Don't let your schooling interfere with your education.
~ Pete Seeger

Thursday, October 30, 2008

No on 8

There are times when you simply have to stand up for what is right.

I have embraced this issue before on this blog, but the issue then was abstract. Prop. 8 is specific and concrete, and it impacts human lives.

My legally married lesbian blog-friend Sara is in California to fight for marriage equality, and she wrote this beautiful, passionate plea.

When I engaged with opponents of marriage equality earlier, I asked them how allowing gays to marry would hurt them. None could give a satisfactory answer. They replied in abstractions – pointing to the dictionary, as if words on paper were more important than human lives and families. Or pointing to the Bible, as if their personal religious convictions gave them the right to make choices for other people, despite the clear language in the First Amendment to the United States Constitution forbidding the establishment of state religion. Now it seems that the best argument they can come up with is that granting marriage equality will somehow "neuter" their own heterosexual marriage. How? They can't answer. So they lie. In fact, granting marriage equality raises marriage from a privilege to the solid dignity and sacred power of a right, and so empowers heterosexual marriage as well as homosexual marriage.

A dear friend of mine in California – a woman who has dedicated her life to improving family relations and communication for all parents and children (my god, that sounds so cold, relative to the warmth and power of her love) – wrote in a letter recently, that her heart was breaking at the thought of losing her marriage. She married 12 years ago, and remarried, legally, on her twelfth anniversary. This is a woman who has saved countless marriages, through her teaching and work. My heart is breaking, too, as I write this, at the thought that her own marriage may be stolen.

Please, let's put an end to this fight, and go on to deal with the really serious problems our nation faces. If you can, go to http://www.noonprop8.com/ and make a donation. Call anyone you know in California and ask them to vote NO on 8. And if you're in California, please, vote for equality for all.

Proposition H8 is not the end – it is only the beginning. Every time something like this happens, we feel more energized, more convicted, more determined. We are not going away. We, your lesbian, gay, and trans neighbors, will continue to laugh, to love, to raise our families, and fight for equality.

Peace.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Collateral Damage

I scanned this article detailing the reddest and bluest cities in the nation, and ran across this quote: "Also contradictory, [Lubbock] has a high rate of teenage pregnancy but an abstinence-only sex education policy."

Huh? Hasn't the writer been paying any attention at all to statistics? Probably not. And you don't even need statistics to figure out that abstinence only works 'til it stops. The sex drive is natural, intense, and it isn't going away any time soon. A high rate of teen pregnancy is the natural result of abstinence-only sex education, not contradictory at all. With the confluence of both data and logic teaming to make this obvious, I sometimes wonder if the imposition of these policies isn't a hidden effort to keep women down and economically oppressed.

I don't think so, though. I really think it's just another example of blind ideology trumping common sense, and women and aborted babies are just collateral damage in the culture wars.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Education

Lately I've been reading a book called "Learning All the Time," by John Holt. At the same time, I've been loving watching my children blossom. Their curiosity, their enthusiasm, their pure joy in learning and doing is remarkable. Yesterday Sam, 5 ½ years old, started reading "Brighty of the Grand Canyon" aloud to his grandmother and me. Outside of correcting his pronunciation from time to time, he did fine. ("An- jel, not an-gul") It's just challenging enough to be interesting, as he reads slowly but steadily, only stopping to sound out a word every third or fourth line or so. Trin isn't interested in reading yet, and he doesn't do it very well; but he and Sam have worked out a symbiotic reading relationship, and you can often see them sitting together, with Sam reading aloud. Every time he gets stuck on a word, having trouble sounding it out the right way, Trin jumps in and helps him with the correct pronunciation. It's beautiful, it's teamwork it's each learning from the other.

With this background, juxtaposing Kristin's recent blogs on Unschooling and School leaves me with mixed feelings. On the one hand, wonder and joy at the freedom and self-paced progress of my own children; on the other, a deep sadness that so many children experience school in a way that is painful, oppressive, and dreadfully boring and confusing. I know that was my experience of school.

On a macro scale, the universal "big picture," this oppressive and ineffective schooling is unnecessary.

On a micro scale, within the context of the economy, culture, and society we have created, I'm not so sure. Many people I know really don't have that choice – they're two-earner families, and school, as affordable child care, is an economic necessity. Others are single parents. Others are overwhelmed and unable to relax into the role of unschooling family without more help and appreciation from society. Still others are sincerely convinced that children would not learn what they need to learn without school, and send their children off with conviction that they are doing what is best for the child.

It's clear to me that schools are not doing the job they're "supposed to do" very effectively. It seems to me that what schools do best is to indoctrinate children with values of obedience to authority and suppression of their own and others' needs, and prepare them for a life of mediocrity. Not that I came to this conclusion by myself. It is simply my own experience and observation, coupled with reading the works of John Holt, John Taylor Gatto, and Alfie Kohn.

As usual this election cycle, there are school bonds on the ballot. I'll probably vote for them. If a kid's going to be schooled, she should get the best schooling available. But I have real doubts that the current system can be reformed. I think maybe we should just scrap it and start over.

And the first place to start is to make school a choice.

Monday, October 27, 2008

Is Obama a Socialist?

So what if he is?

I find it weird and disturbing that the Republicans have been making this big fuss about Obama being a socialist, when he's done and said nothing that I've heard that says he has any socialist inclination at all. Apparently it's just slinging mud and hoping it sticks, but even then, it seems odd because even Republicans are very fond of our most socialist program – Social Security. Then I look at the success of socialized things like the medicine they have in places like France, Germany, and Sweden, which is far more effective, efficient, cost effective, and popular than our private system. It's like McCain and Palin are yelling, "Holy cow! Obama's gonna go and enact programs and policies that are going to work really well! They'll be effective, efficient, and make life better for everybody except the super rich, who don't need anything more anyway! We've got to stop them! Hey, all you working class idiots – don't vote for your own best interests – vote for ours!"

I use the term "idiots" here because it seems to me they're treating us like that.

