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Posts Tagged ‘passing’

Dear Dr. Dorf,

Because I was  paralyzed by anger the last time I saw you-November 4th 2014-and rendered temporarily speechless by your callous disregard for my feelings,  I’m writing this letter to you today in response to your hurtful and un-professional comments during my second and last  visit.

While I’m sure you’re a decent doctor in terms of diagnosing and prescribing medication, you are a miserable failure at respecting minority rights, and treating minority people with respect and compassion.       I am of course referring t0 myself,  a Transsexual woman,  as the  extreme minority-a minority whose members  are abused and tortured physically and psychologically,  murdered with impunity, and still exist as a group of third class citizens without  full protection or rights as bestowed by state and Federal government.

I had barely warmed the plastic seat of the chair upon which I sat in your office when you asked about my menstrual cycle-and I calmly told you that I was a post op Trans woman. And when you recovered from the shock-you said,

“Ha! I told my son that if it has an Adam’s Apple he shouldn’t date it.”

I could see by the twinkle in your eye that you thought yourself glib…perhaps even entertaining.  Desperate to find help for my diminished respiratory capacity, I overlooked your insult.   But it was during my second visit to you that you revealed your true nature as an ignorant, bigoted, thoughtless, not to mention shallow human being.   Let me refresh your memory:

We were going over my respiratory chart results when you noticed that the values contained therein were listed for a female anatomy. So you said:

“I’ll be back.  I have to see the respiratory tech, and have this changed to male for the right numbers”.

I said, “Oh darn”.

And you said something that I will never forget .  You said:

“Well, at least you managed to FOOL the tech”.

I was so hurt and angry that I could barely speak.   You think I chose this path to ‘fool’ people?   You think I’ve lost my friends, family including children, grandchildren and great grandchildren and fifty years of personal history to fool people?   You think that I am a visible target for misogynists and hate criminals, and that I would risk my life to fool people? As far as I can tell, the only fool around with such callous disregard for my feelings as your patient is you.

Briefly then, I did not volunteer for this life.  Transsexuality, as well as the condition of transgender is a biological imperative.   We have no choice over this torturous convoluted path.   For if we did have a choice, we would scrupulously avoid this condition which brings us into proximity with ignorant, insulting, judgmental oafs like you. As a person with a medical background, you could find out the truth about gender identity rather effortlessly. But you prefer your self glorifying delusions.

Finally, I promise to dfo my best to publicize and broadcast your name throughout my community in order to prevent them from experiencing the same sort of   ‘surprise insult’    I received from you.  As you may have deduced from this letter, I won’t be back.  And frankly hope to never see you again  But if there is the slightest chance that you might be interest in the truth more than your own bigotry, I leave you a few links.

May the truth assist you in removing your head from the deep confines of your anus.

April Rosie Schneider

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Causes_of_transsexualism

http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/health/7689007.stm

http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/TS/TS.html

http://www.apa.org/topics/lgbt/transgender.aspx

http://www.religioustolerance.org/transsexu3.htm

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My “official” trans-gendered transition began in 1994 in Jacksonville, Florida.  The year of 1995 found me relocating,  perhaps fleeing is a more honest appraisal, from Florida to Albuquerque, N.M. in an effort to escape the oppressive effects of the bible belt mentality.   There  is also some intangible weirdness that develops when one begins gender transition right in front of the people who knew us in our  disguises . Somewhere in that strange murky, grey space I lost much of my past.    Suddenly the people I had hoped might at least join me in my struggle to be myself had all disappeared.    Their absence  left a large hole in my heart .
I  lived in Santa Fe for a couple of years in the mid-eighties and had fallen in love with the land and it’s quirky denizens.   The more I thought about it, the more it called to me.   It whispered of star filled nights and safe haven.   I inexplicably knew that I was being drawn to this enchanted land the way a moth is drawn to the light.    As I contemplated this latest dogleg on my spiritual path,  I began to look forward to returning to such a unique and culturally diverse place.   My destiny awaited me in that beautiful desert and knew that I must go.
As careers go, prior to 1994 I had been employed more times than I could recall.   I lost count at one hundred fifty.   I had done quite a few things that I’m sure I repressed due to trauma of doing men’s work and pretending to like it.  There’s just so much a  transexual can take before a  meltdown.   I mean, my god I had dirt under my nails for years! Can you imagine?    Oh it was HORRID!
The year 1995 was a chaotic time of sorting packing, saying goodbye and watching my breasts intently for the first sign of expansion.   By 1996 I had settled in Albuquerque and faced the daunting prospect of finding work as a transperson.   The first thing I noticed was the lengths people went  to hide their emotional reaction while trying to figure out how to  dismiss me.   The second thing I noticed was how many people dismissed me.

