Monday, February 29, 2016

this is the city of the dead...

In the Clash song, City of the Dead, the lyrics say “Don’t you know where to cop?  That’s what new york Johnny said. You should get to know your town just like I know mine.” It is referencing when Johnny Thunder’s came to England and needed heroin and asked the band where to get it and they did not know. For some reason it is a particular favorite of mine. I reminds me of that sharp, fucked up, jaded, junkie wit. And then of course the Joe Strummer appreciating it too and making it into a pretty great song. I love the phrasing of the line. Small things that are cool mean so much to me. I'm just not the blockbuster type.

Saturday, February 27, 2016

say it again, sam

Oh man, the Academy really messed up by excluding two of the songs nominated for best original song from being performed on tomorrows broadcast.

It is not the first time the Academy has made this bad decision, they have excluded songs a few times in the past, although generally all of the songs are performed or none. The official statement is that the exclusion was done due to time constraints. No matter the reason, it is never a good idea to cruelly tell nominees that their song is not important enough. Don’t bother with the nomination if you are not going to have a fair playing field. Think about it.

The person who made the decision to make the cuts did something incredibly thoughtless and really dropped the ball. By having Anohni, one of the most sensitive and beautiful singers of our time, not grace the stage at the Oscars this year, they deprived the world of experiencing something incredible, such a loss for everyone. I am so deeply saddened by their poor choice and it’s consequences. The other excluded song, Simple Song #3, is also a beautiful work, a classical piece, and would also have added positively to the broadcast.

Needed to say that. I hope the person who made this bad decision, receives some flack and learns a very needed lesson. xH

Posting it again

Friday, February 26, 2016

the things we do

When I was doing fertility I got pregnant and I had to inject myself with a hormone twice a day every day for weeks on end to help support the pregnancy. The hormone was in a thick oil suspension, I think it was sesame oil. The needles were fat because the oil was thick.  It really hurt.  I had a miscarriage at 12 weeks.

Gee, that sounds so sad. It was at the time. It was sad because I tried so hard to get pregnant and carry it to full term. And the losses were just devastating, but even typing this, there is no residual sadness. I have no regrets or lingering pain for two reasons. First is that I have the two best kids in the world, the perfect ones I was meant to have, which ever way they chose to come to me. Second is that I really processed the pain at the time so there is nothing left. I was very present for it all, which is a great thing to do, because you are keep things real clean and then you do not have to clean up a mess of feelings later, like when you are typing late on a Friday evening.

Anyway, I will proceed. I was not intending a sad story but a funny one, because after 150 or more shots of oil injected into my butt, it took its toll. My lovely butt got wrecked by the process, which wasn’t ideal. And it hurt for years after that. Years. The muscle and tissue really took a bruising from so many pokes and were tender for so long. 

Gee the story still doesn’t sound funny. But somehow it is to me. Because it had such a happy ending. This incident was part of a bigger process. The same way someone can laugh about the awful painful events of childbirth, my childbirth just took a different form. My body was never the same, Ha! Life is so funny. I am so lucky.

Anyway, the pain you might be in just may be birthing pain that gives way to something so much better that you can laugh about it someday, something so much better than you  can ever imagine.

Anohni is not performing at the oscars!

by Anohni, Oscar Nominee for best song (“Manta Ray” with composer J. Ralph)

here is the beautiful song:

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Ode to my band:

Other Side of My Brain is my new band and I am crazy about it. I had thought for sure I was done with music. I was happy not to deal with the hard parts of that career ever again. And then a course of events not only got me to play a show, but got me back in a band. And now I am so crazy over my band and playing. It is such a gift. It gives me energy and makes me a better mother, more available, more patient, less stressed. it is shocking how these things work. How time expanded for me when I did something creative for myself and did an act of service. I am playing for me, but also to use and share my gift generously. So weird but true. I am in awe. Gotta go write a song. See ya later.


Here are the highlights to the course of events, which are still shocking to me:

Talked a little about it at the end of this blog

and this one where I really do not want to play my show, dreading it:

this one right after the first show:

this one, where I realized that I was agreeing to be in a band, after I was asked and needed to think about it for a spell:

this one where I realize I am in the flow after playing my show:


Tuesday, February 23, 2016

I don’t work, I just speed, that’s all I need

I did not pay attention to this post when I first saw it, but I love it because it says: Late sleepers are more intelligent. And more creative. We stay up to honor our creative impulses. I am loving life right now. Thanks for sending it to me Andrea. I am sharing it to remind all you night owls to honor that trait. Brilliant.