In addition, though, it's totally hypocritical. Palin is the most socialist candidate of the four. From the New Yorker:

~The proceeds [of oil field leasing] finance the [Alaskan] government's activities and enable it to issue a four-figure annual check to every man, woman, and child in the state. One of the reasons Palin has been a popular governor is that she added an extra twelve hundred dollars to this year's check, bringing the per-person total to $3,269. A few weeks before she was nominated for Vice-President, she told a visiting journalist—Philip Gourevitch, of this magazine—that "we're set up, unlike other states in the union, where it's collectively Alaskans own the resources. So we share in the wealth when the development of these resources occurs."~

In other words, Alaska owns the means of production collectively, which is, by definition, socialist. (This demonstrates that there are as many forms of socialism as there are of democracy, or tyranny.) And the state uses that power to distribute wealth evenly across the board, or, as Ms. Palin puts it, to "share in the wealth."

They accuse Barack of "spreading the wealth." I'm not sure what's wrong with that, but I'm even less sure how different that is from their own practice of sharing the wealth.

And that is why I find the terms of this attack puzzling and disturbing. Frankly, I think Obama would do well to go further out on a socialist limb. This nation is in no danger of becoming socialist in the foreseeable future. The GOP has been far too successful in demonizing socialism and linking it to communism, which is not the same thing. But there is no doubt in my mind that government can be more effective and efficient at providing certain services than the private sector is able to, at least when the government agency is accountable and transparent, as it should be. Social Security is a good example. Health insurance is another. Mass transit. We've socialized most roads and highways, and that seems to work pretty well – we should socialize the rails, as well.

This whole "debate" about different ideologies, as if we have to be perfectly "free market" or capitalist, or else we'll be completely socialist in a communist model, is destructive and foolish. We don't have to be all one or the other. I'd really like to see a shift to discussing how to create something that works really well – and I don't care if we call it socialism, capitalism or what, but I think we'd be best off to not call it anything. Then maybe we won't get attached to the ideology.

Sunday, October 26, 2008

Friendships

I blogged yesterday on my desire to share the special intimate friendship that is unique to women. Here, I'd like to extend that to thoughts about friendship in general.

It seems to me that there is nothing unique to women in having this form of relationship unique to them. I see that men sometimes form a special bond, which takes a different character completely, yet is just as unique and precious. I see it between men and women, lovers, where a special dynamic of the two sexes blends, often, to another unique form of friendship. I see it among my trans friends, where a connection built on the common experience of living in a physical incongruity bonds us instantly in shared experience.

There are many species of friendships. Mother and son. Mother and daughter. Father and son, father and daughter, grandparents, whoever – the common experiences, and disparate characteristics of age, hormones, body, soul, blend into different types, each unique and precious.

I never formed that male bond with another man, though I've witnessed others who have. Sure, I had friends, but not that special male-to-male bond. It was impossible for me to form such a friendship, because to do so, I would have to be someone other than who I am. You cannot have that bond without honesty, and I could not be honest and still develop it.

Not so the female/female bond. I can be completely myself and embrace and experience that friendship, and in fact, I have always desired this friendship intensely. That part is in my power. The part where my female friend perceives me as female, and so returns that bond and completes the circle, is up to her.

It may be this aspect of intimacy that creates so much pain for transpeople when they attempt to live in the roles assigned to them at birth. Humans are gregarious animals. Our social needs are intense, and vitally important. One of the cruelest punishments, or tortures, is solitary confinement. People locked alone without human contact for too long often go insane.

Similarly, people who do not expose who they really are to those around them experience some degree of isolation. This isolation will remain no matter how intimate they might be with someone, because the unique, special form of relationship that is natural to them in regards to that person can never be developed. Gender is far more important to the human psyche than sex. Gender is a vital part of every human relationship. Sex is only important in a few.

I am blessed with a number of these special bonds. And thanks to my transition, I am no longer isolated. I am finally blessed with the one that has been missing for my entire life.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Friends and a Far Way

Last night my mother-in-law came to visit, and Kristin and I left her with the kids and went to a play put on by our local high school. One of the actors was formerly Kristin's student, and we enjoyed watching him perform. In the years since he was a troubled pre-schooler under Kristin's tutelage he's become a big, talented sophomore. He yelled out when he saw Kristin after the show, hugged her, then turned to me – and hugged me, too. I was accepted and embraced by all at this performance, including the significant crowd of women who mobbed the ladies' room during intermission.

Later on in the evening, after spending a crazy hour at home, I lay in bed and thought about my life. I gave thanks. And I thought about what I want.

I am most comfortable when I forget my body and feel myself completely female and socially embraced as such, in whatever social role or event that might be. There is something jarring and profoundly disturbing about becoming aware of my body as a male part of me. This is a measure of how the extent that my body and my soul/mind integrate. To the extent that I perceive my body as male, I cannot integrate at all; I am faced with an unresolvable incongruity, and this incongruity rocks the foundations of my identity, my self, my world. It is completely disorienting, perhaps like it would be to live in a world without gravity. For years I lived a coward's life, trying to resolve the incongruity by forcing my mind to accept – tolerate – the role that was expected – that I expected – of my body. All it did was drive me to within the thought of its effect on Kristin and my children away from suicide.

One of the transwomen I admire the most is my friend Tobi. She appears to be completely comfortable in her skin. She makes no effort at all to hide the butch side of her, nor the fact that her body is genetically male. She even lets a dusting of whiskers stay on her chin. As far as I can see, she has integrated her body and soul, resolving the conundrum by recognizing her male body as female.

Be patient. I'm working my way to a point.

The performance we saw last night was Rent. One of the most memorable lines, for me, was from Angel, who is described as a "gay drag queen." My perception from the acting was that she was transgendered – not necessarily transsexual, but certainly female gendered, and as such, I didn't have the sense that she would be gay, even with a male lover. Anyway, the line was given as the characters mourned her death, and one of them mentioned her going up to a "skinhead" who was harassing her and saying, "I'm more of a man than you'll ever be, and I'm more of a woman than you'll ever get."

Those words resonate with me.

I would really like to integrate to the point that I can look at and feel the "male" aspects of my body and yet perceive them as female – as part of me, and not this separate entity that has nothing to do with me at all except that it's an inadequate vessel that carries me from place to place. Ideally, everyone around me would perceive the same thing – not that I have a male body, or even that I'm trans, but just that I'm a woman with a mildly misshapen body. I want to live the deep, connected friendships that are unique among women.

I think it's possible. I've had a few glimpses over the last week, when I almost get the sense that my penis is a female part, or when I just melt into my role as a woman.

And I have friends. Oh, I have friends. My own mother-in-law has embraced me, and likes Seda better than her former son-in-law. Anne, and Davin, and Ilana, and Kristin, all have embraced me into that magical circle of feminine friendship. It will happen with others. It appears to be more difficult with people who knew me before transition, which isn't surprising.

