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)

Friday, January 18, 2019

Massachusetts height & weight anti-discrimination bill refiled TODAY!

TODAY (the refiling deadline for all bills), the latest version of my home state of Massachusetts’ height and weight anti-discrimination bill was refiled! An Act Making Discrimination On The Basis Of Height And Weight Unlawful, SD 1581. If you didn’t get the following e-mail on Monday January 7th, e-mail Caroline.Sherrard@MASenate.gov.

"Height and Weight Anti-Discrimination Legislation

Hello all,

If you’re receiving this email you previously reached out to Rep. Byron Rushing’s office in support of height and weight anti-discrimination legislation in Massachusetts. If you would like to no longer receive emails on this topic, please let me know.

As many of you know, Rep. Rushing is no longer in the legislature. I’d like to introduce you all to Senator Becca Rausch who will be filing this legislation in the Senate and Representative Tram Nguyen who will be filing this legislation in the House. I used to work for Rep. Rushing and now work for Senator Rausch, so there is some nice continuity! Tobin Abraham, also cc’ed, is Rep. Nguyen’s staff person.

We need to refile this legislation by 1/18. If you have any comments on the language from last session (attached), please let me know as soon as possible. I’ll be in touch soon if our office or Rep. Nguyen’s office has suggested changes.

We’d like to have an advocacy strategy conference call after bill filing, sometime in late January or February.

Thank you so much for your interest and advocacy.

Best,
Caroline

Caroline Sherrard, Chief of Staff
Office of Senator Becca Rausch
Massachusetts Senate
Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District
State House Room 419
617-722-1555 (internal ext. 1556)
Pronouns: she/her/hers"

Friday, January 11, 2019

It's only January, and yet at least one trans person has been murdered in 2019

Alas, my first post this morning must be about mourning. January isn’t even over yet, and there has already been at least one trans person murdered in 2019. And sadly it isn’t at all surprising that she is a woman, Black, or young. This past Sunday January 6th (Epiphany / Three Kings Day), Dana Martin, 31, a Black trans woman, was found murdered in Montgomery, Alabama.

Last November 20th was the 20th annual Transgender Day Of Remembrance (TDOR), when we remembered the at least 25 trans people murdered in this country since TDOR 2017, and the hundreds more murdered elsewhere in our world. And between that day and the end of the year, at least two more of my trans siblings were taken by murder here in the US, and we became more aware of an October murder. And the great majority of those stolen continue to be Black, women, and young.

Between TDOR 2017 and the end of 2017, three trans women were murdered -- Brooklyn BreYanna Stevenson (Oklahoma City), Brandi Seals (Houston), and Rhiannon Layendecker (Englewood, Florida). In 2018, they were joined by Christa Steele Knudslien (North Adams, Massachusetts -- we were colleagues there in my home state and Friends here), Viccky Gutierrez (Los Angeles), Celine Walker (Jacksonville), Tonya Harvey (Buffalo), Zakaria Fry (Albuquerque), Phylicia Mitchell (Cleveland), Amia Tyrae Berryman (Baton Rouge), Sasha Wall (Chesterfield County, South Carolina), Karla Patricia Flores-Pavón (Dallas), Nino Fortson (Atlanta), Gigi Pierce (Portland, Oregon), Roxana Hernandez (Albuquerque), Antasha English (Jacksonville), Diamond Stephens (Meridian, Mississippi), Cathalina Christina James (Jacksonville), Keisha Wells (Cleveland), Sasha Garden (Orlando), Vontashia Bell (Shreveport, Louisiana), Dejanay Stanton (Chicago), Shantee Tucker (Philadelphia), Londonn Moore (North Port, Florida), Nikki Enriquez (Laredo, Texas), Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier (Chicago), Regina Denise Brown (Orangeburg, South Carolina), Tydi Dansbury (Baltimore, an hour from me here in Gaithersburg), and Keanna Mattel (Detroit).

I note that there have been multiple murders in some places, that Roxana died in ICE custody with significant evidence showing she was abused there, and that Nikki was one of four women victims of an intel supervisor for US Border Patrol. And that more than 360 trans people have been murdered elsewhere in our world in the past year, and the great majority are Latinx -- mostly trans women and transfeminine people. Too, there continues to be little attention given to the murders of and assaults on Native people who are Two Spirit.

I also remember Nicole Hall, a Black trans woman found dead in Dallas in May. And my siblings lost to suicide, as the attempt rate in our community is over 40%. And every year there are unreported deaths, and reported ones where the victim is not identified as trans.

May all of my trans sisters, brothers and other siblings’ memories be a blessing, as we say in Judaism -- and one that calls us to act, especially at trans justice’s intersection with racial, immigration and economic justice. May we continue schlepping towards tikkun olam, world repair, at the intersection of LGBTQI+, climate, racial, immigration, spiritual, fat, disability, and all other stripes of the rainbow of justice. May we never forget that white supremacy has always included and prioritized misogyny, cis supremacy and transphobia. Amen!

#TDOR #TDOR2018 #TDOR2019 #TransDayOfRemembrance #WontBeErased

Monday, January 7, 2019

Massachusetts height & weight anti-discrimination bill UPDATE!

