A Trans Woman Walks Into a Bathroom, Followed, Threatened by California Politician

Imagine being in one of the most vulnerable moments of the day- having nature call while you’re in a public space. Perhaps you can’t, because like most people who need a bathroom while at dinner, the library or school, you simply look for the “Restrooms” sign and head in that general direction. Trans women, however, dread having to use a public bathroom. It can be an anxiety inducing experience, relying on a keen awareness of their surroundings, the ability to judge the likely temperaments of the other pedestrians occupying the space and assess the situation like they’re on a covert mission and the ultimate goal is to avoid drawing any attention to themselves as they pursue relief. Every trans woman knows the intensity of this situation. Some refuse to use a bathroom in public if at all possible. Others will only use the bathroom if it’s a single stall room, allowing only one occupant at a time. In the case of multi-stall toilets, I’ve had trans friends who have stood outside a restroom waiting until the last woman leaves before going in. Once they were able to slip into the bathroom alone, in the event that anyone would come in as she did her business, they would wait in the stall quietly until no one remained at the washing sinks so she could make a quick exit and resume her life.

It’s a complicated, psychologically and emotionally taxing experience, especially in the current political climate where Trans women have been targeted for using bathrooms according to their gender identity. Bills have been introduced in states like North Carolina, Louisiana and more recently Alaska and Alabama where conservative Republicans have sought to criminalize Trans women in public bathrooms- even threatening them with a jail sentence should they be caught. There is no precedence for such laws given no instance has ever been documented where a Trans woman has attacked anyone in a bathroom, one can only presume these frivolous laws specifically targeting trans women (Not trans men) is intended to inspire hatred and fear of us.

The state of California is a little more progressive. Historically, California is a blue state, far more evolved than most in terms of social awareness, diversity and sensitivity. So, imagine how surprising it was to find that Jazmina Saavedra, a ciswoman running to represent California’s 44th Congressional district decided to make a spectacle in a Los Angeles Denny’s Diner by filming herself as she stalked, cruelly insulted, misgendered, and threatened a trans woman coming out of a bathroom.

You can probably guess that Saavendra is a staunch Trump supporter running on a Republican ticket. Her facebook intro reads as follows:

Jazmine Saavedra Facebook Intro

She proudly uploaded the video of the assault to her own facebook, receiving tremendous support from fellow conservatives, Republicans and the general public of the bigoted ilk.

There is a bit of irony here, as Saavendra is a Nicaraguan immigrant living in a country where immigrants have come under fire by the current administration. We’ve seen an influx of reports where men and women who speak other languages publicly or dress in their culturally appropriate garments are approached and assaulted at restaurants, on street corners and even in grocery stores by radicals who hurl degrading slurs for “Not speaking English” or dressing like an American in “my country.” In many cases, you don’t even have to be an immigrant to experience this abuse, you just have to have darker skin. It’s community profiling in the hands of an increasingly aggressive public sector. It’s dangerous, to say the least.

A Denny’s manager intervened on the unidentified Trans woman’s behalf, escorting her from the restaurant as Saavendra continued her tirade of hate inside as uncomfortable customers looked on.

There are a lot of questions that have been raised by activists seeking justice for the trans woman who endured the dehumanizing attack. Does Denny’s have a policy that prohibits filming another guest in their establishment without consent? Why was Saavendra, the hostile figure who had threatened the trans woman with a taser and mace, allowed to stay on the premises? Why did no employee call the police on behalf of the innocent trans woman who was being unjustly harassed?

In recent weeks, we have seen bigots, like Manhattan attorney Aaron M. Schlossberg who chided two women in a restaurant for speaking spanish while in America. They recorded him and the karma was swift. In the following days, activist Shaun King who took to twitter with an appeal to his followers to help identify him. Schlossberg’s lease on his swanky Madison Avenue business office was immediately terminated. To compound that, in a letter Thursday to the state court disciplinary system, Rep. Adriano Espaillat (D-N.Y.) and Bronx Borough President Ruben Diaz Jr. (D) accused Schlossberg of misconduct for his “viral racist rant.” Diaz told The Washington Post that Schlossberg should be suspended or disbarred.