And rising from the ashes of that fake male persona I used to wear, is the phoenix of something new, something precious – a deep, fierce pride in who I am. In being a transwoman. (See Angel's words, above.)

I do not deny who I am. No, I embrace it.

So far I have come. I'm on a path, creating a life that is, as I am, beautiful.

And if that's a paradox – well, shit, my whole life is a paradox!

Friday, October 24, 2008

Race in the Race

The latest New York Times poll has Obama ahead by 13 points.

Perhaps that's why the article makes this quote, as if surprised that some people can be that astute:

"Yet some voters still ascribe racial motives those opposing Mr. Obama this year."

Well, yeah. Duh.

You've got the McCain ralliers yelling, "Kill him!" "Terrorist!" "Arab!"

You've got 400 years of slavery, Jim Crow, and resentment about affirmative action.

And then there's this comment, left on my friend Field Negro's blog:

"This is the struggle for the soul of this country...i have my guns loaded...lock and load...and some niggers will have to pay. ... Die, bitches. heil hitler. heil mccain."

Pure guesswork, but I'd guess a 10 to 20% McCain swing based on white people voting against "the black man" (though the one quoted above is hopefully part of a minority of less than 1%). Maybe more.

But that is a celebration. Not too long ago, it would have been 50% or more. After eight years of Obama, it'll probably be within the statistical margin of error.

And think of it - discount race, and you've got a 23 to 33 point swing.

Go, Obama!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Oregon Ballot Measure 63

I honestly believe that this measure is the least understood and most harmful measure on the ballot. It would exempt all work on homes and farm buildings valued at $35,000 or less from permits. As usual with a Sizemore initiative, it is very poorly written; for instance, there is no system identified to provide a uniform valuation. How the $35,000-per-year is figured is up to the individual. Is that the amount added per the tax evaluation? Market evaluation? Cost of materials? The amount a contractor would charge? Apparently, it's up to the homeowner to decide, which means that it will, in practice, exempt work valued at far greater than $35,000. It is reasonable to assume that some people, especially unscrupulous landlords, will legally construct entire houses, over the course of two years, without permits – they'll be able to show receipts for $70,000 in materials, or less – but would you really like to live in that house?

Let's take a look at some winners.

The main winners are slumlords. Folks who own a lot of houses that they rent cheap to poor people and college students will be able to make additions and changes that enable them to rent more rooms without complying with basic standards for fire and life safety.

Another clear winner is fly-by-night contractors. Knowing there won't be oversight of their operations, unlicensed or unscrupulous contractors will be able to undercut bids from reputable contractors, and their substandard work will be legal, even if it violates basic fire and life safety standards, or is structurally unsound. So sue them! (If you can find them.)

Large-scale farm operators will be able to make changes in buildings where farmworkers labor, eliminating regulation of fire and life safety standards from production facilities where these under-represented people will labor in worsening conditions.

Some homeowners will be able to save up to $1000 or so to make reasonable remodels or additions to their homes – and they'll do it with quality and care.

How about losers?

Firefighters are going to lose bigtime. Think about it. Would you like to enter a building without knowing whether it had been constructed to basic fire, life safety, and structural standards - or not? Or climb on a roof without knowing whether it had been remodeled with an undersized beam that's going to fail with a minimum of char? One of my colleagues has a sign in his cubicle: "God made building inspectors so that firefighters could have heroes, too." There's a good reason the fire chiefs and firefighters' unions are against Measure 63. Some firefighters are going to be injured if this measure passes. Others will die.

I'd say insurance companies would be losers, since they will experience a spike in claims due to substandard construction, but I've got a feeling they'll be proactive and start immediately raising premiums across the board to cover all the additional claims. They clearly won't be winners – they'll be dealing with a much less predictable market – but the big losers here will be homeowners with insurance.

Folks who live in or own property in flood hazard areas are going to be major losers. The only insurance they can get is underwritten by the federal government, which has strict standards. Without a permit review system to verify that construction in a flood hazard area is built according to those standards, the feds will withdraw flood insurance from Oregon. How much will your property be worth when you can't insure it?

Another loser will be reputable contractors. They'll be undercut by unscrupulous contractors, and, while their reputation may provide some assurance of continued work, in a tight market the loss of a job to a fly-by-night outfit could mean the difference between bankruptcy and solvency.

The environment will lose. Oregon has some pretty good energy efficiency codes. Throw them out the window.

Renters, especially low income families and college students, will probably be the biggest losers of all. Without any system to review and inspect for basic fire and life safety standards, such as egress windows and fire separation assemblies, they will be living in unsafe houses. Some of them will die.

I don't think saving a thousand bucks is worth it.

I make these claims based on three factors:

First, reason. When you really consider the ramifications of such a poorly written initiative, and look at winners and losers, it becomes clear.

Second, as a plans examiner, I have intimate familiarity with building codes, including the reasons for them, their shortcomings, and the mistakes people make in planning their remodels. I frequently see beams that are undersized, even grossly undersized. I see proposals to cut the webbings and chords of engineered trusses. I see bedrooms designed with windows too small for a child to crawl out of – even without windows at all. I see mistakes made by engineers – yes, they are human, too – rarely, it's true, but mistakes in math or in following load paths can be deadly. Frequently I see designers make changes after the engineering has been complete, which renders the engineered system useless. I see mistakes that have been missed by the designer, the engineer, the contractor, the homeowner, and me, which are caught by inspectors in the field. The code isn't perfect. The solution is to revise the code, not throw it out the window. Having another pair of eyes look at your project before and as it's built is the best and cheapest insurance you'll ever get.

Third, and most of all, I make these claims as the survivor of a house fire.

At around 11:30 p.m. on April 3, 2003, I awoke with my dog scratching at my bed, whining in panic. I looked out the window to see flames shooting from my neighbor's bedroom. I rushed to call 911, while Kristin grabbed our 3 year old and 6 week old sons and ran out of the house. Within seconds, just after giving the dispatcher my address, the phone and the power went dead and smoke poured into the hallway between our bedroom and the one exit door.

We lived in a duplex that did not have the 1-hour fire separation, nor the egress window, required by Oregon code.

