Stories at the Inn

Hate 4 photo hate4b1.jpgToday's offering was written shortly before the Christmas of 2008. Let me stir yor memory jut a bit by reminding you that President-elect Obama had chosen to have Rick Warren deliver they invocation at his Inauguration, which the LGBT community considered to be a huge slap in the face.

I had been looking for a hook or two on which to hang my weekly Friday column.

The snow was blowing and the wind was howling. It was going to be a dark and stormy night.

I graphic is called Hate 4, from my Colors of Hate series.

By the end of the night we are expecting 5 to 7 inches of snow with a quarter of an inch of ice on top. And my sinus is roaring in protest. So the best I can do here is hope for something resembling coherence.

This morning there was a diary requesting that we share A Few of our Favorite Things.

I joined in:

My favorite things are freedom from tyranny, especially the tyranny of the majority, the freedom to be Other, the liberty to be happy and at peace with myself.

But my most favorite thing is the ability to speak up for others who have not been as fortunate as I.

There are a lot of people who are less fortunate than I. I cannot stand idly by while they don't have the freedoms I have.

So I use the only weapon to fight for them that I have, which are my words.

Come on in and sit by the fireplace awhile.

Another person wrote a diary entitled No Room in the Inn about his recollections of his experiences in Austin, TX working with the people made homeless by Katrina.

Finally we have grist for the writing mill.

For some people, there is very seldom any room at the inn. If they are lucky, they might be allowed inside to warm their hands and maybe nibble some stew. Metaphorically speaking. It would do us well to remember it would do us well to try to look at larger pictures. If you'll look at mine, I'll look at yours.

My comment:

No room at the inn is how many are feeling right now re: the news. Warren, the US not signing the UN statement on equal rights because it might be interpreted as supporting equal rights in employment and housing and protection from being assaulted.

But for many of us, this time of the year is also a No Room at the Inn moment because of the grief for families lost. I was once in that boat and know that there is nothing quite so disheartening as looking for a place to dine on a Christmas Day and finding all the doors locked, with signs posted about how they were closed so that their employees could spend the day with their families.

For someone who had just been discarded by their families, it was a tremendous blow, repeated time and again.

My world is better now, but there was a time. There was a fact there were several. It pains me so when I hear someone play the "you guys have it so much easier" than them/us it is helpful to compare oppressions. Isn't that how we all lose?

I stop and remember.

I've walked into restaurants and been refused service. But then, I'm only a transwoman, so that doesn't count.

I've had doctors refuse to treat me or make me wait in a separate place so the other patients wouldn't have to be uneasy. But then I'm only a transwoman, so that doesn't count.

Many transwomen are unemployed or working the streets. You won't find them in high-end stores because they have no money.

Sometimes I don't have to go too far for the memory.

As a post-operative transwoman (by 14 years), I was referred to an endocrinologist after having my thyroid irradiated. The doctor told me she only treated "real women." I feared she was going to break something as she tried to climb out the window to get away from being in the same room with me.

Sometimes I do:

I remember when I came out and began my transition, my boss started to tell me that "for the good of the team," "for harmony in the workplace," I should resign.

I interrupted him and explained that "for the good of the team," black people were not hired in the 60s, women were restricted to subordinate roles in the 70s, and GLBT people were denied employment or lost their jobs in the 80s. Then I told him that it was time that, "for the good of the team," bigots start losing their jobs.

When we get to that point, then the talk about this sort of "inclusion" [i.e. reaching out to bigotry] will mean something.

So why don't we speak out. Why don't we scream for all to hear?

I'm a transwoman. They don't let us near the cameras or microphones. We have cooties.

How do people hear the screaming of a heart crying out in pain? How can they simply walk away?

I've seen people who have posted polls asking if people have been gay-bashed. They never ask the follow up question: how many times?

Nobody asks how many times we have been threatened. Nobody cares about the threats to be raped or murdered. Nobody asks if we have been told we will be fired from our jobs if we step one bit out of line, like by defending ourselves.

And there is never anyone asking, "Have you ever been arrested for being GLBT?"

Thanks, pico. A homeless transwoman was found dead in Dallas, probably not a victim of foul play. But it easily could have been so.

Also dead, I recently was told, is transgender activist Madeleine Joan (Maddie) Blaustein, after a short illness. Under the name Kendra Bancroft, she was a content creator in Second Life.

I have been arrested for being transgender...and using a Greyhound station restroom in Boise, Idaho.

But then, I'm only a transgender woman, so I should expect that.

For speaking up when we are hurting, we have been called self-centered.

Next time you have your rights attacked, tell me how you would feel about it.

Oh, wait. That wouldn't happen, would it.

Equal rights is not about self-centeredness for those who don't have them. That would be where people are who don't think they are important because they have the luxury of not having to worry about them. Apparently, that would include you.

What do I want this holiday season? I want that which is unlikely to happen. I want a soon-to-be president of these united peoples of America to speak to all of us...and

as a gesture of good faith,...say something to the American public positive about GLBT people and their legitimate place in this society and equal rights?

I know it is too much to ask, but it could do so much more to reach across barriers than letting a right-wing preacher pray.

Like I said, my cooties keep me away from doing that myself. But I will cede my time willingly.

Blind Eye

reaching out
so rarely
in our direction

Our vision
of equality
includes all

Isn't that
how it
should be?

Why is there
no reaching out
or otherwise
...but concrete
would be better...
towards this

to the people
in our behalf
would assure us
but seldom
oh, so seldom
reach out
in our direction

The symbols
we have had
so often have died
like rotten fruit
on the vine

--Robyn Elaine Serven
--December 19, 2008




Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)


Past rambling...and ranting.

Robyn's picture

I woke up later than usual. My original plan was to assemble a much longer piece which I have been putting off for a considerable amount of time because of its length. Oversleeping interfered with its preparation.

Your rating: None Average: 3 (1 vote)