It’s been a full week, one that’s been somewhat busy and very wet, since the OutReach Pride Parade & Rally, but I’m finally ready to share with you some of my experience. As I’ve mentioned here and here, this year’s parade and rally was held under an ugly shadow, not from any rain clouds but under the specter of controversy. A loud contingent from Madison’s LGBT+ community raised a ruckus over the presence of the Madison Police Department at the parade, with some threatening to stage a counter-protest. In the end, parade organizers withdrew the applications of LGBT+ employee resource groups from MPD and UW—Madison Police as well as the Dane County Sheriff. Members from those groups could (and did) march in the parade, but had to do so unarmed and out of uniform. (Side note: The Madison Fire Department decided to withdraw one of their engines from the parade in sympathy to the boys in blue; it was MFD’s decision.) While OutReach’s move to formally eliminate the police entries upset some parade supporters and still likely upset some protesters (especially since the parade permit still required MPD to provide security), the parade and rally (**SPOILER ALERT**) went off without a hitch and without any rabble-rousers causing disruptions.
So, peoples, what did you do Friday evening? I went to the theater.
Yeah, Male Mode Me took in a show Friday night. And, yeah, I was tempted to get all dolled up as Allison, but a tight time frame after the end of my work day prevented that. Still, I wanted to take in a show and support queer-oriented theater.
Friday was the second-to-last staging of “Queer Shorts: Unity.” Every year since 2006, Stage Q, the Madison-based LGBT-oriented theater company, has presented a showcase of short plays, usually 5 to 10 minutes in length and culled from a nationwide call for submissions, that showcase LGBT themes, characters, performers, and writers. Continue reading
The problems I encountered last winter with the heat in my apartment, which I recounted in this post, inspired me to write the following poem. Enjoy!
It’s getting hot in here
But I didn’t turn up the thermostat
Oh, I see why it is:
Awesome hair and makeup
A great look at myself in the mirror
I never realized how hot I can be
Or make this room feel like a summer beach
It’s suddenly cold around me
But there’s no thermostat
Oh, I see why it is:
Misogny and bigotry
From those who disdain me
And who don’t want me to show my face
I never realized how, with such a haunting pace
Hate can make the world a more chilly place
But it’s warming up again
Not a heat wave, far from it
For it’s much more comfortable than that
And I can see why it is:
A pat on the shoulder
A hug or two
Words of “Welcome”
And “I support you”
And “I accept you…
“for the beautiful person you are”
From people who are just like me
And others who support me
And the community in which I’m proud to be
I’m glad I can see
Well, to be reminded of it really
How a little friendship can go a long way
Toward making it a better day
There’s still hate’s winter around the corner
But I’m glad I now feel much warmer
It’s almost midway through the month of June and I’m way late into acknowledging the fact that this is Pride Month! This, of course, is the month we in the LGBT community celebrate our community as a whole, display our true selves at various events, acknowledge the many figures and allies from around the world who have helped pave positive avenues for us as a community and as human beings, and to remember those in our community who left us too soon and who have handed us the (rainbow-colored) torch to hold high into the future.
I make that note of remembrance at the end of that paragraph in part to acknowledge this sad fact: Two years ago this morning, 49 members of our proud LGBT community lost their lives in a truly senseless act of terror at a nightclub in Orlando, Florida. It was heartbreaking to hear the news then. It’s just as heartbreaking to remember it now. And it’s still necessary to remember the lives lost, for they dared to celebrate who they were and their deaths inspire us to stay resilient in the face of those who still desire to keep our community under their thumbs or out of sight entirely.
Despite the tragedies and difficulties and obstacles we still face as a community, it’s still important to celebrate who we are. More importantly, we still need to celebrate how far we’ve come together… and, boy oh boy, we have come a long way, with positive representations in many types of media and with the assistance of a supportive generation who isn’t too quick to judge by sexual or gender identity, unlike the older, more conservative generations who only see us as a “sin” Our community is talented, and we are deservedly valued and recognized for our positive contributions to society, no matter what letter of the acronym we fall under.
Not all of us will have the right and privilege to celebrate Pride Month this month. Indeed, Green Bay (my old city of residence) will have their own pride celebration next month, while we in Madison will have our annual pride event in August. But wherever you are and whenever you have the chance to do so, don’t be afraid to let your own rainbow shine. Happy Pride Month, everyone!
Time for the last recommendation in my list of podcast programs that you should try out and enjoy. Well, last for now, that is. I say that because I’m not above coming back to this topic in the future and adding more entries, or at the very least add a list of “honorable mentions.” And I’m definitely not above trying out something that you, the reader, are open to recommending, so hit me up in the comments section and offer your own thoughts and suggestions.