Fires move with incredible speed. Look at the video of the Great White fire in the Station nightclub sometime. "It just -- it was so fast. It had to be two minutes tops before the whole place was black smoke." That's why so many people died. Had we not had a dog – had we awakened one minute later, our house choked with smoke and without power – at best we would have escaped through that tiny, high window in our bedroom suffering from smoke inhalation. We would have had to call 911 from a neighbor's house, so response would have been much slower. By then the fire would have broken into our apartment, and we would have lost much more than we did, perhaps everything. Very likely, in trying to save our children, one or more of us would have been seriously injured or killed.

All because of construction that did not comply with building code.

When I say that people will die will die as a result of passing Measure 63, it is, granted, only my opinion. But I make it with full confidence that I am right, based on experience, history, and reason. All to save a few thousand bucks and build whatever the hell you want.

It's just not worth it.

If you live in Oregon, please join me in voting against Measure 63.


Sunday, October 19, 2008

Socialized Medicine? Let’s Do the Math (or at least make some conservative estimates)

With our health infrastructure crumbling, 50 million folks without health insurance, and a growing sense of urgency, you frequently hear about the evils of "socialized medicine." So I thought, let's take a closer look. Let's do the math, and see just how bad we'll get ripped off if we nationalize health insurance and adopt a single-payer insurance system like what France or Germany or Sweden or Japan or some other backward, socialist liberal country does. Sure and if we do, our health system will go right down the tubes and be like theirs, huh?

Oh, wait. Their systems are all rated LOTS better than ours. Though we do pay about 2.5 times as much, per capita.

For simplicity's sake, I'm just going to figure this as if we expanded Medicare to include everyone. After all, we've already got socialized medicine, which by law is required to try to make itself competitive with private insurance. This is tough, since Medicare operates at about 3% overhead, and private insurers operate at 12% t0 30%. So, by law, Medicare is not allowed to negotiate drug prices, it excludes a huge number of people based on age and ability, and they've got tons of complicated, stupid paperwork that drives health providers nuts and makes them hesitate to accept Medicare patients.

So, my employer pays about $6.35 per hour that I work into private health insurance. Under Medicare, I'd save, conservatively, 10%. (6.35x.1=.635) So, right off the bat, I get a 64 cent raise. Cool.

Then the math gets more complicated. For instance, I know that there will be 50 million more people with health insurance, but how many of them would be taxpayers? I don't know the details well enough – does that number include kids and workers, or just workers? Either way, it's going to spread the premium base, and so bring down the cost. Let's call it another 10 cent reduction in my share. Now I've got a 74 cent raise.

But folks that are uninsured now will have access to regular checkups and wellness programs, so overall emergency room costs will go way down. I don't know how to account for this mathematically, either, so let's conservatively take another 10 cent reduction in my share. And my raise is up to 84 cents.

And what if we allowed Medicare to negotiate drug prices? I wonder how much that would save? I don't know, but it's bound to be significant. Let's say that savings reduces my share another 10 cents. I'm nearing a dollar! (And that's not even counting if we allowed Medicare to negotiate the cost of procedures.)

So what if the paperwork problem were fixed, which should be pretty basic since Medicare wouldn't have to exclude everybody who is young and healthy. That would reduce the costs to providers, so Medicare wouldn't pay as much – say, 6 cents.

Wow! A dollar raise! Just for socializing medical insurance!

What would your raise be?

And how cool would it be if every kid had health insurance? (Real cool, in my opinion.)

Of course, that doesn't account for the fact that the money I pay into Medicare taxes currently goes to cover the oldest, sickest people around – in other words, by adding young, healthy people to the premium pool, my current taxes would go down.

How would this affect health providers? Wouldn't they be totally demoralized by getting paid by a socialized insurance program? Doctors would flock across our borders to work in Canada and Mexico and …

Oh, wait. Yeah, they probably wouldn't. They'd just have an easier time with paperwork. (Believe me, any fix of this nature is not complete without fixing the Medicare paperwork nightmare.) And their liability insurance would probably go down a lot. So their overhead would go down, further reducing costs, and even if their pay got reduced through negotiations, the savings in insurance would likely mean increased take-home.

But you couldn't pick your doctor, right?

Why not? They're all getting paid by the same insurer. Seems like having a license to practice medicine automatically puts them into the preferred provider pool, which means you'd have more choice of which doctor to use.

But there has to be some downside to socializing medical insurance. Right?

Well, it would mean increasing taxes. My share of that would be $5.35/hour (worst case scenario). Which still leaves me a dollar per hour more in discretionary income. I'm actually okay with that. (Some employers might not want to pay out all of their savings on health insurance to wages. So, join a union!) Only Republicans are so anti-tax they'd rather spend lots of money on inefficient private systems and reduce take home wages than surrender their ideology.

For the past 30 years or so, we've been bombarded with the myth that government efficiency is an oxymoron. It's true that government is typically incompetent and inefficient in producing goods and moving them around. But in fact government does excel in certain efficiencies, and one of these is insurance. Social Security, for instance, is an enormous program; yet it operates at under 3% overhead. Medicare is the biggest health care payer in the nation, yet it has by far the lowest overhead of any health insurance company. Continuing down our course of blind ideology to support a myth that the "free market" provides the best service in all situations and circumstances, while the data, both from our own nation and from the rest of the world, proves otherwise is worse than stupid. It's insane. When it means withholding health care from sick people and kids, it's cruel and unjust.

It's also very, very expensive.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Repudiation

There are aspects of the language that Keith Olbermann uses in this video that I don't care for, but I respect what he says.

The history of this nation is clear. That history shows that the McCain/Palin campaign, whether intentionally or not, is inciting violence. They are putting Mr. Obama's life in danger. And that is, in my opinion, far worse than the warning Mr. Lewis recently issued, that that is exactly what McCain is doing.

If I were not already an Obama supporter, this would make me one.

I truly hope that the American people will rise up and repudiate the McCain/Palin ticket on November 4th. We are a better nation than this.

Peace.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Obama & McCain – Debate Dizziness

I listened to the debate between Obama and McCain last night just enough to get thoroughly disgusted. It didn't take long.

First there was the issue of taxes. I was disappointed to hear Obama say that he disliked them. It sounds like he's bought into the Republican meme that "taxes are bad, and everyone hates them." I've blogged on this before. It's true that the federal government misspends a huge amount of taxes (the military budget), but taxes themselves are good things, they're really cool, and every year I enjoy writing out the check to the state (though not the feds – see above). This distaste for taxes, born in the myths of the Boston Tea Party and Republican wet dreams of drowning government in the bathtub, is what got us $10 trillion in debt.