Between nineteen-ninety six and nineteen-ninety nine, I was most often employed as a caregiver in the field of developmental disabilities..I enjoyed the many challenges it had to offer and  resigned  myself to making seven dollars an hour in service to those less fortunate.   Eventually I became aware of an opportunity to work with troubled, at risk youth.   I grew excited at the prospect of  interacting at this emotional level. Who is better equipped to deal with this adolescent angst than a wordly transexual with a firm grasp and control of her own anger, I reasoned.
As I began my preparation for what I hoped would be  a fruitful interview, I allowed myself to feel really positive for the first time in a long time.   I had good reason to feel confident,.   I had prepared a portfolio of all job interiew prerequisites; a verifiable work history in a related field, excellent references, related training courses etc.   I even passed a drug screen, something I had passionately eschewed for my entire life adult life.  Such was the sacrifice I was prepared to make.  Things were looking up.   Maybe this new life wasn’t going to be as tough as I thought.   So  on the appointed day of my interview, I put on my best face.    With more courage and optimism than I thought one transexual could possibly muster, I marched forth to face the two supervisors who held my immediate future in their hands..
We sat in a typical conference room on typically hard plastic chairs across a typically plastic conference table.   I was confident, enthusiastic…ready!    I can do this, I thought.   I eagerly anticipated their challenging array questions that I would handle so deftly.    Perfunctory introductions out of the way, the female half of the interviewing team, Ms. Smith,  seemed to hesitate for a moment. She  gave the impression of  a wary explorer, cautiously creeping up to the edge of an abyss to risk a glance into the eternal darkness of the  a bottomless pit.. She cleared her throat nervously and asked me the one question that I could not have prepared to answer
“ Ummm….this is uh….well please   understand  that we don’t mean to be indelicate about this but we were wondering …uh just exactly what is between your legs..?”
“ I beg your pardon?”  What she actually had said was ‘Where are you in your transition‘. But the difference is negligible. With one casual, blatantly  sexist question, I had been stripped naked and reduced to a sex object.
“ The thing is uh, Mary Jo, who you may recall having supervised in another company,….well anyway, she said that one day while you were monitoring her she saw your testicles when you crossed your legs.”
Huh?   The Titanic had just made the acquaintance of the iceberg and the iceberg held the upper hand.   I was stunned.   First by the implication that I would spread my legs far enough for anyone to see the last wretched remnants of my disappearing  masculinity.   The next realization was that the interview had begun with an accusation made by a client who had a documented history  of pathological lying.   This was almost too much to bear and we were still on the first question.   Hours ticked by with each second.: the silence was deafening.
Somehow I managed to pick my lower jaw up  from the table and with sufficient incredulity said ” I can’t believe you are asking me this!  Could you please tell me what this has to do with anything?  I mean, I don’t recall in reading the formal job description that genital verification was mandatory.   I would at least worn fresh panties.”
Mrs. Smith squirmed ever so slightly  and tentatively proceeded to explain the finer points of the company policy.”   Well….uh you see it’s mainly to protect us from lawsuits. we have a policy that guarantees our clients and their guardians an appropriate match  regarding gender….you know boy to boy and girl to girl.” A look of smug self satisfaction settled slowly  over her face.  She looked like a housecat who had just cornered a mouse for supper.  Except in this case the mouse was not prepared to capitulate.
“This is really quite amazing.  How do decide who’s male and who’s female?,”  I asked in a huff. “Is it company policy to check the genitals of everyone who applies?    Or do you just wait untill a client needs a reason  to persecute someone ?   If there are only two categories of humans then I must fit into  one or the other. And if I don’t fit into those two categories maybe we need to create a third one for the rest of us“.
