Mycroft Masada is a queer trans faith leader who moved to the Washington DC area of Maryland’s Montgomery County from their lifelong home of Boston in 2014. Mycroft co-chairs the MoCo Pride Center, is a TransFaith National Council member, a TransEpiscopal Steering Committee member and former Congregation Am Tikva board member. Mycroft is particularly called to pursue justice at the intersections of LGBTQI+ and fat communities, and is an advocate, organizer, consultant, educator, trainer, writer and artist. They are partnered with Julia McCrossin, the massculine fatshion blogger, and with her co-parents a dogter. Their central online home is MasadArts.blogspot.com.

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Sunday, December 6, 2015

Happy Hanukkah 5776 / 2015

Happy Hanukkah 5776 / 2015 from the Westminster Flabby family!

This is one of our several menorahs, which I got at April Cornell's outlet shop in Boston's Quincy Market several years ago. And my mother-in-sin’s new Xmas tree from QVC; and the sign we got for our dogter Ursula from our Goodwill of Greater Washington that says “Who needs Santa Claus -- I’ve got Grandma” (and believe me, truer words--!).

Ursula also has a handmade menorah in the form of a felt wall hanging that uses dog treats as candles, by and from her Zia J, aka The Abundant Artisan.

Much more about our Chrismahanukwansolsticetc. adventures on my Facebook.

#‎HanukkAdvent‬ ‪#‎Adventukkah‬ ‪#‎Jewscopalian‬

Thursday, November 26, 2015

Thanksgiving / National Day Of Mourning (#NDOM #NAHM)


Harlan Pruden:  "LGBT history usually only looks to the summer of 1969 as its beginning ... when in reality we, two-spirit people, had important parts of our communities for thousands of years."

I was privileged to attend one of Harlan's workshops at the 2012 Philadelphia Trans-Health Conference. One priceless moment was his comment on how in some Native cultures, the male warriors would dance for Two Spirit people like himself before battle. Striking a pose, he pointed out that although the US has been in many wars during his lifetime, he is still waiting for his dance.‪

Thanksgiving is also the National Day of Mourning (‪#‎NDOM), and November is Native American History Month (#NAHM)‬.

As we give thanks today, and every day, may we be mindful of the infinite gifts the First Nations have given and continue to give this nation -- and how much we have taken and continue to take from Native people. Even many of us in the social justice community have been remiss in this, even as we focus on particularly intersectional aspects like racial, climate and sex / gender / sexuality justice.

Today I am especially thankful that, despite my many failings as a partner in social justice, Indigenous communities have given me much. From my namesake Aunt June, a fellow Anglo who lived and worked on the Navajo reservation in Arizona for many years (and still lives in Nevada); to the United American Indians of New England (Massachusetts is my home state); to the Two Spirit community of TransFaith, and beyond.

Todah rabah, many thanks.

This is Transfaith’s main piece about remembering ‪#‎TwoSpirit‬ traditions this season, which links to our Indigenous website section and highlights a few pieces therein.  I'm a Community Engagement Adviser at TF.

I listened to Native America Calling’s February show about Transgender Native Americans in March, after hearing about it from Transfaith (where I’m a Community Engagement Adviser), and learned a lot. ‪

“Before assimilation, two-spirit people, including those who identify as transgender, played very important roles in tribal communities. Transgender people now face discrimination. According to a study by the National Center for Transgender Equality, over half of transgender people have attempted suicide.
In today’s show, we talk about the struggle to regain that historical acceptance and celebrate our Native people who call themselves transgender. We will also look at the roles of transgender people in their communities today. Guests: Ty Defoe (Oneida and Ojibw) – artist, social activist, musician and writer; tradition keeper Sydney Freeland (Navajo) – Director and writer of Drunktown's Finest; Robyn Silverfox (Navajo) – pre-med student. Break Music: Too Much To Feel (song), Klee Benally (artist), Respect Existence Or Expect Resistance (album).”

Kol hakavod and yasher koach to to those in body and spirit at National Day of Mourning 2015 (in Plymouth MA). I’m ashamed to say I’ve never been there in person, though I lived in Boston from birth until January 2014; I hope to remedy that one day. May they have a meaningful fast and feast, in whatever forms that takes for each.

Saturday, November 21, 2015

Congregation Beit Tikvah's LGBTQ film festival

The flyer for tonight’s event, which also lives at
Scribd. 

Tonight was part one of a planned three-part LGBTQ  film festival by and at Congregation Beit Tikvah, and I was one the of the panelists.  The fest is free, including  refreshments, and is co-sponsored by Interfaith 
Fairness Coalition of Maryland, JQ Baltimore and The Faith Communities of Baltimore with PRIDE.  The 
other two nights are scheduled for December and 
February.

Nu, why is this night different from all other nights?  It isthe most trans-themed, with the films being the 
documentaries “Becoming Ayden” and “Devout”, and my fellow panelists being Tyler Vile, Beth Feigin 
Bugnaski, and Rabbi Gila Colman Ruskin; we were 
moderated by CBT’s Rabbi Larry Pinsker.

