Caitlyn Jenner: We Don’t Need Another Hero

We don’t need another hero.

Trans-folks who came out after about 1980 are second, third and forth generation TS/TG people not pioneers.

First Olympic Champion who transitioned (That I Know of off the top of my head):  That honor goes to (From Wikipedia)  Erik Schinegger (born 19 June 1948) is an Austrian intersexual and transgender skier. He was the world champion women’s downhill skier in 1966, at which time he was recognized as female and known as Erika Schinegger

Erik came out back in my era of the late 1960s early 1970s.  Fifty years thereabouts before Caitlyn.

We don’t need another hero with dubious claims to hero status.  I have dozens of heroes among my Facebook friends;  Lynn Conway, Dana Beyer, Andrea James and Brynn Tannehill to name but a few.  I may not always agree with a number of activists but I have to admire their dedication.

I’m not all that big on the models, but there are several women in the world of music whom I admire and whose CDs I buy.

As for those sisters who are in the world of acting.  I wish them all the best.  It is time to end the practice of casting non-trans folks in the role of trans-folks.  They never ever get it right and it just perpetuates stereotypes. Time to see the same sorts of protests over that one as the current protests about casting a white actress to play the role of a mixed race woman in Aloha, a movie I know of only from the controversy.

We don’t need another hero.

There are two or three things I know for certain having learned these lessons the hard way over the many years that have turned me into an old woman some look to for wisdom.

Self esteem comes from within.  Your therapist may validate your parking when you pay for a session but your therapist cannot really validate your life.

No amount of cosmetic surgery, make-up, jewelry or expensive clothes can make you real. They are all artifice and artifice is not the path to realness. The path to realness comes from within.  It comes from embracing the path you have walked through life. Not one other person dealing with the impact of a trans-prefixed word in their life has the same life experiences as you.  This to me is where “identity based communities” went off the tracks. Look at all the demands placed on people to have proper thoughts and use politically approved words to describe their lives, to erase individuality for the sake of community.

Real validation comes from within.

Over the last 20 years we have gone from Usenet, to mailing lists, to blogs  and now social media.  All of which have seemed focused on becoming stars of the particular virtual community of the moment.

Caitlyn Jenner was the final straw for me.  I watched as real activists, people who had worked hard for real change were ignored for the latest media darling.  I’ve watched the identical pattern for over 50 years.

In the end our communities are where we live, they are our circles of friends, co-workers, the stores we go to buy our groceries at.  For some that includes churches.

The idea that communities are based on identities is straight out of Brave New World.

You don’t need heroes. You need real world friends, not virtual communities.  Friends you can have over for dinner and go do things with. It is time to get past the idea of being a star with adoring fan/followers.

You don’t have to be an activist.  this is more bullshit pushed by self appointed leaders.  It is perfectly fine to be a book worm who has a hobby of making macrame objects from paracord, hemp cord and found objects.  No one has any right to fault you if you want to spend your weekends at garage sales and flea markets instead of demonstrations for some cause or other.

Over the last few months I have been unfriending people on Facebook.  Not because of any real animosity but because I don’t recognize their names and have no idea why we friended each other.  Probably because at one point I looked upon having lots of Facebook friends as a popularity contest and a form of self validation.  I am keeping friends I made who share common ideas, who make me laugh, share common values.  I’m also keeping friends who share contradictory ideas and values while sharing common interests because living in a world of sycophants sucks.

Yesterday I mentioned how I am debating taking this blog down and someone immediately asked if they could take it over.  Short answer is, “No.”  If I take it down I will make a point of holding on to the domain name for a while to keep it from being hijacked the way Pandagon was when Amanda Marcotte took her blog down.

I have gone round and round, sorting out what means the most to me in life.  Even the label post-transsexual feels like too much attachment to a distant life event.  I never bought into the idea of transsexual or transgender as a lifelong identity.

Life goes on.

I’m a crunchy old hippie dyke.  The LGBT community seems like it is for young folks, with its parades, parties and petty squabbles.  I no longer feel like I am a part of it.

When this blog dies I will start a different one, one about being an old hippie woman.

I was a hippie before I came out.  I was a hippie during the process of changing sex.  I was a hippie of sorts all the years since those days and now I am an old hippie woman. Hopefully at least a few folks look upon me as  wise.

Through out my life my I’ve been part of numerous subcultures.  Now I am part of one that everyone who lives past 65 or so joins.  I am old and being old tends to supersede other “identities.”

I am looking forward to marrying my life partner this fall.  there is no such thing as gay marriage, only marriage.  When that happens we will join the ranks of old married couples.

Robert Reich Overtime Video

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Turning the Page: Bilerico Project Is Ending

In the last few days I closed the Women Born Transsexual Mailing List.  I’ve unsubscribed to most Trans-Oriented mailing lists, including those where I used to pick up a lot of stories for this blog.

Time comes for things to end.  Bill Browning has hit this point, Pam hit it a while ago as have others.

