Archive for February, 2012

Upcoming Trans Visibility Events at DeAnza College

Thursday, February 23rd, 2012

The lgbt group at DeAnza college (http://www.deanza.edu/) has a couple student-orientated events coming up!

– Trans Awareness panel/movie/etc: Wed. March 15th 5 pm
– Flash Mob: March 7th; the primary focus is creating visibility–be it recognizing hate crimes or just showing people that holding hands in public should not be something that incites violence.

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.

Hold the date: 3/31/12 Transgender Day of Visibility

Thursday, February 9th, 2012

I am really pleased to announce that this year’s CA south bay TDOV will take place at the Billy DeFrank LGBT Community Center on Saturday, March 31st. We’re gonna build on last year’s success and create a diverse and fun experience!

So far we have speakers, including a lawyer and a legislative assistant, a short film, and performances. We also have an earlier start time this year, so we can have discussion panels.

Want to participate? Have an idea for a panel? Let me know!

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!