This was my first visit to and connection with CBT.  I  know their member William Palmer through his work asVice President of IFCMD, Rabbi Ruskin since meeting her at JQ Baltimore’s Pesach (Passover) seder last March, and I knew of Tyler; Beth and Gila are parents of queer young adults.  I had heard about both films but hadn’t seen either until after I accepted the invitation to be on the panel -- “Becoming Ayden” is not 
available for free, but I researched it otherwise; “Devout” I watched for free on YouTube today.

“Becoming Ayden” is actually very problematic – primary subject Ayden Scheim and his friends make the 
best of the bad situation (which unfortunately can’t be said of all of the subjects, including some of the other  trans ones), but the film is probably most useful as an example of how not to make films about trans people.  While it wasn’t a good choice for the festival, at least not without a lot of framing, it did trigger a discussion 
that badly needed to be had, especially about where Beit Tivkah is and is going, in terms of trans issues and a number of other things.  Interestingly, this is similar to what happened when the film was originally aired – 
as explained here by Ayden’s friend and fellow film subject Evan Smith, and tonight by Rabbi Pinsker, who moved here from Canada recently.  Too, things have improved greatly for Ayden over the decade since the 
film’s release.

“Devout” is a much better film in many ways, and needs much less introduction, but it does have some of the typical faults of films and other works that are primarily about ‘homosexuality’ but include a trans story; too, 
the film gives little if any sense that bisexuality, queerness, etc. exist.  But for the most part it does what it 
says on its tin:  “Devout is a 37-minute documentary film that follows the lives of seven women in New York and New Jersey who are trying to reconcile their alternative sexuality with their commitment to Orthodox      Judaism. Their faith has always condemned homosexuality in the harshest terms. Find out how Chani, Pam,  Elissa, Hayley, Lina and "Miriam" have dealt with being "unacceptable" while still remaining devoted to their  strict faith and community.”

Tonight was definitely a long, strange schlep in at least a few ways, but I think it turned out to be worthwhile  for all involved in different ways; and I hope that CBT will continue the conversation and move forward.

Saturday, November 14, 2015

MoCo MD TDOR 2015 - Address by Marcia Simpson

Montgomery County MD Transgender Day Of Remembrance 2015 (#MCMDTDOR)
Address by Marcia Simpson

I would like to begin with a little history on tonight's event.

Transgender day of remembrance was started by Gwendolyn Ann Smith to honor the memory of Rita Hester, an African American transgender woman who was murdered in Allston, MA on November 28th 1998. Gwendolyn Smith was struck by the similarities between Rita Hesters murder, and the murder of another African American transgender woman, Chanelle Pickett, three years earlier, on November 19th 1995, in MA. and how no one she spoke with seemed to even remember Chanelle Pickett. The first vigil commemorated all the transgender people that were lost to violence that year, and began the important tradition that we continue here this evening, the annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

I need to also mention at this time, the fact that Chanelle Pickett had a twin sister, Gabrielle Pickett, also a Trans Woman of Color, who was also killed, in 2003.

Here we are in 2015, and despite increased transgender visibility in the national media, 22 trans women have been murdered this year in the United States.

Of those 22, 19 were trans women of color.

And in 2014 all but one of the trans women murdered, identified as black or Latina.

2015 had the highest homicide rate of transgender and gender non-conforming people in the US ever recorded by the National Coalition of Anti-Violence Program.

And just 10 days ago, in Houston Texas, misinformation and transphobia were used to overturn non-discrimination laws there. Leaving LGBT citizens of the nations 4th largest city subject to legalized discrimination.

Our community is in crisis, and under siege.

Right here in Montgomery County, a young woman, Zella Ziona, a 21 year old trans woman of color, much loved by her family, friends, and this community, was taken from us. Killed in broad daylight, (10 miles from where I stand) for simply daring to exist. Her life stolen by hatred and ignorance. We honor Zella’s memory tonight, and the memory of all those lost to violence.  Violence towards trans people, particularly trans women of color, is a problem that must be confronted, now, by the LGBT community and its allies, politicians, religious leaders, and the American people.

We must hold leaders and politicians accountable for inaction on comprehensive national nondiscrimination legislation. we cannot afford to wait until it is comfortable, or politically advantageous to expand non-discrimination legislation to cover all Americans, it is the right thing to do, and we need it today. People are dying out here...

We, the people, have some serious questions that need to be answered. Who are we, and what values DO we hold dear? What kind legacy shall we leave behind for future generations? Do we as a nation intend to uphold the the idea, that all are people created equal, deserving of equal justice and civil rights? Or will we continue to treat some as more deserving of justice than others?

We are in a time of revolutionary change, a time when we must demand that those who stand for justice, refuse to remain silent, and stand with us. To demand change, a revolutionary change in the recognition of basic human rights, for everyone, everywhere, that must be led and understood by the those with the foresight to realize that Injustice anywhere, is a threat to justice everywhere. As articulated in the words of the Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. We exist, and we refuse to be treated as second class citizens, by those who refuse to acknowledge the reality of our existence.

Being ourselves is not a lifestyle choice, anymore than the color of our eyes or the color of our skin are a lifestyle choice.

We cannot be silent, as many of us are forced to live in a constant state of fear. Fear of rejection, harassment, discrimination, violence, and the fear of death. Simply for having the audacity to be ourselves.