Monday, February 22, 2016

he was leaving me on the street and I grabbed onto the back of his bike and screamed, “Don’t leave me!”

Something happened that reminded me of breaking up with a guy many years ago. When he came over to get his stuff I made sure I was not there, which was almost impossible because I loved the drama of engaging. But I kept away. He brought over my stuff but did not bring my Ramones frisbee. I took that to mean that he too loved the drama of engaging (which might also mean he loved me?), but who knows. Anyway, I really wanted that Frisbee. It was so cool to me at the time, but I let it go. I can still feel the excruciating pangs of addiction withdrawal. Right before we formally broke up, it was already over and he was leaving me on the street and I grabbed onto the back of his bike and screamed, “Don’t leave me!” I wish I had a film of that but I can still see it in my mind.

It is so easy to write about such a potentially embarrassing experience for two reasons. One reason, a favorite of mine, is it is really funny to me now because “Comedy = tragedy + time.”

The other reason is that none of the dramatic stuff going on is ever about the person it is directed at. It is all about a core issue, the core wound. My abandonment happened long before I ever even met him. He was just a teacher, a facilitator on my journey. Corny but oh so true. Thanks, mac. We are actually warm acquaintances these days. Peace on earth, brothers and sisters.

Ahh, an excuse to post one of the great heartbreak favorite kind

Sunday, February 21, 2016

the Lower East Side person i have known the longest..

Two days ago I posted some quotes curated by Francis Sappho and it made me want to write this…

Back then we called him Frank...

Frank was there at the apartment when I went, as a young teen, to meet up with an older guy I met at a club. The guy gave me his number and I called it. I left Catholic school in my uniform with a tee shirt under my blouse, and I slipped on my bondage pants and boots and carried my school bag across town to Ave B in 1982 to visited the guy. He lived in the basement under Frank’s apartment. I climbed down a hole in the floor in Frank’s place and jumped to a crate to enter the space. That was the first time Frank and I met.

Franks was on the LES music scene so he was around me all the time, floating in and out of my peripheral vision. I saw his bands many times. For some reason my girlfriend, with her thick Brooklyn accent, always did an impression of Frank’s girlfriend saying “Where’s the tuner, Frank?” It was a running impression in the soundtrack of my youth. When I moved out of my boyfriend’s place in 1994 or so I lived with Frank for a month and stayed a few days extra. He was a lovely roommate and was nice about my inability to be organized and leave. Frank made my accompaniment tape for two different Black Lips shows, playing the guitar on Bowie’s “Moonage Daydream,” which I sang with Marti Love Forever in a show I forget, and on Patti Smith’s “We Three” which I sang solo for the Jack the Ripper show at some museum. He is indeed a talented, generous musician. I remember him being an anarchist when I was and later he came to my Greendoor parties.  These days we both are parents and I see him on facebook and we say hi once in a while. The man is solid, technically the person I have known longest from the music scene, and yet we hardly know each other at all.  Love to you, buddy!

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Friday, February 19, 2016

We all have the extraordinary coded within us, waiting to be released

Frank posted these quotes on hs facebook page and I am letting them be tonight’s inspiration. He is one of the people I knew the longest from the LES. We never knew eachother well, but has been weaving in and out of my story for almost 35 years. more on him to come, but for tonight:

"We do not grow absolutely, chronologically. We grow sometimes in one dimension, and not in another, unevenly. We grow partially. We are relative. We are mature in one realm, childish in another. The past, present, and future mingle and pull us backward, forward, affix us in the present. We are made of layers, cells, constellations." ~Anais Nin

“When you reach the end of what you should know, you will be at the beginning of what you should sense.” ~ Kahlil Gibran

~The goal of life is to make your heartbeat match the beat of the universe, to match your nature with nature.~
- Joseph Campbell

"There is a light being turned on in the darkness and its called Awakening. We all have the extraordinary coded within us, waiting to be released." ~Jean Houston ..*

alas, onward and upward

you can’t be it if you can’t see it.

I want to see success modeled for girls. I want to see all the options out there. It is so embarrassing to have to explain to your child, boy or girl, that women are paid less than men for the same job. Women’s rights are such an important issue. That’s all I got tonight.

