Before I go any further, much of this post will be devoted to the dark past 7 days, and as a whole past 2½ years, that our country has gone through. I perfectly understand if you want to hit your browser’s back button and go somewhere more cheerful. Heck, right after I finish writing this I may very well join you.
If you’ve ever perused that feed to the right of your screen, you’ve discovered that I am indeed on Flickr. And once or twice on this blog, I’ve opined of how Flickr can be a nice avenue to show off one’s outer beauty.
At least a couple of times on here, I’ve described some of the crazy dreams I’ve had, not the “I wanna see my name in lights” kind of dream but rather the “deep in peaceful slumber” and “so lucid it felt as if it was real life” kind. I had one of those very lucid dreams last weekend… but with some news this week, I’m wondering if it wasn’t so much a dream as it was a forecast of what was to come.
As I’ve expressed before, I am in true admiration of the beautiful feminine image, whether it’s of a cis-gender woman or my fellow trans/CD sisters, and whether they’re dressing to the nines or posing in casual fare. I also admire our trans community’s collective efforts to enlighten the cis-gender community of the fact that we are wonderful human beings who should not be shunned out of fear.
Admittedly, I don’t fancy myself to be the most glamorous woman on the internet, and I don’t think I’m as articulate as most when it comes to standing up for trans rights. But at least I know I try to be beautiful, and I do make a stand for trans people. And I take pride in doing both while striving to be a positive representation of the CD/trans community. That means not presenting myself in a risque situation, i.e. no nudity and not showing the *ahem* junk that’s in my trunk.
One word that kept running through my mind when writing my last post was the thought of one’s character. Three definitions of the word “character” stood out to me:
- The total features or traits that form an individual’s being
- One’s integrity or moral & ethical quality
- One’s reputation
In this era where those who want to wish the LGBT+ community out of existence, or at least push us back into a dark corner, we need to construct our positive character to the world. In other words, put on display the good things that make us who we are and form our well being, and that will make a positive impression on the rest of the world. But that shouldn’t stop there, for we still need to call out those whose own dark character forms the broad brush that paints us in unflattering colors.
To borrow a line from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., “Darkness cannot drive out darkness, only light can do that.” I’m embarrassed that I don’t always heed those words, sometimes going as dark and spiteful as those who hate our community. But when I take a stand against those who disdain us with scorn, it feels empowering.
Who I am everyday
I am someone normally button down
Ending workdays with a tired frown
Every now and again, I step right in
A garment and gender I’m not normally seen in
Yet they feel like a brand new skin
And brings out a new attitude from within
Why I do the things I do
Well, for one, I love to work
And with it, the earned financial perks
That keep me fed and sheltered
And, yes, clothed
But why two sets of clothes?
Well, to have you know
Dressing up, I feel an empowered aesthetic
Dressing up lets me become empathetic
And forms in me a positive ethic
That helps build a better world
That’s why I’m a guy… who’s also a girl
Well… who are you everyday?
I don’t need to ask it
Rather, I can see it:
You have your own jobs you go to
And your own homes to come to
There, you’re lord and master
Of your own personal castle
In a kingdom you want to expand
To points beyond everything you can see
Why do you do the things you do?
I don’t need to ask
For I can accurately guess:
The world doesn’t fit your narrow definition
Of the world sharing your morality
You’re mad that that number’s less than a plurality
And for that… you retaliate against all humanity?!
What makes us, us… and not like you
Yes, I know this will add to your petulance
But the whole world doesn’t share your stance
We admire others, near and far
And let them live freely
No matter who they love or what they are
We treat people with respect
And not try to mold them into an object
That came from an assembly line
What makes us all human beings
We’re born, we’ll die
And in between
We’ll live and breathe
And do our own things
If it’s not the same as your life
It doesn’t give you any right
To mold us into something you desire us to be
So don’t shun us, harm us, or taunt us
And with whitewash, don’t paint us
Your principles don’t make you our principal
So please let us live free
Because we’re all independent
Living with good intent
And if you take time to know us
You’ll recognize something in us
We are not strange and peculiar
Our character is what build our character
It’s not just who we are
It’s also how we live to be
No, this post isn’t about Playboy, though hopefully when you finish reading you’ll understand why I titled this post with that magazine’s former tagline. This is going to be a rant about a recent controversy a certain fashion retailer got into. That company is Victoria’s Secret, the (in)famous designer of lingerie and women’s wear that are nowhere near the dowdy floral gowns its founder frequently found on sales racks. It’s a safe bet that the mall near you has a Victoria’s Secret selling scantily designed undergarments and/or a PINK store selling sleepwear for the college-age set.
Before I get into the controversy in question, take a gander at this photo. (Gentlemen, don’t drool.)
What do you see in that photo? Obviously, you see a multitude of beautiful women. That photo is from last year’s Victoria’s Secret Fashion Show. Every year since 1995, and every holiday season since 2001, Victoria’s Secret sets up a very glitzy show to showcase and promote its lingerie, sleepwear, or whatever else they’re selling. It’s not a sedate affair for sure: The setting is elaborately designed; the music is live and pulsating; the costumes are extravagant; and the star wattage is high, with A-list stars both strutting the catwalk and providing the music.
