Sunday, November 20, 2011

Transgender Day of Remembrance 2011

As we mourn the violence committed against transgender and gender non-conforming people throughout the world, let us commit ourselves to working for a world where all people are safe and respected.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011


I have blogged here since November, so an update is overdue. My work has shifted since I left COLAGE last year, undergoing a transition of my own. It seems turning 30 didn't unlock the secrets of adulthood. I am seeking my next bold move.

In this space, I have been able to keep my story private. After years of telling the stories of my family (and others' families), it was time to be silent for a while, explore other stories, and decide which ones to tell. It seems the liberation I felt in breaking silence was mirrored by a freedom to keep my story to myself.

Fortunately, one version of my story continues to tell itself. Thank goodness for documentation. COLAGE recently launched a new website and the Kids of Trans Program has moved here.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Honoring Transgender Day of Remembrance

Today, let us remember the lives of transgender people lost out of hatred and fear.

The list is long again this year.

As countless gay folks promise us that 'it gets better', let us pause to remember those whose lives were ended before they could; those who were the target of violence because they were living authentically.

For me, as a daughter, I think of the loved ones left asking, 'Why?'. The tear-stained cheeks of daughters, siblings, parents, sons, partners, friends. The heartache and the memories, the anger and fear. The feeling of helplessness in the face of severe injustice.

In honor of our transgender loved ones and all those who have died,
Let us find the space to heal.
Let us find the courage to stand up as allies.
Let us find the strength to build a more just world. For all of us.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Trans Parent Day is November 7th - Film Review Time!

In honor of this creative holiday (check out, I'd like to share my TOP FIVE Kids of Trans Movies. Here they are...

5. The Adventures of Sebastian Cole - Great coming of age story about a wayward teen who lives with his transgender step-parent. The coming out scene feels authentic in a swirl of mixed emotions and family members reacting in different ways. LOVE the way that Sebastian comes to accept his parent and, in true teen angst spirit, tests boundaries to the max. This would be higher on the list, but I dislike the unrealistic plot twist toward the end of the film. (I'm not going to spoil it, but wouldn't recommend this film for anyone with fears about their parent's SRS surgery.)

4. TransAmerica* - Felicity Huffman as transgender woman on a road trip with her recently discovered son, who doesn't know that she's his dad. Cue Oscar music. Cue new standard cultural reference for transgender people and their family members. Complaints about this film - Why did they cast a Desperate Housewife to play a transgender woman? There are actually plenty of transgender women who could have played this role. Calpernia Addams and Kate Bornstein both come to mind. Also, I still cringe at the awkward moment when the son unwittingly makes a pass at his own parent. Ugh.
*Not to be confused with the tower in SF.

3. Southern Comfort - Tender documentary about the final months of Robert Eads, a transgender man who died of ovarian cancer after being refused medical treatment by numerous doctors. Robert's relationship with his grown son is sweet and authentic, and Eads himself speaks about the experience of giving birth. Have your hanky close by, for the tears you will shed over the loss of this man's life and the despicable barriers transphobia places to health care. I had the pleasure of attending the Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta (featured in the film) and witnessed the work of the Robert Eads Health Project, which provides trans men with medical care and provides trainings for practitioners to treat FTM patients.

2. No Dumb Questions - So, the transgender family member in this documentary is the uncle, not a parent. However, this is the only film I have seen that provides an honest look at talking to young children about transgender loved ones. Chelsea (11), Olivia (9), and Abby (5) love their uncle Bill, who they are about to meet as Aunt Barbara for the first time. Their conversations are so illustrative of the girls' developmental stages and personalities. If you need to talk to a child about being transgender, watch this movie!

1. The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert - The child in this film doesn't appear until toward the end, but the quest of the gay cross-dresser parent and fabulous friends is an incredible journey. The parent questions their own ability to be a good parent. But guess what? You CAN be. and she is. With a sweet soundtrack, incredible visuals, and clever writing, Priscilla IS queen of the desert. AND it looks like they made it into a musical!

Happy TransParent Day!!

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

KOT Renault Ad

This made me a little choked up in the best possible way. Special thanks to Helen Boyd for sharing!

Monday, October 19, 2009

Touchstones and Heroes

This year's Southern Comfort Conference was themed "Heroes Among Us". I have been privileged to meet and befriend many heroes over the past three years since my first SCC. Each year, I meet and re-connect with more and more heroes... transgender people who are living their truths, loving parents, compassionate therapists, strong partners, radical activists, political lobbyists, people with transgender parents... I find myself at home there. It's become a homecoming of sorts, a place of celebration and reflection of the year before. For nearly a week each fall, that fancy hotel on the perimeter of Atlanta hosts this vibrant community.

COLAGE Kids of Trans program presented another panel, featuring Amanda Veldorale-Brogan and me. Amanda's MTF dad drove 13 hours from Michigan to see her speak. She sat in the front row with her camera and recorded this video of Amanda, who augmented her own experience with her Family Therapy degree. The video is about 20 minutes long and Amanda certainly became one of my heroes that weekend. (Yes, there is some footage of me toward the end, although the 9am EST session time didn't help my West Coast brain with articulating my empassioned point.)

I have grown so much since my first Southern Comfort Conference in 2006. Perhaps more evident this year was just how much the Kids of Trans program has grown. The conversation I have with parents has changed. We used to lament the lack of resources for transgender parents and their children. This year, I heard so many success stories - from parents who attended our panel before coming out to their kids, who actually read the resource guide and gave it to their children. This is progress.

We are reprinting the Kids of Trans Resource Guide, with help from IFGE, which will distribute the 2nd edition through their online bookstore. Stephanie Battaglino, IFGE's Communications Director, and I announced the partnership at Saturday's lunch after a moving key note address from Jamison Green. I stood on the stage feeling proud of this work, it's impact, and standing on the foundation of so many heroes.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

A Never-ending Gender Odyssey

This post was drafted just after I returned from Seattle a few weeks ago. Part of the post didn't save, but I am posting it anyway. In a few days, I will board another airplane for SCC in Atlanta. Updates to follow (promise)...

This Labor Day weekend marked my second year at Gender Odyssey Conference in Seattle. Later this month, I will attend my fourth Southern Comfort Conference in Atlanta. I am starting to feel like a transgender conference circuit veteran, similar to a high school senior who knows what must be done while finding time to play hooky and have some fun. After all, much of this work is about relationship building and the conversations happen in the lobby more organically than in the workshop session.

On Sunday afternoon, I facilitated one of the best Kids of Trans sessions, mainly because I spoke so little. It has been my goal all along to create spaces for folks with transgender parents to share their stories. This weekend, I managed - through years of networking and a bit of serendipity - to assemble a panel encompassing a range of experiences. It worked so well that most questions could be answered in the first person. Now that is a good panel.