There was also the lady, now identified as Dr. Jennifer Schulte, who called the police on a black family for barbecuing in a park by the river in Oakland, California. For two hours she harassed the picnickers, claiming their family activity was a threat to public safety because they were using charcoal to grill. She was approached by a white bystander who saw her aggressively harassing the family and found herself being recorded.

Dr. Schulte was quickly brought to justice when the internet dug up her identity, her workplace and reported her for her racist actions that resulted in the innocent family being detained for two hours… for barbecuing while black.

Sadly, there has been no warcry on behalf of the trans woman who was attacked in Denny’s, nor has there been any consequences thus far for Jazmina Saavedra, who is glib about the entire incident, even sharing the articles written about her regarding her vicious attack on the trans woman. She is remorseless.

They say the fish stinks from the head down, and this is undeniably a symptom of living as a minority in Trump’s America.

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Evangelical Conservatives Preaching That Trump is Fulfilling Biblical Prophecy

The conservative christian community has doubled down on declaring Trump the harbinger of Armageddon which, according to the Bible, will trigger the second coming of Jesus Christ.

In fact, it’s spreading across the globe as the christian core of Trump’s vastly loyal base give bullet pointed sermons on Trump’s directives as President of the United States. He has promised them that he was “Returning Government to God” which was met with enthusiastic applause during his controversial appearance at the Value Voters Summit last year. At the summit, he stood on stage alongside radical Christian ministers who have openly declared that homosexuality should be criminalized, and gay men and women burned alive as they distributed anti-gay pamphlets. Trump’s presence- and applause- seemed a terrifying indication of his approval of such horrific ideologies. However, it played well for Trump who maintains a keen awareness that these are the people who will vote for him again, ensuring his second term in office.

He followed that up by instituting a National Day of Prayer, which he led from his seat in the Oval Office. “Faith is more powerful than government, and nothing is more powerful than God,” he said. Ironically- if irony exists anymore- this came on the same day that he admitted to reimbursing his attorney, Michael Cohen, for paying an adult film star 130,000 dollars in return for signing a non-disclosure agreement intended to keep her from discussing their extra-marital affair that occurred shortly after his wife gave birth to their only Son. All of that is moot, if you ask a Trump Supporter, because he is doing the Lord’s work.

More recently, and despite international protest from foreign leaders, he proclaimed Jerusalem the definitive capital of Israel and moved the American Embassy there, which immediately inflamed the already tense relationship between Israel and Palestine resulting in Israel launching missiles on Palestinians in a reinvigorated conflict. To many Americans, the consequential war that erupted, due to our own leaders unilateral actions, seemed unconscionable. To his base, they believe he is building a stairway to heaven through divine guidance and making way for the Rapture.

On the home front, Trump has further appealed to his base by launching a war on the Transgender community, rescinding protections that provided them safe access to things like education and healthcare. He banned the word “Transgender” in any communication to or from the Center for Disease Control, the agency intended to document and research the needs of this increasingly vulnerable community. He has lauded white supremacists, reassuring a national audience that some Nazis were “Fine people.” He has supported extremist Christians running for seats in senate… people like Roy Moore, who had once been banned from a local mall for harassing underage girls. He also said homosexuality should be illegal. Regardless, Moore declared himself a Christian and a Trump fan, and that’s all Trump needed to hear. Having Moore in a senate seat guaranteed he would vote in his favor on any issues he presented.

This is, after all, how Trump built his wall.

