Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…


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framing our own narrative

i’m gonna rant…it’s been coming for awhile now.  it’s about all this business about where one is allowed to pee.

disclaimer: i am a cis woman and so privileged. i no longer wear my head shaved, so face no challenge as to using the appropriate restroom.  but my daughter is transgender, a beautiful 13 year-old transgender girl. so it’s not as tho i don’t ‘get’ why the issue is important.

here’s where i have a problem with this. since all the hoopla about bathroom rights has been going on, other major issues with regard to trans-persons have fallen off the radar in a big way.

no more worries, it seems, about the much higher incidence of homelessness among trans-folk, or the much higher suicide rate, or the fact that many in the medical profession and insurance agencies routinely deny the treatments and medications necessary to transgender people, this despite obama’s ACA having passed.

no more about how many transgender people are being killed, for nothing more than the hatred and bigotry rampant in society towards them.  just to ‘be’ seems a thing not allowed to some, never mind ‘to pee’!

now, i get that it IS a big deal that unenlightened sheeple fearmonger their way into seeming justified in denying something as basic as a bathroom break, but it seems to me that the narrative has been altered.  altered in such a way that the worst elements of life while trans have fallen to the wayside.  and instead of coming from a place of power, the right to self-definition, self-detemination and even self-defense, now transgender folk are put upon to defend against the notion that they are perverts.

this is a drastic departure from the narrative that is true, which is that transgender folk are normal human beings who have certain inalienable rights, just like the rest of us.

so in my mind, it’s time to piss and get off the pot.  don’t throw away all the progress toward an empowered future.  reclaim and reframe the narrative.

after all, there are way more congressmen, senators, and preachers, who are fond of using public restrooms for prowling. and there are countless sundry other perverts who really are dangerous to our children.. in the bathrooms and elsewhere.

so can we talk? about unemployment, healthcare, suicide, hate crimes, murders and such as transgender people fall victim to…instead of pretending that their trans-ness makes them predators?

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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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so, this happened…again

it is horrible when someone is murdered.  death comes to us all, of course, but to have one’s last moments of life be an act of violence so cruel … words escape me!  what could be worse? right?

well, the horror being murdered sometimes is not the final insult.

another transgender woman was murdered,  her breath, her future, taken from her.  but as if that inhumane blow that ended her life weren’t enough, the media that reported her death robbed her even further, by declaring her “a man dressed in woman’s clothing”

this travesty, this ignominy of having added to the violence done to India Clarke, strains the limits of belief. in a day and age when so many high profile persons, celebrities and other heroic individuals, have led the way in helping to open the eyes and minds of our society; in a day and age of marriage equality and breaking away from stigmatising those who differ from previously accepted norms, such a hideous betrayal of common decency cannot be blamed on ignorance.

i am raising a beautiful transgender girl who has just turned 12 years old.  she has lived as a girl since she turned five, when i finally understood how i could support her, how to help her be who she truly is.  she still struggles with the fact that her body is wrong for her…she worries that she will die before she is “all girl”.  i can only imagine the horrendous reaction she would feel from beyond the grave if her death, (not even by murder) were reported as the death of a ‘boy dressed as a girl’.

life is hard already hard for a transgender person in these times of change,  when people still feel free to make jokes of transgender people, call them names. in many states, assault and even murder can be considered justified if the person who is attacked is transgender and the assailant felt “tricked” or “deceived” by the clever ruse and thus couldn’t control their response! (it’s called “gay or trans panic” defense and has been overruled in some states, but in many more is still an accepted defense

it’s bad enough that such  blatant disregard for another human life  exists in this the 21st century and  to consider murder and/or assault defensible is truly unconscionable. but for the media to report this vicious deed while at the same time demeaning and robbing the victim of dignity seems beyond a failure.  it is a further crime!

i can only hope for my daughter’s sake that society at large and the media in particular will grow the fuck up!  maybe evolve some compassion…so that if not in life, at least in death our loved ones who happen to be transgender will not have to suffer the behaviour of fools.