Wednesday, February 17, 2016

wake up maggie

Back in the youthful days of promiscuity, I encountered a handful of men who were willing to participate, but only so far. When I invited them up at the end of the night they declined. They came along for the ride, were into me, acted like it was going to happen, certainly kissed and what not, but stopped short of whatever. The reasoning drove me crazy. A few said “I have to get up early tomorrow” or something else to that effect. They drove me crazy because they were not doing what I wanted but also because I could never imagine how anyone would postpone LIFE because they had to get up the next day. They were out late at some kind of nightlife place already. What were they looking for or expecting? I never saw the bigger picture. I was young and wild and living life to the fullest in the meager ways I knew how. I could not see any perspective past my own. One said “I’d better not.” Another said “I should be good.” It was all mind blowingly infuriating and frustrating. Who cares about being good? Better not?!? I had no idea that they were doing me a favor, for whatever reason it was not supposed to happen. Even on the simplest level of: they are not livers of life in the same way I am.

This is just a silly example to remind me that rejection is protection and that my perspective is not the only one in play.

I will say that there was one cool guy who explained that it was too soon and not a good idea for him, that he wasn’t good with stuff like that. He was so refreshingly sincere. But alas, not everyone is capable of that.

It is also a silly reminder for me to communicate clean and clear. That always feels the best in the end.

The hysterical part is that I postpone so called “LIFE”, my creative impulses and whatnot, I postpone that all the time because I am exhausted and have to get up the next day for that other thing called “LIFE”, the other thing I chose, the thing which demands me to get some boring rest, being a mom.  Life rocks.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

F*cking internet

Urg, I was doing research for one of these pieces and the most horrible thing came up when I searched my topic. It was something different, a shared name, and I read one of the most vile things. I wrote a more detailed post but then deleted it and went with this vague one because I realized that I did not want to call attention to the horror, I did not want to come up in anyone’s search looking for that horror, I did not want to put it into any of your consciousnesses and I did not want any feedback or to discuss it further. I just want distance. It might be so farfetched as to be untrue. I hope so. Sorry for the lame post but I needed to expel it somehow from my mind, so I am typing it out.

For clarity’s sake, it is not an issue that needs light shed or that any victims need help. I am not censoring, just protecting psyches. The internet can lead you down dark paths. I never seek that darkness. Whoa, there is a fucked up world out there. I lived some of it first hand, so I should know, but I have no intention of going back. Fucking internet.

I am so lucky to live in the world I live in, made up of the things of my choice as much as possible. Love always wins.

Monday, February 15, 2016

I used to live in the west village across the street from a gay bar with a notorious reputation

I used to live in the west village across the street from a gay bar called the Ninth Circle, which had a notorious reputation. I never went inside. The entrance at one point had a painting by the amazing artist Martine, who did a lot of work for Patricia Field’s. It was very inviting. There were a lot of hustlers on the block, a lot of young guys sitting on my stoop, waiting for action. I would step over them coming and going. One time I was sitting in my stoop with my cute young blonde preppy boyfriend and an older out of shape balding guy propositioned him by whispering something in his ear that made him blush. He turned the guy down but what was said was so pornographic that he could not repeat it to me when I asked. He  never told me, never did. Of course I know the gist of it, but I was curious as to the specific language to a stranger with his girlfriend on a sunny afternoon.  I am a story teller, I like characters, I like details.


Ahhh, an opportunity to post one of my fav songs… wrong sentiment but so what

Sunday, February 14, 2016

Every Sunday growing up

Every Sunday growing up we would go down to my grandparents apartment on west 98th street and Amsterdam, in upper manhattan. The soundtrack of that time was car horns blasting “La Cucaracha,” and the telenovela on the TV. The building hall smelled like urine but the apartment smelled of the best food in the world, fried, garlicy and latin. The couch and chairs were covered with plastic that stuck to your bare sweaty legs when you wore shorts on a hot humid day. The tin ceiling was painted a million times and the green linoleum with big pink roses curled at the edges. The bathroom sink had two faucets with tinny handles, one side was scalding water, the other icy, so it was really hard to rinse your hands. My grandmother would squeeze me way too hard and smother me against her, my face pressed into her garlic smelling sleeveless house dress and her loose fleshy garlic smelling arms. I was afraid of the hug but thrilled to be there and see my cousins and eat her food and candies and cakes and cafĂ© con leche with sugar. We stayed all day, usually watching The Wonderful World of Disney, hoping it would be an animated episode. Then we took the Westside Highway back up to Inwood as the sky blackened and the orange glowing highway lamps lit our way along the Hudson.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

going home

 6 years ago Feb 13 also fell on a Saturday. 6 years ago I got to watch my daughter being born. I had the privilege of being given a perfect beautiful baby. I got to sleep in a skinny little hospital bed that I shared with my husband next to my daughter’s bassinet and experience for the first time being woken every three hours out of deep exhausted sleep to give her bottles and change her diaper. I staggered down the hall in my pajamas to change her with the help of a nurse, because it was my first newborn diaper. I cheered when I got the first burp out because I couldn’t get one for a while and the nurses had to keep doing it for me. Many more things happened that day. My life was forever changed. I will never forget it. I never for a moment take it for granted. So very lucky. So very grateful. So very tired. So very happy. How time flies. Take a sec to be here now.

