Tag Archives: MTF

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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You’re an abomination of God… or not

Exciting news! My short story ‘Alba’s Tree’ was published on Commuterlit this morning. 🙂

alba's tree comment

For this short story I took the advice, “put your hero in a tree, throw rocks at them, and then get them down,” quite literally.

Why would someone throw rocks at Alba? Find out here, and be sure to leave a comment and let me know what you thought of the story.

albastree

Original image Photo credit: mripp / Foter / CC BY

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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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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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FREE one-day conference for parents

Calling all parents in southern Ontario! Loading up on information is a great way to be the best parent you can be. And FREE information… well that’s just awesome! Come and learn how to arm yourself and your children with positive identities.

ChangePosterFINAL

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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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‘Transwoman’ finally makes the Oxford English Dictionary

I say finally, however, until about three minutes ago, I had no idea that the words; transman, transwoman, transperson, transphobia, or transphobic weren’t already in the dictionary.  An entire community are now validated by the addition of their  objectification in the June 2013 list of new word entries for the Oxford English Dictionary.  Awesome.

gangnam-style

So who do the OED think they are? They claim to be the world’s most comprehensive single-language print dictionary and a hoity-toity authority of words too. Pfffft.

Does the dictionary still have a place in our lives? (I mean, aside from the dreaded Scrabble challenge of course.)  Or has it become an obsolete and privileged form of printed language?  

I make words up all the time. When my kids were little we’d go hiking and my son would stop in the middle of the trail every 30 seconds to point out some obscure bug. With wide, innocent eyes he would ask the question I dreaded most. “What’s the name of that bug, mommy?” And of course I would make something up.  “Why, that’s the BershtaWurshtaBeetaBotta bug, son.”  The long scientific name of course. (It has to sound relatively authentic, ’cause it’s a 5 year old’s mission to catch you in a lie.)  By the time that boy was 10, I had my own hand-written dictionary of words that I’d made up over the span of his short life. (It’s a marvel he graduated high school at all with his mothers’ schoolin’.)

But who hasn’t done that, right? 

 

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