So both candidates are going to cut taxes left and right (though at least Obama would raise them on the wealthiest Americans). And balance the budget. Uh, huh. This Republican fantasy has been around for 30 years now, and it's time to get over it. Try it in your personal finances. It doesn't work. If we want to either "fix the problems" this country has, or create the country we want, it's time to raise taxes and cut spending, and the place to start cutting is the military budget – half of the entire world's. I believe in a strong military. So let's cut the military budget by $300 billion, so that we'll have the biggest, most expensive, best trained military in the world. We can start by withdrawing garrisons from dozens of countries around the world, and eliminating Star Wars.

Second, both candidates are fixated on "solving our problems." I bought into this mindset recently, so I can't criticize too much here, but it's recently become clear to me, through watching people like Kristin create her life, and now reading The Path of Least Resistance, by Robert Fritz, that that mindset will not get us where we need to go. We need to switch that mindset to one in which we ask ourselves, what kind of country would we like – and then set out to create it.

Think about that for a second. How would it be if, instead of saying, "Omigod! Look at this horrible economic meltdown! We've gotta rush around madly and fix it right now!" we said, "Okay, what kind of country do we want to create? Let's figure that out, then we'll look at our current economic meltdown situation, and figure out how to create it from here."

Which mindset do you suppose is going to get a better end result? And have more fun getting there?

As Douglas MacArthur once said, "There is no security on this earth. There is only opportunity."

Of course, even with my disappointment with Obama, my support for him remains unchanged. He's obviously less delusional about taxes than his opponent, he's definitely more creative, and he'll select Supreme Court justices far superior to those McCain would choose. If anything happens to him, his vice president is at least competent. And I would SO much prefer that Obama get that 3 a.m. call on the red telephone!

(As an aside, this quote from MSNBC's debate coverage really floored me: "The financial crisis — an unforeseen and unimaginable event, ..." Anybody who's spent any time studying history - especially the economic policies of Coolidge & Hoover - should have been expecting it. Likewise anyone who's studied economics (at least, who's been reading Krugman instead of Friedman). Lots of us were. A guy named Kunstler wrote a book more or less predicting it a number of years ago, called The Long Emergency. Well, perhaps the writer was stuck in a Fox News information vacuum....)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Teaching Tolerance

This post by Riftgirl is one that I highly recommend everyone read - especially if they have any kids or grandkids who are or will be in school.

Birthday Girl!

It's my birthday, and the full moon. So I'm taking a day off, sort of, from blogging. Just this little note, a celebration!

Peace, everyone! Be well.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Power and Racism

For about 30 years, I lived with and enjoyed privilege of which I was unaware. That privilege was white male privilege, and I took for granted that people would assume, in any social or economic interaction, that I was honest and worthy. When I walked the aisles of stores wearing a bulky coat, no one paid much attention. When I spoke to the tellers at banks, I barely had to show ID. When I applied for a job, I had full confidence that I would be assessed based completely on my competence and fitness for the job. I rarely hesitated to take the path to my destination I found most convenient, having confidence I would not be assaulted en route, even in a dark alley or midnight stairwell.

Gradually, I became aware that other people don't always have this experience. I witnessed the difficulty of a black woman to have her ID accepted at a bank. I noticed the way that store clerks or detectives watched black men in stores. I spent a very eye-opening pair of hours talking with a group of dark-skinned women in a Women of Color conference at the University. I read about hierarchical structures and the civil rights movement. I learned to recognize my own prejudices, acquired through assimilation into a dominant culture that is white and male. And I began my own transition.

Now the question has arisen, whether I consider the racist remarks of Rev. Jeremiah Wright as repugnant as the racism of David Duke, and Barack Obama's connection to that pastor as a warning bell of latent racist feeling.

Taken out of context, perhaps they are the same; but there is an inherent connection between power and racism. You cannot isolate racism without taking into account the power structure of the society that lies beneath it.

My ancestors owned the ancestors of Rev. Wright as if they were cattle. I've seen the photos of black men with their backs matted from neck to buttocks with scars from the whip. Slaves who ran away sometimes had their Achilles tendons cut, crippling them for life so that they could not run again. Or they were hanged. They were considered less than human Р3/5 human, to be precise. For two hundred and fifty years, this was their condition in America, and it was followed by another hundred years of Jim Crow oppression. Even today, a black man will spend ten times as much time in prison as a white man for possessing cocaine. He will be pulled over or stopped on the street for no reason beyond driving or running while black. Those are facts; you can look up the data if you like. That is simply the reality of our history, and to deny it or to assume that it has no affect on our current social structure is the height of naivet̩.

(I'm not beating myself up over it. I never had a part in it, though, to my shame, I have at least twice observed racist actions without taking a stand against them – which is about as bad as participating. There aren't many people I admire more than Harriet Tubman.)

The power structure of our society is white and male. Again, look at our history. Women didn't even have the right to vote until the 1920's, just eighty years ago. We've had 43 presidents, and every one of them has been a white male. Even though white men constitute less than half of our population, they constitute the vast majority of our corporate CEO's and congressmen.

So when the country club puts up a sign that says "Whites Only," or "Men Only," it effectively shuts people of color and women off from access to power, to the policies and business agreements that affect their lives. It is oppression, and I find it repugnant.

On the other hand, when an American institution bars whites from membership to provide a safe place for a powerless group to organize and gather, can I honestly say that anyone is being barred from access to the power structures and economic activities that affect their lives?

I don't think so. The one is an attempt to prevent someone else from access to power, a means of stratifying society. The other is an attempt to gain power for oneself, a means of fighting for equality. I don't like it, and I believe it is not the most effective means, but it is not oppression.

It is this power differential that makes a comparison between the racist remarks of Rev. Wright and someone like David Duke irrelevant. They are completely different animals.

Which is not to say that I support Wright's views, or even fully understand them. I do not. It is only to say that I won't judge them by the same standard I would if they came from a white mouth. I won't line up the sheep with the cow to compare their meat and wool.

As for Barack Obama, I do not fear any aspect of racism from the man. He was hugely isolated from the very real though usually subtle racism that still permeates our society while he grew up in Hawaii, son of a white woman and an immigrant from Africa, and so did not assimilate those grievances with his mother's milk; at the same time, he has encountered and experienced racism in his work in places like Chicago, so he is not blind to it. While Obama sat in his pews, I suspect Rev. Wright spoke a whole lot more about black empowerment than white dismemberment, and since I'm all about empowering disempowered groups and individuals, I don't have a problem with that. I have not one iota of doubt that Mr. Obama will wield the power of the presidency with far more equality and even-handedness than his opponent would, and that he will judge people based on character over race far more reliably than Mr. McCain.

