Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…


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Transphobic donor of $100,000 finds out money can’t buy bigotry

this article! Transphobic donor of $100,000 finds out money can’t buy bigotry.

things like this give parents of transgender girls a  ray of hope in a world that can be so unkind!

to all the folk who donated their dollars to make up for that bigot’s actions; thank you, for saying a great big “NO” to hate!


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a familiar story

as any readers of my blog know, the process of zion becoming ziona was very similar…without the public school experiences… please enjoy reading this family’s story…

and don’t forget to watch on june 30th!

the more that people understand our transgender kids, the easier their childhoods and journey to adulthood will be…and kids that aren’t traumatised make for healthier grown-ups!


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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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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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only 1% !

this article is an example of sound reporting on a difficult and widely misunderstood subject. i have read and shared many articles that likewise attempt to reveal the intricacies of supporting and treating transgender children. some of the other articles i’ve shared have been loathe to mention the drawbacks and concern, and are great because of the positive tone they set. but there are concerns, and people who want to understand our transgender children need to have a balanced view. they have questions, and questions need to be addressed.

nothing that is true need shun the light of scrutiny. studies and research have been done that effectively exhonerate the supportive parents and medical professionals as are part of the solution to a problem, that isn’t really a problem. this article points out some highlights of research that suggest the differences in actual physical brain structures and workings which align the transgender child more closely to their preferred or affirmed gender than the one allocuted and assigned at birth on the basis of genitalia.

it also addresses the issues of the consequences of a transgender child not being supported or allowed to be who they know themselves to be: self harming, self-mutilation,depression and suicide are among the common results of ignoring this need. in contrast, children once allowed to express their true selves, in a context of loving support and proscribed protocols of appropriate treatment, are far more likely to manifest and far fewer of these symptoms.

for ziona, the difference was like night and day. she is still a moody child, she tantrums and cannot self-calm. but these are mostly associated with the fact of her autism. the moment she was allowed to live outloud as the girl she knows herself to be, even these symptoms diminished by almost 90%! she got happier, quit trying to ‘off’ the ‘spare part’ and smiled alot more often. nor did she feel compelled to ‘out’ herself as a “boy-girl” to folk she just met, something she used to feel was necessary for honesty sake…since referring to her with male pronouns ran contrary to the truth she knew to be.

allaying fears that somehow the parents are ‘to blame’ for their children being transgender seems silly but no parent of such a child that i have come across feels the least bit intimidated by counselors and other psychiatric professionals being part of the treatment. if anything, we are relieved to help the psyche of our little ones heal from any loss of self-esteem they might suffer because of being different. this said, most surely with more research it will be determined that transgender folk are not mentally ill, a fact already known by most. but then, who can’t benefit from a little counseling when going through something as all encompassing as is the transgender person’s reality.

recently in the news, there were a couple of articles that seemed intent on casting aspersions on the practice of listening and seeing to the needs of transgender children. one even went so far as to accuse a doctor of wrongdoing in the case of providing care for a transgender person who eventually decided to ‘go back’ to their assigned gender. the article in question seemed intent on presenting that this is common. it is not. nor can we understand what extenuating circumstances in a person’s life might make the decision to ‘revert’ a comfortable one. are they ostracised by family, friends, and others in their environs? is the pain of subsequent rejection or the hardship of just ‘being different’ in a society that condemns one for it a factor?

that’s why i was especially glad to read in the article i’m sharing today, that only around 1% of transgender people who receive treatment decide later to ‘change back’.

read and pass along this article which tends to be even keeled and logical…especially share it with those whose eyes could use a little opening.


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it takes a village…

a popular saying for a while now has been the one that states, “it takes a village to raise a child”.

i fully subscribe to the intent of that statement. altho, for those of us raising gender variant or neuro-diverse children, the village seems hard to find and far away.

some parents of transgender kids in supporting their child find themselves ostracized, by society, neighbors or even family. to the point that it can feel like we’re alone. despite the wealth of information that is ‘out there’ about trans-kids often the folk that need schooling the most are simply not going to search it out, we parents end up in the wearing all the ‘hats’.

we become advocates, first and foremost, for our children. but we often become teachers as well. we become inadvertent pupils of some of life’s hardest lessons about society, about just how evolved humans aren’t when it comes to welcoming those who are ‘different’. even some of the hairier groups among the primates seem to have more going on when it comes to acceptance. i refer especially to bonobos (by the way; great book to read:’bonobo handshake’)

last week however, ziona and i found our ‘village’.

we had to fly all the way across country to UCSF and the child and adolescent gender clinic there, but there seemed no doubt in my mind that we had stumbled into a most wonderful group of people: ziona’s new team.

the program there owes much to dr. spack and the GeMS program at boston’s children’s hospital, a pioneer in the field of gender issues and their treatment. and the team of folk tending to ziona’s needs include a primary care, a social worker, dr. stephen rosenthal (the department head and best i can tell, an angel) as well as folk with experience in legal issues. in fact, the very person with whom we have been in contact regarding legal issues is becoming part of UCSF’s program. in addition, dr. shawn giamattei is the gender specialist psychologist, well reknowned for his expertise in transgender matters, will be a part of our village.