We must replace that fear with hope, counter ignorance with education, and counter hate with love and respect for one another. And when we see injustice, we must not remain silent, we must stand, united, to defeat it, wherever it may arise.

We need to put and end to a cycle of poverty and marginalization brought on by discrimination.  We need to improve educational environments for transgender students, by promoting equality, and diversity. School should be a sanctuary for students, to nurture their abilities and to foster a lifelong joy of learning.

We need to address unemployment, by calling on the federal government to pass comprehensive non-discrimination protections in employment that include both sexual orientation, and gender identity.

We must educate law enforcement through training, and foster interaction and cooperation with law enforcement, within our communities. We must urge states attorneys to fully and swiftly investigate all open homicide cases against transgender and gender non-conforming people.  We must expand our circle of friends and allies, to all those willing to listen.

Get to know someone different than you, outside of your social circle, talk to talk to them. An amazing thing happens when people take the time to get know each other, we often find that the things that separate us fall away. that we all have the same wants, needs, hopes and dreams, and that our differences are minuscule compared to our common humanity. we all want a safe place to live, a way to make an honest living, someone to love, and someone to love us back. In short: life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness.

Tonight, we stand united, to speak in honor of those who's voices were stolen from us. And we must continue to stand united as we go out into the world, we must every one of us, make a commitment to take action, to put and end to this devastating violence.

Thank you.

Montgomery County Maryland Transgender Day Of Remembrance 2015

The 5th annual (2015) Montgomery County MD Trans Day of Remembrance event was tonight, Saturday November 14th, at Rockville United Church, from seven to nine.  The event was free and open to the public, and included a service, an outdoor candlelight vigil with a reading of the names and cairn building, and a dinner reception.  Everything was optional, and there were spaces for attendees to be alone or connect with listener-companions.  If you attended, please fill out the event committee’s feedback survey at https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/JXT8LK7.

More than 100 people attended, and we were incredibly privileged to host several of Zella Ziona’s family members, including one of her maternal aunts who spoke during the service -- Zella is a trans woman of color who was murdered in Gaithersburg in October (my partner’s hometown, where we live with our family); may her memory be a blessing (as we say in Judaism).

We also welcomed MD state Senator Jamie Raskin and his wife Sarah Bloom Raskin, Montgomery County Police Chief Tom Manger as well as officers from Takoma Park and elsewhere, and possibly other community leaders.  There was also at least one member of the media, a reporter from the Montgomery County Sentinel who took photos and did interviews, but we haven't found their work yet.

My partner Julia McCrossin and I were on the event committee for the second year in a row (she’s a native, I’m a Boston native who moved here last January).  Begun because of murders in my native Boston in 1998, #TDOR is an international observance, centered around November 20th, that honors the many trans people lost to violence and suicide, and inspires action towards trans-inclusive social justice.  The focus is on trans women of color, who experience some of the most extreme oppression, nationally and globally.  

Click here for the printed program, here for the photos of the church’s signage and more, here for the flyer, here for the press release, here for our Facebook event and here for our Twitter (#MCMDTDOR).

And here is a summary of the program (including post-printing changes), including a link to the text of the Address; the service was ASL interpreted.

  • Rev. Julia Jarvis began the service with a Tibetan singing bowl and silence
  • Nikki Ames sang Paul Simon’s Bridge Over Troubled Water, accompanied here and throughout by Clarice Snyder
  • Ezra Towne led a responsive reading of Edna St. Vincent Millay’s Dirge Without Music 
  • RUC’s Rev. Scott Winnette and I gave a welcome 
  • My partner Julia McCrossin read what was listed as a Hopi prayer but is actually Mary Elizabeth Frye’s Do Not Stand at My Grave and Weep, and lit a candle 
  • I spoke about the names and invited attendees to share any names they wished to
  • Rev. Julia Jarvis gave more Tibetan bowl song and silence 
  • Rev. Art Waidmann read Rabbis Sylvan Kamens and Jack Riemer’s At The Rising Of The Sun / We Remember Them  
  • Rev. Jill McCrory read these words by Audre Lorde:  “In becoming forcibly and essentially aware of my mortality, and of what I wished and wanted for my life, however short it might be, priorities and omissions became strongly etched in a merciless light, and what I most regretted were my silences. Of what had I ever been afraid? To question or to speak as I believed could have meant pain, or death. But we all hurt in so many different ways, all the time, and pain will either change or end. Death, on the other hand, is the final silence. And that might be coming quickly now, without regard for whether I had ever spoken what needed to be said, or had only betrayed myself into small silences, while I planned someday to speak, or waited for someone else’s words. “
  • One of Zella Ziona’s maternal aunts spoke, and did so with astounding grace -- Eli Sauerwalt was also scheduled to speak, but was home sick, refuah shlemah
  • Rev. Julia Jarvis invited donations to support Zella Ziona’s family, and as they were collected Nikki sang Jerry Herman’s I Am What I Am 
  • Marcia Simpson gave an excellent Address -- click here to read it 
  • I invited attendees to further prepare for the vigil
  • Karen Holmes read these words by Laverne Cox:  “We are not what other people say we are. We are who we know ourselves to be, and we are what we love.  And that's okay....  Each and every one of us has the capacity to be an oppressor.  I want to encourage each and every one of us to interrogate how we might be an oppressor and how we might be able to become liberators for ourselves and for each other.  
We had planned to use Enya’s version of How Can I Keep From Singing to process out of the sanctuary, but ran out of time to decide how.

