South Bay Trans Day of Visibility! April 5, 2014

Yea, planning is well under way for this year’s South Bay Trans Day of Visibility! We’re contributing to community with education, art, and celebration.

Come on down to the DeFrank LGBT Center, 938 The Alameda, in San Jose, on Saturday April 5, for a day full of workshops, art, and socializing. The evening ramps up to include a fabulous cocktail party and show, this year topped off by a dj dance!

And hey, the event finally has a (baby, in progress) website: http://southbaytdov.dancingbull.net/index.html. You can also find us on facebook and G+.

Review: *Luna*… of photos and siblings

An excellent young adult novel is an excellenLunat novel. I am late coming to read this one (after all, it has been nominated for a number of awards since it’s appearance in 2006), but boy am I glad I found it.

Luna, by Julie Ann Peters, is the nuanced story of a trans girl, and her family. The author brilliantly tells the story from the point of the view of Liam/Luna’s younger sister, Regan, as she comes into her own. I loved how the story unfolded, changing my perception in particular of the parents as the story went along. The importance of friends and family in a trans person’s youthful experience is of course huge.

We see Luna through Regan’s eyes. Trans knowledgeable readers will treasure each new understand she comes to, and the less knowledgeable have the opportunity to learn in a very natural manner.

One of the situations that most struck home for me was an episode where Luna describes how her sister puts her ‘boy drag’ school pictures up on the wall, and takes pot shots at them. I had a true shiver of recognition at that. I loathed having my picture taken in my youth. I never looked right. This kid is a bit more direct in disgust.

I was a bit afraid of this novel early on. It puts the darkness of hiding and being trans right out there. I was afraid of Bad Things. But Luna constructs herself and her life with daring, so the reader (trans or not) needn’t be afraid. Go for it!

Not long after reading this, I heard of the YA novel I Am J. I have it on request at the library. Coincidentally, I just read a wonderful article by the author. I can’t wait to read the book!

Thanks and First Thoughts on TDOV 2013

This year, we broke the South Bay Trans Day of Visibility into two events; an afternoon event, with all of the education and discussion panels, the art, computer games, etc etc. Some cool moments:

* Hearing two old high school friends found each other!

* Playing a friend’s video ‘game,’/installation and realizing I’d love to have it on a giant screen on a wall in my house

* Seeing Dr. Marci Bowers sitting cross-legged on a table as she spoke with her audience

* Listening to friends take the stage for open mic for the first time, and being blown away by their words

* OMG The TWO massive pans of Hobees coffee cake!

* Having two send two of the South Bay Trans Men out on their continued mission for inflatable balloons… again… because I didn’t get a phone message… and they smiled and continued on their way AND scored balloons!

* Seeing people queued in the hallway for some presenters… hearing an enthusiastic presenter and audience through a wall…. trusting a friend to keep the kitchen running

Yes, much good stuff. Yes, schedules had to be shuffled a bit the day before and day of, but it was all good. No one got lost this year, so we learned last year’s lessons of signs well enough. There are new lessons for this year. ;-)

Part two this year was breaking the evening event off to a separate, more party-friendly space, and really having a party! The Gender Queer Society and Sistah C were funny and touching. The sound was good! That was sure a happy thing.

As were the ongoing conversations in the other room, and the friendly young man working the bar. DJs from a queer entertainment services group kept the music going, and kept feet dancing later in the evening.

More personal cool moments:

* Finding a row of friends in funny hats

* Sitting down for the show. !!

* Dancing in my tall shiny motorcycle cop boots and leathers, so good to get loose!

* Sheer delight in the diversity and beauty of the crowd!

* The personalized King and Queen stickers.

The raffles went well! People actually stayed in their seats for them. That was new to me! I think we very well for the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center; the numbers will be in later.

So many people did so much. We started on this months in advance. Char got the space, and handled most of the evening event planning. BJ pulled in some excellent presenters. Wyatt helped so much with administrative work, and in the moment background work. Joanne was my extra set of hands.

Friends were amazing! Baking and home cooking appetizers, finding donations. hauling tables and decorating chairs… on and on. Special thanks to the gentlemen of the South Bay Trans Men, whose time I took during meetings, and whose cheerfulness and abilities are took as much advantage of as I could in setup and tear down. :-)

Thank you each and every one who helped make the events come together, and thanks to everyone who came, learned, had fun. Some of you were ‘out’ for the very first time: I salute your bravery, heart, and style.

Updates for Trans Day of Visibility, this Saturday 3/23

Quick updates ahead! This year’s south bay Trans Day of Visibility is a full day and evening conference filled with opportunities to learn, play, relax, and dance! I hope you’ll join us if you’re in the area.

Day Event, 3-6pm at the DeFrank LGBT Community Center, 938 The Alameda in San Jose

    * New presenter added to our already impressive list:  Nicole Stallard from the San Jose Pink Pistols. She has been featured in the film ‘Arming Laramie,’ and is a pro-gun LGBT activist. You know she’ll have interesting stories and points of view to share.