This is the Sunday morning of the OutReach Pride Parade/Rally here in Madison. Later this afternoon, members of the LGBT+ community will march proudly down State Street and celebrate our hard-fought freedom to live as our true selves.
But as you may have guessed from my previous two posts, this pride weekend in Madison isn’t quite the lovey dovey moment it should be. This year’s OutReach Pride theme is “Stand up! Speak out! Fight back!” However, it’s been an inward fight rather than an outward one against those who shun our community. And it’s clearly more than an issue of whether the cops can march in the parade or whether said cops are willing to listen. At the risk of airing out private conversations, there’s been a bit of resentment within the trans/CD support group I’m a part of. Well, at least there is an issue within the private Facebook page our group utilizes. The same people who raised valid issues about the police presence in the parade and how said police treat trans and queer persons of color are also challenging us to embrace that very same TQPOC community. And while it’s not like a civil war in our group, the boisterous comments in our Facebook page over the past week-plus — heck, within the past 24 hours — sure make it feel like one.
I’ve been away from WordPress for over a week and, boy oh boy, has a lot happened around here. For one, I am in the midst of new temporary employment, which I promise to expound on in a later post. But I want to devote this post to a little something… okay, a rather big something that’s been going on here in Madison, one that has plagued the biggest and most important event in Madison’s LGBT+ community.
I’ll cut to the chase and let you know of the outcome: There will be an OutReach Pride parade this coming Sunday afternoon, starting at the west end of State Street, circling once around Capitol Square, and ending with a rally. And baring anything unforeseen on my end, I will be there as Allison and marching with fellow members of our crossdressing/transgender support group.
You may be reading that and are thinking that there was a possibility that the parade and rally wouldn’t be taking place at all. On the contrary, the event is not in any danger of not taking place. However, it will be taking place without one prominent group of participants — law enforcement. Had they been part of the parade, there would have been another prominent group with real disdain for law enforcement who would have boycotted the event.
Unfortunately, some after-work matters kept me from joining in with some of my TG friends on something important earlier this evening. I’ll start with introducing a word to you: TERF. Yes, it’s an acronym, and an unfortunate one at that. “TERF” stands for “trans-exclusionary radical feminist.” Or in layman’s terms, a TERF is someone who promotes and/or holds generally progressive views on topics that affect women, but would rather not include transgender females in the conversation.
The other day, I heard a great quote uttered during a Martin Luther King Jr. Day celebration here in Wisconsin. Unfortunately, I don’t recall the speaker or the full quote. However, I do recall it being a “show me this and I’ll show you that” kind of quote, one where two people see the same thing but see it very different… like, say, one person seeing the glass as half-empty and the other seeing it as half-full.
The “show me… and I’ll show you…” portion of that quote stuck with me the rest of the holiday, and it inspired me to write… and rewrite… and rewrite (as I usually do) the following poem. As you’ll read (and especially notice in the last stanza), I’m not afraid to call out someone who is dismissive of those who do not live the same “pure” life they profess to live. What’s for sure, the holier-than-thou set aren’t saints themselves, no matter how much they proselytize with their “holy book” of choice.
Show me fields that have long been fallow
Overgrown with unsightly weeds
I’ll show you land that can spring to life
With someone’s ideas and dreams
Show me an artist’s canvas or a poet’s notebook
That are still blank and untouched
I’ll show you space that can be
The ground spring of a masterpiece
Show me someone immature and unruly
And I’ll show you a bright mind
That, if molded the right way
Will grow the fruits of their full potential
Show me someone not following the rules
And I’ll show you someone living free
Show me someone who doesn’t respect others
And I’ll show you someone who lets others be
Show me who should stay in a gilded cage
That with iron and lock and key you construct
And I’ll show you someone yearning to soar
To heights that will leave you awestruck
Show me someone who you prefer to stay quiet
And I’ll show you a person ready to roar
I’ll also show you someone ready to rebuild
If you only see someone you have no hope for
Show me someone who’s immoral
And I’ll show you someone on the straight and narrow
Show me someone that should conform
And I’ll show you someone who’s blazing their own trail
Show me someone whose existence you deny
And I’ll show you someone who needs to thrive
Even though caring for them is what you’re sworn to do
Would your “conscience” be quick to shun them…
And not care for them…
And seal their doom…
Just because they’re not like you?
Show me someone who’s only a gender
Or a skin color
Or a religion
Or an age
Or a behavior
Or “less” than you
And I’ll show you someone more than a label
For they’re much more than your closed mind
Forbids your open eyes to see
You think you see the scourges of the earth
But I see someone who can clear those fields
And plow those lands
And construct those buildings
And write those sonnets
And paint those masterpieces
And mold those minds
And help build a future
That will benefit the whole world
Show me all that you claim is ugly
And I’ll show you a mirror
So that you can look into it
And see true ugliness
Staring right back at you