This came today from Georgia Equality,
“Transgender Day of Remembrance
Saturday, November 20th
6:30 – 9:30 p.m.
GA State Capitol Courtyard
(Washington St. side)
201 Washington St. SW
Atlanta, GA 30303
Let’s stand together as a community for a vigil in observance of Transgender Day of Remembrance. Throughout the world, people gather every year to pay respect to those needlessly killed by hate crimes against the transgender community, and to call attention to the threat of violence faced by gender non-conforming people.
This event is hosted by the Juxtaposed Center for Transformation, Inc.”
When I think about people actually killing someone because their heart and mind do not match their body, all I can do is shake my head in confusion.
I watched Oprah this afternoon. On it were several people who had gone to see “John of God.” They had each gone for different reasons. Some on the show went to him for healing, some as a journalist and at least one went to prove him a fraud. “John of God” is a spiritual healer in and from Brazil. He performs “spiritual surgery,” or rather, claims that God works through him and sometimes that involves surgery. This surgery is often a scraping of one’s eyeball or inserting this probe up a person’s nose. Most often though, he does nothing that can be seen or even felt. There are thousands of accounts of healing however and the most convincing fact of all may be that he doesn’t charge for his services.
I personally saw this “John of God” myself a few years ago when he came to Atlanta. I was still in ministry then and had been invited to go along with other “clergy.” We were directed to wear all white and were lined up at the front of the huge auditorium and we each introduced ourselves before the healer arrived. We were then ushered into a room and directed to meditate until further notice. At the time, I meditated regularly and sitting still on a hard chair for a couple of hours was relatively easy. We were told not to open our eyes.I had no divine revelation or profound insight.
I’ve always been one to follow directions, a trait that has both served me well and been a curse. I kept my eyes closed and while I had no great insight, I was very aware of when the healer walked through the room we were in. It wasn’t because I heard anything. It felt as if a strange wind had blown through, not a scary wind, but not warm and comforting either. It felt strong. It felt powerful. It felt foreign. After a couple of hours, we were allowed to go before John of God, joining the long line of those hoping for miracles. He simply took our hands and nodded at each of us, as I recall.
I say all that because each of the people on Oprah today, both believers and skeptics say that they were changed by the experience whether healed or not. One man, a doctor in fact, the one who went to prove him fraudulent, said that he now believed we are all so much more than we think. Our lives and living have far more dignity and significance than we think. He said he now feels this life both conceals and reveals our truth (I love that statement, by the way). This doctor went on to say we have no idea who and what we are and how connected we are.
They all spoke of the energy of hope in the room and how they had all been instructed to think loving thoughts. THey all said that combined feeling of hope felt good.
None of what was said on the show today was new to me. I taught it from a pulpit for years. Yet, it struck me as ironic that this aired just a few days before this Day of Remembrance that most won’t even be aware of.
Most are not aware of transgender anything.
Most don’t know a transgender anyone.
Most have no idea people are killed for being trans.
As for the Day of Remembrance, one can’t remember what one doesn’t even know. But, one can remember to be kind, compassionate, fair and even how to love.
It’s like asking what is our default mechanism?
What comes natural to us when faced with something or someone new; someone or something we don’t understand?
Is it kindness or cruelty?
judgment or acceptance?
love or hate?
Since I became a part of the “LGBT community,” my default mechanism isn’t near so trusting as it was before. I hope however, it is still kind.
Kindness really is easy. It does come naturally to us. We started out that way.
Remember to be kind to yourself, too. Let’s all hope. They said it feels good when we all hope together. I guess I need to remember that.
Friday night, Lee and I had the honor, joy and privilege of officiating at the Commitment Ceremony of two beautiful women. We met them for the express purpose of performing their Holy Union, but have become friends.
The ceremony itself was perfect. The location like out of a storybook. That these two are best friends, have a deep and intense respect and love for each other and are both completely committed to the other and to their relationship was obvious and palpable with every action, every word, every touch and every glance.
This in itself is of course, cause for great celebration. I have performed many weddings. Few times have I been as confident the couple were as deeply in love with each other and willing and eager to honor the vows they would make to each other and to themselves as these two women were.
There was though, even further cause for celebration. There were about seventy-five people there, both family, friends and co-workers. There were singles of every gender and color. There were couples of every gender and race. There were straight couples, gay couples and lesbian couples and others like Lee and I where the gender lines were blurred and the bodies did not match the heart that was worn proudly on the sleeve.
We ate, we sang, we toasted and cheered. We danced and laughed and were inspired by the love in the air, in the room and in the hearts of each other. Love seemed to set free by the ceremony itself and some innate human vow to be loving seemed to have been said silently by all, renewed by the example of Donna and Desiree.
Lee and I felt as if we had married each other all over again, proud of the fact that we do still cherish and respect each other each and every day. We were also reminded of how profound the vows of marriage or union or commitment are. A union by any name is just as real. It’s huge and for those vows to be taken seriously and completely is incredibly rare.
The hope I felt then, I feel even now. If seventy-five people can come together in that way, so can seventy-five hundred, seventy-five thousand, seventy-five million, seventy-five billion. Maybe all it takes is a willingness to be inspired by love and renewed by example. I am willing. I am inspired. Are you?
Thank you Donna. Thank you Desiree. May your days be long and joyous upon the earth, indeed and may all you meet be willing to be inspired by the example of love that you are.
