Thursday, December 31, 2009
Tuesday, December 15, 2009
Thursday, December 3, 2009
Wednesday, December 2, 2009
Monday, November 30, 2009
Sorry - the embedded video is temporarily unavailable. VEOH the video server has dumped it and I am searching for a new and more reliable host.
Thursday, November 26, 2009
Monday, November 2, 2009
Monday, October 26, 2009
Article by By MELINDA WALDROP of the Daily Press
WILLIAMSBURG - History was made without fanfare on Saturday. Jessee Vasold, William and Mary's first transgender homecoming queen, took the field at halftime of the Tribe's game against James Madison wearing a red shirt, black pants and a small silver lip ring to applause and not much other notice.
Jessee Vasold, William and Mary 's first transgender homecoming queen, took the field at halftime of the Tribe's game against James Madison U. today in Williamsburg. (Joe Fudge, Daily Press / October 24, 2009)
Here is the comment I posted to the article:
"I think this is appropriate for our times and our diverse culture - including the moral aspects of it.
Thank you W&M for being understanding and progressive enough to embrace this!
Thank you Jessee for being bold enough to step into the spotlight!!
To the folk that stick to the strict view that God made man and woman let me say this. While I absolutely believe that God made one pure man and a pure woman just as Scripture says, I also believe that God knew and intentionally created us is in a way that guaranteed gender diversity. St. Paul loved to say "look at nature" for examples of gender roles so, OK, lets do that in the light of what we know to be true today.
God made a man and then a woman but every successive generation born takes some of the male and some of the female to make a child - that is basic genetics. Logic indicates there would be a few that fall somewhere else along the bell curve of gender other than pure male and pure female. I.E.: That some would posses a mix of attributes from both genders. Being intersexed (or hermaphrodite) is one of many known gender variant conditions. So this is not a mistake or an oversight of God or some horrible sin. God knew and did exactly as David said and formed all of us including us transgender folk "perfectly".
What W&M has done here is openly embrace human diversity as created by a loving God!
Hugs and Blessings,
Thursday, October 8, 2009
For a long time now we have grouped ourselves together by preferred traits and promoted just the issues that benefit us while avoiding personally controversial ones that pertain to other’s needs. As a transgendered Christian woman I have watched this go on for several years and I have come to see this tendency as something that is often counterproductive for us on the whole. We no longer have this luxury – that of being separate, exclusive and picking and choosing which “rights” we work for while there people dying from, or suffering with hunger, AIDS and other illnesses, or that lack basic sanitary necessities or dignity because they are differently abled. And these folks are plentiful right in our own neighborhoods!
I understand the apprehension and discomfort we feel when we must push the envelope of our personal comfort zones and stretch again resources that are already stretched. But in this day of unrest and mis-trust, of corruption at the highest levels of our society and government, of economic collapse, of hate crimes and of budget cuts that are hurting so many of us, this is what we need to do – push our limits... Again. If we won’t take notice and help each other and build each other up, regardless of how each of us perceives others, self-identifies or presents, who will? Now is the time to take the progressive lead and reshape our world together.
Rather than gravitating to our comfortable niches where hopefully we can ride out the storms without having to stretch too much farther, we need to be our own strongest allies and work together – setting aside some of or prejudices and unease with those that are different or foreign to us. It is past time to build up the whole of our community. We need to be lifting up the ones that struggle with the effects of life-long marginalization, rejection and ridicule and those that wrestle with death itself or who have no means of their own to survive.
For example, I don’t see Marriage Equality as the number one issue currently but nonetheless I am very active in that movement, and it isn’t because I seek to marry someone of the same sex. I have set aside some of my own discomfort and prejudice to work with some people whose needs and motives I sometimes can hardly fathom. To an in-process transgender woman the inequity is something that be can worked around just by changing or not changing an obsolete method of identifying gender once certain “plumbing” issues are resolved (though this is not a perfect solution, it is livable), so I view the situation from a completely different angle than most folks do. Supporting M.E. is a means of advancing the common good. My faith, and who I now am, drives me into this effort. This is where my Christian faith “does something” more than lift my spirits up for an hour on Sunday. Even mentioning it LGBT circles risks some discomfort but it does bring my faith down to street level. A little bit of personal challenge is all that it really takes to make a noticeable difference and that is all I am advocating here. Every one of us can make things a little bit better for someone else.
What is important now is working together; getting known, building networks and visibility within our community and finding ways to build bridges between different groups of people, cultures and preferences. Bringing my abilities to the table and sharing the load with people who have different needs and experiences is what I try to do and encourage others to do now that I have found the freedom to be myself.
I was pleased to have a few moments to speak with Harvey Stern of the Golden Rainbow Senior Center (Palm Springs) the other day after the LGBT Mental Health Task Force Meeting in Perris. They are reaching out beyond the traditional limits of what one would define as a “senior” center and they are accommodating many groups at their center now that others centers in the area have been forced to close. (Thanks, Harvey, for your efforts and the wonderful example you are for us all).
We – Harvey and I – agreed that we are down to the bare necessities of survival these days. He deals with this every day at the Center and I feel the pinch daily; I can barely afford the basics every month. I can’t afford a car or a place of my own to live and I struggle to find adequate and appropriate health care, even food sometimes. But I can push the limits of my abilities and means to build up and help to homogenize our community. I encourage you all to do the same.
