Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…


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in the air

spring is definitely in the air around here.  but that isn’t what i am writing about this day…

instead, this is about things in the air, or rather ‘on the air’ … the media.  media coverage of things can do many things, not all of them good.  but it can tell the truth about issues that are largely misrepresented. and that’s a very good thing.

lately one of those things is about transgender people.  folk already know that it was due to a barbara walters special on transgender children that aired in april 2007 which led to the beginnings of a much happier life for my daughter, ziona.  when she told me she was a girl, i had no idea how to help her…until then.   the airing of that program actually started me on a research journey.  ordering books from amazon.com such as ‘the transgender child'; calling boston children’s hospital to speak with dr. spack’s clinic; and scouring the internet for anything to help me understand how to support my daughter…how to ease her pain.

that’s one thing about transgender people, old and young, that cis-gender people don’t and maybe can’t understand.  just how much pain is experienced…

every good parent ‘feels’ their child’s pain.  we fret over every fever.  break out the chicken soup and lose sleep until our little one feels better.  when they are bullied or have their feelings hurt by their peers, schoolmates and such, we want to take their pain into our own souls and perhaps sternly reprimand someone else’s child for their insensitivity.  we cringe when we clean out the gravel from their skinned knees. so you can imagine how heart-wrenching it is when the ‘booboo’ your child has is one of being a girl or boy in the body of the opposite gender.

ziona was suicidal at three.

altho, i’m not usually the optimistic type when it comes to human nature, i can’t help but to be very hopeful at the recent and even upcoming media representations of transgender people.  the series “transparent” on amazon…chaz bono, janet mock, …just google ‘transgender media icons’ and lists of role-models for our transgender children come up.  and that’s a very good thing!

my daughter is well on her way to becoming the girl she was always meant to be.  i had an ear to hear her words and a heart to feel her pain.  but were it not for media covering this ‘thing’ of “transgender kids”, who knows how much more pain she would’ve had to endure.  like my many transgender adult friends who had to suffer through puberty in the wrong body…and for transgender women, the many irreversible effects of testosterone, which mean more difficulty in being ‘read’ as just women.

so i am delighted with the media bringing the promise of a better day for transgender people.  just google ‘transgender documentaries’ or ‘programmes about transgender kids’.  i am hosting a woman who had found herself ‘homeless’ after she divorced her wife and disclosed to her family that she is not a man, but a woman. she has been approached to be part of a new documentary which, if she is chosen, would help pay for her transition…she has recently gotten a job and no doubt will be finding her own place in the near future.  but to afford the cost of transition in a state with no obamacare or find an insurance companies that will pay for it isn’t easy.  and who really has extra tens of thousands of dollars to afford it on $13 dollars per hour.  i hope they pick her, of course.

our culture and in fact the ideas many people have floating around in their brain-pans are largely infused by media.  the television programmes and the movies tend to be very good at imprinting people with values that are represented.  this can be very bad at times. for example when the news drum-beats for war, or commercials make women feel ‘less than fresh’ in order to sell them something. but it can also be good, when the invisible becomes visible, when the light of our collective attention is poured out in a dark place.  programmes that tell the stories that have been ‘left out’ … or wrongly portrayed, programmes that educate about things that are misunderstood, are a way forward and a welcomed relief to the ignorance and bigotry that might stand otherwise unchallenged.

yes, there’s something in the air these days….and it makes me very hopeful


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Glamorous transgender models: Trans role models? Yes. Trans activists? You betcha!

pasupatidasi:

in addition to a nice reminder of why we are lucky and not all at the same time…not lucky because we women live in a world wherein we are fetishised and lucky because the same fetishism allows for high profile awareness of transgender women.

altho i hate beauty contests of any kind, and don’t ascribe to an ideal of exterior beauty to define myself or any other woman, trans or cis, i can’t deny the fact of benefit from contemporary icons: whether models, singers/songwriters, directors or members of govt…each time a transgender person is considered ‘newsworthy’ because they are doing whatever they do whilst being trans, it is a bittersweetness.

i’ll take our victories with a grain of salt, but still…when a wave rises up from the ocean near the shore, it’s a good thing that it is seen.

enjoy lexie cannes’ movie too….the link is at the bottom of her article

Originally posted on LEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS:

andrej pejic andrejaLEXIE CANNES STATE OF TRANS — In the recent past, society never gave trans people much in the way of gifts — we were mocked and ridiculed in real life, in the media and especially, in the entertainment industry. Jerry Springer and RuPaul represented us in pop culture.

That has changed — legislation made most anti-trans biases a crime, education opened doors and awareness put Laverne Cox on the cover of Time. The last three years alone has been nothing short of amazing for trans people.

These positive changes aren’t just on the surface — the trans perspective in popular culture and entertainment has changed — Positive trans characters? Check. Emmy nominations? Check. Beauty pageants? Check. Mixed martial arts? Check. Glamorous fashion models? Check.

