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.

Facebook | Twitter | LinkedIn | My artwork (stationery, jewelry & more)

Monday, November 15, 2010

2nd annual Transgender Awareness Week (Massachusetts)

It's the 2nd annual Transgender Awareness Week in Massachusetts, organized by the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition!

Here's TAW on MTPC's website:

And here's the fabulous flyer:

And here's the Facebook event:

Also, here's my blog entry about one of the most awesome parts of TAW, the launch of MTPC's "I AM : Trans People Speak" -- our new public education campaign:

: - ) Mycroft

*******
Mycroft Masada Holmes
Chair, Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality
Chair, Training Committee, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
Emeritus Founding Chair, Transgender Working Group (TWiG), Keshet

Sunday, November 14, 2010

MTPC's "I AM : Trans People Speak" -- a public education campaign

Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition has been working on a new public education campaign --
"I AM: Trans People Speak" -- www.TransPeopleSpeak.org. "I AM" is a multi-media campaign aimed at educating the public about the diversity of the transgender communy and our families, friends, and allies.

Each person's story begins with a few "I am..." statements. I chose to tell my story as a video, and was filmed by MTPC. My statements are "I am an interfaith leader, I am a writer and an artist, I am a life partner, and I am also a transgender person."

I'm also one of the people in the video ad for the campaign:

Tonight is the launch party -- the "I AM" website goes live tonight!

A Launch Party: I AM: Trans People Speak
Sunday, November 14th, 2010
5:00 - 9:00 p.m.

Bella Luna/Milky Way at the Brewery Complex
284 Amory Street
Jamaica Plain, MA 02130

RSVP to rachel@masstpc.org or visit

The launch party is free and open to all ages, with light refreshments, a cash bar and dancing. MTPC will be premiering videos and other materials from the campaign.

MTPC is still accepting applications for stories -- the project will be ongoing.

We are looking for trans people, as well as family members, partners, friends and providers to share their stories. This collection of stories aims to challenge stereotypes and misconceptions of trans individuals by highlighting the realities of their lived experience. These voices span across a diversity of communities and intersecting identities.

By providing a forum where these unique stories can be shared and given significance, I AM fosters support and raises awareness for trans communities. There is no one trans narrative. Each individual has their own unique story to tell, and these voices can no longer be silenced.

Personal stories change lives, laws, and policies.

We are looking for people who feel comfortable sharing their experience through a video interview. We realize that due to safety and/or confidentiality this may not be possible for everyone -- so audio stories, photo essays, and written stories may also be submitted. Names may be changed if needed.

All participants will be given the opportunity to tell their story in their preferred language. We are also looking for spokesmodels – those who can appear in promotional materials.

People of faith are particularly needed, and there is a special need for clergy and lay leaders. Please consider sharing your story, and inviting others to do so.

: - )) Mycroft

*******
Mycroft Masada Holmes
Chair, Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality
Chair, Training Committee, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
Emeritus Founding Chair, Transgender Working Group (TWiG), Keshet



Monday, October 25, 2010

My partner's in the newspaper "Street Sense"!

My partner Julia McCrossin volunteers as an adult literacy tutor at the Washington Literacy Council (Washington DC). Last week a photo of her and her student was included in the Street Sense newspaper's article "Adult Literacy: A Silent Crisis".

Street Sense is a Washington, D.C.-based 16-page biweekly street newspaper that was founded in 2003. Its mission is to offer economic opportunities for people experiencing homelessness in our community through a newspaper that elevates voices and encourages debate on poverty and injustice. (Similar to Boston, MA's "Spare Change".)

Here is the article on their website:
And it's copied and pasted below my signature.

Julia is in the first of the two photos.

: - ) Mycroft

*******
Mycroft Masada Holmes
Chair, Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality
Chair, Training Committee, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
Emeritus Founding Chair, Transgender Working Group (TWiG), Keshet

13 OCT

By Shadaye Hunnicutt, intern

In a small classroom a teacher prepares for class surrounded by covered walls with posters labeled with the parts of speech, vowel teams and vowel options. In the corner of the room sits a globe, next to it a spelling game. In the front of the classroom, the teacher writes “A, E, I, O, U.”

Suddenly, the room is filled with laughter and joking as the students pile in and take their seats. The youngest student is 25.

“It’s something we don’t like to talk about,” said Terry Algire, executive director of the Washington Literacy Council, whose mission is to increase adult literacy in the District. “If you talk about children who are struggling with reading, you have these wonderful pictures of adults reading with them. It makes you feel good. If you look at a class of adults who are having trouble with reading, it doesn’t have the same impact.”

One in seven adults in the United States have below basic reading and writing skills, according to the U.S. Department of Education.

“Illiteracy among adults is a quiet crisis…our nation needs to do better,” said Senator Thomas Harkin of Iowa in his award acceptance letter at the annual Pro-Literacy award ceremony.

In September, pro-literacy organizations gathered at the Rayburn house in D.C. for their annual literacy leadership award ceremony and formation of the first-ever house adult literacy caucus. Together several organizations are working to help provide adults with these basic skills and more.

“Literacy is essential,” said Algire. “If you cant read you have nowhere to go, the bar for literacy keeps going up and more and more people keep falling behind.”

Many adults are afraid to enter into adult literacy programs because they are ashamed and afraid to let their friends and families know they have a problem, said Benson.

“Shame is the major impediment…it makes it hard to identify adults who have below basic literacy skills,” said Barry Benson, vice president of ProLiteracy, the world’s largest non-profit advocacy organization offering literacy programs.