Hugs and Blessings,
Freelance Advocate for Human / Civil-Rights and Faith without Prejudice
"Stand with anybody that stands right, stand with him while he is right and part with him when he goes wrong." A. Lincoln
Thursday, October 1, 2009
Friday, September 25, 2009
I hope you are all well.
After the pause I took away from things in August to get a little rest, the moment I stuck my head up and looked around I found myself right back in the thick of the Marriage Equality Movement. I am helping to organize the effort in the Inland Empire (and I have several other irons in the fire too - a couple of them are in earlier posts. At the moment I am sitting in The Lark -- an LGBT club -- in San Bernrdino recruiting people to help with the campaign effort. Tonight we had 26 more people that want to help sign up. While I'm here I'm posting this to my blog since Verizon has the DSL screwed up at home. So here is the post about our first "field work" event in a place everyone has been saying is insignifigant. Well guess what - I refuse to be insignifigant and so do a whole bunch of folk out here - stay tuned...
Wednesday evening the Inland Empire (Region 9) team of the statewide Restore Equality 2010 campaign started recruiting efforts for the coming petition signing work. Five volunteers met last Saturday to coordinate this regional effort and have hit the ground running. We were met by a surprising amount of enthusiasm in downtown Riverside.
Armed with fliers for our upcoming strategy meeting on Oct 3 we talked to many people at three prime locations – Back to the Grind, The Menagerie and Worthington’s Tavern – and we were overwhelmed at the positive response. Once we explained that we were preparing to hit the ground running when the petitions are in hand come November not one person balked at the idea of a 2010 effort. Most said they were glad that we are already organized and working to win this battle now instead of later and got excited that they could help and really make a difference – I hope that sentiment becomes infectious!
The owners and staff of the places we “worked” were awesome and totally supportive too. I would estimate that in the 2 hours we were there three of us spoke with at least 40 individuals and groups of people. We now have 9 more people signed up to help. We passed out the few “Repeal Prop 8 2010” and “:I DO…” signs I had kicking around and almost 100 fliers.
Friday we will be at the Lark in San Bernardino around 9 PM. We will be at The VIP on the 30th and back to Downtown Riverside on Oct 2nd. We are now looking to get out into Palm Springs and a few other key areas in October – follow this link to the Region 9 page of the Restore Equality 2010 website.
If we were not on the map last November here in the IE this time we will be. And we will make a big difference!! Please come out and help us if you can.
Where ever you are located in California you can help – go to Restore Equality 2010’s web site and select the link for your region and contact the volunteers shown for your region to find out how you can make a difference locally and nationally too.
Thursday, September 17, 2009
Wednesday, September 16, 2009
Greetings friends and associates,
I am helping, along with Safe Haven Community Christian Church, EQIE’s Transgender Issues Committee, and other nearby transgender and allied community members, to put together a Transgender 101 panel and presentation. Our purpose is to help educate and enlighten those whose jobs or personal ethos calls them to serve society and be in contact with the full diversity of it. We are already in contact with two major Civic entities interested in and seeking out this kind of help so they can better serve the traditionally under-served portions of society. Riverside's Department of Mental Health is one, thanks to Elder Benita Ramsey's and others work on the LGBT Mental Health Task Force, and the other is the LAPD. I expect that there will be many more worthwhile leads to follow very soon. The US Census Bureau as a follow-up to the 2010 Census may be one of these.
I was approached by an Officer in the LAPD Community Relations Office last Sunday at San Gabriel Valley Pride, and she inquired whether I would be willing to be a part of Chief Bratton’s farewell Forum Summit community meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 29, 09 from 6 -8 p.m., at the Police Administrative Building (150 N Los Angeles St, in the Auditorium). We had a lengthy conversation about what they hoped to accomplish and we have agreed to discuss future Transgender (and the LGBT… inclusive) community involvement with them, such as an educational panel presentation like what we are already preparing for Riverside.
So, what I am asking for here is twofold…
First, I am extending the LAPD’s invitation to the Forum on the 29th to the entire LGBT community and urging as many of you as possible to come out for it. I’ll see you there.
Second, I am seeking transgender individuals that are willing to participate in an ongoing speakers panel – and this includes individuals of all areas of transgender and those in any stage of transition, even those that are sex-workers or other highly at risk members of our community. We hope to be very inclusive and very open in this project to tough questions posed by the professionals - social service workers, medical and mental health providers, safety and law enforcement personnel and etc. So you would need to be serious about helping and willing to commit to being open and honest about the needs and feelings of the area of the community you represent as well as with your personal experiences.
For me, going back down to Parker Center in LA will be a bit of a traumatic challenge, because the last time I was there I was incarcerated and I must again face painful ghosts of my sordid past. But I believe both the Forum and our future presentations will very well be worth the effort. Please search your hearts and see if there is room for you to take on another important commitment too.
(We will also be needing some moderate financial support to see this project become a reality – Safe Haven Community Christian Church is a non-profit 501 (c) (3) institution – contact Rev. Painter for more info).
Thanks and Warm Regards,