I see you. I love you. I’m here for you.

Now is a really good time to support Trans Lifeline and ACLU Nationwide. I am out of patience so I won’t wax poetic about why this is so important right now in America. You should know. I shouldn’t have to explain why you should care or why this matters.

My husband said it pretty eloquently: “America is no longer a beacon of morality. We are no longer an example of functional democracy. There is a deep cultural wound that divides us, and it’s not something that can be compromised upon. There is no middle ground on civil rights. You either accept people, or you don’t.”

For all my trans friends & those brave souls who fought for a country that hasn’t fought back for them: I see you. I love you. I’m here for you. Please tell me what I can do to help. I will be RT’ing everything I can find and promoting trans voices today so hit me up on twitter.

🏳️‍🌈❤️💛💚💙💜🏳️‍🌈

Rest In Peace Harper Lee

Harper Lee

“I wanted you to see what real courage is, instead of getting the idea that courage is a man with a gun in his hand. It’s when you know you’re licked before you begin, but you begin anyway and see it through no matter what.”

It is a very sad today. Harper Lee has passed away.

I, like many many people, cherished my first reading of To Kill A Mockingbird. It was a turning point in how I saw other people and empathized with them – you’re told these things as a kid but you can’t really know what it means until you experience it. This is a book that I’m happy to see on many required reading lists and it’s a book that I feel many people in seats of authority should read (and re-read). Despite being written in the 60s, this book resonates hard with today’s society. It is still (sadly) relevant with morals that are often forgotten now.

I am sad that Harper Lee has left this world, but she lived a full and good life surrounded by books and a powerful legacy that we should never let fade. In celebration of her life, read your kids her book. Teach them that kindness and fairness are important and that’s it the character of a man that is essential, not what he owns or how much money and status he has or what the color of his skin is. “I think there’s just one kind of folks. Folks.”

I truly hope you rest in peace, Harper Lee, knowing that your positive impact on the world will last for a very long time. Your name and your work will never be forgotten.

Humanity and the actions at UC Davis

I don’t even really know where to start on this. I used to blog politically here a lot more back in 2007 but have tried to refrain from that for several reasons now. This, however, has struck such a nerve in me that I have to say something.

Police Pepper Spray Peaceful Protestors

First, if you live under a rock (or another country) and don’t know about the incident of police brutality on the UC Davis campus, then read this and watch the videos if you can stomach them. I almost didn’t. I couldn’t get through the whole thing without working myself into such anger that I had to leave the room. It’s hard to watch. It’s hard to believe something like this would happen in our day.

Why? Maybe I live in a bubble. The Occupy movement here in Austin has been dramatically more civil than in other parts of the nation. While there have been a few arrests, there’s been little to no drama, and the APD has been supportive of the safety of the protestors to the extent that they willingly stop downtown traffic to allow the protestors to parade through the streets. I think this is a direct reflection of the education system in Austin and the high acceptance and tolerance levels in our liberal Texan city. We’re lucky. Some folks, like the students and faculty at UC Davis, are not. The police man who pepper sprayed the young and old who sat on the sidewalk with their arms linked in peaceful protest did nothing but prove that peace and solidarity and the strength of community can and will win out over violence.

It makes me despair in the future of humanity, but gives me hope that there are people out there who will give their all to preserve peace.

The Despicable Actions of the Administration

This arcticle by UC Davis professor Bob Ostertag is the best article I’ve read so far about the protest and why it and the actions of the administration were so horrendous. He mentions to the health and safety hazards of pepper spray and how, days after the brutal attack, there are several students who are still sick and burned from the chemicals.

