Limmud Chicago was today, and I did an hour presentation (well, 45 minutes because lunch cut into it) on being Jewish and transgender. The session went really well, and had some good discussion. I went in with the attitude of “Well, nothing is more Jewish than having lots of questions and few answers, so here we go!” Fortunately, the eight or ten folks who attended the session seemed interested and engaged, so they were willing to discuss my experience and the confusion it has brought up.
Much more exciting (for me, at least) was a session called “A Queer Take on Talmud.” I went in with some interest, but also some skepticism: none of the things I’ve read on Judaism as it relates to gender identity or sexual orientation has been particularly revelatory. Interesting, yes, but not eye-opening.
“A Queer Take on Talmud” was revelatory. Eye-opening in the way I’ve been waiting for.
Continue reading 'Svara and queering Judaism'»
I’m getting ready for my trip to DC for the National Center for Transgender Equality’s Lobby Day and am trying to figure out where to stay. I’m currently leaning towards a hostel stay, and have found four that have received high reviewer ratings and are pretty close to where a lot of the meetings will be happening. They range from $30-$70 a night (depending on accommodations) versus the $160-$200 a night for a real hotel. I’m willing to put some of the money from this Kickstarter campaign towards staying somewhere I feel safe, but don’t want to blow the whole fundraising on a ‘real’ hotel. The friend I was hoping to stay with fell through, but I still may couch surf, at least a little bit. As a reminder, my fundraising campaign continues until March 11, the day I leave for DC. I’m also looking into some friends’ offers of hotel/airline points, so maybe that’ll make things easy.
Meanwhile, some links.
A play at Northwestern says it will examine “LGBT” issues, but the article seems to mean just LB issues. Boo.
Illinois youth are trying to get more trans-inclusive bathrooms. Awesome!
A nifty photo-documentary on trans subjects.
I hope the play itself deals with pronouns better than this review of some trans-themed theatre.
And that’s all she wrote! (For now, anyway.)
Happy New Years! Welcome to 2011! And so on!
I’ve never been big on New Year’s resolutions. Part of it is because I feel like if something needs doing, you should just do it – its not necessary to use a specific date to give an excuse to make a resolution. I want to go to the gym more, but started that ‘resolution’ in November when my dad bought me a gym membership for my birthday. I want to actively pursue my artistic goals, but started that ‘resolution’ in September when I quit my full-time job. The more I think about it, however, the more I think my reluctance towards resolutions is tied in with my experience transitioning.
Growing up, I would set deadline after deadline for myself: I’ll start transitioning by the beginning of high school. OK, the end of high school. OK, the beginning of college. OK, the end of college. (Actually managed to do that one!) Setting deadlines that I failed to keep just made me feel bad about myself, and reinforced the idea for me that pure desire isn’t enough to accomplish something.
Being turned off to resolutions may have ultimately been a bad thing. These days, I’m trying to rethink resolutions as a motivator rather than an opportunity to fail. At the same time, I’m still more comfortable thinking of goals rather than resolutions. It seems less depressing to fall short of a goal, rather than go back on a resolution.
Continue reading 'New Year’s Resolutions'»
My feet are freezing.
I arrived at the MegaBus bus stop around 11:35, plenty of time before the window they recommend to check in for the noon bus from Chicago to Minneapolis. There were already a ton of people there, loading their luggage, so I got my hopes up that I wouldn’t have to wait in the cold. But, alas, it was a bus to Ann Arbor and Detroit, not Madison and Minneapolis.
So I waited in sunny, blustery, downtown Chicago. People trickled in for the Minneapolis bus, generally sticking to the socially defined ‘line,’ but some making the bold choice to stand right where the bus would stop, ignoring all line conventions. I, being the line-follower that I am, looked at those people with a mix of jealousy and resentment.
Continue reading 'En route to Minneapolis'»
Happy Thanksgiving, to those of you living in the United States.
Thanksgiving has never been a huge part of my year. Part of it, undoubtedly, stems from my long-time vegetarianism. Likewise, my family has never been huge Thanksgiving-ers: we have family gatherings, but never the stereotypical blowouts, with dozens of visiting family members and food piled to the ceiling. This past week, my mom and I went to a family friend’s – something we’ve done the past few years – and had good food and good company. Some years we’ll mention things we’re thankful for, some years (this one included) we’ll forget in the midst of eating and socializing.