Yes, I’ll concede that there are people (trans or otherwise) that find some of these things a bit, well, shallow. But guess what — these…

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vindication

it’s a strange title for the piece i want to write today.  it’s a strange notion on its own.  still, it is the overall feeling that i took home from the recent trip to maryland for the gender spectrum east symposium.

first let’s look at the word in this definition from merriam webster dictionary.

everyone clear? because all of the various meanings in this entry are what i feel upon reflection of the past few days events.  but i suppose first it would be fitting to explain a few of the reasons, or circumstances, that preclude the need of vindication.

first there is the fact that my daughter is both transgender and autistic.  as regular readers of my blog are aware.  this in itself would not require a parent to have a desire to feel vindication.  but any good parent has doubts as to the child-rearing methods they employ.  we all want to ‘do right’ by our children.  and there exists no dearth of opinions both for and against the way in which we proceed.

this is especially true of parents whose children are “divergent” (by the way, this movie by the same name is a good allegory for our society and its fear of those who don’t easily fit its slots)

we are held up to scrutiny by strangers, by family, friends, and by professionals that believe we should do things their way.  sometimes well-meaning individuals even feel it necessary to report us or our methods to child protection services.  and frequently doctors, specialists, teachers and other ‘authority’ figure types try to bully us into changing our way.

for example, right after the very first vaccination given to zee, she began to have terrible seizures.  they lasted for about 12 months, terrible at first, then tapering off.  i knew that it was caused by the shot… i knew i would never allow another vaccination to be given her.  and of course, you can imagine the flack i have taken for this decision.  but many children who have a ‘bad reaction’ to the ‘shots’ are subsequently diagnosed with autism.  now there is no proof by which i can feel vindicated in this instance,  but she no longer has seizures, and has never had a sick day in her life…even when other children, vaccinated children, were coming down with things the shots were supposed to protect against.  no measles, no mumps, no chicken pox…no dreaded flu or whooping cough.

but as to my decision to homeschool zee, i have often heard the same caution.  it goes something like:

“well of course, one on one education in the homeschool situation is good for learning most things…but what about socialisation?”

even the most well meaning of my friends and family, as well as counselors and professional people have raised this question.  but in my experience, schools are horrible places to learn socialising skills, especially for the ‘divergent’.   there are  bullies,  teachers often don’t have the time or inclination to intervene, and one is not rewarded for socialising during class time…but rather, is punished for it.

i’ve not had opportunity to know whether  or not i was depriving my daughter of this skill, one that is already difficult for many autistic people.  then this magickal weekend at the gender spectrum event happened.  and unlike the previous one she attended in berkeley, (where she didn’t have much of good show of those skills) she was an absolute butterfly!  even the volunteers that looked after the tweens were pleasantly surprised at how unguarded and open she was.

for my part i was nearly blown away, when she, faced with a tight squeeze to sit at the craft table and make her name tag, paused only briefly before shrugging it off by saying:  “well, socialisation is important for me so…”  even two years ago this had been a nearly impossible feat for her.  lack of schooling in a public school hadn’t crippled her after all…and being autistic, which often means social awkward-ness, 10628112_594366457359671_3795345244803197134_n 10151146_594366544026329_4318594729212057215_n 10734180_594366524026331_6456139925374766851_n had not stood in the way.

there is another aspect to this weekend having given me a sense of vindication.  the other transgender children…and their supportive parents, family and friends.  seeing acceptance in action, the good it brings, both serves to prove to me that the path we have chosen is the right one, and give me hope for the future.

i had a couple of experiences recently that make me want to vent…but for today’s post, i just wanted to bask in the glow of vindication.

 

 


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Jazz,…forever!

read this…then read on

 

there are quite a few role models for transgender girls…many of them are already all grown up and in the public eye, like laverne cox…laura jane grace, julia serrano…so many.  but for ziona and i, there is one who stands above the rest.  one whose story gave meaning to what zee was going through…and gave a clear way forward to the mother at her wit’s end who had no idea as to how to help her child.

at a time when my child was despairing over having been born in the wrong body, and i was scratching my head as to what was going on,  jazz jennings shared a special and very personal story on a program hosted by barbara walters.  the segment was called, ‘my secret self’ and jazz was among the young people telling the story of gender identity disorder.  it aired here april 27th of 2007…6 months after ziona had used what little language her autism could allow her could  muster, to explain to me the pain she was going through…the reason she wanted to die. (so god could get it right next time and zee have the girl body to match her girl self)…she knew she was a girl!

because of jazz and her family being brave, honest, and open about their experience i knew what i had to do and how we needed to move forward.  i needed to believe her…and she needed to be allowed to be the girl she was born to be.

now zee is on puberty blockers to suppress the irreversible effects of testosterone, and is anxious for the day that she can get cross hormones, to grow breasts (but not too big, she says) and of course, she lives for the day that surgery will complete the process of her transition…for ziona, nothing short of the whole package will do, even tho she knows that she is already  a girl to me and everyone else she knows. for ziona, having a body that perfectly reflects that reality…a body without any parts that belong on boys, is an absolute necessity.