Indeed, Trump already has his much touted wall, but it doesn’t lay on the southern boarder. It’s comprised of his loyalists, those willing to sacrifice their own integrity to protect him; They are the blocks in this wall, and their shared desire to keep power in the hands of the Republican party at any cost is the mortar holding them all together. They avert their eyes to accusations of sexual misconduct, his failure to divest in his businesses or show his tax returns, his corrupt activities involving paying multiple women hush money to cover up his affairs and they scoff at the mention of Russian collusion or election meddling, despite 17 different intelligence agencies determining it happened. They stick their fingers in their ears as he mocks the disabled and strips away their financial securities, or as he calls women “Fat Slobs” and other colorful names or crudely references their menstruation in an effort to demean them. He retweets content from hate groups that promote violence toward Muslims. He agitates leaders of hostile countries by insulting them, rather than enact any measurable diplomacy efforts. He’s been caught lying an average of six times a day, according to fact checkers.

But his greatest achievement has been in discrediting those who deliver the facts, specifically news agencies and journalists, accusing them of being purveyors of “Fake News.” By his own statement, Fake News is defined as anything critical of him, or anyone who dares present evidence, facts or point out his shortcomings- such as his difficulty with honesty. His base falls into formation and agrees, resulting in grave damage to press agencies. Of course, Fox News, the station which hosts some of Trump’s strongest allies in media, is the only credible source of information, if you ask him. He appears on it regularly as the anchors laugh giddily and fawn all over him like teenage girls at a Justin Beiber concert. Fox News is state sanctioned news now, although it hasn’t been made official, it is undeniable the power he leverages there to funnel news and information that only portray him as the most successful, honest, strong-willed and unjustly victimized President in history. He thanks them frequently on twitter. Another brick in his wall.

Trump established the Heath and Human Resources division called “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” which will allow medical professionals like Emergency room doctors, nurses and paramedics the right to refuse to administer potentially life-saving treatments to gay, lesbian or transgender patients, citing moral or religious objection. This was met with great approval from his hardcore religious base, winning him even more points, and votes come the next election.

As the last two years have unfolded in the Trump administration, he has proceeded to undo every good thing the President before him had achieved in pursuit of equality, social justice and progress. There is no question that Trump hated his predecessor, the nation’s first Black President, Barack Obama. He compares himself to the former President often, claiming how much better he is, how much more he has done in less time. Prior to his presidency, Trump himself attacked President Obama, starting a smear campaign that claimed the then President wasn’t qualified to serve in his capacity because he was born in Kenya. He started a movement of people called “Birthers” who believed, beyond a shadow of a doubt, our President was not American. After President Obama showed his birth certificate to quell the chaos incited by Trump who continued to antagonize him, he still wasn’t satisfied. No matter which way you look at it, Trump has proven that he is undeniably racist. He wouldn’t have attacked a white president, or challenged their origin of birth. His insistence on weighing his achievements against Obama’s- even going as far as to lie or take credit for things President Obama did, demonstrates his absolute need to be superior to the former President, solely because he is Black. Two years into his Presidency, Trump is still insulting him, minimizing his achievements, and destroying his legacy at the expense of millions of Americans, simply because he needs you to believe he is better at being President than a Black Man was.

Every time he fires up his social media to hurl insults at Obama, his base jumps in line to follow suit. He has millions of wingmen that back him up at any opportunity. They will yell louder than the minorities they attack, they organize with tactical precision and fight more aggressively, calling names, slinging insults and threatening anyone who questions or criticizes their Leader until the other side gives up and goes silent. More bricks in Trump’s wall.

In 2017, The Pope himself came out to scold the Trump administration for what he called “Evangelical fundamentalism” and “Apocalyptic geopolitics” whose roots are “not too far apart” from that of Islamist extremism.

Indeed, Trump has emboldened racism in America in a way we have not seen in decades. He has also stirred the ire of the homophobic, misogynist bigots who have done things like rip off a woman’s Hajib in a subway while insulting her, calling her a terrorist. He provokes fear of the non-Christians, of people of color (He called Mexican immigrants drug dealers, murderers and rapists) or Transgender Americans- anyone who has fell under the boot of the Bible, historically, are finding themselves there again, in their ancestors shoes.

