31 December 2011

new year's 2012

writing at new year's never seems to work out the way i hope it will, but i remembered that sometime this past january i had a better idea. having just gotten a new phone, tonight seemed like the perfect time to empty the old one of all remaining text messages.

what i found was a very telling picture of what we (i) value. whose messages are saved, which ones, and how that decision differs for different people. how many of the words i kept were my own compared to how many were sent to me by others. what relationships i built, and how, and why i felt it was important to remember.

right along with that is the razor's edge between benefit and detriment that we each walk by creating our own revisionist history. there truly are two sides to every story. but had those things been said during a phone call, rather than written, they would have been lost as soon as they were spoken, and memory--however faulty--would be our only reference.

thank god or whomever for the opportunity to start fresh.

16 December 2011


falling in love with a girl who becomes a boy is a completely different experience than falling in love with a boy who used to be a girl.

15 December 2011

on, in, and out of iraq

Ravaged and Remade, Iraq Is on Its Own as U.S. Ends War

i have such mixed feelings about the iraq war, and this NY Times article touches on most of them. we have spent almost 9 years, a trillion dollars, and countless lives on a war that turned out to be basically a failure. the American fatalities alone have far outstripped the lives lost on 9/11. that doesn't even address the number of Iraqi civilians who have been killed. even if Saddam Hussein's unseating is a positive change for the world at large, the absence of weapons of mass destruction all but proves that this invasion and occupation of a sovereign nation was based on a lie.

i have always been anti-war, and as my life develops, i find only more reasons to hold that belief.

04 December 2011


inspiration, from one of my students within seconds of when her class first met me:

"k! omigosh, you are SO HERE right now!"

i kind of want a cross stitch of this on the wall of my office.

26 November 2011


the words fell out of my mouth:
"aw, pregnant lesbians make me so happy! i just wanna be like, hi, i think you're awesome, and i want to be just like you someday!"

...then i heard the clock give a resounding


25 November 2011


courtesy of one of the bartenders at work:
"that's what i like so much about people, really. no matter what you think, you're always wrong."

17 November 2011


one of the most significant acts of allyship i have witnessed is when people in heterosexual relationships refer to their significant others, spouses or otherwise, as "partners." in queering their own relationships through the use of a non-gendered term, specifically one that is customarily applied to same- or similar-gender relationships, these people support the idea that it is not the gender of one's partner that is important--it is the commitment between two people that is important. i love hearing people mention their partner and then use a gendered pronoun i wasn't expecting!

so here is my suggestion for straight allies who want to know what else they can do: start using the word "partner." spread acceptance of the term--and the idea--by applying it to your own privilege.

16 November 2011


congratulations to the many people who attempted to instill this value in me throughout my childhood and adolescence. i really do aspire to live a life of service.

11 November 2011

Veterans Day

the reality everyone ignores:
  • Veterans account for over 20% of the U.S. homeless population, despite being only 8% of the overall U.S. population.
  • The VA estimates that approx. 107,000 veterans are homeless on any given night, and about twice that many experience homelessness over the course of a year.
  • Veterans of the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan face an unemployment rate of nearly 12%, substantially greater than the overall U.S. unemployment rate of 9.1%.
  • Eighteen veterans commit suicide every DAY. A veteran attempts suicide every 80 minutes.
when you thank a veteran for their service, remember that what you are really thanking them for is doing horrible things so you don't have to do them, seeing horrible things so you don't have to see them, making unmakable choices so you don't have to make them, and risking their lives so you can feel safe in your own home. if you really want to honor veterans and military members today, work to END UNJUST WARS.

09 November 2011


straight people don't tell each other "be safe" as they part for the evening. that's a part of trans-centered culture i have come to deeply love and appreciate.

05 November 2011


got a job offer. with a buzzcut. in a hospital run by nuns.
i have to admit, i'm feeling pretty invincible as a gender terrorist right about now.

02 November 2011

Autism DOES speak, but not through neurotypical lobbyists.

When necessary, I will count myself as a neurodiversity activist.

Every now and then, something pops up in my digital universe from Autism Speaks, a national organization whose mission statement reads:

At Autism Speaks, our goal is to change the future for all who struggle with autism spectrum disorders.

We are dedicated to funding global biomedical research into the causes, prevention, treatments, and cure for autism; to raising public awareness about autism and its effects on individuals, families, and society; and to bringing hope to all who deal with the hardships of this disorder. We are committed to raising the funds necessary to support these goals.

The most troubling part of this to me is the use of the word "cure." I do not believe that autism should be cured. I believe the disorder should be understood, and its symptoms treated only as much as they need to be for a person with autism to live a fulfilling life, whatever that means to them. I believe that all ways of experiencing the world are good ones, and we should strive to understand and facilitate as many different ones as we can.

