The recent discussions about Trans people and bathrooms has really depressed me lately. So much so that I have not been able to really sort my feelings out to even get them out in writing. I have written a couple drafts for this blog post and I still needs work so please forgive any stumbling and awkward phrasing. For the record I am very much against all the bathroom regulations and the reasons that people are giving for why these regulations have to be put in place. I don’t want to force my beliefs on anyone I just hope that in recounting my person experiences that I will provide a different way of looking at something and maybe a different way to think about things. I keep most of my writing narrowly focused on my own thoughts and experiences because I am the only one I can really speak about and for. Part of what I think is behind this resurgence of bathroom regulations is the idea that people have a right to speak about and for other people and other people’s bodies.
This idea is something that has always baffled me. Where does this right come from and why is it so much a part of our society? This idea goes beyond what is done to Trans people and extends into non-trans people most especially women but, at least to my way of thinking, this also extends into controlling and speaking for the bodies of men. What really baffles me about this idea is that most people in my experience know that this is a toxic idea and barely benefits anyone but we still continue trying to control and speak for other people’s bodies that our not our own.
To ground this into a personal experience, as marginally aware non-binary person I understand that if there is no unisex bathroom options that in order not to create mass hysteria that I have to use the bathroom that aligns with the gender that I currently “pass” as. This is something that I am resigned to but also is an easier experience for me than some of my other Trans friends. Some of these friends have to put a lot of thought into bathroom usage especially my female friends.
The extreme injustice and absurdity of putting Trans Females especially into such a predicament is something that is/has been illustrated by many people both inside and allied with the Trans community and this is not something that I am going to be able to fully address in one blog post but I wanted to at least mention and celebrate the efforts of these people that are too many to name but whose hard work should be noticed (for more in-depth information look up fighting for trans bathroom rights. this is a hot button topic right now and it should be easy to get information that will not fit into this one blog post).
I am just hoping that people take a moment and actually think about the impact of some of the current legislation that is going on right now. When did we as a society get the right to make such broad sweeping legislations against other people’s bodies any other person’s bodies?
Just some things to think about
Note: I specifically did not talk about how the belief that we, as a society, have to right to legislate women’s bodies and reproductive rights. Because I am not going to attempt to speak over anybody else’s narrative but at least to my way of thinking there are some very distinct parallels also if another member of the Trans community would like to further illuminate or educate please feel free. I am just one part of a large, amazingly diverse community and the more voices heard the better. Please remember the views expressed in the main part of my post are mine alone and are not necessarily the views of the GLCC or the moderators of this blog
So many great things have happened within the past few years regarding LGBTQI rights and equality. The Supreme Court ruled that same-sex marriage is legal in all fifty states. Unfortunately, we can still be fired from a job, refused housing, lose housing and so many other civil rights are still not guaranteed to us in Pennsylvania.
Pennsylvania does not have a state law that protects LGBTI persons on many civil rights issues. It is left up to States, Cities, Counties, Municipalities and businesses to add protections for LGBTQI persons.
One Pennsylvania legislator that is trying to change things in Harrisburg is Brian Sims. Brian came to my attention about three years ago when the fight for same-sex marriage came to Pennsylvania. It is great to know that Rep. Brian Sims has won the Pennsylvania Primary Vote to the Pennsylvania General Assembly seat.
- Sims got 39 percent of the vote, while Ben Waxman got 34 percent. The other two challengers Lou Lanni and Marni Snyder finished with 13 percent and 12 percent respectively. Sims had briefly made a run for Congressman Chaka Fattah’s seat in 2nd congressional district, although he eventually dropped out and endorsed State Rep. Dwight Evans.
Sims had briefly made a run for Congressman Chaka Fattah’s seat in 2nd congressional district, although he eventually dropped out and endorsed State Rep. Dwight Evans.
Sims has been in the General Assembly since 2010. He will face no Republican challenge in the general.
The 182nd District includes parts of Wards 2 and 5, as well as all of Ward 8 in Philadelphia. Philadelphia Business Journal
Sims was the first openly gay person elected
to the Pennsylvania General Assembly.
Although he was not sworn in until January 1, 2013,
because Pennsylvania state representatives’ term of
service and legislative duties officially begin on
the first day of December following their election,
Sims shares the designation of being its first openly gay member with
Rep. Mike Fleck (R–Huntingdon), who came out in a newspaper article
published later that day.
Governor Tom Wolf has shown that he supports civil rights for LGBTQI persons and he seems to be striving to make these rights a reality in Pennsylvania.
“Gov. Tom Wolf has called on lawmakers to pass legislation prohibiting housing and employment discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, and gender identity or expression. Current state law prohibits discrimination on the basis of gender, age, race, religion or ethnicity. Twenty-one states and the District of Columbia already forbid employment discrimination based on sexual orientation, according to the National Conference of State Legislators.” Lancaster online
It is extremely important that we elect persons who have our best interests in mind. The fight for our full rights in Pennsylvania is not complete. I hope that you were able to come out and Vote this past Primary Election. Our next civil duty will be called upon us in November and we must vote then too. No matter what your reasons are for voting, it’s getting into that booth and making your voice heard that counts.
