Allison M.

A crossdresser's thoughts on life, fashion, fabulousness, and… oh yeah, dressing up!


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Rest in power, Aimee Stephens

I’ve been busy the past few days with working at home, writing about working at home, and trying to clean my home.  As a result, some things tend to escape through the cracks of my mind.  However, there is one sad note from this week, concerning the passing of an important LGBT+ figure, that should not go unnoticed.

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Photo source: Paul Sancya/AP via NPR.org

That person was Aimee Stephens.  If the name rings a bell, it’s because she was a litigant in one of three separate cases concerning LGBT+ rights that the United States Supreme Court heard last October.  Stephens’ case involves whether Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which bars employment discrimination based on one’s “sex,” pertains to a person’s gender identity.

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Her myopic anger… and my real concern

My previous post was all about how I (evidently) hyperextended my knee.  If you recall reading it, you may have noticed that I that I did not consult an actual doctor regarding my knee.  Instead, I relied on the advice of friends, family (including my healthcare worker sister), and the well acknowledged corners of the internet.  It’s safe to say that doctors and clinics have bigger things to worry about these days.  As all of us do.  This pandemic is dangerous and nothing to dismiss.

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When the Wizards put the “T” in Pride Night

Okay, you’re just as freaked out as I am by current events and you want anything that brings a smile to your face.  You know what?  So do I.  So let’s share an item that occurred before this world, and the sporting world in particular, went topsy-turvy…

Speaking as both a sports fan and a member of the broad LGBT+ community, it’s awesome to know that there are sports leagues and teams who are openly supportive and welcoming of everyone regardless of their sexual or gender identity.  And while some of them just paint their logo in rainbow colors and leave it at that, others go much further.  Like, say, the National Basketball Association, who has deservedly been viewed as the most progressive of sports entities.  The NBA, its developmental and women’s leagues, and franchises walk the talk through its addressing of social issues at all levels, its support of less fortunate communities, and its inclusion of women and minorities, including LGBT+ people, in on- and off-court roles.

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A poem: “Walls”

With all the horrifying news we’re dealing with now, it may be easy to forget about the big days on the calendar that have occurred or will be coming up.  It was Saint Patrick’s Day a couple of weeks ago.  Easter Sunday will come around next month.  And Mother’s Day in North America will occur in May… when, fingers tightly crossed, things will start getting much better in this world.

But today (March 31) is the International Transgender Day of Visibility.  For the uninitiated, this day is intended to celebrate the broad transgender community, the accomplishments we’ve made, the impact we’ve made upon the world, and the difficulties we still have to face.  Needless to say, both the trans and cis-gender communities are having to face a certain viral difficulty at the moment.  It is, admittedly, a frightening reminder that while we still have our differences, we are all flesh-and-blood human beings.

Walls

There are walls between us now
The ones we want to live in
And the ones we have to live in

Your walls are the ones you’ve erected
Walls made of brick and mortar
Walls that serve as your ivory towers
And walls that are the fortification
That protects all you own and believe
From what you think will harm you

My walls are… what you’ve erected, too
Walls not of brick and mortar
But instead of words and actions
That hurt like sticks and stones
Walls that knock me down
And hurt my spirits
All because the person I know I am
Is an unfounded threat
To your world view

Yes, there are walls between us now
The ones you want to live in
And the ones you’ve made me live in

But they’re just… walls
Walls that stand tall but cast shadows
Walls that segregate and alienate
Walls that… can’t protect anyone
From things that are unseen
But will destroy you
As well as me
And those we love

Yes, there are walls between us now
Those we need to live within
But also those we can break down from within

Yes, stay within your walls right now
While I must stay within mine
But reach out to me
Talk to me
Ask “How are you” to me
I’ll ask the same of you, you’ll see

Please be kind
In this frightening time
And once you do, together we’ll find
There’ll be one less set of walls between us


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Constant contact

I had intended to add this topic to my most recent post, but I felt it was something that needed to be highlighted in its own entry.  A question for all of you first:  In this historic, frightening, and historically frightening time, how much have you been in recent contact with the friends and family you love and support?  It’s an important question, really.  I mean, we as humans thrive on connections of one sort or another, be it familial or neighborly, business acquaintance or friendship, a few inches apart in distance (not feasible at this moment) or a thousand miles away.

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Random personal thoughts (3/25/2020 edition)

Just a few observations on the fly.  First, it’s been a week and a day since I holed myself up in my apartment to “flatten the curve” as it were.  Knowing that things are frightening outside my apartment walls doesn’t ease my mind very much.  But since I am able to work through home at the present (thankfully), busy workdays have taken my mind off the troubles of the news.  Well, somewhat taken my mind off of it.

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Settling in

A few more personal anecdotes at the end of the first week of what’s become a scary time…  and I do not use that term “scary” lightly.  Constant news of confirmed virus cases, actions and reactions (or lack thereof) from authorities, and no firm date of life returning back to normal really do freak me out.

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All dressed up for two “dream” weddings

I was going to write about a couple of fashion tidbits I came across this past week, but I’ll have to postpone that for something else I don’t want my mind to forget… especially since it concerns a dream I had overnight…

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What’s scary… and what’s not-so-scary

On this Sunday morning, the thoughts I communicate in this post are not so much on the disappointing political news of the week, the big sporting event that’s set to take place this evening, or even a big decision I made yesterday (a subject for a future post, I promise).  Rather, it’s about other distressing news affecting the trans community.