Even more troubling to me is the portion of their current "Founders' Message" that reads:
"This disorder has taken our children away.
It's time to get them back."
NO. This disorder has not taken your children away. This disorder has given you a child who is different from the one you expected. That happens to parents who expect a girl and get a boy, who expect a straight child and get a gay one, who expect a star athlete and get a brilliant astronomer, or who expect one baby and get twins. This child is still your child, is still a human being, and still deserves to be treated like any other child who experiences the challenges of growing up in a society where not everyone understands that everyone--EVERYONE--is different from each other. If you truly believe that a disorder like autism can take your children away from you, then you probably should not accept the commitment to raise a child in the first place.

I have known many people with autism spectrum disorders, and I expect to come to know many more. The ones who thrive have families who accept and understand their differences and support them through the challenges those differences create. People with autism can express themselves and build relationships when they are provided with the tools they need to do so--see also, the reason i became a speech-language pathologist. Everyone uses different means to communicate, and it is my firm belief that everyone has that right. That means that if someone communicates in a different way than you do, you're not off the hook for trying to understand them, and it is NOT your responsibility to try to "fix" the way they communicate, because there is nothing wrong with them.

The reason Autism Speaks appeared in my life again today is because New York state just passed a new law regarding insurance for treatment for autism. On its face, this is a great thing. Tucked inside the article is the following: "
[t]he new law will provide coverage of evidence-based, medically necessary autism therapies, such as applied behavior analysis (ABA). It will . . . allow up to $45,000 a year in ABA treatments with no limits on age or number of visits." There is no discussion of other "evidence-based, medically necessary autism therapies."

For those of you who don't know about ABA, it's a cognitive-behavioral therapy system based on Skinnerian psychology. It is the most basic form of behavior modification. Reward desirable behaviors; redirect and/or ignore undesirable ones. Basically, ABA involves training children with autism much the same way you train a dog.

As a clinician who works with people on the autism spectrum (and people with other cognitive differences), I know that behavior modification strategies work. Sometimes, you need to use them. But in my perception, the reality of ABA is that it dehumanizes the people on whom it is used, reducing them to "trainable" creatures who can complete tasks on demand, but not helping them to learn the generalizable skills they will need to succeed in society.

While I was poking around to further justify my frustration, I learned about the Combating Autism Act, which was passed in 2006 by then-President Bush, and the Combating Autism Reauthorization Act, signed into law on September 30 of this year by President Obama. First red flag: "Combating"? Red flag confirmed: Wikipedia quotes the founder of an organization called Cure Autism Now as saying,
"This bill is a federal declaration of war on the epidemic of autism . . . It creates a congressionally mandated roadmap for a federal assault on autism . . ." Cure Autism Now is a now-defunct organization that merged with Autism Speaks in 2007.

Why are we treating a biological difference as an object of war, one that requires "federal assault" instead of understanding and support? This is more than unethical; it's downright scary. If our government can declare war on one mental disorder, then they can declare war on all mental disorders: depression, substance abuse, schizophrenia, PTSD.... If they declare war on those biological differences, who's to say they can't declare war on physical disabilities, sexual orientations, races & ethnicities? It's a slippery slope, and the governmental course is driven not by the people who face these challenges themselves, but by people who feel so slighted by a genetic improbability that they refuse to understand those challenges.

If you love your children, don't try to cure them. Try to see the world through their eyes, and I promise you will love them even more.

Advocacy for people with autism and their family members is incredibly important, especially while groups like Autism Speaks have enormous platforms to promote misguided information and agendas. I understand that the families of people with autism need support--I'm part of one. I implore you, if you need support or just want to know how you can help, please check out the Autism Society of America. You won't be disappointed.

01 November 2011

an open letter to everyone on the T:

i'm the one staring.

i don't mean to be rude, really. it's just that you're all so fascinating. i love that there are so many ways of being in such a small space--so many styles of dress, so many shapes of body, so many expressions of face. i want to learn who this city is. so far, you are tired and excited and impatient and happy and frustrated and living. you are texting and listening to music and staring out the window and sleeping and reading and speaking so many different languages. you are carrying bags from the grocery store, victoria's secret, mike's pastry, aeropostale, and goodwill. you are wearing ugg boots and chuck taylors, high heels and nikes and toms, winter coats and t-shirts, short skirts and scrubs, hats for the sox AND the yankees. you are going to work and going to school and going home and calling your mother and taking care of your children, all at once.

i'm also the one reading your newspaper over your shoulder. i think that when you are the one reading, you don't notice, but when you are the other person watching everyone, you probably wonder why i don't get my own. i just like to read, and the words on the other side of you are a way i can learn about you without staring at your face or your shoes or the parts of you that are eye-level while you are standing so i may sit. because i'm shy, and when i get caught it's hard to smile, even though i think that's the only response that won't ever make you mad. it's so much easier to pretend i wasn't looking, because maybe you don't want to be seen.

i like that moment when we catch each other and understand.