Friday, February 12, 2016

3 strippers, nyc, the eighties

(There is no accounting for taste so forgive my judgmental teenage self’s comments if I am talking about you, as we peek inside my still developing mind).

During the eighties decade, the eighties popular culture, the music, the films and particularly the fashion, was repulsive to me, a weird anti social teen and young adult.  Shoulder pads, the curly hair tossed back, the high cut underwear and bathing suits, almost all of it was the antithesis of what I found attractive. I used to have to hand tailor all of my clothes because I could find almost nothing on the rack that suited my strong stubborn taste. I am not sure I have ever heard a Duran Duran song, because I was busy rocking the underground music scene to escape what was offensive to me. Oh how I struggled to find underwear that did not want to give me a giant skinny triangle from my crotch to my belly button. Indeed, I used to hand lower the waists of all of my pants into rare and beautiful hip huggers that were impossible to find at the time. I know it is hard to believe but a mere 30 years ago you used to have to work so incredibly hard to find wearable clothes if your taste did not match the dominant style.

So there were these three beautiful girls that looked cool as hell. They were into some underground music scene as well and they too understood that the current popular sensibility was crap. They were friends with each other and happened to be topless dancers who worked probably at Billy’s. I am not sure. They wore a lot of black clothes and black eyeliner and I referred to them in my head as “the Cher girls” because of their long brilliantly straight hair. They must have found a stack of vintage underwear from the 60’s because they always wore these glorious low cut bathing suit bottom style underwear (not sure how i knew that) with cool boots, while almost every other dancer was doing the high cut vile thong and white pumps look, topped off with long yellow curls. (I understand that that is nothing terrible in and of itself. It almost sounds refreshing as I type it,  but at the time I found it oh so very cringeworthy.) 

Anyway, I used to see these girls around town and I always thought to myself how lucky the men were who got to watch them dance, and they probably had no idea. Those girls were just so fucking cool.

Thursday, February 11, 2016

barbecue snapshot 1982, Queens NY

At 15, I went to a barbecue with my boyfriend to some punk rock couple’s house in Queens I think. The couple was quite striking, both were imposing, physically and personality wise, taking up a lot of space and speaking loud and gesturing big, very comfortable in the world, unlike shy quiet almost invisible me. They both were very stylized in their cool plaid or leather pants, boots. and great dyed spiky hair. They were older than us- me, a junior, and my guy, a sophomore. They lived in a house, we lived with our parents in apartments.

I was a vegetarian and a social misfit so I had no idea what to do or how to act at a barbecue in the broad daylight on a hot day. I was overdressed in boots and black. I also did not know how to take care of myself or pay attention to my needs so I was starving, not being a meat eater, and anxious to leave as soon as we got there. I was good at bearing discomfort for a long periods of time and slinked off to the side and kept quiet like a sick cat

Everyone was very sweet and welcoming and funny. At one point the guy put on a pair of swim goggles and made loud noises and charged at a neighborhood little kid who was peeping at us all through the fence. The kid got scared and ran away and we all laughed.

When we left my boyfriend told me that they had whips in their bedroom and that the guy gestured to them and said, “that’s what happens when you get older.” Getting older did not sound good to me.

this is what the first wave of hardcore out of new york sounded like:

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

the story of my life

Oh ok, so it boils down to this. I experienced an unfathomable amount of pain as a child growing up. too much to process at the time, too much for a child to handle, to live through. So as a survival technique it got put aside. Smart move, saved my life, but now I have to deal with it.

So I have this reservoir of hurt that gets bumped into on occasion, by really insignificant people, and I get wrecked, devastated, by someone doing some relatively minor shitty thing. I get triggered by incidents that remind me of some core wound. It is brutal, but it is manageable, because I know what it is, after the initial shock of feeling sucker punched. I do not have to self destruct over the pain, I just have to ride the wave to the other side, have lots of empathy and love for that little kid who was so hurt, find a human who can sit with me and love me through the darkness and get over it as fast as possible. No avoiding it, but I do not need to make matters worse either, with self destructive actions, whatever that might be. Don’t fight it feel it. It is just a feeling. It goes away.

