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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into the deep end

it’s been a while since i’ve written in my blog…mostly because everything is going relatively smoothly in our lives..ziona and i have been doing our homeschool lessons and other things we like to do. we added japanese to our curriculum this year and more drawing, per her request.  she has tested out of 6th grade and we are all ready for the upcoming 7th grade lesson plan, having bought the necessary materials and researched what sorts of extra-curricular options we’ll consider.

we haven’t yet taken our trip out to california for her appointment at the child and adolescent gender clinic at ucsf with her ‘transition team’.  the vantas puberty blocker that she had implanted into her arm last year is still suppressing male puberty, but it is going to have to be replaced, probably later in the year.  but it may not be quite time to have it replaced by september when our next scheduled visit with her team is supposed to take place.

so i have gone online, to every resource of which i have knowledge to try to find a closer option for a pediatric endocrinologist that will consider being a more local part of ‘the team’.  already ziona’s primary care provider is part of the away team…ordering the tests that the ucsf pediatric endocrinologist orders.  but because of  it being a specialised branch of medicine, the pediatrician doesn’t feel comfortable with seeing to certain aspects of ziona’s needs.  including prescribing hormones or implanting the puberty blocker.

if i can find a local pediatric endocrinologist i can wrangle ziona’s medicaid into helping to pay for this as well…which would be a big help, as i am on a very fixed, very low income.  i haven’t found an endocrinology practice that mentions being okay with transgender treatments for minors anywhere in the whole state of florida! none!

so this is me, getting ready to dive into the deep end of the pool.  i am going to try to convince a local pediatric endocrinologist to become a part of the san francisco team…long distance…in the same way that the primary care physician does.  by being in touch with the very highly esteemed ucsf program to provide the hormones and/or puberty blockers that are necessary to my daughter’s well-being.

so wish me luck, readers! and if by chance anyone out there knows of a doctor in florida that already provides such a thing as pediatric endocrinology for transgender minors.  please comment below!


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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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of hope and dread

two things happened today. one of them filled me with hope. one filled me with apprehension and dread.

life is like that.

the thing that filled me with dread was some horrible news about my sister’s grand-daughter. she is only 5 years old and was just recently diagnosed with cancer in one of her kidneys. she was to be set for surgery to remove the tumor on monday. until it was discovered that the tumor is the size of a football. and has displaced internal organs. now nothing is set. nothing is known.

i tried to put my self in her shoes. but it is just too close to home for me.

you see zeeona has juvenile polyposis coli. and altho the pathology on the lesions has as yet come back benign, the longer her colon produces these pre-cancerous lesions, the greater the possibility of malignancy.

i have no idea what lies ahead for my sister’s grand-daughter. but hearing about it reminded me both of how lucky we are…yet how tenuous health and normalcy can be in this life. how we tend to take such blessings for granted.

the other thing that happened today, the one that filled me with hope took place in the local furniture store.

i had just purchased a new chair and table for zeeona’s room, and was being checked out by the older woman with whom i prefer to do business there.

she’s about my mom’s age, around mid 70’s. she’s sold us every piece of furniture that i’ve bought for this house, since 5 years ago when we first arrived. and so, she knew zeeona when she was a three year old boy named zion running around and playing hide and seek amongst the tables and couches on the sales floor.

it was natural for her to say, “is your little boy at school?”

i didn’t take even a moment’s hesitation when i answered: “turns out it i have a little girl.”

she looked at me with a quizzical expression, so i went on.

“she’s transgender”

what followed was a very nice conversation in which i explained to her what it means to be transgender, and a bit about some particulars.

like how i waited, probably too long, to allow her to be a girl, how i thought, even hoped, it was just a phase. how i researched and learned more about the whole thing and how finally, to spare her the psychic pain should would suffer did i not support her right to be who she is, i set aside my fear and ‘he’ became ‘she’.

the elder woman listened intently. her eyes showed an open and inquisitive soul, an underlying compassion shown through them. she looked at me with an empathetic expression and said,

“it’s better nowadays than before. people are changing. it’ll be even better in years to come.”

then she said, ‘he’ll be just fine.”

“she” i corrected the pronoun choice softly and respectfully. and the woman smiled and apologized for the incorrect pronoun. saying.

“i’m sorry, it’ll take me awhile to get used to it”

“that’s okay” i said “my mom still has a hard time remembering.”

this whole episode filled me with such hope! that a woman, not a close friend or family member, but slightly more than a stranger, was so understanding and open minded. and of course, what she said was true: it is better now than back then, and it will be better in zeeonah’s tomorrow than it is today.

there’s still a long way to go. transgender people are subject to discrimination, to ridicule, to harrassing and violence. but the world is coming around, ever so slowly. i have hope that someday, the gender to which one identifies, and whether or not this matches the natal reality, simply wont matter to anyone at all.

in reality, i’m far more worried about zeeonah’s juvenile polyposis morphing into cancer than i am about the fact of her being transgender. and i’m filled with way more dread and apprehension about my sister’s grand-daughter than i am about my own daughter’s future.

maybe i’m only an optimist.
or maybe i a dreamer.

but dreams are the things that give us wings. dreamers truly can change the world!