As the service ended, I joined Rev. Miller Hoffman on an island in the church’s parking lot, where he read the names and I displayed them on a tablet while the attendees, holding battery-powered tealights, built the cairn with their stones on a rainbow-clothed table and then gathered around us in a half-circle.

After the names were read, we had a few moments of silence, then returned to the church to exchange our tealights for Japanese-style origami cranes (by Robin Allen), and begin the dinner reception of soups homemade by the hospitality subcommittee (chaired by Carol Edwards), breads donated by Nourish Now, desserts and drinks.

Thank you, everyone!!!  May you be inspired to work for trans-inclusive social justice here in MoCo and beyond in 2016.  We hope to gather with you next November if not before.

Saturday, October 31, 2015

Monday, October 12, 2015

2nd annual Fat Activism Conference (2015) #FatActCon

The Con's website and Facebook header image.

The second annual Fat Activism Conference (#FatActCon) was this past weekend (Friday October 9th through Sunday October 11th, 2015) -- and I was on the keynote panel Fat And Faith! 

The conference was again virtual – you could listen live or later, on your phone or computer.  And one of the great – and alas, all too rare – things about it was that presenters were paid, through profit-sharing, as well as having the option to earn money through an ‘affiliate’ program, where we received a percentage of the registrations of those who used our personal link. 

My fellow panelists were Rev. Gina Pond and Rabbi Minna Bromberg.  And we pretty much did what it said on our tin:  "This panel will look at the places where body size and various faiths collide, including ways that faith is used as a tool of fat oppression, as well as ways in which faith can provide a platform for size diversity activism for those who are interested.”  Or at least made a good start at it.  We were introduced and facilitated by Con organizer and tech guru Jeanette DePatie and moderated by Gina.  We pre-recorded the panel, and then added a live intro and Q&A (where Jeanette read us a few of the questions that had been submitted by attendees) after it was played during the Con; this was all done by conference call. 
It definitely wasn’t my best work, but I certainly learned a lot, and made some important connections in all senses. 

The collage the Con made for their website out of our panel's submitted photos (top to bottom it's Minna, myself, Gina).

My bio for the Con:  “Mycroft Masada is a faith leader who moved to the Washington DC area from hir lifelong home of Boston MA a year and a half ago.  Zie is a Community Engagement Adviser at TransFaith, a member of TransEpiscopal, and maintains the online presence of the Interfaith Coalition for Trans Equality.  Mycroft is called to fat justice, and is a writer and artist; hir piece “Good News: A Sermon On Fat Justice” appears in the current issue of Fat Studies: An Interdisciplinary Journal of Body Weight and Society (the Special Issue on Religion and Fat).  Zie is partnered with JuliaMcCrossin, the Fat Studies scholar, and their dogter Ursula is named after the flabulous Little Mermaid character.  More at http://MasadArts.blogspot.com/.”

Gina’s:  “Rev. Gina was initiated into an Alexandrian-type coven in 1999, and received her Third Degree on Beltane of 2010 as co-founder, along with her wife Sarah Thompson, of the Circle of Cerridwen (http://st4r.org).  In November 2013, she was approved for ordination in the Progressive Christian Alliance, and had her ordination ceremony on March 15, 2014. She graduated from Pacific School of Religion with a Masters of Divinity in May 2014. Rev. Gina also served on the Minister’s Board at City of Refuge, UCC, which is a radically inclusive Christian congregation, until the summer of 2015.  Rev. Gina is the host of the This Week In Heresy podcast (http://www.thisweekinheresy.com). This Week In Heresy is a weekly interview podcast where Rev. Gina interviews those who are exploring the boundaries of progressive thought, religion, and social justice. She is also a writer, yarn spinner, soaper, tech geek, and volunteer for her local Democratic party.”

Minna’s:  “As a singer, songwriter, rabbi, and voice teacher I use the tools of singing and songwriting to help people bring more of their inherent wholeness into the world. My fat activism began in 1989 when, as a 16 year old, I decided to give up dieting. Once I began connecting with the larger world of fat activism and fat feminism I brought what I was learning into my singing and songwriting (as exemplified in The Bathing Suit Song). My approach to voice teaching is deeply body positive and infused with knowing singing as an inherently integrative practice that brings together body, heart, mind, and soul. My fat Torah draws on the understanding that every human being is created in the image of the Divine and that every unique body is thus deserving of kavod (respect and honor) just as it is. I live in Jerusalem with my husband, Alan (who is also a rabbi as well as a supervisor of Clinical Pastoral Education — he teaches people to be better spiritual caregivers). I am inspired in my work by this verse from the Song of Songs: “Let me hear your voice, for your voice is sweet!” Indeed, the world is listening for your voice, your unique contribution to the weave of creation. You can learn more about my work at minnabromberg.com.”