28 October 2011


it's a great moment to remember exactly why some fights aren't worth picking. for instance, no matter how much i'm bothered by what's happening, i probably shouldn't tell you anything that i would expect to be kept in confidence, because i remember the way you've talked to me in the past about people who weren't present.

all life is a trust game, and sometimes it's nice to feel like you're starting to figure out the rules.


yesterday, i gave up my seat on the train to an older woman who looked like she would appreciate it, even if she was perfectly capable of standing until we reached her stop. she accepted it with grace and gratitude, and reached out for me when the train started to move again as i stood up.

later on, while i was walking with a friend, a man held the door open for us at the Chanel store, even though i was wearing a college hoodie and ratty jeans. inside, it smelled like money and stale perfume. it was the first time i've seen a price tag with four digits before the decimal point. my friend touched a few things, but i was afraid my fingers would leave smudges of the middle class on everything and i'd be scolded fiercely and told to get out by the salespeople who knew their commission didn't rest with us.

when we left, the doorman winked at me as he warmly told us to have a nice day, as if to tell me that he knows it's just nice to look at pretty things sometimes.

15 October 2011

Occupy Everywhere

15 october: the movement is global.

[quick post because i'm too tired to make the right words.]

in boston: we marched. the anti-war rally that's been planned since before the occupation began turned into a rally for the entire movement. end the war and tax the rich. support unions. education is a human right.

we stopped in front of the armed forces recruiting center, verizon wireless, bank of america. and when we returned to dewey square (the home of the occupation here), it started all over again.

what started as a student solidarity march later in the afternoon turned into a full-fledged takeover of the city's streets. we walked for two solid hours through boston, stopping traffic and calling supporters to join us from the sidewalks, the shops, and the schools. we went hoarse. the police did their best to stay ahead of us and clear our path. and when we made it back to the camp, it felt like coming home.

this is what democracy looks like.

13 October 2011

why i occupy

i occupy because i finished my master's degree almost 6 months ago and have yet to find work. 6 months is looking less and less like a long time. part of this is locational--i am assured that there are entry-level positions in my field in other places, but i've already relocated once and i can't do it again. most of my education was paid for by scholarships and grants, but i'm still thousands of dollars in debt. i know i'm not the only person from my class to face difficulty finding a job, and i know countless college graduates who can't find work and believe the only option is to put themselves further in debt to earn yet another degree.

i occupy because my partner is a transgender veteran who has no protections for job security, when he's lucky enough to be employed. he is fortunate to have healthcare through the VA. (at the moment, i only have health insurance because of the much-maligned "obamacare" bill that allows me to use my father's insurance for another 2 years.) the courts just decided that prisoners are entitled to more government-funded trans-related care than he is. he is part of a group of dedicated, patriotic americans who fought wars they didn't believe in and sacrificed their lives, their limbs, and their mental health for a fictional idea of our safety and security, who returned to the states to find no jobs and no support from the very people they set out to protect.

i occupy because my neighbors are homeless, unemployed, underemployed, and hardworking. they and their children are hungry, cold, and often untreated when they are sick. i occupy because i want to work with passionate, qualified teachers who are paid for enough time and energy to teach my eventual children about history, art, and music. i occupy because when one 40-hour work week is not enough, it doesn't make an 80-hour work week healthy. i occupy because the American Dream has turned into a nightmare, and the people who made it that way refuse to wake up.

on the 53%

this morning i woke up to suggestions on multiple social networks that i learn about the conservative response to the occupy wall street movement. the response appears to consist largely of exhortations to "stop whining" because only 53% of americans pay federal income taxes, which means those 53% must be supporting the 47% of people who can afford to go stand around and protest because they're not working hard enough to pay taxes.

i know, right?

so here are links to some of the things i have already learned this morning.
Slate.com's overview of the 53% response
an open letter to that 53% guy from the Daily Kos (which is also a terrifically well-written explanation of the occupy movement as a whole)

i'm going to state an intention to update this post with more links as i find them. but you know how things tend to work when i state an intention for this blog.

later additions:
a NY Times article from April 2010 (!) explaining this very phenomenon in great detail--and calling for increased taxes on the wealthy. noteworthy: "
at most, about 10 percent of all households pay no net federal taxes." and, "the picture starts to change when you look not just at income taxes but at all taxes. ... Add these up, and the family’s total federal tax rate was 14.2 percent."
a brief Mother Jones blog post where you can see the original 53% tumblr post and find out what 3 jobs its subject holds.
and in the interest of fairness, the actual 53% tumblr.

the more i read about this, the more i'm struck by a severe misunderstanding of what the occupy movement is all about. what the folks aligning themselves with "the 53%" fail to see is that the occupiers are protesting for them. we support the right of all americans to earn a living wage, to educate themselves and their children, and to pursue their own happiness. so many of these people are angry that they work 3 jobs so a bunch of hippies can sit on the sidewalk on wall street and complain, but they are missing some crucial facts! plenty of those "hippies" also work 3 jobs and can't pay their bills. plenty of them would gladly work 3 jobs to get closer to paying their bills--and federal income taxes--if they could find 3 people who would employ them. plenty of them are also veterans, educators, parents, union workers, and taxpayers.

last, i think: Washington Post blog on whether the occupy movement is "ironic" or "hipster." noteworthy: "
The idea that because you can afford an accordion you ought to be prohibited from complaining is ludicrous."

