Please raise my taxes

By , April 29, 2012 9:10 pm

I just sent this to my senators and rep. Feel free to use it to talk to yours.

Senator Durbin,

I have lived in Illinois my entire life. I am almost always in agreement with your legislative viewpoints, and appreciate how accesible and responsive you are to your constituents. And so I ask you: Please raise my taxes.

I’m a freelancer. I make less than $20,000 a year. I work in the arts, with children, with colleges and universities, and receive most of my income as 1099. That means I feel the weight of my taxes directly – they aren’t split between myself and my employer. I have bills, rent, medical expenses. And yet, I want you to raise my taxes.

With all the talk of budget deficits, the worries about angering voters by even mentioning raising taxes, and obstinant insistance by the GOP to refuse to raise taxes, I want to make my voice heard, too. As an American, taxes are part of the responsibility I bear to pay for the government services I enjoy. When I fly to visit family in California, I want to know my planes are inspected by government officials, and airports protected by others. When I drink water, I want to know the tap water I enjoy in Chicago is held to the same basic standard as in Portland or New York. While I disagree with much of our current military policy, I am ready to help pay for the defense of the United States. Everyday I am aware of the countless ways in which government helps make my life easier and safer. And I want to help pay for it.

I’m ready to pay more, for a sane government hand in healthcare. I’m ready to pay more, for a substantial government hand in education. I’m ready to pay more for a government hand in highways, bridges, science research, space exploration, national security, and on and on and on.

Please, raise my taxes.
-Rebecca

Focus Groups for Transfeminine Individuals

By , April 27, 2012 1:38 pm

Thought Chicago folks might be interested.

Chicago Women’s Health Center (CWHC) is a non-profit health collective that provides sliding scale services including basic gynecological care, health education, counseling, massage, acupuncture and alternative insemination. The Trans Greater Access Project (TGAP) is an agency wide initiative to increase access to sliding scale health care services or trans individuals. As we look at ways we can better meet the health care needs of transfeminine communities, we are seeking input from trans women to inform our services.

The purpose of these focus groups is to:

  • Assess how we can meet health care needs of transfeminine communities;
  • Learn from transfeminine individuals’ experiences initiating hormone therapy in order to inform the development of our hormone administration services.

We are seeking both:

  • Transfeminine individuals of any age who would like to share their thoughts and experiences regarding personal or community need for health care services.

AND

  • Transfeminine individuals 18 years of age or older who have been on hormone therapy for a minimum of 6 months.

Focus groups will occur in May 2012.
As a participant, you will be provided with a cash incentive to thank you for your time.
Food provided.
If you are interested in participating, please call Jess at 773.935.6126 X222

Thoughts on Storms Beneath Her Skin advertising

By , April 21, 2012 5:20 pm

I’m gearing up for Storms Beneath Her Skin promo material for my summer tour. I was planning to do a generic “my photo with info about the performance” poster and postcard, but am playing with the idea of doing a stylized ‘to-do’ list, with some things checked off. As a general idea:

[X] – Pick up groceries
[X] – Do laundry
[X] – Get gas for car
[X] – Go to the gym
[   ] – Turn my penis into a vagina

With the last entry circled and underlined. I’m imagining the show title at the top and then ticket date/times/locations at the bottom. I like it, but also don’t want people to think it’s only about surgery.

Any thoughts?

Will as a weather system

By , April 20, 2012 9:22 pm

Free association from a writing prompt

As you can see, this emotional identity experience began as a low pressure system off the coast. While a close observer can note the swirling patterns of confusion and building frustration, most people would simply see a windy day.