Oh and then I get to thank the insignificant person who caused the chain reaction. Not to their face, but silently, thank you for leading me to deeper healing. I usually add an unattractive adjective to their name and then take it back, because it still fells like it is their fault, but it isn’t. I might even conjure some empathy for them, if i feel like it. They probably have their own story going on, god bless.

The story of my life. It is no one’s fault. Don’t fight it feel it. It changes. Love you guys. I wirte this to remind myself and anyone else who wants reminding. Happiness, or at least peace, in right on the other side of going through the feeling. I promise. xxh

Tuesday, February 9, 2016

While you're alive, shine

While you're alive, shine:
never let your mood decline.
We've a brief span of life to spend:

Time necessitates an end.

i am loving the line that when you are live, shine. I write this to remind myself and you.

the poem comes from an ancient greek song that you can hear authentically recreated apparently here:

but i just want to repeat the opening line, while you're alive, shine, what else is there to do? hide? not try? be dull? 

shine, my friends.

Monday, February 8, 2016


Parenthood has all these sandtraps. All these aspects of it, things I never expected, blindside me, sucker punch me, kick my ass. I get beat up and then broke open and then it leads me to some old wound of mine that still needs healing. Walking through the fire. Urg, I hate it. It is so uncomfortable and painful. This is so hard. And then it leads me to peace. Something shifts, heals.  Thank you.

Sunday, February 7, 2016

use your life. it is short.

today a piranha attacked me through glass. i leaned on the glass at the zoo and the fish got frenzied trying to bite me and eat me through the glass. i am so glad the glass was there.

use your life, it is short. who knows what will happen tomorrow. probably something great.

music is the best medicine....

Saturday, February 6, 2016

ghost on the highway

I am letting someone else write it tonight. Really thrilled to share this. I cannot tell you how much I love this story on so many levels. I totally believe it. and a perfect reason to post this perfect song. win/win.

I also know that it could be a plant for an upcoming film, but it is still great.

Friday, February 5, 2016

the horror

I try not to share about the atrocities of presidential candidates. It is a slippery slope. I am often preaching to the converted and if I am not, my post won’t change anyone’s deep-seated belief system.

More importantly I always want to know more about the source and the context of any quote or issue, and I am not available to do that kind of research.

The Trump stuff is so blatant and televised, there is not much to say. Trump is saying it, everyone can see what is going on, and they either are embarrassed or proud, outraged or elated, so I don’t need to elaborate, . Elaborating gives him more attention, I’d rather not.

That said I am going to post this. I don’t need to check the source, Rachel Maddow already did that for me. So I am posting it because it is so extraordinarily out there that it is truly mind blowing and it needs to be seen - Pastor Kevin Swanson believes homosexuals should be rounded up and executed by the government. He hosted an event speaking about this and Ted Cruz openly attended the event as part of the event. Swanson interviewed Cruz on the stage. I could throw up just typing that. 

As scary as Trump being like Hitler and wanting to make Muslims register is, this takes the Hitler thing to the next level. Everyone needs to know about this. Not because this guys mentally ill ideas have any power to them, but because a presidential candidate thinks it is ok to be affiliated with him.

For a second I laughed out loud at how nuts Pastor Swanson was, like when he talked about how Hiccupp, a sweet character from How to Train Your Dragon, a character my kid likes, has a homosexual mentor and how American needs to repent for that. But laughter turns to nausea fast when he follows with something to the effect that someone affected by that film would be better off drown at the bottom of the sea with a rock around their neck??!! Help.

I feel with certainty that Pastor Kevin Swanson is a closeted homosexual, the extremist haters always are. 

I do believe that our country on the whole is smarter and better than this. I believe the people involved here are a small minority. I pray that I am correct.

Thursday, February 4, 2016

Gee whiz, am I an Eastern European jew?

So I am the child of 2 first generation Americans of Irish and Puerto Rican descent, raised catholic. I have identified that way my whole life. And just yesterday I had an interesting thought. Three of my grandparents came by boat to this country, but my mother’s father was born here. He wasn’t just Irish, like her mom, but a mix English, Irish, German, what else. I have never entered those elements into my equation. I always knew about it but the story has always been written Irish/Puerto Rican- neat and tidy- dark and light, like a gorgeous Roy DeCarava photo- like a version of West Side Story, exactly like that since my folks both grew up on the working class upper west side.

