also Kansas City, September 13th.
  • Itali Marlowe, 29, Houston, September 20th.
  • Brianna “BB” Hill, 30, also Kansas City, October 14th.
**Johana ‘Joa’ Medina, 25, a Latina trans woman from El Salvador, also died on June 1st, in El Paso, Texas -- just hours after being released from ICE custody.  Layleen Polanco, 27, an Afro-Latina trans woman, was found dead in her cell at Rikers (Island Jail, New York City) on June 7th.

Too, very little attention is given to the murders, assaults and disappearances of Native / Indigenous people -- especially girls, women, and/or Two Spirit people. November is Trans Month and also Native Month -- and next Thursday, “Thanksgiving” Day, is the 50th annual Day Of Mourning.

We also lose many siblings to suicide -- the attempt rate in our community is over 40%. And there are unreported trans deaths, reported deaths where the victim is not identified as trans, non-fatal assaults and much more. Trans people are not included in even basic civil rights laws in most states, and several states have anti-trans laws or are attempting to pass them -- and the Trump administration is attempting to undo trans rights progress on a national level.

And while I say little here or elsewhere about the death details -- primarily to avoid further traumatizing my trans followers, especially those living at similar intersections as the victims -- it is vital to say that the great majority are shootings, and that this is yet another reason we desperately need gun control, and it is an LGBTQ+ and racial justice issue.

May all of my trans sisters, brothers and other siblings’ memories be blessings (as we say in Judaism) -- and call us to act! Today and every day, may we schlep ever closer to tikkun olam, world repair, at the intersection of LGBTQ+, climate, racial, immigration, spiritual, fat, disability, and all other stripes of the rainbow of justice! May we never forget that white supremacy has always included cis and male supremacy! Amen!

(The image is a collage I made today with Pixlr Express -- photos of everyone except Jazzaline, with four copies of a photo I took (a trans-symbol pendant with a tealight and stones).)

#TDOR #TDOR2019 #TransDayOfRemembrance #BlackLivesMatter #BlackTransLivesMatter #LatinxLivesMatter #LatinxTransLivesMatter #NativeLivesMatter #TwoSpiritLivesMatter #TransLivesMatter 





Tuesday, October 8, 2019

Gmar chatima tova (may we be inscribed for good)!!!

Gmar chatima tova -- may we be inscribed for good! Yom Kippur, the Day of Atonement (At-One-ment), the Shabbat of Shabbats, begins at sunset, with Kol Nidre, All Vows...and ends tomorrow at sunset with a festive break-fast meal. And my tradition teaches that our fates for the next year are written on Rosh Hashanah and sealed on Yom Kippur, in the Book of Life.

I took these four photos last month at sunset, as I sat on a bench outside the Gaithersburg Aquatic Center (also known as the Middle School, which my Julia and her mother attended) after my swim, waiting for my Bashert Julia. She loves to help me by picking me up on her way home from work -- I enjoy walking home, and the weather is usually good enough for me to do that, but I’m also usually quite tired and hungry at that point, and her schlepping gives us some rare time alone together, and enables us to come home together.

These clouds make me think of the Gates of Heaven, and how they are especially open to us during these High Holy Days. And how ever since I was a child, I’ve looked at heavenly clouds and felt especially close to my loved ones in the next life. And how we are drawing near to Samhain, when my Julia’s Celtic tradition teaches that the border between our world and the next is most easily crossed.

May we have meaningful fasts, and feasts -- however we define those things! And may we be mindful of those who are not fasting, and those who are harmed by shaming, shameful words around fasting and feasting -- especially fat people and those with eating disorders. May we encounter, experience and expand teshuvah, tefillah and tzedakah -- re/turning, prayer and justice! Amen!

#YomKippur #YomKippur5780 #YomKippur2019 #ErevYomKippur #KolNidre #GmarChatimaTova

Monday, September 30, 2019

SHANA TOVA (GOOD YEAR)!!

SHANA TOVA!! Good Year!! Today is Rosh Hashanah, Jewish New Year’s Day -- last night at sunset we entered Erev Rosh Hashanah, New Year’s Eve, transitioning (ha) from 5779 to 5780.