Perhaps you’re well aware of the reality that myopic, unsympathetic state legislators (yep, from the right side of the aisle) are introducing bills designed to deny transition care to trans adolescents.  Already in 2020 alone, as Vox.com reports, legislators in 8 states have introduced bills that would make it a crime for doctors to provide medically necessary care to children with gender dysphoria, with similar proposals about to surface in other conservative-leaning states.

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Allison empties some bookmarks (1/19/2020 edition)

Time to finally get back to “emptying browser bookmarks” and sharing a couple of LGBT-related items you should read, know, and learn.  The first thing I want to share is actually a few tweets posted earlier this month by Faith Naff, who identifies as an author, activist, and transgender… or to be more precise, a trans woman.  And that term, “trans woman,” is important to Faith as it is laid out.  Allow her to explain it to our allies:

To my admission, I had never realized how much adding one space between the words “trans” and “women” would mean so very much until seeing this tweet.  And when interpreting Faith’s reasoning in a follow-up, it has to do in part with a truly dangerous place:  Social media.

Of course, those who dare to misgender us will use platforms other than Twitter and Facebook to deny our true identities.  But the written word can go miles toward painting good or bad ideas toward our community.  Oh, sure, Faith Naff and other trans people (note that space there) would, more often than not, prefer not having to add the word “trans” before the gender they know they are.  But… well, let Faith explain it to someone in a reply:

As the above conversation suggests, Faith’s original tweet got a lot of positive responses, as well as at least one “this happened to me” comment (forgive the upcoming blue language):

As Faith Naff makes clear in her tweets, and at least Katrina Rose does in her responses, properly identifying someone from the trans community can mean so much.  Sure, we’d like to be identified as just male or female, or just doctors or lawyers or bloggers if we wish.  But when the need arises, we’d like to be identified as a person who happens to be trans.  That’s why one little space between two words can ensure so much agency to our community, while at the same time deny those who disdain us an advantage.  Thank you, Faith Naff, for enlightening not only myself but the allies who have our backs.

(Oh, and if you’re wondering… in searching my past posts on this blog, I have never consciously used “trans man, “trans woman,” or similar identifiers without a space in between those words.  Guess I had always knew the importance of this without ever realizing it.)


If you recall last month, Hallmark Channel got into a big to-do over their pulling from their air advertisements from the wedding planning company Zola.  The ads in question featured a lesbian couple at their nuptials.  Hallmark’s move was a capitulation to an anti-LGBT+ group whose mission is to shine an ugly spotlight upon us, that is if they desire to have any light cast upon us at all.

While it was Hallmark’s desire to not have any type of controversial content running on their network (it’s always blue skies and, at Christmastime, constant snowfall at Hallmark), the real controversy was in denying positive representation of LGBT+ people, even if it’s in a 30-second ad.  Deservedly, Hallmark felt the repercussions:  Our community and allies vociferously called out the network, and Zola cut ties with Hallmark completely.  Thankfully, Hallmark reversed course:  They apologized, restored the Zola ad campaign, and began outreach with GLAAD in regards to better representing the LGBT+ community.

While brides and grooms and guests may disagree, weddings such as those Zola depicts in their campaign can be taken by some as an ordinary thing.  Come on, their reasoning could go, weddings take place every weekend everywhere.  Initially, Ellen Kahn thought her wedding was ordinary as well:  Beautiful weather, exchanging of vows, happy family members, equally happy guests, screaming kids.  Well, that’s how she felt until the Hallmark/Zola controversy erupted.

At this point, I must note that Ellen Kahn is married to another woman.  And she also serves as the senior director of programs and partnerships at the Human Rights Campaign.  Why is that important here?  Well, HRC helped lead the criticism of Hallmark Channel’s dropping of the Zola ads, going so far as to suspend their “Corporate Equality Index” of Hallmark.  The CEI is a score HRC applies to a business based on that company’s LGBT-related policies and practices.  In 2019, Hallmark was among 571 firms that earned a perfect CEI of 100 for their LGBT+ policies.  Needless to say, heeling to bigots does not look good on a corporate resumé, and not long after Hallmark reversed course, HRC reinstated the company’s CEI grade.

But back to how Ellen Kahn felt about the controversy, and to the link I want to share here:  Earlier this month, Ellen wrote an op-ed for The Advocate in which she communicates how she had looked back on her wedding as an ordinary thing, and how she doesn’t feel that way now.  Certainly not after Hallmark made its misguided move… and certainly not during a time when there are still those who will block our community’s advancements.

But for every barricade that’s erected, there are great many people who will knock it down.  That’s the general tone of Ellen’s piece.  While in her position at HRC, she’s seen the “heartbreaking toll” of an LGBT+ community being bullied, attacked, discriminated, erased, and being turned into (her words) a “political target and punching bag for this nation’s loathsome administration.”  Still, she is greatly heartened by the response of the community and allies toward Hallmark, an HRC-led “grassroots army” that forced a TV network to realize that our community’s existence should not be a controversial subject.

Ellen Kahn, judging from her op-ed, now feels more appreciation of the hard-fought freedom to marry the one she loves.  And judging from the article’s title, she sees the Hallmark/Zola controversy not as a step back but rather “a sign of LGBTQ progress.”  That our community made our voices heard made all the difference.  May that spirit inspire us in that next battle.