Wednesday, November 9, 2016

The State We're In

I needed to post this somewhere where people could see it. I believe nobody will learn the lessons this election has to teach, except for a very few. I posted this to a secret group on a social media site. I know how social media works -- idiots will take potshots. But I need to put what I see out here in the world. Do with it what you will.

Somebody pointed out this morning that all of the states where things fell apart for Hillary are the states where Bernie won the primaries. Industrial states who have NOT seen any economic recovery, where NAFTA has hit us the worst. Given the choice between more of the same and any fricken kind of change at all, even Nazi change, it's not surprising that things went the way they did in the rust belt.

The Obama recovery happened only in the cities, and hasn't been particularly strong even here. I look at my own town and I see all of these empty store fronts, ones that started emptying out in 2007 and maybe some since, and some that have had 2, 3, or even 4 businesses rotate in and out of them since the crash. There is one place in this area that seems to be doing well, and that is the Biotech area around MIT. If you go over to that end of Cambridge, you will see a whole bunch of sparkling new retail places -- coffee shops, fancy restaurants, clothing stores, even antique shops, and in comparison to that, even Harvard Square looks shabby.

But it's small potatoes for a country that is gasping for breath, for economic life. I can totally understand the Make America Great Again thing on that basis. But Trump's way is the Fascist way, the way that appeals when people don't see any other alternative.

But as everyone here knows, there was an alternative. And Hillary and the DNC stomped it. Decisively, repeatedly, savagely, and with cowardice and arrogance on full display.

And I don't see any sign that anyone in that power structure is taking a lesson here. They will blame Jill Stein and Gary Johnson and Bernie Sanders and anyone but themselves.

Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Because I Feel Like Putting This Everywhere Today.

There's an election in a month. You don't have to vote against the candidate they want you to be afraid of.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Joan Jett is Everything

Q: Who do you look up to?

It was her birthday recently, so this is likely to get lost among the million things you'll have seen posted about her in the last little bit, but I have to talk a bit about how much Joan has meant to me over the years.

I remember when I was stationed in Germany for the three miserable months I was there, the bright shining light of the whole experience for me began with buying a copy of the rock music mag Circus, which had a big article on the Ramones.  It was the first time I had heard of punk rock, and it rung a very loud bell for me.  I felt the same thing I had felt as a tyke when I first heard of The Beatles.  It was all laid out -- the simplicity, the power, the uniqueness.  It was that original rock and roll charge.  I was walking around K-Town a couple of days later and spotted a record store.  I went in and started combing the stacks.  This was kind of a new activity for me, but I had done it previously looking for John & Yoko stuff.  The little record/music store in Calais, ME (where I loved for my last year or so of high school) had about 3 racks of records, so there wasn't very much to look at there.

In that store in Germany, which I wish I could remember the name of (It was on Königstrasse in Kaiserslautern, if I recall, and is long gone, I'm sure) I started with the Rs, because I wanted to get something by the Ramones, and I think I found my own copy of Rocket to Russia) but pretty soon I started to feel lost, because there was so much I didn't know, so I asked a clerk to help me (he spoke English very well) and he started pulling out records for me.  I stopped him at about 20 things, but I noted most of them for later.  I took home the Ramones, the Stranglers Rattus Norvegicus, and the first Runaways album.  I loved them all, and everyone else in the barracks hated them.  They sounded nothing like either the Commodores or the Marshall Tucker Band, though some of them kind of saw some value in Rattus Norvegicus because of the keyboards, I think.

But I was hooked!  There were no other Stranglers records, but next payday I bought the other two Ramones albums and 3 more Runaways records, and a few other things as well.  I liked the way that music was simple yet complete.  I liked the Runaways especially because I had never heard of an all-girl rock bacd before.  I was immediately drawn to Joan.  She looked tough and smart and I was a compulsive sleeve and label reader, so I knew that she was the main songwriter for the band.  My favorite of their records was the last one I got in Germany, Waitin' For the Night, which seemed more like their record than something whipped up by their svengali Kim Fowley, and had Joan on lead vocals, because Cherie had left the band.

