Category Archives: Awesome

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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Net Neutrality: Preventing Cable Company F*uckery

This video is never going to get old. Thanks to John Oliver from Last Week Tonight, who is (as usual) spot on.

“Turn on CAPS lock and fly my pretties!” – John Oliver

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Ethan Smith: A letter to the girl I used to be

Ethan Walker Smith, performance poet of spoken word poetry, shares a profound letter to his former self. I have to admit, this got to me. Even after all I know, and all I think I know about the spectrum of emotions and reconciliations of self that are tied to gender… there is still so much to learn and be humbled by. Thank you to Ethan for a powerful, necessary and very personal insight into who you are.

“The year you turned 11 was the first time you said out loud that you didn’t want to live. In therapy, you said you wouldn’t make it to 21. On my 21st birthday, I thought about you. You were right.” – Ethan Smith

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Attend the LGBTQ Parent Conference this Saturday… it’s FREE!

There is still space available for the LGBTQ parent conference this Saturday, April 26th! Wondering who the guest speakers are and what kind of information you can expect?

BREAKOUT SESSION ONE:  Dr. Carys Massarella – Health Care for Gender Independent Children and Youth

BREAKOUT SESSION ONE:  Positive Space Advisors – Understanding School Support for LGBTQ Youth

BREAKOUT SESSION TWO:  Marcus Logan – Top 10 Fears and Strategies for advocating for LGB Children and Youth

BREAKOUT SESSION TWO:  Catherine Thorpe – Top 10 Fears and Strategies for Advocating for Gender Independent Children and Youth

Register for one session—or come spend the day! Click the image below to register for this FREE event.

eventbrite_conference

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Self-sabotage in the words of… Phillip?

You know when you’re sitting around in the car waiting for someone, and you’re so bored that you start going through your Facebook newsfeed on your phone—clicking on all the posts that you didn’t give a frac about earlier in the day? Yeah, well that was me yesterday. Sitting alone in the dark, playing Russian roulette with strangers posts.

phone checking2

First, let me clarify, I don’t normally click posts (even in extreme boredom) that look sketchy or are likely to piss me off. So, here was the link to an Upworthy video, titled: Homosexuality Is An Annoying Thing Someone Invented, So This Group Of Americans Is Un-Inventing It and I’m thinking—I don’t even want to know what that’s about.  So instead, I skim the comments, ’cause there’s plenty of those and I can be a bit of a comment whore. I mean, who isn’t, right? I’m pretty sure that’s what makes Tumblr an up-and-coming social juggernaut.

I should also clarify, I did not actually watch the video that bunched up all the knickers of the commenters, I guess I wasn’t that bored. Or maybe I just didn’t care enough. (Maybe you do, so go find it here.) Sometimes it’s just fun to start with nothing and then build the story backwards from the comments.  You have to have a fairly good understanding of comment player ratios though. I mean, how many of the educated versus uneducated, the douchebags versus the do-gooders and that sort of thing. (I affectionately refer to this as the science of Trollology.) It puts comments in perspective.

trollology-chart

While I may be a comment voyeur—somewhere in the forever alone statistics, “Phillip” is a comment activist. A rare contributor. (Since I have no comprehension of Bulgarian—written or otherwise—Phillip is what I’m calling him. )

Any comment that starts with Woah there!” on its own line… has my attention. I mean, Woah where? What’s happening? Who pissed you off? Tell me everything. I must know. (Because I’m sitting here in my truck with nothing better to do at the moment.)

And while I silently expected to be entertained with emotional trite—Phillip had me. He understood the basic underlying issue in all LGBTQ discussion. (In fact, most people issues, full stop.) He’s identified the chipped corner on the building blocks of all we know of each other today. The fact that we did this to ourselves. No, really. If we want to make things better, we need to stop pointing out differences—primarily our own. Just stop. Don’t be different. Just… BE.

Here’s his excerpt, and just for the sake of his own protection and anonymity (on the internet? Pishaw! Well, at least on this blog.) I obstructed part of his name.

Screenshot_2

What do you think? Does that make sense to you? Does it make you angry? Serious? Are you emotionless? I’d really like to know. (I’d also like to update my pie chart with current stats.)

 

 

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My MTF Daughter: An open letter to her friends

My beautiful girl

My beautiful girl

I understand that there are a great deal of you out there struggling for the courage to tell your parents, family and friends who you really are.  I can’t even fathom how scary that must be.  Here I am born into a body that suits me just fine.  But I did have cancer once, so I know what it feels like to have that separation of mind and body and to also feel betrayed by that body. It’s not the same I know, but it’s a close as I can come to walking your walk.

When my extraordinary daughter confided in me that she was born in the wrong body, she did so in a letter. Well, an email really. As close as we are, she could not tell me this to my face. And I don’t blame her. In her email (sent from her bedroom to mine) she got right to the point in a single paragraph, and included explicit instruction not to speak to her about it in person. So, what did I do? I marched right in there and started a conversation.  She was so scared and nervous that it broke my heart. It no longer mattered what the conversation was, I just wanted her to feel comfortable to talk to me and be herself with me.  My girl was amazing.  She was quiet and patient and no matter what I said or asked, her response was a tentative and gentle “I love you.” Genius, right? That’s my girl.

It took a long time for life to return to “normal” but we found our groove and I learned to go at her pace. (Sometimes she had to remind me to slow down.) I took on the responsibility of telling the rest of the family, and I did so without her present. I assume acceptance, I don’t ask for it. But, people need time to digest. To ask questions, to understand what it is that we’re telling them. There is a lot of misinformation and misrepresentation out there that has left a negative stigma attached to transgender. It takes time to cut through that crap and undo the falsehoods. I found it easier to avoid the word transgender in the beginning. I came at it sideways and let my family know that my son was actually my daughter… with a hormone problem. A treatable hormone problem. And then I asked them for their help. People generally want to help. They want to feel useful. Giving my family members a task helped ease them into the transition of letting go of an assigned sex, and seeing her for the person she’s always been.

When it came time to tell her friends, my girl wrote them a letter too. This one was a little longer, a little more thought-out, and she planned to post in on Facebook the night that all of her friends would be at their grade 8 graduation. My girl didn’t want to attend, and I don’t blame her for that either. If you can’t party in sequins and lace, it ain’t a party.  Once she posted it, we sat together in a cuddle on the sofa on pins and needles waiting for the dance to end and the comments to begin. We were beside ourselves with fear, and the wait was excruciating. But finally, they came. They came in droves. And the support was overwhelming. It brought tears to my eyes and my girl was floating around on cloud nine. We hugged and danced and laughed at our own silliness. To all the people who left a comment of support on my girl’s Facebook page that night… thank you, thank you, thank you. From the very bottom of my mommy heart.

My girl has given me permission to repost that letter to her friends here. I hope that it may inspire some of you to find the words and courage to let go of all that you’re not, and live each day with who you really are.

Mackenzie-letter

**Update – You can read more of our story, or find tools for acceptance in my new ebooklet, an unwanted penis. Now available on Amazon, and coming soon to an e-retailer near you. Spread the word and help more of our youth gain acceptance from their parents. #anunwantedpenis

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2013 Google Zeitgeist: new beginnings, new frontiers, and ways to help

The 2013 year-in review is here! Google’s comprehensive list of searches made from around the globe has been made available today. The top five search terms this year were Nelson Mandela, Paul Walker, iPhone 5s, Cory Monteith, and Harlem Shake.  Check out the top 100 searches here.  What did you search for in 2013? What were your customers searching for?

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