Monday, 5 December 2016

human desire

Eliminating desire is a good thing.

I think that human desire fools us into thinking that what we currently possess is not good enough and invites us to think that our neighbor has it better. By being happy and content where you are now is probably the best way to take full advantage of the moment and relish it for its true worth.

I have been guilty in my life of not following this principle but I am endeavoring more and more to change that. Realizing that where I am in life is a good place is the best way to lessen desire to be somewhere else.

This all relates to the idea of mindfulness which is not a new concept. Living in the present moment can save us an incredible amount of anguish as we take full advantage of the reality that the past cannot be changed and the future we stress about has not yet arrived.

I prefer to now focus on learning from past mistakes while not dwelling on them and using that past experience to craft a better way forward with a more positive spirit.


Sunday, 4 December 2016

low hum

I very much enjoyed reading 30 year old Amy’s post on her transition experience (featured by Calie yesterday on T Central) because it was brutally honest and devoid of window dressing. It was candid and chronicled both the good and bad aspects of transition in a way we don't often see.

In the end it illustrates that, for people with severe gender dysphoria, transition is not a choice but a necessity.

I used to think myself unfortunate for being on the cusp of needing to transition but not quite there; of being stuck in an uneasy middle. But like Amy has done I accept where I am on the spectrum. She doesn’t glorify the process but calls it for what it is.

A change this drastic requires courage but it is more driven, I think , by the less desireable alternative of living with the intense discomfort of having your identity not match your physicality.

I also think that a full transition is best done when young and before the ravages of a lived life and testosterone have had a full stab at you.

Amy’s life will likely involve trading one set of challenges for another but at least it will be lived without that constant low hum of dissonance that eats away at you day after day.

Saturday, 3 December 2016

Jennifer Boylan letter to the New York Times

While not normally a huge fan of hers I must admit that this letter she penned for the New York Times absolutely hits the mark...

"It was the morning after the election. The bottle of Champagne I’d opened as part of an anticipated victory celebration still sat on the coffee table, only one-third finished, the unconsumed flat remainder marking the exact moment that my future, as a transgender American, became uncertain.

I wanted to hear Hillary Clinton’s concession speech, but she was late to the podium. On TV, a commentator speculated that Mrs. Clinton had lost because of her party’s focus on things like trans rights — “boutique issues,” they were called.

A boutique — a place where you’d shop for, say, artisan pantyhose — is not the first place I’d associate with an individual’s quest for equal protection under the law, but then what did I know? I was now one of the people from whom the country had been “taken back.”

The phrase echoed unpleasantly in my mind. A boutique issue? Is this what my fellow Americans had thought of my fight for dignity all along?

It wasn’t the first time I’d heard it. This summer, Bill Maher cautioned that “there’s no room for boutique issues in an Armageddon election.” He volunteered to put his own pet cause — “legalized weed” — to one side if it would help the party win Ohio. “And you know me, I have seeds in my urine.” Apparently providing a person like me with health care and protecting me from violence and discrimination in the workplace were on the same order of magnitude as the right to roll a doober.

Nov. 8 is over, and legalized pot did very well, thank you. The future of L.G.B.T. rights is more tenuous.

This is not only because Donald J. Trump’s administration is filling up with people who oppose L.G.B.T. equality. It’s because the Democrats may now dismiss our urgent needs as unaffordable luxuries, and back off the fight. As a local Democratic official in Ohio put it in a memo to the Clinton campaign: “Look, I’m as progressive as anybody, O.K.? But people in the heartland thought the Democratic Party cared more about where someone else went to the restroom than whether they had a good-paying job.”

I was present in 2014 when President Obama signed an executive order expanding a ban on L.G.B.T. discrimination in the workplace, so close to the president that I could have thrown glitter into his graying hair if I’d taken the notion. It was one of the proudest moments of my life.

That order could be one of the first things to go in January when President Trump “erases the Obama presidency” on Day 1 of his administration (in the words of Stephen Moore, a Trump adviser and Heritage Foundation fellow). Other issues on the chopping block could include the lifting of the ban on transgender military service and the Justice Department’s backing of trans students under Title IX.

Mr. Trump has occasionally expressed support for L.G.B.T. issues, although, as usual, it’s impossible to know his core values. He has opposed a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. And yet he’s also pledged to appoint a Supreme Court justice who would overturn the Supreme Court’s ruling that legalized same-sex marriage.

If his intentions are unclear, those of the people around him are anything but. Mike Pence, his vice president-elect, is one of the most extreme opponents of gay, lesbian and transgender people in the nation. In Indiana, he signed a bill to jail same-sex couples applying for a marriage license. He wanted to divert funding from H.I.V. programs to conversion therapy. He opposed the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”

On the state level, L.G.B.T. people face even greater losses. One advocacy group puts the number of anti-L.G.B.T. bills waiting to be introduced nationwide next year at more than 200. Texas is likely to lead the way. Its Senate Bill 242 would punish teachers who keep students’ sexual identities private from their parents — in effect forcing them to out the students. Senate Bill 92 would void local anti-discrimination ordinances. And the so-called Women’s Privacy Act, like House Bill 2 in North Carolina, would force transgender people to use the bathroom of the gender on their birth certificate, regardless of their anatomy, appearance or identification.

