Sharing: Motherless

4 05 2016

As Mother’s Day approaches, it’s time to remember those whose mothers mistreated, abused, and abandoned them. The saying, “All mothers are working mothers,” is quite the exaggeration. Many mothers view their children as burdens, as the following blog post shows.

Purple Mountain Majesties

23 04 2016

“How long ago was it that you said, ‘Life is just a party and parties weren’t meant to last’?” The man who spoke was of deific, youthful beauty.

“Thirty-four years,” the Purple One answered. He seemed fascinated by the place he was in. Was it a palace? A theater? Both? “Where am I?”

“That’s an interesting question,” the youth replied, smiling. “In another song, you spoke of the ‘afterworld’.”

“Yeah, but I wasn’t expecting to get there so soon.”

Antinoüs smiled again. “Few of us ever do. Forgive me, I’ve been a poor host. I am Antinoüs, and I welcome you.”

“Antinoüs,” the Purple One echoed.

“We’ve been waiting for you.”

Revelers began to mill about the edges of the space, wallflowers waiting for the proper moment.

“Tiresias!” Antinoüs called. “Bring me that lyre.” The ancient blind prophet brought the instrument to the youthful god and his guest.

“Greetings, Prince,” the old androgyne said. “Welcome to our mountaintop hall. Can you play the lyre?”

“Man, if it makes music I can play it!” the Purple One declared.

“Then play for us, friend!” Antinoüs enthused. “Lead us in a party of apocalyptic proportions!”

Reverently taking the lyre from Tiresias, the Purple One struck a chord. The music that issued forth was unlike any that had been previously known in the Afterworld. The wallflowers surged toward the center of the hall, now a dance floor.

The Purple One smiled. “Let’s get this party started!”

Ave, Prince, Lord of the Dance!
Ave, Tiresias, Sovereign of the Gender Benders!
Ave, Antinoüs, Lord of the Beloved Dead!

No, it’s not Spiritual Narcissism

18 04 2016

A key component of the sermon I heard on Sunday, 17 April 2016, at Grace North Church was that we are all the beloved children of GOD. As such, there was no way we could ever not be worthy of GOD’s grace. When we think we might not be, we are engaging in “spiritual narcissism.”

Who’s “we?”

When some of us believe we are damned, it’s not a form of narcissistic thinking, as if to say what we can do is somehow greater than what GOD can achieve. No. Rather, it’s because those of us who are marginalized for our orientations, genders, and bodies (MOGAB) have been taught by a rather large number of Christians that we are damned. They can even quote scripture to support their claims. It can get to be an uphill struggle. If we live our truths, we will be assaulted metaphorically and literally for being as GOD made us. I have been told in no uncertain terms that I am blasphemy personified because of my gender identity as well as my sexual and romantic orientations. When I hear such things for decades, often from religious leaders, why wouldn’t I think that I am something unworthy of salvation?

It is not my “shame” that has made it seem as if I had turned away from GOD. Rather, it’s what’s been preached about persons like me. I’m not withdrawing from seminary because of my “shame.” Rather, it’s because the seminary as well as the denominations that require seminary education are essentially saying that access to wealth is the primary characteristic that determines whether or not one is fit for ordained ministry. It’s not my “shame,” but those in my cohort who find my existence blasphemous at worst and culturally challenging at best. These constant demeanings wear me down after a while.

It’s not that I feel that I’m so special GOD can’t save me. It’s that I’ve been told in no uncertain terms that my very existence is a sin so special GOD won’t save me. That’s not “spiritual narcissism,” that religious abuse.

It was said that “we” didn’t choose Jesus. Jesus chose us. I disagree. When I had my rebaptism in November 2013, I explicitly chose Jesus. It was an act of will on my part. It was something I needed to do in order to publicly claim the salvation that is my due, the salvation that so many assured me was something I could never have.

Until you have spoken with me and learned my story, don’t tell me of my “shame,” not even in the broader sense of Christian community. Until you have spoken with me and learned my story, don’t tell me what I believe about my relationship with GOD, however I might define that relationship or even how I might define “GOD.”

I understand that these concepts might work for some. But, I feel that preachers and ministers must be very careful with the words they use. Those of us who are MOGAB have enough trouble finding places in spiritual communities. Please, don’t make it worse on us as you try to make it better.

Reblogging: Bad plan

31 03 2016

I wish I had seen this a year ago. I was meeting with one of the small group leaders for my spiritual formation class. He was a PhD student at the seminary, with a focus on prison ministry. On the last day of our spiritual formation class he’d said that people should never call the police but instead should police their own communities. I didn’t have the nerve to speak up then, but I should have. I’m sure I wasn’t the only rape survivor in the room. I met with him later to talk about this, and he certainly didn’t sway me to his POV, and he seemed to dismiss mine.

Why are so few people saying, “Don’t commit acts of violence”?