In short, I believe that Barack Obama, through his ancestry, heritage, and experience, is about as close as we're going to get to an ideal leader to finally break down the barrier of racism, bridge the gap between black and white, and bring Dr. King's vision to fruition. There are certainly positions of his with which I disagree – for instance, I don't think his health plan goes far enough, I'd like to see a commitment to cut the military budget by about three quarters, and I'd like to see him come out for marriage equality. Nevertheless, for the first time in my life, I will mark my ballot for president with joy, enthusiasm – and hope.

Sunday, October 12, 2008

Arabs

Am I the only one, or does anyone else out there find this exchange from a recent McCain rally as disturbing as I do?


["I don't trust Obama," a woman said. "I have read about him. He's an Arab."

McCain shook his head in disagreement, and said:

"No, ma'am. He's a decent, family man, a citizen that I just happen to have disagreements with (him) on fundamental issues and that's what this campaign is all about."]


I think if I were an Arab, I'd be rather offended. As a European-American, I just feel very sad.

I know some Arabs and Muslims. My friend Noor identifies with Mohammed Atta about as much as I identify with Tim McVeigh or Bull Connor. The Arabs and Iranians I know are peaceful, honest, hardworking, "decent, family" people.

I give credit to McCain here for trying to correct the impression about Obama, and I don't think he was intentionally speaking out against anyone. Yet by choosing not to confront the comment about Arabs, he reinforced a stereotype that Arabs can't be trusted, and implied that they aren't decent, family people, as well.

But the saddest of all is that this attitude is common in my country. I am glad I'm not an Arab-American right now, but I want all Arab-Americans and Muslim Americans to know that I support you. I believe in you. I will speak in your defense. I will judge you by the "content of your character," and not by your religion, your ethnicity, or the color of your skin.

And right now, I grieve for my nation. I feel so sad to see this violent rhetoric split us apart.

Blessings upon you all, and on us. May there be peace.


Stuff and Poverty

Okay, back to the Peace Conference I attended about a month ago. It was a powerful event, and I met some rich and powerful people.

I met Marshall Rosenberg, who travels around the world mediating conflicts and creating peace. He chooses to live on a poverty income so that he doesn't have to pay taxes that support the Iraq Occupation.

I met Julia Butterfly Hill, who spent over two years living in a tree to save its life.

I learned about Mohandas Gandhi, who gave away all his possessions to live a life of poverty in service to his people.

I met Bonnie Tinker, who lives on her non-profit, and has been arrested many times in nonviolent demonstrations against oppression.

After the conference, as I drove to pick up my kids, I thought about that, and how I couldn't give up my stuff to live a life like that. I've got kids, for god's sake. A job. How could I give all that up?

Like a ray of light, I suddenly understood how I could. It was so clear that I exclaimed out loud.

I can surrender all my stuff in my heart, right now.

So I did. I gave up all my stuff; essentially gave it away. I don't own anything, I just use it. If I lose it, loan it, or have it taken away from me, I'll use something else.

I don't own my house. It's just where I live. If I lose it, I'll go live somewhere else.

I don't own my job. It's just where I serve right now. If I lose it, I'll find a better way to serve.

I don't even own my kids. I love them, sure, but if something happens to them that separates us, I know that they will be taken care of. And they're going to grow up and leave anyway. They're their own people.

A sense of freedom swept over me. What a celebration to have an insight like that! I realized in that moment that I am free. I can make decisions about what to do without fear. And that's pretty darn cool.

Now the only problem is how to keep that sensibility. I've had moments since when the cares of everyday life creep in and take that sense of freedom and choice away, but for the most part, it's been working. I still have that sense of possibility. I've still given everything away in my heart. I'm still free. And I've set an intention to keep that freedom and unattachment to my stuff.

Saturday, October 11, 2008

"How Did He Get Here?"

This question was answered by this comment from someone called "Black Diaspora" on Field Negro's blog. I copy it in its entirety here because I found it profound:

"Referring to Obama, a man in the audience at one of McCain's gatherings threw this question out as though it was a live grenade, and paused long enough to watch it explode over and [sic] appreciative crowd of Obama haters.

The question is at the heart of McCain's run for the White House where he watched his lead in certain key states see-saw, and finally trend in a direction that is favoring an electoral victory for Obama.

The man in the audience clearly understood the process whereby this black, inexperienced upstart was now challenging his party's nominee for the highest office of the land.

He understood, and so did the others in the audience.

But the man wasn't questioning the process, only the outcome of that process.

He understood that Obama, a black man, could not have reached his current pinnacle without the help (and votes) of many whites.

Sure blacks had voted for him as well, but in no way would that have allowed Obama to beat the Clinton machine and capture the biggest plum in politicaldom--the nomination of a major political party, and only a November election away from the presidency.

I believe the man felt betrayed. He felt betrayed by a those whites in society who ignored a longstanding understanding in this country that stated it's okay for a black man to try, but it's not okay for him to be taken seriously; he's not supposed to get this far.

He's not supposed to be competing this sucessfully with a white man (He should have been stopped long before now.), and doing it with the help and support of other whites.

What twist of fate brought this possibility, this calamity upon us--that a black man may win the White House, and do so by defeating a white man, a POW, and war hero at that.

It's almost as though some unspoken agreement had been violated, some tacit rule had been broken, some holy icon shattered--that the likes of an Obama would be allowed to enjoy so much political success in this country.

You could hear the plea in his question: we're the heir apparents; we're the rightful owners; we're the ones this country was made for.

And you knew, whether Obama becomes president or not, something unacceptable, and almost hidden, has besieged this country--a disquieting realization that time did not stand still, that what was true is no longer true, that America has changed, it's not the country of our forefathers, black or white, and not the nation of a privileged few, but the nation of a new generation of Americans willing to blaze new trails, and flirt with new beginnings.

Yes, "How did we get here?" "

I'd like to claim my part in the "new generation" Black Diaspora spoke of, and further, in eight years and one hundred days, I hope that President Obama is replaced by a woman.

Leadership

Judging by this measure of leadership, Barack Obama should be our next president. NOT John McCain.

