It’s that time of the year, time to celebrate the second-ever International Transgender Day of Visibility on March 31, 2010. Originating in Michigan last year, Rachel Crandall of Transgender Michigan started a movement by posting the idea on Facebook. Since then, events have happened all over the world. According to Crandall, she wanted to show the positive side of the transgender world rather than focusing only on the Day of Remembrance which remembers those who perished because of transphobic hate crimes. If you are on Facebook, be sure to look up the page and share the information with others. If you are looking for ideas for how to celebrate, you can look to see what other people are doing. If you already know, take a minute and share your ideas with our readers. Here in California, the day coincides with Cesar Chavez day so many schools are closed and some campuses have decided to celebrate the day early or late to maximize visibility. Our local college is planning a Gender Bender Fashion Show this week, followed by informational tabling and displays on Monday the 29th, a couple days earlier. The plan is to have free temporary tattoos available and t-shirts to buy or order. What are your ideas?
Have you noticed the nifty widget of Coyote Grace, one of our favorite folk bands, over there on the right hand side of this website? With a rocking redhead and a charmingly handsome transman, this band has been paying dues on the road for awhile. We had the pleasure of seeing them live at Chico State this year and hearing them talk about their journey together during Joe’s transition. Their music was mesmerizing and reflected all the usual themes of love and loss with an added layer of complexity reflecting identity changes in the mix. Click on the widget over there to hear more of their music. (Check out the poignant lyrics to Ghost Boy on their main fan page while you are at it.)
We didn’t think it could get any better, but they will be opening for four shows for the Indigo Girls, queer folk legends, in late March:
Tuesday, March 23rd, in Corvalis, OR
Wednesday, March 24th, in Reno, NV
Thursday, March 25th, in Santa Rosa, CA
Friday, March 26th, in San Francisco, CA
Again, go to the widget on the side of the page, to get updated news about their tours and sign up for their mailing list if you want to keep current. It’s always fun to watch a band hit the big time. When they are genuinely amazing people, it’s even more of a pleasure….
Taking a break right now from watching people file in to the Grammy’s to catch you guys up on Lucas Silveira, the vocalist and guitarist for the Canadian band the Cliks. Lucas recently won the Sexiest Canadian Man award in an online poll for CHART (www.chartattack.com) and is in the middle of major changes in his band the Cliks. By the way, rumor has it that the Cliks is a contraction of clits and dicks! The Cliks record under the Warner music label in Canada and the Tommy Boy label in the U.S. Their music has been called rock, alternative, pop or indie, and even punk. The band’s music has been called a cross between the Pretenders and David Bowie. Major albums to date are The Cliks (2004), Snakehouse (2007) and Dirty King (2009).
The band toured in the True Colors Tour in 2008 along with Cyndi Lauper, the B-522s and Tegan and Sara. In the midst of a major transition, the newest members of Clik backing Lucas are Brian Viglione (of Dresden Dolls) and Tobi Parks, replacing queer-identified Jen Benton and Morgan Doctor in a break-up that has been said to be acrimonious. Apparently, being on the road “beat us up and knocked us out” according to Silveira.
Silveira has hinted that a new album is in the works for this Spring with the new band members. Silviera dropped out of music school and is basically self-taught. His swagger, flowing tattoos, and signature tie scream confidence and bravado which, no-doubt, has helped during recent periods of tremendous personal and professional turbulence. Sacrificing the use of male hormones in order to maintain his singing voice, Silveira’s voice and presence create an indelible image in the minds and hearts of his fans. To check him out for yourself, click on www.thecliks.com for news and music.
Maybe you’ve seen those guides lately that show you how to make healthier choices when eating out. I know I recently used my iphone app called Eat This Not That during a recent restaurant outing. I thought it would be interesting to use the same technique with businesses that do or don’t support the GLBT community.
Did you know it is still legal in 29 states to fire someone for being lesbian, gay, or bisexual? As of the beginning of 2010, it’s still legal in 38 states to fire an employee for being transgender. Given this appalling state of affairs, it makes sense for progressive people to support businesses that support diversity.
The Human Rights Campaign just came out with an updated buyer’s guide for 2010. Business are rated on a scale of 0 to 100 with 100 being the highest score possible. Scores are based on whether or not businesses have policies that support LGBT people (anti-discrimination protections, domestic partner benefits, diversity training, transgender includsive benefits and external practices.) For a full list of businesses, you can download a guide from the HRC. It is over 40 pages, though, so we thought we would mention a few notables.
Shop Here: Target (Score: 100)
Not There: Walmart (Score: 40)
Shop Here: Staples (Score: 93
Not There: Office Depot (Score:45)
Shop Here: Chili’s (Score: 100)
Not There: Cracker Barrel (Score:15)
Stop Here: Chevron (Score: 100)
Not There: Exxon (Score: 0)
Stay Here: Hyatt (Score: 100)
Not There: Loew’s Hotels (Score:45)
Shop Here: AT & T (Score:100)
Not There: T-Mobile (Score: 50)
Insure Here: Allstate (Score: 100)
Not There: Humana (Score: 45)
Go to www.hrc.org/buyersguide to get a complete listing. Then think about supporting businesses that support us and putting your money where your values are.
