Thursday, November 20, 2014

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014

Today is the 16th annual international Transgender Day of Remembrance (‪#‎TDOR‬) -- we remember those taken by anti-trans violence and transphobia through murder and suicide, the hundreds this past year and the thousands throughout history. We work to center trans women of color, who continue to be targeted in our communities and country and around the world. May their memories be a blessing, as we say in Judaism.

There are events in my old and new homes tonight, including Lowell MA, DC and Baltimore. TransFaith has resources including the TDOR Unite project. And Keshet has more Jewish resources than you can shake a yad at.

I feel like today's Google Doodle is also appropriate for ‪TDOR‬, especially from a faith-based perspective. Today is also Corita Kent's birthday, and here she says "To understand is to stand under which is to look up to, which is a good way to understand." I first became aware of her because my paternal grandmother / great-aunt was a fan -- my grandmother's sister adopted my father and his brothers when their parents died in the Cocoanut Grove fire, 72 years ago next Friday. And growing up in metro Boston we saw Corita's "Rainbow Swash" on the gas tank in Dorchester many times.


Monday, November 17, 2014

May Leslie Feinberg's memory be a blessing

I learned today that Leslie Feinberg passed on this past Saturday (the day of the Montgomery County MD Transgender Day of Remembrance 2014). Where to begin? I think I first became aware of her/hir as a high school senior -- her book "Stone Butch Blues" was published the year I formally came out as trans. And several years later I met hir, when she/zie came to speak at Arlington Street Church where I was on staff. May hir memory be a blessing (as we say in Judaism, and Leslie's Jewish identity is part of what zie means to me).  Here is her obituary in the Advocate, written by her wife Minnie Bruce Pratt.  This graphic is the Advocate's, from Facebook.

And at MoCo MD TDOR, we shared Leslie's words for the Chalice Lighting: "Why are we different? Why have we refused to walk one of two narrow paths, but instead demanded the right to blaze our own? The question is not why were we unwilling to conform even when being beaten to the ground by ridicule and brutality.The real burning question is: How did we ever find the courage? From what underground spring did we draw our pride? How did each of us make our way in life, without a single familiar star in the night sky to guide us, to this room where we have at last found others like ourselves? And after so much of ourselves has been injured, or left behind as expendable ballast, many of us worry 'What do we have left to give each other? Upon what basis will we build something lasting between us?' We have the whole world to give back to each other."

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Bead Society of Greater Washington’s Bead Bazaar

One of the good things about going to the Indian Health Service Powwow yesterday is that we realized that the Bead Society of Greater Washington’s Bead Bazaar was in the adjacent gym yesterday and today; I went the next, and purchased the pictured.

A mustard seed pendant in glass and gold-toned metal from Artistic Investments; fat goddess beads in light purple Czech glass with an iridescent finish from Spirit Inc. – who made and is holding the flabulous sign; and a glass bone bead that is actually much more milk-and-honey from Biz.e.beads; $3 each.  And I actually have no plans for the goddess beads yet -- so get your orders in now.  

I’ve wanted mustard seed jewelry for many years, and have missed my chance a few times – and this was actually the first time the seller had put her only one out for sale; I especially like the faith-based meanings, and am enjoying Plochman’s page about mustard in seven traditions

Reformation Project -- Regional Conference

I didn’t get to the rest of The Reformation Project’s Regional Conference (which also has a Facebook Community) here in DC this past Thursday through Saturday (November 6th through 8th), as perhaps I should have, but I’m glad I schlepped in to the Trans Caucus on Friday night.

We had more than a dozen people, trans and allied (and more in spirit who were double-booked), and spent four hours together -- at National City Christian Church and the nearby original Thai Tanic restaurant (I know!! Turns out Thai restaurants with punny names are a thing here) -- facilitated by TransFaith's executive director Chris Paige.

‪#‎TRPinDC‬

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Indian Health Service Powwow in Gaithersburg MD

November is also ‘American Indian & Alaskan Native Heritage Month’! 

And we were privileged to attend the 3rd annual Indian Health Service Employee Association Powwow right here in our town today, organized by the IHS' EA with Gaithersburg's Multicultural Affairs Committee.  Here is the city's October 21st press release.  

We had ‘Indian Tacos’ with everything, and meant to have wajopi for dessert; and I got these earrings from Native Spirit Jewelry (also on Facebook, Pinterest and Instagram).  They're opal / turquoise / bronze, bears are 13 x 10mm; and they're even prettier in person. And the seller included a note: “The Bear is one of the most powerful and frequently appearing characters in Native American stories. The Bear is associated with the POWER to HEAL and STRENGTH in the face of adversity. www.enativespirit.com”. (And I wanted to get a few of their small stud earrings – one or more semi-precious stones in silver or gold settings.)



Tuesday, November 4, 2014

Election Day 2014

We were Election Judges for the second time today -- as on primary day in June, I was at Asbury Methodist Village (a retirement "campus" so large, at a few thousand residents, that it is its own precinct) and Julia was at Gaithersburg High School (her alma mater -- although like mine, Newton North, the building has been recently replaced).  And this time I also worked two days of the early voting week at the Germantown Rec Center

(I never heard anything about working for the BOE back in MA -- it seemed like it was just automagically handled by the police and senior citizens.)

And again one of the highlights was that one my bosses was a gay man with a trans nephew who used to be very active in the Episcopal Church.  Also, I saw some people from our primary church (Episcopal Church of the Ascension) and my temp gig at the Census' 2014 Site Test this summer and early fall. 

My voting while trans went well, here in my new home state of MD (old one is MA) -- largely due to my geographical and other privileges. Though as an Election Judge, I did have a lot of contestants for Guess My Gender and the other game shows I host. Alas, I don't think that the great majority guessed right, but that's probably because they had the wrong version of the rules, where there are only two possible guesses.


Thursday, October 16, 2014

GLAAD's Spirit Day

It’s GLAAD's Spirit Day – use purple to support LGBT youth, and see Equality Maryland's purple plan at #SpiritDay 2014: Take a Stand Against LGBT Bullying.

There are some faith-based versions of this graphic as well, and they’ve been taking suggestions for more – I suggested “I’m interfaith and against bullying” (and I am). And the Religious Institute is doing a ‪#‎FaithfulPurple‬ campaign. ‪

I'm also for anti-bullying work becoming intersectional with fat justice -- contrary to popular and governmental belief, neither LGBTQ et al youth nor anyone else should have be, try to be, or want to be thin to deserve not to be bullied.

And I'm for talking more about how “bullying” is abuse and oppression – and how abuse and oppression are each other. And I say this as a survivor myself.  #SpiritDay

Wednesday, October 1, 2014

Fairness For All Marylanders Act officially effective today!

TODAY the Fairness For All Marylanders Act officially goes into effect! It updates MD’s anti-discrimination laws to include transgender people. And you can celebrate with Equality Maryland at the next Fairness for All Marylanders Act Celebration next Wednesday the 8th. We’ll be out of town, but we went to the celebration in Frederick and enjoyed. And we are proud that we could play a small role in the passage of this legislation -- and look forward to our role in its implementation. ‪

Learn more about what the law means for transgender Marylanders in this "Know Your Rights" guide from Equality Maryland and FreeState Legal Project.

One of the best parts of my day was that a fellow Marylander came out to me as trans -- and I was able to tell them that they would still have statewide civil rights if they decided to come out further.

#‎FAMA14‬ ‪ #‎StandForFairness