Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…

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please read these powerful words…and be moved

scrolling through my facebook timeline, i came across this article; appropriately titled: “someone tell me that i’ll live”

a beautiful bit of starkly honest writing that sent shivers down my spine, gave me goosebumps and brought me to the brink of tears.

we who are raising our transgender children have a host of ‘right now’ issues with which we must contend.  getting blood labs to ensure that we get the puberty blockers on time, before the hormones which would further betray our child take hold in their bodies….starting the cross hormones at the perfect time so that they can experience puberty as the person they truly are….advocating for them with schools and at other social gatherings…educating where we can so that others will begin to experience the requisite compassion.

but none of this ensures their safety.  when our children become young adults and venture out into the great, big scary world, it is out of our hands.

certainly, at some point before she is older, i will have to help my daughter to understand the dangers.  perhaps get her some judo classes…as she is autistic, she often misses nuances in behaviours of others that might warn her ahead of time when someone isn’t receiving her well.

this article was amazing in its ability to bring to mind the realities of our far less than perfect society, and the consequences to our transgender daughters, mothers, sisters and friends.

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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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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 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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“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’


no such thing

i found this among my transgender news and views items…after reading it, i found it reasonable. but there is one thing that made it seem somehow disingenuous.

the opinion in this article was that in washrooms, where one typically goes into a booth, shuts the door and does one’s business, of course there is no reason to exclude trans-women, pre-op, non-op, or otherwise, from using the facilities. it maintains that changing rooms/dressing rooms are a horse of a different color. in these instances, a person is not typically behind closed doors.

the author of this opinion piece says that transgender people should use discretion, perhaps put understanding over questions of equal rights,..that “tolerance, respect and common sense should take precedence over idealism”.

there’s just one problem. in my experience, the transgender females whom i have known and my transgender daughter in particular, are loathe to ‘expose’, their ‘male organ’. my daughter can’t bear even to see or touch hers! one of my best friends, who finally was able to afford the gender reassignment surgery that completed her, was embarassed as hell before the surgery to have someone see ‘the penis’. even did she find that there was no booth with a closed door to hide behind to change clothes, she made creative use of a towel.

so to me it seems unlikely that trans-women are going to be blatantly exposing themselves in dressing rooms. is this a bone of contention being used as a wedge to justify transphobia and denial of equal rights? are there really that many transgender pre-op women out there that have no qualms about showing off the part of their body they are anxious to be rid of?

i can’t speak to non-op transgender women. perhaps they don’t share my daughters sense of dread at having that ‘member’ being seen. i recognise that a trangender woman is a woman despite the belying nether parts, and that many don’t feel the same need to physically change their bodies surgically. but i’ve yet to meet one of these sort who doesn’t respect women’s dressing rooms, as did my good friend before her surgery.

so is this a real issue? or is it being used to drum up fear and find other ways to discriminate even if transgender women have to use the women’s restrooms? are there in fact transgender women who would act like some trench-coated perv lying in wait to ‘flash’ their stuff at unsuspecting girls?

i’m gonna go out on a limb here and say that there are not!

that being said, i am all for respecting others, when such an extension of grace doesn’t feed into their short-sightedness or bigotry. as proof, i offer the following:

once, at a well-known ‘clothing optional’ (tho rarely worn) local swimming hole, a friend of mine appeared on the path to the water. he called down to me and asked if i would mind putting something on, as he was bringing along his mother and some nieces and nephews. myself, my daughter and another friend of mine were the only ones there at the time. i would’ve been fully in my rights to say no. but out of respect, i covered myself. and when the other friend with whom i had been swimming took offense that i honored the request, i told him that he was free to stay naked, but that i would be putting something on. in the end, he did likewise, tho with grudging reluctance.

so if anyone who reads this blog wants to weigh in on the issue, this is my question:
do you know of ANY transgender woman who while using a public women’s dressing room, would blatantly or knowingly expose her ‘penis’ to others in the room?

in my humble opinion there’s more likely a unicorn in my backyard.

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don’t ask – don’t tell?

my child is a beautiful eight year old girl;
full of wonder, light and tomorrows.
she doesn’t have to be much bothered right now
with things like cis-ist attitudes and
judgmental opinions about who she is.
but as she becomes a bit older,
no doubt she will one day come up
against the brick wall that is
‘the dominant paradigm’.

today we went to the bank to deposit a check.
we hadn’t seen the teller who assisted me
for well over a year. she may have been
at another branch … who knows.
zeeona was playing at ‘hide from the cameras’,
a game she plays to avoid the many not-so-hidden
cameras scanning the place for potential robbers
and thieves.

as i was filling out the deposit slip,
out of the corner of my eye, i watched as
the teller’s face registered first recognition,
then disgust. she had caught sight of zeeona
and remembered that ‘she’ used to be ‘he’.
i braced myself for the inevitable.

“how old is your son getting to be now?” came the question.

zeeona was blissfully oblivious to this insult
and was still busy ducking and dodging the cameras.
as for me, i contemplated turning to the teller
and answering her.

then decided to feign oblivion, as tho
i hadn’t heard her.

if she asked again, i would tell her,
“my daughter” is eight now, isn’t she beautiful?”
then if she pursued the matter further
i would tell her that zeeona happens to be
a very special girl.

but the teller didn’t ask again.

i finished filling out the slip and
just before handing it to the teller
i called out to zeeona

“okay, girlfriend (a term we use for one another)
done here soon”

again, out of the corner of my eye
the face across the counter registered disgust,
and even a slight and no doubt unconscious
shaking of the head as she accepted the slip
and began to print out a receipt.

she didn’t ask, so i wouldn’t have to tell.

but a part of me wished she’d’ve had the guts
to inquire further.
a part of me wanted to gently awaken understanding in her,
not only for my daughter
but for others who are in some way different
from her self.

what kind of world will it be for zeeona if who she is
must be kept hidden: a secret.
what kind of world is it that wont even allow
discussion of the obvious!
(because obviously, the teller knew!)

being cis and bi it has always been easy for me to ‘pass’
within the confines of the dominant paradigm
if i so chose.

but the rebel in me always wanted folk to know
how i differed from their reality. will zeeona feel the same?

since she already lives as a girl.
and will transition into puberty as a girl,
then shortly after she is 16 undergo surgery to
put everything just so,
will she feel the need to be recognised as
someone who started out life in a male body?

or will she feel more comfortable just being seen as
the girl she’s always been?

i don’t know.
what i do know is that this special faerie child
has opened my perceptions to myriad ponders
even before and ever since she surprised me with
who she is.