I want to tell you about what I did — and didn’t — do this past Thursday night. First off, what I did do was attend a little get-together that raised funds for the LGBT pride parade in Madison this August. It was a rather simple party, with just under a couple dozen supporters and Board of Directors membership of Madison’s LGBT community center, held in the home and garden of one of the center’s longtime supporters in one of Madison’s more cozier and aesthetically pleasing neighborhoods (lots of shade trees, narrow and winding streets, beautifully manicured yards).
Now that I’ve put my thoughts about an important piece of Wisconsin legislation into the ether of the internet (it can be found here, for the record), it’s time for me to dive in to the annual series of challenges one of my WordPress peeps, The Finicky Cynic, puts out every year. She calls it “June Jour Challenge,” and it includes various single topics we can respond to, as well as certain forms of writing styles we must adhere to (or adhere as close as possible).
Since F.C. started the 2017 “June Jour Challenge” a week ago, I have yet to respond to any challenge. That ends with this post. And with me playing catch-up, I’ll have to respond to F.C.’s challenges out of order (I hope she doesn’t mind). I’ll start with a response to this challenge she sent out yesterday:
“Everyone has a ‘safe space’ where they can relax and be themselves. Where is yours?”
If you saw some of my retweets on Twitter a couple of days ago, you learned that there was a significant bill introduced in Wisconsin’s state legislature that, if it becomes law, would prohibit discrimination based on one’s gender identity or expression. I’m trying to formulate a post devoted solely to that piece of legislation (which you can learn about here). But in the meantime, I want to highlight a couple of interesting LGBT-related items.
The first was another piece of big Wisconsin news this week involving Ash Whitaker, a student at Kenosha’s Tremper High School who received disrespect from the administration of both the school and the school district just because he is transgender. Originally, Ash made news for wanting to run for prom king, but was rebuffed by Tremper High officials who dictated that he run for prom queen or be dropped from consideration for prom court altogether. The school relented, allowing anyone who qualified for prom court to run for prom king or prom queen, whichever one matched the gender they identified as.
It’s already the middle of May (already?!), and the other day, I finally — finally! — did something I hadn’t done all year: I dressed up and snapped some pictures to share with all of y’all.
After a busy Friday of work in the morning and volunteering in the afternoon, I headed home late afternoon with one more personal commitment, a meet-up with fellow CD/TG people that evening. Rather than just slap on a wig and jeans, I decided to take a bit of a stylish route, starting with a nice cream colored jacket I bought several years ago at Forever 21. It does have a nice combination of spring feeling and stylish attitude.
Oh, my goodness! It’s been over a week since I posted a blog entry. I could blame the fact that I’ve been preoccupied with work and other stuff, but that’s really too obvious of a target. So, I’ll blame something much more obvious: Having to buy a new computer.
My previous post, which you can read here, had me talking about a place of higher learning not too far from my old neck of the (literal) woods establishing a LGBT resource and support center. After I added it to this blog, I couldn’t help but think about it further…
First off, I can’t say enough how great it is for the University of Wisconsin—Marinette to establish a LGBT center. I’m happy, of course, that it’s happening in the area where I spent the later years of my adolescence. More than that, though, I’m happy for those in Marinette and vicinity who identify as part of the LGBT spectrum or are LGBT allies, for they finally — finally! — have somewhere where they can find resources; obtain information on healthcare, transitioning, support, etc.; or just find a safe, welcoming place where they will not be judged for who they identify as or who they may be attracted to.
Today (March 31) is the International Transgender Day of Visibility, which is a day meant to celebrate those who identify as transgender and to help raise awareness of discrimination faced by trans people everywhere. (It should not be conflated with the Transgender Day of Remembrance, which occurs in November.)