12 October 2011

Occupy Boston (2)

today i spent somewhere in the neighborhood of 3 hours volunteering in the food tent, chopping vegetables for a salad and washing dishes and serving anyone who asked. i wrote down my name and phone number for anyone who might happen to need ASL services, making sure to tell the Logistics folks that "i'm NOT an interpreter, but i know enough that i can help." i did get to sign with somebody today, a man who just happened to come by the food tent looking for someone. we chatted a little bit when he grabbed a meal. we visited the General Assembly for a few minutes--direct democracy is a fascinating concept, but not one in which i personally have the patience to participate right now. told a woman that she misunderstands unions if she thinks their members are billionaires, and then watched her walk away from the entire demonstration in anger that the occupants will march with the verizon union tomorrow.

when we arrived at the food tent, one of our good friends (and fellow pittsburgh ex-pat) skipped over to greet us. and then i stood with my sweetheart and fed a community we share.

we were not there on monday night when protestors and police finally clashed in boston. it was the first time anybody at this occupation was arrested. it was also the first time they tried to expand the occupation to another part of the park. of course, the police and the protestors present different sides of the story, and i can see and agree with parts of both. the important part of the story i have to tell is that we are both safe. it was quite interesting to see the police stand by and watch a group of activists teach each other how to lockpick their way out of handcuffs, though.

07 October 2011

Occupy Boston

wandered down to Occupy Boston today and collected some stories. like the homeless veteran who volunteers with the safety crew and talked to me about his experience with Pink Floyd right after Dark Side of the Moon came out (i was wearing my hoodie for exactly this purpose). and the young man with Asperger's Syndrome who came up to me in the sign-making tent and just started talking about what he's "learned from history." and the young woman who saw my "misogyny hurts your mother" sign and asked me if i'd been to a slutwalk. and the older woman who read it, looked at me with a grateful smile and touched her hand to her heart. and the men with accents different from my own who asked me what the word means. and the beautifully effective mode of communication that is a "mike check." and the way you can feel the meditation tent before you see it. and the big tent in the middle of the camp with "LOCAL IRONWORKERS 7" written on the side. and the verizon truck driver who went past with both hands pressed into his horn. and the middle-aged woman who, when asked if her dog was "a man or lady?" said, "this is Jack."

then we rode the T home and overheard a college-aged woman telling her friend that her mother is going to New York to Occupy Wall Street this weekend and invited her to join. the daughter's response was, "no way!" she then went on to say of her mother, "she's such a, like, activist." as if that were a bad thing.

i hope one day that girl understands that all of us are protesting for her right to feel like she doesn't need to.

27 September 2011

follow-up to yesterday's post

addendum to squicky moment #3: how many straight youth killed themselves this week?

and then this. at a homecoming dance his sister attended, peers cheered Jamey Rodemeyer's death.

disgusting. kids need to learn that their actions have consequences. and these kids should all be tried, convicted, and sentenced to work in a morgue.

26 September 2011

on post-hoc activism

i love Lady Gaga as much as the next relatively mainstream queer. that's not the point of this post, and that's why i'm not going to elaborate on my reasons.

i have some mixed feelings about her tribute performance at the iHeartRadio festival.

in case you're behind on gay news, a 14-year-old kid named Jamey Rodemeyer killed himself after enduring years of bullying by his peers. in case that's not fucked up enough, this same kid had made a video for the It Gets Better project, touting Lady Gaga's positive influence in his life. (i have not watched it yet, but there's the link if you want to.)

so Lady Gaga gets all up in arms and insists on meeting with the President to talk about bullying and making it a hate crime and sings this version of "Hair" as a tribute and says "bullying is for losers." this isn't really anything new; Lady Gaga has been a long-time anti-bullying advocate and the right of people to live as they are is the point of the entire Born This Way album. i think it's great when anyone with some degree of fame pays attention to this problem. but i feel funny about this.

squicky moment #1: i hate "Hair." it is without question my least favorite track on the album, mostly because i think the lyrics are stupid. it's not my song and i can't know what she was thinking/feeling when she wrote it. i just can't get into lyrics like "if i'm a hotshot mom will cut my hair at night" and "i just wanna be free, i just wanna be me, and i want lots of friends that invite me to their parties." really? really? "i am my hair"? that's the core of your identity? even more, that's what you're going to promote as a strong source of identity? i hope i'm missing something.

squicky moment #2: we have to rely on pop icons to spread messages of tolerance & acceptance because our political leaders, pastors, and principals aren't doing it.

squicky moment #3: how many other LGBTQ youth killed themselves this week? how many LGBTQ adults killed themselves this week? how many LGBTQ people were killed by others this week? how many of them will we never hear about? how many elders did we lose to AIDS this week? every life is precious, and every loss is a tragedy.