    * Munchies available! Hobees has donated their famous coffee cake, and Jamba Juice will be donating 20% of their sales to the DeFrank.

    * Interactive video art installation!

    * Art show with Karen Massing and others

    Evening Event, 7-11pm at Char’s Hair Design,  1343 The Alameda, San Jose

      * Drag entertainment! The awesome Gender Queer Society and Sistah C

      * More auction items! Restaurant gift certificates, leather paddles, lovely scents, tea… they keep coming in!

      * Wine, beer, and soda for the open bar (plus light appetizers)

      * A DJ who knows his audience

      Trans Day of Visibility March 23, 2013 – Time to shine!

      Everyone is Welcome at the Transgender Day of Visibility!

      This is our third year celebrating and recognizing the wonders and joys of the Trans community in the south bay area! The Transgender Day of Visibility is an international event that serves as a complement to the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

      3-6 pm: Social, Panels, art show, video games, open mic

      7-11 pm: Cocktail party & dance – fundraiser for the DeFrank

      Trans Day of Visibility! Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center, 938 The Alameda, San Jose
      * No cover * Social * Art show (contact: mikifadem@sbcglobal.net to display your art) * Indie computer video games * the unexpected!

      3:00 pm: Doors open

      3:15 pm: Keynote by Dr. Bowers

      4:00 pm: Panels begin– * Friends & Family w/Diana Heideman * Sex Reassignment Surgery  w/Dr. Marci Bowers *  Physical & Psychological Effects of Hormones w/ Dr. Charles Moser * Get Involved with Politics w/ Adam Spickler * Trans Life with Prof. Wiggsy Siverston * Police Auditor Services w/ Judge Ladoris Cordell

      5:30 pm: Open mic, featuring Amy Dentata

      Cocktail Party & Dance; 1343 A The Alameda by Char’s Hair
      $15; proceeds to the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center * Get dressed up and let your hair down!

      *Socializing * Light Appetizers * Entertainment and Presentations, with Comedian Ariel Smith * Music and Dancing * No Host Bar * Raffles

      trans and pagan – what should we talk about?

      The Pagan and Gender Conference is coming up. My personal experience of it was really mixed, but clearly there is a big need in the pagan community for the conference. I did a presentation last year, and would like to do one again. The question is, what is useful? What do you think?

      The subtheme this year is Bridging the Generations. I think that is a huge topic in the trans community itself, but I’m less sure how it is an issue in the Pagan community, where we’re still doing a lot of basic education.

      What am I passionate about in this area? I am really tired of dualities cloaked as if that’s wasn’t whey actually are. I love the transgressing ideas, such as the sun god giving birth to the moon, or the moon goddess shooting strands of stars from her proud penis. I care deeply about the safety of personal expression, of safe places to tell individual stories of spirituality and gender overlaps. I care about actual human bodies giving each other blessings and hugs with compassion and tenderness (or welcome roughness, that’s a whole ‘nother theme to explore).

      If you’re a Pagan of any type, what would you like to see at the conference (whether or not you can actually attend)?

      (cross-posted; to those who see this multiple times, my apologies; I should’ve posted on dancingbull.net first and just linked elsewhere.)

      WTF? The Streets Aren’t Any Safer

      I have been sitting with two pieces of news from the past week, and am still unable to express anything past open hands.

      Political progress is happening for transgender people. Here, students are protected in their bathroom use; their, trans people are included in hate crime laws. And yet… change is too slow in the world, on the streets, outside the bars, in the backyards where real life is lived.

      CeCe McDonald, a black trans woman, is in a men’s jail, after killing one of the white men who attacked her and some friends, on the street, while out to buy groceries. It’s clearly a case of self-defense. The racism and anti-trans feeling in this case are breathtaking. See the Trans Women’s Anti-Violence project for an article. A men’s jail is a terrifying prospect for any trans person.

      Meanwhile, I heard this (un)surprising new statistic; in 2011, the highest percentage of LGBT violence was against trans women of color (here’s a link). My first response was – this is news? Hasn’t anybody been going to or reading about the Transgender Day of Remembrance events? Really?

      I wish I could’ve been surprised by this statistic. Or not. I’d like to be surprised by a study showing the incidence of violence against trans people (and all LGBT people) to be on the wane.

      Like many other men of transgender experience, I have a sense of helplessness. Who am I even to mention this news? My rage and sadness don’t matter to the women out there. I do what I can, but I am not in my sisters’ shoes.

      There is just no adequate response. So… be aware, everyone. We are all just people looking for love, and groceries.

      Lesson Learned: Local Politics

      I had the fortune to have the time to attend a meeting of the Rules Committee of the San Jose City Council today. Up for discussion was whether to bring the Freedom to Marry Pledge petition to a full meeting of the council. At first glance, this appeared to be a no-brainer issue.

      Then I listened.

      Initially I was struck how the vast majority of people spoke about the issue of the resolution (that is, they were either pro marriage equality or against it), not about the resolution itself and whether it should go to council (the actual topic); the few that did I was grateful for, as they were educational.

