Category Archives: Spout Out

NC HB2 – James Parker Sheffield Dispels Myths About Trans People

In the wake of HB2 (Transgender individuals must use bathrooms equal to their birth sex assignment) passing in North Carolina, James Parker Sheffield from Atlanta, GA invited park goers in Washington Square Park to ask him questions about his life and experiences as a trans man.

Here’s what happened. (Facebook Video via Huffpost)

https://www.facebook.com/plugins/video.php?href=https%3A%2F%2Fwww.facebook.com%2FHuffPostQueerVoices%2Fvideos%2Fvb.215547491837032%2F1144170248974747%2F%3Ftype%3D3&show_text=0&width=560

Natural Transitioning: An FTM Alternative SECOND EDITION: Click Here!

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Pennsylvania Transgender Teen Commits Suicide by Stepping in Front of Train

Riley Moscatel - 17 year old transgender suicide victim

Riley Moscatel – 17 year old transgender suicide victim

First off, this should NOT be happening!!!

A whopping 41% of people who are transgender or gender-nonconforming have attempted suicide sometime in their lives, nearly nine times the national average, according to a sweeping survey released three years ago.

BREAKING NEWS: A suicide note left behind by a Pennsylvania transgender teen hints at depression and being “a prisoner” of his body.

“My mirror reflects Jessica, my heart and mind say Riley,” wrote Riley Moscatel, 17, on Tuesday just before he was killed by an oncoming Amtrak train near Croyden. “You see me as the happiest person in school, I’m a prisoner of my own body.”

Surveillance footage confirmed the suspicion that the Bucks County Technical High School senior born as Jessica took his own life at about 1:30 p.m. after fighting a private, but desperate struggle to identify as Riley.

The teen struggled with depression years before he decided to publicly self-identify as Riley earlier this year. However, in an interview with the Trentonian newspaper, his parents continued to reference him as their daughter.

“She did a really good job of masking her depression in front of the people that she loved,” his father, Rich Moscatel told the newspaper. “We’re still kicking ourselves as to what was the straw that broke the camel’s back. She was dealing with a lot of pressures.”

Riley had no problem adjusting from Jessica to Riley at his Fairless Hills school where other transgender or gay students attended including his friend, Kate Cimino, who described Riley as “everyone’s best friend.”

“Even though everyone showed support and called him Riley, it didn’t match up to what he felt of himself,” Cimino told the Philadelphia Inquirer.

Riley wanted to have breast surgery, but his mother, Kristine Moscatel, gave him a binder to help flatten his chest even though she admits his transition was hard to handle after having a daughter for 17 years.

“She’s my daughter. She’ll always be my daughter,” Moscatel told the Trentonian. “We were trying to accept and never said, ‘No, you can’t be a boy.’”

Riley had also been researching hormone treatments he could begin after his 18th birthday in December.

“If I could choose if I was born a girl or guy I would have chosen a guy,” Riley wrote in another Instagram post describing his female-to-male dysphoria. “Most female-to-males wouldn’t agree because (their) journey made them stronger, but it really takes a toll on me.”

Suicide attempts are higher among transgender people and stem from feelings of not belonging or burdening family members, the Inquirer reported.

His father said Riley had insecurities about starting his senior year and about going to college, but didn’t realize what would happen after a quick phone call on Tuesday.

Riley seemed happy and even giggled on the phone to say their family’s new dishwasher was shipped to their home.

Riley put his house key under the mat and went for a walk after that.

“The rest is the rest,” Rich Moscatel said. “She didn’t give anyone a chance to talk her off the ledge.”

For those in need of help, call 1-800-273-TALK for the National Suicide Prevention Line.

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Power & Control: How (not) to be a Man

Time to get a grip on how we react.

In just a few moments of your time today, I would like to help you redefine your perception of how we should be as men…to our partners, families, friends, workplace and community. To some, this will not be an epiphany as they read along. To others, I hope it opens your eyes.

Recently, I was provided a list of actions that are considered “abusive” behavior. As I scanned the list, I was amazed at some of the items…considering, most people I know would be abusive per this list. I then saw a bigger picture and reality. If the majority of us do things that hurt others, the effect we are having on them always finds a way to come back full circle.