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to win the future

my little girl is growing up. so fast!
at eight years old and in third grade it is her first time in school.

we tried pre-school when she was three, but it was a public school and altho allegedly for special needs children, the staff, from teacher to administrator, seemed not to know what autism is. so iep’s weren’t followed and after three short weeks, no more school for us.

the school she’s attending now is a private school. everyone that works there has had special training in learning disabilities, especially autism. there are only five students in her class and two, sometimes three teachers. on every single child’s desk is a small laptop. internet and programs loaded onto each one keep the children occupied when they’re not doing the lessons planned for each day.

my little girl is growing up fast. and someday soon, before she begins to hit the infamous ‘tanner level 2’ where the testosterone that a male body creates would begin to do it’s irreversible damage, she will start on blockers to prevent this tragedy and take cross hormones to allow a normal puberty as the girl she is.

the years ahead of us will be full of many particulars and special needs not usual to raising most young girls to adulthood. and it seems clear that the world that surrounds us is only beginning to awaken to the presence of uniquely different children like zeeona.

but just as we found our way to a school situation that was fitting and appropriate for her, i have no doubt that we will also find our way through the maze of testosterone blockers and cross hormones, and doctors and surgeons to help her to become the young woman she is destined to become.

along the way their will be many, like the folk at her first school, that just don’t get it. there will be need for advocacy at every turn until and beyond the time she is grown and on her own.

but she is strong! i have no doubt that she will rise to each occasion, leap each hurdle, and win the future – not only for herself, but also for other children like herself who will be born.

this is the way we win the future. this is the way to win hearts and change minds.


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to do the right thing

it is great being a parent!

while this statement is true at many levels, it shouldn’t be taken to imply that parenthood is without its trials.

my daughter zeeona has brought me no end of expanded awareness on a variety of subjects. as well as moments of absolute frustration.

but i wouldn’t trade a single moment of our time together for all the rice in china.

all in all, raising a transgender daughter doesn’t begin to compare with dealing with the side effects of her autism.

considering the surgeries and hormone treatments in her future concerns me far less than the juvenile polyposis syndrome she has, which necessitates yearly surgeries to remove countless pre=cancerous lesions from the whole of lower intestinal tract.

thinking of her health and well-being in lieu of the brain scarring she suffered at birth, the abnormality of a transfer of genetic material between the third and fourth chromosomes, and the anomalous spiking of electrical activity in her pre-frontal cortex worries me far more than the fact of her gender variant identification.

tell someone your child has autism and they sympathize with you.

inform them of the juvenile polyposis syndrome, and what it is or might mean and people are moved to compassion.

share with someone the fact of the intermittent seizure activity, the slight cerebral palsy that affects pronunciation of some words and has caused weakness and lack of tone in some of her muscles, and people consider our lot unfair and think us brave.

but if you let them know that your child is transgender all bets are off.

seeking to do the right thing for our transgender children is often called, ‘enabling’ them to be ‘mentally ill’. pursuing a course that can actually heal the child’s rift with the physical reality when it includes helping the body to align with the psyche is judged harshly by people.

there are no end of resources and medical practitioners to help zeeona and i maneouver the course of her various other ‘conditions’, and no one is concerned when i pursue the most appropriate treatment for them…they would be concerned did i not!

but when i pursue the appropriate treatment for helping my transgender child achieve wholeness, along with the prejudices of the sociey at large, there are precious few facilities and professionals geared to assisting us, unless we go to boston, seattle, san francisco…

well, you get the idea.

the statistics are daunting as regards transgender folk. if they do not receive the appropriate treatment to knit their outer selves to their inner selves death by suicide, drug addiction and other self destruct behaviours are high.

this is not a phase. it is not a mental illness. it is not a disease pathology. it is a person’s inner self and gender expression betrayed by the physical reality. or maybe for some it is really just a betrayal of their reality by a cis-ist dominant society’s insistence upon a binary gender system.

for every transgender person the way forward is perhaps as varied as are people themselves.

some will be fine with merely knowing they are inside the opposite of what their external bodies appear. some will want to alter their appearance and live as their identified gender to some degree, whether taking it all the way to gender reassignment surgery, or just hormones. some may be satisfied with merely using cosmetics and dress code that society has approved for that gender.

but without a doubt, the most important therapeutical assistance for any transgender person is acceptance of their reality. – by society, family, and friends.

so why doesn’t this happen? why does zeeona get all kinds of understanding for her various other conditions and judgement and loathing for this? why am i lauded as a patient and perserving parent for seeing to her health and well being in every area, except this one?

being a parent is sublime. and it is an honor. it is also a call to advocate on behalf of someone other than one’s self. regardless of previously held beliefs.

and so it goes…

to do the right thing isn’t always the easy path. come to think of it, usually the reverse is true.