I was on a roll.   Anger from my transexual heart felt fine as it gained momentum.    I forged ahead with evangelical zeal.  I had their attention and I was determined to exploited it to the fullest. I shifted my focus to Mr. Jones, the male half of the interviewing team. I had met Mr. Jones, an Afro-American, previously during orientation where he was responsible for  teaching us the code  of ethics  associated with client rights.   As it turned out the disabled have more constitutionally protected rights than transexuals.
I poured out my rage.“I must say  that I am very disturbed  by the realization that I represent the only minority whose character can be questioned on the basis of our genitalia.   Surely you must know that transgendered  people are the only minority in this country who are not protected  from discrimination by federal law.   Beyond that,  your company’s mission statement, so noble in language that seems to promote the rights of all people obviously falls short of protecting the transgendered.”
I felt the pride of eloquence rising in my bosom.   I was saying things that I had previously only thought to myself.. For a brief exhilarating moment I felt empowered as a transperson.    A ponderous silence fell over the room. The tension was palpable. In my heart and soul I held closely to the hope that I had touched these two people with my need for validation. and gainful employment.   The looks on their faces, corporate masks temporarily forgotten, told me that they had indeed understood my plight..
Mrs. Smith cleared  her throat and glanced at me furtively, “Well … I do sympathize with your predicament Rose,   When I worked for the company back in Oklahoma, the company agreed to  provide  gay foster parents for a gay client. But this…..I, I just don’t know .”
So gay people good, trans people bad?    I didn’t really know what to make of her declaration. I had started out with a wealth of optimism. Suddenly my confidence  had turned to confusion.. Success, once so eminent, had taken wing only to be replaced by the  notion that I would somehow be better off gay.   Still I clung tenaciously  to the my last morsel of hope while the evil wind of despair rustled in the distance.
“So where do we go from here,”  I asked tentatively.
“Don’t worry, Rose, we’ll find a place for you,” Mrs. Smith assured me
And so, testicles not withstanding, I was hired as a ‘probationer”    But only after I made  repeated calls in an effort to torture them into giving me a chance to prove myself.    Then I panicked Failure was familiar territory for me.    Success was trickier.    Success require the application of character.   I knew that I had passed the preliminaries but the gauntlet  of  fire lay directly ahead.
All this pressure to gain employment was mere folly compared to the reality of trying to interact positively with these future masters of mayhem. Many of them had one foot in the group home and the other in youth detention. Ah yes, it was indeed a challenge befitting my unique collection of talents. After all, who is better acquainted with anger than a transexual?
Fate is a cruel dictator.  My effort to find suitable employment was the epitome of  the psychic masturbation–a one act play with a disappointing conclusion.    One day before the end of my probationary period I was summoned to my superior’s office and terminated.   Apparently, the main reason was the fact that I was a transexual.
The company’s official reason for terminating me was never stated though it quickly became apparent.  As  they were not legally required to employ me as a  transexual, I was imminently expendable. I was a liability from the outset.   A few complaints from the paying customers, the parents, clients or both, was more than enough justification for my dismissal.   Blatant discrimination  and sexism aside, I couldn’t help but be impressed by the immense irony of it all .
Eventually,  it occurred to me that I had always been pretty good with a mop, a dust rag and a stick of dynamite.   Based on these revelations, I started my own cleaning business. The whole idea was a nudge from the cosmos, as it allowed me to create the ideal work environment for my personality.   Short hours, good money, as many breaks as I desire and best of all I have the final say so in EVERYTHING!  As a bonus,  I love my boss.   In conclusion, I will speak a truth  painfully learned .   There isn’t a silver lining to every cloud.   But sometimes if you keep your head up and eyes open wide, you just find your own personal rainbow..