“Literacy is a lever, it raises all boats,” said Heidi Silver-Pacuilla, who will be taking over as president of National Coalition for Literacy at the end of the year.

Adult learners who enter into a literacy program learn to read and are equipped with the skills necessary to get by in a technology driven world, according to Benson.

“Students learn work related skills to be brought up to date on how to read and use a computer, as well as learning financial literacy” said Benson.

At WLC, students go through three stages of small group classes, Basic, Intermediate, and Advanced, each three semesters long.

In the Intermediate class, students learn lessons such as six syllable types, five rules for dividing syllables, vowel spelling variations, grammar, the basics of composition and vocabulary expansion.

Just like in a typical grade school class the students take turns spelling a word on the board.

“Let me do another one,” yells out one student. “I used to run from this.”

The students take a spelling test, and then end class with the game ‘Password,’ where one student picks a random word from a bag and has to say a word related to that word so their team mate can guess the original word.

“Classes are set up so that students can be successful, we take students from where they are and help them to move forward”, said Algire.

Currently, ProLiteracy is working with members of congress to pass policies that will raise awareness of the need for adult literacy programs.

“We want to help our members suffering budget cuts be as efficient as possible when accommodating learners coming in with fewer dollars,” said Benson.

These policies will ultimately lead to more government funding for adult literacy programs. The Adult Education budget for D.C. programs is 5 million dollars.

Children should arrive at school with basics of pre-literacy skills. If they’re in a home where no one is reading, their skills may be so far behind entering Kindergarten, that it can be almost impossible for them to catch up, according to Algire.

“There’s a continuum,” said Algire. “If we put all our subjects on one end of the continuum, we don’t make anything any better. We have to reach across the continuum, not just reach out to the child, but make sure in their family unit, and in their communities there are adults reading and literate as well.”

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Popular & American Culture Associations conference - Fat Studies area - call for papers

My partner Julia McCrossin co-chairs the Fat Studies area of the Popular & American Culture Associations with Lesleigh Owen. Here's their CFP (call for papers) for next year's conference (April 2011, Texas).

CFP: 2011 Fat Studies Area Popular Culture/American Culture Associations National Conference (San Antonio,TX)

PCA/ACA Fat Studies 2011 Call for Papers
Fat Studies is becoming an interdisciplinary, cross-disciplinary field of study that confronts and critiques cultural constraints against notions of “fatness” and “the fat body”; explores fat bodies as they live in, are shaped by, and remake the world; and creates paradigms for the development of fat acceptance or celebration within mass culture.

Fat Studies uses body size as the starting part for a wide-ranging theorization and explication of how societies and cultures, past and present, have conceptualized all bodies and the political/cultural meanings ascribed to every body. Fat Studies reminds us that all bodies are inscribed with the fears and hopes of the particular culture they reside in, and these emotions often are mislabeled as objective “facts” of health and biology. More importantly, perhaps, Fat Studies insists on the recognition that fat identity can be as fundamental and world-shaping as other identity constructs analyzed within the academy and represented in media.
Proposals in the area of Fat Studies are being accepted for the 2011 PCA /ACA (Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association) National Conference in San Antonio, TX (April 20-23, 2011, meeting with the Southwest/Texas regional at both the Marriott Rivercenter and Riverwalk Hotels). We welcome papers and performances from academics, researchers, intellectuals, activists, and artists, in any field of study, and at any stage in their career.
Topics may include but are not limited to:
  • representations of fat people in literature, film, music, nonfiction, and the visual arts
  • cross-cultural or global constructions of fatness and fat bodies
  • cultural, historical, inter/intrapersonal, or philosophical meanings of fat and fat bodies
  • the geography and lived experience of fatness and fat bodies
  • portrayals of fat individuals and groups in news, media, magazines
  • fatness as a social or political identity
  • fat acceptance, activism, and/or pride movements and tactics
  • approaches to fat and body image in philosophy, psychology, religion, sociology
  • fat children in literature, media, and/or pedagogy
  • fat as it intersects with race, ethnicity, class, religion, ability, gender, and/or sexuality
  • history and/or critique of diet books and scams
  • functions of fatphobia or fat oppression in economic and political systems
By December 15, 2010, please send an abstract of 100 - 250 words or a completed paper to Fat Studies Area Co-Chairs Julia McCrossin (jmccross@gwmail.gwu.edu) and Lesleigh Owen
(goddess_les@yahoo.com).

Please include your complete contact information and a CV and/or 50 word bio, along with anticipated A/V needs. All submissions are welcome, but please use the information above to ensure your paper fits within the academic and political scopes of Fat Studies. Please also be mindful that Fat Studies is a political project and not merely an umbrella term for all discussions of larger bodies. Also, we encourage submitters to rethink using words like “obesity” and “overweight” in their presentations unless they are used ironically, within quotes, or accompanied by a political analysis.
Presenters must become members of the Popular Culture Association. Find more information on the conference and organization at http://pcaaca.org/conference/national.php.

Monday, August 9, 2010

Call for anthology submissions -- working title "The Unbearable Fatness of Being: Enlarging Theories of Embodiment"

My partner, Julia McCrossin, is co-editing an anthology with her colleague Lesleigh Owen! The working title is "The Unbearable Fatness of Being: Enlarging Theories of Embodiment". They're calling for submissions, which are due Monday, November 1st. I am going to submit something faith-based, probably a sermon. The call is below my signature.
: - ) Mycroft
*******
Mycroft Masada Holmes
Chair, Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality
Member, Steering Committee, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
Emeritus Founding Chair, Transgender Working Group (TWiG), Keshet
-------
Call for Anthology Submissions

Tentative title: "The Unbearable Fatness of Being: Enlarging Theories of Embodiment"

Type: Edited anthology

Submission deadline: Monday, November 1st, 2010

Contacts and editors: Julia McCrossin, jmccross@gwmail.gwu.edu;
Lesleigh Owen, Ph.D., lesleigh.owen@gmail.com

This edited collection seeks to publish recent scholarship that pushes at the boundaries of the existent scholarship on embodiment, from a Fat Studies perspective.

