Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…


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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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“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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a ‘passing’ grade

just wanted to share this awesome Janet Mock article with any readers of this blog.  

now to rant.

i hate the term ‘passing’ as it is applied to transgender people! we are so looksist and sexist in our society.  when people use the term ‘passing’ for a transgender woman, what i hear behind the words is: “he really looks like a woman”   

no one worries about how i, as a cis-woman, ‘present’.  i can wear pants and no make-up all day long, be as frumpy as i please and no one challenges whether or not i am a woman.  no one questions that i ‘pass’.  so i can’t imagine how unfair it must seem for a transgender woman to be held up to some unreal standard of ‘passing’.  i’ve heard the saying that gender isn’t between the legs, it’s between the ears.  i totally agree.  so where does ‘passing’ figure into it?

it seems a back-handed compliment at best and not very trans-friendly to judge whether or not a woman makes the ‘passing’ grade.  

some of my older friends who are transgender tell me that my daughter is lucky to be receiving puberty blockers that will keep her from suffering the irreversible effects of testosterone.  that she will be able to ‘pass’ much easier.  but i feel that it’s a shame that it’s such a big thing.

of course, this is all a very cis-gender attitude to have.  after all, with or without make-up, i am read as a woman, and there’s no danger that a man, who has felt attracted to me, will later feel betrayed and angry enough to beat me for not being a ‘real woman’.  i will not have a job interview go south because i don’t ‘pass’.  i will not be followed home down a dark street by dangerous idiots that taunt me as being a ‘she-male’.

whether i think passing matters or not is of little consequence.  but i look forward to a day when no one worries about such a thing.  when a woman is a woman because she says so! when that is enough! i look forward to a day when ‘trans-exclusionary radical feminists’ realise that their own ‘womanhood’ is not more than that of a transgender woman.  when society lets go of a need to judge…

i look forward to a time when people are more concerned about their own being able to  ‘pass’ for a compassionate human being.


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waiting to exhale

it’s been a whole month since my daughter and i ventured west to california, an annual pilgrimage for us –  not just because we still have a place in the northern mendocino mountains, because these days we kill two birds with one stone, merging this ‘vacation’ ritual with appointments at the UCSF child and adolescent gender clinic.

but this year was special!  this year ziona reached the inevitable  ‘tanner level 2’.  that means that she was ready for the next step in her journey to her true self.

in the months leading up to this visit, ziona had been very distraught over the increasing ‘pop-ups’ of the part of her anatomy that betrays her.  the level of pain this caused her psyche apparent in the renewed threats to simply ‘cut it off’.  all day long that unruly and incorrect member beset her young mind with the constant reminder that things are not as they should be.

now it has been a month since the magickal implant was placed in her arm.  and the difference this has made is amazing.  tho results are individual, the relief of her ‘symptoms’ is already huge!

the first week was horrible! she kept on expecting that she would be free of the erections and the growth of the testes would be immediate.  she accused the implant of being a dud.  she cried every time a ‘stiffie’ raised it ugly head.  she begged me just to bring her back to the clinic and insist that an orchietomy be performed.  her anxiety that nothing would stop the onslaught of male puberty nearly consumed her.

i explained to her that it would take some time for the vantas implant to get into her system and shut down testosterone producation.  and altho i had faith that this was the case,  i found myself as on pins and needles as she seemed to be.  so i held my breath, hoping i would be proved right, the sooner the better.

so here we are now, a month later.  the testes are visibly retreating.  the horrid erections are nearly non-existant any more.  my beautiful daughter is far less anxious about the process and protocols that we are following, far more convinced that we will be able to make sure she doesn’t grow a beard, or develop a deeper voice.

on our way back home we visited with a good friend of mine, one whom i’ve known for eternities i’m sure, one who just happens be transgender.  altho dropping in on her had much more to do with my self wanting to reconnect with Candy after all the years, it served as further evidence that surgical gender transformation would eventually liberate ziona to become fully female as well.  it felt almost like a part of her was reassured in a way that simply telling her how this whole protocol worked could never quite do!

we skinny-dipped in a pond at my friend’s house.  so ziona saw a beautiful transgender woman, who had shed the cocoon of her former self and become who she was always meant to be.  the visage wasn’t wasted on her – she almost seemed to breathe a relieved sigh.

as for me, after feeling as tho i’ve been holding my breath for many months, i can finally rest a bit easier.  we have put one foot in front of the other on the path that is unfolding before us, and i’m no longer suffocating…no longer waiting to exhale!