“Life is like an echo. What we send out, always comes right back.” – Chinese Proverb

 

I am personally guilty of some of these abusive behaviors. I have nothing to hide and I hope you can learn some things from my own experiences.

We do not think of ourselves as abusers because we JUSTIFY or MINIMIZE our actions due to the actions of the other person. What we need to realize is WE CANNOT CHANGE our partners, we can only change ourselves and be accountable for what WE do. It doesn’t matter if they are calling you names, you don’t have to call names back. I have come to a point in life where I think that those who fight the hardest to win an argument are truly the biggest losers.

We as men need to create SAFETY, not have a persona of stopping whatever behavior threatens our “authority” – we see aggression as being a natural part of being a man, and that our “superior status” gives us the right to use that aggression to dominate and control women..and others.

DO NOT BLAME YOUR T-SHOTS. Be accountable for your actions. I have been on T now for 5 months and I have not once blamed anything I have said or done on T. Do I feel more assertive? Sure! Yet, that is no excuse or justification to be an asshole.

We need to be loving, supportive and respectful. We need to be self-less, not selfish in our motives, thoughts and actions. We need to have integrity and be role models to our future generations.

It is NOT okay to lose our cool and have short fuses. I have been practicing this while driving. Where I live is NUTS with traffic and most people that live here shouldn’t have a drivers license. Lately, when someone cuts me off and I feel the urge to wave my Italian arm in the air and yell out, “You stupid idiot!!!!”, I now honk my horn and keep my mouth shut. Oh, and I have stopped honking my horn for, like, 5 minutes at the person. I had a wonderful habit of doing that. I’d get really fired up and lay on my horn for an uncomfortable amount of time. FACT: I have cut people off and most of the time it has been unintentional and I felt awful about it. Who’s to say these people just didn’t see me? We are human. We make mistakes. We need to realize this, stop stressing out, and move on.

FOR HEALTH’S SAKE:

High stress increases your blood pressure, increases cortisol (hormone that adds tummy fat), and makes your body more at risk to be unhealthy. Stress is not healthy. It is the precursor for many horrible things you don’t want.

To top that off, when we react instead of respond, we put the other person’s health at risk.

KIDS WILL BE KIDS?

You can listen in on a typical day at the playground and hear kids bullying other kids who aren’t aggressive or dominant and show more signs of passivity. They pick on them and call them all sorts of names like “faggot”, “wuss”, “p*ssy”, to demoralize them. Notice, most names these young boys are called usually relate to women. It is ingrained early on that for a man to be thought of in any way as a woman is degrading. *Just wanted to point that out*

I remember when I was a child, yelling and screaming TERRIFIED me. It made me feel scared inside and I wanted to go hide. As I grew up…I then adopted that behavior and felt like the louder I could get, the more I would be heard. I just really wanted to make sure I was heard and understood and even felt my reasoning was completely justified and rational. In turn, I wasn’t listening to the other person. I heard very little, made my assumptions and then defended my own reality and perception.

Why am I disclosing my own dirt? Because it is dirt MANY people have and I’m doing a complete makeover with the new revelations I have been receiving and it is time for all of us to clean up our lives so we can truly live and not be overshadowed by deception of how we should be as men.

I want to respect others, listen to them and value their feelings as I value my own. I want to respond calmly to things that usually strike a nerve and irritate me. I want to bite my tongue when I feel “triggered” and only respond in a loving way, or walk away until I can. I want to be the best husband and father I possibly can be.

HURT PEOPLE HURT PEOPLE

It is just a fact. People who are hurt, hurt others. And when you are hurting, you are so wrapped up in your own hurt that you fail to realize there is another person right in front of you that is also hurting. We have this reptilian brain of “flight or fight” and forget to pass through the passive pathway of “cognitive thinking” and take the quick pit stop of “REACTION” … which is never the right exit to get off at. Most of the time we react, it is out of our own hurt and fear. Usually, when you feel something intense in a not-so-nice-way, you are either going to cry, lash out, or retreat.