As Fat Studies is an emerging field, there are copious amounts of terrain left to map out, and this collection will display the provocatively expansive ways that emergent Fat Studies scholars conceptualize the fat body and the cultural work the fat body does in various times, places, and societies. The purpose of this work includes pushing back at the “obesity epidemic” rhetorics in ways that are at once connected to affiliated work in fields like disability studies, queer studies, gender studies (to name a few), and yet uniquely their own.

In conclusion, this edited collection will offer crucial new pathways for the generative field of Fat Studies, as well as offer an exciting look at the developing scholars in this field. Perhaps one might say that Fat Studies seeks to integrate within cultural studies and the academy in general a critical body of work on fatness, layering our current understandings of the material body along with metaphoric and/or immaterial ways that fatness saturates our (post) modern world.

Topics may include but are not limited to:

· representations of fat people in literature, film, music, nonfiction, and the visual arts
· cross-cultural or global constructions of fat bodies
· cultural, historical, or philosophical meanings of fat and fat bodies
· portrayals of fat individuals and groups in news, media, magazines
· fatness as a social, political, personal, and/or performed identity
· phenomenology of fat movement and be-ing in a variety of physical (and physiological)
contexts
· fat as queering sex, beauty, gender, and other embodied performances
· negotiating fat within locations, space, and time
· representing weighted embodiments in such creative or abstract forms as, for example,
visual art, poetry, personal narratives, and literature
· fat acceptance, activism, and/or pride movements and tactics
· approaches to fat and body image in philosophy, psychology, religion, sociology
· fat children in literature, media, and/or pedagogy
· fat as it intersects with race, ethnicity, class, religion, ability, gender, nationality,
and/or sexuality
· functions of fatphobia or fat oppression in economic and political systems

Submissions are due Monday, November 1st, 2010. We welcome traditional and non-traditional
formats, including research articles, photographs, poetry, reports of performance art, and others. Articles and papers should range between 15 and 20 double-spaced pages. Please send submissions, along with a brief biographical sketch, directly to jmccross@gwmail.gwu.edu
and/or lesleigh.owen@gmail.com.

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

I’m searching for paid work (temp and perm)

I’m searching for paid work, both temporary and permanent. For temporary work, there are many things I can and will do. For permanent work, there are too, though I tend to think a full-time office job would be best. No gig is too small to be considered.

Below my signature is a version of my resume. I type 85+ words per minute. Please enquire about my publications, awards, and references. If you don’t see a skill, experience, etc., just ask – I may well have it.

Thank you,
Mycroft

-------

Dr. Indra Mohindra, OD (optometrist)
Computer tutor / autobiography editor / personal assistant
January 2007 – Present

Ocular Research of Boston (ORB) / Kolis Scientific / Korb & Associates
Ophthalmology research companies and optometry practice
Research Assistant, Front Desk Assistant
January 2005 – March 2008

SpeakOut
Working to create a world free of homo-bi-trans-phobia and other forms of prejudice by telling the truths of people’s lives. (The nation’s first GLBT speakers bureau.)
Administrative Director
October 2004 – May 2006

Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Youth (BAGLY)
A youth-led, adult-supported organization that creates, sustains and advocates for programs, policies and services for the GLBT youth community.
Office Manager / Development Assistant / Executive Assistant
May 2000 – November 2003

Arlington Street Church (Unitarian Universalist)
Gathered in love and service for justice and peace.
Assistant Church Administrator / Executive Assistant
September 1998 – May 2000

------------------

Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality (ICTE)
Clergy, lay leaders, and faith communities working primarily for the passage of the Massachusetts bill An Act Relative to Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes.
Co-Founder, Chair
June 2007 – Present

Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC)
Dedicated to ending discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression.
Member, Steering Committee; Chair, Training Committee
June 2010 - Present

Congregation Am Tikva (People of Hope)
Boston’s community of GLBT Jews and friends.
Board member
September 2001 - Present

Keshet (Rainbow)
Working for the full inclusion of gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Jews in Jewish life.
Emeritus Founding Chair, Transgender Working Group (TWiG)
June 2002 - 2009

Boston Alliance of Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Youth (BAGLY)
A youth-led, adult-supported organization that creates, sustains and advocates for programs, policies and services for the GLBT youth community.
Youth Steering Committee (including President), Youth Speakers Bureau, Board
December 1993 – July 1999

------------------

~ Temporary Work ~
  • Harvard University (through the Spherion agency) -- Temp, then Senior Temp, then Manager during Harvard’s project of producing, testing and distributing upgraded replacements of their 70,000+ ID cards; other assignments have included Dining Services, Mail Services, Continuing Education, Real Estate, and ushering at Memorial Hall / Sanders Theatre.
  • US Census (Non-Response Follow Up operation; enumerator)
  • MassPort (mystery/secret shopper)
  • Boston College (bookstore during “rush”; sales associate)
  • Abt Associates (Clinical Trials; data entry)
  • Tufts University (Office of the Boards of Overseers, Development Office - Stewardship Programs; administrative assistant)
  • New England Research Institutes (NERI; administrative assistant; this and the previous three through the Randstad agency)
  • Massachusetts Department of Public Health (consultant)
  • Justice Resource Institute -- Health (JRI Health; consultant)
  • Tobacco Education For GLBT Youth (TEGLY; then Boston Children’s Services, now merged with The Home For Little Wanderers; )
  • Mensch Cleaning (cleaner, personal assistant)
  • Fresh Pond Clay Works (general assistant, sales associate)
------------------

~ Education ~

Brookline and Newton Public Schools
1981 - 1994
Northeastern University (Criminal Justice)
1994 - 1996


Wednesday, July 21, 2010

I'm showing my art at the Jamaica Plain library again!