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Greetings, friends and lovers everywhere. Rosie, Love Detour’s resident transexual Goddess of Love and Romance is in the house and ready to expound on the delicacies of transgendered dating.

In the first article on transgenderism I referred to gender as a continuum. On the polar ends of this continuum are trans people who “pass”. Passing is a condition in which the transgendered person blends successfully with one of the two stereotypical genders. Towards the center of the continuum, or bar graph, are people who exhibit androgyny, or characteristics of both genders. This discussion focuses on the first group, for it is trans-passing that can cause confusion in the intimacy of dating.

Those of you who read my first installment on Transgender Dating learned some basic facts about the condition of transgenderism. I ended the first chapter with a promise to help you distinguish the guys from the girls. I mislead you and beg your forgiveness. I was only trying to protect you from the horrible ugly truth, which I must now acknowledge:

There is no way to tell the girls from the guys.

And perhaps even more disturbing to some of you is the very real possibility that you may be rubbing up against a transgender person in your daily activities, figuratively speaking, of course. Yes, dear reader, we walk among you–be not afraid. We mean you earthlings no harm.

To be honest with ourselves, first we must answer some uncomfortable questions about our personal feelings regarding gender. Before you reach the couch, with the drinks and the music and mood lighting, you absolutely must know how you feel about gender.

Gender is about how you as an individual express your sexuality. The power of gender is its inherent diversity. On a huge canvas, we paint our sexuality with our gender. Some of us use only black and white and some of us use all the colors of the rainbow. Bigotry and prejudice aside, gender is cosmic play.

In a technical sense, everyone is a cross dresser. Women liberated by their role as factory workers in the Second World War, began wearing pants and never looked back. Kilts are the rule for Scottish men. There simply are no global standards for gendered behavior, and this truth renders the whole subject a matter of complete relativity.

The truth about this whole discussion is that it is about you and your attitudes towards sex and gender. In this wonderfully diverse world, there is some one, or two depending on your proclivities, for everyone. Some religions that mistakenly judge trans-folk as immoral frown on members dating transgender people. Some men even murder transgender people out of fear of being accused of being homosexual, despite the reality that transgendered people are not necessarily gay. Because gender has nothing to do with sexual preference, trans-folk may be hetero-, homo-, or bisexual.

.It is unlikely in the extreme that your date will tell you at the outset that they are trans. And that information may be the very thing you need to know before embarking on a relationship. Asking a non-transgendered person, if they are a trans is worse, socially speaking, than asking an overweight woman if she is pregnant. Both questions immediately establish an uncomfortable distance between you and your date–a distance that may be irreparable.

Perhaps the only thing worse than that scenario is finding out after physical intimacy that your partner was a member of the same sex as you at some point in their past. We cannot give our potential dates a questionnaire that inquires as to the nature of their former genitalia.

“Do you have or have you ever had genitalia of the opposite sex?” will not score points regardless of the answer. This dilemma can only be resolved by serious soul-searching regarding your deepest darkest fears regarding sexuality. An open minded, open-hearted, educated approach to gender is, of course, the best policy.

Thus, we have slogged bravely thru the quagmire of sex and gender. If you are more confused now than before you read my article on transgender dating, then all is well for out of confusion comes clarity. For more education on this subject, websites abound. Here are three great sites to get you started:

http://www.jamisongreen.com/jgassoc_006.htm http://www.hrc.org/issues/transgender.asp

http://www.ifge.org

And of course, I am available to answer all of your transgender queries, regarding dating or lifestyle issues. Don’t be shy. Remember, Gender is Play. Gender is fun. Gender is human.

Rosie, The Transgender Love Goddess

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 As a  ‘mature”  transexual,  I can honestly claim the dubious honor of having seen the best and worst of both sexes.  I’m fifty-nine now, a late bloomer to be sure.  But despite what I proudly regard as a qualified sort of worldliness about myself, there was nothing… and I do mean NOTHING that could have prepared me for the myriad social, psychological and practical adjustments that awaited me as I began my transition at the age of forty-four.

            The early days of my transition provided me with some of the most intense emotional experiences I’ve ever had.  Anyone foolish or brave enough to want a more personal understanding of the meaning of “ an intense emotional experience” should go to the nearest Wal-Mart at the busiest time of day and take their clothes off preferably in the vicinity of the customer service booth. Then as you stand there in your naked glory and enjoy your fifteen seconds of infamy, you will know precisely how I felt the first time that I went there in a dress. But as revealing a personal revelation as that experience was, it paled in comparison to a lesson in sexism that was bestowed upon me in summer of 1999.