As the system moves closer to land, its effects begin to become apparent. Heavy rainfall and high winds, coupled with personal doubt and suicidal tendencies, plague the area for months or years. Because these violent weather systems have no where to go as they beat themselves on the shore, it’s possible for them to last indefinitely. Continue reading 'Will as a weather system'»

Disclaimer

By , April 17, 2012 3:13 pm

As I work on Storms Beneath Her Skin, I’ve had some fun writing exercises

The viewpoints of this artist do not necessarily represent the viewpoints of other transgender, transsexual, trans, genderqueer, or otherwise non-normatively gendered individuals. In addition, there is no hierarchy of gender. Any individual who places one’s gendered experience above another’s should be viewed with skepticism.

Common hierarchies include but are not limited to (in ascending order) fetish cross dresser, social cross dresser, private drag performer, public drag performer, closeted transgender, individual, out transgender individual not planning to have surgery or hormone replacement therapy, out transgender individual on hormone replacement therapy,  out transgender individual planning to have surgery, out transgender individual who has had surgery, or (in descending order) androgynous and gender fluid individuals, non-operative transgender individuals, drag performers, cross dressers of all types, and post-operative transgender individuals.

Side effects may include a wider world view, more inclusive attitude, questioning of self-identification, and erectile disfunction. In the event of a contradiction, please allow each individual to self-identify and self-define their life experience and their own identity.  Please consult any such individuals in your life before applying the viewpoints of this artist to them.

Military drafting, beauty contests, surgery, and so on

By , April 14, 2012 1:39 pm

At eighteen, I was required to register for Selective Service, more commonly known as the draft. The draft hasn’t been active for decades, and no one has been charged for refusing to register for almost as long, but – legally – I was still required to register. The consequences for refusal weren’t jail time or hard labor or even fines, but did include the inability to apply for federal college loans. So, after much discussion and deliberation and arguing with my parents, I registered for the draft. I even received a draft card, which I still have in a drawer somewhere.

Needless to say, the US Military probably wouldn’t want me, should they reinstate the draft. I’ve transitioned since turning eighteen: gotten hair removal, grown my hair own, grown breasts, legally changed my name from Jared to Rebecca. Repealing Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell means gays can legally serve in the military, but being transgender is still considered cause for medical discharge, under the same clause which forbids servicemen and women from sexually abusing children. Which, not surprisingly, doesn’t prevent transgender people from existing in the military. There’s a slowly growing lobbying effort by trans veterans for better treatment while in the military and better healthcare once out. Transgender people are everywhere. Even a Miss Universe pageant. Continue reading 'Military drafting, beauty contests, surgery, and so on'»

Trans Ally Worksheet

By , April 12, 2012 2:26 pm

I’m trying to create a ‘how to be a trans ally’ worksheet to hand out at workshops, and would love thoughts or feedback. I’m trying to keep it to a single page, which is limiting, but also get a bunch of good stuff in there… Here’s what I have so far:

THE EASY STUFF
Be open to using the pronouns/labels/language a trans person wants you to use. If you make a mistake, quickly correct yourself. This is the most important step of being an ally: allowing another to define their own identity.

If you don’t know what pronouns to use, ask. Politely and respectfully. This is a simple way to show your respect for someone else’s self-identification.

…but don’t pry or make assumptions. Don’t ask if someone had surgery or if they are on hormones or plan to do either of these things. It is invasive and personal. If someone would like to share that information with you, it is at their digression. Also understand that not all trans people choose medical to undergo medical intervention, and that not physically transitioning, taking hormones, or having surgery does not invalidate their trans identity.

Remember that gender is not the same as sexual orientation. Being trans does not mean a person is gay, and being gay doesn’t mean a person is trans. Sexuality is about attraction, gender is about a personal sense of self-identity.

Don’t out anyone. If someone tells you that they or someone else are trans, please do not share it with others unless you are told that it is okay to do so. They are trusting you, so don’t break their trust. Continue reading 'Trans Ally Worksheet'»

Consenting Adults – Arkansas Court Allowing Student/Teacher Relationships

By , April 11, 2012 4:07 pm

Originally posted at In Our Words, reposted with permission.