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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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Jazz,…forever!

read this…then read on

 

there are quite a few role models for transgender girls…many of them are already all grown up and in the public eye, like laverne cox…laura jane grace, julia serrano…so many.  but for ziona and i, there is one who stands above the rest.  one whose story gave meaning to what zee was going through…and gave a clear way forward to the mother at her wit’s end who had no idea as to how to help her child.

at a time when my child was despairing over having been born in the wrong body, and i was scratching my head as to what was going on,  jazz jennings shared a special and very personal story on a program hosted by barbara walters.  the segment was called, ‘my secret self’ and jazz was among the young people telling the story of gender identity disorder.  it aired here april 27th of 2007…6 months after ziona had used what little language her autism could allow her could  muster, to explain to me the pain she was going through…the reason she wanted to die. (so god could get it right next time and zee have the girl body to match her girl self)…she knew she was a girl!

because of jazz and her family being brave, honest, and open about their experience i knew what i had to do and how we needed to move forward.  i needed to believe her…and she needed to be allowed to be the girl she was born to be.

now zee is on puberty blockers to suppress the irreversible effects of testosterone, and is anxious for the day that she can get cross hormones, to grow breasts (but not too big, she says) and of course, she lives for the day that surgery will complete the process of her transition…for ziona, nothing short of the whole package will do, even tho she knows that she is already  a girl to me and everyone else she knows. for ziona, having a body that perfectly reflects that reality…a body without any parts that belong on boys, is an absolute necessity.

without my having just so happened to be watching t.v. that night…without that jazz and her family had shared their story, and that barbara walters as host had lent the matter a serious and legitimate air,  who knows what ziona’s reality might have been!  because, even though i’ve been a part of the queer community for decades…it had never occurred to me that a child of 3 years old,  my child…would have such a hard row to hoe!

so yes, there are many to whom young transgender girls can turn for examples of how to hold their heads up high, accept themselves and be proud.  but for us, jazz will always be a sort of trailblazer entity…a girl, who like zee, just knew…and who shone a light in our darkest hours, that led us forward to brighter days!

thanks jazz!  forever


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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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metamorphosis

today, while standing at my kitchen sink, my hands deep in suds and my gaze out the window…as i was rinsing out the last of the dishes, a subtle movement of something colourful interrupted my unfocused stare.  upon bringing my attention to the matter, at first i thought it an old leaf, too soon turned with its orange hue and curled edges, caught perhaps in a spider’s abandoned web on the window’s screen.

i watched for a few moments as the bit of detritus shifted smoothly on the morning breeze.  then i brought my field of vision into more acute focus as it dawned on my that this was not some dead leaf, fallen early from her moorings only to be caught up in another.

part of the slender presence seemed attached to something from which it was wrenching itself free.  it took seconds for me to know what i was witnessing…a butterfly emerging from its chrysalis!

mesmerised, i watched as it shifted ever so slightly, moved by an unseen breath.  almost one had to slow down time to discern its subtle movements. as soon as i could break free from the spell unto which i’d unknowingly succumbed, i called to my daughter to share the miracle with me.

she was not unimpressed. and as we stood there together, the natural teacher in me rose up and explained that the newly metamorphosed creature somehow knew just exactly how small a hole to make in the encasement so that in squeezing through it, the pressure of emerging would push ‘juices’ from its abdomen out into the veins of its wings, causing them to eventually unfurl…too big of a hole and the requisite pressure would not be great enough to enable the wings to flight…too small and the butterfly would be trapped inside.  the notion of this exquisite perfection of innate knowlege overwhelms me.

but, even as most children below a certain age are not thrilled by sleight of hand magick tricks (why wouldn’t i be able to pull a coin out from behind his ear?) similarly my 11 year old daughter didn’t seem to grasp the perfection in what the butterfly had accomplished…the tiniest margin of error avoided without effort.  in fact, no emerging butterfly ever makes the hole too big or too small!

i thought of how ziona was a butterfly, her former body so different from what her new one will be.  just as the caterpillar must be sacrificed for the butterfly.  now, on her puberty blockers, she is in a sort of chrysalis. waiting now, but someday in the near future she will change too.  someday the butterfly will push through, unfurl its wings and bask for a moment in the early sun, before listing off on a breeze.

how magickal it is! how awesome to be part of this metamorphosis.