Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…

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at what cost? the strategy of bradley manning’s defense

there can be no doubt, at least in my mind, that bradley manning is a hero. his conscience led him to make certain things public, including a damning video of US soldiers shooting and killing iraqi civilians from a helicopter. then came wikileaks and the throngs of cables, none of which were top secret, but all of which were revelations of the way in which business is done, behind the scenes.

his treatment at the hands of a government, angry at being “pantsed” has been nothing short of horrific and aptly defined as torture. he has been held in solitary confinement, often naked and without even a blanket, for nearly 24 hours of every day for well over a year. he has been denied visits, unless the matter has been pursued with viligance, and amnesty international was denied their request to visit him in detention.

that his actions did NOT harm a single troop on the ground or elsewhere and the fact that the cables were NOT released as part of a conspiracy with wikileaks or any other entity, seems little to matter to those who would lock him up and throw away the key. all this despite the present administration’s assurances of transparency, protection for whistle-blowers and repeal of bush era violations of constitutionally guaranteed rights.

so, one cannot help but feel that WHATEVER strategy could lift him out of his present circumstance is justified. but is it?

the strategy being used by manning’s defense is to paint him as a victim. NOT of a secretive government’s desire to shut up opposition, NOT of a conscience that wouldn’t allow him to look the other way when he came across clear abuses and under-handed duplicity. NO! the defense claims that stress created by the pressures of being a gay man in the service under DADT, along with the gender identity issues he has caused him to be leaky!

i think we all know where this can lead. the insinuation is clear. gay and transgender people in the military service aren’t to be trusted. being gay or transgender is a threat to national security. being gay or transgender is a pathology.

this, coming on the heels of the just recently repealed DADT bill, and the years of effort in advocacy on the part of transgender people to have gender identity diversity removed from the list of mental diseases in the DSMV, is clearly NOT a good thing!

tho, i truly hope that justice can be gotten for bradley manning, who is, when all is taken into account, a great american hero and patriot for his actions in trying to reveal the ways in which this country, the country that he defended, has gone astray, it seems unlikely that THIS defense will do anybody any good.

those who have opposed repealing DADT will have ammunition behind their bigotry, those who seek to see transgender people as weak-minded or sick will have all the affirmation they could hope for in the defense strategy being put forth, and likely it wont save bradley manning either.

so at what cost? this defense strategy.

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baby steps and gratitude

baby steps

that’s the way we grow
from one level of maturity to the next.

but we do grow…all of us, no matter how old.
still i admit being taken way aback by the
baby step my own 75 year old mom just took!

this is the third christmas that my beautiful and proudly transgender daughter has lived ‘outloud’.
we always go to my mom’s house for part of the holiday, but on zeeona’s first christmas as a
the girl she is, we nearly didn’t make it, because zeeona wanted to wear a dress…one of her beautiful new sweater dresses, and my mom wasn’t comfortable with this.

in the end, mom acquiesced.

since then, altho she hasn’t been able to ‘remember’ to use the feminine pronoun when referring to zee, or even call her by her chosen name, mom has decided to ‘sort of’ ‘kind of’ accept that there’s such a thing as transgender. and knowing that we wont come to visit if there’s a dress-code, she tolerates any outfit my daughter wants to wear.

because zeeona has a wide range of interests, not entirely girly gifts were always apropriate. so mom has always been able to fall back on such things as puzzles, books etc. as gifts that didn’t violate the societally imposed rules for what things a boy or a girl might receive.

this year, when mom called me for suggestions of what to get for zeeona, i was prepared to run through the same sort of gift ideas. i hemmed and hawed a bit before answering…

then mom broke my incoherent string of non-words interspersed with ‘i don’t knows’ and asked, if i thought zeeona would like the pink waffle cotton pajama set she had bought for her…maybe with a matching pair of fuzzy slippers.

to say you could’ve knocked me over with a feather at this point doesn’t nearly do justice to the shock i felt.

not only had mom suggested some quite obviously girlie gifts, but she had used the proper pronoun when asking “do you think she’d like…”

on my end of the phone, with jaw gaping and wide-eyed disbelief splattered across my face, i stammered back saying something like, “yeah, she’d like that i think”. but my mouth was forming words without benefit of my brain, which was still reeling with the realization that my mom had just taken one HUGE baby step!

at the time, i didn’t interupt her to point out that this was the first time she’d referred to zeeona with the proper pronoun. at the time i didn’t think to praise her for choosing a gift that shows her acceptance of zeeona’s reality.

at the time, my surprise overwhelmed me. and later upon reflection, i thought it absolutely necessary to save this praise, and express my gratitude when we are face to face, so she can see my eyes.

if i know me, even tho i have thought about it ever since, blogged about it and ponder what a big step it was for her, when i finally tell her in person just how much it means to me, it will be through eyes brimming with tears of joy and love. and i will definitely need to give her a big hug.

had my mom never been able to ‘get’ to this point, this acknowledgement and acceptance of zeeona’s reality as a transgender girl, it wouldn’t have doomed our relationship. as my mother, she has done so much! so it seems to me out of place to demand growth on the part of our parents, but to applaud them once it occurs is the only right thing to do.

when i do finally see her again, tomorrow, and let her know how much this baby step means to me, unless i miss my guess, my eyes wont be the only ones filled with tears.