I feel the time has come for men to embrace a sense of self in which they can provide safe environments and validation of others.

Lastly, I am providing you with the list I was given recently. Some of these are extreme, some might surprise you.

Violent and Controlling Behavior Checklist
Physical Violence
____ Slap, punch, grab, kick, choke, push, restrain, pull hair, pinch, bite
____ Rape (use of force, threats to get sex)
____ Use of weapons, throwing things, keeping weapons around which scare her
____ Abuse of furniture, things in the home, pets, destroying her things
____ Intimidation (standing in the doorway during arguments, angry or threatening gestures, use of size to intimidate, standing over her, outshouting, driving recklessly)
____ Uninvited touching
____ Threats (verbal or nonverbal, direct or indirect)
____ Harassment (uninvited visits or calls, following her around, checking up on her, embarrassing her in public, not leaving when asked)
____ Isolation (preventing or making it hard for her to see/talk to friends, relatives, others)
____ Other (please list)

Psychological and Economic Abuse
____ Yelling, swearing, being lewd, raising your voice, using angry expressions or gestures
____ Criticism (name-calling, swearing, mocking, put-downs, ridicule, accusations, blaming, use of trivializing words or gestures)
____ Pressure Tactics (rushing her to make decisions, using guilt/accusations, sulking, threatening to withhold financial support, manipulating children, abusing feelings)
____ Interrupting, changing topics, not listening, not responding, twisting her words, going on and on
____ Economic coercion (withholding money, the car, or other resources; sabotaging her attempts to work)
____ Claiming “the truth,” being the authority, defining her behavior, using “logic”
____ Lying, withholding information, infidelity (having sex with others)
____ Using pornography (e.g., magazines, movies, strip shows, home videos, etc.)
____ Withholding help on childcare/housework; not doing your share or following through on your agreements
____ Emotional withholding (not expressing feelings, not giving support, validation, attention, compliments, respect for her feelings, rights, and opinions)
____ Not taking care of yourself (not asking for help or support from friends, abusing drugs or alcohol, being a “people-pleaser”)
____ Other forms of manipulation (please list)

(Adapted from EMERGE, Boston, Massachusetts)

“Don’t repay evil for evil. Don’t retaliate with insults when people insult you. Instead, pay them back with a blessing.”

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“It Gets Better” … unless you live in Michigan! GOP Passes BULLYING Bill

Matt Epling

This year, we as a community have taken steps forward, yet today, I read about something that moves us GIANT feet backwards.

Michigan GOP passed a bullying bill 26-11 (with zero votes from the Dems) allowing kids to be bullied by anyone! This includes students, teaches, faculty, volunteers, parents…you name it, they are allowed to bully a kid! As long as they can provide a so-called religious or moral reason for the actions (not to exclude “the devil made me do it”) then the bullying is sufficiently valid.

The sick irony is that the law is named about a Michigan teen Matt Epling who died by suicide as a result of anti-gay bullying.

Michigan State Senator Gretchen Whitmer stated passionately, “the saddest and sickest irony of this whole thing is that it’s called ‘Matt’s Safe School Law’. And after the way that you’ve gutted it, it wouldn’t have done a damn thing to save Matt!”

Personally, I am in livid SHOCK over this! I can’t even count how many kids have ended their lives or had their lives ended for them by hateful bullying and to actually pass a bill to allow bullies…to make the bullies, in fact, win…is a sick twist for me. I can only pray this bill gets reversed!

The Michigan Messenger reports:

In a floor speech Minority Leader in the Senate Gretchen Whitmer (D-​East Lansing) slammed the Republicans over the amended language.

“Here today you claim to be protecting kids and you’re actually putting them in more danger,” Whitmer said. “But bullying is not OK. We should be protecting public policy that protects kids — all kids, from bullies — all bullies. But instead you have set us back further by creating a blueprint for bullying.”