Across the country, L.G.B.T. activists fear the advance of other laws pushing back against the progress that’s been made over the last eight years. Some will come in the form of First Amendment Defense Acts. These would legalize anti-L.G.B.T. discriminatory actions by employers, health care providers, landlords and other businesses — as long as these are motivated by religious belief.

Who will fight against these laws, if Democrats give up on their commitment to justice? Colin Jost, on “Saturday Night Live,” made light of this when he noted the new Tinder feature giving users 37 different gender options. He said, “It’s called ‘Why Democrats Lost the Election.’ ”

I don’t deny that a generalized fear of “political correctness” contributed to the resentment of some Trump voters. But Mrs. Clinton hardly campaigned as an L.G.B.T. firebrand. In fact, there’s really only one race in which L.G.B.T. rights played a major role — the governorship of North Carolina, where the Republican incumbent, Pat McCrory, rammed House Bill 2 through his Legislature last spring.

A recount is underway, but Mr. McCrory is for now at least 10,000 votes short of re-election. His relentless campaign against L.G.B.T. people led to an economic backlash from corporate America and — perhaps of greater offense to the people of North Carolina — from the N.C.A.A., which moved championship basketball games out of the state. If he hadn’t taken the issue on, he would most likely be on the threshold of his second term.

When Mr. Obama signed that executive order in 2014, he said, “We’ve got an obligation to make sure that the country we love remains a place where no matter who you are, or what you look like, or where you come from, or how you started out, or what your last name is, or who you love — no matter what, you can make it in this country.”

This is not a boutique truth, but an American truth."

Friday, 2 December 2016

the lessons of history

Globally we have created an economic situation that cannot continue to exist. The presumption was that through globalization entire societies would prosper through free trade of goods and services which would then expand the wealth and advancement of those nations. But instead the opposite has happened and a small percentage of individuals have expanded their wealth and now control the vast majority of the planet’s resources.

It doesn’t take a genius to figure out that many people in this world are not going to be generous of spirit by nature and, when push comes to shove they will choose pure profit over an option that also considers what is best for the society as a whole.

When FDR was president, Americans paid far more tax than they do today and they benefited from The New Deal as well as the GI Bill which allowed many American soldiers to go to school free of charge and then raise their families by creating a prosperous middle class.

In this new deregulated global environment, the people who own factories and businesses are not going to manufacture their products out of the goodness of their heart in a place that costs them more to do so. They are instead going to move their operations overseas where they can pay someone a dollar a day to make a cheap T-shirt.

Hence the impoverished blue collar worker who has lost his job in the United States isn’t going to get that job back unless the government policies are adjusted which will encourage a return of manufacturing. A lying opportunist like Donald Trump is most certainly not going to be the one who does this and, if he is fortunate, he might be able to survive his term without facing charges of impeachment.

If the world reaches a tipping point where the masses have little to lose, you will see a backlash on a far grander scale than the French Revolution because once desperation sets in people will do what they must.

Those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it.


Image result for beggar

Thursday, 1 December 2016

Wednesday, 30 November 2016

little steps

In a Canadian first, Morgane Oger became the first ever transgender woman to be nominated by a major party as the chosen candidate to run for public office in British Columbia. In this case it was the New Democratic Party of Canada.

Little steps….

http://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/british-columbia/morgane-oger-historic-nomination-bc-ndp-1.3870285



Tuesday, 29 November 2016

some people you just want to slap silly

I know a little bit about people like Denise Shick because my own sister is involved in a right wing religious organization that has nothing better to do than pronounce themselves on things they know nothing about.

Not surprisingly, Ms Shick has no personal experience with gender dysphoria other than at some point in her life her father transitioned and she never forgave that particular indiscretion. For the record, The Federalist is another right-leaning website that also loves to pontificate on issues they know nothing about.

At this point I would like nothing better than to let Ms Shick have a taste of what gender dysphoria feels like for a few months and am certain she would change her tune awfully quickly. But such is the way the world works where more often than not it is the people least qualified to speak on a subject that are the most vociferous.

She somehow cannot see the connection between a releasing of social stigma and transgender people coming out of the woodwork and prefers to label it as fad. Blaming Alfred Kinsey and others for instilling sexual liberty is nothing short of moronic as is using the term "craze" to refer to the gender incongruence that spurs suicidal thoughts in some young people who feel helpless.

I could spend about an hour in room with her and set her straight but I have learnt that nothing can be done for the dogmatic believer who will not be confused or deterred with facts. For people like Ms Shick live within the monochromatic belief system that doesn't allow for the natural variances that a restriction-free society would bring. Instead she would rather see people suppress to her own heart's desiring in order to bend to the prescribed rules that work absolutely just fine for her but not for everyone else.

It is precisely these types of people that would get a mouthful were they unfortunate enough to meet up with me. They might not smarten up but I'd sure feel better about bursting their hot air balloon.

http://thefederalist.com/2016/11/28/seen-transgender-craze-coming/