Friday, February 12, 2010

I'll Be Too Busy Being Dead To Be Memorialized

I am still wondering where the "T" in Communi y is... Remember way back in time (and still now) the L&G Community was screaming for basic human rights, the idea of being respected, the idea that being homosexual was in fact normal, and in fact not 'a choice?' Do you remember two 'uppity' transwomen who said 'hey, don't mistreat my gay and lesbian friends' and gave them the first lessons in the fine art of 'bottle tossing?' And now as we Trans fight for the same basic ideals, we are shunted off to the background, told to quit being uppity and forget any idea of being respected. And be quiet.


I remember walking down a hall the other day and while I had seen it time and time again, finally the incongruity of it all hit me smack in the face. Down one side of the wall was a large grouping of famous (and notorious) gay and lesbians all brightly smiled in articles of their contribution to the Movement. I thought, hey, where are the Trans people? So I turned around and saw the Trans. Fifteen or so pictures of murdered Trans people. Huh? So, should I derive from that the contribution to Movement by the Trans, is that of being pictured as a dead Trans? Yes, it is a memorial for Trans Remembrance Day four months ago, but where are the pictures of the one's living? Why isn't there pictures of people like Lynn Conway (who?) - the transwoman whose contribution to electronics inludes the premise why you can read this uppity blog post on a computer. Where is a picture of Kylar Broadus? And all of the famous trans people, male, female, genderqueer, etc? Me? The way I think of it is that I will be too busy being dead to be memorialized, so that is why I am speaking out now.

How about this: A member of the Community who insists on calling me, "He." Sorry, I'm female, I'm 'She.' How about the performer who insists that transgender people are 'psychologically diseased' (no, folks, I won't let that one go - Ya know, I even wrote the guy a nice email, wishing to talk to him pleasantly about it and he refused - never replied. Oh yeah, he is a friend of the most stalwart people of the movement today, who are running around yelling 'unity'). Huh? When I suggested that events avoid sounding 'gay' or otherwise exclusive of anyone in the Community, I was told that, no, gay means all. To that: "No, I am not gay." And a trans girlfriend is heterosexual. A friend who is a staunch supporter of the Movement is a cisgender 'straight.'

What is so wrong, is this damn call for 'unity in the community.' Something dear to my heart, something that I fight for in my advocacy for the inclusive LGBTIQA movemnt. Yet, this call for 'unity' and 'support' asks for the Trans dollar, Marriage Equality, Yes!. Repeal DOMA, yes! Maine, Yes!

Will you help me support ENDA: No.

(It's not) funny how one convieniently forgets to include the Gender Queer, the Intersex, etc, etc. And yes the Trans, you know, the ones who started it all forty years ago on a battlefield called Stonewall. Is it time to go back to 'bottle-tossing?'

The way I figure it, this "T" will become silent is when, well, she 'becomes silent.' And hopefully not in a gruesome manner. I don't want my picture on that wall.

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Transgender Etiquette Guide? Huh?

I found the Creating Change Conference last week in Dallas, quite engaging and extremely beneficial to my work in advocacy for the Transgender Community. I was so pleased to see so many of us there at the Conference, and found the coursework options so numerous. One thing I would like to put our Community to task with, and thus saving valuable space in the program guide, would be to remove the 'Transgender Etiquette Guide.'

As a transgender individual (and an advocate for not only the Transgender Community, but the LGBTIQ Community inclusively), I find myself with a bit of ire that this 'guide' is required. Oh, for certain, it is needed, but my ire is that we are yet not 'One Community' and there remains a need for this guide. Yet, if we are such a learned community of activists going to such an esteemed gathering of activists and advocates, one would certainly think that they are far past needing to be reminded to act civilized to those who might be transgender, gender queer, whatever.

It is quite obvious with such a need, that we as what I call 'Community' are in fact not. Perhaps a note to the Task Force would be in order, to have them place a "Gay and Lesbian Etiquette Guide" in the next Creating Change Program Guide. We that are transgender activists, certainly don't wish to make a faux pas as well....

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

TransHaven Missouri At Creating Change - First Look

Wednesday Morning 3 A.M. No, not listening to Simon and Garfunkel (who?), up early, and “Wide Awake In Dreamland” (sorry, Pat). Up early for the first morning here at the 22nd Creating Change Conference, in Dallas, ending Sunday. My partner Carl and I did not fly and took to driving the scenic route of I-44 and I-35 through Missouri, Oklahoma and Texas. I had never been to Texas and my travels since transitioning have been limited due to work in my advocacy, so there was a bit of ‘hmmmm’ in the thoughts of my travel plans.

As it was, the roadtrip was of little or no issue, as I had mapped out where the most probable ‘friendly’ stops might be for me. No, not one to be shy, but being the person I am decided to be cautious as opposed to outright ‘in your face.’ The least friendly ‘comfort’ stop was at a convenience store sort of place, along I-35 south of Oklahoma City. There, the attendant gave me a dirty look but I simply marched into the ladies room, marched right out and back into the TransVan. Not so bad considering that the other option was a truck stop across the road with twenty or so tractor-trailer rigs in the lot, I felt that they might not be too interested in my brand of activism. Carl and I shared the driving duties, though I retained the authority on the radio. Lots of Lady Gaga and Madonna were played (and yes, many times), Gustavsen didn’t exactly disapprove but did give me a bit of a ‘look,’ now and then. On into Dallas in the GPS-guided Revlon Red TransVan, we pulled up to the front door, unloaded the van and parked it directly across the street in a garage, right in the first available space. Wow. Lucky.

The hotel itself is huge, but we found our room (with the help of the valet who pushed the huge valet cart of everything possible we had thought to bring ;). A quick run down to the auto for a second load of ‘stuff’ that I found necessary for my ‘Dallas Command Post,’ including three cases of the flavored carbonated water this cat likes to quench her thirst with and yes, a dozen Cinnabons (Did you think I would travel without them?).

To bed early and now (as said) wide awake in dreamland, this Conference of about two thousand LGBTIQA leaders and volunteers will start in several hours from now. Yeah, an early riser, but even earlier as I had received two phone calls from some lady wanting me to give her ‘wake up’ calls in the morning (wrong number no doubt), I was ready to really give her a ‘wake up’ call should she have called a third time.

As far as the Conference goes, I will of course be focusing on those workshops, seminars, caucuses that are directed to those advocacies for the Transgender Community. Of these, there are three that are directed to ‘Trans-inclusion in LGB(T) organizations,' in which I will bring back for use as needed for those organizations looking to strengthen their Transgender inclusivity. Carl, will be doing a lot of work in the Community Center-related arena, and some ‘running a business’ courseware for TransHaven.

Robyn Carolyn Montague