As a teacher who works with children in middle and high school, I understand the relationships and intimacy which can develop between teachers and students. I’ve worked with some of my students for over a decade, seen them grow into confident young adults, and watched them go off to college. Some stay in touch, and some cross my mind from time to time as I wonder what they’re up to today. I hope I do a good job steering them in through tumultuous childhoods and teenage years, and aim to leave them better people than they were when the first came to work with me. I’m also a theatre instructor who generally sees my students once a week, so I have limited impact, but I can still dream of making a difference; I know how powerfully my teaches — even those I saw infrequently — affected my development into an adult.

All these thoughts crossed my mind as I heard that the Arkansas Supreme Court had struck down a law 4-3 which forbade teachers from engaging in sexual activity with students who were under the age of 21. I feel pretty strongly that behavior outside of one’s employment shouldn’t be a factor in how they’re viewed as an employee. I hate the stories of teachers who are fired for having drunk pictures show up on Facebook, and I think drug screening for applicants is inherently unjust and offensive. For me, as a transgender lesbian, it’s all too easy to imagine my “personal life” being viewed as offensive or unacceptable when it comes to my professional life. Indeed, I was fired from a teaching position for being trans, which has nothing to do with my ability to teach a class.

So, my gut reaction is that, yes, if the relationship (in this case between an 18 year old student and her 36 year old teacher) is legal outside of school, it should be legal in school. Continue reading 'Consenting Adults – Arkansas Court Allowing Student/Teacher Relationships'»

Psychopathia Sexualis – Trans issues in 1906

By , April 7, 2012 1:56 pm

“If, in cases of antipathic sexual instinct [homosexuality] thus developed, no restoration occurs, then deep and lasting transformation of the physical personality may occur. The process completing itself in this way ma be briefly designated eviration (defemination in women). The patient undergoes a deep change of character, particularly in his feelings and inclinations, which thus become those of a female. After this, he also feels himself to be a woman during the sexual act, has desires only for passive sexual indulgence, and, under certain circumstances, sinks to the level of a prostitute.”

From Psychopathia Sexualis by Richard von Krafft-Ebing, 12th edition, originally published in 1906, page 297

I just came across this book in a used book store, and of course had to purchase it. Of its approximately 600 pages, almost 150 of them are devoted to “antipathic sexual instinct” (homosexuality), “metamorphosis sexualis paranoia” (trans inclinations), androgyny, and the like. Quick note for the stuff I’m quoting, parentheses () are in the original text, while brackets [] are my notes. From a case study:

At the age of twelve or thirteen, I had a definite feeling of preferring to be a young lady. A young lady’s form was more pleasing to me; her quiet manner, her deportment, but particularly her attire attracted me. But I was careful not to allow this to be noticed; and yet I am sure that I should not have shrunk from the castration-knife could I have thus attained my desire….In my heart I always envied them [girls].

On account of unhappy circumstances, I twice attempted suicide.”

Ibid, page 307 and 309 from an account written in 1890 Continue reading 'Psychopathia Sexualis – Trans issues in 1906'»

Delayed Puberty

By , April 6, 2012 1:55 pm

A recent piece I performed at The Encyclopedia Show.

I have a question for the audience. By a show of hands, who here was happy with the changes they experienced during puberty? There’s no right or wrong answer, I’m just curious. Now, by a show of hands, who was unhappy?

I was unhappy when puberty hit. Miserable, actually. On-and-off suicidal. I’m transgender, which means I was assigned one gender at birth (male) but identify as another (female). So when puberty hit, around thirteen, I began developing in all of the ways which are normal for boys: Hair started growing in places I didn’t really want hair to grow (namely, everywhere), my voice dropped, I didn’t grow boobs or get all curvy, I discovered how great masturbation is, and I was slightly irritable, angry, or depressed for the next seven years; any normal boy’s puberty and trans girl’s nightmare.

The things happening to my body felt totally foreign, and not simply because puberty was changing my body from a child to an adult. They felt foreign because my body was changing from a child to a man. Continue reading 'Delayed Puberty'»

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