I'm showing my art at the Jamaica Plain library again!


Mycroft Masada Holmes art show at Jamaica Plain library!

August 5 · 6:00pm - 8:00pm*
Jamaica Plain public library
12 Sedgwick Street
Jamaica Plain, MA

Hello!

In July of 2008, I showed my artwork at the Jamaica Plain public library (a branch of the Boston Public Library). I did it through the Jamaica Plain Centre/South Main Streets organization’s First Thursdays program.

“Each first Thursday of the month, businesses along Centre and South Streets are transformed into galleries featuring works from local artists. Opening receptions at each location, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m., offer a chance to meet the artists, enjoy refreshments, and experience JP's fabulous businesses in an entirely new light. Artworks usually remain on display for the remainder of the month.”

It was a great experience, and I’m sorry that I was too busy last summer to do it again. I’ll have the display case. Another artist might have the wall space. I will be there the whole time, there will be refreshments, and the library will be open for business.

*Thursday August 5th is the opening reception -- my show will be there all of August.

My 2008 show (my blog post):

First Thursdays website:
First Thursdays blog:

JP public library website:

: - ) Mycroft

*******
Mycroft Masada Holmes
Co-Chair, Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality (ICTE)
Member, Steering Committee, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC)
Emeritus Founding Chair, Transgender Working Group (TWiG), Keshet
http://masadarts.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

MTPC Press Conference & Community Action Day -- my letter

MTPC Press Conference & Community Action Day -- my letter

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) held a Press Conference & Community Action Day today at the Massachusetts Statehouse, calling for action towards the passage of An Act Relative To Gender Based Discrimination & Hate Crimes (House Bill 1728 / Senate Bill 1687) before the end of the legislative session on July 31st.


Here is the letter I wrote. If you've written yours, thank you! If you haven't, please do so as soon as you can -- click here for help.

July 14, 2010

House Speaker Robert DeLeo Senate President Therese Murray
State House State House
Room 336 Room 330
Boston, MA 02133 Boston, MA 02133

Dear Speaker DeLeo and President Murray,

My name is Mycroft Holmes, and I am a transgender person who lives and works in greater Boston, where I was born and have always lived. I love Boston and the rest of Massachusetts; they’ve always been my home and I hope they always will be.

I’m an interfaith transgender leader, and have been for almost twenty years. I’m a Co-Chair of the Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality (ICTE), a member of the Steering Committee of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC), and the Emeritus Founding Chair of the Transgender Working Group (TWiG) of Keshet. I’m also a board member of Congregation Am Tikva, the GLBT (gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender) synagogue of Boston.

Keshet is the local and national non-profit organization that works for the inclusion of GLBT Jews in Jewish life; ICTE is the coalition that works for the inclusion of transgender people in faith communities and public life. Keshet and ICTE work together to increase faith-based support for the bill An Act Relative to Gender-Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes (House Bill 1728 / Senate Bill 1687). ICTE created and has submitted to you several updates of our Declaration Of Religious And Faith-Based Support For Massachusetts Legislation An Act Relative To Gender-Based Discrimination And Hate Crimes, signed by hundreds of Massachusetts communities and individuals.

I write to you today to urge you to take action on An Act Relative To Gender-Based Discrimination And Hate Crimes (House Bill 1728 / Senate Bill 1687) so that it can pass before the legislative session ends at the end of this month. This bill would finally give transgender people our civil rights. This is so vital, so long overdue, and we are so close. Please, take action as soon as possible.

Thirty-four years ago, I was born biologically female, transgender, and a person of faith, and I am so grateful for and proud of those things. I wouldn’t change them if I could. Like Adam the first Earthling, and all beings, I am made and remade btzelem Elohim, in the image of God. My identities are gifts and blessings, meant to be shared with the world and used to practice tikkun olam, world healing.

Ever since I was a small child, I wanted to work in criminal justice. After public school in Brookline and Newton, I attended Northeastern University as a Criminal Justice major and the first openly transgender student. The university was supportive, but classes, campus life and housing were very challenging. After my sophomore year, I tried to participate in the cooperative education program -- students are placed in jobs in their majors during their next three years of classes, and hopefully find employment in their field for after graduation. The co-op department was supportive, but the employers wouldn’t even communicate with me, never mind interview me. Because I was transgender, I was the only one of the 200 criminal justice students who wasn’t placed in a job. Without the experience and financial support of co-op, I had to leave Northeastern.

It was devastating to learn that I couldn’t pursue my dream because I was transgender, and that I had no legal recourse. Yet the experience also made me realize that my calling was to be a transgender leader. The day my co-op advisor called to tell me I couldn’t be placed, and the details of the discrimination, I finally truly understood what it meant to be a member of a group of citizens that don’t have civil rights. And I knew that helping to make my cities, state, country and world a better place for everyone to experience and express their gender was my calling, my life’s work.