Tuesday, October 6, 2015

TODAY -- MA LEGISLATURE HEARING -- HEIGHT/WEIGHT + GENDER IDENTITY/EXPRESSION ANTI-DISCRIMINATION BILLS!

The Massachusetts legislature’s hearing on the height/weight and gender identity/expression anti-discrimination bills is TODAY!  At 1:00 p.m. EST at the MA Statehouse -- and your testimony is needed, online and off.

Weight-based discrimination is legal in all but one state and three cities; for more, contact David VanderWoude in the office of Majority Whip Byron Rushing -- who is also a sponsor of the trans bill.  MA passed the Trans Equal Rights Law in 2011, but it didn’t include public accommodations – hence this Trans Equal Access Bill; for more, see Freedom Massachusetts.  #MApoli  #fatjustice  #TransMA  #FreedomMA

I actually didn’t get David’s e-mail yet, but those who did quote it as follows:
“I am writing with an update. The Joint Committee on the Judiciary will be holding a hearing on the height and weight discrimination bill, H. 1764, next Tuesday, October 6, at 1:00 p.m. in Gardner Auditorium. This will be a very long and busy hearing due to the number of bills on the agenda and the topics being discussed, so I can’t predict when this bill will come up during the hearing. Additionally, Judiciary Committee hearings regularly run late into the night.
As such, I’d highly recommend submitting written testimony to the Committee. Testimony should be address to the House Chair, Representative John Fernandes, and the Senate Chair, Senator William Brownsberger. Written testimony can be submitted to the Committee via email to Gretchen.Bennett@MAhouse.gov.”

Here is my testimony:

October 6, 2015

Representative John Fernandes
Senate Chair, Joint Committee on the Judiciary
State House, Room 136
Boston, MA 02133

Senator William Brownsberger
House Chair, Joint Committee on the Judiciary
State House, Room 504
Boston, MA 02133

Via email:  Gretchen.Bennett@MAhouse.gov

Dear Senator Brownsberger and Representative Fernandes --

My name is Mycroft Masada Holmes, and I lived in greater Boston for more than 37 years, from my birth until last January, when I moved to Maryland to begin living with my partner.  I love and miss Boston and the rest of Massachusetts; our great city and state have always truly been my home and I hope they always will be.

I write to you today primarily as a faith leader – my roles include being a Community Engagement Adviser at TransFaith and a member of TransEpiscopal.  Before my move, I was the Chair of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition’s Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality, and a board member of Congregation Am Tikva.  I’ve been one of the leaders of the faith campaign for Massachusetts’ Trans Equal Rights Law, passed in November 2011, and the Trans Equal Access Bill (SB 735 / HB 1577), which is also part of today’s hearing, and which I also support.

Today, I testify in support of House Bill 1764 -- An Act Making Discrimination on the Basis of Height and Weight Unlawful, as I have done in person and/or in writing for the last few legislative sessions.  At one hearing, I also read the written testimony of attorney Sondra Solovay.

Section 4 of Chapter 151B and Sections 92A and 98 of Chapter 272 of the Massachusetts General Laws currently state that persons cannot be discriminated against in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, or ancestry.  HB 1764 would amend these statutes to include height and weight to the list of unlawful forms of discrimination, providing a legal remedy to those who have experienced discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on their weight or height.  As you know, this bill was approved by the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development last session but did not come up for a vote before the House of Representatives and had to be re-filed for the current session.

In my personal and professional life, I have experienced and witnessed and a great deal of discrimination – especially in employment.  Much of it has been based on physical appearance and information, including height and especially weight.  This discrimination is wrong, profoundly damaging, and pervasive -- in our state and the rest of our society.  It must be ended as soon as possible, and HB 1764 will help to end it.  The bill is also an critical educational tool – its implementation process will help dispel the widespread and ever-increasing ignorance, misinformation and phobia about height and weight.  You will be given expert testimony about these issues today and during the rest of this session – ample evidence of the significant and urgent need for this legislation.

My faiths teach that like Adam, the first human being, all people are made b’tzelem Elohim – in the image of God -- people of all sizes, shapes, weights and heights.  Our infinite diversity of bodies and their changes over our lifetimes are gifts and blessings -- meant to be lived and shared with happiness and pride.  God creates and loves all of us, equally, in body and spirit.  And all of us should be equally recognized and protected by the law.

And as much as I speak to you as a person of faith, I also speak as a life partner.  My wonderful partner of six years, Julia McCrossin, and I are the same height, and she weighs well over twice what I do; I’ve always been thin, she has always been fat.  Julia is a native and lifelong resident of Maryland and Washington DC, and visited me in Massachusetts several times.  After her father passed away, I moved to Maryland to begin living with her, largely so that we could help care for her disabled mother and the family dog.

We are privileged to live in Maryland and near DC; both have trans-inclusive civil rights, and DC’s Human Rights Laws includes height and weight in “physical appearance”.  We are unusually privileged in other ways as well – as much as we and those like us struggle, daily life is far more challenging for those who have other intersecting oppressions, such as racism, classism and ableism.  At the same time, we worry about moving to and through places where we are legally unprotected, which we often need and want to do.  We and so many others need An Act Making Discrimination On The Basis Of Height And Weight Unlawful to pass into law as soon as possible.