A New Low for the RSM

We live in interesting times – markets crashing, the specter of extremist Islamic terrorism, and the first African-American presidential candidate of a major party leading in the polls. We also have a long history of violence, racism, assassinations, and domestic terrorism, such as. So I feel a particular disgust with the rhetoric recently coming out of the McCain camp and the Republican Smear Machine equating Barack Obama with terrorism.

This is a tactic that would be disgusting if we had a history entirely devoid of violence and racism. But given our history – given the Birmingham church bombing that killed four young girls back in 1963; given the assassinations of Martin Luther King, JFK, RFK, and even the attempt at Ronald Reagan's life; given the long history of lynchings and the Ku Klux Klan; and given the understandable national reaction to the extreme terrorist attack of 9/11, this goes beyond disgusting. It is, whether intentionally or not, incitement to violence. Members of the Republican Party are provoking an assassination attempt on a candidate for president of the United States.

Perhaps it's just habit, going back to the successful race-baiting tactics of Lee Atwater, through the more recent lies of the Swift Boat campaign. But McCain's strategists are intelligent, careful, and experienced at manipulating voters and the public. I have a hard time believing they don't know what they're doing. They should be aware that 9/11 and the color of Mr. Obama's skin change everything.

McCain and Palin are currently conducting a campaign that is without honor. It is vile. It is unworthy of a veteran and war hero of this nation.

It seems that Mr. McCain is becoming aware of that. I just hope that he can defuse the situation before it becomes something he cannot control at all.

Meanwhile, Mr. Obama, please – keep your head down. Wear a bullet-proof vest everywhere you go.

My prayers for your safety go with you.

Friday, October 10, 2008

Marriage Equality Revisited

By request, I've come back to this subject. I'll probably come back to it again.

In the recent presidential and vice-presidential debates, the issue of marriage equality has come up. I heard Joe Biden say he was against it, but was for making some second-class institution that would assure same-sex couples have the same rights as different-sex couples – a sort of separate-but-equal system like the school systems of the past that ensured white schools were more equal than black schools. (I'm paraphrasing here.) Sarah Palin came right back by stating that she's tolerant, too, and she's for all that separate-but-equal stuff, too, but frankly, given her past record and the things she's said, I think she was flat-out lying.

To me, that is not marriage equality. Sarah Palin's pale attempt at 'tolerance' is unconvincing and inadequate. Joe Biden's position doesn't address the inequities of the current system adequately, either. Obama's position is especially troubling, as he must be in contact with many black people who suffered under the old Jim Crow laws.

When I say I'd like marriage equality, I mean just that. The law applies to all people the same, equally, without difference, regardless of what the Bible or the dictionary say. After all, we're not a theocracy. The Constitution was written as a secular document for a reason. The Fourteenth Amendment was ratified for a reason. That reason is a vision of a nation of free people who can choose to live life according to their conscience and convictions, without tyranny from either despots, or the majority.

'Nuff said.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Business As Usual

Well, they're at it again. Of course, it's totally non-partisan, just a mistake, and only coincidental that most/nearly all voters illegally purged are Democrats and it's happening in all the swing states...

Uh huh.

I'm curious to see if this link disappears soon. Let me know.

Monday, October 6, 2008

Harvest

Okay, it's true Kristin just wrote a blog by this title, and it's also true that this is a celebration that I want to honor, too.




All from our little suburban farm.



What can be better than that?

Sunday, October 5, 2008

War

I found this video on His Story. Seems like a good time to post it here.



His voice is awesome. And his message timely.

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Frank

In Memory of Frank Robert Collier
Jan. 31, 1958 - Oct. 4, 2001


Today is the 7th anniversary of my brother's death. It seems like a long time ago, but almost yesterday. Time and space have mellowed my grief, and softened it to a rich sadness that doesn't usually touch me day-to-day, yet still he is here. It seems surreal to have the presence of someone you loved and grew with together reduced to a few grainy photographs.




Dysphoria

One of the best things about blogs is that you can put anything you want to on your blog. I just wrote a poem, so I’m gonna post it because I feel like it. Then you can experience one of the best things about poetry (mine, anyway), which is that you don’t have to read it. I have some great links down below on the left…

Dysphoria

This psychic itch leaves no peace.
It aches when lovers hold hands, snuggle close and touch lips; a hand on her butt, the little arch of a woman’s head leaning close.

There is no scratching it, reaching under a turtleneck, or behind my back where my bra fastens and my fingers don’t reach. The only way to overcome the itch move my brain away from my body, sex, now to esoteric, spiritual, material and not connected to me.

It itches in the ladies' room, strong now, can’t ignore it.
Still can’t scratch it.
Forget it. Focus on not my face not my hands on chocolate.

Chocolate is the same in any body, melts in the mouth to forget.

Beautiful woman and the itch goes deep that could be me could be not not not Look away, the sun is shining, blue sky smiles.

And that cute guy, the itch reaches deep deep a hollow
in the belly dancer deeper no escape.

No nails, no fingers can scratch this itch, no, it takes a scalpel.
Just want to scratch.

Make it stop.

Thursday, October 2, 2008

Laura Bush

My mom sent me a printout of this article from Salon.com. It's by a woman who calls herself liberal, but who has great admiration for Laura Bush. I didn't find my own esteem of Ms. Bush affected in the same way. Instead, I felt deepening bewilderment and sadness about her.

The author lists a lot of interesting and admirable traits about Laura's life. She talks about Laura's "integrity, unpretentiousness and intelligence." My confusion stems from trying to reconcile this with the fact that she continues to sleep in the same bed with a man who, confronted with the proof of conspiracy to commit treason by Cheney, Rove, and Libby, yet refused to ask even for anyone's resignation, much less prosecution; who ordered the invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation without cause, and lied to get the authorization for it; who blatantly broke the FISA law; who allowed or ordered torture of perceived enemies, some of who are innocent, in direct violation of the Geneva Convention; who commissioned a study on global warming, and then swept the study under the rug when the conclusion came that human-caused global climate change threatens the future of the planet, mankind, and our children; who refused to hold anyone accountable (except underlings who were themselves victims) when the crimes of Abu Ghraib and others came to light – and she has, to my knowledge, still spoken not one word of protest against those acts.

I think of the quote from Martin Luthur King, Jr., that is permanently posted on the left column of this blog.