I have been discriminated against because of my gender identity and expression many times, especially in employment. So have my loved ones, and all of the many other transgender people I know and know of. Every time we leave our homes—sometimes even within them—we must fear for ourselves and for each other. None of this should be, and it can be changed -- this bill will help to change it.

Thank you for your time. I hope that I and the rest of MTPC’s Community Action Day and press conference at the Statehouse today have furthered your understanding of transgender people and the urgency of taking action on An Act Relative To Gender-Based Discrimination And Hate Crimes (House Bill 1728 / Senate Bill 1687).

Thank you,

Mycroft Holmes
{my home address}

CC: Senator Sonia Chang-Díaz Representative Elizabeth A. Malia
State House State House
Room 413-C Room 33
Boston, MA 02133 Boston, MA 02133

*******
Mycroft Masada Holmes
Co-Chair, Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality (ICTE)
Member, Steering Committee, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC)
Emeritus Founding Chair, Transgender Working Group (TWiG), Keshet

MTPC Press Conference & Community Action Day

MTPC Press Conference & Community Action Day

Orly Jacobovits, Senior Organizer & Community Educator, Keshet; Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge and Mycroft Masada Holmes, Co-Chairs, ICTE; Joanna Ware, Community Organizer & Jewish Organizing Initiative Fellow, Keshet; Avi Schechter, Intern, Keshet; Aliza Krevolin.

The rest of the ICTE & Keshet group -- including Idit Klein, Executive Director of Keshet -- needed to leave before this was taken. Photo by M. Barusch.

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) held a Press Conference & Community Action Day today at the Massachusetts Statehouse, calling for action towards the passage of An Act Relative To Gender Based Discrimination & Hate Crimes (House Bill 1728 / Senate Bill 1687) before the end of the legislative session on July 31st.

A standing room only crowd of 100 supporters attended, plus supportive legislators (State Representative Carl Sciortino, State Representative Byron Rushing, State Representative Denise Provost, and several aides from several other State Representatives' and Senators' offices) and press.

The speakers were Gunner Scott, Executive Director of MTPC; Christina Knowles, State Director and Lobbyist, Massachusetts Chapter of the National Organization for Women (Mass. NOW), Jennifer Springer, Vice President, MA chapter of the American Federation of Labor and Congress of Industrial Organizations (MA AFL-CIO); Rebekah Gewirtz, National Association of Social Workers, MA Chapter; DeeDee Edmondson, Political Director, MassEquality.

I was very proud to stand behind the speakers with Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge and Idit Klein; we represented ICTE (as Co-Chairs) and she Keshet (as Executive Director).

After the press conference, the community, led by Gunner and his staff, took action by visiting the offices of the Senate President and the Speaker of the House. We delivered constituents' letters urging action on the bill. Click here to read my letter.


Thanks to everyone who attended and supported. If you haven't yet taken supportive action -- primarily writing a letter -- please do so as soon as you can! Click here for help.

: - ) Mycroft

*******
Mycroft Masada Holmes
Co-Chair, Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality
Member, Steering Committee, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition
Emeritus Founding Chair, Transgender Working Group (TWiG), Keshet

Monday, July 12, 2010

MTPC Press Conference & Community Action Day -- THIS Wednesday


Dear ICTE Supporters –

Good afternoon!

MTPC is having a Press Conference & Community Action Day THIS Wednesday, July 14th at 11:00 a.m. at the Massachusetts State House, Room A2.

You should have received a Facebook invite:
http://www.facebook.com/event.php?eid=135922613096027&ref=ts

Please attend, invite others, and otherwise publicize; and please write and gather letters. We particularly encourage clergy and lay leaders to attend, and to do so vested.

MTPC's announcement and press release are below our signatures.

Thank you for partnering with us to show how much people of faith support transgender equality!

Best wishes,
Mycroft Masada Holmes
Rev. Dr. Cameron Partridge
Co-Chairs, Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality (ICTE)

http://www.InterfaithCoalition.org/
http://www.interfaithcoalition.blogspot.com/
-------

MTPC Press Conference & Community Action Day
THIS Wednesday, July 14th, 2010 at 11:00 a.m.
Massachusetts State House -- Room A2

THE TIME IS NOW TO ACT FOR TRANSGENDER CIVIL RIGHTS

MTPC and the Transgender Civil Rights Coalition will be holding a press conference and Community Action Day at the Massachusetts State House on Wednesday, July 14th, 2010 at 11 am in Room A2. All transgender people and our allies are encouraged to attend.

MTPC and members of the Transgender Civil Rights Coalition will be urging legislators to pass House Bill 1728 / Senate Bill 1687 “An Act Relative to Gender Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes” before the clock runs out on formal session which ends at midnight on July 31st.

We urge you to attend the conference and join us in our mission to secure civil rights for all of Massachusetts’ citizens. Stand in solidarity with those who are continuously harmed by the legislature’s resistance to grant all its citizens legal protections necessary to ending discrimination and violence. This is the opportunity to show your support!

How to Act!
Tell the leadership about your dissatisfaction with the lack of movement on this bill.

The leadership must hear from you, it has been one year since the hearing before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary. We need you to write a letter to the Senate President and Speaker of the House, insisting that they move forward on voting on this bill. Sample letters are provided. We will be hand delivering these letters to House Speaker DeLeo and Senate President Murray after the press conference. Please email us or mail us your letter as soon as possible so we can print them out. Lets flood their offices with letters calling on them to pass this bill.