squicky moment #4: how many middle- and high-school kids who bully others for being/seeming queer are gonna give a shit whether Lady Gaga thinks they're a loser? furthermore, bullies bully because they feel like losers, so they need to find somebody else to put down and feel bigger than. so even if they do take it to heart, it's probably only going to make the problem worse.

i'd really like to sing the Lady's praises unconditionally and say "oh man this is great that she's calling attention to this and that kid would be so happy to know she dedicated a song to him at such a major event!" but in reality, Jamey Rodemeyer is dead. he killed himself because humans can't treat each other like humans, and even though he wanted to tell other kids playing the same shit hand he was dealt that it would be ok, he couldn't find a way to make it so. he's never going to hear this song or watch this video. he's never going to graduate from high school. he's never going to prove to the kids who bullied him, to the politicians and regular citizens who vote him down at every turn, to the preachers who told him and will tell us that he's already in hell, and most importantly to himself that he was worth a human life.

29 August 2011

on chivalry

there are a few things in Boston that are going to take some getting used to after living in Pittsburgh. i've thought to write about them, but one in particular has grabbed my attention lately.

it's so great to live in a city with functional mass transit. they have the T system really well worked out here: trains run frequently, fares are reasonable, and you can use them to get pretty much everywhere. but the subway cars are always crowded. the seats are arranged like a cross between the D.C. metro and the NYC subway, with some facing forward/backward and a fair number along the sides of the car. there's plenty of room for standers as well.

here's what i've noticed: the only people who offer to give up their seats to anyone are women. one man did offer his seat to me last week, but he was middle-aged and clearly from out of town (visiting his college-aged daughter and her boyfriend, who were both seated near him and his wife), and only after i offered my seat to an elderly woman who got on the train a few stops after us. outwardly-appearing male people under the age of 40 never offer their seats to anyone. not all outwardly-appearing female people do, but with that one exception, all the people i've seen do so have been women or girls.

this gets me thinking. ever since i figured out that gender roles are not black-and-white, i've tried to be chivalrous. that is, i try to treat people with respect, and i try to treat women with a special level of it. part of this is the lesbian in me, hoping she will notice, and part of this is the gender rebel in me, trying to make people go what-the-fuck. but i never expect other women to behave this way; i always expect that men should.

if there is one seat left on the train and Chance and i are together, i always get to sit down.

the conclusion i'm drawing is, chivalry is not dead. chivalry will not die as long as there are butches.
the subsequent question: how does this relate to the still-foreign concept of outwardly heteronormative women performing chivalrous acts that their masculine counterparts do not?

16 August 2011

on emotional misconduct

i started writing this months ago about one emotion. then when i picked it up again, that one turned into two. the two are so closely related that i feel no need to adjust my use of nouns.

i'm glad i know what pure, all-consuming hatred feels like. it's not a comfortable feeling; i don't like it. i'm glad that i am able to experience the full range of human emotions in all their depth, and i like learning about them. i believe it is my purpose as a human being to live the fullest human experience i can, and emotional experience is a big part of that.

hate is ugly. it makes me an ugly person, and i don't want it in me. and the truth is, i don't know why it's in me. i've heard it said--mostly by religious people, which always makes me suspicious (even though in this case i suspect it's true)--that forgiveness is the cure. but forgiveness is hard, especially when you can't identify what it is you need to forgive a person for. or when it's so many things that it seems impossible, or their behavior is so consistent that it seems the person will never change and it won't be worth the effort.

it's not always possible to deal with anger productively. edit: it may not always be simple to do so. what if the person or people with whom you are angry is/are not receptive to anything you have to say? yelling doesn't work. even in writing--i've written pages i can't even flip past anymore without feeling heat bubble into my face.

so my response, at least recently, has been to leave it behind. this may or may not be the same as ignoring it. i can admit that i'm angry, i can admit that i feel hatred, but it seems to me that there's no need to invest energy in those negative emotions. so i don't. the problem is that this leaves a lot of things unresolved. it would be much easier if letting go meant letting go, but anger is a stubborn beast. if there is no resolution, no explanation of what made me angry and no indication that the situation will change (or, at the worst case, absolutely nothing i can do about it), the slightest thing can trigger a descent right back down that slippery slope. stupid facebook with its old pictures in the right-hand column. a shared name on a television show. someone of similar stature or bearing seen from behind. adrenaline, heat, and frustration. what do you do? what am i supposed to do?

i don't think that experiencing anger, or even hate, is in itself somehow unenlightened. but i think this lack of understanding of how to deal with it, this uncertainty that my method will work, shows there is a lot i have left to learn. and i think it's terribly unfortunate that there are people who want to keep me in those emotions--even moreso that in so doing, those people are keeping themselves there. (what's really funny is, in so doing, they've accused me of the same.)

i hope this is a conversation i can continue to have with myself. it needs to be.