Here it is, slide show of Atlanta gay Pride 2010 Parade. This is our first slide show. We hope you like it!
I’m making a slide show with all the Atlanta Gay Pride Parade pictures. I was looking for music to go with the pictures and came across this video. We saw Sugarland in concert a couple of months ago. They were fabulous and are evidently a favorite of the LGBT community. From kids to teens to elderly couples; everyone seems to love Sugarland.
Today, my daughter and I had lunch with the niece of an ex-husband. We had lost touch and hadn’t seen each other in around seventeen years. When she was a teenager, I knew her as a nephew. How ironic is that? Kelly now lives as female and has for many years. I was struck by how respectfully she referred to Lee. While I and even Lee, refer to him often as “her,” and he still goes by his female name in most settings, Kelly consistently referred to him as “he” and “Lee.” I suppose it will take Lee himself staking that claim and requesting that others respect his wishes.
It’s also ironic that we just returned from a visit to Lee’s hometown. While respectful of our relationship, his parents still refer to him and think of him as their daughter. We ran into an old church youth pastor who called my husband “Princess.” Now, that was weird. I suspect though, that were Lee to make that request of his family, at least his parents would comply. Maybe I am assuming too much, but they love their child.
While there, we also had dinner with several other family members including Lee’s cousin who is a Lesbian. She has been in a committed relationship with her partner for over a dozen years. They own a house and business together. During the dinner conversation, she began to tell a story of a recent event. In the telling , she referred to her partner as her “friend.” Lee said on the way home, “It’s no wonder we have come no farther when we devalue ourselves and those we love to that extreme so that someone else will not feel uncomfortable.”
As another note for the day, one might wonder what is in the water where Lee is from. Remember, his brother is gay. So is this cousin. There are seven cousins on that side of the family, three of which are LGBT. That’s almost half of that generation of that family. Yet, if truly 15% of the population is and always has been, then three out of every twenty people are gay, lesbian, bisexual or trans-gender. Three out of every extended family. Three out of every school classroom. I would hope the children in those classrooms are kinder. I hope their parents are less fearful. I hope their families are more loving.
I saw at my long-lost niece’s house, the “Milk” DVD sitting on top of the television. Kelly, Lee, his brother and his cousin are all no less hero’s than Harvey Milk. They have paved the way for the next generation, who paves the way for the generation that follows behind them.
As a final note, the highlight of our trip was meeting Lee’s new nephew. He is eleven weeks old and so incredibly adorable. The family ooh’s and ahh’s over him and clearly, the world of many now revolve around this beautiful baby. He has so many people who love him already. I hope those people continue to love him, no matter what. Should he be apart of that 15%, I know his road will be at least a little easier. If he is part of the 85%, his path will surely be a little kinder.
Today is our Anniversary.
Our marriage is of the heart and mind and soul. It is not legal.
It occurred to me today though, that there will come a day when we can legally marry, right here in Georgia.
While it is so unbelievable that we can’t, that such a basic right would be denied, I feel very peaceful about it today.
The end of the lunacy is near. I can feel it.
Happy Anniversary Lee, my love. You are my every dream come true.
I love you more each day. Thank you for loving me.
My daughter Holly, Lee and I sat at Starbucks yesterday, the first time in a long time. The weather was perfect for sitting outside, still warm but that smell of fall and the aroma of my pumpkin latte told the seasonal truth. We’d spent many hours at this very store, in these very chairs, in the early days of mine and Lee’s relationship when Holly was one of the few we dared tell we were in love. The term “coming out” can have so many meanings and layers.
Just a couple of weeks ago, I contacted a long lost cousin I saw on Facebook. After the initial pleasantries, I dove right in and told him of my “lifestyle.” I was half afraid that would end our reconnect. Our family is full of Baptists, deep rooted Southern Baptists, Southern Baptists from the deep south. Instead, he didn’t seem bat a cyber eye, even sharing that his own “lifestyle” of living with his girlfriend instead of marrying her was frowned upon by some of his family. See? from the south, dyed in the cotton Southern Baptists. This “coming out” does get easier each time, but the process seems unending.
Anyway, about Starbuck’s, at the table next to us, sat a young E.M.T. I know that’s what he was because of the badge he wore. He sat there reading almost the whole time we were there. I was sitting so I that had a straight and unblocked view of him. He was like Lee. There was no facial hair or Adam’s apple. His hands, though unmanicured and fairly large, were feminine. Though his build was somewhat stocky, his shoulders were narrow and hips slightly wide. His hair was that of any young man’s and his posture clearly male. He moved and sat as a man. He and Lee seem to not notice each other. None of us mentioned him.
I had so many questions I wanted to ask him. When had he known? How had his parents responded to their little girl in boy’s clothing, wanting only boyish things? Was he going to physically transition, legally? Did others see him as trans or lesbian? Did he date or marry a lesbian or a heterosexual woman, like me? How did her family and friends respond? No one cared about his gender identity while he was saving their life, did they?
The question I didn’t need to ask was whether he wanted to answer those questions. I knew what he wanted most was to be accepted as male, female body or not. That, and for no one to notice he was different.
The young E.M.T. seemed at ease, comfortable. Lee did as well. Two of the minority of the LGBT minority together, side by side at Starbucks and no one seemed to notice except me. I didn’t notice he was different. I noticed he was the same.