Category Archives: Awesome

WIN your gender? The New Normal at HOT 89.9

Innovative radio station HOT 89.9 in Ottawa, ON is hosting a “contest” with a prize of $40,000 in cash.  That’s 40 thousand frickin’ dollars, to spend as you see fit.

the new normal

Entries are open to Canadian transgender residents who are wanting to, or in the process of, transitioning. I checked the fine print and there is no age limit, so you young folk don’t be discouraged!

This is such a great opportunity and I wish more people in these types of positions would consider adding something like this to their philanthropy work. (A  few years ago I had a similar idea for a ‘Win Your Gender’ gameshow, but yeah, that didn’t fly. Everyone I pitched it to looked at me like I had three heads, and they didn’t want to know a single one of them.) 

Get more info on The New Normal contest by listening to the HOT 89.9 radio announcement. (Click the Soundcloud button below.)

soundcloud-icon.jpg

To enter the contest, go to their site here, and download the question document and fill it out. Once done, email it to newnormal@hot899.com and then sit back with your fingers crossed.

Submission deadline is September 30, 2015.

Yay! for the opportunity to live the life you want. 🙂

 

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John Oliver and Transgender Rights: Everyone Poops

“It is no more OK to ask transgender people about their sex organs, then it would be to ask Jimmy Carter whether or not he’s circumcised.”

“Which by the way, he is.”

“Smooth like a boiled carrot.”

John Oliver spends just over 16 minutes delivering a sarcastically gritty commentary on Transgender rights in a why-can’t-I-articulate-the-pure-aweseomeness-that-flows-from-his-mouth kind of way.

Gender identity should be assumed and invisible in the same way that you identify as being alive.

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Do we need the government to tell us where to pee?

I promised myself I wasn’t going to blog about this. This topic makes me so crazy in a fierce and nothing-good-can-come-of-it sort of way. The very idea that our politicians are squabbling over public toilet use in the house of commons and throughout the senate is so moronic—that I didn’t want to add my energy to the ridiculousness of it. But I just can’t help myself anymore. Every day that passes, the more the fear mongering soars to extremely dangerous levels. And the more it pisses me off. Remember when this was the only bathroom debate?

the great debate

If you’re in Canada, we’re talking about Bill C279. When the Bill was first introduced, I was one of many who had written a letter that was read in front of council. And the bill was passed successfully about two years ago as Federal Law. And then recently, Senator Donald Plett and his outliers introduced an amendment which would effectively make the bill useless. You can catch up on that here. If you’re in the U.S., 17 states and more than 200 cities have passed laws prohibiting discrimination based on gender identity already, while the current fight is underway in Florida, Texas, and Kentucky—each of which have introduced bills to make it illegal for individuals to use the bathroom they identify with—if it doesn’t match the biology they were assigned at birth. You can catch up on the goings on here.

The core argument against allowing people to use whatever restroom they identify with is the same regardless of which soil you reside on. It suggests one of paramount safety for women who identify as women and who were also born with a vagina. (Affectionately referred to as cisgender.) The family action group in Canada states that Bill C279 will be allowing sexual predators to go unnoticed in the ladies room and will also offer them legal defense after they have perpetrated their crimes against the ‘cissies’. Essentially, they are fighting for the right to discriminate.

To these people I say, WTF? No, seriously, WTF? How can you know this will happen? When Rosa Parks infamously moved to the centre of the bus, was she plotting to sneak up on the unsuspecting white folks and assualt them in their seats? Or was she making a spontaneous stand on the law of segregation and inequality? She just wanted to ride the bus gosh dang it… and sit where she was most comfortable to sit.

rosa parks

My rage about this topic remains the same as it first did in my letter to council a few years ago:

As the parent of a 14-year-old transgender female in the Hamilton community, I’m deeply saddened by the on-going debate over the use of a public toilet.

Unfortunately, the issue is not as black and white as most on the side of segregation would believe. We’re not talking about boys using girls’ toilets and girls using boys’ toilets and the safety therein. We’re talking about people taking action to deliberately promote prejudice against transgender and transsexual Canadians by equating them with sex offenders and pedophiles. As a mother, I’m sickened and outraged that members of my own community (where I have worked, volunteered, supported, and raised my children) would take pause to consider my child a deviant for using a public toilet that she identifies with to answer nature’s call while out in our community.

Labelling every girl born with a penis and every boy born with a vagina as a drug-addicted, low-income, loud-mouthed criminal and/or potential pedophile is a prejudiced and tired stereotype that is detrimental to the very livelihood of our community. Instead of perpetuating this prejudice, we need to spend our energies educating each other on the realities of medical misnomers and the evolution of gender non-conformity. We need to stop bickering about what’s yours and what’s mine and what’s his and what’s hers and instead focus on what’s ours. And while we’re at it, we need to mind our own business and stay out of the genitalia of those around us.