Coincidentally, I chose this week to start rereading Lies My Teacher Told Me, a great book about how US history is taught (and more often mis-taught) to high school students. From the Amazon description: “Marred by an embarrassing combination of blind patriotism, mindless optimism, sheer misinformation, and outright lies, these [high school history] books omit almost all the ambiguity, passion, conflict, and drama from our past.” I first read this book in high school – it was actually suggested by my awesome US AP history teacher – and quickly fell in love with it. There’s a new, post-9/11 version that I’ve been meaning to pick up (my version is from 1996) but it’s a great book even without the last 15 years included.
I say I “coincidentally” started rereading it, though, because it has a whole chapter on the Thanksgiving story.
Continue reading 'Thanksgiving complications (like genocide)'»
Even more links! For the last few months, I’ve been collecting links on what it means to be self-employed, and wanted to share some of ‘em.
Living Self-Employed Online: The Manual They Forgot to Give You – Good advice on how to keep your focus and figure out what activities will best help grow your business. (Something I should be doing instead of just writing about…)
Putting your money where your mouse is – An article from The Economist on the many projects out there raising money online, little bits at a time.
Six Lessons I’ve learned Since I Started Working For Myself – Another Lifehacker article, with a few seemingly simple but really good pieces of advice.
10 Tips for Better Writing – Another Lifehacker article. Again, seems simple, but good advice.
Productivity Hack: Using the Web to Minimize Internet Distractions – A Get Rich Slowly article on how use the Internet to focus instead of simply distract.
One of the things I’ve been telling myself every day for the past month or so is, “OK! Today I’m going to make myself a schedule!” But, as the last link describes, it’s so much easier to watch another episode of 30 Rock (or do semi-productive things like go to the gym) instead of actually sitting down and do what will, hopefully, start to bring money in.
On that note, I’m off to go make a schedule. Hopefully.
Because hey, why not?
An open letter to Kate Bornstein – Specifically about the use of her use of the word “tranny.” I agree with the author, and think Kate’s response is less than satisfying, even though I appreciate her honest in continuing the discussion.
Help Howard Brown – Howard Brown, an extremely important LGBT health services provider in Chicago, is struggling financially. Donate to help keep them afloat. As a bonus, a $25 donation nets you a $10 gift certificate to Early to Bed, an awesome Chicago sex toy shop.
Meanwhile, Questioning Transphobia is having some financial troubles, too. Donate to help ‘em out.
When activism becomes self-harm – A post on using justifications of activism and judgement to hide from the emotional hardship that can come from engaging in the ignorant and the bigoted. Something I’ve thought a lot about in my own work…
Anything else anyone wants to share? Feel free!
Feeling exhausted after opening weekend, so here are a few links:
‘Jersey Shore’ to edit segment about transgender woman, particularly interesting in light of Gawker calling out the hypocrisy of Jersey Shore’s It Gets Better video.
Obama: LGBT disappointment not justified – Rebecca Kling: Fuck you, Obama, your marriage is legal, and you can enlist in the military.
Commentary: “Glee” episode hits wrong note for transgender people – Glee is a guilty pleasure of mine, but I agree their Rocky Horror episode left a bad taste in my mouth, much as I wanted to like it.
My life as a transgender girl in Kenya – This has been sitting in my ‘write about’ box for almost a month, so I’ll just share it instead
Any exciting links y’all have to share?
Museum of Science and Industry
Today, November 1, I turned 26!
I started this blog almost three years ago. Since that time, I’ve written over 266,000 words across 660 posts, which would be almost one thousand printed pages. I know spend every second of my life as Rebecca, after two decades of living as someone I wasn’t. I’ve put up two critically acclaimed shows, with a third one (well, a re-mount of the first one) going up THIS WEEKEND for an ENTIRE MONTH!
And, in celebration of my birthday, I went to visit the Museum of Science and Industry and see my friend Kate, who is living there for a month!
Continue reading 'Happy birthday to ME!'»