09 August 2011


i've been meaning to write some thoughts on the wedding i went to as part of the Epic Road Trip, and here i sit having found about 2 dozen jobs to apply for and wanting to submit nothing until my signature is on a piece of paper that confirms i will have a Boston address, so i might as well.

it's interesting to find yourself in a collision of people you knew well a number of years ago, whether that number is few or many--it's all relative. some of those people have clearly kept in better touch than others. it's always interesting to take a field trip to your past.

the wedding ceremony itself was probably my favorite that i've ever been to. admittedly, that number is small. i loved the combination of "christian and pre-christian traditions" that resulted in some of the most honest & meaningful promises i've ever witnessed. i felt privileged to be there. particularly striking:
"will you burden her?" "i may." "is that your intention?" "no."
"will you anger him?" "i may." "is that your intention?" "no."
"you cannot possess me, for i belong to myself, but while we are living, i will give you that which is mine to give."

i wonder what it's like to be someone to whom the words "husband" and "wife" have meaning. they don't to me, really.

when he approached me at the reception and asked, "what did you think of the ceremony?" i believed that it mattered.

the moment of pride upon learning--and sharing--that the three of us were the reason there were no titles (mr., ms, mrs.) on anyone's placecards. there is still work to be done in this circle (to anyone who may wonder whether it's appropriate to invite a transwoman to a bachelor party, or whether she "disqualified [her]self": the answer is to treat her like every other woman you know, because she is one.), but we have already made such a difference. (memory: "so, you swing?" "...sit down. we are having this conversation right. now.")

and of the woman mentioned above: i have so much admiration and respect for the strength and resilience it must have taken to walk into that place, completely yourself, and surround yourself with the boys who knew you as he, the ones you shared living space with in a college dorm, the ones who knew you when.

08 August 2011

life update

i'm pretty sure that i need this license to get a job, but i need a job to get this license.

we thought we found a place to live, but by the time we got around to the paperwork, somebody else had already put down a deposit. back to square one.

if i am at least smart enough to figure out how to ask for help with the parts of this process that confuse me, don't treat me like an idiot. there's no excuse for rudeness over the phone.

vacation was nice. i'm trying not to prolong it too much.

22 July 2011


i've been having some crazy dreams lately. apparently there are some interactions my subconscious feels the need to complete, whether or not i'll get the opportunity in my waking life. last night i dreamed that i literally knocked somebody out of a performance they were hijacking and then told them, "you are a gluttonous, selfish exhibitionist. selfish. it's embarrassing, really." then my subconscious thought that sentence was so perfect that dream-me needed to go write it down. so i guess i can honor my subconscious for getting through that interaction for me by putting it here.

my tattoo is in the stage of healing where it's peeling in giant flakes. incredibly exciting, but also a little unnerving.

this town has literally brought me to tears at least three times in the last few days. i was driving into Lawrenceville past Wilson's Pharmacy and saw their LED sign in the window that read, "Good luck [4 random feminine names] at the National Marbles Championship!" this is the kind of place i am leaving, where a locally-owned and run business will recognize members of the community--youth--by name in their window, for marbles.

and a thought that's been floating around in my head for months if not longer:
by the time you decided to become a boy, i was ready to be with a man.

my belongings are in a big metal box on a truck on their way to a faraway place. panic is setting in, a little bit.

18 July 2011

on mobility

i've never understood the impulse to stay in one place. i understand that some people possess it, that there are those who are perfectly content to graduate from high school, go to college close to home (or not go to college at all), come back to town with a degree, get a job, marry their high school sweetheart, raise their children in the place where they were raised, live, retire, and die all within a 5-mile radius. i also understand that there are people who like to put penises in their mouths; i don't get that one either. it really does take all kinds, and as far as i can figure, the impulse to move or the impulse to stay in one place is no different.

i was raised by people who did not stay in the same place. both of my parents went away to college, and after they got married, they moved even farther away from home. neither of them ever suggested to me that this was the "right" way to do it, and every time i try to move farther away, my mother threatens to cry. but that's where i come from, and implicit lessons can be some of the strongest ones.

i get these incredible bouts of wanderlust. i get restless if i stay in one place for too long. i've never traveled as much as i would like, but sometimes it's just time for a new city. frankly, i'm surprised i've stayed in pittsburgh for as long as i have.

i just don't get how, in a world this wide, a person can be content to stay in the same place and limit their experience that way. there's something to be said for a sense of home--i want to find it. (i wonder if i will ever feel that need to "settle down," to buy a house, plant a garden, and let my children complete their entire education in a single school district. part of me hopes that i will; it seems unfair to do otherwise. but i'm still waiting. i have yet to find a place i'd be willing to sit still.) but there are so many different kinds of home: the house where my parents live, the town where i grew up, the campus where i went to college, the haus my college friends lived in where i learned all the most important lessons, the comfort in a circle of people who honor each other with mutual respect and affection, the passenger seat of my best friend's car, the sound of my partner's heartbeat when i lay my head on his chest. home is not a place so much as a feeling for me, and it's one i can find anywhere given the right circumstance. and if i can find home anywhere, why should i not try to find it in as many different places as possible, and learn the many ways people in different places make it for themselves?

sidenote: i'm postponing writing a piece about anger, for reasons i will address when i finally get around to it, which are the same reasons i need to write the piece in the first place. my life is in chaos given the upcoming move, and i'm not writing nearly enough (theme for the year). counting my days left in Pittsburgh in single digits.

