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?”
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.”
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.
If you recall a year ago, I challenged myself to run in the Crazylegs Classic, which is an 8-kilometer run put on by the University of Wisconsin—Madison whose proceeds go to fund the school’s athletic program. I had never run in an organized race that long, and I wasn’t sure of how well I would do. Well, I set to preparing for the race, squeezing in 5-mile runs almost every weekend in the lead-up to the race. And when all was said and done, I finished the 4.98 miles in just over 57 minutes, well above the treadmill runs I put myself on and astonishing myself in the process.
This year, I got myself off the couch and, despite a little bit of procrastination (I can’t shake all of my bad habits), signed myself to run the 36th edition of Crazylegs, which occurred last Saturday (April 29). Compared to the lead-up to last year’s run, I wasn’t as nervous. Well, I sort of take that back. The only thing I was nervous about was how cold and/or wet I’d feel during and after the run. Yeah, Madison has had a bit of a cold spell the past few days, along with a few dreary days of rain, including the night before when I had to run in between raindrops to pick up my runner’s packet (shirt, bib, sweat pack).
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.
Despite the title of this post, I’m devoting this post less to fashion and more to catching up on a couple of comings and goings (literally) at the mall a mile from where I live (West Towne Mall, for the record). Well, it’s not so much comings as it is comings, as it involves two formerly-significant clothing stores that have fallen on hard times as brick-and-mortar entities and have left the mall, and two stories that I’ve been meaning to bring up on here.
Let’s begin with Aéropostale. If you recall this post from last October, I mentioned that Aéropostale was in the process of closing many of its stores as part of its Chapter 11 bankruptcy reorganization. And though it wasn’t part of that early list of closures, the Aéropostale at West Towne turned out to later be among them. It was a weird sight strolling past the mall during the last holiday shopping season and seeing not only signs saying “Store Closing!” and Entire Store 50-70% off!” but also “New Arrivals!” Oh, and a “now hiring seasonal help” sign as well.
I want to devote this quick post to a comment a reader left on a couple of my posts this week. I did not approve their comments as I thought the comments section wasn’t an appropriate place to address their pretty good inquiry. Luckily, I’m one to think long and hard about their questions can devote a new post to the answers.
I won’t single out this person by name or gender, but I will describe what they said they were: They are into crossdressing; they had recently relocated to the Madison, Wisconsin area; and they were inquiring about crossdresser-friendly social groups and organizations in Madison. They also asked about any places in Madison where a crossdresser would be socially accepted.
My previous post was rather obliquely about the Women’s March that occurred here in Madison last Saturday (January 21), but… wait, you thought the only Women’s March occurred in Washington last weekend? I’ll just presume you weren’t paying attention to the news, because in nearly 600 locales here in the United States and worldwide, millions of people took to the streets to highlight very important issues in society, including but not limited to health care, environment, and women’s and racial issues, as well as stand up to the very ugly, hateful, and misogynistic culture that the new leadership the U.S., fronted by a certain thin-orange-skinned leader, is so easily propagating.