That these minorities no longer live in an America that counts them among its own, thanks to Trump, we’re seeing instances of violence toward these vulnerable people spike to record highs.

This is America returning to it’s Christian roots. And it’s absolutely terrifying to watch. But, we are expendable in Trumps 2020 bid for Presidency. He doesn’t need us. We’re either not white, not wealthy, not christian, not straight or cisgender, not male… and that disqualifies us from his mercy. As exiles from his base, we’ll be sacrificed like lambs, stripped of our rights, demonized by our own government that propagates hatred and intolerance of us “Others” while his base cheers him on- all for the sake of restoring a “Moral Nation to the hands of God.”

The increase of police brutality against Black men, the violent, unprovoked attacks by Trump supporters against gay men and women in the streets, the brutal murders of Transwomen of color; It should come as no surprise that the statistics of anxiety, depression and suicide within these communities are skyrocketing. The Christian Nation, which for many years preached love, acceptance, and used the Bible as a moral compass to qualify themselves as “Good People” has turned them into savage gatekeepers determining our ability to thrive in America today…

And it will not get any easier. Trump is already campaigning for re-election. His new slogan was unveiled recently. “Keep America Great.”

Great for who?

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Happy Mother’s Day, Mom.

Humans are the abortion that you needed.

You’re slowly dying from carrying us. You have no voice to protest as we stain your soils with the blood of war

You have no voice to scream as we burn your forests, leaving you naked and scarred in the wake of our machines.

The life-giving waters of which your are made, those water that once shimmered with opulence are now blackened by our waste.

Your breath is labored from the unforgiving pressure and you heave, choked from the air we’ve sapped from your lungs to call our own.

Your natural miracles, from the Great White Rhino to the smallest grass fly- gone forever. Poisoned. Poached. Destroyed by the hubris of your infection.

You have lost sovereignty over your own body. Your affliction has drawn upon your flesh invisible lines, staking claim to your parts, dividing you into pieces for excavation and plunder.

Your value is debated on floors cut from your own skin, painted with the arrogance of territorial symbols by those who have lost sight of their own mortality and take yours for granted.

Your body is riddled by a parasitic infection that at once kills both you and itself with neither conscience or remorse.

You were was once beautiful, in your life before us…

Your vast horizons fade into cities that reach skyward, your rivers flow lifeless, your savannas eerily quiet. Yet, you still breathe.

As we drill into you bones and leech your marrow, building an exoskeleton of pipelines running the length of your body, they are emboldened by your quietude.

How easy it is, Mother, to lull ourselves with false securities and delusions of grandeur as we celebrate our superiority while still you turn.

You give us each day, while our blind intent will drive you into darkness and deliver you- and then us, to an ultimate death. An end most cannot imagine.

I’m sorry we broke you.

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“Transparent” Creators to Ousted Star Jeffrey Tambor: “We Are In A Coup.”

Since the #MeToo movement began, Hollywood has seen its once feted industry elites exiled for their abuse of position and power over women. Hundreds of men have been accused, ranging from Bill Cosby to Ben Affleck, the former currently awaiting sentencing after being found guilty on multiple charges presented by multiple victims dating back some 30 years.

One of the most shocking allegations, undeniably, came from the set of the heavily lauded Amazon original series “Transparent” against it’s central star, Jeffrey Tambor. Tambor, a cigender actor, played the role of Maura Pfefferman, the Patriarch of a dysfunctional family who, in her golden years, finally opts to acknowledge her true gender identity and transition from male to female. The first accusation of sexual misconduct against Tambor came from his own former assistant, Van Barnes, whose claims he dismissed as a revenge tactic by a “disgruntled” ex-employee.