Friday January 18th is the refiling deadline for the latest version of my home state of Massachusetts’ height and weight anti-discrimination bill! If you didn’t get the following e-mail about that today, please e-mail Caroline.Sherrard@MASenate.gov.

"Height and Weight Anti-Discrimination Legislation

Hello all,

If you’re receiving this email you previously reached out to Rep. Byron Rushing’s office in support of height and weight anti-discrimination legislation in Massachusetts. If you would like to no longer receive emails on this topic, please let me know.

As many of you know, Rep. Rushing is no longer in the legislature. I’d like to introduce you all to Senator Becca Rausch who will be filing this legislation in the Senate and Representative Tram Nguyen who will be filing this legislation in the House. I used to work for Rep. Rushing and now work for Senator Rausch, so there is some nice continuity! Tobin Abraham, also cc’ed, is Rep. Nguyen’s staff person.

We need to refile this legislation by 1/18. If you have any comments on the language from last session (attached), please let me know as soon as possible. I’ll be in touch soon if our office or Rep. Nguyen’s office has suggested changes.

We’d like to have an advocacy strategy conference call after bill filing, sometime in late January or February.

Thank you so much for your interest and advocacy.

Best,
Caroline

Caroline Sherrard, Chief of Staff
Office of Senator Becca Rausch
Massachusetts Senate
Norfolk, Bristol and Middlesex District
State House Room 419
617-722-1555 (internal ext. 1556)
Pronouns: she/her/hers"

Friday, December 14, 2018

Less than a month after the 20th annual Transgender Day Of Remembrance, more murders

November 20th was the 20th annual Transgender Day Of Remembrance (TDOR), when we remembered the at least 25 trans people murdered in this country since TDOR 2017, and the hundreds more murdered elsewhere in our world. And yet since that Day, at least two more of my trans siblings have been taken by murder here in the US, and we’ve become more aware of an October murder. And the great majority of those stolen continue to be Black, women, and young.

On October 7th, Regina Denise Brown, a Black trans woman, was killed in Orangeburg, South Carolina. On November 26th, Tydi Dansbury, also Black trans woman, was killed in Baltimore, an hour from here (Gaithersburg). And on Friday December 7th, Keanna Mattel, also a Black trans woman, was killed in Detroit.

Between TDOR 2017 and the end of last year, three trans women were murdered -- Brooklyn BreYanna Stevenson (Oklahoma City), Brandi Seals (Houston), and Rhiannon Layendecker (Englewood, Florida). In 2018, they have been joined by Christa Steele Knudslien (North Adams, Massachusetts -- we were colleagues there in my home state and Friends here), Viccky Gutierrez (Los Angeles), Celine Walker (Jacksonville), Tonya Harvey (Buffalo), Zakaria Fry (Albuquerque), Phylicia Mitchell (Cleveland), Amia Tyrae Berryman (Baton Rouge), Sasha Wall (Chesterfield County, South Carolina), Karla Patricia Flores-Pavón (Dallas), Nino Fortson (Atlanta), Gigi Pierce (Portland, Oregon), Roxsana Hernandez (Albuquerque), Antasha English (Jacksonville), Diamond Stephens (Meridian, Mississippi), Cathalina Christina James (Jacksonville), Keisha Wells (Cleveland), Sasha Garden (Orlando), Vontashia Bell (Shreveport, Louisiana), Dejanay Stanton (Chicago), Shantee Tucker (Philadelphia), Londonn Moore (North Port, Florida), Nikki Enriquez (Laredo, Texas), and Ciara Minaj Carter Frazier (Chicago).

It’s important to know that there have been multiple murders in some places, that Roxana died in ICE custody with significant evidence showing she was abused there, and that Nikki was one of four women victims of an intel supervisor for US Border Patrol. And that more than 360 trans people have been murdered elsewhere in our world in the past year, and the great majority are Latinx -- mostly trans women and transfeminine people.

I also remember Nicole Hall, a Black trans woman found dead in Dallas in May. And my siblings lost to suicide, as the attempt rate in our community is over 40%. And every year there are unreported deaths, and reported ones where the victim is not identified as trans.

May all of my trans sisters, brothers and other siblings’ memories be a blessing, as we say in Judaism -- and one that calls us to act, especially at trans justice’s intersection with racial, immigration and economic justice. May we continue schlepping towards tikkun olam, world repair, at the intersection of LGBTQI+, climate, racial, immigration, spiritual, fat, disability, and all other stripes of the rainbow of justice. May we never forget that white supremacy has always been inseparable from misogyny, cis supremacy and transphobia. Amen!

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Cocoanut Grove nightclub fire (Boston) -- 76th anniversary (1942 - 2018)


Tonight is the 76th anniversary of the fire in Boston’s Cocoanut Grove nightclub, and thus also the 76th yarzeit of my paternal grandparents Adelaide “Addie” (Levin) Wasserman and Theodore “Ted” Wasserman (pictured, probably on their honeymoon in Bermuda), and my paternal great-aunt Sarah “Sadie” (Levin) Levin* (her husband, my great-uncle Benjamin “Ben” Levin, was with her at the Grove but survived). My father and his two brothers were orphaned, and two of their cousins lost their mother; my father was two, and his brothers were in infancy and seven. On the night of Saturday November 28th 1942 -- havdalah of Thanksgiving weekend -- corruption and other issues led to the deaths of almost 500 people (and injured more than 160 others). May their memories be a blessing, and blessed be the True Judge, as we say in Judaism.