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change comes

it has been a year since my beautiful child has been living as the girl she is. the changes that have come have not been hers really.

oh, her hair has grown out and frames the heart shaped face that holds her smiling eyes.

the wardrobe is different too, dresses with leggings underneath. but the colors she’s always chosen to wear haven’t changed: black and purple, stripes and skulls. (she’s so halloween!)

the games she chooses for the wii system or computer haven’t changed either.

but the people around her have had to change.

my mom still struggles with using the appropriate pronoun when referring to her. but she realised that zeeona (the new name she’s chosen) would wear dresses when we came out to visit.

the cousin that had betrayed her trust by laughing at her in public for wearing a dress now plays with zeeona and shedoes use the appropriate pronoun. they play now as they always had before the ‘nasty betrayal’…like two good friends, two girls.

i have perhaps had to change the most, yet for me it was the easiest of changes i have ever made. i merely had to believe in her. then the rest fell right into place.

i feel like celebrating this anniversary. but not with her. zeeona has always said she was a girl, so there’s nothing to celebrate from her point of view.

but i will celebrate, quietly, and with great joy. i will celebrate the world around her changing to accomodate her, lovingly, as she goes about simply being herself!


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thinking

i’ve been doing alot of thinking about thinking these days.

brought on by a natural tendency to do so, an article i read online and examination of propaganda as teaching…

 

the article i read had to do with the differences, actual physical differences betweenthe brains of right-wing folk and their left-wing counterparts.

 
it stated that the brains of self-identified right-wing types had a thicker region inthe part of the brain called amygdala. this region of the brain is called the primitivebrain. it is credited with the type of survivalist reactions such as respond with aggression to a perceived threat. it is the selfish part of the brain really. ( anyone curious can google amygdala for more information.)

 
it stated further that the brains of self-identified left-wing types had a thicker region in the part of the brain called anterior cingulates.  this region of the brain bordersthe frontal cortex and among other things, empathy and the ability to think outside the box of ‘self’. (again, google this area of the brain for more information.)

 
these two bits of recent discovery got me thinking…does this mean that right-wing assholes and left-wing bleeding hearts aren’t to blame for the way in which they process information, perceive their world and respond to it?

 
were these regions of their brains always thicker and more active or did repeated use of one or the other build up the region, the way one might exercise a muscle?

 
there have been studies of the brain that suggest that serial killers have differences in the way their brains work as compared to those of us who don’t kill. does this mean that they just can’t help themselves?  and if so, does it mean that they can’t be held accountable?

 
if these regional brain differences exist independent of external influence or internal exercise can there really be any hope of changing someone’s mind?

 
certainly propaganda experts through the ages have believed it was possible.  but is it really?

 
can a person whose anterior cingulates and cerebral cortex predispose them to empathy and thinking of others as well as themselves be turned into xenophobic self-preservationists?

 
can a person whose amygdala makes them more concerned with their own survival and self-interests be taught to be compassionate, self-sacrificing for the whole?

 
i’m less of a determinist than some.   i believe that change is possible,  for better or for worse.   if someone’s brain predisposes them to a certain way of thinking, i like to think it isn’t set in stone.

 

but would that mean that someone whose brain defines them as female while their bodies declare them to be male can have their mind changed too?  or someone whose brains predispose them to sexual tendencies such as gay or bi?  is there really any flexibility at all?

 
perhaps some things about the way we think can be changed and others can’t.

 
if we don’t give serial killers  ‘a pass’  even tho their brains can be demonstrated to be different than non-killers,  how can we condemn transgender people for the way their brains are?

 
did everyone affected by the nazi’s propaganda in a way that led to follow along have a tendency to think with their amygdalas?   were those who resisted the ones whose anterior cingulates region was more developed?

 

can racist’s minds be changed?

 
i have no therefores.

 

just thinking about thinking is all…and ya know what?  it just might be that the tendency to think about thinking is something not all brains do well…

 
but since i am of the belief that thoughts are things not far removed from deeds, it is my sincerest hope that it is possible to think differently and change a mind.

 

and then maybe…change the world


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bp and the spill that gushed

went to huffington post and got this spill feature that can be used on a website.

it fills the page with swirling oil…

a way to spread the disgust around so that maybe justice will be had by those that are worst affected and
perhaps to enlighten folk a bit about how poorly, greedy industries treat the environment.

just go to instantoilspill.com

and get your very own…