without my having just so happened to be watching t.v. that night…without that jazz and her family had shared their story, and that barbara walters as host had lent the matter a serious and legitimate air,  who knows what ziona’s reality might have been!  because, even though i’ve been a part of the queer community for decades…it had never occurred to me that a child of 3 years old,  my child…would have such a hard row to hoe!

so yes, there are many to whom young transgender girls can turn for examples of how to hold their heads up high, accept themselves and be proud.  but for us, jazz will always be a sort of trailblazer entity…a girl, who like zee, just knew…and who shone a light in our darkest hours, that led us forward to brighter days!

thanks jazz!  forever


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“so i’ll remove the cause, but not the symptom!” doctor frankfurter, ‘rocky horror picture show’

so this happened…

i’m quite disappointed.  despite all the recent gains, despite positive role models being plastered on the cover of ‘TIME’ magazine, and with the advent of rights such as medi-care and obama-care covering transgender health issues, or the advancement in some states to replace laws that restrict gender marker and name changes on birth certificates, it seems no matter what progress arises there will always be affronts to the dignity of trans-folk.

this is why i try to educate people in my little area of the world…and broader plains where i am able. it is also why ziona refuses to be ‘stealth’.  perhaps it’s her autism and resultant lack of adherence to social norms, or simply her fighting spirit, but likely it is also her sense of right and wrong that make her adamant about NOT hiding who she is, and likewise NOT being ashamed.  she gets righteously angry at slights, slurs and especially outright wrongs done to people just because of who they are.

her indignation extends beyond her own group.  she is angered by all manner of bigotry: racism, sexism, ageism, looksism, sizism…so many ‘isms’ to reject, so many to fight.  and in our discussions about such things as these, we also talk about the best way to combat them, identifying their roots and identifying their causes.

but even if we remove the cause,(ignorance)  it seems the symptoms remain…a rather dire prognosis if we don’t also find a cure for hate and bigotry.

“so i’ll remove the cause, but not the symptom!”  doctor frankfurter, ‘rocky horror picture show’


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15 Infants Reported Dead in Syria in Drug Mix Up – PNC Voice | PNC Voice

this is shocking enough…surely the powers that be will make it look like it’s a rare happening…

but what about the girls paralysed or otherwise suffering after the anti-hpv vaccinations, what about the neurologically impaired or autistic children after the hep. B vax given at birth, or the dpt…the mmr?

surely the recent revelations of the CDC whistleblower who helped to publish fraudulent papers about the ‘no link between vaccine and autism’  should give us pause.

i never get the flu shot, and i never get the flu…my mom gets both every year one after the other…

i think it’s safe to say that one should think twice before letting a strange substance be injecting into one’s body!

 

15 Infants Reported Dead in Syria in Drug Mix Up – PNC Voice | PNC Voice.

butterfly emerging from chrysalis (


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metamorphosis

today, while standing at my kitchen sink, my hands deep in suds and my gaze out the window…as i was rinsing out the last of the dishes, a subtle movement of something colourful interrupted my unfocused stare.  upon bringing my attention to the matter, at first i thought it an old leaf, too soon turned with its orange hue and curled edges, caught perhaps in a spider’s abandoned web on the window’s screen.

i watched for a few moments as the bit of detritus shifted smoothly on the morning breeze.  then i brought my field of vision into more acute focus as it dawned on my that this was not some dead leaf, fallen early from her moorings only to be caught up in another.

part of the slender presence seemed attached to something from which it was wrenching itself free.  it took seconds for me to know what i was witnessing…a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis!

mesmerised, i watched as it shifted ever so slightly, moved by an unseen breath.  almost one had to slow down time to discern its subtle movements. as soon as i could break free from the spell unto which i’d unknowingly succumbed, i called to my daughter to share the miracle with me.

she was not unimpressed. and as we stood there together, the natural teacher in me rose up and explained that the newly metamorphosed creature somehow knew just exactly how small a hole to make in the encasement so that in squeezing through it, the pressure of emerging would push ‘juices’ from its abdomen out into the veins of its wings, causing them to eventually unfurl…too big of a hole and the requisite pressure would not be great enough to enable the wings to flight…too small and the butterfly would be trapped inside.  the notion of this exquisite perfection of innate knowlege overwhelms me.

but, even as most children below a certain age are not thrilled by sleight of hand magick tricks (why wouldn’t i be able to pull a coin out from behind his ear?) similarly my 11 year old daughter didn’t seem to grasp the perfection in what the butterfly had accomplished…the tiniest margin of error avoided without effort.  in fact, no emerging butterfly ever makes the hole too big or too small!

i thought of how ziona was a butterfly, her former body so different from what her new one will be.  just as the caterpillar must be sacrificed for the butterfly.  now, on her puberty blockers, she is in a sort of chrysalis. waiting now, but someday in the near future she will change too.  someday the butterfly will push through, unfurl its wings and bask for a moment in the early sun, before listing off on a breeze.

how magickal it is! how awesome to be part of this metamorphosis.

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