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.

🏳️‍🌈❤️💛💚💙💜🏳️‍🌈

It was one humdinger of a week in the USA. The Boston Marathon bombing, then the gigantic fertilizer plant explosion just two hours north of us here in West, TX – a place we frequent on many a road trip, and then the manhunt back in Boston. What a week. And that sentence right there, well I’m grateful that I can say that. It was one week. One day of fear. I am so thankful we live in a place where a statement like that is a big deal. Last night at the Boston press conference with commissioner Edward Davis, they mentioned that it was a long day of terror. But it was a day, and now it’s over and the sun has come up again.

sunset

We’re so lucky to live in a country where a few days of terror is so rare it makes global headlines. We are lucky to have people who rush forward to help instead of hiding behind doors. We are lucky to have the government we do that allows us access to the media and local resources. We are lucky to live in a free country. We are so very very lucky to live in a place where we are woken up by alarm clocks and not bombs, where our police are there to protect us not take from us, where our president talks about his love for diversity and his pride for the people he governs. My heart goes out to those who aren’t so lucky, to those who live in this terror every day, for weeks, months, years. My love to all those who are not so fortunate.

Second Inauguration & Happy MLK Day!

Patriotic Nikki - Photo by Ashley Niels
Nikki on the National Mall – Photo by Ashley Niels

Four years ago I was on the national mall with millions of other people watching Obama be sworn in as our president. It was the most thrilling & inspiring event I’ve ever witnessed and I’m so thankful we got that opportunity to be there. I still hold that day in my heart – not just for the historical moment itself, but because out of all those millions of people, there was only one rude person. The rest were downright amazing. It’s incredible the things that bring complete strangers together and how, even on the coldest day of the year when everyone is cramped and freezing and uncomfortable, strangers will open their hearts to each other and go out of their way to help those who need it. I know where I wish I could be right now. I think Martin Luther King Jr. would be proud to share this day.

Happy MLK Day and Happy Inauguration Day, everyone!

Today is Voting Day here in the US. A lot is riding on this election. A LOT. From finances, to medical bills, to gender equality to civil rights. It’s an important election. Here are a few thoughts I jotted down last night before going to sleep.

“The closer we get to tomorrow, the meaner and more cruel people on Facebook become – on both sides. I’ve started blocking quite a few people from my News Feed because I’m sick of the hatred being thrown around. Stop talking and act. Go out and Vote. Stand up for what you believe in. Do good, live your life well. That’s what counts. Don’t get mean. Love.

As for me, I’ve just had to stop thinking about tomorrow. You all know my side. You all know who I voted for. You all know who I love and what I stand for. Regardless of who wins, the aftermath is going to be filled with angry, hateful people. Regardless of who wins, remember this. We’re all humans. We all have responsibility. We all have a commitment to this earth and to our fellow people to put as much good into this world as we are able. We are all still Americans. We are citizens of Earth. We are pieces of the same universal stardust that make up our existence. We are the SAME.

Just remember that.”


Me in January 2009 on the National Mall waiting for the inauguration of Barack Obama.

No matter what happens, I will continue to fight for what I believe in.

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.

Viva Wisconsin! I love you!

We Are All Badgers Now!

I was born and raised in Wisconsin – lived there for the first 22 years of my life, and now the whole country has turned their eyes to our little farming state full of corn fields, cows, and Amish folks. I miss it. I miss Wisconsin so bad that sometimes I’ll eat nothing but cheese for days. Brings me a little closer to home.

I just wanted to show my support for my fellow Wisconsinites. To the teachers and firefighters, the policeman and the rest of the middleclass union workers who have taken over the streets of Madison and to the thousands of supporters who have chosen to protest the treatment of their fellow man. You inspire me. I am there in spirit, walking beside you, and demanding fair treatment. I miss you all.

My feet may be in Texas, but my heart is in Wisconsin.

The Girl Who Silenced the World

Sixteen years ago at the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (Earth Summit) in Rio de Janeiro, Severn Cullis-Suzuki was twelve years old. The founder of the Environmental Children’s Organization (ECO), she was there to speak to all the adults and tell them exactly what was on her mind.

She is now thirty years old, a published author, a celebrated environmental activist, and her words ring true to this very day. We still have a lot to learn.

(Many thanks to BitRebels for the introducing me to this video.)

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.

The Political Lesbian.

This is probably some of the most exciting news I have heard yet (undoubtedly for personal reasons which I feel I don’t really have to say – my biased point of view is most likely well-known to those of you who are reading).

“Obama Picks Lesbian To Be White House Associate Counsel.”

Of course her orientation doesn’t have anything to do with why she was picked, but it does give reason for celebration by the GLBT community for finally being given some limelight in the White House. Alison Nathan has a big job to do when it comes to legal matters, but I feel like this is yet another HUGE step in terms of civil rights. All of a sudden, the ball is in our court and things might actually start getting done. She’s been working for Obama for awhile (being the head of his Gay Advisory Committee) and his decision in picking her is an unspoken promise that everything is going in the right direction.

(See? Sometimes I can be like a good, little, political lesbian.)

Me being Patriotic.

And just to prove that I was, in fact, on the National Mall (in case you didn’t believe me), have a photo.

Me

Me, waiting for the inauguration to start. I didn’t know Ash was taking this picture, otherwise you would have gotten more of a smile from me. It was a cold day, but I was warm for the most part and the day was sunny and blue and beautiful. Yes, it was worth it. (Note the red, white, and blue scarf – see, I was patriotic!)