USE CONDOMS AND CARE
Fifty-eight years ago today The New York Daily News broke the Christine Jorgensen story.
She wasn’t the first, which she was often credited with being.
She may have been a role model for some, although not for me.
I found her ghost written autobiography to be self-censored, expurgated and of marginal relevance when it finally came out.
Docter’s book would have served many of us better because it didn’t white wash as much.
Mostly though the published stories of Christine Jorgensen and others made it seem like life after SRS would be far easier.
The difficulties in obtaining new identification, something that was a struggle even in the 1970s weren’t mentioned.
She died in 1989 she was only 63.
The glaring headlines made the lives of transkids both easier and harder. Easier in that Christine’s story let us see the possibility of changing sex but also gave the bullies new taunts to hurl at us.
If she had lived she would be 84. I can’t help but wonder what she would have thought about the hordes of transsexual and transgender people bravely living their lives in all the many different ways we do these days.
I met her on a couple of occasions, first at the San Francisco Premiere of the excretable film version of her book.
Later I photographed her speaking at a benefit for the Los Angeles Gay Community.
She was more involved with advancing the LGBT/TQ than most people think and was friendly with a number of the gay rights pioneers.
From Yahoo News: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101201/ap_on_re_us/us_jobless_benefits_the99ers
Shawn Slonsky’s children know by now not to give him Christmas lists filled with the latest gizmos. The 44-year-old union electrician is one of nearly 2 million Americans whose extended unemployment benefits will run out this month, making the holiday season less about celebration than survival.
“We’ll put up decorations, but we just don’t have the money for a Christmas tree,” Slonsky said.
Benefits that had been extended up to 99 weeks started running out Wednesday. Unless Congress approves a longer extension, the Labor Department estimates about 2 million people will be cut off by Christmas.
Support groups for the so-called 99ers have sprung up online, offering chances to vent along with tips on resumes and job interviews. Advocacy groups such as the National Employment Law Project have turned their plight into a rallying cry for Congress to extend jobless benefits.
Continue reading at: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/20101201/ap_on_re_us/us_jobless_benefits_the99ers
When middle class and academic people became the face of the Transgender As Umbrella paradigm it was as though they were ashamed of being associated with the street queens and transsexuals who existed as lumpen proles working in clubs and doing sex work.
It is as though a whole lower class trans-culture that often coincides with a trans-culture inhabited by people of color does not exist.
I am speaking of course of the culture of balls and pageants which have a history in several major US cities that date back to the 19th century.
Many of us first appeared in public at one of these events. Others of us were either mentored by people who took part in these pageants or were friends with them.
In California the Imperial Court System has helped fund gay and lesbian organizations and charities since well before Stonewall.
In 1968 when I was gathering my courage to come out, a movie, “The Queen” showed me that there were people who actually had the guts to live as they needed to live.
The movie “Paris is Burning”, a full generation later showed the roll various pageants play in the lives of trans-people of color. People who truly fit Thurgood Marshall’s description”despised and dispossessed”.
I know the feminist critiques of “Beauty Pageants” and when applied to the dominant culture I see the accuracy.
But class has a way of deconstructing and repurposing that which is discarded or outmoded in the dominant culture. When repurposed by the despised and dispossessed such events act as an affirmation.
I have a little secret. In 1974 I was photographing and documenting the transsexual/queen culture of Hollywood, including photographing shows and pageants. While I was talking with some sisters they learned I had never been in one. I was two years post-SRS at the time and had I not known the people staging the event I would have been ineligible. It wasn’t a serious pageant but more of a costume one.
So I took part as a participant/observer. One thing I observed about this small pageant was that effort counted. I also saw at least as much love between most of the participants as competition. Also while the top contestants got trophies everyone got a plaque.
The following article from The New York Times, reminded me of this difference: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/01/world/americas/01colombia.html?_r=1&ref=world
By SIMON ROMERO
Published: November 30, 2010
CARTAGENA, Colombia — The Champagne flowed. Cigar smoke floated in the thick air of the tropical night. Women in miniskirts and men in pressed guayaberas danced at Jet-Set magazine’s fete in this city’s Naval Museum, as the candidates for Miss Colombia sashayed about, flashing perfect smiles and impossibly high cheekbones.
Another party unfolded the same night last month outside Cartagena’s stone ramparts. In a slum called Boston, Ivonne Palencia, an elegant 19-year-old, tiptoed in the mud outside her family’s hovel. Amid the din of firecrackers and reggaetón music, neighbors toasted her victory as Miss Independence, the queen of this city’s slums, with beer.
“We have our queen,” said a glowing Patricia Álvarez, 44, a social worker in Boston who led a collection drive to support Ms. Palencia’s candidacy. “They have theirs.”