            It was the last day of June and the searing New Mexico sun promised to push the mercury up past one hundred degrees. Unemployed as I frequently was, I sought the anonymity of the local theatre for a mid-day matinee. It was a remake of the classic the “ Out of Towners”.  Having consumed every last morsel of contraband candy I had smuggled into the theatre, I sat in dread of the approaching end of the movie. The murderous heat of a dry sauna waited patiently for my exit from the cool confines of the theatre. Amidst the dying chuckles of the audience as they filtered out toward the exits, I reluctantly gathered my purse, tugged at the hem of my sundress and donning the prerequisite sunglasses, fell in line.

            As I made my way into the main hall of the theatre, I felt the rush of the crowd as they turned right and made for the main exit.  Slightly claustrophobic, I turned left and opted for a longer, more relaxed pace through the side lot to my car in front. I heaved on the theatre door and immediately regretted my decision to leave the bliss of conditioned air.  As I walked down three stairs and turned left, the suffocating midday heat sucked the breath out of me and pummeled my consciousness into submission.  For a few steps I could manage no more than a  zombie shuffle.

            My reverie was suddenly cut very short as my attention was abruptly snapped back to reality by a sensation so bizarre that found nothing in my memory banks to use for comparison. Evil fell upon me suddenly and without warning as a thief in the night.  As I shuffled along the sidewalk on my way to my car, unseen and unbidden, a hand deftly lifted the very bottom rear hem of the aforementioned sundress and rather gently and gracefully stroked the most posterior aspect of my gluteus maximus, with one errant yet talented finger venturing ever so slightly toward the panty covered crevasse of it’s inner sanctum.

            Time slowed down to a crawl as it often does during moments of great import. Call it brain lock. My rationality now in a state of disarray, thoughts raced through my head in a jumble. In the microseconds following this encounter,  as I searched my psyche for some way to comprehend.  There came then a sort of crazy, mad convergence as I shuffled to a stop, groping desperately for understanding. “ Oh, it’s probably someone I know” then just as quickly the realization that that would not make the thing more palatable.

 In the next second, a mysterious presence glided by like a specter, lingering only long enough to whisper in my ear “ you are so gorgeous”.   There, in that weird dream state, I remained motionless…suspended as I watched this audacious, swarthy, thirtyish man…with excellent taste in posteriors, walk briskly down the sidewalk.  Sexism had come calling.

            Senses returning with the assistance of adrenaline, now beginning to surge, I tried to formulate some sort of response. As I stood there in shock, one of my many alter egos, the one who’s needy as a motherless kitten and wanton as a depraved transexual, spoke up and in true southern belle fashion said “ Why thank you kind sir, you say the nicest things ”.      But in the very next second, my fantasy was shattered as the brazen stranger paused, now some fifty feet ahead, and turned to leer at his victim one more time.   That did it!    I was finally snapped back into some sort of functional state of being and overcome by a brief but powerful sense of self-righteous anger.  For one shining moment I was imbued with the special sort of uplifting, justifiable, empowering rage that only a transexual really knows.

            As this impudent stranger quickened his pace down the sidewalk, he turned left and headed for the anonymity of the main parking lot.   Just before disappearing behind the front wall of the theatre, he turned towards me once more and leered, a perverted grin plastered on his face.  His  demeanor screamed “Gotcha!”.

            I felt violated…used and abused, defiled and deflowered…like some cheap sex object.   Sadly, I also had gained insight into how it felt to be a woman in a male dominated society.   I realized with grave conviction the immenseness of my vulnerability.    This worm in a man’s disguise could have done practically anything he wanted to me and I was impotent.    It came as a startling realization to realize how very far this transition had brought me.