“Shockingly, Senate Bill 137 will do more harm than good. Senate Republicans left our students behind in favor of partisan politics and passed a bill that actually allows more bullying. Students and parents expect lawmakers to lead the charge against bullying, but instead Republicans made ideology more important than school safety,” said Emily Dievendorf, policy director of Equality Michigan. “Research clearly shows that only states with enumerated bills see a reduction in bullying. We need a bill that mentions the most affected populations and requires statewide reporting of bullying and harassment. SB 137 simply does nothing to reduce bullying in our schools.”

“To the families of the ten reported suicides that were directly linked to bullying and the countless others that have gone unreported, this bill adds insult to injury,” said Senator Glenn Anderson (D-​Westland). “I have been working for years to pass legislation to provide a safe school environment for all of our students. This bill goes in the exact opposite direction and in fact provides a license to bully.”

The legislation passed 26 – 11. It now moves to the Republican-​controlled House.

“I am ashamed that this could be Michigan’s bill on anti-​bullying, when in fact it is a ‘bullying is OK in MI’ law,” said Kevin Epling, an East Lansing parent whose son committed suicide as a result of bullying. His comment was posted on his Facebook page.

In an interview he had more to say.

“For years the line has been ‘no protected classes,’ and the first thing they throw in — very secretly — was a very protected class, and limited them from repercussions of their own actions. This line has no purpose within this piece of legislation except to incite ‘religious bigotry’ within our schools. Schools are trying to build more tolerant students and future leaders, not automatons blindly following misguided adult leaders who seek a return to a 1950′s America,” Epling said. “This will only cause unrest in schools and give schools one more thing to deal with rather than trying to solve a problem. Also it is not a very well thought out ploy, as in some areas of the state the tables might be turned on the ‘anointed ones’ they seek to keep from being punished. This is just very wrong and the way it was done was wrong as well. It was bullying at its best.”

The Detroit Free Press notes:

Kevin Epling, whose son Matt Epling killed himself in 2002 after being bullied, said that the added language will allow anyone to bully a student and cite their religious beliefs. He has worked with lawmakers for years to developed anti-​bullying legislation.

“This is just unconscionable. This is government-​sanctioned bigotry,” said Epling of East Lansing, who said he is “ashamed” that lawmakers added the language at the last minute.

The DFP also notes that the bill addresses cyber-​bullying but only when school district owned devices are the tools of the bullying.

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Hunting the job market and TRANSGENDER?

The job market being what it is, with a reported ten percent unemployment rate in Atlanta (that figure representing ten percent of the population drawing unemployment benefits- discounting those whose benefits have run out, or those who don’t draw unemployment) that means that competition for jobs is a bit fierce right now.  And employers know it- they are picking and choosing whom they hire, taking only the creme de la creme.  A recent study showed that most employers immediately discount anyone who has been unemployed for six months as an undesirable.  You obviously aren’t a desirable commoddity if you haven’t caught an employer’s eye in six months.

So where does that leave the trans community?  Those of us with passing issues face a number of hurdles in the job market already, and with employers quick to fire and reluctant to hire for the reasons of public image, HR issues and what they percieve to be ‘hassles’ in hiring the transgendered.  And even those who pass just fine may have issues with documentation, legal hurdles where everything is going along swimmingly until the gender marker issue or the birth certificate comes into play.

So what’s a poor girl to do?  Because I speak in generalization, there is no story that I can tell nearly as well as my own, and my experience tends to create the filter through which I view the world.  Y’know, like yours.  So with that in mind, let’s examine my experiences and I can explain how I arrived at my current solution.

Step 1: LOSE YOUR JOB

If you are doing well and cooking along in a career in corporate America, then more power to ya.  It’s a fine feeling- a steady paycheck, benefits and security as you work today to build yourself a better tomorrow.  And then all of a sudden the rug can be pulled out from under you- be it corporate downsizing in a poor economy, the company simply shutting down, a buyout where the first step is to slash staff or interpersonal conflict with a boss whom you make uncomfortable *cough cough*.  But pack up your desk, because you’re out the door, beyotch, bye bye bye.

Step 2: THE HUNT FOR JOB OCTOBER

Hey, no problem, plenty of fish in the sea, plenty of places out there in the same business, and you have contacts- put it out over the web and tug a little, something is bound to turn up in short order, just bide your time and feel people out and something will turn around for sure.  Update that resume and brush up on those skills, and the bank account can carry you for a bit, right?