We want to visit Massachusetts, have our wedding there, make our home there someday.  And we have much to offer my great state.  I want my partner to have full civil rights wherever she is.  I want her to be able to continue to live, work and play better than she has done, contributing even more to our communities than she already has.  I want this for all residents of and visitors to Massachusetts.  I don’t want anyone to experience discrimination – and yet I know that some will, and I want them to be able to take appropriate action.

I urge you to do everything you can to further this vital and long overdue legislation so that it can be passed into law this legislative session.

Thank you,

Mycroft Holmes
{my home and e-mail addresses}

Cc:  David VanderWoude
Office of Majority Whip Byron Rushing
State House, Room 235
Boston, MA  02133
Via email: David.VanderWoude@mahouse.gov

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Shana tova 5776!!!

Shana tova 5776!!!  May this be your best year yet.

Our Rosh Hashanah became super old school when we met this baby Eastern Kingsnake (?) during our family's Tashlich at Lake Needwood.  Zie was less than a foot long and half an inch wide, and we found them just a few inches from the shore of our private beach! Resting on the bottom and/or floating just above it, with just hir head above water, like a turtle or frog, flicking hir tongue in and out sometimes. As we followed, zie swam back and forth along the shore, not seeming to notice us, the minnows or Canada geese, but eventually sometimes partly hiding under rocks.




Tuesday, September 1, 2015

2nd annual FAT ACTIVISM CONFERENCE #FatActCon

Time for the Second Annual Fat Activism Conference!

THE FAT ACTIVISM CONFERENCE (RE)LAUNCHED AT 12M PST / 3AM EST! Registration is open!!! The 2nd annual #FatActCon is Friday October 9th through Sunday October 11th and is virtual – you can listen live or later on your phone or computer; there will also be some pre-submitted and / or live Q&A.

And I’m going to be on a panel about faith! And if you register through this link -- or through the ads here on my blog or on Julia’s Tumblr --  http://affiliate.realbigpublishing.com/registration-fat-activism-conference/?ap_id=Mycroft -- I get 20%.

Generally it’s best to support fat fat-activists before thin ones like myself. And I will also be paid something for speaking, through profit sharing. At the same time, when you support me, you support my flabulous underemployed family – my fat fat-activist partner, our retired mother-in-sin / mother, and our dogter / grandogter Ursula...who is too spoiled to work.

#‎FatActCon‬  ‪#‎fatactivism‬  ‪#‎fatjustice‬

Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Rainbow Connections

Look what two of our friends found for us at the University Park MD town yard sale in May! A JanSport Trans backpack in rainbow tie-dye and purple (and the colors are even better in person). I know!!

And they gave it to us today, the day it was announced that a colleague became the first trans staffer at the White House (and a colleague I'd worked with back in MA, especially through the MA Trans Political Coalition and the Jewish community).

I actually remember when JanSport came out with the Trans line – especially because some of my queer colleagues were among the early adopters – and I’ve always wanted one.

Saturday, August 1, 2015

DMV Fat-Friendly Community Clothing Swap

The photo used for the Facebook event.

Alas, we missed the DMV Fat-Friendly Community’s latest clothing swap today, at a Community member’s home (thanks!). But the people who went sound really pleased, yay.

And as always, if you desire fat-friendly community in the DMV (DC / MD / VA), come on down. Or up, or over, or whatever, depending upon where you live. We have more plans being planned, and are open to questions, suggestions and more -- but it's also more than okay if you need to just "lurk" and/or be online-only. My Julia founded the DMV FFC a few years ago, and we have almost 90 members in the Facebook Group now! And we do have a good amount who actively participate online and off – but the more the merrier.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

A waist is a terrible thing to mind

Waist not, want not.

"A waist is a terrible thing to mind."

My flabulous little find at Goodwill of Greater Washington (Gaithersburg) today. Plastic keychain, about 1” x 2”, same design both sides -- and it never wears off, because it's actually a little sign sandwiched in clear plastic. And at twenty-nine cents, it may well be my thriftiest thrift yet.

Though it is based on the United Negro College Fund's "a mind is a terrible thing to waste".

‪#‎fathrifting‬ ‪ #‎sharetheGood‬ ‪ #‎myGoodwillfind‬  #waistnotwantnot

Monday, July 20, 2015

MA HEIGHT/WEIGHT ANTI-DISCRIMINATION BILL HEARING TOMORROW TUESDAY 7/21!

REMINDER:  MASSACHUSETTS' HEIGHT/WEIGHT ANTI-DISCRIMINATION BILL'S HEARING IS TOMORROW TUESDAY JULY 21ST AT 12:30 P.M. AT THE STATE HOUSE!  Click here for more details about the bill and hearing.  My testimony is here and will be there, and yours is needed.

July 21, 2015

Senator Daniel A. Wolf
Senate Chair, Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development
State House, Room 405
Boston, MA 02133

Representative John W. Scibak
House Chair, Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development
State House, Room 43
Boston, MA 02133

Via email:  Daniel.Wolf@masenate.gov | John.Scibak@mahouse.gov

Dear Senator Wolf and Representative Scibak --

My name is Mycroft Masada Holmes, and I lived in greater Boston for more than 37 years, from my birth until last January, when I moved to Maryland to begin living with my partner.  I love Boston and the rest of Massachusetts; our great city and state have always truly been my home and I hope they always will be.

