All month long, I’ve been challenging myself to do tangible writing work every day. I called it the 1,000 word challenge in my Camp NaNoWriMo description, but success not always about writing a certain number of words a day. Some days the right (write) work to do is business planning for the blog, to provide me with a platform for my writing, a place to promote my published work and related activities. Some days the work is editing my work so I can submit it for publication. And still other days are for visioning, for doodling new website layouts and drawing diagrams of how my social media accounts will fit in.
Coming up, I have a new way to hit my 1,000 words a day goal. I’m taking my third online class from LitReactor. I’ve taken an erotica writing class from Rachel Kramer Bussel, and a grammar class. This one is called “Writing from your Queer Heart” by Cooper Lee Bombadier. The class starts tomorrow and runs to May 24th. We already have lectures and assignments uploaded, I’M SO EXCITED. There are only 6 people in the class, which I think will be really cool, given the topic. Right now I am having difficulty not just diving in… but I have to finish this post and also, do some work.. I guess.
Work has been really tough lately. Not the actual work, which is actually not very challenging normally. I’ve gone up the learning curve and now I’ve plateaued. The really rough part of my current job isn’t the work, it’s the culture, the management style and sometimes, the difficulty collaborating in a highly hierarchical organization where I have responsibility for the success of my projects, but not much power over the resources I use. Throw in the changing priorities, requirement to do multiple kinds of status and activity reports and… I don’t fit in well any more. My company got bought out almost 2 years ago and myself and my co-workers went from super high morale to ‘get me out of here’ before we hit the year and a half mark. I’m actively seeking a new job and doing my best not to completely phone it in while I eagerly search for my escape route.
Speaking of things that are tough, the bumper crop of transphobic bathroom laws and proposed laws popping up across the country have made it pretty tough to be a non-passing trans or gender non-conforming person. There are stories from all over the country about people being harassed trying to use women’s restrooms. So far I haven’t heard anything about someone being harassed in a men’s room, but that’s not surprising. The target of bathroom policing is non-passing trans women and others who don’t conform to the viewer’s idea of who belongs in a particular gender segregated space. None of the rhetoric has been about men concerned about trans men taking pee in the same room. The groups sponsoring these bills talk about ‘privacy’ and ‘safety’ and use scare tactics about sexual predators dressing up as women in order to find victims in women’s rooms. We all know that’s a smoke screen and none of their reasoning holds up to scrutiny any more than toilet paper is going to help you clean up an overflowing toilet. In North Carolina, calls to the suicide hotlines have doubled since the governor (whose name I will not type for fear of invoking his malevolent presence) signed a law that not only restricts bathroom use according to what’s on our birth certificates, but also prevents local jurisdictions from enacting laws that support equal rights for LGBTQ+ people (< though I bet the target audience could be expanded) and overturns any that have been enacted.
I haven’t heard any increased stress and anxiety expressed in my Pizza Klatch groups – yet. My co-facilitator and I have been keeping them informed of the efforts in Washington to introduce bathroom policing and imploring the voting aged students to get registered and be ready to vote against the initiatives that have popped up to continue the work that died in the legislature earlier this year. We hear about students being harassed all over the country for being gender non-conforming or trans and I am not confident we won’t have instances closer at hand. PK has done a great job of creating more awareness for LGBTQ+ issues in the area schools, but that doesn’t mean that all students, staff, faculty and administrators are on board with preventing transphobia. My heart already breaks every time I hear about a young trans person being harassed, assaulted, murdered or committing suicide – I can’t even think about it happening to one of the youth in our area, or my own group or my kid. But that’s where we are, that’s the world we live in right now. Bullies who have grown up and gotten elected and promoting hate under the guise of safety and privacy. We all know what it’s really about, don’t we?
Transphobia overwhelmingly targets trans women and contains elements of misogyny and homophobia. And all of those have roots in the idea that women are inferior, that anything feminine is inferior. No one is safer because of those laws. You want to stop sexual assaults? Figure out how to stop straight cis men from raping. But we can’t do that, can we? Because that would start to look like we were going to hold men accountable and boys will be boys, won’t they? As some memes have pointed out, given the complete lack of evidence that trans people have assaulted anyone in a bathroom, ever, the real way to make those spaces safer is by restricting the access of Catholic priests, Republican politicians and other statistically prolific sexual predators.
Anyway, I know I’m mostly preaching to the choir, but I needed to vent a little bit. I’m scared, scared and exhausted. I want to get on with doing the great, beautiful, amazing things of life and we keep getting dragged back down into this mire with people who can’t figure out that they are the problem, they are the enemy of safety and privacy. They are the enemy of love and I just want to concentrate on loving.
Hug someone you love today. Take a moment to reach out to a trans person or someone who is nonbinary or gender nonconforming. Come out as an ally, please. If it’s safe, of course. And if it’s safe, speak out when you can to shut down people stuck in the ignorant mud bog of believing that trans people are scary and dangerous. Conservatives are making us the new boogie man, the new scary monster to replace gay marriage. People crossing and obliterating gender conformity have always been an easy mark. Sometimes those people become revered super stars, but not everyone can be Bowie or Prince. Most of the time gender outlaws are the ones getting beat up on the playground, spit on in the hallways, beaten or murdered in alleyways and homes they might have felt safe in. If you can, if it’s not unsafe, please show your support of gender outlaws in your life. Do it today, do it tomorrow, keep doing it. Hopefully others will join you in that support. Ok, enough rambling. Take care, love each other.
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