06 July 2011

moving (stream-of-consciousness xvii)

i'm moving out of Pittsburgh.

it's time for some serious writing. let's start with the basics.
we got bored with sitting around waiting for something happen, so we decided to make something happen. we knew it was pending, but i am only motivated by deadlines. we are leaving Pittsburgh on the 24th. of July.

today is the 6th.

we made this decision a little more than a week ago, and the time since has been a clutter of packing and deciding, planning and organizing. i reserved the UPack Relo-cubes (what a great idea!); we are contacting friends and family and making plans for sleeping space. most of the details are down, but there are still a couple fuzzy dates. i don't know when we'll make it to Boston.

oh, did i skip that part?

we're moving to Boston, following an Epic Road Trip.
leg #1: drive to my parents' house to drop off my car. we're only keeping one. it's his Jeep; that's why i'm learning to drive stick shift.
leg #2: go to Vermont to visit my dad's parents. staying at camp. loving the lake.
leg #3: go to Long Island to visit my mom's family. interesting house.
leg #4: going to NEPA for an old friend's wedding. interesting thoughts.
leg #5: camping!
leg #6: going to NYC to visit an old friend of his, then
leg #7: to family in New Hampshire. this is the last stop before
leg #8: eventually, probably, crashing with friends who are moving into an apartment in Boston on Aug 1, but not until their lease begins and not for more than 2 weeks. i'm hoping to find a place to live that won't result in my needing to crash for longer than that...i have multiple sets of people willing to house us, but would like to be independent rather than an imposition.

it's going to be an adventure. i'm excited and nervous. i don't have a job. i don't have a place to live. bunch of places to stay, but no place to live. it's going to be awesome.

i'm going to have to make my peace with this city, this place that raised me, that made me grow up. i didn't live here through my childhood, and i'm thankful for that. i don't think i ever would have grown up there. i've learned a lot in the last 6 years and i'm ready to move on. it's time.

it occurs to me that i should be glad i have the luxury. [i know i'm spoiled.]

i rode in the backseats of the cars of people i trust this weekend, up and down Mt. Washington twice, and every view of the city was beautiful. they do it right when they really want to. the sky filled with smoke from the 4th of July fireworks, glowing like a night when everything's perfect and the clouds want to smother you in it so you don't have to go. it was yellow and red and awesome. the fireworks were the smallest part of my night, really, due to timing beyond my control. time is tricky like that.

i haven't been writing as much as i'd like lately, but when isn't that true. i'm working on it. i think i'll get there. this concept of "free time" is strange and foreign.

08 June 2011

domesticity (stream-of-consciousness xvi)

i was left home alone by myself for the first time in weeks, it seems like, with instructions to "take some time, write a little bit, listen to music, whatever you need to do; take some medicine, and go to bed." he'll be back late; it's nice to get a break from being a drag wife. much as i might like to go protect him from the creepy gay men at this particular bar. at least they pay well.

yup, that's my life.

i rather like this idea of having a partner. someone to do things with, someone to team up with. and damn do we make a good team. the 160 or so jello shots in the refrigerator next door will attest to that.

i'm thinking about breaking out the guitar. interesting how certain things maintain their shyness.

writing has always been my anchor, and it's important [for me] to remember that. it's amazing to see him recognize that, even though the times i've mentioned it to him have been few. for a while, it seemed that he filled the space i became used to filling with writing--at the end of the day there was another person there, to debrief with, to break things down. spoken reflection. and this is still something i value. there are words floating around in my head like "novelty" and "impermanence," "self" and "other." it's not that writing or speaking becomes more or less valuable; i don't need a written record of my thoughts or actions. ink fades and paper decomposes, just like my body will someday waste. i am dirt, just waiting to forget this notion of consciousness, of humanity.

blogging is stupid, really. i have a thought, and pow, it's shared. this illusion of permanence, when really it's just code, saved and accessed on a server i do not control. i give myself over to whatever gods govern the Internet, what will someday become the hive mind when we evolve into robots (i'm convinced).

this is what happens when i go without, for too long. words pour.

i've started writing on paper again, but as soon as i start, something happens to break the habit. three days, it always takes. sometimes longer, depending on the strength of the habit.

i read something earlier today, glanced at, really, a debate on slate about the use of two spaces after a period. i'm fighting with it. i type two spaces usually because when i was a child i was taught to use the space of two fingers when writing with fat pencils on dotted lines, blue on the outside and red in the middle, to show just how far your t should go, your l or your j beneath. one finger between words and two between sentences. it carried over. i never thought about the typographical reasons why something might be different. my handwriting isn't the same, either.

god forbid, those unrefined mashes of meticulous print, a's without caps on and y's without boats, all straight lines and circles drawn in ways that made the left-handers cramp--i considered myself lucky.

revision has its place. i am slow in learning this.