Use a template letter: http://www.masstpc.org/legislation/actionday.shtml
Send your letter to info@masstpc.org
Visit http://www.masstpc.org for more info
-------

PRESS RELEASE
LGBT and Women's Advocates Call for Passage Transgender Civil Rights Bill this Session

The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) and partners of the Transgender Civil Rights Coalition will be holding a press conference at the Massachusetts State House on Wednesday, July 14th, 2010 at 11 am in Room A2.

MTPC and members of the Transgender Civil Rights Coalition will be urging legislators to pass H 1728/S 1687 “An Act Relative to Gender Based Discrimination and Hate Crimes,” before the end of formal session, which ends at midnight on July 31st. This press conference also marks the one-year anniversary since over 65 transgender adults, youth, families, allies, women’s groups, civil rights advocates, and LGBT advocates testified before the Joint Committee on the Judiciary
and over 100 pieces of written testimony were presented to the committee, in support of the bill.

H 1728/S 1687 will add Massachusetts to 13 other states, Washington D.C., and 125 counties and cities, including Boston, Cambridge, Northampton, and Amherst, that protect on the basis of gender identity and expression. This bill will make the protection of transgender people explicit, uniform, and visible to the general public. It will include gender identity and expression in the state’s non-discrimination statute and will amend existing hate crime laws to explicitly protect people targeted for violence and harassment.

“Transgender people continue to experience overwhelming amounts of harassment and discrimination, particularly in the workplace” said Gunner Scott, Executive Director of MTPC “In fact the 2009 National Transgender Discrimination Survey conducted by the National Center for Transgender Equality and the National Gay and Lesbian task Force found that 97% of transgender people surveyed had experienced some form of harassment or mistreatment on the job due to their gender identity or expression. This is why we must pass this bill now. Not tomorrow or next session. Transgender people just can’t wait any longer for fairness in the workplace”.

In the same survey, 47% experienced an adverse job outcome, such as being fired, not hired, or denied a promotion. Additionally, transgender people experience double the rate of unemployment regardless of the economic climate, double the rate of poverty, with 15% of transgender people living on $10,000 or less a year. Transgender people face discrimination in housing situations as well. Of those surveyed, 19% were either currently homeless or had been in the past, 11% faced eviction, and 26% were forced to seek an alternative temporary space.

Polling shows that the voting constituents of Massachusetts support this bill. In statewide polling conducted by Lake Research Partners, more than four in ten voters have a very positive reaction (44% very, 76% positive overall) to legal protections in employment, housing, or other public accommodations for individuals who are transgender, with 73% wanting their legislators to vote in favor of the law. This bill garners support across the board, with 81% of women polled supporting the bill, 70% of men, 90% of Democrats, 74% of Independents, and 53% of Republicans. Another survey, conducted by Harris Interactive, showed that seven out of ten (71%) heterosexual adults agree that how an employee performs at their job should be the standard for judging an employee, not whether or not they are transgender.

“This is not a partisan issue, nor a political issue, but a basic human rights issue. Fear and hate have no place in determining public policy. Passing this bill is a chance for legislators to take a stand against discrimination. It is time for Massachusetts to join the growing number of places that protect the basic civil rights we all deserve,” said Gunner Scott. Other cities and counties, such as Missoula City, Montana, have recently passed similar legislation.

Some of the speakers at the July 14th press conference will include: Gunner Scott, Executive Director of MTPC, Christina Knowles of Mass. NOW, Rebekah Gewirtz of the National Association of Social Workers Massachusetts, and Arline Isaacson of the Massachusetts Gay and
Lesbian Political Caucus.

###

About The Transgender Civil Coalition: The coalition is made of over 80 LGBT, civil rights, women’s groups, labor unions, faith, and student groups partnered with MTPC including Mass Lesbian and Gay Bar Association, Massachusetts Chapter of National Organization for Women,
Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, Massachusetts Chapter National Association of Social Workers, Gay and Lesbian Advocates and Defenders (GLAD), MassEquality, and the Massachusetts Chapter of the ACLU.

About MTPC: The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) is dedicated to ending discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression. MTPC works for a world where persons of all genders are treated with respect and fully participate in all areas of
society, free from fear of prohibition, harassment or violence based on their gender identity and/or expression. Its members educate the public, advocate with state, local, and federal government, engage in political activism, and encourage empowerment of community members
through collective action.

Monday, June 14, 2010

Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition -- Steering Committee elections

Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC) Steering Committee elections are tonight. The voting membership of MTPC -- those members who have been reasonably active with MTPC over the past several months -- will elect a new Steering Committee at the general membership meeting.

I'm running for one of the at-large positions, and plan to focus on training and faith (religion, spirituality, etc.) work; teaching people about transgender people, helping faith communities become more welcoming and inclusive of transpeople, and creating more allies for our work towards social justice.

Here is my candidate statement:

"I'm a transgender leader specializing in faith, religion and spirituality. I'm a Co-Chair of the Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality (ICTE), Acting Chair of Training here at MTPC, Emeritus Founding Chair of the Transgender Working Group (TWiG) of Keshet (Hebrew for "Rainbow," the local and national GLBT Jewish organization), a board member of Congregation Am Tikva ("People of Hope", Boston's GLBT synagogue), and a member of Saint Luke's & Saint Margaret's Episcopal Church (alas, closed last month).

I was born in greater Boston and have always lived here. I came out as a lesbian when I was a freshman in high school and have had a queer career in all senses ever since; I came out as transgender when I was a senior.