            Finally, my sense of justified anger returned with renewed vigor.  An evil plan of retribution began to formulate in my now vindictive psyche. He was still close enough to me that I could exploit his haughty overconfidence, and I could use the element of surprise to teach this ogre a lesson.    I would simply remove my high heels and chase him down on foot. His smugness would cause him to run at half speed.   I would tackle him in the parking lot. Then as he lay there in shock, the rictus of fear frozen on his lips, I would create an indelible impression­–an impression guaranteed to remain lodged in his sex-offender brain for the rest of his short, pitiful life.  In the video tape player of my imagination, to the grunting  animal sounds of the crowd that had gathered around us in the parking lot to cheer me on, I took my revenge. And lawdamighty was it sweet!

            I paused a moment to savor my victory the way I always do during my fantasies where I get to kick ass.  Then standing over this sad stunned lecher, I placed my foot on his throat, pulled up my dress, pulled down my panties and smiling just as sweetly as possible, revealed the one thing about me that he could never anticipated–the THING that would ruin his day.  As he stared openmouthed at my hated member and the object of his undoing,   I would kneel down beside him and end his days of perversion by delivering a deathblow to his septum, sadly sighing as its splintered shaft entered his brain.  Now that’s what I call pure transexual rage.

            Then, without warning, I snapped out of my sun-baked reverie and realized that I was standing in a daze on a sidewalk outside the theatre. Not knowing if the incident had attracted any attention, I kept my eyes to the ground and tried to appear as nonchalant as possible for a transexual who had just been groped for the first time.  I confess to being more than a little wary, each step quickening as I angled toward the safety of my Blazer

            I had no sooner reached it and entered my key into the lock when I was distracted by the sound of an approaching bicycle. I chanced a furtive glance in the direction of the sound and was aghast to see my friendly local pervert smile and wave as he rode casually by me. Still rooted to the spot, slack jawed, I continued to watch as he rode to the far end of the parking lot. He then dismounted and stood they’re grinning at me for what seemed like an eternity

            Once more my anger rose and I threw myself into my car with every intention of serving justice upon his person, “ Ha! This idiot is on a bike and I am driving a SUV.  What is he, suicidal?”

Then came an epiphany andI realized in a moment of maternal satori that I had misjudged the entire episode.  He was obviously a lonely, dysfunctional wretch of a man who needed love or at least reassurance. Of course that was it!  How could I have been so blind?   As we stared at each other from opposite ends of the blacktop, I began to feel a strange mixture nurturance and curiosity.

            My mood turned conciliatory. After all, his grope was a gentle one and I never really felt threatened. In reality he could have done much worse…like steal my purse or some jewelry. And he definitely wasn’t ugly. I’ll bet he just needs someone to talk to. In fact I’ll bet if I just go over there and tell him that I’m not upset with him, he will be so relieved just to know someone cares

             My motivation to heal gaining strength, I smiled at him as I started the car.   In a split second his self-confident grin began to fade and was replaced by a look of genuine perplexity. Holding his gaze, I backed the car out the parking space and slowly aimed the car in his direction. Halfway across the parking lot I was close enough to see his look of perplexity slowly fade, replaced with a grimace of fearful anticipation. I forced myself to smile to put him at ease, but I must have appeared crazed and demonic as he mounted his bike in a frenzy. Anxious to meet and console my mysterious admire, I accelerated toward him.

            He must have been trying to dislodge his testicles from their recent ascent back to their former place of safety as he threw one more pained grimace in my direction and began peddling furiously away from his psycho gropee. We bounced in unison over a couple of parking bumpers and plowed through a small gravel lot, barely missing a couple of mailboxes.

We hit the pavement of the main thoroughfare as he pedaled furiously, casting frantic fearful looks over his shoulder. I briefly considered grabbing pencil and paper to scratch out a calming phrase I could flash at him, opting instead to pull alongside him and reassure him in person. In an instant we were side by side, hurtling down the four lane highway. The poor man looked as if he would have rather been swimming with piranha.

 I leaned out of my window at forty miles an hour and screamed at the top of my lungs “ Stop, let’s talk” I screamed. “I just wanna help!”

 Unfortunately in the act of leaning out of the window I subtly edged out of my lane and into his. A mere four feet remained between us. A look of horror was frozen on his face as he realized that he had bitten of more than he would ever want to chew.      I edged even closer in an effort to be heard and screamed “Hey c’mon, let’s go somewhere and talk. I can help”.

