While I spend the weekend recuperating from a grueling work week, I want to highlight a Wisconsin-related, Madison-related, LGBT-related story I came across this morning. The Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce is, yes, an organization of businesses that promote economic growth, business opportunities, and blah blah blah. But note the inclusion of the acronym “LGBT” in their name. Yes, in addition to all that stuff about promoting economic growth, the Wisconsin LGBT Chamber of Commerce is an advocate for and promoter of LGBT-owned or -allied businesses and professionals in Wisconsin.
Okay, I promised some stuff I had left over from but didn’t have room in my last post about the 2018 OutReach Pride Parade & Rally that occurred last Sunday (August 19). Unlike that previous post, I promise I won’t even bring up the controversy that surrounded the parade this year. Nope, this will be all positive. The first thing is that though some of the same socialists who despised the police being at pride also despised the presence of corporate sponsorship (no, I’m not gonna get any darker than that in this post), there was, without mistake, a sincere presence of businesses who wanted to show their support of the LGBT+ community. Just as with the charities, non-profit organizations, and church and advocacy groups that also populated the parade, they made it known that they truly support our community and do not venture to discriminate against us. That they also do so with their checkbooks and accountants through their sponsorship of Pride does not (and should not) hurt, no matter what your level of disdain of the corporate world. And, yes, sometimes I do think this world has gotten all-corporate, if you know what I mean. Still, I do understand the necessity of having a benevolent, philanthropic sponsor offering cash. Continue reading
Just a quick follow-up to my previous post, in which I went on and on about the controversy surrounding the presence of police at the OutReach Pride parade this Sunday. To sum up the background of that post, those who are trans/queer people of color (or at least the allies of TQPOCs) raised ongoing concerns that the presence of police groups, particularly those from the Madison Police Department, would create an unsafe and unwelcoming situation. Some even threatened to boycott the parade and stage their own counter-protest. Long story short, OutReach (the organization that stages the parade) withdrew the permits of the MPD and UW—Madison Police Departments’ LGBT employee resource groups; the members of those groups can still march on Sunday, just in a civilian capacity (i.e. out of uniform and not under a police banner).
When reading about the controversy, one would think that OutReach and MPD were ignorant of TQPOCs’ concerns. On the contrary. On Monday of this week, a previously scheduled listening session took place at the Madison Public Library. No, I wasn’t in attendance (I’ve my own schedule, you know), but judging from this recap of the event, the conversation that took place was honest, sincere… and at times heated (folks still have concerns after all). Also, the comments of MPD members who spoke at the listening session suggest that they are respectful and understanding of OutReach’s decision to withdraw their applications. But no matter what one’s opinion about the issue, at least you may agree to a quote from that article said by someone in attendance: “It’s so energizing to see a room of people who care about an issue, regardless of whether you agree or disagree.”
So, you’re sick of my posts about my job search? Well, so am I… for now, anyway. While I think about a ginormous employment decision (a topic for another post, I should warn you), I wanted to quickly highlight a nice bit of news from the TV world that hit one week ago. A question first off: Do you know this person?
That person is the actress and activist Nicole Maines. Perhaps you’ve seen her a few years ago in an episode of the show Royal Pains, in which she had a guest role in an episode dealing with how one’s use of hormones can sometimes have an adverse effect (her character was the hormone-taker in question). She’s also appeared in a couple of trans-oriented documentaries, most notably HBO’s The Trans List. Continue reading
Okay, folks, since my post from earlier today regarding my job search might have left some of you as bummed out as I am, something slightly more jovial is in order. I did already mention a couple of these in that last post and just touched on them in passing on social media, but I’ll expound on them somewhat here.
- Staying home isn’t all that it’s cut out to be. Or to be more precise, staying home when you weren’t planning on doing so. I have done the whole one-week “staycation” thing before, but that was with the intent of returning to work the following week. Even with that, sitting in an apartment watching tennis or cycling or your DVR can leave a soul a bit stir crazy. Actually getting out of the house to do anything does help that fear of being in stir. Speaking of walks…
- A nice summer afternoon’s walk doesn’t always clear one’s mind as much as it should. Yes, you’re out of the house, but your mind is still pondering other personal things, like “what do I need from the store?” or “did I send out that payment?” or, yes, “where should I apply to next?” Perhaps I should find nicer destinations to take my walk; maybe that could help ease my mind.
- I feel much better when I’m preoccupied with something important and meaningful to do. Like working at the office, of course. But as I mentioned in my last post, I’ve been working on a meaningful project for a LGBT resource center here in town, and during the afternoons I worked on said project this past week, it did take my mind off of those job search worries for just a while. I’ll be working more on it this week, and that should help ease my mind a little more. If you find yourself in the house with nothing to do, do indeed find yourself a project, even if it’s just cleaning house. (Oh, memo to self: My apartment needs cleaning.)
