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The first San Jose Transgender Day of Visibility was a success! By pretty much any measure, save maybe timeliness (much to my own disappointment!). We had 60 or so people in theDeFrank's Grand Ballroom. Nori Herras was the DeFrank staffer on duty that night, not to mention one of my star guests; she does SO much work for the local transgender community. And she was patient and helpful for the event, an extra plus.

We had fun! We started off with the short film "Gender Busters" by
Sam Berliner, a graduate student; it's a fun super-hero style piece. "Spiral Transitions," by  Ewan Duarte, another grad student, was a personal story of transition, focusing on the mom's process (and her art!). From there we moved into a discussion panel, including Nori, the two film producers, and myself. The guys answered lots of questions about their films, and we finished up speculating about where we would like transgender people to be in ten years.

Next we watched *
Trannymals Go to Court," by Dylan Vade, Esq., and Abe Bernard. And everyone found out why there were googly eyes on some of the cupcakes. Speaking of food - we had a lot of treats! Many people donated pretty tasty sweets. All tips received were donated to the DeFrank. It was great to see people chatting and munching between 'stage' activities. Community was one of the goals - we made it happen, at least for a moment.

The drag performances were on next! Tam LaFey performed a dramatic, spot-on Stevie Nicks classic, complete with spike heels and gracefully curving fringe shawls. Members of the
Gender Queer Society Troup did rockin' "Dirty King" piece, taking turns strutting. It was great fun.

Adam Speckler, trans and out assistant to
CA State Assemblymember Bill Monning, gave a brief legistlative overview of local interest, including AB 887 on Gender Equality, and AB 433, the Vital Statistics Modernization Act. Both could have real impact on the daily life of CA trans people. As Adam urged, get involved in local politics and you can make a real difference!

Finally, [livejournal.com profile] inflectionpoint read a closing poem for us,
How To Make Love to a Trans Person, by Gabe Moses (I know some of the people who attended will want that reference!). Go read it for a taste of the energy!

Many people contributed, from attendees who arrived early (due to a mistake on the DeFrank's calendar), and helped sort out balloons and flowers, to [livejournal.com profile] kingwyatt who agreed somewhat last minute to be my A/V man; he got us through some challenges. Some of my South Bay Trans Men contributed muscle power and food and coffee prep, and [livejournal.com profile] kproche and [livejournal.com profile] attrembl loaned me a sound system! Thank you everyone who helped. 

Thanks also to all of the people who attended! Friends came even from  - gasp! - the city! How cool is that? It was much easier having friends' faces in the audience.

A number of folks came up and introduced themselves to me; some on request - people I hadn't met yet but who wanted to help out and be there. I thought I'd have more time to chat, silly me for imaging I would. Folks seemed to understand I was flying from this to that. Or so I hope!

I would do this again.

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what: Transgender Day of Visibility; a day to celebrate trans folks!
  - short films by trans film makers-  performances by the Gender Queer Society Troupe and TamLa Fey - 
  - a report from Adam Stickler (assistant to a CA assemblyman) - interactive panel discussion; ask your questions, participate! -

when: Thursday, March 31, 7-9pm

where: Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center Ballroom; 938 The Alameda, San Jose

cost: none!

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via Circle of Dionysos by DKCowan on 2/27/11

"What is forgotten is that “those people” are out there every day questioning the norm and so removing societal barriers for finding and expressing one’s true self for everyone.  If it were not for “those people,” then the “normal gays” of today would still be considered “those people.”  The cultural shift that “those people” enact is both more enduring and more profound  than any short term political battles that may be lost because of them. So honor your freaks, your transfolk, your drag kings and queens,  the Sisters of Perpetual Indulgence, the leather daddies, and the dykes on bikes, for without them there could be no movement, no removal of obstacles."
....
"One must be memorable before one can become an icon.  Which of your icons is most memorable?  A congressman from Massachusetts?  No.  A former boy band member who was outed by his boyfriend?  No.  A round-bellied, dog shit eating Drag Queen who called herself Divine?  Now that one has possibilities."
--

I was attracted to Ganesh long ago, and started collecting the occasional image of him, despite naving only a college overview of Hinduism. Because he was about doorways, and reading, and guarding. Because he's a bit Other. And has cool clothes. The Circle of Dionysius' 'Yes They Are!' ritual theater on queer deities is awesome. Go read the whole thing, and catch the performance if you get the opportunity!

visibility

Mar. 23rd, 2011 03:03 pm
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Some of my personal Feri work led me to another round of self-work on LGBT stuff in my own life a month or so ago (yea Amethyst Pentacle!). With a focus on 'visibility.' Despite being an organizer and all that, I still had some itchy spots. Probably always will, yadda yadda.

And now I've got the Trans Day of Visibility event coming up, and people are contacting me out of the woodwork! New therapists looking to learn, or to find help for young FTMs. New film makers. A guy who is a legislative assistant asked if he could speak. Not to mention having a couple of drag performances. And more. 

Maybe this will be an opportunity for me to learn more myself, perhaps find a segue into some new career paths. Who knows. I feel pretty proud of it all, really, and it hasn't even happened yet.

OTOH, I still have to connect with friends to get the sound system, and relearn how to use it, and order and pick up coffee for that evening, and make a script, and make sure the projector will work, and find all of the film dvds... :-)

Transgender Day of Visibility
Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center, 938 The Alameda, San Jose
March 31st, 7-9pm
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There are a lot of *amazing* as well as horrifying posts in the blogosphere right now, in response to, or in this case re-brought up, the exclusion of trans women at a Lilith ritual at Pantheacon this year (Patheacon is awesome!). The communication problem (not advertised correctly) has been apologized for, etc etc.

