Trans people are people and not some abstract concept

Back in high school and college and graduate school we knew people who were trans women, or, in the case of high school, would realize that they were trans women once they had the vocabulary to know such a thing existed. I don’t think we knew any out trans men– I’m not sure why, but my theory (which could totally be wrong) is that we only knew of the trans people who needed to be out the most, the most femme of trans women.  Other trans people could more easily not discuss gender, and we were the grunge generation so clothing for everyone was pretty gender neutral.  (Man, I miss grunge so much.)

Since moving to this Southern State, I’ve had several trans students in my classes and we had a student worker who transitioned while working for us, but all trans men, or more recently enbys (non-binary).  It is not very safe to be a trans woman here, even in the college town.  This is not where you want to go to college if you can go anywhere else.  This is not a state in which you want to live in if you are trans.

We’ve had a lot of anti-trans legislation, most of it aimed at children.  I spent hours, maybe days or weeks if you add all the time up, calling about bathroom bills.  My sister bought an autobiography for every single member of our state legislature.  The state blocked things.  But then came a new spate of bills, some of which passed through legislature and some of which were proclaimed by fiat.  It is dangerous to be a trans kid here.

DC1 had a best friend at private school.  K-4 they were best friends. They skipped first grade together.  In 5th grade, we went on leave.  While DC1 was gone, everyone at the private school, male and female alike, started doing locks of love, so when we got back everyone had long hair.  In 6th grade the private school shut down and at the public school they didn’t have any classes together and DC1 was so busy with mostly crafts projects for language arts that zie didn’t have much time to socialize with any of hir old private school friends outside of school.  After that they would occasionally have a single class together, but they never really talked anymore.  We heard from hir parents that zie was having difficulty adjusting to academics in high school (though, unlike DC1, the friend actually went to robotics club enough to be considered a member and is now in a leadership position).

DH and the friend’s father are themselves friends and they enjoy boardgaming together.  So pre-pandemic we’d hang out once every month or every few months depending on schedules, and sometimes DC1 and DC1’s friend and hir older brother (and even mom) would join.  At the beginning of the pandemic they did some online games together, but they couldn’t really find online games that were a good fit for them (DH and DC1’s friend’s parents have overlapping boardgame interests, but not completely overlapping) so that petered out for a while until after DC2 got vaccinated and we felt comfortable sending DH and DC1 over to their place to do boardgames again.

The weird thing was that, since the pandemic, whenever DH and DC1 would go over, DC1’s friend would not be present.  They would see the older brother if he was home from college, but not the friend.

At the most recent gaming date, DC1’s friend was present, though not participating in gaming.  Zie stopped by and was acknowledged by hir parents with a new-to-us name and different pronouns than we’d heard used before in conjunction with hir.  (Zie then almost immediately got dumped via text and went back to hir room and hir mom had to take a break from the game to console hir.)  And that was that.  DH and DC1 didn’t react at all, just mentally took notes and got back to the game.

But we talked about it when we got home.  We explained about what you’re supposed to do about gender if you live in a sane state and a person is out (use the correct pronouns and name!) and how that might be dangerous to do at school where we’re living now.  We discussed whether to misname and misgender if the person isn’t out yet in certain environments (“You never out someone without their permission”).  I was of the opinion that at school DC1 should avoid names and pronouns entirely, which is really easy for DC1 to do as zie doesn’t know any of hir friends names.  (“My one friend… My one other friend… My orchestra friend…”  The weird thing is, we generally know who zie is talking about, though, of course, not by name.)

When cross-examined, DC1 said that hir friend is going by hir deadname and incorrect pronouns at school, at least in the one class they have together.  Which is understandable given the current extreme environment right now.  Hir parents are both medical doctors and the dad works with kids.  If I were living in Texas, as a mandated reporter through my job, I would now be supposed to turn them into child protective services (but I wouldn’t!) to be investigated as abuse.  Because they are using the correct name and pronouns for this kid that we’ve known since zie was 5.  This is horrifying and terrifying.

Paired action items:

Track anti-trans legislation in your state and CALL your local representatives and tell them to VOTE NO.  These bills are coming fast and furious.

