Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…


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framing our own narrative

i’m gonna rant…it’s been coming for awhile now.  it’s about all this business about where one is allowed to pee.

disclaimer: i am a cis woman and so privileged. i no longer wear my head shaved, so face no challenge as to using the appropriate restroom.  but my daughter is transgender, a beautiful 13 year-old transgender girl. so it’s not as tho i don’t ‘get’ why the issue is important.

here’s where i have a problem with this. since all the hoopla about bathroom rights has been going on, other major issues with regard to trans-persons have fallen off the radar in a big way.

no more worries, it seems, about the much higher incidence of homelessness among trans-folk, or the much higher suicide rate, or the fact that many in the medical profession and insurance agencies routinely deny the treatments and medications necessary to transgender people, this despite obama’s ACA having passed.

no more about how many transgender people are being killed, for nothing more than the hatred and bigotry rampant in society towards them.  just to ‘be’ seems a thing not allowed to some, never mind ‘to pee’!

now, i get that it IS a big deal that unenlightened sheeple fearmonger their way into seeming justified in denying something as basic as a bathroom break, but it seems to me that the narrative has been altered.  altered in such a way that the worst elements of life while trans have fallen to the wayside.  and instead of coming from a place of power, the right to self-definition, self-detemination and even self-defense, now transgender folk are put upon to defend against the notion that they are perverts.

this is a drastic departure from the narrative that is true, which is that transgender folk are normal human beings who have certain inalienable rights, just like the rest of us.

so in my mind, it’s time to piss and get off the pot.  don’t throw away all the progress toward an empowered future.  reclaim and reframe the narrative.

after all, there are way more congressmen, senators, and preachers, who are fond of using public restrooms for prowling. and there are countless sundry other perverts who really are dangerous to our children.. in the bathrooms and elsewhere.

so can we talk? about unemployment, healthcare, suicide, hate crimes, murders and such as transgender people fall victim to…instead of pretending that their trans-ness makes them predators?


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How the Pro-Vaccine Side Lost Me: posted from another blogger

How the Pro-Vaccine Side Lost Me.

altho i never used to think twice about vaccinations for my kids, ziona being injured by hers left me to research, and rethink, everything i’d never questioned before.

kudos to this blogger…for having the compassion to broach the subject in these times when having one’s own mind about such a thing can subject one to ridicule.


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inside out: the documentary *let’s make this happen*

here is the latest project to bring the stories of our transgender children to light.

the homepage includes information on the project, a description of the goals and what its goals are, a place to share your story…and most importantly *perhaps*, a donate button.

as i said in my previous post ‘propaganda’, one of the problems in doing films of this sort are the production costs.  if the subject matter were more mainstream, funding would be easier.  but we have a chance to make a difference, to bring the concerns addressed in the movie a matter of mainstream attention.

visit the page, follow on facebook, twitter or leave an email address to be included in updates.

let’s make this happen!


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propaganda

a rather provocative title i suppose… no one likes the word very much…not after how it has been used in the last few…hundred years.

but propaganda is planting…specifically ideas. in this regard it isn’t necessarily bad or good…it just is.  it’s a method of beginning to grow something … either a new something, or an already existing something.  it has been a thing since language began probably.  one well-spoken person, with a convincing argument or an authoritative tone bringing others around to a certain way of thinking.

one homeschool lesson we did a month ago was about this subject.  using films (one of propaganda’s finest media) like “propaganda” and one called “branded”, we began to unravel the notion of how propaganda can be used.  i was quick to point out that really school is just propaganda, and just as with a real garden, what sort of seeds one uses for this “planting” or propagation definitely determines the crop yield.

but i’m not writing this to discuss the evils of state or corporate induced propaganda.  or even the benefit of using propaganda to counter-act this ‘mind-control’.  rather, this is a follow-up to my previous post of a few days ago: “in the air”

it struck me as fortunate that there exists this medium of film, of video and audio images entering into one’s thought realm…because there are clever people of good intent who have been using this to the benefit of people who are otherwise misunderstood.

around the holidays, nearly every local or national ‘news’ programme brings attention to the homeless.  kudos to them for that.  but the coverage fades after the season’s greetings have all been said, the decorations taken down.  it isn’t enough.

to be effective, propaganda must be on-going, repetitive, interesting, passionate….it must engage without nagging…provoke without oppressing.

governments know this and have used film to win people over even to the insane mass murder of war since before the ‘war to end all wars’ (which didn’t end them, of course).  corporations know this.  they have whole teams of people, including psychologists, spin doctors and studies about how best to get their products ‘stuck’ in our heads.  their messages are relentless.  they know that this is how it is most effective.  want to know with which country we will soon be at war?  watch the movies, or better yet, television.  the villainous breeds these days will speak with arabic, russian or sometimes chinese accents….this is not a coincidence.  the propagandists know full well how to use their tools.

this tendency of visual images and stories presented in film or via the television to ‘stick’ is a sword that cuts two ways.  because it can also be used to dissuade young minds (or even older ones) from bigotry, from ignorance about ‘those others’.  it can educate, enlighten and improve lives!  this is exciting.

money prevents some stories from being told.  the people that hold the ‘purse strings’ want to be sure of a profit margin… some return on their investments.  filming things is expensive, production is expensive.  and whereas there always seems to be enough money to make a movie or docu-drama about war or crime,  the stories that if told might lead to an end to these have trouble getting funded.

there are many good places to watch propaganda that actually plants good seed.  most aren’t network t.v. or sometimes even the cable networks.  because those venues are run by moneyed interests to the extent that compassionate portrayal of real stories aren’t as important as the profit made.  i suggest as a start going here   or simply google documentaries about:_______________. and fill in the blank.

lately there has been a lot of media attention directed toward transgender issues.   i am thrilled for my daughter’s sake and for the benefit such exposure can have for a very oppressed part of society.

but i worry it will be a ‘flash-in-the-pan’…like all the ‘homelessness stories’ that pop-up around the holidays then vanish before the snows are gone.  i worry that some of the most important parts of the stories will be glossed over for those that will satisfy a more voyeuristic bent, that the ‘sensational’ will be highlighted and the deeper parts of the stories…of the pain of rejection, betrayal…the mind’s discomfiture by the bodies contradiction…all the most important parts, those which can make a real difference in how society understands this sub-set of its own parameters might end up on the edit floor.

two projects in their beginning stages are crossing my path at the moment.  altho i half hope that ziona isn’t chosen for the “inside-out” documentary about young transgender people…(mostly because of strangers lurking about with cameras). .. i am thrilled that another programme about people like ziona is being done!  for propaganda to be effective, after all,

it must be on-going, repetitive, interesting, passionate….it must engage without nagging…provoke without oppressing.

and in its best moments, propaganda can change the world!  … for the better!

p.s. here’s a link to a film called “hidden world: underground rome”, which was done by vicki dunakin, the same woman behind the “inside out” documentary i mention


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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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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’