The movie Avatar has us thinking about creating more community connections with our fellow bloggers out there, so we went looking for a variety of interesting blogs that would appeal to our readers. Here are ten to check out now:
1. Advancing Gender Equality: www.transgenderequality.wordpress.com
This is the blog for the National Center for Transgender Equality and has up-to-date articles and news about political activism.
2. The Bilerico Project: www.bilerico.com
Read this one for “daily experiments in LGBTQ.” With over 75 contributors, this blog received the Advocates “Top Political Blog of 2009″ Award.
3. Gender Variance in the Arts: www.gvarts.blogspot.com
All about movies, writing, tv, politics, etc. You get the idea!
4. Intersex and the City: www.intersexandthecity.blogspot.com
A relatively new blog talking about everything from the legality of intersex surgery to Lady Gaga.
5. Laura’s Playground: www.lauras-playground.com
This blog bills itself as “a Transgender Umbrella Resource Community Online.” Many features are updated daily. Check out the transgender support group meetings online.
6. Pam’s House Blend: www.pamshouseblend.com
Frequent winner of the best of GLBT Blog Award, this site is “an online magazine in the Reality-Based Community” and has a bit of everything.
7. TGForum: www.3dcom.com
This blog has a variety of news, resources, places to shop, and a chat area.
8. Today You are You: www.todayyouareyou.com
Written by the loving mother of a transgender child from an affirmative standpoint. The name is based on a Dr. Seuss quote.
9. Transgriot: www.transgriot.blogspot.com
A finalist for the 2008 webblog awards in the GLBT category, this blog features “news, opinions, commentary, history, and a little creative writing from an African-American transwoman about the world around her.”
10. TransGroupBlog: www.transgroupblog.blogspot.com
This blog is the place “where a variety of voices from within the trans community gather to discuss issues, post news, and compile information.
Happy websurfing. Tell us what you think, and let us know if we are missing one of your favorites!
Would you like to participate in a study?
The study will examine gender ideologies among individuals with various sexual and gender orientation, and parents of those who identify with various sexual and gender orientations.
President Obama surprised the nation by announcing the appointment of Amanda Simpson, a transwoman with a stellar resume designed for the job, as Senior Technical Advisor in the Commerce Department. Reactions were not surprising, with GLBT groups praising the appointment, with conservative groups panicking, and comedians finding fodder for quips. (David Letterman is in big trouble for a joke inferring panic upon learning that Amanda was male-bodied at birth. GLBT activists have stated that the panic-defense is often used by perpetrators in cases about hate-crimes towards the gender-variant. In this case, do punchlines contribute to punches? ) Personally, we love Rachel Maddow’s response to this appointment, which can be seen, along with more about the controversy around David Letterman) at http://www.transequality.org. A few days after the Simpson appointment, we heard that a major government employment site (www.usajob.gov) added language explicitly banning employment discrimination because of gender identity.
Well Hallelujah! I can’t imagine Bush, Jr. making these moves. Setting an example for America is a good thing. At the same time, I keep asking where is ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act right now? Looks like ENDA is in committees in both the House and Senate. Unfortunately, most bills never make it out of committee. Oh, and if you’ve forgotten your high school civics lessons about how a bill is made into a law, check out our old favorite I’m only a Bill from Schoolhouse Rock on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mEJL2Uuv-oQ
I’ve heard a lot about Amanda but not much about ENDA lately. Are they going to let it, once again, die a quiet death in some remote corner in Washington. Without being able to feel safe coming out in the workplace as gender-variant, any movement forward towards gender-acceptance is threatened. Stalling ENDA is stalling the revolution. For more information on what you can do to help pass ENDA, we again send you to http://www.transequality.org.
Change at the top is exciting, and Simpson could not be more qualified or deserving. But real change will come when Joe Sex-Change doesn’t have to worry about losing his job because his name used to be Josephine.
Things You Can Do:
- Follow ENDA progress at http://endanow.com
- For the House version, check out http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=h111-3017. For the Senate version, check out http://www.govtrack.us/congress/bill.xpd?bill=s111-1584. Both links enable you to also look at a summary of the bills.
- For more information on what you can do to help pass ENDA, we again send you to http://www.transequality.org.
- Go to this link to call or email a legislator (includes suggested wording): http://eqfed.org/campaign/ENDA_CongressionalCampaign_passENDA
- We have also discovered a transgender-specific online employment board: http://www.tjobbank.com/ and a related list of truly gender-inclusive employers: http://www.tjobbank.com/trulyinclusive/