But this post says it so well; I think Lilith would be pleased*: the seam of skin and scales. It's from 2007. 

*It's not my place to tell others what to believe/how to express their spirituality, but I delight in broadening the view. Nasty witch boy me!

dumfounded

Nov. 24th, 2010 09:20 am
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The UN dumps inclusion of lgbt people from a resolution against discrimination-based hate killings.

Of course, it's just about as amazing to me that this resolution is something that has to be re-voted on every year.

Some days I think it might be interesting to get into politics. Others days, I can't think of anything much more insane. 
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This event tends to be inspiring as well as solemn. Hope local peeps will check it out.




Saturday, November 20 · 6:00pm - 8:00pm
Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center
938 The Alameda
San Jose, CA
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The difference in immune response responsible for why some folks don't get sick when exposed to HIV has been discovered; very hopeful for new effective therapies: http://blog.capitolhillmedical.com/2010/11/road-map-to-end-of-disease-that-hiv.html.

I can't wait to hear what develops. !

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has an excellent interview with Richard Kim, senior editor at Nation magazine (it's a podcast to watch or listen to). He's really thoughtful and erudite, talking about current lgbt issues. I really appreciated his ability to discern differences in offenses and appropriate responses. It's the first long interview after the opening Headlines section.

Hey [livejournal.com profile] inflectionpoint, he mentions Rutgers!
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The 21st annual SJ Aids walk is this weekend! The deFrank Center has a team walking, Team Billy. 

"The funds that Team Billy raises, along with a portion of funds raised by other walkers, support the Center's HIV program. The DeFrank HIV program provides free HIV testing and counseling at the Center, outreach to local schools and community organizations, and an innovative Internet-based intervention."

You can donated to them directly at http://www.kintera.org/faf/search/searchTeamPart.asp?ievent=422256&lis=1&kntae422256=19E7F7E48FE64995AF1E17393C71D0F3&team=3804449. Or register and walk. :-) This donating online thing is pretty cool.

Pass it on!
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"RIVERSIDE, Calif. (AP) -- A federal judge has issued a nationwide injunction stopping enforcement of the "don't ask, don't tell" policy, ending the military's 17-year-old ban on openly gay troops. " from Salon. See alsoThe Washington Post.

Hey Mr. President, let's not challeng? OKthanxbye!

Change is!
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Kinda in memory of Billy Lucas, a gay kid who committed suicide recently, Dan Savage and his partner are starting a YouTube Channel of videos aimed at LGBT kids, to tell them that things will get better. And so maybe prevent a suicide, or at least provide some hope. And I know there are tons of people into making tiny little videos for youtube!

To quote Dan: The video my husband and I made is up now—all by itself. I’d like to add submissions from other gay and lesbian adults—singles and couples, with kids or without, established in careers or just starting out, urban and rural, of all races and religious backgrounds. Go to youtube.com/itgetsbetterproject to find instructions for submitting your video. If you’re gay or lesbian or bi or trans and you’ve ever read about a kid like Billy Lucas and thought, “F***, I wish I could’ve told him that it gets better,” this is your chance. We can’t help Billy, but there are lots of other Billys out there—other despairing LGBT kids who are being bullied and harassed, kids who don’t think they have a future—and we can help them.

Love.

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Democracy Now has an extended, thoughtful interview with the out and fighting Dan Choi. Be great to pass on to any gay/questioning folks you know.
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His real name was Samuel Steward, and he lived a very gay life in a time when few others did. The NY Times has a fun book review on a new biography on him, by Justin Spring.

Go Dan Go!

Jun. 23rd, 2010 08:54 am
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I am a Dan Savage fan; the savagelovecast is the best keep-me-awake podcast out there. As a sex advice columnist, Dan is BDSM savvy (for the vanilla world). To me, his advice around trans stuff has been a bit hit and miss. Today's column is all hit (save for the weird little not-trans thing at the end). It's aimed at trans guys who have sex with cisgender men, which is also a wonderful thing to see.

I've been surprised by a few trans positive things lately, hopeful stuff. I like it.
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For an excellent, wonderfully depressing analysis, see this article on Slate.com.
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I think this is excellent news and worth sharing: The LDS church was found guilty on 13 counts of malfeasance around Prop 8. And were fined - the first time this has ever happened to a religious organization. Check it out. 

The article also mentions how the Mormon corridor of influence extends into eastern CA. Yeah, we figured that one out.

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It's *not* sexual orientation or gender which determines if a person's blood is safe to share... it's behavior! Not to mention a little luck. A gay guy in a sexually monogamous relationship with another man is less likely to get AIDS (or any other STI) than a straight guy having random unprotected sex with women. It's time and time again to let science determine rules around donating blood, NOT social mores which change with the political mood. We have pretty darn good screenings on donated blood; it's one thing to discourage folks from looking for a 'free' AIDS test (via blood donation) and quite another to imply that the screening processes don't do their jobs, so we dare not let men who have sex with men (even once, since 1977!) donate blood.

FDA, please bring equality, sanity, and science to the blood donation process. There are a number of men who would happily donate blood, if you would let them. We need the blood!

--
This rant brought to you in support of a regularly scheduled blogswarm! Please make a public statement today if you want the FDA to update its rules. The issue is under consideration *right now*.
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Tyler is the first trans man to win IML.


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