Van Barnes Facebook post, October 16th 2017

Unfortunately for Tambor, his “Transparent” co-star, an actual Transgender woman, Trace Lysette, stepped forward with her own accusations of being subjected to inappropriate, sexually charged behavior. While Tambor denies the allegations, another “Transparent” co-star, Alexandra Billings, corroborates at least one of Lysette’s claims, having been present at the time.

In the aftermath, it appeared that “Transparent” showrunner Jill Soloway, along with sister Faith Soloway who has served as writer, consulting producer and even appeared on the show, as well as transgender producers Zackary Drucker and Our Lady J, stood in solidarity with the accusers. Tambor was fired from the show, which had been hailed as “groundbreaking” and saw Tambor himself awarded Emmy and Golden Globe awards (As well as many others) for his “Brave” portrayal of a Transwoman.

As is the case of most every cisgender actor who has donned a dress and lipstick, they’re deemed “Daring,” “Bold” and “Brave” for playing a Transgender person and subsequently decorated with accolades. Eddie Redmayne, for example, was nominated for an Oscar for portraying a Transwoman in the tepidly received film “The Danish Girl.” Meanwhile, stars of the critical darling and massively successful independent film, “Tangerine,” Mya Taylor and KiKi Rodriguez were unceremoniously snubbed. Taylor and Rodriguez are both Transgender actresses.

Naturally, the Trans community expressed reservations regarding the casting of Tambor as the central figure of a show intended to increase representation and awareness in mainstream. However, once the show took off, landing on the sensitive pallets of middle America with the oft-forgiven cis-male playing Transgender, it proved to be a hit. The first series of it’s kind to introduce Transgender characters in a long running series, and many of them, with the exception of Tambor, played by Transgender actors… a rare event, at best. It was progress to see Trans actors working in a show where they’re not represented as prostitutes, the punchline of a joke or suffering any of the clichés we’re typically riddled by for the sake of mainstream appeal.

What’s not so good is seeing that Jill Soloway and their (Pronoun preferred, as Soloway has come out as non-binary) sister, Faith, seemed to feign solidarity with Lysette, other series producers and the #MeToo movement, as it pertains here. While Lysette made an appeal to them via twitter, saying; “It is vital that the show’s creator, showrunner and it’s studio re-center the narrative of Transparent on the experiences of the other trans characters and family members audiences have grown to love on the series,” the Soloways were busy, not just consoling Tambor, but blaming a ‘coup’ for all that had taken place.

We’re in a coup.Faith Soloway wrote to Tambor, via email, just before he was fired. For those unaware, a coup refers to a hostile takeover or a seizure of power. “You are fucking fantastic. You have changed the world. We will get through this.

In a separate email to Tambor from creator Jill Soloway, they wrote; “They have been after Maura from the beginning.” One can safely presume that “They” are the Trans community or his transgender co-stars- neither of which had anything to do with dictating Tabor’s actions or the consequences of them. It isn’t unreasonable to expect that in the wake of the #MeToo movement, they would understand this.

Suffice it to say, the Soloways went to great lengths to validate Tambor and soothe his bruised ego both before and after his dismissal, despite the behavior he exhibited, which he has admitted to the extent of being “Volatile and ill-tempered” but stops short of calling it predatory. “Never.” He says. According to him, he expected, simply, a “Slap on the wrist.” It appears that the Soloway siblings expected the same and were clearly angry over his departure, as they had been scrambling to include Tambor, regardless of the allegations pinned against him, in the upcoming season, with the actor agreeing to play a pre-transition version of Maura, Mort Pfefferman, instead. That was the goal, it appears, regardless of his conduct. Soloway was not giving up- until Amazon executives completed their investigation and determined the reports against Tambor to be valid, and justified his firing from the series. This brought all of Soloway’s efforts to eschew the controversy to an abrupt halt.