Donate to Donors Choose so trans kids can read about trans people.

Donate to help trans kids in Texas. https://secure.actblue.com/donate/heafortranskids-tent?refcode=BIN

February Challenge Update

Maybe I’m just doing this as an excuse to use the habit tracker I bought from jetpens and don’t need and to get to use DC2’s Zig dot marker.  There is something very satisfying about dotting a little box in a grid.  (Not sponsored, just addicted.)

Last week was a bit light, but this week is really heavy at work, so I did a bit more than one would expect last week in anticipation of not being able to do much this week.

  1. Donation to Donors Choose classroom (not in NYC or CA) that wants Maus (there are a lot of options now!).  I saw another story on books being banned.
  2. Donation to Donors Choose classroom (not in NYC or CA) that needs stuff for LGBT students.  More LGBT books banned.  This one got fully funded, and when I checked on it, they’d ended up not buying any of the LGBT swag because it was out of stock and they didn’t replace it.  So I did another search and found someone (not in NYC or CA) who wanted a book with “queer” in the title.
  3. One of my friends recommended donating to Trey J. Hunt because he is unopposed in his primary and he’s been spending a lot of time registering voters.  I don’t know if he has a chance against his evil Republican opponent, but I thought it was worth a donation, because if we don’t try, evil will definitely win.  (Feel free to let me know of any candidates you support and why in the comments– maybe I’ll throw them $25!)
  4. Elizabeth Warren sent me a convincing email about fighting for voters rights, so I sent her some cash too.
  5. Wrote 10 postcards to voters supporting Tracye Polson’s runoff election in FL.  I especially like the excuse to use the excess pens I’ve bought from jetpens.
  6. Read another article about books being banned, so supported a Donors Choose classroom that wants Between the World and Me, by Ta-Nehisi Coates.
  7. Read another article about books being banned, so supported a Donors Choose classroom that wants All Boys Aren’t Blue, by George M. Johnson.
  8. Proofread an activism newsletter before it was sent out.  (Also recommended a Donors Choose classroom specific to the newsletter locality as an action item.)
  9. Wrote 10 postcards to voters supporting Keturah Herron in KY.
  10. Donation to Donors Choose classroom (not in NYC or CA) that wants a copy of the 1619 project, which is apparently *banned* in several states by name, according to a news article I read.

Activism February Challenge

I am totally going to satisfice this.  I know there are optimal things that I could be doing, starting with figuring out what the current activist landscape is like, and other things that involve talking with people and organizing.  I’m not in a place to do that right now.  But I am in a place for baby steps!

My goal for this month is not to necessarily do something every day, but to have done 28 activism things by the end of the month.

Here’s some examples of things I will consider to be an “activism thing”:

  1. Write 10 post-cards to voters
  2. Donate $25 or more to a single activist cause
  3. Call my reps about an issue
  4. Find a Democratic candidate to support who is not in a competitive primary and donate to their campaign

I’m open to other suggestions!  Even if I don’t end up doing them, some member of the grumpy nation might think your suggestion is perfect for them!

Not saying anything is a political statement

Some blogs are so invested in keeping their affiliates that they are desperate not to be controversial at all.  But what happens when you don’t address homophobia and you do tout Chick-Fil-A or both-sides racism and so on, is that your readership becomes pretty heavily homophobic, and pretty racist, and so on because none of the decent people want to follow you anymore.  Is it better to have your demo be the same as Fox News’s?  Maybe if you’re a grifter.

But morally and ethically, when you keep silent about the injustice that does exist in your community, you’re making a decision to accept it.  That kind of makes you a bad person, or at least “misguided.”  Use your platform for good, not sins of omission.

Here’s some twitter people saying it better than we just did:

(This first twitter quote seems to be from a no-longer existent twitter account.  But the author has this book!  All amazon links are affiliate.)

Attention Texans with kids under 12! Action today August 12th!

Sorry to interrupt the wonderful discussion we were having on books that appeal to kids, but this seems important.

I got an email from a reader who prefers to remain anonymous requesting that I post this so parents with kids under 12 can join a lawsuit against Governor Abbot.  (Sorry this is so late!)