Joan Jett is at the heart of my ideal for the way to conduct a good life. She had a dream and she made it real, blazing a trail into uncharted territory.  When that dream fell apart, she kept going and remade her dream even better.  She didn't let setbacks stop her.  They still don't.  Every hard thing that she goes through seems to be fuel for new growth.  After her band the Blackhearts lost their major label record deal, she stripped down her sound and soon was making even better records, like Pure and Simple, from which the track above is taken.  She's a year older than me, almost to the day, and she is still on the upswing.  I consider her most recent album, Unvarnished, to be her best work yet.

Here's an example:  I get this song stuck in my head from time to time:

I've known about her, identified with her, and admired what she does since we were both teenagers.  If I were anyone other than myself, I would want to be Joan Jett.

Friday, September 19, 2014

In the Midst of Denial, There's Still the Truth

Q: Who was the first person you told about being trans?

Andy Asboe (a former roommate) was someone I said something to early on. We were talking about T replacement and I said that if it were me, I would go "the other way." He was confused about that at first, but after a minute he was like "Oh..." I think that conversation changed things between us. He was more distant with me after that.

I think, though, that this was after I had spent a year in therapy trying to figure out what was wrong with me -- why relationships were not working, why I couldn't remember a time that I wasn't depressed, why I always felt wrong, etc, etc, etc. I just talked about my feelings and my history and I would mention something like how I liked it when customers thought I was a female when they walked up behind me at work. I'd say something like that and she would give me these "significant" looks. 

I was in denial. I thought being trans was a terrible thing. I had so much internalized transphobia and I didn't want any of that to be associated with me. I kept thinking about how my mom would react if she ever found out. I never admitted that I wanted to live as a woman in any session.  When it became clear that we were circling around my having to admit it to myself to move forward, I quit going.

We talked over the phone when I told her I wasn't coming back and she said outright, finally, that she thought I had gender issues, and asked if I wanted to come back and start talking about them. I said yes, but I never did go back to her. It was just too much for me to deal with.

I didn't talk to anybody about how I was feeling again for over a decade. Now I wish I had continued. I feel like that twelve years was time I wasted feeling awful and having my body get older and more T poisoned.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Diane the "Activist"

Q: Are you active in the trans community or LGBT community?

OK, I've just experienced my first block.  I'm powering through!

This is a hard one for me because I have a very nebulous idea of what "active in the community" means. Does this refer to how I fit in, or how much time I spend in my life talking to members of the community, how hard I'm working for the community or what working for the community might entail, or some combination of those things plus some other intangible.  Maybe the measure of what "active in the community" is comes down to the amount of gratitude one feels and how one uses that gratitude in one's life.

I am in the transgender and TLBG community, like it or not. I can't help but be. I love trans people. I have many trans and queer friends. I get excited every time I meet someone new who is also part of my community. I want to see us all become happy and live productive, creative, connected and happy lives.  

Am I being asked to quantify what I give back? Probably I don't give back enough, but I do contribute. It's worth noting that all of us contribute by being visible and living our authentic lives. Visibility is crucial. It brings with it two statements. It says "This is what it means to be trans*" and it also provides an example for those who come after us. "Yes, you can live a happy and fulfilled life. If you are feeling the need to change your alignment in regards to gender in the world, if you've been told you're one gender but have never felt like what they tell you about yourself is the truth, you have my example to consider. Happiness is not at all impossible."

Along those lines, I feel a lot of gratitude towards so many who came before me:  Bethany, Gina, Ariana, Maggie, Janet, Jenny, Laverne, Namoli, Brenda, Meghan, Jerica, Erin, Renée, and Paris are just a few of the ladies who have shown me that what might be possible.  Thank you for being my examples.  I know that your lives have not been without struggle, but I see that you have come through and gotten to a better place.  You have all shown me that I could be happy.  Thank you.