Anyway, when I was discussing my strange attraction to eastern europa yesterday, someone mentioned that I looked a bit Eastern European. I have always been attracted to people from that part of the world, boy friends, and girl friends, and even strangers whose accents I liked. I spent a short amount of time in eastern Gemany and the former republics of Yugoslavia and Czechoslovakia while on tour and the cities were so authentic, not westernized at the time (not anymore probably), which is such a remarkable thing to get to experience. I love the feel of the land there, the quality of the sky and the oldness of the buildings. I feel the history and the devastation in the grey monolithicness. I even like the hideous old toilets, like a stall with a hole in the ground. I desire to travel to India and Viet Nam and the glamorous cities of Europe but I would love to find time to go back to the eastern countries and visit the concentration camps, I have always wanted to walk around that part of history. Something there pulls at me.

Anyway, my great grandmother was part German (fuzzy history) with the last name Biser, or Byzer (I am writing on the fly, as I do every night, and it is too late to call a relative to research, so …). Anyway, I wonder if I am also Jewish? Did she leave Germany to avoid persecution? Where were her ancestors from? I will have to do my research, but it would make sense...and mess up my neat duality.

How strange, seconds after posting this, I just read that Roy DeCarava passed away today. I mentioned him because his beautiful black and white contrasty photos just came into my mind from no where, out of the blue...hmmmm

Wednesday, February 3, 2016


The world is glorious because no matter how bad it gets, there are gifts. You can be of service to someone, be an example, be a survivor, learn something, or simply just love yourself in the blackness. Your choice. You can be an asshole and mess everything up and then go back and apologize. You can mend with yourself or mend with someone else. You can experience a tragedy that feels too great to ever overcome, and yet one day you find that you are ok, even while holding space for that tragedy. I have heard it said that that there is no sadness too great to overcome, with support.  I can say with certainty that All transformation is possible. Mend, my friends, mend. That’s all I got tonight. I write this to remind myself.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

embrace your gender fluidity

When I was a teenager I told my mother I was a transvestite. I said it lightly. It was true and light. I did not hide it, I did not try to pass as a guy, I was not in pain around it, there was no sexual angle to it, I just liked wearing men’s clothing and for some periods I was repulsed by women’s. My mother’s reply was a nervous “Don’t say that.”

Luckily for me, my choices were not painful to execute. They did not take me to places that caused me shame, or social discrimination, or were hard to manifest. I was already on the outskirts of society and I was weird and in pain, but not over that issue. While support would have been nice, my mom’s response didn’t really snag me that hard emotionally. I wasn’t confessing or looking for approval, more amused by my realization.

At the time I particularly hated the skinny shoes made for women. I wore motorcycle boots, which were fat and round and perfect, with a steel toe. I searched the earth for a pair that fit. I was obsessed with finding the perfect boot for years. I wound up wearing a pair into the ground that almost fit but were still a bit big on me.

The funny thing was that I had obsessed about the perfect shoe, a girl’s shoe, many times before in grade school. My feet were always small and it was hard to get grown up shoes in 7th and 8th grade. Those same small feet made it hard to get men’s shoes in 9h and 10th grade. So, I was not strictly into guy’s clothes, but periodically.

For my whole life I have cycled through periods of really feminine appearances, in the draggy glamourous sense of the word, and then masculine periods of appearance. It is just who I am and I am fine with it. I have had short crew cut type boy hair and long Brigitte Bardot inspired hair. As a teen I had a soft spot for Wayne County, the punk legend, prior to their full transition into Jayne County, transgender pioneer. I particularly adored the long hair with a black ski cap look. An odd choice, since Wayne and Jayne had so many amazing looks, but I related to that look, thought it was the coolest, and I copied it all the time as best I could.

Anyway, I have always attracted and have been attracted to those who embrace a non traditional place on the gender spectrum. I am particularly fond of women who have a hyper masculine look , superlegend Trash, from the Jackie 60 scene, Hilary Swank in Boys Don’t Cry, Lea DeLaria, or Big Boo on Orange Is the New Black, and of course the first one, my gay aunt Mary Faye, who was named after a male gangster (Faye) and looked like Roy Orbison with her leather jacket and jeans and dark shades. The masculine female sensibility often epitomizes cool to me. One time in my wild youth I was eating at a Japanese restaurant and I was in awe of the waitress, who was incredibly masculine. She looked so cool that I asked when she got off and if she wanted to hang out. Later as we were walking down the street I started to realize she was a feminine guy I was all of a sudden not interested and ditched him fast.