It is critical to remember that anyone who is born “different” or doesn’t meet “normal” identity criteria (as assessed and judged by those who deem themselves the measurement of “normal”) must hurdle bullying, hate, ignorance, disrespect, harassment and outright violence every day of their lives. That means special needs, race minorities; religious affiliations, sexual orientation and personal gender identity are triggers for hate crimes and extradition from the acceptance of the community. Including the denial of the most basic of human output—the use of a public toilet.

Here’s what I can tell you about the transgender person in the public restroom with you:

  •  They are in there to use the toilet. Just like you.
  •  They will lock their cubicle door because they are shy and modest. Just like you.
  •  They have no interest in what you’re doing in there, in fact, they are more afraid of you then you are of them. How do I know this? They are expecting your hate, judgment and harassment—as it is given to them so freely every day of their lives—and they are uncomfortable with the anticipation of it. They will do their business and get out in order to avoid you.
  •  Their safety is more at risk then yours. Do your homework, over 90% of rapists and pedophiles are married, white men. Not trans, not gay or lesbian or questioning, or anything else you don’t understand. There is absolutely no indication or burden of proof that laws allowing transgender or transsexual people to use the restroom they are most comfortable with will result in an increase in sexual perpetration. In fact, the opposite may be true. My 14-year-old daughter would be at risk for severe violence if she were forced to use a men’s room.
  •  It’s none of your business what the genitalia of the person in the cubicle next to you looks like. Genitalia are private. There are no gender checks, no DNA scans, and in most instances, you won’t even be able to tell who’s who.

As long as we have public conveniences, ANYONE should be able to use ANY public convenience, regardless of gender, race, or religion, provided that they are using it ONLY for its intended purpose. Trans are not deviants any more than a Muslim or Korean immigrant is. They are mothers, fathers, sisters, brothers, sons, daughters, wives and husbands. They are all ages—including children. They live in all parts of the city, and are living their lives in all social circles and at all levels of financial success. Why not turn our community into a giant summer festival where the only trouble we have with a restroom is the line up?

portable toilets

Let’s invest our energies in an evolution that will support all walks of life. Let’s set an example for our children. Let’s stop the prejudice and stereotypes. Let’s just let a toilet be a toilet.

If you’re a ‘cis-woman’ and have ever used the empty men’s room to avoid an embarrasing accident, this bill in Florida, Texas, and Kentucky (if passed) will prohibit you from ever doing it again legally in those states. So resign yourself to this:

women's line

I’d also like to take a moment to clear something else up. Not every trans female looks and acts like Frank N Furter from the Rocky Horror Picture Show. Some do, but most of them already hate themselves for it enough on their own—they don’t need your hate to feel bad about themselves. (Perhaps if they had been accepted by their families in their youth or not pressured into conversion therapies wasting years of their lives in confusion and denial, things may have been different for them.)

frank furter

I’m focusing on the children, which this bill and all that it stands for affects with its broad stroke. Amnesty International reported that, “In a recent nationwide survey, 74 per cent of Canadian transgender youth reported experiencing verbal harassment in school, and 37 per cent reported experiencing physical violence.”  Bullying is already a crime. Physical violence is already a crime. So who is getting away with the crime right now? And let’s take a look at how this will play out on the flipside. There’s so much talk about men dressing as women to get away with murder in a public toilet, how are all of these conservatives (read family action group types) going to feel when a trans man (born with a vagina) is in the ladies room with their young daughters? I mean, that’s what they want, that’s what they’re fighting for.

we just need to pee

But this is the reality. #WejustNeedtoPee. Most people you would never know anyway. These are just a few of the trans female faces of teens below. One of them is my daughter. Scary, right? I mean, seriously, you better hide your children from these delinquents. (sarcasm intended.) But imagine for one moment, these young girls in the men’s room.

the-real-deal

Also, I don’t want to sound like an alarmist, but some of these radical group members that are fighting for the right to segregation and prejudice are fabricating stories and/or quoting would be ‘experts’ and releasing them to the media in order to convince you of their cause. This infuriates me. It’s not just a twist of the truth, it’s a complete and total fabrication. They are ruining young lives (and in some instances ending them) for the sake of their crusade. Some media outlets no longer fact check their sensational journalism. But there are sites dedicated to fact checking stories like this, so please, if you hear of or read a story, make sure you cross-vet it with other sites and the parties involved before you form an opinion. Even a simple tweet can require verification.

Please, people, just stop for a moment, take a deep breath and remember… the earth used to be flat. Until it wasn’t.

Flush bigotry down the toilet where it belongs.

