Music, Art, and Literature

Finding Voice and Community

I've struggled with writing the next several chapters, unsure of how to create any sort of wholeness out of the chaos they are meant to uncover. They were written at different times and under different circumstances over the past two decades, give or take.

I should apologize in advance for any repetition that is bound to be. They all cover the same basic theme...which could even reveal a title for the book. I'm thinking it may end up being something like A Place where I Belong...because that is indeed what I have sought my entire life.



Learning to Count Past Two

I wrote the following essay to read at a presentation I did to a graduate psychology class (future school psychologists) in Arkansas in the 90s. (Interesting side note: the professor who was interested in me talking to her students about gender did not gain tenure at UCA. I've often wondered why that was.)

The image to the right is entitled Boxes.

I read a paper by Jamison Green which includes some interesting thoughts about appearances such as this. I thought I'd read a bit I find quite humorous.

 photo JamisonGreen.jpg

Stepping in front of the class we become laboratory rats, frogs in the dissection tray, interactive multimedia learning experiences. 

"'How old were you when you first realized you were a frog, Mr. Green?'

"'How did your parents react when you told them you were a frog?"

"Do you date? Do you tell your partners you're a frog?"

"So how does it work? I mean, uh, can you, like, do it?"





This essay was first published in the summer of 2008. I've decided it belongs in my autobiography to represent the grey times.

it was a grey day, full of grey people leading their grey lives.

Hollow 3

Each day I can watch him trudging home from wherever he has been. Fortunately it is downhill from the bus stop to where he lives. He never smiles, eyes focused on the ground a few feet in front of his pace.

Beaten down.

The world so heavy that he can't even look up.

Shoulders sagging under the weight of the last straw, and the last straw before that... and the one before that. A succession of so many minor beatings to the ego that he flinches reflexively at anything, everything, expecting the worst

Back bent from too many sorrows.

And you want him to rise up?



Character Development

with Alicyn, 1993 photo wAlicyn.jpgAutobiography should not be only about the things to happened to me. If that was all it was, I would appear to be devoid of agency. It's also not only about the places I've been and events I have witnessed. That might rather be a travelogue. I believe my autobiography should reveal who I am...or have been...maybe even who I will be or might have been.

So I was looking for some essays I will be sharing in the next few days concerning Crises 1 and 2, when I stumbled upon something I wrote in April of 2006 and published to the 21st issue of Teacher's Lounge, which some may recall that I created and operated in the way back. It was a bit of a rant...and a bit of me.

An educated mind is an opened mind. An opened mind is a liberal mind. Teachers don't have to intend to create liberals, it happens naturally.

I am totally aware that the subject matter may chase away some of my readers. But any subject matter contains the seeds of that possibility.



Transgender Day of Celebration: Unlikely Sources


A dinner and community gathering to share in each other's company, meet new trans*-identified friends and give thanks for the love and support of our community. We will also be having a clothing exchange, so bring your pre-transition clothes that've been wasting away in the closet! 



Transgender Day of Celebration is an opportunity for trans people and all who love them to come together and celebrate. We celebrate our own trans lives, and we celebrate the trans people whose lives have touched ours.

--Jamez Terry, MCC Boston

I've added some stories from unusual sources to help establish the mood.



So much hate, so little reason...Laverne Cox explains it

On July 30 a 15-year old trans girl boarded a Metro green line train in the District of Columbia with a couple of her friends. One might assume that was a peaceful act.

But when 24-year old Reginald Anthony Klaiber of Greenbelt, MD boarded the same car on that train, he reacted to the trans girl violently. At first he disliked her hair color (the girl was wearing a red wig). Then he questioned her clothing. When the girl asked him to leave her alone, her friends say he asked her, "Are you a boy? Are you a boy? ...Why are you looking like a girl?"

He came to my friend and said you have red hair. My friend said ok, and then he said, ‘Oh, you’re a man!'

Then he started bothering my friend. My friend got up out of her seat to go by the door while the train was moving and told him to please leave her alone. He faced her and said I will stab you up and blow your brains out.

--Jae-la White, friend of the victim



A Costa Rica retrospective

crossposted from: Humanitarian Left

from Humanitarian Left, 12 July, 2014

I've been back in the USA for about a month now. I discussed how that came to be in Early morning, Cahuita, my last diary from Costa Rica, one of a series documenting our journey originally posted at Daily Kos.

Previous episodes in this series include:

Adios Gringolandia

Pura Vida

I used to have kidneys - then I took the road to Tamarindo

Kossacks in Paradise – Mike and Alice Olson of Nosara


Life in the Irie Zone

Life is hard, even in Cahuita

Life in the Jungle

Early morning, Cahuita

This is my latest Photoshop painting. Inspired by our journey, it's called, Tucano.




Some words about "Star Wars"

I'm writing this short piece more or less as a commentary on the various news releases now issued in advance of "Star Wars Episode VII," the forthcoming Star Wars motion picture. Watching "Star Wars" movies makes me want to imagine an alternative historical time-line in which "Star Wars" didn't exist, and some other more deserving story popularized the genre of space opera in film.




Gender Prison: Anti-transgender violence

The National Coalition of Anti-Violence Programs has a new report: Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and HIV-Affected Hate Violence in 2013.

The report says that 55% of LGBTQ and HIV+ people are assault survivors.

Out of all groups surveyed by NCAVP transgender women (especially transgender women of color) are most likely to be homicide victims. Transgender women and transgender people of color are also the most likely to be victims of police brutality. Transgender women and transgender people of color are six times more likely to experience physical violence from police officers as a general LGBTQ person.

Only 24% of hate violence incidents reported by LGBTQ people were classified by police as bias crimes in 2013. In 2012 77% of hate violence incidents report by LGBTQ people were classified as bias crimes by police.

Immigration status is also an important factor. Immigrant LGBTQ and HIV+ survivors were 3.4 times as likely to experience sexual violence.




Time announces our victory...or defeat

It has been a long, hard struggle.

And it is not over yet.

But this is progress. Time Magazine has declared that this society has reached the "transgender tipping point."

I'm not a subscriber, but Zack Ford at Think Progress informs me that June 9, 2014 issue of the magazine includes "an extensive Transgender 101 article" that covers many of the issues affecting our community, photo essays of some of the transgender people who have influenced American and world culture (no, I am not included)...both living and dead (Kye Alums, Cassidy Campbell, Carmen Carrera, Candis Cayne, Lynn Conway, Caroline Cossey, Laverne Cox, Paisley Currah, Jamie Ewing, Fallon Fox, Rose Hayes, Christine Jorgensen, Isis King, Lana Lawlwss, Ashton Lee, Chelsea Manning, Janet Mock, Mike Penner/Christine Daniels, Renee Richards, Sylvia Rivera, Amanda Simpson, Lea T, Jenna Talackova, Brandon Teena, Billy Tipton, and Lana Wachowski), and an interview with Ms. Cox.




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