it almost brought tears to my eyes to have met with such warmth by the folk who will help in my efforts to ‘raise’ the beautiful daughter into the beautiful young woman that she one day will become. the journey to UCSF, and the CAGC program; the planes, airports, red-eye flights and 5 hour layovers were well worth the trouble all things considered.

altho it is much easier these days to find a village when it comes to autism. there was a time when the neuro-diverse, such as autistic children had to struggle to find adequate support systems. and whereas it is still necessary for parents to advocate and fight for these children, recent years have found autism on the rise and understanding to have increased. years ago, autism was blamed on the ‘refrigerator’ moms and the services available for parents to help with raising these special kids were few to nil.

so who knows? maybe in the future the same sorts of programs will be established to help see to the needs of transgender kids, and to work along with their parents to ensure the most favourable outcomes in their treatment/therapy. but for now, like the refridgerator mom theory of autism in the past, the blame (as tho blame were appropriate) for our kids presenting as transgender is likewise hefted onto the backs of the parents/caregivers. no ‘telethons’ for trans-kids, to raise moneys for research, as is now the case for autism.

but my point is that there does exist that village it takes to help us raise our transgender, genderqueer, gender variant kids. it isn’t a very large village, it may be far away, but it’s there. it takes the form of websites, chat rooms like TYFA, rights organisations and programs established here and there across the United states and the world.

perhaps someday, in the not too distant future, understanding and compassion will have caught up with technology, prejudice will lay slain by the sword of truth, and societies finally will evolve to include all of their various memebers, having broken free of fear and loathing for what is ‘other than’ or different…perhaps then, the village will be everywhere.


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this disgusting culture

the last couple of posts i’ve made, reblogs from other excellent bloggers, have brought up a host of thoughts about this allegedly civilised society in which we at the dawn of the 21st century find ourselves.

racism rampant despite civil rights gains, hate-crimes perpetrated against those who are judged as ‘other than’, whether it be for their faith, ethnicity, sexual orientation, gender identity or even just their gender, inequalities justified by those who imagine their morality to be superior. bullying of our children. and these are only the real world day to day degradations.

add to these the representations of violence in movies, video games, on t.v., the constant beating of the drums of war by political figures and media pundits, the actual drone assassinations our peace prize winning president carries out to check off names on his ‘kill list’ and yet somehow we are shocked when someone dons a batman joker’s costume and shoots up a movie theater, or mistakes sikhs for the understandably loathed (for no reason) muslims and opens fire in a temple.

these things shock us, but what of the things that really ought to shock and disgust us, things like those mentioned in ‘the male gaze’ or in “disgusting” ?

in general, the media doesn’t notice when a trans-woman is assaulted, unless she fights back perhaps, in which case she is likely charged with committing a crime. there is no wide-spread shock at the number of women raped, wives beaten, or gays attacked every day. the reaction of the dominant culture and its participants ranges from ‘oh really? to ‘well, that’s to be expected’

i commented on the “disgusting” blog that i felt that for me to pen such a post would be very healing. if i used this literary device to ‘speak to’ the man who upon realising i’d spurned his advances, (not just because i prefer women by the way, he was one of those disgusting ‘male gaze’ types) decided that i was in need of a good ‘raping’. or to address the many men who only thought such things. or to chastise the father, my dad, who made it clear that i was a disappointment.

i would love to post something that my fellow ‘women-loving-women’ would read and feel shamed for rejecting our trans-sisters as less than women. especially those who would ban them from ‘all womyn’ gatherings (you know who you are). i would love to post something to society in general for requiring impossible standards be put upon women. the acceptable height and weight imposed upon us to be considered worthy, the ritual of shaving our womanly body hair so as to appear pre-pubescent and thus desirable in our male dominated world. the painted faces we are told we must have to be ‘easy, breezy, beautiful’, while men can be ugly, fat and old without derision.

i would like to let our ‘looksist’, ‘size-ist’, sexist, age-ist’, cis-ist society know that femininity is not a commodity. that gender is not genitalia, that love is not the exclusive domain of straight folk, that there is no such thing as ‘passing’.

i would love to be able to afford to buy time on broadcast t.v. networks, as do the people running for office, or those trying to sell their latest snake oil, so that i could declare to this ‘lagging-behind’ society, to the captive couch potatoes who have only this medium for diversion from their slave-wage daily grind, that there is another way forward. that those holding the power are oppressing them too. that only by respecting one another as human beings sharing a fragile planet, and treating everyone with kindness, consideration, and compassion, by joining ourselves as one instead of being suspicious of each other, judgemental and divisive, can we overthrow the faceless monsters of greed and oppression that have taken our world and infused it with this disgusting culture.

but most of all, i would love to make a difference, somehow. to waken those that need nudged. so that the world my beautiful transgender daughter grows into someday will embrace her…just as she is!