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
If you’re a frequent reader of this blog and are reading this post on Friday, October 13, you may notice something is missing on here today. Don’t know what it is? Well, if you’re reading this on your computer (uh… you are reading this on your computer, aren’t you?), take a look at the sidebar to your right. Yeah, there’s something missing, isn’t there? Well the first thing I did on this site this morning was remove the Twitter widget.
Now, you’re wondering if I’ve left Twitter’s 140-character universe behind entirely. No, just today, and this is the reason why:
Today is Labor Day, traditionally known here in the United States as a day to recognize the labor force… and, yeah, to have one last day of summer before autumn settles in. Now, if you’re like most people, you probably have this Labor Day off from work. I did as well, and to celebrate, I went to work. No, not to sit in my cubicle and pound out the work I do when it’s a Monday that’s not a holiday. Rather, I worked out in the fitness center at our place of employment, one of the perks provided to anyone who works there. Well, let me clarify that: It’s open to anyone employed at the companies in that building (we have more than one business in our building).
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).
Perhaps you’ve heard by now about a little series on Hulu called The Handmaid’s Tale. The show, whose first season is being released episode-by-episode as of this writing and which has been renewed for a second season, is based on Margaret Atwood’s 1985 novel set in a dystopian future where religious autocrats have taken over what used to be the United States; have stripped away human rights in general and women’s rights in particular; and have subjugated fertile women into a life in which they’re nothing more than, uh, baby-making machines for the privileged (and barren) upper class.
So far, The Handmaid’s Tale has been critically well received, and has certainly gained notice from those like… uh, [sheepishly raises hand] me who do not have a Hulu subscription (note to self: buy it on DVD if and when it comes out) for what have been described as powerful and engrossing acting, writing, and visuals. Of course, one other reason for that notice is how it seems to be an ominous warning. Even though Season 1 went into production well before You Know Who was elected You Know What, the show seems to serve as an advisory for what may lie ahead for society while You Know Who’s cronies desire to take away rights and make America in their own misguided image. It’s part of the reason one critic has labeled the show the most important of this spring.
With The Handmaid’s Tale having such a dark tone and provocative subject matter, one would think it would not be ripe for parody by a satirical outlet such as, say, Saturday Night Live. Well… one would be wrong.
Yeah, I was angry last Thursday. And not because I heard about how lawmakers in North Carolina repealed that infamous “Bathroom Law” law that not only required transgender people in government and public buildings to use the restrooms that goes with the gender on their birth certificate, but also prevented local municipalities (like, say, Charlotte) to enact anti-discrimination policies — which, in turn, led to North Carolina losing a lot of lucrative business (like, say, college sports championships).