Monday, December 10, 2007

Resources GO and Mo

I'm still getting used to having a blog, so I will keep updating it as I remember. I had a great weekend in San Fran, which has me feeling grounded here for the moment. Of course, my flight back east for the holidays is next week. The intentionality with which I'm treating December seems to be working. This city is certainly good for manifesting intentions.

A few of my KOT-related intentions were realized this week. One was to create an
email list specifically for people with transgender parents. Another was to update the list of Transgender Family Resources on the COLAGE website. I created this survey to collect the stories and advice of folks with transgender parents for the resource guide. If you or someone you know fits the bill, it's not too late to fill it out. I'll even send you a little thank you package. The amazing thing about networking is that it really does work. I emailed the survey to all of my contacts and for the last month or so I've been receiving a multitude of KOT experiences in my inbox. I remember a time when I was sure that my sister and I were the only ones. What a pleasure it's been to prove myself wrong.

I'm beginning to write the actual resource guide, which is really daunting, but will be my main focus for the next few months. Meredith reminded me today that I am an expert. The challenge of creating the content is in articulating what I know into the form of a resource guide for youth.
This is the culmination of years of research and activism, so it's hard to push it all out. Not as much a birthing process as my thesis... maybe it's easier with the second one; i'm used to carrying the weight from the first time. This feels more like I'm birthing Joanna Newsom - "I wasn’t born of a whistle, or milked from a thistle at twilight./ No; I was all horns and thorns, sprung out fully formed, knock-kneed and upright." This resource guide will be ready to walk as soon as it's printed. We've been waiting; all of us.

In other news, FAIR (Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting) published a critical review of transgender coverage in the media. There has been a good deal of progress in terms of humanized, rather than sensationalized, coverage of transgender people, who now appear on Larry King instead of Jerry Springer. There is still a fixation on "the operation", whether people have had it or not.

I've never liked this question, which comes up when I disclose to someone that my father is a transwoman. "So, has had the surgery?" When I'm feeling bold, I respond, "How would you like it if I asked about your parent's genitalia?" Most times, I calmly explain that she lives as a woman and that I'm really not interested in discussing the operation. This question bothers me for the obvious (i don't want to think about my parent's genitals), but the FAIR article reminds me of the other reasons. Why are those hung up on the gender binary so fixated on this miraculous surgery? They assume that there are only two sexes and in order to become a woman, you would need to lose your penis. (God forbid the media include a narrative other than the upper/middle-class white MTF transsexual.) Gender is a spectrum. Genitalia does not necessarily determine gender identity. Stop talking about the operation. It is none of your business.

It is always encouraging when some one else publishes something you'd been wishing anybody would say. FORGE published a list of SOFFAs who were victims of transphobia in honor of this year's Transgender Day of Remembrance. Loree Cook-Daniels has written a great deal about the role of SOFFAs in the trans community and she reflects on the impact of transphobia here. She is becoming one of my heroes.

I attended the SF Trans Day of Remembrance event with my boyfriend while he was visiting over Thanksgiving. (He is not in the photo from the Sentinel.) The intersections of my SOFFA identity were tangible on November 20th. Earlier that day, I wrote this piece from a KOT perspective. Then, I met up with K for the event at the LGBT center, visible as the SO of a transman. We saw Jamison Green speak, which is always a treat. After the vigil was over, I approached him to say hello. We had met this spring at IFGE and talked about his daughter. I've been trying to get her involved in KOT stuff, but it seems she's not interested. Maybe I wouldn't be either if my parent were a professional transgender activist. Well, my dad has taught me some things about transgender issues and activism, but she leaves the conference going and organizing to me.

I never said this wasn't complicated.

Today, though, it feels pretty good to be a super SOFFA.

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