Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…


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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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What’s in a name?

What’s in a name?.

 

an awesome post on a subject that is quite near and dear to my heart.  being able to be called by the name with which one identifies is one thing…but being legally identified with a certain name and gender can be constraining … as my daughter knows.

this year a good friend of mine who is a trans-woman urged me to change my daughter’s birth certificate as soon as  possible…and while i agree that  it must be done before she obtains a driver’s license etc.  i think i’ll wait til she’s been on the puberty blockers for a while…and cross hormones…cause i’ve heard those can really change your mind!

in her new and ‘right mind’ she might just want to give herself a new name.

 


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Badly Reasoned: Why The CO Transgirl Should Not Be Segregated

this blogger is among my favorite of those i follow. read on and see how succinctly she unravels the whole ‘where to pee’ argument with regard to Coy, a beautiful young transgender elementary age girl in colorado.

Badly Reasoned: Why The CO Transgirl Should Not Be Segregated.

and as a person raising a transgender daughter, i can tell you that the last thing another child using the same restroom as her would see is the ‘spare parts’ that she can’t bear even to look upon while getting in and out of the bath or dressing herself. my daughter is so self conscious about them she even asks me to close my eyes if i’m in the bathroom to help her out of the tub. and immediately covers herself with a robe.


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good news

about a year ago, ziona’s pediatrician seemed to be ‘back-stepping’ on support of the process that would move her toward a full transition. already the doctor knew ziona had been stating her identity since age 3 1/2 because she’s been going to this same doctor since she was 3 years old.

dr. z is a wonderful person and i’m really glad we found her, but she was just a bit daunted by the whole process and was fearful of being part of the ‘team’ as far as ziona’s transition needs were concerned.

flash forward to today.

we went into the office for a soar throat ziona had been experiencing…she was fine…but on the way out of the exam room, dr.z stopped me to talk about how much more is being said about transgender kids these days. she mentioned having seen the update barbara walters did recently about jazz, a young girl i first became aware of six months after ziona had told me that she really wasn’t a boy. i told dr. z that it was the first interview with barbara walters that jazz did back in 2007 which had led me to understand that children like ziona exist.

after mentioning a few other recent programmes about transgender kids, dr.z actually proposed to participate in whatever way she could with ziona’s team at the ucsf child and adolescent gender clinic, including doing the very blood draws to monitor rising testosterone levels that she had refused to do just one year ago.

the really good news in all of this is that i feel less alone. the even better news is that ziona’s primary care physician will be on board. but the best news of all is that the mainstream media is beginning to reach into people’s livingrooms to change perceptions about the issue of transgender children.

on a chat forum to which i used to belong, a recent thread had been about whether or not it is right to out someone as transgender. of course, no one thinks that it is their place to do so…but within that thread were some posts about whether it is presumptuous of parents to ‘go public’ about their transgender chldren. whether it is harmful for the child’s future or even present, given the fact that society hasn’t really warmed up to the facts surrounding this, and tend to ostracise those who are different.

i am so thankful for those parents who have allowed their lives to be a way to chink the armour. because of them, a previously reticent physician who sees to my daughter’s health needs is now supportive and willing to be a part of what is most important to my daughter…her physical transition to the girl she already is.

having been long a part of the gay community, i know that being proud and unashamed of who we are goes a long way toward acceptance. being openly ourselves informs society in a way that would not happen did we remain closeted or cloaked.

that being said, it is still everyone’s sovereign right to be out or not.

i’m just glad there are those who are brave enough to be part of the very beginnings of changing societal opinions..

and this show with katie couric is one of the best i have seen.

so enjoy..’

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