Anyway, I write this because I just LOVE that the idea of gender fluidness acceptance becoming more prevalent, which creates a safer world for every person who is a little different than those who do the traditional men and women stereotypes. One time when I had my crew cut I was assaulted in a fratty type bar with a gay friend and another short-haired female friend. Somehow the situation was diffused and we got to walk out of there. That was the worst of my fear and pain.  Clearly life can be very hard when you look or act outside the box and it is about time that the modern movement of intelligence and acceptance around the gender spectrum vs the binary is moving into the wider world. I, too, am learning and expanding. It is an exciting start.

As a mom I see just how unattached to gender so very many little kids are, how very normal it is to move along the spectrum according to your own tastes. I am excited to watch the unfolding new attitudes of the world my kids will inherit.

Monday, February 1, 2016

the spectrum rather than the binary

This is brilliant: it is illegal to discriminate against gender non conforming students in ny. Hallelluia!

I have been wanting to write about gender fluidity and my joy at the way the world is progressing and embracing the idea of the spectrum rather than the binary. I have been unable to have the time and energy to write a strong blog about it so I will do it piecemeal.

Starting with posting this amazing fact sheet I found, so educational…

Fact Sheet: Transgender & Gender Nonconforming Youth In School
•    “Gender identity” refers to how people see and identify themselves; for example, some people identify as female; some people identify as male; some people as a combination of genders; as a gender other than male or female; or as no gender. For example, transgender girls identify as girls but were classified as males when they were born. Transgender boys identify as boys but were classified female when they were born.  Everyone has a gender identity.
•    “Gender Expression” refers to how people express their gender identity. Everyone expresses their gender identity in different ways: for example, in the way they dress, the length of their hair, the way they act or speak and in their choice of whether or not to wear make-up.
•    “Transgender” is a general term used to describe people whose gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth.
•    “Gender nonconforming” refers to people who do not follow other people’s ideas or stereotypes about how they should look or act based on the female or male sex they were assigned at birth.
•    “Transgender” and “Gender nonconforming” are umbrella terms that often encompass other terms such as transsexual, cross dresser, gender queer, femme queen, A.G., Two Spirit, and many more. It is important to refer to people with the term they prefer.
•    “Gender Questioning” People who are questioning their gender identity might be wondering whether they identify as a boy, a girl or another gender.  They might also be experimenting with different genders.
Did you know that it is illegal to discriminate against transgender or gender nonconforming students in New York City?