Today is also my second first wedding anniversary with my Bashert Julia -- we married last year on September 10th, which was then Rosh Hashanah (because the next day was the ninth anniversary of our first in-person meeting); the two calendars rarely align, so we will almost always have two wedding anniversaries every year (and two of most everything else).

Nu, here is a gift my Julia gave me during the first September of our partnership, ten years ago. We first met in an online fat community in July of 2009 -- she had always lived in Maryland or DC and I had always lived in Boston, and that September she visited me for the first time. I took her to my hometown of Brookline (Massachusetts), and she bought me this pendant at Israel Book Shop. It combines two of my most favorite Jewish symbols, the Magen David and the pomegranate (and the latter is a significant symbol of Rosh Hashanah and the rest of the High Holy Days).  It’s pewter with enamel, 2 1/4" including the first bail (I added the second), and was originally part of a keychain. And it has a bit of Hebrew on the back -- transliteration: l'mazal bri-ot l'hatzlachah, translation (loosely): luck for health and success.

May this year be your sweetest, fruitiest, best beJeweled yet! This year and every year, may we schlep ever closer to tikkun olam, world repair, at the intersection of LGBTQI+, climate, immigration, racial, spiritual, fat, disability, and all other shades of the spectrum of justice! Amen!

#ShanaTova #RoshHashanah #RoshHashanah2019 #RoshHashanah5780 #MagenDavid #pomegranate #rimon #Jewelry ✡️🍏🍯🍎🔯

Monday, September 23, 2019

Best Wishes for Bi Day 20BiTeen!

         Best wishes for a graight Bi Day 20BiTeen from my bi+ self and spouse! ❤️💜💙

(A meme of the bi flag with the text “Bisexuals are great. They aren’t gay. They aren’t straight. They’re graight.”)

#BiDay #BiVisibilityDay #CelebrateBisexualityDay #BiWeek #BiMonth #20BiTeen #BiDay2019 #BisexualsAreGreat #BisexualsAreGraight #MondayMorning #MondayMotivation #MondayMood

Merry Bi Day 20BiTeen from Maryland! Did you know that Route One Apparel has bi flag stickers and magnets?! They also have trans and rainbow flag ones, and we have both on our car.

#BiDay #BiVisibilityDay #CelebrateBisexualityDay #BiWeek #BiMonth #20BiTeen #BiDay2019 #RouteOneApparel #biflagcrabcrab #bicrab #Marylandcrab #bluecrabs #crabs ❤️💜💙🦀

Saturday, September 7, 2019

17 trans people murdered in 2019 in US - 16 Black trans women!

Erev tov, good evening. This erev, this evening, is the first havdalah of September 2019, Elul and Tishrei, when we transition from Shabbat to a new week. Near the end of this month, we will transition to a new season, with the Fall Equinox. At the end of this month, we will transition to a new year, from 5779 to 5780, with Rosh Hashanah.

And yet my trans sisters, brothers and other siblings continue to be taken from this life. Here in the US at least 17 have been stolen -- and all but one are Black trans women -- and they join dozens more in the rest of our world. This past Monday September 2nd, Labor Day, Bailey Reeves, 17, a Black trans teen, was shot to death in Baltimore -- only an hour from us here in Gaithersburg.


Our 16 other stolen siblings are Dana Martin, 31, Montgomery, Alabama, January 6th.
Jazzaline Ware, age unknown, Memphis, sometime in March.
Ashanti Carmon, 27 -- like Zoe, who she knew, right here in Maryland, in Prince George’s County’s Fairmount Heights at the DC border, March 30th*.
Claire Legato, 21, Cleveland, shot April 15th and died May 14th.
Muhlaysia Booker, 23, Dallas, May 18th -- having survived a transphobic attack by a group on April 12th.
Michelle ‘Tamika’ Washington, 40, Philadelphia, May 19th.
Paris Cameron, 20, Detroit, May 25th -- Alunte Davis, 21, and Timothy Blancher, 20, both Black gay men, were also killed, and two other people were injured.
Chynal Lindsey, 26, Dallas, June 1st**.
Chanel Scurlock, 23, Lumberton, North Carolina, June 6th.
*Zoe Spears, 23 -- like Ashanti, who she knew, right here in Maryland, in Prince George’s County’s Fairmount Heights at the DC border, June 13th.
Brooklyn Lindsey, 32, Kansas City, Missouri, June 25th.
Denali Berries Stuckey, 29, North Charleston, South Carolina, July 20th.
Tracy Single, 22, Houston, July 30th.
Kiki Fantroy, 21, Miami, July 31st.
Jordan Cofer, 22, Dayton, August 4th -- by his own brother, along with eight other people and almost many more.
Pebbles LaDime “Dime” Doe, 24, Allendale County, South Carolina, also on August 4th.