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marketing, mommy blogs, and cuss-pot soup

Today was a day destined for book marketing. I spent the whole day trying to figure out how I could get my latest ebook into the hands of the parents who need it. The target audience is all parents, regardless of whether their children are gender non-conforming or not, so how tough can that be? The book is really just a reminder about unconditional acceptance of your children, so I figured I’d go out and buy a little advertising in parent communities.

So there I am, out there surfing the interwebs looking at mommy blogs and checking out parent magazines—and the more I read, the more I realize—I’m in trouble. I mean, big trouble. Who are these parents in these magazines? Who are these moms that can clean a 4-bedroom house in 20 minutes, put in a full day at the office, and then prep a 7-course meal before hubby gets home—all the while blogging about it with a set of twins dangling from her breasts? Is that fiction? I also came across an entire parenting blog dedicated to storage. Um, OK, what? I mean, I can sort of see how organization might be catchy, but is that real life? Do these people actually live like that? Because if that’s my audience, I’m not going to sell shit.

I’m not a twenty-something perk-fest who smiles in her sleep and spends her days engaged in home-made crafts for her curious toddlers, and then spends her evenings mapping out the storage of lego pieces in colour-coded bins. I actually want to slap mothers with that kind of energy and committment across the face. Hard. The kind of slap you only see in old movies when someone is acting hysterical.

slapping

I’m gritty. I’m the kind of mother who scares other mothers. I’m aggressively unfancy and  socially handicapped by severe facial expressions. I blame the children for my deep scowls and twitchy temper. Yes, I said it. I’m not ashamed. It’s their fault. I was a beautiful woman once.

I kept a clean house once too. I think. Well, fairly clean. No, actually, I mean tidy. And that was only for about 10 minutes in 1996. Now, I name the dust bunnies that scoot across the hardwood floors when I enter a room. There are fingerprints on my mirrors that read like a childhood growth chart and yes, there is a styrofoam container in the back of my fridge with takeout from a restaurant that closed 2 years ago.  I do laundry on the schedule of mom-I-don’t-have-any-clean-underwear and I wash dishes when I run out of spoons. That’s gritty living right there.

I also cuss in front of my children and have been known to walk around in ratty underpants. I spend one hour a week fangirling over the latest episode of The Vampire Diaries—during which the only interruption I would allow is an air raid siren signalling the onset of the zombie apocalypse—and then for 15 minutes after the show while I have inappropriate daydreams about the Salvatore brothers. I’m not proud, but that’s the reality.

I’m a loud, moderately controlling, socially awkward, opinionated cuss-pot. I’m not the perfect parent, but I’m the perfect parent for them. We exist together happily. (Most of the time, anyway.) You won’t find organization, clean towels, or a place to sit in my house that isn’t covered in crystalized dog spit. But there’s laughter, love and acceptance here. If you don’t have that in your home, buy my ebook. (Or share it with someone you know.)

#grittymoms rule. 🙂

 

 

 

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The secret transgender games

The older I get, the less patience I have. Or is it less tolerance? Maybe it’s both. Let me clear something up…

I’m just your every day Jane. I work for a living and raise my family pretty much like everyone else. I have bills to pay, dishes to do, and dog poo to pick up.  The fact that my daughter is transgender is kind of a non-issue. We help others when we can, with questions, suggestions for resources and those sorts of things, but we don’t have a show that we take on the road or anything like that. We’re not this odd entity that is different from the rest of the families who are working for a living and picking up dog poo. There are no secret transgender games going on behind our closed door. Disappointing, I know.

transgender-cereal

We are not keeping secrets from you (unless you’re the government and/or I owe you money), and there is no mysterious secret transgender life. You see, there is nothing really to tell. Unless you want to hear about how we argue over her lack of time-management skills with homework assignments, or how I’ve asked her for the 1,oooth time to pick up those dirty clothes, or maybe you’re interested in the endless hours she’s logged creating a virtual world in the Sims4?  Sound kind of teenagerish? That’s because it is.

She goes to school every day. It’s a regular public highschool. It’s not a school for the transgender. She wears 16-year-old clothes—jeans, leg warmers, sweaters, t-shirts, boots with heels higher than I would like—the kind that were bought at a regular old store. Not a store for the transgender. Sometimes she wears her hair up in a ponytail clip that we got at Walmart. Not the Walmart that is specifically for transgender, but the one just down the road—it’s closer. She occasionally wears cola-flavoured Chapstick, not the transgender flavoured kind. (I think that might be a special order item anyway.)

trans cake

And while we don’t play the transgender games, there are folks around us that are constantly trying to suck us in to theirs, but we resist. We refuse to let others define us.

Last week a new student started at my daughter’s school for semester 2. She is also a transgender girl and the teachers (in their infinite wisdom) thought the two should meet.

You know, because they’re the same.