I'm thirty-three, and identify as female, queer, transgender, genderqueer, a Fat Admirer and fat ally, and other things. I live in Jamaica Plain, and have a wonderful partner who lives in Washington, DC. I'm a writer, an artist, and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

I'm proud to say I've been involved with MTPC since its founding, and have known and worked with some of its leaders since before that. MTPC is a truly vital and wonderful organization, and I want to help it continue to grow and improve. I've considered running for Steering Committee before, but didn't have the time. Now, I think it is time. I know I can use my experience, skills and connections to serve the organization and our community well.

Thank you for your consideration. Whatever the results of these elections, I look forward to serving MTPC this next year and beyond."

Happy Pride,
Mycroft

*******
Mycroft Masada Holmes
Co-Chair, Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality (ICTE)
Acting Chair, Training Working Group, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC)
Emeritus Founding Chair, Transgender Working Group (TWiG), Keshet

Friday, April 23, 2010

DC Queer Studies Symposium

Today is the 3rd annual DC Queer Studies Symposium (DC as in District of Columbia, the American capital city Washington). It's a one-day conference, being held at the University of Maryland, College Park campus. And it's free and open to the public. It's presented by DC Queer Studies.

My partner, Julia McCrossin, is presenting her paper "Supersize Fetish" during one of the Concurrent Graduate Symposium Sessions:

Perverted Flesh: Articulating Desire at the Margins

Moderator: Robert McRuer, George Washington University, English

Disability, Intimacy, and Cripple Performance: Re-Imagining the Nineteenth-Century Female Homosocial Bond
Rachel Vorona, George Washington University, English

Capture the Pedophile, Capture the Child: The Aesthetics and Politics of the Child in Nude Photography
Perry Guevara, Emory University, English

Supersize Fetish
Julia McCrossin, George Washington University, English


Mazel tov to her and all!

Shabbat shalom,
Mycroft

*******
Mycroft Masada Holmes
Co-Chair, Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality (ICTE)
Acting Chair, Training Working Group, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC)
Emeritus Founding Chair, Transgender Working Group (TWiG), Keshet

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Washington Post (newspaper) and fat-negativity

On Saturday, February 13th, Kevin Smith was removed from a Southwest Airlines flight because they decided he was too fat. And he's handled it pretty awesomely. The Washington Post, not so much -- as often with fatness. On Wednesday, February 24th, the Post headlined one of their articles "First class, coach, and wide load."

My partner, Julia McCrossin (a native and lifelong resident of the Washington area and lifelong Post reader), wrote and emailed a letter, "Offensive Headline in 2.24.10 Edition", to the Post's Ombudsman:

Dear Andrew Alexander,

I was quite disheartened to read this headline on A12 today : "First class, coach, and wide load." Do the editors and headline writers at your paper think this sort of juvenile and hurtful comment about fat people is appropriate for a paper with the reputation of The Washington Post? Do fat people not deserve even a modicum of decency at your paper, and are they prime candidates for any jibe or josh that your employees get a chuckle at?

I'm used to the ways in which your paper treats fat people, which is either erasure or pity,
disgust, derision, or as a scapegoat for a plethora of societal ills, and rarely write in to voice my displeasure. If I did write a letter to your newspaper for all the instances where you treated fat people in a biased manner, I could make a full-time job of it. Sometime in the decade that just passed, I even inquired of a previous ombudsman as to whether your paper's style guidelines offered anything about how to write about fat people, and the headline you printed today shows your paper still isn't wise enough to treat fat people with even the most basic dignity and humanity that we all deserve. Needless to say, I never received a response from that ombudsman, so I imagine your workplace could use a lot of sensitivity training on how to treat and write about fat people. I know a great weight diversity trainer, by the way, and would be happy to put your organization in touch with her.

In addition, I've written your paper, and various reporters and columnists, in the past (not that often, because I have a vibrant life and I'm used to your neglect of my legitimate complaints), and while I don't expect to get validation or notice from your paper, the continuing lack of attention to the fat positive community is appalling. Your rival, The New York Times, does not shy away from reporting on various aspects of the fat positive community, but there has been a silence at your paper that would encourage even the least conspiracy-minded person to wonder what investments your corporation has in not reporting on any information that objects to the 'obesity is bad' moral panic that has consumed our society.

Before you dismiss me as some self-deluded nut, you should know that I am a recognized,
published scholar in the field of Fat Studies, and am working on my dissertation on "Fat
Semiotics and Contemporary American Cultures." I've presented my work at many different
academic conferences, and have been interviewed by reporters about the field of fat studies, the fat positive community, and my research. I can put your writers in touch with lots of smart, accomplished, and credentialed academics who can elucidate them on the other side of the 'obesity epidmeic' rhetoric, and I can also put them in touch with some of the most insightful fat positive activists on the globe. Better yet, why doesn't the Washington Post send a reporter to the upcoming Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association National Conference, where they can attend 11 different panels in the field of Fat Studies, so they can get a taste of the diverse and compelling research being done in my field. The conference runs from March 31-April 3 in St Louis, Missouri.

At the very least, I hope you will issue a public correction and apology for your offensive slur in today's paper. There is nothing that can justify the bad taste and cruelty of that headline, and I'm sorely disappointed that the Washington Post, a paper I have been reading faithfully since I was 8 years old back in 1979, would resort to such childish digs at a significant portion of the readership of your paper.

Best,

{home address in Washington
cell phone number}

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

My testimony re: Massachusetts' height & weight anti-discrimination bill


January 27, 2010

Representative Cheryl Coakley-Rivera
House Chair, Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development
State House -- Room 39
Boston, MA 02133

Senator Thomas McGee
Senate Chair, Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development
State House -- Room 112
Boston, MA 02133

Dear Representative Coakley-Rivera and Senator McGee --

My name is Mycroft Holmes, and I live and work in greater Boston, where I was born and have always lived. I love Massachusetts; it’s always been my home and I hope it always will be.