“As with chili peppers, some people tolerate pepper spray well, while others have extreme reactions. It is not known why this is the case. As a result, if a doctor sees pepper spray used in a prison, he or she is required to file a written report. And regulations prohibit the use of pepper spray on inmates in all circumstances other than the immediate threat of violence. If a prisoner is seated, by definition the use of pepper spray is prohibited. Any prison guard who used pepper spray on a seated prisoner would face immediate disciplinary review for the use of excessive force. Even in the case of a prison riot in which inmates use extreme violence, once a prisoner sits down he or she is not considered to be an imminent threat. And if prison guards go into a situation where the use of pepper spray is considered likely, they are required to have medical personnel nearby to treat the victims of the chemical agent.

Apparently, in the state of California felons incarcerated for violent crimes have rights that students at public universities do not.”

Thank you

The Shadow was Only a Small & Passing Thing

When using your VOICE becomes a crime so heinous it “forces” officers to use violence on children, my faith in humanity dwindles. My heart breaks. And at the same time, my spirit is uplifted by the community of people, young and old, who refuse to give in, who link arms and raise their voices louder, and who, no matter how many times they are beaten and burned and kicked, refuse to act in kind and instead remain peaceful and connected in their solidarity and beliefs. They remind me that there is still beauty and hope left in humanity and they are the ones that will save us in the end. Thank you to those old souls who know the importance of never giving up for what you believe in.

0-31: Another loss for Civil Rights.

Me and My SunshineI could say it doesn’t matter. That we’ll get them next time. That this doesn’t mean anything in the long run. I could try and convince you that this was a mistake and people really don’t think this way. But I’d really just be trying to convince myself. My faith is wavering a little under these staggering statistics. 31 times gay marriage showed up on the ballot. And despite all the knocking on doors, all the blog posts, and rallies and pride events and positive media attention, all the love and support we received, 31 times, THIRTY-ONE times. We were shot down. Denied the rights that every human being should be born with. This isn’t about religion. Marriage is no longer conducted only within a church.  This isn’t about showing off wedding rings and picking out floral centerpieces. This isn’t about anybody else but us. Our rights to be with the ones we love. This is about people recognizing that as an accepted reality. This is about our government giving us the basic rights that other married couples have. It’s about commitment, and family, and dedication. It’s about sharing a bond and being able to proudly introduce a husband or wife. It’s about not being afraid. And sure, it’s about the tax benefits, and the employment benefits, and government benefits, and being able to see each other in the hospital, and buying a house together, and filing for adoption together, and being seen as a real, honest-to-goodness family, but most of all, most of all it’s about Love.

I could say that none of it really matters because Love isn’t something anyone can deny you. It won’t stop us from carrying on with our lives. It won’t cause us to break down and decide that it’s better off being straight than gay. I’m not going to run away and push my head in the sand and pretend I never liked girls. So it shouldn’t matter, right? I should just brush it off. But I can’t. It does matter. It matters to me and my girlfriend and every couple out there that is being treated like a second-class citizen. And what for? Why are we being treated with such disrespect? Like we’re not good enough to love? Because of bigotry. Because despite our freedom for and from religion, we are still being forced into a box controlled by what other people believe. We are not allowed to have our beliefs if they interfere with the majority. There always has to be sides, it seems, and our government thinks it’s fair to allow the majority to dictate how everyone should live their lives. Our country is slowly losing its identity as the Melting Pot. Conformity is the majority and if you don’t fit in that box, you’re shot down.

It does matter. Losing 31 out of 31 times matters. It’s a heavy weight on the heart. They whisper “Someday” but I’m sick of waiting for “Someday” to arrive. We deserve it now.

Me and My Sunshine

But patience is a virtue, and so is perseverance. We’ll keep fighting, keep talking, keep waving our rainbow flags in the air defiantly. We’ll hoot and holler in your face at every parade and every protest. I’ll keep living the life I’m living. I’ll keep waking up next to my girlfriend every morning and remembering every moment just why I fell in love with her. And I’ll keep questioning why. Why are we not equal? Why are we not seen as a real family? And I’ll keep looking for answers.

And I’ll keep telling myself it’s okay. We’ll get them next time.