**Johana ‘Joa’ Medina, 25, a Latinx trans woman from El Salvador, also died on June 1st, in El Paso, Texas -- just hours after being released from ICE custody. Layleen Polanco, 27, an Afro-Latinx trans woman, was found dead in her cell at Rikers (Island Jail, New York City) on June 7th.

Again, the great majority of our stolen siblings here are Black, women, and young -- elsewhere, they are Latinx trans women and transfeminine people. Too, very little attention is given to the murders, assaults and disappearances of Native / Indigenous people -- especially girls, women, and/or Two Spirit people.

We also lose many siblings to suicide -- the attempt rate in our community is over 40%. And there are unreported trans deaths, reported deaths where the victim is not identified as trans, non-fatal assaults and much more. Trans people are not included in even basic civil rights laws in most states, and several states have anti-trans laws or are attempting to pass them -- and Trump administration is attempting to undo trans rights progress on a national level.

And while I say little here or elsewhere about the death details -- primarily to avoid further traumatizing my trans followers, especially those living at similar intersections as the victims -- it is vital to say that the great majority are shootings, and that this is yet another reason we desperately need gun control, and it is an LGBTQ+ and racial justice issue.

May all of my trans siblings’ memories be blessings (as we say in Judaism) -- and call us to act! Today and every day, may we schlep ever closer to tikkun olam, world repair, at the intersection of LGBTQ+, climate, racial, immigration, spiritual, fat, disability, and all other stripes of the rainbow of justice! May we never forget that white supremacy has always included cis supremacy, misogyny and transphobia! Amen!

#TDOR #TDOR2019 #TransDayOfRemembrance #BlackLivesMatter #BlackTransLivesMatter #LatinxLivesMatter #LatinxTransLivesMatter #NativeLivesMatter #TwoSpiritLivesMatter #TransLivesMatter 


Sunday, September 1, 2019

DMV Fat Friendly Community @ G-Burg's Water Park

TODAY my Julia and I hosted the DMV Fat-Friendly Community’s second annual field trip to Gaithersburg's Water Park -- and it was a second success (if I do say so myself)!
Thanks, everyone!!
Pictured, the view from Camp DMV FFC at the end of our day, and my lunch.


#DMVFatFriendlyCommunity #DMVFFC #fatfriendly #fatcommunity #fatjustice #fatliberation #fatlib #fatpower #fatacceptance #fatactivism #GBurgMD #Gaithersburg #Gaithersburgers #IAmGaithersburg #GaithersburgWaterPark #GBurgWaterPark #WaterPark #BohrerPark #GaithersburgAquatics #GBurgParksAndRec #TuesdayThoughts #TummyTuesday #TransformationTuesday #TipTuesday #fieldtrip #daytrip #September1st  

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6th Annual Eerie Art Starts TODAY!

TODAY IS THE FIRST DAY OF MY FRIEND Sarah B Guest Perry’s 6TH ANNUAL EERIE ART! 

One of Sarah’s three free annual art shows on Facebook (and to some extent on Twitter) -- she art directs, and I and a few others art assist! Today through Halloween, daily multi-image posts complete with intros and descriptions! Let us know if you want to be tagged in the posts’ comments -- so you don’t miss a trick, or treat.

Sarah's 4th annual Theatrical Set Designs & Other Fripperies starts in December -- as does my own show, the 4th annual Mycroft’s Menorah Mishigas -- and her 4th annual Dollhouses & Other Miniature Worlds will be next Spring.

#EerieArt #HalloweenArt #September1st #ShakespeareSunday #SundayMorning #SundayThoughts #SundayMotivation 


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