Okay, I’m about to get serious. I’ve always admired how Wisconsin has, generally, had a history of progressive treatment of citizens who are part of diverse groups. A prime example of this was the 1982 legislation that prohibited discrimination in fields such as housing and public and private employment based on a person’s sexual orientation. That law had bipartisan support and was signed into law by a Republican governor who was fiscally conservative yet progressive on social/cultural issues.
Okay, I must apologize at the outset, because I’m going to get politically serious on this post. So with that being said, brace yourselves:
For those of whatever persuasion who are big on anniversaries, you probably are aware of the chilling anniversary being marked this week: One year ago, a man who is vain, egotistical, lewd, misogynistic, hateful, womanizing, racist, and chauvinistic was elected President of the United States. It was an election outcome not very many at the time expected would happen, but happen it did.
Let’s start off this post with a quick comic book analogy, and before you think I’m a sci-fi/comic book geek, I’m not; it’s just that I read a quick blurb about this character a long while ago and felt they were apropos for this post: In the DC Comics Universe, there is a character by the name of Luornu Durgo, a strange visitor from another planet (whoops, wrong character) where the natives had the ability to split themselves into three identical bodies at will. Luornu Durgo used that that ability to overwhelm and fight evil forces, earning her the nickname “Triplicate Girl.”
Now, I imagine that Luornu Durgo could have used that multiplication ability to do other things… like, say, straighten up her house before guests came over to visit. Or… I dunno, appear in three totally separate places at once. Last week Friday, I had not one, not two, but three separate commitments occupying my entire day from pre-dawn to well past sunset. Thankfully, I didn’t have to be there all at the same time, but just the same, I felt like I had that multiplying superpower. Just call me [*insert powerful superhero music here*] Triplicate Person!
While there have been two good things that occurred in my personal life this August (my high school class reunion, my marching in the pride parade), there was one situation that really bummed me out. Now that I’m slowly putting it behind me, I will start my explanation of said situation by highlighting a change you may have noticed this month: My Gravatar profile description. You know, the one listed under my smiling face you see on the right of your compute screen. (Uh, you are reading this on a computer screen, right?) Here is how that profile previously read:
Take note of the first three sentences in that description: “Full-time middle-aged male. Long-time overworked office drone. Part-time female fashion plate.” A witty and rather innocuous way to describe myself… or so I thought. The thoughts of those three sentences, or at least how a very important gatekeeper interpreted them, prevented me from taking part in the perfect venue to showcase my poetry skills (such as they are).
Last weekend, I finally had the opportunity — and more importantly, the courage — to do what I had long hoped to do: March as Allison in a LGBT pride parade.
Sunday was the day of the OutReach Pride Parade & Rally (the above logo is from the event website). As you may recall my telling you in this post about last year’s parade, the event has been put on since 2014 by OutReach, which is the LGBT community resource and support center here in Madison. As it has since 2015, the parade and rally was held downtown, with the parade going up State Street and circling Capitol Square before ending at a rally point where State Street meets the square. The OutReach Pride Parade & Rally has grown each year since its establishment. In fact, this year organizers had to cut off the number of registered parade entrants at 77, since there was just no room for any more.
In this post from late last month, I detailed the topic of my general presence online. That post and the one you’re about to read were inspired by one of the “June Jour” topics my WordPress peep, The Finicky Cynic, posted on her site in June: Thoughts about social media use. As I noted in that post, I tend to think of my online and social media presences as intertwined with each other. After that lengthy post about the online life, I will center this post on how I got to the “You Are Here” point on social media, as well as whether there’s too much of it and if I tend to rely on it too much (spoiler alert: There is, and I do).
I will start off by alluding to some relatively personal social media news: I had mentioned once or twice on this blog that I was never keen to establishing an account on Facebook. I gave reasons such as the controversy over Facebook requiring users to use their real names and not their stage name or preferred private alias, to the image of Mark Zuckerberg being a big prick (yeah, I got that from The Social Network). And I still feel a lot of trepidation and hesitance over establishing a Facebook account.
And yet, out of necessity, I’ve established a Facebook account.
Now, you will certainly brand me a hypocrite for joining Facebook after expressing for so long how nice it was to not have done so. But I have two key reasons for doing so, which I’ll get to later in this post. First, I want to start off with my first venture into social media, Twitter. As I mentioned in this post, I had never thought about answering the siren song of social media until a couple of months after getting my first full-fledged smart phone. Before then, I had one of those basic flip phones for a few years, but with the rapid advancement of personal technology, that phone became oh so archaic by the time I bought my first smart phone in 2010.
I need to lead off this post with a confession: This post was originally going to be much longer and much broader in scope than what you are about to read. I was inspired by a recent writing prompt by one of my WordPress peeps, The Finicky Cynic, about social media. However, I originally chose to cover the broad online life in responding, as I’m one who considers my online and social media lives as symbiotic with each other. But once I got to around the halfway mark of my post, I realized… wowzers, this post is turning into a very long read. I also realized that just talking about the social media life is a long slog in itself.
So, to give both of us — you, the reader, and me, the writer — a break from the monotony, I will save the social media ruminations for a near-future post that, knowing me, I will edit and re-edit and re-re-edit before sharing with you… and use this particular entry to talk up the path my female side has taken on the World Wide Web. (Uh, do they still call it that yet?)
Time for another edition of “Allison’s Word,” and a return to a topic I brought up exactly one year ago this weekend:
“Uh, Allison? Didn’t you say all of that before?”
Yes, I did. But Canada is a country worth talking up any time of year. And this is especially true on the very day I write this — Saturday, July 1, 2017. It’s the 150th anniversary of confederation, commemorating the date in 1867 when three (soon to be four) British colonies united under one dominion, gaining some of its own self-governance while remaining part of what was then known as the British Commonwealth. Continue reading
I made passing mention in my last blog post about this, but it’s time to finally give it the spotlight here: Last Thursday morning (June 1), three members of the Wisconsin State Legislature introduced to assembled media and the public a new piece of legislation currently seeking co-sponsorship from fellow legislators. The proposal, as with any piece of legislation (federal, state, or otherwise), has a grand name: The Privacy Protection and Gender Identity Anti-Discrimination Act. And a press release announcing the proposal succinctly sums up the bill’s importance:
“A bill that would add protections to Wisconsin statutes against discrimination based on a person’s gender identity or gender expression.”
I try my darndest to not get specifically too political on this blog, aside from expressing the occasional broad thought about some news of great national or international import. But there’s something gnawing in my mind the past several weeks… er, actually the past year and a half or so that I so desperately need to express at this point in time, out of fear that it’ll be too late if I don’t. I must preface this by saying I’m not the brightest and most adept of political commentators; if you want analysis that’s more direct and a little more well thought out, go read Politico or Huffington Post. I must also note that I will try to synthesize these thoughts in a grounded though somewhat whimsical way; it’s all I can do to approach such serious matters.