A New Lesson in Worthlessness

22 03 2016

According to the Blood Centers of the Pacific (BPC), I was considered to be female for the purposes of their screening process after my legal gender change was granted by the Superior Court of California in January 2013. So, when they asked the question, “Males: have you had sex with another male even once between 1977 and now,” I was permitted to select the answer, “I am female.” The American Red Cross (ARC), however, does not recognize my legal gender change in any way at all. So, I was forcibly declared to be male due to the circumstances of my birth and was coerced in to answering the aforementioned question, “Yes.” I was then asked follow-up questions regarding frequency of this sex and if the sex was non-consensual. It was because of my “Yes” to being sexually assaulted that I am now indefinitely deferred from giving blood.

I asked the person screening me, “I was female it would be okay?”

She replied, “Yes.”

So: women designated female at birth (DFAB) can have all the sex they want with people designated male at birth (DMAB), can even have chlamydia or herpes (the only STIs they ask about are syphilis, gonorrhea, and HIV/AIDS), and still give blood.

I haven’t had sex with anybody designated male at birth since summer 2013. In September 2014, I had a full STI screening, including a HIV test, and all results came back negative. This, apparently, is irrelevant as far as the ARC is concerned. The last time I tried to give blood at the BPC while male, my only partner was a DFAB woman. So, I had always thought that if I had ever answered, “Yes,” to the sex with men question I would have to submit proof that I was STI-free. That, apparently, is not the case. I was never even asked for this evidence, which I would freely submit if requested.

This is appalling. STI status means less than sexual history. And, since they only ask about three very specific STIs, a woman can safely donate even if she has ever had any other STI. Those of use who are DMAB are not permitted to call this sexist because men hold the apparent majority of political and economic power in this country. Sexism seems to be defined by the application of systemic and institutional discrimination. Yet, this seems to be a clear example of systemic and institutional sex-based discrimination based on one’s sexual history and the circumstances of one’s birth, rather than on one’s health history. How does that not fit the description of sexism? It certainly fits the description of homophobia and transphobia.

And in this case, I do use homophobia instead of heterosexism and transphobia instead of cissexism. I do this because there is no logical reason to prevent people like me, like us, from donating blood without at least verifying if we are carrying any STIs. To all outward appearances, it appears to be based on fear.

There is a hymn we sing at Grace North Church: Give What You Got. In that hymn, we are assured that even if we don’t have money to give, we have other things to offer. This is why I was a blood donor. I can’t donate money. I’m unemployed and creditors and collection agencies are calling me. So, I would give blood. But now, even that is something I cannot do, because of reactionary policies. What do I have to give at this point?

In the Name of the Adversary, I can give my rage. I pledge to bring adversity to this reactionary policy, to do what I can to help overturn this so that those are healthy can indeed help. We’re told blood is needed. Mine carries no infections and still I’m deemed unworthy. With Lucifer as my witness, I will not tolerate this.

To those DMAB persons who have come before me, as well as all my DMAB contemporaries, who should be able to give blood but are denied the opportunity without even being given the chance to prove our statuses, I pledge you my support and offer my most humble and sincere apology for coming so late to this struggle.

Conne and Anne’s Survival: Into April

21 03 2016

Hello everyone. We’re a little short for April rent, probably about $400 short. Our job searches are still not yielding much in the way of results. If you have any Nursing I job leads in the SF Bay Area, please let me know so I can pass them to Anne. If you have any tech support jobs leads, send those to me. And if you have any influence with the San Francisco Department of Public Health, please tell them — especially Julie Graham — that I’d be great as a Transgender Patient Navigator.

Be well, and be blessed.

The Danish Girl and the Trans Separatist

29 02 2016

A short time ago, I wrote about how I seem to be a trans separatist due to the fact that I honor my allies and am publicly grateful for all they’ve done for me. While I agree with my trans and gender-expansive peers on many things, I don’t agree with them on all. The fact that I respect gender-expansive persons to the same degree as binary trans persons has caused some to question my loyalties.

Recently, Anne and I saw The Danish Girl, and I loved it. Many in the trans communities have spoken out against it, primarily because Eddie Redmayne, a seemingly cisgender man, played the role of Einar Wegener/Lili Elbe. Yes, it would’ve been ideal if a trans woman, particularly a pre-op or non-op trans woman, had played the main role. But what must be borne in mind is the fact that this film was made in the entertainment industry. Actors are not cast for simply how well they fit the role, but also for how well they’ll drive ticket, home media, and download sales.

And, Yes: if a trans woman were cast for the film as it was released, she would’ve had to have been pre-op or non-op. Otherwise, the full frontal nude scene would’ve have worked. And to my mind, this scene was absolutely critical in demonstrating dysphoria. Einar/Lili pushed their penis back between their legs while staring in the mirror to mimic the appearance of a mons without external genitalia. How many times have I done the exact same thing? This made the movie all the more relatable for me. It harkened back to those days when I was David William McEntee and in a situation similar to that of Einar Wegener.

So, while I’m usually all for saying that a trans woman should’ve played a trans woman character, this time it almost makes sense that a seemingly cisgender man was given the role. And, Yes: I say “seemingly cisgender.” I know nothing of Redmayne’s gender identity. For all I know, he is indeed gender-expansive in some way.

Now, if some local theatre troop decided to put on a play of this movie, or a local small-time movie producer wanted to do the same, and they’re looking for a pre-op/non-op trans woman for the title role, I’m more than willing to give it a try.

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