Oddly though, they don’t introduce dark-skinned students to each other. Something like, “Hey Tyrone.. yeah, come meet our new student DeShawn, he just transferred here and you two should meet because, well, you’re both black.

wtf face

Also, I’m pretty sure there are a couple of kids with diabetes that go to the very same school and they have yet to be introduced.  An oversight maybe? And while I’m dragging you down into this hot mess of politically incorrect fuckery—do I even need to mention the plus-sized students? They certainly don’t get pulled aside to meet each other. Well, obviously, ’cause that’s just plain wrong.

Here’s the thing. Don’t label us. Actually, don’t label anyone. I know you’re trying to do a good thing, your heart is in the right place. But sometimes one step forward… is two steps back. Focus on making our communities a safe, positive space that is inclusive for everyone. Different skin colours, religions, and yes, those with diabetes (those poor souls) and the trans, and non trans, and yes, those struggling with weight issues… ’cause we’re all mixed up in this great big world together. Let people seek out other people on their own terms. And because they have more things in common than some label thrust upon them through social cataloging.

I may just be grouchy today, but, whatever. (Oh, and apologies to all of the Tyrones and DeShawns out there… you don’t have to be friends.)

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Seriously, go tell your sprogs.

birth announcement

 

“Last week, my daughter sat me down and explained that I didn’t actually have a daughter, I instead have a son.
I could tell he was nervous – but I do hope that he already knew that it wouldn’t change a single thing about our relationship except for the pronouns we use.
Actually, ALL children should know that. In an ideal world, it would be a profound and fundamental truth that they know in their bones. The one unshakeable gravity-fact they carry with them forever. If you haven’t actively told yours that you will love and support them, no matter what.. That their sexuality and gender expression are entirely irrelevant to the way you feel about them and treat them. Then you need to stop reading this right now and go and tell your sprogs.

Seriously.. Go tell them now.  It’s okay, I’ll wait. Stare deep in to their eyes in that way that makes them really uncomfortable so that they know that you mean it. ” – Kai’s mum.

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How to be the muddiest loser

In 36 days I’m going to be getting up early, heading into the big city, and running through 6K’s of obstacle, mud and mayhem. That’s right… I said running. I signed up for the Mud Hero—which sounded like a really good idea 6 months ago.

mud hero

This is funny for those who know me for two reasons. One, I don’t run. I mean, ever. Not even if I’m being chased. I’m more of a stop and negotiate sort.

This wasn’t always true—as a kid I was a sprinter. I ran track and field and I was quick. I placed first… a lot. Short distances were my thing. But, I could never run the long ones. You know, the cross-country ones. Debilitating cramps would seize me after about 200 metres and I could never figure out the breathing thing. In through my nose and out through my mouth. Impossible. After 300 metres I would be gasping for air and blowing saliva bubbles out through my nose holes.

A million years later, a friend and I thought it would be fun to join an ultimate frisbee league to stay active.  Some research ahead of time on my part would have told me that running was involved. A lot of running. My kids sat on a blanket at the sidelines of each game and every few minutes I would come flying out of the field and collapse beside them. They would jump to work wiping my brow or spraying water in my mouth and then pep talk me into going back out there—like I was some kind of prize fighter going back in for the kill. Damn toddlers. Didn’t they know it was just frisbee?

The second reason I don’t run is because at some point after turning forty… running makes me pee. I can describe the horrors of the “treadmill incident of 2009” while trying to get my money’s worth out of my under-utilized YMCA membership—or you can just take my word for it. I suspect that my body is objecting to the running and at that moment the only thing greater than my will to succeed is public humiliation. And I can assure you that I emptied my bladder many times in advance, yet somehow this ‘mystery’ pee arrived whenever I so much as even dangled a foot over the treadmill. This is the universe telling me, in agreement, that I do not run. Ever.

So, why did I sign up for a mud hero? I have no reasonable explanation. In my heart, I’m still a young woman capable of conquering anything. I see myself as strength, courage and indomitable will with no need for preparation—and with an outward physical appearance of something like this:

lara croft

More and more though, I suspect that it is something closer to this:

old woman

I can also tell you that I have/had every intention of preparing for this event—but everything I say would be a juggernaut of lies. I will get out of bed that morning, drink my coffee, hike with my dog, try to find a pair of shorts in my closet that aren’t circa 1983 and then put on a pair of shoes that I need to lace up. I’m only partly worried that I’m going to let my team down by coming in last. I tell myself that it’s OK to come in last because I’ll have my GoPro camera strapped on and being in last place gives me the best filming advantage. Reasonable, no?

I may not be what I used to be. And I’ll never be what I can’t be. But I do know there is a superhero in me just bucking to get out. She’s there somewhere. Under gallons of soda, litres of red wine and fistfuls of ju-jubes… there is an athletic goddess. And soon I’ll have the video to prove it.

Onward to the Mud Hero!

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