Separating Allies From The All-Lies: When Angry Friends Weaponize Your Gender Status

Good day to you, Sir.

That was how the email ended.

It was from a friend, a gay man, who was very much aware of my Trans status and my basic pronouns. Beyond that, it was from someone I loved very much. You see, most Trans people keep a very small circle of friends. It’s as much about personal safety, emotional steeling and simplifying an otherwise incredibly chaotic life as personal preference. When you have everyone from lawmakers to evangelists throwing bricks at you from high windows, it hurts. So, naturally, it’s important to have stability in your relationships; people you can trust to remain in your corner as you dodge those missiles. Those people can be hard to find.

It’s easy for people, typically, to feign acceptance. To smile to your face, and feebly shake your hand before turning around and spewing venom, or using you for the comedic relief of their own friends. That’s why friendship is a cautionary tale if you’re a transgender or non-conforming individual.

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How and Why I Found Forgiveness For Caitlyn Jenner

Caitlyn Jenner reveals her Transition on the cover of Vanity Fair

My opinion of Caitlyn Jenner has been one of much dissent. From the moment she appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair, I championed her bravery and commended her for being, historically, one of the first highly visible trans women to share her journey with the world at large as it happened. The first time she uttered her name before millions of viewers, she became a cultural phenomenon, skyrocketing into the stratosphere of celebrity the likes only her children had seen previously. I was not necessarily a “Keeping Up With The Kardashians” fan and had admittedly only seen a few episodes over the years. However, one thing was clear, Bruce, the family patriarch, was often chided when he spoke, and left sulking quietly in the shadow of the monolithic fame the Kardashian’s had accrued.

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The Heartbreaking Return of 80’s Icon “Roseanne” as a Trump Supporter

Roseanne Reboot, 2018 © ABC

When Roseanne premiered in 1988, the world was a much different place and television itself was a totally different beast. The 80’s were rife with television dramas and comedies revolving around the lives of the filthy rich and unimaginably privileged. It was a portal that viewers turned on in order to imagine themselves in a better life… whether getting into pool fights while wearing haute couture in Dynasty, or being shuttled around in a stretch limo from a mansion perched upon a thousand acres in Dallas, or dealing with basic, self created drama in Falcon Crest and Knots Landing. There was also the quirky Nephew adapting to the difficult life in a Bel Air estate in Fresh Prince of Bel Air, and the family living in San Francisco’s elite Alamo Square Park, lined by a row of colorful townhouses affectionately deemed The Painted Ladies. That was Full House.

But, ABC caught lightning in a bottle when they situated a small, half hour comedy into their Tuesday night lineup. It starred a notoriously foul mouthed and brash working class circuit comedian who most considered ‘low brow’ simply because she acted and spoke as confidently as any male comedian. Roseanne Barr paid her dues, both in the entertainment industry that stifled women comedians, and in her real life.

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Thousands of Stories Encompassed in the #metoo Movement Are Not Being Told

The #metoo movement has been a liberating step forward for women around the world as we finally force the male dominated society to take their foot off the backs of our necks, and their hands out of our pants. As grateful as I am for it, suffice it to say, it was long overdue. The powerful message behind #metoo and it’s sister #TimesUp have restored sovereignty to women both in the workplace and in other social environments.

Unfortunately, a lot of stories are not being told.

Let’s start with a fact:

The 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey found that 47% — Almost half of ALL transgender of people — are sexually assaulted at some point in their lifetime.

The rates of sexual assault among Transgender people of color are even worse; American Indian (65%), multiracial (59%), Middle Eastern (58%), and Black (53%) respondents of the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey reported having been sexually assaulted in their lifetime.

There are also alarmingly higher rates of sexual assault against bisexual women and lesbians compared to heterosexual women.

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Confessions From My Mental Illness

Because it’s not me.

A lot of people think that those who suffer from a mental illness are in complete control, thus are wholly represented by the illness- Except they’re not. Having mental illness is not the sum of our parts, nor does it reflect with any accuracy our desire to do well in life, although it certainly impacts that.