YOU HAVE TO FILL The above affidavit out and have it notarized and scan to him by noon today.
Your local bank probably also has a notary public and may take less time than UPS.
===============================
Message – TO ALL PARENTS BUT PARTICULARLY PARENTS FROM ISDs THAT HAVE YET TO DEFY GA 38
NEEDED TODAY (AUG 12) BY NOON
Hey folks!  Late night plea for assistance.  The nonprofit I represent has filed suit against Governor Abbott in Travis County District Court seeking a statewide injunction of the Governor’s Executive Order GA 38.  But here’s the rub:  no one at the AG’s office is responding to our efforts to confer regarding a hearing date.  So . . . we are intending to file a request for a statewide temporary emergency restraining order by noon TODAY if we do not hear from the AG’s office.  How many parents would consider executing an affidavit in support of our TRO request?  One is attached.  Please limit to one page.  It is like 5 bucks at the UPS store to have it notarized.  Scan it to me at coordinator@thescca.org and save the original.  No children’s names, please.  Just parents and district, that is all I can hope to ask of you.  Your name will be part of a court proceeding that is public in nature.  But your address is not on the affidavit, ever.  Pray, meditate, breath, take an early morning walk.  Please let me know ASAP.  What I’ve said here is about all there is to say, but ‘friend’ me on FB (my page is public) and we can message about specific, unique questions.  greenbostwick.com
Visit us for updates on the case:

 

Sick of the phrase: “It is what it is”

Everyone keeps saying it, even when it doesn’t have to be.

I am a big fan of the serenity prayer, especially the version I learned that puts having the courage to change things that I can first.

God grant me the courage to change things that I can

The serenity to accept things I cannot

And the wisdom to know the difference

I think this was cross-stitched on a sampler at the house of one of my baby-sitters when I was a kid.

“It is what it is” keeps being used not for that second line, but to excuse not having the courage for the first.  And I hate it.  We can fight for injustice.  We can fight for equality.  We can keep calling our representatives and not just give up on them.  We are at a turning point in US history– we can get rid of the filibuster, grab DC state-hood, pass HR1 as new voting rights legislation, protect trans kids, pack the supreme court.  After 12 years of unconscionable changes by Republicans doing things never dreamed of in previous administrations in our memory– Merrick Garland, Kavanaugh, Coney Barrett, refusing to bring any legislature to a vote, removing the VRA, not doing anything on gun control after Sandy Hook, etc. etc. etc.– we can also do the unthinkable.

It doesn’t have to be.

But it will be if we don’t fight for it.  If we give up prematurely.

If we don’t have the wisdom to know the difference.

****************************************************************

Here’s a link to 5calls.  Demand Statehood for Washington DC.  Support Democracy Reform with H.R. 1.  Protect Dreamers.  And so much more.  But none of this will happen if we give up.  Because the bad guys aren’t giving up.

URGENT: Calls for democracy TODAY (Please call or fax!)

Yes, I, too would rather be discussing the merits of different organizational systems.  But Democracy is more important.

US citizen readers, I need you to do the following things today.

Call or Fax your Members of Congress:

Call your members of congress https://myreps.datamade.us/ (<–note:  may be out of date if you have a new MOC from the last election)— senators and congressperson and demand that:
1. Trump be impeached or resign
2. Cruz resign
3. Hawley resign

Why?  If you missed the news and were actually able to work yesterday:  These three people helped incite a riot and attempted coup which resulted in congress being evacuated and at least one death.  So far only 25 people have been arrested (earlier numbers said 13) and possibly some congressional police have been fired for their part in helping protestors in, but that may be an internet rumor.  Washington Post is calling for impeachment and resignations.  We should be too.

If you can’t leave a message, you can send a fax https://faxzero.com/fax_senate.php ,
If you can’t do that, you can send an email or a postcard (or keep trying).

Do this if your MOC are democrats (they need the support) or Republicans (they can put pressure AND they will learn that they cannot join the seditionists with impunity).

