Monday, April 28, 2008

So Many Tools At My Fingertips

San Francisco continues to woo me, as my fellowship nears its end. I had a conversation the other day about the possibilities of evolving personal politics in spaces where you don't have to defend your existence and experience. It feels like I am really tapping into that, now, after seven months in the Bay Area. I even get to have fun and it's for a good cause. There are so many opportunities to learn from the multitude of activists working for all kinds of change, even causes I may never have considered. This seems fitting, since many people have never considered advocating for people with transgender parents.

The Kids of Trans Resource Guide is with the designer and will be available in print by May 18th (at our Transgender Family Picnic in Dolores Park). If you'd like a copy, please get in touch. I am wishing for more time and better foresight for the design and printing of the guide. Hopefully, it will actually look pretty, since it will be the resource guide for people with transgender parents. I'll know soon enough.

Beyond my work at COLAGE, I've attended some great workshops recently. Class Action facilitated a one-day workshop on class last week, which I was privileged enough with my co-worker from COLAGE. We focused a lot on class background, which helped me overcome a lot of shame of growing up working class. It also left me wondering how to reconcile my current class experience as middle professional class. Upon leaving the workshop, I wondered how I would use it, since there were very few hard tools provided. Brilliantly, the session made me more able to talk about my own class and open up conversations about class in many areas of my life. Well done.

I've also been blessed with the opportunity to attend two fantastic open sessions put on by the Catalyst Project, a center for political education and movement building with a commitment to deepening white anti-racist organizing. Two of my friends are participating in the four month Anne Braden Anti-Racist Training Program through Catalyst and they invited me to these open sessions. The first was a panel on visionary politics, which got me fired up with hope that a better world is indeed possible. The panel gave me taste of the amazing radicals doing work in this area. I've always learned better from people than from books, so it appears I've found my activist home.

Yesterday, I attended a panel on anti-racist organizing. People had some good things to say about knowing your political history and being willing to make mistakes. As white folks living in a system of white supremacy, we are taught that we know everything. It's part of how the system works. So, it's fundamental for us to be able to engage in the work in order to learn the lessons of doing the work. One woman talked about utilizing the political moment of elections to bring conversations to the masses of people who are apolitical the rest of the time.

Today, I read this transcript in the NY Times of Rev Jeremiah Wright's speech about the black church in the US. His speech encompasses so much history, which seizing this political moment to talk about race. Seriously, how often does the main stream press print quotes like:
Maybe this dialogue on race, an honest dialogue that does not engage in denial or superficial platitudes, maybe this dialogue on race can move the people of faith in this country from various stages of alienation and marginalization to the exciting possibility of reconciliation.
Of course, Obama is adamantly distancing himself from the radical reverend.
“Obviously, it’s not ideal,” said David Axelrod, Mr. Obama’s senior strategist. “It’s pretty clear that Reverend Wright is not out there to help Obama — he’s out there to help himself. It’s a sideshow, and the media is consumed by it.”
Actually, it seems like Reverend Wright is actually out to get people talking about race in America. He is seizing the moment and his connection with a major party candidate to bring the conversation to the front page. Too bad the mainstream messaging is set up to support the status quo, which means not talking about all of the systems (race, class, gender, etc) that privilege some and oppress others.

Fortunately, I live in a place where the common political discourse is more progressive than anything you will see in the mainstream press and the cover to a dance party always goes to a good cause.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Thank you

IFGE was great. I am so grateful for the warmth and appreciation that the transgender community has expressed for the Kids of Trans Program. Tucson was like coming home to a place I'd never been before, to friends and mentors. If I met you at the conference, it was a pleasure.

The final version of the Kids of Trans Resource Guide will be available by May 18th, the day of our Transgender Family Picnic in Dolores Park (prospective parents and allies are welcome). This means I still have a lot to do, although it still amazes me that this is my day job (at least for another month and a half). I am so blessed!

If you are looking for resources for people with transgender parents, check out COLAGE's Kids of Trans Program. Our Transgender Family Resources List, KOT online community, Pen Pal program, and other resources are available on the site.

Life in SF has been pretty hectic and filled with springtime since my return. I realized that so much of my energy focus was finishing the guide for IFGE that the past week has felt like a release. Now that it's in final draft and the conference was so successful, I am really asking 'what's next?'.

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Arizona, Here I Come!

I leave for Tucson in the morning to attend the IFGE Conference, which begins Thursday. My dear friend and former roommate Bonnie G lives in Tempe now, so she's driving down to hang out tomorrow evening.

Friday, I am co-presenting two sessions - one specifically on When a Parent Transitions and one focused on Children of Transgender Parents. I look forward to reconnecting with the transgender community that has welcomed me so warmly.

Two years ago, I attended my first IFGE with fellow KOT Christy Hubert. During a media workshop, I stood to ask a question to the panel: "My name is Monica and my father is a transwoman. I work with COLAGE and have witnessed people with gay and lesbian parents further the rights of their families. How can people with transgender parents do the same?". The audience gave me a standing ovation. At that moment, with tears in my eyes, I realized that it was time to commit to this work. I couldn't have done it without the trans community or the queerspawn community.

Tomorrow, I will carry 75 copies of the Kids of Trans Resource Guide Preview in my suitcase.

The guide exists. Now is the time to share it...