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Trans day of Visibility 2016

Saturday, October 24th, 2015

Mark Saturday, April 2nd, 2016 on your calendar as the day for the south bay Transgender Day of Visibility celebration!

Planing is already underway. As one special treat, we will have a new trans-focused documentary film.

4/2/16 for TDOV!

South Bay Trans Day of Visibility! April 5, 2014

Saturday, February 1st, 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+.

Thanks and First Thoughts on TDOV 2013

Sunday, March 24th, 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

Thursday, March 21st, 2013

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 and pagan – what should we talk about?

      Wednesday, July 25th, 2012

      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.)

      Lesson Learned: Local Politics

      Wednesday, May 30th, 2012

      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.

      Transgender Day of Visibility 2012, San Jose, Recap

      Sunday, April 1st, 2012

      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!

      Why I Sat at Pantheacon

      Monday, February 20th, 2012

      Pantheacon is a large, wonderful convention where Pagans from across the country gather once a year to grow community and explore spirituality. This year, the main event for me was a sit-in on Sunday night.

      The sit – I love this contemporary version of the sit-in of the ’60s, where one sits in silent meditation – was held in the hall outside of Z Budapest’s cisgender-women-only ritual. Z Budapest is a founding figure in modern Paganism; so important to the early feminist thought which broadened and deepened the emerging collection of spiritual practices deemed Paganism. She is a true Grandmother.

      Her importance only adds to the heartbreak of her hate speech. Her attempted explanation and apologies devolve over and over into defining trans women as ‘other,’ as ‘not women.’ There is room for separate space (though likely it will still get its protests); there isn’t room for telling other people what they are, or are not, nor for labeling them violent or invaders.

      There was no point in arguing; so we sat. T. Thorn Coyle (a erudite teacher and blogger) organized a peaceful, silent protest. With only one day’s notice, over 80 of us gathered to sit outside of Z’s presentation. Others also came to hold space and chant. It was a powerful, difficult experience.

      I found a wave of grief crashing over me; I couldn’t even name all of its parts – sorrow for my own experience, for this fossilizing in a Pagan elder, for the pain of the community. It was a blessing I have an actual meditative sitting practice; I used that experience to remain present and open, to the wave, to my own body, to the astonishing outpouring of silent support around me. It turned into an experience of healing I couldn’t have dreamed of.

      Thank you, Thorn, and all members of the sangha of that night.

      New book!

      Thursday, February 9th, 2012

      Friends of mine have edited and just released a new essay collection, “Gender and Transgender in Modern Paganism.” It’s available as a free download, or order-able printed book, at http://cerridwen.st4r.org/wiki/index.php/Gender_and_Transgender_in_Modern_Paganism. Check it out if you’re interested in the intersection of transgender issues and spirituality.

      I was honored to be selected as a contributor. I felt like I was being risky in my style; it’s a near stream-of-consciousness travel through time and experience, revealing the intersections of transition and spirituality that I traversed. It was fun to find another author (T. Thorn Coyle, whose work I really admire) used a similar approach. 🙂 Mine is rather a historical piece nowadays; so much (thankfully) has changed in the visibility of transgender people and experience.

      I like that the book offers a variety of voices, from assorted sides of the issue (there are more than two, methinks). Some are long-winded, some are exciting, some brisk and some detailed. I think it’s a good read.

      There will be another discussion on gender the paganism at the upcoming Pantheacon conference (www.pantheacon.org). There’s plenty to discuss!

      Transgender Day of Remembrance in San Jose, 11/20

      Tuesday, November 15th, 2011

      This Sunday join the south bay trans community in our vigil for trans people who’ve lost their lives to violence in the last year. Together we are stronger.

      We meet at 6pm at the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center, 938 The Alameda, San Jose.