I’m about there.  Maybe this blog will last a few more months or another year or so but I’ve reached a point where I don’t much care any more.  I’ve gone through my Facebook pages and eliminated many trans-folks whose lives are only about trans/queer life.

From Bilerico:

By Bil Browning
June 30, 2015

Almost 11 years ago, I turned my personal homepage into a blog covering Indiana politics and LGBT issues. A few years later as more and more folks signed up to join me here, we turned our focus national and Bilerico Project was born.

We wanted to cover what was lacking on the big blogs at the time – real political and cultural analysis provided by LGBT movement leaders and everyday activists. We wanted diversity not only in our writers, but also their views. “What’s the worst that could happen?” we thought. “No one likes the new format so we go back to our roots?” Thankfully, readers loved the expanded coverage and we were off to a roaring start.

Together we’ve covered a multitude of important stories. From George W Bush’s election to the Supreme Court decision on marriage equality, we’ve brought the best news and analysis we could. We’ve made a change in the Salvation Army’s anti-LGBT policies and ensured an innocent HIV+ immigrant was released from prison to die surrounded by loved ones. Together, our writers and readers have made a difference.

Projects are meant to be temporary and so was Bilerico Project. After more than a decade, it’s time to wrap up our experiment. The media landscape has changed dramatically over the past decade and so have our lives and the LGBT movement itself. It’s time to turn the page and start something fresh in this new environment.

My first post in 2004 was a quote from Margaret Meade. “Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” I think we’ve done our part to make the world a better place.

This will be my last post on Bilerico Project. The site will be archived at so that all 31,000+ posts will still be available for readers. It’s been a long strange journey and I’ve loved every single moment of it, but the time has come to end the project and call it a success.

Personally, I’m going to take two weeks off to relax, look for a job, and work on my upcoming book. I will use as my personal blog again when I come back and I have a few ideas for starting something new and different. The spirit of Bilerico Project will live on and I plan on tapping into it as I move forward. I want to go back to my roots.
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Supreme Court Victory: What You Need to Know

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We Won

It took 46 years but the water and wind wore away the rock.

I came out to my friends in January of 1969, almost 7 years after I first came out to my parents.

It was a busy spring. I started hormones, fought in the battle for People’s Park in Berkeley, went full time.

Across the bay in SF gay men were picketing a cruise ship line demanding non-discrimination in employment.  Even then there were gay and lesbian people agitating for the right to marry.

All before Stonewall.

Two years after Stonewall I went to a demonstration in Sacramento demanding Marriage Equality.

Now I am old.

So many people I knew then, hippies, lefties, LGBT people are dead and gone.

I wish they were here for this day.

As for me…

This fall Tina and I will formally get married.

We have been together for years.  We have grown old together.

We have a little house, we love and care fore each other.  Let the young fight the fights we shall tend our own garden.

The most important lesson I learned over those many years was to live as though our rights were a given even if they were never formally recognized.

I learned to ask why when told I couldn’t live freely and as though I had the same rights as anyone else and to defend myself when someone tried to take away my rights.


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U.S. Army Has Yet Another Out Trans Member

From The Advocate:

Jamie Lee Henry joins a handful of other out transgender soldiers proving they are fit to serve.

BY  Mitch Kellaway
June 11 2015

Slowly but surely, stories of transgender people serving openly in the U.S. military are emerging, each heralding a new step of progress in overturning the institutuion’s ban on open trans military service.

This week, Buzzfeed introduced the world to a trans woman serving openly while an active-duty Army officer, Jamie Lee Henry, who has the distinction of being the first known servicemember to change her name and gender within the U.S. armed forces.

A 32-year-old trans woman who serves as a doctor and major in the Army Medical Corps, Henry shared with the news site how she’s been able to remain serving, in part: with the clear support of her commanding officers. When she came out as trans three years ago and faced familial upheaval — which eventually included divorce and a brief stint of homelessness — Henry said her then-commander helped keep her career on track and even temporarily housed her.

When last fall she began to take steps to medically transition, Henry said her new commander backed her too. “My commander said, ‘I don’t care who you love, I don’t care how you identify, I want you to be healthy and I want you to be able to do your job,” she recalled to Buzzfeed. Henry said she expected to be considered a “freak” and to be discharged under Department of Defense Instruction 6130.03, a regulation which dictates that any type of gender-confirming clinical, medical, or surgical treatment is evidence of “disqualifying physical and mental conditions.” Though following the instruction is not required, its common usage has kept an estimated 15,5000 transgender troops serving in silence about their gender identities.

Last last year, the Army ruled that the decision of whether to separate trans troops under this regulation would be taken out of the hands of commanding officers and elevated to the assistant secretary for manpower and reserve affairs. Even so, chains of command appear to play a key role in the  stories of each of the handful of trans servicemembers that have been able to serve openly, as shown by the stories of Jacob Eleazar, who served in the Army as TAC (Teach, Assess, Council) officer, and illustrated by The Advocate‘s exclusive interview with Army Sgt. Shane Ortega last month.

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