I write to you today primarily as a faith leader – my roles include being a Community Engagement Adviser at TransFaith and a member of TransEpiscopal.  Before my move, I was the Chair of the Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition’s Interfaith Coalition for Transgender Equality, and a board member of Congregation Am Tikva.  I’ve been one of the leaders of the faith campaign for Massachusetts’ Trans Equal Rights Law, passed in November 2011, and its bill An Act Relative to Transgender Anti-Discrimination, currently in progress.

Today, I testify in support of House Bill 1764 -- An Act Making Discrimination on the Basis of Height and Weight Unlawful, as I have done in person and/or in writing for the last few legislative sessions.  At one hearing, I also read the written testimony of attorney Sondra Solovay.

Section 4 of Chapter 151B and Sections 92A and 98 of Chapter 272 of the Massachusetts General Laws currently state that persons cannot be discriminated against in the areas of employment, housing, and public accommodations on the basis of race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, or ancestry.  HB 1764 would amend these statutes to include height and weight to the list of unlawful forms of discrimination, providing a legal remedy to those who have experienced discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on their weight or height.  As you know, this bill was approved by the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development last session but did not come up for a vote before the House of Representatives and had to be re-filed for the current session.

In my personal and professional life, I have experienced and witnessed and a great deal of discrimination – especially in employment.  Much of it has been based on physical appearance and information, including height and weight.  This discrimination is wrong, profoundly damaging, and occurs many times every day in every part of our state.  It must be ended as soon as possible, and HB 1764 will help to end it.  The bill is also an critical educational tool – its implementation process will help dispel the widespread and every-growing ignorance, misinformation and phobia about height and weight.  You will be given expert testimony about these issues today and during the rest of this session – ample evidence of the significant and urgent need for this legislation.

My faiths teach that like Adam, the first human being, all people are made b’tzelem Elohim – in the image of God -- people of all sizes, shapes, weights and heights.  Our infinite diversity of bodies and their changes over our lifetimes are gifts and blessings -- meant to be lived and shared with happiness and pride.  God creates and loves all of us, equally, in body and spirit.  And all of us should be equally recognized and protected by the law.

And as much as I speak to you as a person of faith, I also speak as a life partner.  My wonderful partner of six years, Julia McCrossin, and I are the same height, and she weighs well over twice what I do; I’ve always been thin, she has always been fat.  Julia is a native and lifelong resident of Maryland and Washington DC, and visited me in Massachusetts several times.  After her father passed away, I moved to Maryland to begin living with her, largely so that we could help care for her disabled mother and the family dog.

We are privileged to live in Maryland and near DC; both have trans-inclusive civil rights, and DC’s Human Rights Laws includes height and weight in “physical appearance”.  We are unusually privileged in other ways as well – as much as we and those like us struggle, daily life is far more challenging for those who have other intersecting oppressions, such as racism, classism and ableism.  At the same time, we worry about moving to and through places where we are legally unprotected, which we often need and want to do.  We and so many others need An Act Making Discrimination On The Basis Of Height And Weight Unlawful to pass into law as soon as possible.

We want to visit Massachusetts, have our wedding there, make our home there someday.  And we have much to offer my great state.  I want my partner to have full civil rights wherever she is.  I want her to be able to continue to live, work and play better than she has done, contributing even more to her society than she has.  I want this for all residents of and visitors to Massachusetts.  I don’t want anyone to experience discrimination – and yet I know that some will, and I want them to be able to take appropriate action.

I urge you to do everything you can to further this vital and long overdue legislation so that it can be passed into law this legislative session.

Thank you,

Mycroft Holmes
{my home and e-mail addresses}

Cc: Dave VanderWoude
Office of Majority Whip Byron Rushing
State House, Room 235
Boston, MA  02133
Via email: david.vanderwoude@mahouse.gov

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

MA HEIGHT/WEIGHT ANTI-DISCRIMINATION BILL HEARING NEXT TUES. 7/21!

HEARING ON MASSACHUSETTS HEIGHT/WEIGHT ANTI-DISCRIMINATION BILL NEXT TUESDAY JULY 21ST AT 12:30 P.M. AT THE STATE HOUSE! PLEASE NOTE THAT EVERYONE CAN SUBMIT WRITTEN TESTIMONY -- I will be doing so, as I've done for the past few sessions; I've also testified in person twice. Just got this e-mail; will put more info on my blog and post that:

Hi All,

As past supporters of Representative Rushing’s legislation regarding height and weight discrimination, I am writing to let you know that the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development has scheduled a hearing for the bill (H. 1764,An Act Making Discrimination on the Basis of Height and Weight Unlawful) on Tuesday, July 21, which begins at  12:30 p.m. in Gardner Auditorium in the State House.  I apologize for the short notice; I just found out about the hearing.