(*Yes, Sadie was a Levin who married a Levin!)

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


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


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


Apparently there are at most eight Grove survivors left now.   


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


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


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


In January 2014, I moved to Gaithersburg Maryland (Montgomery County, bordering DC) after a lifetime in the Boston area, to begin living with my spouse Julia (who has always lived in this area, and needed to remain here).  I have missed my usual annual visit(s) to the Grove site, where I would leave flowers and/or other small gifts.  My father continued to visit, but then moved out of state to join my brother -- who is a firefighter and EMT.  My father and I have been visited Boston a few times since we moved, but we haven't been back to the site yet.

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



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

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


There has been a great deal of other material published for last year's anniversary, because it was the 75th, and I am going through it as I have time and energy.  I saw that there was another official  memorial event in Boston last November, and that it included the premiere of a new 30-minute documentary about the Grove fire -- Zachary Graves-Miller's Six Locked Doors : The Legacy Of Cocoanut Grove, which has been at a few events since then, including a Boston Public Library one.  And not too surprisingly, "Six" is not the only movie about the Grove in process.  


There is also a newish play about the Grove fire -- James Hansen Prince's "Inferno : Fire At The Cocoanut Grove 1942" (Prince, who wrote and directed, had a relative at the Grove that night); I have heard some good things, and hope to at least read it soon.  And I intend to read the old and new books about the fire -- especially now that eBook technology is making them much more accessible (though it turns out that a photo labeled as having Sadie in the background and Adelaide and Ted in the fore is incorrect about at least the latter).  Over the years, I have also been to presentations about the Grove at the Brighton and Boston Public Libraries.  


I will continue to work on this blog post, as well as a fuller piece about this part of our family’s story -- though I think a truly full version may need to wait until after more people pass away.  And I don't know how much information I will ever have. Sad to say, the trauma of the fire intensified the existing issues in our family, and I'm sure in many others.  Which is a large part of why I feel so strongly about something that happened many years before I was born, and about family members and others who I never met.  It is also fascinating and challenging to me -- as a transgender person and advocate -- that the Grove anniversary is a week after the international Transgender Day Of Remembrance (TDOR, November 20th, and this year was the 20th annual); too, all of November is Trans Month.  And November is also Native Month -- and Thanksgiving Day is also the Day Of Mourning for many Native / Indigenous people.   



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

Baruch Dayan HaEmet, Blessed is the True Judge.

Monday, November 26, 2018

MY ARTWORK!! Or, How I Put the Arts in MasadArts

Pictured is one of my sushi stationery sets -- little kits for creating offline mail that look like boxes of takeaway sushi!


Happy Cyber Monday, and welcome to the MasadArts art department.   


While I wouldn't say I'm well-prepared for this day or season, I have updated my artwork portfolio, and it's in three albums: 

  • Stationery (greeting cards in several formats, gift tags / ornaments, keepsake books, sushi stationery sets…) 
  • Jewelry (earrings, pendants, friendship pins…) 
  • Miscellaneous (wrapped pomegranates and candles, juice bottle cap tea-light holders, eyeglass cases…)

My work is mostly handmade, and made mostly of vintage / recycled / found / thrifted / gifted etc. materials.  And I do take commissions, personalize, customize and so on. 


I invite you to enjoy, Like, comment, share, shop, etc.



Also, my Aunt Pat in Boston is also an artist, and offers lessons, paintings, photography, greeting cards, hand-painted eggs and more

Thursday, November 22, 2018

Shalom, on this Thanksgiving Day / Day Of Mourning

Shalom. Rest, cessation, peace, harmony, wholeness, completeness, prosperity, welfare and tranquility. On this Thanksgiving Day.
I am thankful to be spending today at home with my wonderful spouse, our dogter, and my mother-in-sin and law. I am mindful of my privilege that makes this possible. I am also struggling today, for a variety of reasons, and thinking of those who struggle in ways like and unlike mine.
Native people, many of whom are observing the 49th annual Day Of Mourning -- including those in Plymouth in my home state of Massachusetts, where today’s high will be 23 degrees and the low 14.
Trans people, like myself, who are transitioning from observing the 20th annual Transgender Day Of Remembrance (TDOR) just two days ago.
Fat people, like my spouse, most of whom will experience an intense increase in fatphobia today, even in some of the most radical spaces.
People who are in two or more of these communities, including Two Spirit people. People who struggle with this Day for other reasons. People who struggle every day.
May we all have a meaningful fast and feast, however we define those things.
May we be comforted by the Addams family credo. Sic Gorgiamus Allos Subjectatos Nunc -- We Gladly Feast on Those Who Would Subdue Us. “Not just pretty words.”
May this day next year find us in a better place and a better world -- and may we each do our part in creating it.
Amen!