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the right gender

a person, whose blog i regularly read, posted a wing-dinger  the other day.  everything from political correctness to language policing and beyond made up part of the excellent read.  as usual the blogger did a very good job slicing through the subtleties of how acceptance is doled out or withheld to those within their own sub-culture. but the first paragraph really got me going.  because in it, this tidbit came to light: some transgender folk actually dare to wish they weren’t trans.

apparently, in today’s “oh so politically correct” world, not only is it frowned upon to make a difference between transgender or cis-gender, but if one is a member of the former it is abhorred to long to have been born into the latter!

my transgender daughter spends most of her days NOT thinking about being trans, (in fact she doesn’t much identify with the term) but wishing she had been born the girl she is.  and it seems that is taboo by some within the T community.  it is abhorrent and worthy of a severe reprimand from some.

but here’s the thing, i find it rather disingenuous to be up in arms, as it were, against those folk honest enough to to admit that they wish for an easier time of being who they are.  don’t we all who struggle, for whatever it is that we want so badly and don’t have, wish for an easier way of getting it?  people who are very poor might wish they’d been born into a family with wealth.  is that loathsome too? is it wrong, when life seems to have wronged you, to wish it weren’t so?

my daughter wishes every single day that she’d been born in a girl’s body!  is that really a reason to be hated?  should she have to be ‘trans and proud’ in order to garner the respect and support of others?  because she’s not proud of having the ‘wrong parts’…she’s horrified!  she lives for the day that modern surgical techniques can make right the wrong done her by her very own body,  its betrayal of who she really is!

if assimilation is wrong, why do so many transgender women and men do so much to ‘pass’ as the gender that is between their ears?   must transgender folk all be card-carrying members for life, wearing the “T” on their sleeves in order NOT to be set upon by other transgender types?  after all, in my daughter’s mind,  being transgender is a temporary condition.  one that will be a landscape in the rear-view mirror someday.

even after ‘the surgery’  i know that she will need cross-hormones for the rest of her life, and that no matter how much of a girl she looks, behaves or identifies that there will be those in the lgbt community and society at large who feel it their place to judge and criticise her.  under these circumstances, who wouldn’t wish they’d simply been born ‘the right gender’ to begin with?

 

 


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if only i didn’t love her

today we, ziona and my self, spoke to her psychiatrist for gender dysphoria in advance of our trip out to university of san francisco for her appoint at the child and adolescent gender clinic.  dr. giamattei asked me something that i almost never hear: “what are you doing for you?”

having a transgender child is worrisome enough. there are hurdles and protocols, expenses that often one must fight to have insurance or medicaid pay…there is the pain of watching the child’s pain about something beyond our power to reconcile.

it’s not like when they’re sick, and feverish, … so that an over the counter pain reliever or febrifuge will suffice.  it’s not like when they’ve fallen down and skinned their knees, when a bit of healing salve and a kiss to make it better helps.  it’s not like when someone at school has been mean or unfair to them and you march right down to wherever to stand up for them and demand an apology.

there’s no one to speak an apology for what has happened to ziona.  there’s no medication to alleviate her pain.  and all the kisses in the world from ‘mom’ or anyone else can’t make it better.

things like puberty blocking implants are only a first step…the one we are at these days.  then it’s down to waiting again. for time to pass, for the magickal age at which she can start cross-hormones. and then another wait. it will be at the very least, five whole years before she turns 16, when a surgeon who has already agreed that ziona should get the reassignment that early given her level of dysphoria, can give her the rest of what she will need to feel whole.

because ziona is also autistic, and has issues with self-calming and ocd, this whole transgender thing, this condition, is even harder on her than on a child who is able to ‘take a breath’…to let this ‘wrong part’ not be an overwhelming thorn in the side,  one who is at least capable of  avoiding a melt-down when the unavoidable pop-ups (erections) occur.

yes,…it hurts us as parents when we must stand by, with nothing whatsoever that we can do to alleviate our children’s suffering…it hurts…and i don’t know what to do for me.  for the frustration i have that time doesn’t go faster, that i can’t wave a magick wand and change her into the girl she is. i don’t know what to do for me, to make me okay with the pain i see her going through every day.

if only i didn’t love her…


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Reflecting on “​My message to those who would attend Radfem 2012”

 

thought that readers of this blog might appreciated this post from a blogger whose posts i read with great relish for the new things i learn with every read.

 

enjoy

 

 

Reflecting on “​My message to those who would attend Radfem 2012”.