A bit of a caveat about this entry before you read on: This recommendation deals with a usually dark subject. And by pure coincidence, this recommendation comes at the end of a week (first full week of June 2018) that saw some pretty dark news that involves this pretty dark subject, as so succinctly summed up at this link. You probably saw the last word in the title of this post and already feel skittish about hearing anything more about it. But while I do hope you can hear me out (after all, this is technically a post about a podcast), I don’t blame you for wanting to hit the “back button” or “close button” on your browser or clicking on another post link. So, if you want to do so, go ahead, because I’ll get into the subject matter after the jump. Continue reading
As I write this (Friday evening in Wisconsin), polls have been closed for a few hours in the Republic of Ireland, where citizens voted on a proposal that would amend the country’s constitution and allow its parliament (the Oireachtas) to relax the country’s strict laws against abortion. Today’s vote comes three years after voters approved an amendment to permit marriage between two people “without distinction as to their sex”; it was also that same year that legislation passed allowing transgender citizens in Ireland to freely request a change in legal gender identification on government documents.
If early exit polls are any indication, today’s proposal will be approved by a sizeable margin of voters, just as the marriage equality amendment passed by a wide margin in 2015. For a country where religiously conservative viewpoints have long held influence on society and laws, it’s sure seems that progressive attitudes are starting to take root in Ireland in the past 20 years or so. But don’t think that Ireland had been a country where everyone had to strictly follow the edicts the Roman Catholic Church would pass down every Sunday regarding, say, what people should think, who people could love, or how people could express themselves. On the contrary, for the Irish are a pretty progressive lot; it’s just that the laws of Ireland have taken some time to catch up to that fact.
I want to share a thought or two that occurred to me today, and it peripherally has to do with a couple of tidbits about Alone: A Love Story, a podcast I recommended in my previous post. Alone is an audio memoir written and narrated by Michelle Parise, and reading up about the show at this link, Parise mentions her penchant for writing down details about her life as soon as they happen. She mentions that she’s has hundreds of journals in her possession, all carrying short story- and dialog-style details about her daily life. It’s the details in those journals that allows Parise to bring out specifics about this and that in Alone.
Earlier today, I listened to an episode of another of my podcast recommendations, The Debaters. By pure coincidence, one of the subjects put up for debate in that Debaters episode had to do with writing memoirs. It was a debate (and a pretty funny one, of course) considering the reasons people need to write memoirs (to leave behind insights on life and the stories to back them up) versus refraining from doing so (they can be pointless and uninspiring).
You’re probably looking at the title of this post and wondering what those capital letters mean. No, it’s not an amalgamation of Idaho and Tampa Bay. (I mean, really now…) Truth be told, this is a day that even I wasn’t aware of until I saw this tweet:
Naturally, my curious mind did some quick looking around and discovered the meaning of the acronym “IDAHOTB” on this specific day: This is the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia. The day was first recognized in 2005 as the “International Day Against Homophobia,” with recognition spread to include concerns about transphobia in 2009 and biphobia in 2015.
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.
Here’s another poem I had previously been working on and let sit idle. Luckily, I have finished it and am able to present it to you. I should preface this by saying I have no plans to come out as a crossdresser to my immediate family; it’s the fear of being shunned with rejection that prevents me from doing so. But that’s not to say I’ve never played out the possibility of doing so in my mind. The thoughts and concerns I’ve had about coming out are the basis of this poem. Perhaps one day I’ll have the gumption to come out and say, “Yeah, I have a female side.” But until then, I have to…
“Wonder and Worry”
I can’t help but wonder
If I came out today
As a crossdresser and transgender?
What would the people around me say?
Should I come out to my mother
Who loves her only son?
She already has two daughters
But would she accept a third?
And would our family bond come undone?
How about my two sisters?
Would they approve?
I think the younger wouldn’t mind
But with the other, well…
I’m hesitant to make a move
Would my four nieces comprehend
About what their proud uncle would say?
I’d hope they’d all love and accept me
No matter what gender I would display
They are of a younger generation
One that’s more accepting of LGBT people such as I
But I fear their parents have molded them
To have conservative, disapproving minds
Or how about my stepfather
With whom I don’t see one-on-one?
Being the stern man that he is
Would my presenting as a woman
Be something he’d never condone?
What about those I work with?
Our company culture wouldn’t mind
But they have one major concern
Around it my whole world turns:
Whether my job wold be on the top of my mind
At least there are those like me
Those who saw another gender in the mirror
Together, we show each other support
And share our joys, hopes, and fears
I’m glad my trans sisters and brothers are there for me
But they haven’t known me as long
As the sisters, parents, nieces, aunts, and uncles
In the family I come from
I know, I can’t please everyone
I’ve got to please myself first
But if I came out
That fear of no familial support
Would leave me sad and hurt
It’s why I wonder and worry
About coming out and its repercussions
Would it bring me the joy of being myself?
Or would it leave me nothing but compunction?
Perhaps I’ll wait and see
If the coast will be clear
Just maybe then
I’ll tell the world about both sides of me
And the world will hopefully be supportive
Especially the ones who I hold dear