Other people of integrity have chosen to at least resign their positions, as a number of diplomats in the US and officials in the UK did following the invasion of Iraq. I find these people admirable and understandable.

Laura Bush, however, appears to hold a great deal of power. Apparently George holds her in great esteem. Yet I have seen nothing to indicate that she has ever spoken out against him, even in private; nor has she taken any action, such as removing herself from the White House until and unless he changes his policies. She continues to live with, and apparently sleep with and condone, a war criminal.

Ms. Sittenfield says Laura Bush is a role model for Americans. I respectfully disagree. The First Lady's refusal to take any action against her husband's criminal and cowardly acts and his policies that damage and disgrace the American society, people, and environment is not worthy of emulation. It is, at best, abdication of responsibility.

My confusion grows, however, when I think about what I would do if the war criminal were someone I loved – if it were Kristin, or Trinidad, or my brother. I'm not sure I would do differently, though I hope I would; but I'm not putting myself up as a role model, either. I don't know whether she's taken George to task privately; whether his recent quiescence has been caused her influence, or the naked evidence of his failed policies, or both. I don't know enough to judge her, and couldn't do so fairly in any case. She is human, and is acting in response to her needs.

I just know that I feel deeply saddened and confused by her situation, and I am very grateful I don't have to deal with the conflict between love and loyalty, and integrity and compassion that she faces.

An Open Letter to Congress

Dear Senators and Representatives,
How are you proposing to pay for this $700 billion bailout to the rich fat cats on Wall St.? Especially since you added $100 billion in tax cuts, and our budget is already in deficit, our national debt over $9 trillion? Are you going to put it on the credit card for my kids to worry about?
The tax cuts make this hurt even worse.
Please read Senator Wyden's statement - he's right on the money in his reasons for opposition, except he doesn't mention how to pay for it. I agree that something needs to be done; but please take the time to get it right, to close the loopholes and regulate the abuse, and PAY FOR IT UP FRONT!
Please don't put any more onto the national credit card.
Sincerely,
Seda Collier

Wednesday, October 1, 2008

The Traditional Values Coalition

For some reason, there are a number of groups willing to commit lots of resources to prevent transpeople from getting legal protection from discrimination. I'm not sure why they care one way or another, except it seems that they fear the existence of transpeople threatens to expose their particular interpretation of sacred texts as erroneous. One of these is the Traditional Values Coalition, which published this report.

I don't want to waste a lot of time deconstructing this article (which is not attributed to any author), but there were a couple of things that popped out at me when I read this. The first:

"The promotion of 'sex changes,' and the normalizing of severe gender identity disorders by radical feminists, pro-same-sex attraction disorder activists, and sexual revolutionaries is part of their larger agenda—namely the destabilization of the categories of sex and gender."

Actually, my agenda is truth and freedom. I have no desire to destabilize anything, except the domination culture that is unsustainable anyway. I do desire to expand the awareness of the limitations placed on people by stereotypical gender roles, so that people who choose to follow them may do so mindfully and consciously.

O'Leary notes that radicals and medical professionals who promote sex change operations are operating under the delusion that one's gender is changeable. One cannot change into a different sex. It is genetically and medically impossible. Gender confused individuals need long-term counseling, not approval for what is clearly a mental disturbance.

O'Leary is obviously mistaking sex and gender as being the same thing. Sex is your body; gender is your soul. It's true that gender is unchangeable, and that's the point. That's why sex reassignment surgery is recommended as a last resort. And you don't get it without long-term counseling.

A boy who has developed a Gender Identity Disorder such as homosexuality or transvestism, typically comes from a home where the mother is smothering in her love and where the father is passive and feels powerless to overcome his wife's dominance in the family.

Gee. That doesn't match my own family's dynamic at all, nor does it account for the normality of my siblings. Studies have also found physical difference in brain structure between cisgendered and transgendered individuals.

According to these activists, a person can self-identify and be whatever he or she wishes to be sexually.

How can anyone identify another? The only real identity is self-identity, because the only person you can really know completely is yourself (though most people don't even know that).

Yet, the reality is that no person can actually change into a different sex. Maleness and femaleness are in the DNA and are unchangeable. A man who has his sex organ removed and takes hormone treatments to grow female breasts is still genetically a male.

Well, duh.

No rational person would claim that he or she has the "right" to define his own gender.

How can any rational person abdicate their right to define themselves to someone else? Who else possibly can have that right?

Transgenders Are Mentally Disordered. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) still lists Transsexualism and Transvestism as paraphilias or mental disorders in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM-IV-TR).

Yet they've got a 0% cure rate via psychological or psychiatric care, and 98% satisfaction via medical treatment allowing life in one's 'chosen' gender. If it's a mental disorder, why do they recommend medical procedures and non-psychiatric drugs to treat it?

These are deeply troubled individuals who need professional help, not societal approval or affirmation.

Then why are we suicidal before transition, and happy, productive members of society after? Why does professional help guide us into transition, even while acting as our gatekeepers?

It's amazing how much we've eroded our society.

Ah. The crux of the matter. It's all about fear. They are scared. Scared of the unknown; of things that go bump in the night. I wish I could ease their fears for them. It's okay. We won't hurt you. We won't call down the wrath of God on you. And God won't hurt you if you let us be.

Security is mostly a superstition. It does not exist in nature, nor do the children of men as a whole experience it. Avoiding danger is no safer in the long run than outright exposure. Life is either a daring adventure, or nothing. To keep our faces toward change and behave like free spirits in the presence of fate is strength undefeatable.
~Helen Keller

Reading List for Information about Transpeople

  • Becoming a Visible Man, by Jamison Green
  • Conundrum, by Jan Morris
  • Gender Outlaw, by Kate Bornstein
  • My Husband Betty, by Helen Boyd
  • Right Side Out, by Annah Moore
  • She's Not There, by Jennifer Boylan
  • The Riddle of Gender, by Deborah Rudacille
  • Trans Liberation, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transgender Emergence, by Arlene Istar Lev
  • Transgender Warriors, by Leslie Feinberg
  • Transition and Beyond, by Reid Vanderburgh
  • True Selves, by Mildred Brown
  • What Becomes You, by Aaron Link Raz and Hilda Raz
  • Whipping Girl, by Julia Serano
I have come into this world to see this:
the sword drop from men's hands even at the height
of their arc of anger
because we have finally realized there is just one flesh to wound
and it is His - the Christ's, our
Beloved's.
~Hafiz