      A lot of people more or less wasted their one minute. Many made heartfelt statements, a whole lot of which were really scary to me. Starting from a place of religious fundamentalism, and not varying, not even seeing that church and government are different, not seeing irony nor inaccuracy. What a different way to be in the world. I did have some sympathy for some of the views presented, such as this is not an issue a city council can have any impact on (though OTOH, I think these discussions raise awareness).

      It evolved that the resolution would more or less ‘force’ the mayor (who is not pro full marriage equality) to sign a resolution he didn’t support, which is an awful idea in a democratic world. And further that the mayor had offered to meet with both sides for further discussion, after next week’s election. And been pushed by the pro side to do it now… a clearly self-serving political move.

      It was really disheartening to see the ‘good guys’ (you can read that as, I support the idea behind the resolution), using misguiding statements and tactics. That’s not the way I want to achieve equality. That perhaps is the way the world often works.

      I have been to assorted other political events (such as a meeting with the impressive Rep. Zoe Lofgren, up for re-election next week), but this daily wheel turning discussion was a good use of my time. Man, these people have the patience of gods, to deal with what they have to deal with.

      In California, (straight) trans people face few difficulties with marriage; get ID in your proper gender, and you’re good to go. There are states where trans people are stuck in a tangle where they can’t safely and legally marry anyone.

      It’s the courts who drag us as a society forward with every civil rights issue. I look forward to when marriage equality is a done deal (what say everyone is legally in a civil union, and the word ‘marriage’ is colloquial?). May it be this year.

      —-
      Local newspaper article on the meeting.

      Indiegogo Campaign for Transgender Tuesdays

      I heard about the film-in-the-making Transgender Tuesdays from an excellent Vipassana teacher, Larry Yang. He teaches at the East Bay Meditation Center among other places.

      San Francisco has long been a home for the LGBT community. It’s still rare though for the T to get historical attention. This film will help fill that void, plus provide inspiration for new clinics. Check it out!

      Here’s Larry’s letter (used with permission):

      “Transgender Tuesdays is a documentary film about the country’s first clinic that offered full medical care (everything from colds to cancer) specifically to transgendered people. It serves as a model for the rest of the country, and needs our help getting out there.

      I was the therapist on the Transgender Clinic at Tom Waddell Clinic in San Francsico for three years–and I have a strong interest in supporting this project. Most of the creative force and energy is coming from Trans communities. This film has been accepted into the Frameline LGBT film festival this year, but there is additional funding needed to make this happen. Please help if you can.

      The Indiegogo fundraising campaign has started at

      http://www.indiegogo.com/TransgenderTuesdays?a=371844

      The film’s website is
      www.transgendertuesdaysmovie.com

      Many thanks for your consideration
      Larry Yang”

      Transgender Day of Visibility 2012, San Jose, Recap

      Thanks everybody who made yesterday’s 2012 Transgender Day of Visibility event the success it was! The three afternoon discussions were well attended… it was gratifying to hear happy remarks as people exited the rooms, and to see so many folks getting their legal forms related questions answered. Clearly, we have room to add more sessions in the future!

      At the main event, The Gender Queer Drag Troop were fabulous once again (and yes, some folks did totally get the joke of the first one ;-) ); there was something extra amusing about the dad of one of the performers filming the songs! Kevin Roche, former leather titleholder and IRLM emperor graced us with a lounge song, which the audience appropriately snapped their fingers to, and two poets (Sarah and Jesse) read their riveting works. Around the room, browsers enjoyed art and played fun, edifying, and crazy-making original video games.

      Adam Spickler, activist volunteer and Senior Field Representative for Assembly Member Bill Monning, brought us up to date on current legislative and other political goings on (bringing up the importance of Planned Parenthood to trans people as well as to women), and BJ Fadem, Esq. followed with information on paperwork.

      The short films all got laughter and thoughtful consideration: Sam Berliner’s ‘Perceptions’ trilogy (the link is only the first part), Shawna Virago’s ‘Transsexual Dominatrix,’ and Hugh Jasoll’s ‘Stuff Cis People Say to Trans People.’ It was great to have Hugh there to talk about his piece, and his TransFix work.

      We closed with a showing of the Spanish trans Ikea ad (live version, not the video), and a discussion of the new religion’s study on trans acceptance. Visibility is working! Joanne read the stunning ‘How to Make Love to a Trans Person‘ poem to a hushed and tear-brushing-aside audience as our finale.

      I was super pleased to see the diversity of the turn out this year, and to watch people just hanging out and talking. For next year, we’re going to have a committee, and grow this event even further!

      A final note… so many people pitched in to volunteer and make TDOV work! Kevin and Andy brought their sound system, Wyatt ran the computer (and that was real sweat! – special thanks to Nori here and everywhere!), lots of the South Bay Trans Men pitched in, Joanne helped the wine bar and the whole event, and many attendees helped with clean up. Friends put together resources (and the Pink Spots were great), and gathered other friends… Participants came from Oakland and San Francisco, and shared their knowledge in discussion. Thanks to these good folks and all those whose names I didn’t mention!