And so it comes around again, the 31st of January.
On January 31st, 2009, my friend died. His name was Eric.
It is said that time heals all. That seems, to me, a kind of horrible thing to say, in a way — that time dulls the pain, that time makes us forget — that the passing of time can ease the heartbreak. And yet it can, in a way. Perhaps it’s because we weren’t personally especially close: we were friends through theatre during high school — he was two years younger than I was, and though we did shows together for several years, we had different circles of close friends. Still, we were VISTA, and that meant that we were family, and I loved him. Continue reading
Seriously. I know I’ve gone on in the past about various fictional characters and people (David Tennant, Blaine from Glee, Sam Tsui, and the like), but this time, I really mean it. Owen Daniel-McCarter is the most incredible person I’ve ever met (including Dean Spade, and those of you who spent any time near me around the last month or so of my senior year of undergrad know that’s saying a lot). He is just an absolute joy to be around, and he inspires me to be a better person.
Owen founded the Transformative Justice Law Project (TJLP), which provides “free, zealous, life-affirming, and gender-affirming holistic criminal legal services to low-income and street based transgender and gender non-conforming people targeted by the criminal legal system” in the state of Illinois. Continue reading
Posted in Chicago, Life, Trans/Queer
Tagged activism, Chicago, criminal legal system, gender, gender self-determination, inspiring, joy, Owen Daniel-McCarter, passion, postaday2011, prison abolition, prison industrial complex, TJLP, trans, transformative justice, transgender, visionaries
TJLP Attorneys, Interns, and Volunteers at the Name Change Mobilization
Yesterday was such an incredible day. Transformative. Rad. So freaking awesome.
It was the first of TJLP‘s Name Change Mobilizations, and I feel incredibly honored and humbled to work with such a fierce group of activists. Continue reading
Posted in Chicago, Life, Trans/Queer
Tagged activism, Chicago, community, Daley Center, empowerment, identity, joy, legal system, name change, names, Owen Daniel-McCarter, postaday2011, TJLP, trans, transformative justice, transgender
Sam Tsui is my favorite of the YouTube artists I’ve found. He has an amazing voice, and he does incredible harmonies with himself. Plus, he’s adorable. Continue reading
Posted in Hot Wall, Music
Tagged a cappella, College Musical, Don't Stop Believing, Don't Want An Ending, Hot Wall, If I Die Young, Just The Way You Are, King of Anything, Kurt Schneider, KurtHugoSchneider, music, postaday2011, Sam Tsui, singing, videos, YouTube
The first time I ever heard the song was on Glee, sung by Gwyneth Paltrow. It was a catchy, upbeat song — a big, New Directions-style dance party (and it’s always nice to see Kurt happy).
A while later, I watched the music video, and I lost interest. It was definitely not a feel-good video. I actually only finished watching it recently in order to write this. It didn’t really seem fair to the woman (there are always two sides to every story and all). And when he ever even “with” her? Continue reading
My senior year in high school, we were warned that senior pranks would not be tolerated — I don’t remember the exact wording, but dire consequences were threatened. Still, we wanted to do something, and so (with the reasoning that if we were trying to do something nice, we wouldn’t get in trouble) we decided on a “senior surprise.” We chipped in money to buy popsicle-like treats for the upper school to be distributed during lunch, make decorations, and (most importantly) rent a big inflatable slide. Continue reading
Posted in Music, Rambles
Tagged Cascada, community, dancing, Everytime I Touch, friends, high school, music, postaday2011, singing, slide, song
There are certain songs I can’t listen to without thinking of a corresponding memory. It’s not necessarily that the song is particularly fitting — it’s not as though the song would be part of the soundtrack were my life made into a movie. The lyrics don’t always match up to the moment. Still, the song is linked to that memory.
Dar Williams’ “As Cool As I Am” is a pretty much perfect example of what I mean. I adore that song. It is, in many ways, the theme song of my college. It has a special place in my heart for its value to my college community. Although the first time I ever heard the song was when Dar performed it in Goodhart Auditorium right before my freshman year at Bryn Mawr began (pretty awesome introduction, right?), it will alway remind me of May Day at Bryn Mawr.
The May Hole Dance, May Day 2010
Posted in Bryn Mawr College, Music
Tagged BMC, Bryn Mawr, college, Dar Williams, joy, May Day, May Hole Dance, memories, music, postaday2011, Traditions
Last week, I posted Leslie Feinberg’s open letter regarding Catherine Ryan Hyde and her recent book featuring a transgender character, Jumpstart the World.
I am conflicted because I instinctively take Feinberg’s side. I greatly respect Feinberg and hir writings, and my reaction is always going to be to defend trans folk against attempts to exploit them and appropriate their life stories. I was immediately outraged on behalf of Leslie Feinberg; I thought that what Hydge did was despicable.
At the same time, I recognize that there are two sides to every story (which is not to say that both sides are equally true). Continue reading
GenderQueer: Voices From Beyond the Sexual Binary
(Edited by Joan Nestle, Clare Howell, and Riki Wilchins)
I refer to this book, and the collection of essays in the front by Riki Wilchins, constantly. It’s a wonderful anthology, and it shows — in real people’s voices, not just academic theory — that there’s so much more to gender than merely “man” and “woman.” It’s one of the first trans-related books I ever read; I bought it, Wilchins’ Queer Theory, Gender Theory, and Leslie Feinberg’s Trans Liberation at the 2009 MN Trans Health and Wellness Conference.
Perhaps one of my favorite quotes about gender is in Wilchins’ essay “A Continuous Nonverbal Communication:” “In fact, throughout our entire waking lives we are carrying out a continuous nonverbal dialogue with the world, saying, ‘This is who I am, this is how I feel about myself, this is how I want you to see me‘” (12). To me, that statement sums up why it is so important to allow people to identify and express their gender as they will — to do otherwise would be to render them invisible and deny who they are. Continue reading
I just read the ever-fabulous Kate Sosin‘s piece “Myth of Virtue: The Unfriendly Queer” on his blog The New Gender, and it was a revelation. Go check it out, and then come back and finish this (or this isn’t going to make much sense).
It’s easy to fall into the trap of trying to be “queer enough” and “radical enough.” As Kate puts it, “Over the past few years, I’ve come to find that the word ‘queer’ increasingly carries with it a set of rules, especially if it is teemed with the word ‘radical.'” There is so much pressure to be a certain kind of queer. I’m not even entirely positive where that pressure comes from, just that I know I feel it. And quite frankly, it gets exhausting. Continue reading