Staring crazy and pedaling wildly, he’d misunderstood the benevolence of my message. “ YOU go to hell too, you Tranny freak, I’m already there!”

And then whether by cruel fate or simple misadventure, having screamed these final parting words,  he drifted too far to the left, crossed the centerline of the four lanes, and was himself groped by an eighty ton Mack truck. I didn’t stop to investigate. There was simply no way to explain what had just transpired to the authorities. No one would believe that cosmic justice works for the weary  Some things are better left to the imagination.

            I still go to that same theatre on occasion. Inevitably, I find myself sauntering slowly through the same familiar exit, pausing just for a moment on the sidewalk outside the theater, waiting…watching. After all, he did say I was gorgeous, didn’t he?

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Confession:  I‘ve been doing it for years and it hurts more every time I do it.  No, it’s not masturbation or any other painfully gratifying form of self absorbing behavior.   In fact, it’s much less satisfying than any of those other things you may now be fantasizing about.

I’m referring to the venerated independent news program called ‘Democracy Now’, currently broadcast on Free Speech Television.   For at least ten years I have been waiting with bated brain for some morsel, a mere smidgen of a reference to the plight of America’s invisible minority–the transgendered population.

Many years ago when I still believed in the power of the press, I held out hope for an independent news broadcast that would disdain the lives of the rich and powerful.  In the early days of Democracy Now, I theorized that the act of monitoring the show over time would yield a percentage of coverage relevant to transgendered issues. I am apparently too optimistic. Now  it seems that even the power of the independent press, which was once synonymous with the power of the people, has been usurped.

For all of these years that I have been l have been monitoring  Amy Goodman and ‘Democracy Now’, I have waited patiently, with very little jaw grinding accompaniment, for the compassionate Ms. Goodman to join the tiny crowd of voices screaming for transgendered justice.    Unfortunately of late, my confidence in Ms. Goodman notwithstanding, I’ve grown suspicious of the  passivity of my television watching habits, and resolved to do some research that might my prove my  observational skills incorrect. Unfortunately, a little research merely confirmed  my perception.

WE’RE SKEWED!

A visit to the Democracy Now website  http://www.democracynow.org proved revealing:  A search for sex and gender  related terms, beginning with the year 2000, showed 538  instances of the word ‘gay’, 175 instances ‘lesbian’,  thirty-four results that mentioned transgender and nineteen results for ‘LGBT’,  all but one of which were exclusively gay related.  Last and apparently least in the eyes of the progressive media, the subject of transsexualism ranked the lowest with a dismal five stories.

]No, it’s not a typo, I counted five stories on transsexualism over a period of more than a decade, of which two were repeats of the transgender related stories.

Another story was an interview of Michael Eric Dyson including brief mention of the need for inclusion of the GLBT community by the church. Dyson’s point of view was contrasted by another article, from 2008 that described Pope Benedict XVI’s case of extreme homo/trans phobia. The earthshaking, yet quasi-compassionate sounding headline appeals to not one but two darker aspects of the human consciousness, fear and the pride of ignorance.

Pope: Homosexuality Could Lead to Self-Destruction of Human Race

http://www.democracynow.org/2008/12/23/headlines#12

And last, a blurb about the former city manager of Largo Florida who was fired for beginning a gender transition on the job:

City Officials in Florida Fire Transsexual City Manager

http://www.democracynow.org/2007/3/26/headlines#18.

My point in mentioning these stories is to expose their inherent banality and complete lack of a rational, humanistic approach to an emerging phenomenon that means life or death to so many people whom I refer to as the ‘invisible minority’.–invisible because of the violent enforcement of sexism as it frames the gender binary. There are actually two subsets of this socially reinforced invisibility.