This bill would amend the state’s anti-discrimination laws to add height and weight to the list of protected categories, which currently include race, color, religious creed, national origin, sex, gender identity, sexual orientation, genetic information, or ancestry.  It would provide a legal remedy to those who have experienced discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations based on their weight or height. 

As you may remember, this bill was approved by the Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development last session but did not come up for a vote before the House of Representatives and had to be re-filed for the current legislative session, which began in January 2015.  Also, please note that the House has a new Chair of the Committee this session who is likely unfamiliar with the issue.

As you may know, many legislative committees limit spoken testimony to approximately 3 minutes per person.  However, you can submit both written and verbal testimony, and are encouraged to do so, if you are worried about conveying your full message within the three-minute timeframe.  If you would like to submit testimony but are unable to be in attendance, you can submit testimony via email to Daniel.Wolf@masenate.gov orJohn.Scibak@mahouse.gov, or via the mail to the following addresses:

Senator Daniel A. Wolf
Senate Chair, Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development
State House, Room 405
Boston, MA 02133

Representative John W. Scibak
House Chair, Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development
State House, Room 43
Boston, MA 02133

Please do not hesitate to contact me if you have any questions.

Best,
Dave

Dave VanderWoude
Office of Majority Whip Byron Rushing
State House, Room 235
Boston, MA 02133

Sent: Tuesday, July 14, 2015 4:07 PM
To: HOU-DL - HOUSE STAFF; HOU-DL - HOUSE AIDES; HOU-DL - HOUSE REPS; SEN-DL-ALLSTAFF; SEN-DL-SENATORS
Subject: Notice of Public Hearing (With Changes): Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development hearing on Workplace Discrimination and Workplace Safety -7/21 in Gardner Auditorium from 12:30-5

Image1
The Commonwealth of Massachusetts
JOINT COMMITTEE ON LABOR AND WORKFORCE DEVELOPMENT
STATE HOUSE, BOSTON 02133
Joint Committee on Labor and Workforce Development
Rep. John W. Scibak
Sen. Daniel A. Wolf
House Chairman
Senate Chairman

PUBLIC HEARING NOTICE
Date of Hearing: Tuesday, July 21, 2015
Time: 12:30 PM-5:00 PM
Location: GARDNER AUDITORIUM

Workplace Discrimination and Workplace Safety

Bill No.
Sponsor
Title
H1682
Benson, Jennifer E. (HOU)
An Act relative to discrimination in the workplace
H1687
Brady, Michael D. (HOU)
An Act requiring health care employees to develop and implement programs to prevent workplace violence
H1689
Calter, Thomas J. (HOU)
An Act relative to needle stick injuries suffered by first responders
H1728
Kocot, Peter V. (HOU)
An Act prohibiting the bullying of public school employees
H1733
Livingstone, Jay D. (HOU)
An Act to establish pay equity
H1736
Malia, Elizabeth A. (HOU)
An Act regulating the use of credit reports by employers
H1756
O'Day, James J. (HOU)
An Act to further define standards of employee safety
H1757
Orrall, Keiko M. (HOU)
An Act relative to non discrimination training in the workplace
H1764
Rushing, Byron (HOU)
An Act making discrimination on the basis of height and weight unlawful
H1769
Story, Ellen (HOU)
An Act establishing the Massachusetts pregnant workers fairness act
H1771
Story, Ellen (HOU)
An Act addressing workplace bullying, mobbing, and harassment, without regard to protected class status
H1781
Zlotnik, Jonathan (HOU)
An Act Relative to Non Discrimination Training in the Workplace
H1783
Zlotnik, Jonathan (HOU)
An Act Relative to the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination
S123
Barrett, Michael J. (SEN)
An Act regulating the use of credit reports by employers
S954
Barrett, Michael J. (SEN)
An Act providing fair chances for employment
S956
Brownsberger, William N. (SEN)
An Act establishing the refusal to provide certain records as an unfair labor practice
S960
Chang-Diaz, Sonia (SEN)
An Act ensuring uniformity in education discrimination complaint procedures
S970
Donnelly, Kenneth J. (SEN)
An Act requiring recordkeeping at public construction worksites in order to protect first responders
S983
Jehlen, Patricia D. (SEN)
An Act to establish pay equity
S984
Joyce, Brian A. (SEN)
An Act preventing discrimination based on veteran's status
S986
Joyce, Brian A. (SEN)
An Act relative to health and safety on public construction projects
S988
Keenan, John F. (SEN)
An Act relative to electrical panels and workplace safety
S989
L'Italien, Barbara (SEN)
An Act relative to nondiscrimination regional advisory boards
S991
Montigny, Mark C. (SEN)
An Act relative to fair hiring practices
S999
Pacheco, Marc R. (SEN)
An Act to further define standards of employee safety
S1007
Spilka, Karen E. (SEN)
Resolutions to encourage equitable and diverse gender representation on the boards of companies in the Commonwealth
S1020
Timilty, James E. (SEN)
An Act relative to equity in the workplace

Please be advised that the schedule and agenda are subject to change at the discretion of the chair per committee rules. Due to the expected number of attendants, testimony will be strictly limited to 3 minutes. Panels will be limited to a size of four individuals or fewer, and each panel will be ask to keep their testimony limited to ten minutes.