Despite making strides in stabilizing the economy in the last decade, Colombia has South America’s most unequal distribution of wealth, except for small Paraguay, according to the Center for Economic Development Studies in Bogotá. And each November this port city puts that inequality on open display, when it hosts two beauty pageants at the same time. The rival contests offer views not only of the country’s yawning income gap but of issues of race and class in a country that has, by some measures, the Spanish-speaking world’s largest black population.
Continue reading at: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/12/01/world/americas/01colombia.html?_r=1&ref=world
The fiscally insane Republi-Nazis in the Senate are threatening to block all legislation unless the Democrats agree to a one trillion dollar give away to the ultra rich elite to be funded on the backs of the working class through cuts in social services that are vital to those making less than a 100K per year.
Never mind that the self appointed “deficit hawk” have no plans to off set this budgetary disaster other than whipping out the China or Saudi credit card there by further contributing to the deficit.
The Republicans hate America and want to destroy the American government and replace it with a Confederate one.
From Yahoo News: http://news.yahoo.com/s/ap/us_democrats_lame_duck_politics
By JULIE HIRSCHFELD DAVIS, Associated Press Julie Hirschfeld Davis, Associated Press – 1 hr 43 mins ago
WASHINGTON – Senate Republicans threatened Wednesday to block virtually all legislation until expiring tax cuts are extended and a bill is passed to fund the federal government, vastly complicating Democratic attempts to leave their own stamp on the final days of the post-election Congress.
This includes the blocking of the Defense Spending Bill
Blocking the Repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell
Blocking the extension of Unemployment Benefits, which will immediately end benefits for two million people among the under reported unemployed and under-employed.
All to wage class war on the working people so they can transfer another trillion dollars to the top 10% of the wealthy in this nation.
The Republicans are fiscally insane and are the enemy of the working people.
Christo-Fascist and ultra right wing extremist Mike Huckabee calls for execution of Julian Assange for treason.
From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/huckabee-wants-leaker-executed/
By David Edwards
Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 — 4:55 pm
The person that gave WikiLeaks 250,000 secret diplomatic cables deserves to die, says one Fox News host who is widely thought to be planning a 2012 presidential run.
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee was caught on video at a book signing at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum in Simi Valley, Calif. saying that the leaker should be executed.
“Whoever in our government leaked that information is guilty of treason,” Huckabee said. “I think anything less than execution is too kind a penalty.”
“They’ve put American lives at risk,” he said. “They’ve put relationships that will take decades to rebuild at risk, and they knew full well that they were handling sensitive documents, they were entrusted and anyone who had access to that level of information was not only a person who understood what their rules were, but they also signed under oath a commitment that they would not violate it. They did.”
Continue reading at: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/huckabee-wants-leaker-executed/
From World Socialist Web Site: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/dec2010/obam-d01.shtml
Just hours after Obama pledged to work more closely with Republicans in slashing social spending, the US Congress Tuesday allowed extended unemployment benefits to expire for workers laid off for more than 26 weeks. More than 800,000 workers currently receiving extended benefits will be cut off by the end of next week, with the number increasing to two million by the end of December and five million by April.
The entire political establishment has responded to this impending social disaster with complete indifference. Washington is currently consumed with reaching a bipartisan compromise centered primarily on extending tax cuts for the rich.
Of the 15 million workers officially counted as unemployed, 41 percent have been without work for 26 weeks, according to the Labor Department. Due to the high levels of unemployment, 37 states have until now offered federally funded extensions for up to 99 weeks. The benefits pay an average of $302.90 a week.
The cutoff of unemployment checks will remove the only source of income to working class families already facing crushing financial burdens. An estimated two to four million Americans have already exhausted their benefits, with over 90,000 claimants joining their ranks every week. Those losing their jobs now will only qualify for six months of benefits no matter how long they are without a job.
Continue reading at: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/dec2010/obam-d01.shtml
From Google News: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hP0gwwf6GjLrbQtIYl0_Q39ax6yQ?docId=5ce494c9f7784456898454f1cec170d7
ROME (AP) — Students protesting state university budget cuts clashed Tuesday with riot police who used tear gas and police vans to seal off much of Rome’s historic center to stop the demonstrators from reaching Parliament.
There were no reports of serious injuries or damage. Less violent protests were staged in cities across the country.
The demonstrations came hours before lawmakers approved the contested reform bill many students and professors say will give the private sector too much involvement in the state university system. Protesters claim the funding cuts mean faculty positions will go unfilled.
The protests turned briefly violent as students — about 3,000 in all with a core group of about 200 — poured onto the main thoroughfare of the historic center, throwing eggs, tomatoes and smoke bombs at police.
At one point, protesters tried to overturn a police van. Riot police charged after them, using tear gas.