Step 3:  WHAT THE HELL

Now it has been months, and no interviews, people aren’t returning your calls and you are really starting to sniff your armpits and wonder if maybe you haven’t got a trio of sixes branded on your forehead.  You’ve already started padding your resume and filling in that you JUST lost that job, not six months ago- after all, you know the company’s policy is to just give out the information that you worked there, period.  So you’re keeping hope alive as you go ahead and cash in the 401K- no biggie, rebuild it later, just keep paying the mortgage and putting food on the table for now.  Oh, and somehow you’ve put on 15 pounds, which makes everything better, right?  Yay.

Step 4:  WHAT THE F%$K?!?

Okay, now you have been out of work for so long you really are feeling like a leper.  Fast food jobs won’t touch you, clerk jobs won’t touch you- hell, you can’t rember the last interview.  The savings have run tight and the ebay store is actually a welcome relief income.  Depression has definitely set in and you are starting to think about answering one of those “Make $300 a day from home!” spam ads in your filter,  Your friends commisserate, yet nobody has a lead.  Your worries about the future have moved from “I’m sure something will turn up soon” to “Are we going to lose everything?”

Step 5: CHANGE THE RULES OF THE GAME

This is when you finally accept that for whatever reason, the cosmos has decided that you don’t rate a break.  Fifteen years in your old career?  So what.  Now you are overqualified, you cost too much and “oh my gawd I think that was a man in a dress” doesn’t even factor in anymore because the few and far between interviews that you have had resulted in good handshakes and feelings all around, but the cherry-picking of employers means that you aren’t being hired.  It’s time to try something else, and this is where you start investigating technical schools.  “Become a motorcycle mechanic!  Learn to be an accountant!  ITT Tech wants you!  Welding is in high deamnd right now!  Investigate an exciting career in comestology!”

A little research yields the information that student loans and grants are actually quite available these days, and sure enough, there are a number of career fields where being trans isn’t really much of an issue.  A tough mechanic chick who looks a little burly turning a wrech becomes a turnon rather than a liability.  A tall hairdresser with big hands and a winning personality is popular in any salon.  The little stout welder guy is handy to fit into those small repair spaces.  And there is a surprising amount of money to be made in those fields.

So therein hangs the lesson for today’s column; if you find the deck stacked against you and the rules of the game are getting you down, don’t keep trying the same thing expecting different results- that’s the very definition of insanity.  Instead, change the game and change the rules.  Find a new career field that suits you, get some loans- and with your name change, you might be surprised that suddenly you are elligible for all sorts of loans and grants now that you may previously have been cut off from.  Do your research, see how much money is out thre, and find a new niche to go with your new life.

After all, with all of the changes happening inside and outside of you, why not change the environment of your career as well, to match?  Because there’s nothing like a good transition and a fresh start!

Written by: Sabrina Pandora


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Newt Gingrich…Be a MAN! DOMA is a CROCK!

Yeah, Newt, use your BRAIN!

This morning as I was driving in wee early hours, watching the windshield wipers blur my vision, I was listening to talk radio and heard something that made my ears perk up.

They were talking about Newt Gingrich apologizing to Evangelical Christians for his extra-marital affairs. His reasoning? He did it because of his “allegiance to the flag”, suggesting his “long hours” serving the Nation led him down the dark road of sexual temptation. Give me a break, Newt! Be a MAN…own up and take full responsibility for your actions instead of making excuses and blaming it on something else! (read all about it).

“Presidential hopeful Newt Gingrich has claimed that he had an affair with a colleague because he was working too hard.

The twice-divorced Republican politician was married to his second wife Ginther when he embarked on an affair in the mid-90s with blonde Castilla Bisek who is 23-years his junior.

Gingrich was at the time an outspoken critic of President Bill Clinton who had a notorious affair with 22-year-old White House intern Monical Lewinsky.”