The first time I told someone I suffered from depression, they laughed. I was 22 years old. It was my cousin. We had this great plan to go on a holiday to California, and in that youthful exuberance we thought we’d see all the movie stars and go on the famous studio tours. And, suddenly, I couldn’t go.

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Rick and Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple In All The World is the Best Queer Show You Never Saw

Rick and Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple In The World

In July 2007, a new half-hour comedy debuted on the newly founded LGBT themed cable network, LOGO. Rick and Steve: The Happiest Gay Couple in All the World seemed, on it’s surface, a crudely made show using stop motion animation with characters created out of blocky legos. In theory, the execution was incredibly innovative, even on the very low budget afforded by Toronto based independent production company, Cuppa Coffee Studios.

Created by budding filmmaker, Q. Allan Brocka, Rick and Steve proved to be an inspired masterpiece of social satire that didn’t just match wits with the likes of Comedy Central mainstay, South Park, it literally left it reeling in it’s wake. Rick and Steve made South Park look like a watered down, saccharine Disney Channel series.

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The Ongoing Problem With Trans Representation in Media

The Crying Game

In 1992, as a budding Transgirl who hadn’t yet heard the word “Transgender” nor knew anything about gender or sexuality, I watched an film by Neil Jordan called “The Crying Game.” It was dubbed “The Most Shocking Film Of The Year” by entertainment magazines. At the time, I had an insatiable longing for people I could relate to on film, and often had to substitute women as figures of my future intent; I wanted Richard Gere to sweep me away like he had Julia Roberts in Pretty Woman. I wants to slither around like Catwoman, with that brilliant confidence that was the perfect mix of bad ass girl power and unapologetic confidence. She was my revenge idol. I wanted to flip-flop, cartwheel and yoga pose into school and kick the shit out of my bullies while making them all love me at the same time.

But the Character of Dil in “The Crying Game” was most accurate to who I knew I was becoming. This androgynous, beautiful woman captivated me. Dil was the lover of a soldier, Jody, played by the incredible Forest Whittaker, a man held prisoner by the IRA who pleads with a fellow solider and friend, Fergus, to protect Dil. She unwittingly becomes the subject of both fascination and affection of Fergus.

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It’s Time To Start Holding Cis-Exclusive Society Responsible for Trans Mental Illness and Death

I get so tired of hearing the excuses that are made on behalf of Cisnormative society when it comes to the slow emotional and psychological destruction of Transgender and gender diverse people.

Some of us have become hardened and desensitized to the dehumanization slung our way every single day. Many of us have, through our journey of inhabiting our own skin, have lost family, friends, even jobs. On a broader scale, we’ve had to sit back and bare witness to our own public humiliation from behind pulpits of faith, exploited and dragged through the mud by the media and had our right to use a bathroom debated by politicians with religious or hate driven bias.

Every. Single. Day.

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TransAmerican Love Story: The Reality Show A Decade Ahead of It’s Time

2008’s TransAmerican Love Story Promotional Poster

We’re all familiar with The Bachelor… it’s now in its 118th season or something like that. The ABC reality dating show features a traditionally attractive man and an entire harem of beautiful women who would argue, sabotage, backstab and claw their way into the heart of the leading man in a heated competition for his affections.

ABC turned out several spin-offs, including The Bachelorette where the tables were turned and a Woman took center stage as a dozen men tried to romance her in a bid to be the last man standing. The idea being here that, after eliminating all the contestants until one remains, the two new loverbirds would take a Disney-like chariot and drive off into the sunset to live happily ever after. Probably in the suburbs. The problem is, it rarely happened that way.

While the Bachelor was in its prime, garnering huge ratings for ABC, in 2008 LOGO, a much smaller, niche cable network, along with World of Wonder, the studio that would later bring us the cultural phenom, RuPaul’s Drag Race and critically acclaimed films like The Eyes Of Tammy Faye and Party Monster premiered a quaint but little known show that ran in a similar theme.

That show was TransAmerican Love Story. In a format similar to the Bachelor and the Bachelorette, it centered itself around a beautiful woman looking for love, and her would-be possibilities… but there was one glaring difference:

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