Friday, November 30, 2007

World AIDS Day 2007

Tomorrow is the 19th annual World AIDS Day.
Nineteen years of celebrating this day and it continues to be so very important. Why?
Well, I cannot begin to say it better or more concise than Alexandra does.
Please check it out.

Tuesday, November 27, 2007

November 27th

Best date of the year!
Well, in my most humble opinion it's special.
Today, I share my birthday with three cousins, Lavern, Kenneth and Suzan. Happy happy joy joy, yall!!!

We share this date with some other cool folks as well.

Sheila O'Malley

Francois d'Aubigne Maitenon - 1635
French writer and courtesan.
"The true way to soften one's troubles is to solace those of others."

Charles A Beard - 1874
US Historian

Gail Sheehy - 1937
"Creativity can be described as letting go of certainties."

James Agee - 1909

Bruce Lee - 1940
Martial Artist/actor

Jimi Hendrix -1942
"'Scuse me while I kiss the sky"

Bill Nye - 1955
Science guy

David Merrick - 1911
American stage producer

Buffalo Bob Smith - 1917
Television host Howdy Doody Show

Marshall Thompson - 1925

Eddie Rabbit - 1941

James L. Avery Sr. - 1948

Caroline Kennedy - 1957
Journalist, JFK's daughter

Robin Givens - 1967

Jaleel White - 1976

These people Died on 11-27
Eugene O'Neill - 1953
US playwright
"Obsessed by a fairy tale, we spend our lives searching for a magic door and a lost kingdom of peace."

John Carradine - 1988

Baby Face Nelson - 1934
American gangster

Harvey Milk - 1978
American politician (assassinated)

Emperor Xiaozong of China was born Nov 27, 1127
How 'bout that.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

Transgender Awareness

Alexandra Billings has posted a wonderfully informative and fun series of videos and pictures. The info includes a Transgender history timeline. However, I did notice there was an item missing from the timeline.
In 2003, Alexandra Billings in the ABC TV movie, Romy and Michelle-A New Beginning, became the first Transgender female to play a Transgender female on television. And now with subsequent roles she is the most seen Transgender female on TV.

Along with the pictures and videos, Alex's personal comments are gems. She speaks of something I remember her saying to me many years ago - that she does not feel that she was born in the wrong body. At first that confused me. I'd never heard that attitude before. But she explained that she feels she was born Transgender, and there's nothing wrong about it. I got it.
I love that, I understand it, and I believe it.

So please, go learn and enjoy those faces and the diversity, from the brilliant Lynn Conway to the amazing strut of Chili Pepper. Thanks Alex!
Here are just a few of my favorite pics and peeps.

Alexandra and the Grey's Anatomy cast accept GLAAD Award for an outstanding GLBT relevant episode.

Trans rapper Katastrophe

Singer Josh Klipp with dancer and girlfriend Sarah, on the Tyra Banks show.

One of the nicest people I know, Honey West.

Transgender Day Of Remembrance November 20, 2007

In November of 1998, Rita Hester, a Transgender woman in Boston, Massachusetts, answered a knock at her door. Instead of a friend, however, the person at the door was an assailant who forced entry into her apartment and stabbed her over twenty times. Rita's death that night proved to be the event that focused the attention of transgender people everywhere on the terrible violence often inflicted on trans people.

Beginning in 1999, a day in November has been set aside as a day to remember our brothers and sisters killed during the past year and honor those like Rita who died in previous years because of gender identity/expression ignorance and hatred. The annual Transgender Day of Remembrance also serves to raise public awareness about hate crimes against trans people. Many cities worldwide hold vigils and memorial services. Whether standing up at a vigil or just raising your own awareness, we all need to stand with this community against this violence.

We should remember that hatred kills in many ways.

Ronnie Antonio Paris was only three years old when he died in January 2005. Ronnie Antonio was beaten to death by his father, Ronnie Paris, who felt the child was behaving "like a sissy" and was terrified the child would grow up to be less than a "real man." Ronnie Antonio Paris died of brain injury from repeated head trauma.

Tyra Hunter died in 1995 after a car accident due to the insensitive non-treatment of emergency techs who discovered she was transexual.

Maribelle Reyes
Location: Houston, Texas
Cause of Death: AIDS; Reyes was turned away from
several treatment centers due to her transgender status.
Date of Death: August 30, 2007

The TransGriot, and she truly is, has a series of excellent posts for this 9th annual Day of Remembrance:
There's Something About "Deception"
HRC, Keep Your Moneygrubbing Hands Off Our TDOR
Transgender Children FAQ (excellent post)
Making Change: The Cost of Being Transgender
Disposable People
Transgender Day of Remembrance- Peeps We've Lost
(There are very few that make the media and so very many that do not. In the Remembering our Dead series, we learn some of their faces and stories.)

Saturday, November 17, 2007


This is a gift to women in poetic form, by Maya Angelou. (Thanks Dustin)


A set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black lace bra...

One friend who always makes her laugh...
And one who lets her cry...

A good piece of furniture not previously owned by anyone else in her

Eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a recipe for a
meal that will make her guests feel honored...

A feeling of control over Her destiny...

How to fall in love without losing herself...

How to quit a job,
Break up with a lover,
And confront a friend without ruining the friendship...

When to try harder and when to walk away...