Full story at: http://www.google.com/hostednews/ap/article/ALeqM5hP0gwwf6GjLrbQtIYl0_Q39ax6yQ?docId=5ce494c9f7784456898454f1cec170d7
From Raw Story: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/denying-vote-propertyless-makes-lot-sense-tea-party-nation-pres/
By Eric W. Dolan
Tuesday, November 30th, 2010 — 1:56 pm
Tea Party Nation President Judson Phillips said denying the right to vote to those who do not own property “makes a lot of sense” during a weekly radio program.
“The Founding Fathers originally said, they put certain restrictions on who gets the right to vote,” Phillips said. “It wasn’t you were just a citizen and you got to vote.”
“Some of the restrictions, you know, you obviously would not think about today,” he continued. “But one of those was you had to be a property owner. And that makes a lot of sense, because if you’re a property owner you actually have a vested stake in the community.”
“If you’re not a property owner, you know, I’m sorry but property owners have a little bit more of a vested interest in the community than non-property owners.”
Continue reading at: http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2010/11/denying-vote-propertyless-makes-lot-sense-tea-party-nation-pres/
PBS had one of its Begathons on tonight. It was hosted by John Sebastian of the Lovin’ Spoonful and featured folk artists of that pre-hippie period before the Cuban Missile crisis threatened nuclear war. Every one was so straight before the crisis and afterward the hair started growing and the songs became overtly anti-war.
One of the songs I still remember was by Jessie Collin Young and the Youngbloods.
Come on People Let’s Get Together
From World Socialist Web Site: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/dec2010/pers-d01.shtml
It is doubtful where there is any greater degree of mystification, in any sphere of economics or politics, than in the way financial market operations are described.
The so-called Irish bailout announced last Sunday is a striking case in point. What has taken place is not the bailout of Ireland. Rather, the Irish government has agreed to the demands from international financial markets that all the resources of the state be deployed to ensure that all Irish debts and financial assets held by banks and financial institutions are paid in full, at the expense of the working class. In other words, it is not “Ireland” that has failed and requires a bailout, but the holders of Irish debt—the European and international banks.
The agreement is expected to cost Irish families an additional €4,000 each, on top of the €4,000 they are estimated to have lost already. And, as if to emphasise that there is no line it will not cross in order to meet the rapacious demands of the financial markets, the government agreed that pension funds would contribute €17.5 billion to the bailout.
No sooner was the agreement announced, however, than the financial wolf pack began lining up its next target … Portugal, Spain or possibly Belgium.
Continue reading at: http://www.wsws.org/articles/2010/dec2010/pers-d01.shtml
Forty years ago we were so unsure and insecure.
If we knew anyone like ourselves we could count those like ourselves on our fingers.
We had a couple of books by the doctors who treated us and perhaps a half dozen censored and expurgated sanitized for the protection of straights ghost written biographies.
Hell many of us were high school drop outs with no legitimacy what so ever.
No jobs, no identification.
Then we started meeting others like ourselves and learned that we weren’t anywhere near as rare as we had thought.
And it turned out the 1960s and 70s were a pretty good time for the first wave of us to come out.
But we were unsure and insecure and so we were easy marks for certain bigots who declared themselves “Radical Feminist/Lesbian Separatists” to push around and turn into scapegoats.
But we were like those folks who ride their bicycles as a group in the cities, the ones called Critical Mass.
And we stopped living in total isolation telling no one about our medical histories.
We made friends with other sisters and in some cases with our brothers too.
And we talked and wrote.
We argued a fuck of a lot with each other too.
And at some point lots of us decided we didn’t need some deep rationalization, some physical justification for our legitimacy.
Some of us looked at “normborns” and decided that even if we took lots of drugs and worked really hard at it we couldn’t be as fucked up as lots of normborns.
Some of us said, “STOP wait one freaking minute. Who died and made you god? Why do you get to judge us? What the Fuck?”
The moment we started asking that of ourselves we became empowered because validation really comes from within and not from some bigot.
We started asking why we should even bother to argue with ignorant bigots like BevJo.
The path to self empowerment is found in ignoring people who only have the power to hurt you with words, if you let them.
BevJo and her clique of sycophants do not have that much weight in my world unless I let them.
When we went to The Day of Remembrance last week the ceremony wasn’t composed of only TS/TG people. Our gay brothers and lesbian sisters were there too.
Just as we are part of most if not all of the Dyke Marches that take place on Pride Weekends around the US.
And we don’t just cave-in any more and cry about how hurt we are.
Turns out that in the years since so many of us started coming out at the end of the 1960s we have our own authors and academics, our own medical personnel.
And when we are pushed we have taken to pushing back.
Our legitimacy doesn’t need validation from some self proclaimed “RFLS”.. It doesn’t come from some psychobabbler or post-modern academic either.
It comes from within.
And we are beautiful courageous people who have overcome a good deal of hatred, bigotry, misogyny and discrimination to get here.
and we are no longer so easy to beat up on.