Here we have a politician who serves our country in his THIRD marriage and who fully supports DOMA. What’s that, you ask? DOMA is the Defense of Marriage Act that President Bill Clinton (yeah, him!) signed back in the 90’s which keeps marriage between a man and a woman.

In 1998, I wrote my English 101 college term paper on same-sex marriage. I had to research BOTH sides and even back then I saw what a big crock it was.

You have people who have had numerous marriages, countless affairs, telling other people that love each other they can’t get married because they are the same sex?

I heard a great quote once where someone said, “How about we tell them if we can’t get married, then they can’t get divorced.”

Even as a married trans man, I still am irked to no end by the ignorance and hypocrisy of this as I look to my brothers and sisters who are deeply in love, have been a couple for years, and still are refused legal marriage.

Some opposite-sex straight couples refuse to take the plunge until there is marriage equality, like musicians Tristan Prettyman and Jason Mraz. They are not alone, either.

Yes, today I’m on my soapbox! I’m P.O.ed that a drunk guy can marry a stripper in Vegas and wake up the next day and not even remember it, let alone know each other’s names! That’s marriage they are trying to DEFEND? Where’s the “sanctity” in that?!?

If you want to defend marriage and make sure there is sanctity in it – make ALL couples undergo 6 months of marriage counseling prior to marriage and have it signed off by a qualified official!

Other countries are WAY ahead of us, even the Canadians! Yet, the US of “Nay” remains in the dark ages due to people holding us back.

Oh! And I’m going to go there…guess what other minority votes AGAINST gay marriage? African Americans! People who know first-hand what it’s like to be treated like a second-class citizen. Am I comparing the civil rights movement to the gay rights movement? NO. I’m comparing the fact that minorities should atleast have the decency to stand up for one another.

Ignorance and FEAR is what breeds HATE. I have read plenty of comments directed to myself and even my wife telling us, “I hope you die of AIDS” ( and in reference to being Transgender) “That’s scary!” First off, I guess they think we’re running around having unprotected sex with random people and that’s how we will get AIDS? They don’t “get it” that we are a married couple in a monogamous relationship. But, the part that get’s me is the “scary” part. They are SCARED of what they don’t understand and instead of educating themselves, it’s easier for them to cower down and say a hateful comment to ease their “petrified” little minds.

Last time I checked, those who say cruel things remind me of elementary school kids who haven’t reached a maturity level to speak with intelligence and have enough self-control to contain their feelings, instead of igniting malicious behavior.

BACK to the subject at hand…President Obama isn’t my favorite guy who ever slept in the White House, but he has made some progressive changes for the GLBTQ community. Recently, he would not resign DOMA saying it was unconstitutional, so I’m hoping marriage equality will be around the corner! (read all about it). I want to be able see my best friends share the legal freedom to love each other and commit the rest of their lives.

Newt Gingrich suggested impeachment of President Obama over the DOMA issue stating, “President Obama overstepped his constitutional bounds when he announced he would no longer defendDefense of Marriage Act in court.” (read all about it).

New York also recently passed a law that allows Transgender couples to marry without conflict, another step in the right direction. As it stands now, there is a lot of footwork, legal changes, surgery and more in order to be able to legally get married if you are Transgender. (read all about it).

*deep breath*

I needed to vent and appreciate you listening to me. NEVER stop fighting for your rights. NEVER take less than what you deserve.

Written by TRISTAN “SHIMMER” SKYE
President and Co-Founder of TQ Nation

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REWARDS WHERE DUE

Sabrina Pandora

So here of late transwomen have taken a bit of a beating in the news, it seems.  There was the SNL “Estro-Maxx” skit which featured bearded guys in dresses mocking the hormone treatment of transsexuals.  Hey, lookie there, what a surprise, here we are again- the punchline of a joke.  Ha ha,  Look at the funny bearded men in dresses growing breasts.  They aren’t making much of an effort, just growing boobs and wearing dresses, and it’s funny because that’s what MtF transsexuals are, see?.  It am funny, am it not?