- The car deserves a rest, even if you weren’t intending to let it rest. In the 12 days since the day after my employer let me go, I’ve had to use my car just twice for transportation, and both were for reasons that had to do with my feminine side: Last weekend to and from a poetry performance, and yesterday to and from a support group meeting. Any other trips outside the house (for errands or just a walk) were done on my own two feet. And believe it or not, my mind got used to not having to drive, so much so that it felt somewhat weird when I did my driving yesterday (“okay, which one is the brake pedal?”). And speaking of things I didn’t have to do…
- Having a big, bushy beard does not look good on my male-mode face. Normally when I didn’t need to go to work, or go to support groups or poetry readings as Allison, I would usually give my electric razor a rest and let the stubble grow for a day or two. This past week, I let it grow so that by Friday, my brow and chin and jawline looked like a combination of pepper and salt (mostly the former). And it didn’t do a thing for Male Mode Me. I think my face may not have as many beard follicles as the average male, especially just under the lower lip where I’ve had a cut scar since I was a kid (darn blade razors). Shaving before getting dolled up yesterday actually felt good. And with an interview scheduled for tomorrow afternoon, I am looking forward to getting rid of that stubble once again. Yay for clean-shaven faces. And legs. And underarms. (That’s for my female side of course.)
Time to highlight a couple of LGBT-themed advertisements that have been released this spring. Well, they’re lesbian-themed advertisements if you must be specific, but I imagine others in the LGBT+ spectrum might find something they’ll relate to in these ads. The first was released last month in Great Britain for Malteasers, a malted-milk-covered-in-chocolate candy (think Whoppers, my fellow Americans). The Malteasers ad I’ll highlight here features a quartet of women at some café or break area or whatever. One of the four, whose name is Sarah… well, I’ll let her tell her concern.
After a Friday full of trying to keep up with my supervisor’s demands in the morning, volunteering in the afternoon, and getting together with a support group in the evening… and then spending all Saturday morning composing a blog entry, I spent Saturday afternoon camping in front of the TV set. And “camp” also meant “campy.”
Saturday (May 12) was Grand Final day of the 2018 Eurovision Song Contest. If you recall my write-up about the 2016 contest, Eurovision is part of a consortium of European television broadcasters that produces and distributes TV content throughout Europe. The Eurovision Song Contest is by far their biggest event, and this year it was held in Lisbon, capital and largest city of Portugal, whose entry in last year’s contest took home the title. Continue reading
Time to start something I don’t believe I’ve ever tried on here: Make a series of recommendations. If you have to spend your 40-hour work week in a cubicle, as I do, you want something that helps ease the tediousness a bit. Sure, you could listen to the radio, but they always play the same old songs. And you could listen to a streaming music service such as Pandora or Spotify, but you don’t want to use too much of your cell phone’s data plan. And you want something to nourish your brain, or at least let it drift away from the troubles of current events. Luckily, there are podcasts to help fill your need for aural satisfaction.
Forgive me for borrowing a Yiddish term, but… Oy vey! This has been one bummer of a month of March for me professionally. I’ve made passing mention of it on here recently, and I’m still not mentally ready to tell you all about it. Suffice it to say, it’s a mistake that I’m owning up to at least in my mind. Being responsible for a professional error leaves me wondering about a lot of things, among them how much have my shortcomings (yes, I have more than one) influenced my supervisor and others? How much can I improve? And, yes, how much should I brush up my resumé? At least I have received support and words of confidence from my friends and a couple of colleagues. Their words are reminding me that I am worth much more to someone than my errors have branded me as.
What’s helping my psyche as well is the fact that there are those at my place of employment who don’t know, or don’t care, about my screw-ups. One… er, actually, two of those people came calling today. Both of them were very familiar with my male mode side’s commitment as a do-gooding volunteer (hey, something I’m good at!), and they made me an offer: There is a big event later this spring that our company has been devoted to for many years, and our company is in need of someone to help coordinate and corral our contingent of volunteers. (No, I won’t tell you who our company is or what event we’ll be sending volunteers to; my male mode side needs personal privacy, you know.)
Now, my usual volunteering efforts in the past have been limited to doing one simple task on one day at one event and then be done with it. Not with this particular duty, however. For one, it’ll take the span of a few weeks this spring to care for, meaning I won’t be sitting on my duff for a whole afternoon. Plus, instead of doing just one thing, I’ll be gathering information on who from our company wants to volunteer and sent it to the event’s coordinators.
The above description may be all just a thumbnail’s sketch to some of you, but for me this will be a big deal… not just because of the responsibilities but because someone came to me to ask for volunteer help, not my asking them. After weeks of being unsure of my own lot at my place of employment, and being nervous or downright scared about my professional future, there’s real impact in hearing these words from someone at work, even if it involves work I don’t normally do:
We need you.
I’m actually and sincerely looking forward to the coming weeks as a volunteer. Please wish me luck in my efforts to keep impressing others in a positive way.
Time to do something I haven’t done in a while: Clear out a few items that have long sit idle as bookmarks in my browser. Both are related to an advertising campaign that’s made an impact in both the ad world and popular culture over the past decade-plus: Dove beauty products’ Campaign for Real Beauty. Perhaps you’ve seen some of the campaign’s advertising in the past, all aimed at countering the prevailing image of women and young girls concocted by the beauty and fashion industries — i.e. images of waif-thin models of a certain age and/or ethnicity, all sporting all-too-perfect hair, makeup, and skin tone — and instead celebrate various types of female appearances and encourage and inspire women to be confident in and comfortable with themselves.
As I recall it, the first I time I heard of the Dove Campaign for Real Beauty was a 75-second online ad produced in Canada and first released in October 2006. Titled “Evolution,” the ad featured a pretty yet ordinary girl going through a time-lapse transformation into a beautiful model — with some obvious embellishments.