The most familiar of these two groups, ironically,  are transgendered people who live lives of stealth, whose goal in life is simply to ‘pass’ as a member of their  innate, internal self identified gender out of the very real fear of the violence that often accompanies judgment and condemnation.   Comprising the rest of this ‘invisible’ minority is the countless number of humans who repress the expression of an alternate gender identity out of the very  real fear of degradation and ostracism

Not only do these crimes against minorities rarely see the ink of major news outlets, according to the TRANSGENDER LEGAL DEFENSE AND EDUCATION FUND,    http://transgenderlegal.org/page.php?id=60,  culpability by mainstream news agencies,  for the ongoing persecution of TLGB  people spills out in random waves over a broader section of the populace

“Inaccurate hate/bias crime reporting can unintentionally support a blame-the-victim strategy. Personal assaults and criminal acts may only involve a single victim, but perpetrators often intend them to send a message that LGBT people are legitimate targets for abuse, harassment and violence.  (In fact, the victims of some anti-gay hate crimes are heterosexuals who are thought to be gay.  In 2008, 9% of all victims reporting anti-LGBT violence to the NCAVP identified as heterosexual.)

THE DEVIL IN THE DETAILS

On November 20th of each year, the transgender community holds a vigil celebrating the lives of individuals of predominantly transgender people. The commemoration is  known by the TLGB community as the Transgender Day of Remembrance, completely ignored in  the archived pages of  ‘Democracy Now’ or anywhere else, is a peer collaborative effort to  …

… memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder in 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead”  web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Since then, the event has grown to encompass memorials in dozens of cities across the world.

A review of the website The Transgender Day of Remembrance, http://www.transgenderdor.org/?page_id=192 dedicated to creating a heightened awareness over the hate crimes, is a daunting experience.   The cumulative numbers  no doubt under report the grim stats.   Yet they remain very disturbing from a humanist perspective. From 1970 to November of 2009, 305 people were murdered here in the United States for the fatal error of being unique in their personal expression.   America, ever competitive in all forms of endeavor, can be proud of its hate, for in the entire world there were only 276 hate murders for the same period.   Although, the similarity of the global figures are suspect due to a myriad of inhibiting religious and cultural implications of reporting hate crime, the grand total of people murdered for the mere expression of gender alternatives globally was 581.

NO REST FOR WARY

Hate is like a mutant virus that thrives in the darkness of societal bigotry.  Nurtured in the infected test tube of the nuclear family, it poisons the heart of all who allow it into their system. Hate toxifies the mind with the bitter rhetoric of societal condemnation, so often based on fear-mongering and a perceived threat to the male dominant hierarchy. Yet the persistence of  hate motivated crimes against the transgender community is consistently ignored by this show, Democracy Now,  that proclaims to support democracy.

We need not look very far at all for a recent example. During the week that I wrote this post, the news comes that Uganda is on the verge of making homosexuality, and no the doubt transgendered lifestyle, a crime punishable by death. This story like so many others received no mention by mainstream media…or Amy Goodman.

The blatant omission of this very newsworthy story speaks loudly about this culture’s lack of concern for human rights and  begs the question WHY. Why are we as a global transgendered minority consistently ostracized and marginalized by a purportedly progressive media  whose archival programming reveals it to be, more accurately, moderate or slightly to the left of center?    Sadly, we  are left to guess at the answer.   But  we can safely deduce that this fatal omission lies in the mentality of those who make the programming decisions-and typically,  they lack the courage to speak their truth.

The act of omitting the coverage of rampant, widespread hate crimes against  any group, especially by  so-called progressive media news outlets like ‘Democracy Now’,   is tacit complicity in the application of oppression, PERIOD.  It is analogous to the act of witness murder from a distance, and using that distance as a rationale for doing and saying nothing that might implement justice.  With the inherent power of the media to influence public attention  in the 21 rst century , the act of non-reporting indirectly condones the suffering of a vast global minority.

For all my years of faithful watching and listening to‘Democracy Now’   I have eagerly  anticipated a show about democracy, small ‘d’, whose stories focused on human rights abuses of the transgendered minority populations  of  the global culture. For a brief, shining moment, with the emergence of the ‘Free Speech Television Network,  http://www.freespeech.org  I allowed myself a thread of hope.  Yet the genre of programming that  I have long  envisioned  has not arrived–neither in mainstream, nor alternative culture.  Then the question remains , if not ‘Democracy Now’ for transgendered people, with innocent lives at stake… can we afford to wait for “Democracy Someday”?

Amy, why have you forsaken me?

Amy Goodman did not respond to our requests for comment.

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