Next:  Check to see if your Congressperson is on this list of 138 congresspeople who voted to overturn a free and fair election.  If so, then call them and tell them it was wrong.  I called at 5am this morning and my congressman himself answered the phone and tried to convince me that the debate on the floor made it clear… he hung up on me when I called him a traitor to democracy.  It’s not likely that your congressperson will answer themselves (and fax if you don’t want to talk!), but they need to know that attempted coups are unacceptable.  How much further can they go?  Do we want to let them find out?  [NOTE:  IF THERE WAS AN ELECTION IN YOUR DISTRICT, your congressperson may have changed!  The new congresspeople have been seated. https://www.house.gov/representatives/find-your-representative]

After you’ve made your calls, could you ask a friend or tweet or send to a mailing list or something to get the word out so that more people call?  We need to save democracy.  There was an attempted coup yesterday.  It needs to be punished swiftly and with great strength and I’m not sure our leaders have the bravery to do so unless they feel like their constituency is behind it.  And the republicans who supported the coup need to know they cannot keep subverting democracy.

Let me know in the comments that you called/faxed!  Share any scripts you found useful!

Last chance to vote!

Tuesday Nov 3rd is Voting day in the US

Have you voted?

What’s your plan to vote?

Where are you going to vote?  Do you have a mask and water and a snack in case you have to wait in line?

Remember, they can’t turn you away if you’re in line.

Call your senators

Yes, I know it’s all stressful.  I have actually gone on a twitter/reddit freeze because I just cannot after hearing of RBG’s passing.

But I am on a lot of email lists and they are pushing as hard as they can to delay the Supreme Court nomination for as long as possible.  And we all (in the US) need to help.  We need to call our Republican AND our Democrat senators and ask them to delay the nomination until January.  This may not actually delay the nomination, but it could, and more importantly, delaying it means we’re more likely to end up with a Roberts (still too conservative, but not batshit crazy evil) than with a Kavanaugh (drunken misogynist).  It will also change the media narrative from “who is he going to pick” to “will he be allowed to pick?” Republicans need to know that they’re on notice and Democrats need to be able to point to all the calls they’re getting.  Every call is important, every call matters.  You can call during the day and talk to someone or you can wait until after hours and leave a message.  You can send in a fax.  These are all good options.

Now I’m going to quote from an email from Celeste_P with more information.

Call your Senators, and let them know that we cannot confirm a Supreme Court justice until the next Congress is in office. 

(this is to avoid a lame duck session appointment)

Right now, the balance of power in the Senate is 47 (45 Dems + 2 independents) to 53 Republicans.

So, we need FOUR GOP Senators to essentially agree they won’t move forward with any nomination. Here’s our current math:

1. Murkowksi has already said she won’t vote.

So we now need three. This can be three sitting Republicans (e.g. Romney or Collins, the latter of who has given a loophole-filled statement) OR if Mark Kelly is elected and takes his seat before the end of November – we would then need two more. Does that make sense?

But because this is all up-in-the-air math, we should: 
1. Continue calling all Senators. Full stop.
2. And please, please – stick with calling your own Senators.

I know this is so much easier said than done right now. I know we also all really want to also go yell at GOP Senators. But GOP Senators need to hear from their constituents on this, and random non-constituents calling will not help – e.g. see Susan Collins using non-constituent calls to justify her eventual Kavanaugh vote.

Because we’re also deep into the election, GOP senators will also use non-constituent calls for ads and fundraise – so let’s not inadvertently give tools to GOP candidates right now.

SCRIPT:

 

You: Hi, my name is [name], I’m calling from [zip code].

You: I’m calling to demand [SENATOR] commit to NO Senate confirmation vote until after the November election. We are 45 days out from our next general election.

Using previous SCOTUS nomination precedents including the blocked nomination of Merrick Garland, I want [Senator] to confirm they will let the next Senate take this step.

You: [Optional comments]

 

Celeste P doesn’t send out emails very often, but when she does they are extremely helpful.  Here’s a link to get on her mailing list:  https://tinyletter.com/Celeste_pewter Her twitter feed also has regular actions.

Indivisible emails more frequently, maybe once or twice a week (probably half action/half fundraising).  Sign up here:  https://indivisible.org/signup

If you’re a US citizen, let us know in the comments how you contacted your senators today!