17 May 2011

magnetic poetry 12

peace & freedom
lets make it easy
if I call your name
and you come after
screw he or she
and make us

cleaning up. moving soon.

05 May 2011

Graduation, again

i feel the need to excuse my absence from the blogosphere,
my unannounced sabbatical, as it were.
i had to go finish grad school.

(i can't decide if this would be better as poetry or as verse. it's been so long.)

my life has been caught up in the chaos of finishing what was without knowing what will be. i'm pretty good on "what is," especially in the very short term.

i'm looking forward to a summer off, and deciding what comes next! in the meantime, i'm hoping i'll write more, but my development there has taken an interesting turn. i don't seem to write as much anywhere as i once used to, and i think i know why, but i'm curious to see where that goes.

on my last day of grad school,
i spiked out my hair and wore grey skinny jeans, skater shoes, a cowrie shell necklace, and the blazer from my power-lesbian suit. my boyfriend and my gay husband stood on a street corner with signs that said "FREE HUGS" and came back with amazing stories. i went out with a small group of close friends and enjoyed myself.

then a bunch of other things happened, and that's just this past week.

11 February 2011

moment of the week:

"my boyfriend's a transgender veteran, so [the movie Mulan] kinda gets to me."
"he's a veteran?!"

02 February 2011



mine and yours.


us and them.

26 January 2011


it's amazing what can become important instead of homework or sleep. i'm going through almost a year's worth of locked text messages, getting ready to get rid of a defective phone. this is what i should have been doing at New Year's.

24 January 2011

heterosexism strikes again

alone at the verizon store, upon telling the man who couldn't figure out why my phone doesn't ring that mine is not the main number on the account:

"whose account is it, then? is it your parents' account? your boyfriend's account?"

...am i the only person in the world who notices things like this? or just the only one who thinks making assumptions is foolish?

13 January 2011


it's been a while since i've seen a person and thought with relief, "somebody who looks like me!" thank you, dyke crossing the street in the Rocks.

it's going to be an interesting semester for androgyny (aren't they all?).

12 January 2011

new year's resolution:

i want to live in pittsburgh long enough to appreciate driving in the snow here.

...i could probably knock that one out in a coupla weeks.

11 January 2011

mix tape ix

K's 2010
the songs that made my year. unapologetically and without explanation.

Disc 1
1) United State of Pop 2009 (Blame It On The Pop) -
DJ Earworm
2) You Get What You Give - New Radicals

3) Bad Romance - Lady Gaga

4) Centerfold - J. Geils Band

5) Perfect - Simple Plan

6) Break Your Heart - Taio Cruz ft. Ludacris

7) Dirty Little Secret - All-American Rejects

8) Only The Good Die Young - Billy Joel

9) Magical World - Bassnectar remix, ft. Nelly Furtado

10) Dayvan Cowboy -
Boards of Canada
11) Love the Way You Lie - Eminem ft. Rihanna

12) Baba O'Riley - The Who

Disc 2
1) It's Alright - 311

2) Flow -
Dub Fx
3) Alejandro - Lady Gaga
4) Let's Get Lost - Bat for Lashes & Beck
5) Dynamite - Taio Cruz

6) Take It Off - Ke$ha

7) Telephone - Lady Gaga ft. Beyonce

8) Over - Drake
9) Origin of Love - Hedwig and the Angry Inch sdtk.

10) Don't Stop Forever - DJ Milk remix, Chris Brown vs. Journey
11) Raise Your Glass - P!nk

12) United State of Pop 2010 (Don't Stop the Pop) - DJ Earworm

10 January 2011


i had the dream about being late again.

to be more precise, i had the dream about getting ready forever and never getting where you're going again. then i woke up early and anxious.

i think the frequency with which this happens to me says something unsettling about my mental health.

09 January 2011

moment prolonged:

it's amazing what can happen when you tip someone during a drag performance.

06 January 2011


last night, i accidentally wrote what may very likely be the most liberating sentence of my life thus far.

05 January 2011

376-E, 4:45 PM

today i paid attention to the far side of the Fort Pitt Tunnel. you round a corner and everyone changes lanes, inevitably wanting to be where someone else inevitably is. there's a gash cut into the mountain, a hole in the side of the hill, a rectangular portal beneath a rectangular frame. the all-consuming hill is covered in trees with no leaves, revealing the tiny house above. to the right, the icicle waterfalls remind the drivers that climate control is a myth, not reality, and nature in all her glory remains.

into the portal. sucked through a wormhole of blinding light, brighter than the setting sun behind us. it extends forever--time has no meaning. will we emerge?

rather than a light at the end of the tunnel, there is yellow, but steel. the frame of the bridge comes into view first, the relief of an outside. beyond, speeding toward us, there is city: buildings and rivers and history and life.