Yeah.  Belittling the struggle of transsexuals is super funny, so long as you view them as something other than, yannow, human.  I know.  We’re oversensitive and need to grow a sense of humor.  Here, have a laugh on me.

http://www.nbc.com/saturday-night-live/video/estro-maxx/1279560/

Again, I have to point out… if it was a commercial about taking a drug to make black people become more white, would it still be funny?  Watching them wearing hip hop clothes with perhaps some awful plaid Bermuda shorts and white knee socks?

So then we move on to The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson.  Craig loves the gays.  Craig is sensitive to the gays and their plight.  So that’s why we get his “half-sister” played by a bearded hairy man in a skirt named “Peg”.  We get jokes about his naughty bits being on display while he sits there in a skirt with his legs open, he gets called a “he-she”, and it’s all oh so funny, isn’t it?  So long as being a transsexual is a joke, then you betcha.  It’s freaking hilarious.  Here, look for yourself.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z1J1TDKptQs

Oh yeah, that was a barrel of laughs right there.  But is it really a serious problem?  To answer this, I think that Meghan Stabler, a member of the board of directors of the HRC of all places managed to sum it up best.

“We should all be shocked and appalled with what was coming out in the
current narrative of comedy. The lives of gay and lesbian people are
being woven into the fabric of TV shows such as GLEE and Modern
Family. Even though we have a long way to go before full rights are
afforded to us, we can still be shown as equals to our peers. Comedy’s
ability to mock that part of our community has significantly lessened,
but has it done so at the risk of emphasizing the focus on the
transgender community?

I think it has, and it needs to stop.

To many of us who have journeyed along the deeply emotional and
stressful path to transition our gender, the parody and acting
portraits were utterly offensive. Hidden behind and along that journey
is significant stress, deep emotion, extreme risk and even worse —
suicide or homicide.

To live our lives authentically takes deep courage mirrored with the
real fears and deep-rooted societal prejudices that all too often
manifest themselves as workplace bigotry, un- and under-employment,
loss of family and friends, and most unfortunately, harassment and
homicides.

Some will likely argue that the portrayal was humorous, a joke, but in
true comedy there is always a punchline. Unfortunately for this one,
and for us, there was no punchline, unless you regard transition as a
joke and therefore transgender people as a human punchline. In doing
so, the comic must also understand that in conveying it as humorous
comes the risk that sometimes transgender people will be the punching
bag.”

But then we get to the Living Social Super Bowl commercial.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=33jb2Ns7yaQ

Now, at first, I wanted to sigh and call it yet another cheap shot at our expense.

But then I started looking at it and considering it.

The big burly lumberjack starts getting great deals.  They open his horizons.  He moves fluidly from one experience to the next, exploring life and tasting the sweetness of it until finally we see him as a transwoman, elegant, well-dressed, hair done up nicely, makeup just right for the occasion.  She appears to be happy, confident and in control of her life.  She comments that Living Social helped her blossom, and changed her life.  And it could change yours too.

There is no mean, harsh jab here.  There is no belittlement, no human punchline.  There is no lack of a joke if you are trans.  Only a montage of the journey of one man to discover all that life has to offer and exploring what he wants from it and who he wants to be… and eventually finding herself.  It is a transwoman being shown with dignity… yes, with some humor, but it is still better treatment of the condition than I think I’ve seen in a very long time.

We are quick to come to the forefront and say when we are angry.  When we see oppression, we jump to the defense, because people need to understand that it is wrong, and that we will not sit quietly and be mocked.  We are human beings and deserve respect.  Yes, we are quick to fight, because it is still so much a part of who we are, and who we must be in a world where we have so few rights and we are fifth class citizens.

But let us not be so confrontational as to forget to take the time to thank those who see that struggle and turn a kind and even eye to it for us.  To those who might show us in a kinder and nobler light.  To those who may see us not as a joke, but instead as brave and courageous explorers of the human experience.  When someone takes the time to show us in such a light, let us take that same time that we would to vociferously defend ourselves, and instead thank those who see us as people.

So thank you, Living Social.  Thank you for painting us in a positive light.  Thank you for not making us a punchline in an unfunny joke.

Thank you for seeing and portraying us as human beings.

Written by TQ Nation Contributor:
Sabrina Pandora

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