I won’t get too much into the ins and outs of TDoV in this post, though I do recommend you learn more about the day (here is a good starting point). What I do want to do is dedicate a few lines of prose (and passing references towards David Bowie and J. Geils Band) to this day and to trans people of all stripes, especially those who, by circumstance or choice, may not live out and proud. While this prose may not be perfect, know that the words are meant to communicate my appreciation for you, whatever you may identify as.
“I See You”
I see you over there
Sitting all alone and scared
You’re not sure if you’re a boy or a girl
And it’s got your mother in a whirl
The world wants to put you down
And make you frown
They’re misguided for insisting you’re one thing
When you know you’re not what they’re saying
They want you to wear one set of clothes
A set in which you’ll never grow
For that, they think you’re an abomination
But, really, you’re an amazing creation
I know, they want to put you down
To keep you from wiping off your frown
You know you’re one thing
When everyone says you’re another
But to me, you’re more than a sister or a brother
No, really, you’re beautiful
Just the way you are
So don’t be afraid
Shine your own kind of light
Fight their darkness with your personality bright
Oh, I’m sorry
You don’t want to come out?
You do want to be the person you are
But you don’t want to scream or shout?
It’s okay, I understand
I have my own four-walled Neverland
Where I can feel free
And be who I know I be
Which is whatever gender I can be
But you want to be quiet about it
And, really, that’s okay
For it’s good, even better
To be more than whatever gender
But I do wish you can be free
You deserve to be who you know you be
Free from prying eyes
Free from disdaining eyes
Wait… Please, wait…
Yes, I see you
And I do accept you
For you being you
No, it doesn’t matter to me
What gender you may be
Male or female
Maybe both, maybe neither
Know, though, that I admire you
And I will stand by you and with you
And help protect you
And keep the wolves at bay
No matter what the world may say
I’ll have your back until my last day
Fully displayed or in the closet
Know that you’re living honest
But if you’re not out now, don’t worry
For if the time comes when
You show the world who you are
There will be those who will call you friend
There will be those just like you
Or supportive and accepting of you
Who will have your back if you fall
And help you stand up and stand tall
I will be there with you
For today, I see you
And I love and respect you
Because no matter who you are
And no matter what others will say of you
You are living your life… amazingly
Just by being… you
I usually save any “Throwback Thursday” posts for the actual date, Thursday. But even though it’s Tuesday, I don’t want to wait until Thursday, even though the subject in question is, sadly, not going anywhere. Back in October, I talked up in this post Mallatt’s Pharmacy, which has… er, rather, had two locations here in Madison, the older west side location on Monroe Street and a more generally recent east side location on Williamson Street. Mallatt’s had a couple of locations outside the Madison city limits, but they were no national chain, that’s for sure. Since it was established in 1926, Mallatt’s had been a nice, convenient corner pharmacy, one who’s much more intimate than those national chains (like, say, Walgreens) whose stores are sterile, antiseptic clones of each other.
It’s Friday evening as I write this; I’m here at home; and I’m really, really, wishing I was out of the house. And I was planning to be out of the house tonight. That was until this slight stuffiness and sore throat I woke up with this morning became much nastier as the day wore on. Now, my nostrils are even stuffier, my throat feels even more irritated, and I ache all over. Yeah, suddenly being struck by a cold during the first week of spring is no fun. And it’s even less fun when you were feeling fine literally 24 hours earlier.
As I write this, it’s March 21… or as is also known on the 2017 calendar, the 2nd day of spring! Yeah, I’m a bit excited about it. Well, more reserved than excited. I mean, it’s great that the days are getting longer, which really perks up a person. But since I live in Wisconsin, my enthusiasm has to be tempered a little bit, since winter has a tendency to reel right back and bite us in the *ahem* backside when we least expect it, even if winter can be as relatively tame as the now concluded winter was here in Wisconsin. Today was a reminder that spring takes its time pushing winter to the past: Sure, it was mostly bright and sunny, but the wind was brisk and the chill was present. I’m not one to regularly check the thermometer, but I wouldn’t be surprised if the temperature didn’t rise above 45 degrees.