That she can't change the length of her calves, the width of her
hips, or the nature of her parents...

That her childhood may not have been perfect...but it's over..

What she would and wouldn't do for love or more...

How to live alone...even if she doesn't like it...

Whom she can trust, whom she can't, and why she shouldn't take it

Where to it to her best friend's kitchen table, or a charming
inn in the woods...when her soul needs soothing...

What she can and can't accomplish
In a day...
A month...
And a year...

Tuesday, November 13, 2007

Dr. Donda West

Donda West 58, mother of hip-hop star Kanye West died Saturday in Los Angeles. Dr. West was a retired professor and former chairwoman at (Monica's and my Alma Mata), Chicago State University English department. Our thoughts and prayers go out to our Chicago homeboy and his family.

Friday, November 09, 2007

ENDA Passes the House

The United States House of Representatives, in a 235 -184 vote in the early evening of November 7, passed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), which provides federal protection barring workplace bias against gays and lesbians.

32 years after the first gay civil rights measure was introduce by NY Rep. Bella Abzug, ENDA became the first GLB bill approved by a house of Congress. Openly gay Representative Barney Frank can celebrate this victory. He worked hard for it. Frank is joined by Speaker of the House, Nancy Pelosi and GLBT organization, the Human Rights Campaign, in declaring this a victory.

Not celebrating is ENDA co-sponsor Congresswoman Tammy Baldwin, the only other openly LGBT House member. She is not celebrating because the version of ENDA that passed, excluded provisions barring discrimination based on gender identity and expression that were originally in the bill when introduced. The protections for Transgender Americans were extracted from the bill pretty much for expediency. Because according to Frank, it would be easier to get it through.
Rep. Baldwin fought for a Transgender inclusive bill. Perhaps she doesn't believe in using the time and money and talents and numbers and shoulders of Trans people to climb up, then leave them dangling by their fingertips with your foot in their face, with only some lame promise about going to get a ladder. "We'll be back for you. Be patient. Hang on. Oops, sorry, watch your fingers".

Representative Baldwin knows that Transgender people have been there from the beginning,(hell, they were the beginning) standing with GLB Americans and that they actually need these protections more. They are now left to struggle alone. And now thanks to this betrayal from their supposedly own community, fuel is added to the fire of those who believe gender identity is a false issue and doesn't need addressing at all by law.
If your own kicks you to the curb.....

In a floor debate before the bill went to a vote, Congressman Frank said.
"There are people who are your fellow citizens who are being discriminated against. Please don’t turn your back on them."
How did he get the balls to say that?

What was accomplished by rushing to pass a watered down (even in it's GLB protections) Trans exclusive bill that caused a hurtful, divisive riff in the GLBT community? This law still has a mountain to climb in the Senate and no chance to be signed by Bush in any form. The best hope for ENDA is in 2009 with a hopefully more liberal Senate and a Democratic president. So why turn your back on your own for such a shallow gain?? This was a lose/lose endeavor.

For a Transgender point of view check the Transgriot's excellent post and be sure to read the thoughtful responses.

Tuesday, November 06, 2007

Ahhh Sweet Mystery of Life

I've been thinking a lot about the beauty of life in all it's phases, even the one that sucks. My mom, Jojo, is now in hospice care. I had to learn what that meant and it scared the hooey out of me at first. But now I understand that it is as much about living as well as possible, for as long as possible, as it is about dying a peaceful dignified death. It's about family coming together to enable her to leave this world feeling peace and love. I've learned about the physical part and the emotional-spiritual release part, but you are never prepared and it still scares the hooey outta me.

Jojo, who has always been the boss of this clan from the great-grands to her husband, (who will be just pitiful), are all trying to carry on as normal as if this is not hanging over us.
My mother is feisty and smart as all hell and thinks she's a comedian and never lets us forget she's still the mom. She decided for her third go around with cancer, that she wanted no more chemo and was inexplicably calm and brave. "Let whatever's going to happen, happen", she said. Now, she is doing so well, it's confused her, made her anxious and fearful. We and the hospice social worker determined when talking to her that she may have been ready but now she doesn't feel like she's going anywhere. After being assured that it was perfectly OK to feel fine, and normal to have anxieties, she is better. She still gets anxious more quickly than usual and we still have to assure her that it's OK that she's not in pain or feel like she's dying. Of course she doesn't know what that feels like. Is it agony or warm and comfortable? Confusion. She said she woke up feeling so "warm and comfortable" she thought something was "sneaking up on her". To which my sister Marcia, quickly replied, "yeah that was me". This got her some rolled eyes. Mom had been uncomfortable and in pain, so now with the pain patch and other adjustments, she is feeling pretty good. But with all her calm bravery in deciding to enter hospice, she is scared. We are too.
Monica's mom had a stroke in February and died in May. But, she was not awake and communicating. So, I tell you friends, I've never gone through anything like this before and I know it will get more intense to say the least.

It's remarkable how in these situations everyone does (or does not) do their part, how wounds heal or are opened. My sister has been wonderful. I can feel an old closeness returning in our working together for our mom. We are quite different people and have many issues. We are working through some and around some, but feeling an old, or is it a new appreciation for each other. That's a gift. So, I am trying to count the gifts in this here situation and it gets hard sometimes. Thank goodness my family is so full of tricksters and comics. Jojo being the main one.