I’m an interfaith leader, and have been for almost twenty years. I’m a Co-Chair of the Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality (ICTE), the Acting Chair of the Training Working Group of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC), and the Emeritus Founding Chair of the Transgender Working Group (TWiG) of Keshet. I’m also a member of Congregation Am Tikva and Saint Luke’s and Saint Margaret’s Episcopal Church.

I am writing to you in support of An Act Making Discrimination On The Basis Of Weight And Height Unlawful -- House Bill 1850. This bill would amend current state laws prohibiting discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or ancestry -- by adding height and weight to the list of unlawful forms of discrimination.

My faiths teach that like Adam the first Earthling, all people are made btzelem Elohim, “in the image of God” – and this includes people of all heights and weights. All people, of all sizes and shapes, are created equal, and should be equally protected by the law.

In my own life and in my leadership roles, I have experienced, witnessed and researched a great deal of discrimination, especially in employment. Much of it has been based on physical appearance and information, particularly height and weight. This discrimination is wrong, terribly damaging to everyone involved, and occurs many times every day in every part of our state. It must be ended as soon as possible, and HB 1850 will help end it. The bill is also an important educational tool – its implementation process will help dispel the ignorance and misinformation about height and weight.

I won’t go into detail here, as you will be hearing expert testimony about these issues from several of my colleagues – they will provide ample evidence of the significant and urgent need for this legislative remedy. I will also be attending and testifying at today’s public hearing.

I will share just one story that illustrates why I support the passage of HB 1850 into law. My partner and I are both 5’6” tall. I’ve always been thin, she has always been fat; I weigh 130 pounds, she 300. Despite many years of discrimination and other mistreatment, much of it based on her weight, she remains happy and healthy – mentally and physically – and a good and productive citizen. She is a graduate teaching assistant in English and a published academic who is very active in her field. Soon, she will complete her dissertation, receive her PhD, and apply to teach at other universities. She volunteers for and otherwise supports several organizations, including a literacy center, is a member of two faith communities, and petsits for dogs and cats. She has been a tremendous blessing to her family, friends, colleagues, teachers, students, and all those who have been fortunate enough to know her, or indeed know of her.

She is a native and lifelong resident of Maryland; she now lives and works in Washington, DC, where height and weight are protected classes in the Human Rights Laws. She visits me here in Massachusetts every other month, and hopes to move here within the next few years. I want her to have full civil rights whenever she’s here. I want her to be able to continue to live, work and play as well if not better than she has done, contributing as much to my home state as to her own. I want this for all residents and visitors of Massachusetts. I don’t want anyone to experience discrimination – but if they do, I want them to be able to take appropriate action.

Thank you for your time. I hope that my testimony furthers your understanding of how much this bill is needed and how long overdue it is. It’s a vital next step towards a more socially just Massachusetts, and another way we can be a role model for the rest of the country. I urge you to do everything you can to pass An Act Making Discrimination On The Basis Of Weight And Height Unlawful (HB 1850) this legislative session.

Sincerely,

Mycroft Holmes
{home address}
{business email address}


Saturday, January 23, 2010

Massachusetts height & weight anti-discrimination bill

Happy 2010!!

Do you, like me, want to end discrimination based on height and weight?

Here in Massachusetts, a height and weight anti-discrimination bill is being reintroduced in the legislature! An Act Making Discrimination On The Basis Of Weight And Height Unlawful -- House Bill 1850. This bill would amend current state laws prohibiting discrimination in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, or ancestry -- by adding height and weight to the list of unlawful forms of discrimination.

The bill is having a public hearing before the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development THIS COMING Wednesday, January 27th:

Wednesday, January 27th, 2010
10:30 a.m.
Hearing Room A-2
Massachusetts State House
Beacon Street ~ Boston
(MBTA - Park Street / Downtown Crossing)

This civil rights bill is being reintroduced by Representative Byron Rushing -- one of the
primary sponsors of An Act Relative To Gender-Based Discrimination And Hate Crimes (HB 1728 / SB 1687), which would add “gender identity or expression” to our laws and finally give
civil rights to transgender and all citizens. Rushing is a longtime and wonderful social justice leader.

How you can help:

1) Attend the hearing

2) Testify at the hearing

3) Whether or not you attend or testify, submit your supportive testimony as a letter to:

a) Representative Cheryl Coakley-Rivera
House Chair, Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development
State House -- Room 39
Boston, MA 02133

b) Senator Thomas McGee
Senate Chair, Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development
State House -- Room 112
Boston, MA 02133

c) Rep. Rushing's Legislative Aide, Tracy Choi: Tracy.Choi@state.ma.us – she is also the contact for more information, by email or phone – 617.722.2006

4) If you are a constituent of a committee member, call or email them -- tell them you support this bill and ask them to support it: http://www.mass.gov/legis/comm/j43.htm

5) If you are a constituent of a sponsor of the bill, call or email them – thank them for sponsoring the bill: http://www.mass.gov/legis/bills/house/186/ht01pdf/ht01850.pdf

6) Ask others to do all of the above – feel free to use this message

for their help!

Shabbat shalom,
Mycroft

Mycroft Masada Holmes
Acting Chair, Training Working Group, Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition (MTPC)
Emeritus Founding Chair, Transgender Working Group (TWiG), Keshet
http://www.facebook.com/Mycroft.Masada