Let me know about your issues for Pennsylvania and our LGBTQI rights.
WARNING I AM NOT SUGESTING SELF MEDICATING! TALK TO YOUR DOCTOR BEFORE STARTING OR STOPING ANY MEDICATION!
I am in no way suggesting anyone do what I did. You should talk to your doctor about any medications you do or don’t want to take. But my experience worked for me.
I was on antidepressants for years. I started my female hormones and tetesterone blockers, and found out through research that many people after starting hormones, particularly female hormones, were able to stop taking their anti depressants without a problem. I personally hate being dependant on anything, so I decreased my dosage and weaned myself off of the antidepressants.
In my opinion my depression was in a large part do to the battle I was having by being transgender and not able to be my true self. After not taking the antidepressants any more I still got slightly depressed now and then but nothing compared to what it was. One of my other problems of the depression was dealing with conflict, all of the rage was terrible but since being on the hormones I am much mellower and laid back. I don’t get the road rage when I get cut off or something, I just deal with it.
It did take time to get used to the female rollercoaster in emotions which was not expected by myself. But you do get used to it and I feel after a while it smooth out a good bit.
That’s my Trans point of view.
A Gay Man’s Struggle with Faith,Spirituality,Sexuality,and Recovery-Community Voices On Point Guest post with Dale
Last week I talked a little bit about my personal experiences with being a gay man in recovery from a substance abuse problem. In this guest post I would like to talk about faith and spirituality and how these two things have helped me in my recovery. In very dark times of my life when I want to give up or give in I’ve found that my faith and spirituality are my strongest supports.
I was raised a Lutheran Christian in my small hometown just south of State College PA although I only remember actually going to church on rare occasions and holidays while growing up. In fact by the time I was a teenager I don’t remember going to church at all.
Both of my parents (but especially my mother) spoke highly of Christian values and morals but taking the time to attend services or developing a stronger relationship with the pastor or other members of the congregation was not something that my family ever did when I was growing up and we just fell into what I feel is a common title of non-practicing Christians.
I never vocalized or expressed any of my feelings or concerns over this situation because I was having a lot of trouble dealing with my homosexuality particularly (as I stated in my previous post) during my teenage years.
On top of dealing with my awareness of my own sexuality and the extremely negative viewpoints that society seemed to have about it I also grew fearful of the Christian faith specifically Catholicism because of what I saw as their very passionate anti-gay views. One thing that I remember distinctly from this period of my life was the term “Pray the Gay away” this phrase haunted me for the longest time because it made me feel like my sexual orientation was one of the most damaging of sins and that somehow I was possessed by gay demon that only prayer and miracles could free me from. If I wasn’t able to expel this evil gay demon there would be no chance of me walking through the pearly gates into heaven.
In spite of all of this for the next 10 years as a teenager I would best describe my religious affiliation as a confused by still hopeful agnostic. I just knew that there had to be something out there that would accept me but I hadn’t found it yet.
When I moved to Pittsburgh during my 20’s and fully embraced the gay party scene because being a person from a small town moving to a bigger city that is what I thought gay men did. And when I say I embraced the party scene I embraced it with a vengeance, my mid 20’s were rough and I am grateful to have made it out alive. I didn’t have any real role models to show me any different and the media of the time painted the gay lifestyle as driven by alcohol and drugs.
Needless to say without going into too much of the unimportant details I found myself in the sobering rooms of Alcoholics and Narcotics Anonymous by the age of 26 a step that was much needed and much overdue.
By committing to these programs and the recommended 12 steps I felt that I was finally on the road to a sober happy life. But I quickly ran into problems because of my struggles with religion and spirituality and the AA programs strong relationship with God and Christianity. I was unsure how to be a Gay man going through recovery.
Fortunately, I found some great liberal friends in the meetings that gave the support and the advice I needed to find my own Higher Power of some kind that was greater than myself and my addiction.
By luck or possibly some kind of miracle this advice was given to me when I was going back to college and one of my classes was called “Religions of the World” and after a few classes I quickly fell in love with the Buddhist faith of Southern Asia. I found myself reading everything I could about the Buddha and his teachings (aka the Dharma). I also watched every video I could find on the internet and even started attending services at two local temples.
I felt that these teachings were perfect I felt connected to them and they weaved into my ideas of a new sober life. The meditation practices I learned helped mellow out my wild tendencies and gave me the focus to find new answers inside myself to the questions that always plagued me about my sexual orientation. I began following the teachings of the Dali Lama and an enlightened monk name Sogyal Rinpoche.
If I were to sum up the teachings of the Buddha into three main points to live up to they would be:
1. Commit not a single unwholesome action (which to me means do no harm).
2. Cultivate a wealth of virtue (I translate this to mean helping others as much as I can because by doing so I will also benefit)
3. Tame this mind of ours ( personally I feel that my mind has been far from tame and rarely in control. Mediation has helped me with this greatly).
Also, I have never personally heard anything negative about my sexuality from any of the Buddhist teachings and this has meant the world to me. It just seems that in Buddhism it just isn’t that big of a deal who I fall in love with in so much that I give myself the opportunity to fall in love making the most of the short time I’ve got on this planet and for that I am truly grateful to call myself a Buddhist.