New York City and State law protects students’ right to be free from discrimination on the basis of their gender identity or because some aspect of their appearance or behavior does not match stereotypes associated with their gender identity or their sex assigned at birth. 
o    A school may not refuse to admit a student because they are transgender or gender nonconforming.
o    A school may not suspend or expel a student because they are transgender or gender nonconforming.
o    A school may not force a student to receive psychiatric treatment before admitting them or once they are enrolled simply because they are transgender or gender nonconforming.
o    A school may not prevent a transgender student from using the restroom or locker room that corresponds with their gender identity.
o    A school may not ask a student to disenroll or transfer to another school because they are transgender or gender nonconforming.
o    A school may not deny a student participation on a sports team because they are transgender or gender nonconforming
New York City and State law protects students’ rights to wear clothing that corresponds to their gender identity and expression.
•    For example, it is against the law to refuse to allow a student to attend school and related events and activities because that student is wearing clothes that are too “girlish” or “boyish.”  This is true regardless of the gender identity or the assigned birth sex of the student.
•    A school may not compel a student to shave or groom their hair to look more “feminine” or “masculine.”
New York City and State law protects its students’ right to be free from harassment and discrimination on the basis of their gender identity.
•    Examples of harassment include:
o    repeated, deliberate use of pronouns and names that are inconsistent with a student’s gender identity;
o    Denying appropriate academic support to a student because of their gender identity
o    Inappropriate touching;
o    Insults or remarks about a student’s body parts or about a student’s behavior being too “masculine” or “feminine”;
o    Asking people inappropriate, unnecessary questions about their gender identity, anatomy, and / or any medical treatment that is related to their gender identity;
o    Verbal, sexual, or physical assault because of one’s gender identity.
School faculty, administrators and staff also have an obligation to protect students from harassment and discrimination from other students.
But, did you know that transgender, gender nonconforming and gender questioning youth still encounter pervasive discrimination at schools?
For example, transgender youth have reported being:
•    called derogatory names at school, such as “dyke”, “faggot,””it” and “he-she” by both other students and faculty;
•    prevented from using the restroom or locker room that corresponds to their gender identity and sometimes even being unable to use any restroom at school because of their gender identity;
•    beaten up because of their gender identity;
•    sexually assaulted because of their gender identity;
•    forced to fight to defend themselves resulting in suspension and/or expulsion;
•    forced to miss school because of suspensions or skip school because of fear resulting in missed learning opportunities;
•    forced to quit school because of their gender identity;
•    forced to attend psychiatric programs because of their gender identity;
•    ridiculed and / or punished by teachers for dressing and / or acting too “feminine” or “masculine”;
•    left with little or no academic support at school by faculty and administration
•    left with little or no emotional support at school by faculty and administration;
•    given no one they can reach out to for support about their gender identity at school;
•    made deathly afraid of being “outed” and skipping school as a result.
These are some ways you can make school a safer and gender affirming place for transgender youth:
•    Arrange for transgender awareness training for faculty, staff, and administrators from a qualified community-based trainer. Most people do not receive training or support in transgender awareness throughout their education or professional careers; it is not fair to assume that educators will arrive at their work already having learned the skills they need to work respectfully and effectively with youth from these communities.  Transgender awareness trainings are most effective when they are mandatory and regular.
•    Incorporate positive information about transgender issues into curricula.  The existence of transgender people is often erased or only included in a highly stigmatized way in the teaching of any subject, as well as in media and popular culture.  The lack of any positive acknowledgment of transgender issues or history makes it difficult for transgender, gender nonconforming, or questioning young people to feel that they have a place in the world and supports a worldview among other students that transgender people do not exist or are an appropriate object of scorn.
•    Create gender neutral restrooms.  Eliminating sex segregation of facilities can significantly decrease violence and harassment against transgender and gender nonconforming youth. While sex-segregated restrooms or locker rooms exist, however, transgender and gender nonconforming youth should be supported in using whichever facilities they identify as most appropriate for themselves in terms of their gender identity and safety needs.
•    If a student talks to you about their gender identity, listen in a respectful and non-judgmental way. Do not brush them off, react with skepticism or disapproval, or pressure them to put themselves in any particular category. Support them in developing their own understanding of their gender and direct them to resources for transgender, gender nonconforming and questioning youth. Do not “out” a young person or disclose their gender identity to another without permission.
•    Avoid perpetuating gender stereotypes.   Many of us enforce gender norms without even realizing it, but these stereotypes hurt everyone, especially transgender young people, gender nonconforming young people, and young women. Think carefully about the messages in everything you say, do, teach, or communicate about gender. Are you complimenting girls more often on their appearance but boys more often on their athleticism?  Do you ever imply there is something wrong with men who behave in stereotypically feminine ways?  Do you discipline girls more harshly than you would otherwise if they seem “masculine” or “butch” to you? Does your language ever equate gender (the way people view themselves and express their genders) with genitals (a persons birth sex and anatomical designation) or otherwise imply that the gender identities of transgender people are not “real”?
•    Intervene and take action when students use gender-specific terminology to make fun of each other.When students make fun of each other with terms like “sissy,” “pussy,” “faggot,” “dyke,” “homo,” “freak,” “it,” “he-she,” “bitch,” or “gay” and faculty fail to intervene, these words are perceived as acceptable. The use of such language further alienates transgender and gender nonconforming in schools and perpetuates discriminatory stereotypes about gender, gender identity and sexual orientation.
•     Create gender-neutral and / or mixed gender spaces. Be mindful about the ways in which single-gender teams and/ or groups (like girls-only groups and boys-only groups) can alienate transgender and gender nonconforming students. Proactively create spaces for transgender and gender nonconforming students within these groups and/or create additional spaces for transgender and gender nonconforming students.
•    Always refer to transgender and gender nonconforming students appropriately.  Always use students’ preferred names, even if they are different from their legal names, and always use the pronouns that students identify as appropriate for themselves.  Correct yourself and others if you or they make a mistake.
•    Ensure that employment opportunities at your school are open to transgender and gender nonconforming people.  Recruit at transgender focused events, job fairs, locations, and web sites.  Ensure that current and prospective employees are not discriminated against or harassed on the basis of gender identity or any other non-job related characteristic.
•    Listen to criticism from transgender, gender nonconforming, and questioning students.  Take such criticism seriously without becoming defensive; such feedback is an important opportunity to learn and grow.

not sure how this relates, but i have been thinking about this master peice