While most of those named in the #MeToo movement, such as actor Kevin Spacey and producer Harvey Weinstein, found themselves not just fired, but hard pressed to reassert their privilege by finding sustainable work in the film and television industry, Tambor was quickly re-situated to return to yet another popular series, “Arrested Development,” which he had appeared in prior to landing the role of Maura Pfefferman on “Transparent.”

Despite Lysette’s urging of Soloway to re-centralize the focus on the other transgender characters, Soloway announced that the show will air its fifth- and final season in 2018 via the Amazon streaming service.

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KANYE WEST: The Key To His Own Undoing

There is not a word adequate enough to express the swelling of sick I felt from my chest as I heard Kanye West say, “400 Years of Slavery? That sounds like a choice,” during an appearance on TMZ.

Remember the Looney Tunes? When the little old lady would hit Sylvester the Cat on the head with her umbrella, and his eyes would cross, his teeth would crumble- that was me. Listening to Kanye West ramble with such a disgraceful detachment from the perils of Black History isn’t just a demonstration of sheer ignorance, but a display of shocking privilege that has afforded him the luxury of living in a bubble, unaffected by the plights of others, specifically that of young Black men who don’t have record deals or their own clothing line.

America, by comparison to other world nations, is still in its youth. History in other countries reaches back thousands of years, but the United States is still the new kid on the block. We have no castles dating back to the 12th century, or hieroglyphics painted on the walls of ancient caves, so when we talk about American History, it’s not long enough ago, especially with a beginning as dark and brutal as ours. From the slaughter of millions of Native Americans, to the kidnapping, transport and subsequent enslavement of Africans by Christian colonies to the ongoing racism that still stains the fabric of our society as brightly as the blood that was spilled on our soil by America’s founders, how does a Man of color become so blissfully unaware?

In the world according to Kanye, which is dimensions apart from the one we actually exist in, Donald Trump is great man, and slavery was something you could have simply opted out of. He calls himself, of possessing these beliefs, a “Free thinker.” Quite ironic, given that the ability to be free was provided to him on the backs of countless black men and women who endured a reality he will never experience. He lacks the ability to process, even by proxy of teaching, what horrific truths lay in the wake of where we sit now, as a people, and a Nation.

Kanye seems to have given himself exemption from the history that brought us here. It’s almost as if his awareness, or lack thereof, is selective. The world began turning on the day he was born, and no experiences exist beyond the reach he can see. His concept of being a “free thinker” is more equivalent a attention seeking child who will reject reason and rationale for the simple sake of rebelling against a perceived collective. In doing this, he thinks he is standing apart by creating his own reality, while in ours, he is standing alone.

Let’s be honest, his narcissism is indisputable. Kanye has spent more of his life on a throne of privilege than down here in the trenches with the rest of us. Fame, Fortune and being feted by millions has afforded him the power to see himself as God-like, untouchable. His reach and influence with its limitless boundaries has lulled him into a sense of superiority wherein he has deemed himself a sort of shepherd leading a lost flock to an ascension, free of the burdens of acknowledging a sickening and twisted history that didn’t happen because Kanye wasn’t there. He has made himself impervious to the trials by fire wherein millions lost their lives, only to declare himself somehow above it.

I am reminded of the recent landmark trial in which a young man, Ethan Couch, drove his care while under the influence of alcohol and drugs and subsequently killed four people, injuring nine others. As a defense, his lawyers argued that Couch suffered from “Affluenza” — a mental condition that allegedly rendered him incapable of determining right from wrong, good from bad, due to his wealthy upbringing and the extravagant lifestyle he’d been brought up accustomed to. He was sentenced to ten years probation rather than prison. Couch, a white young man, showed no remorse and remained unaffected by results of his actions and, of course, fled the country a short time after his trial, aided by his own mother. Now, imagine having millions of enablers telling him he is “right” and that being a “free thinker” means absolving yourself of responsibility, or even the acknowledgement of the suffering of others- past or present.

It is Kanye’s departure from our shared past and the seeming encouragement from others to do so that I find most disturbing. To shirk the fact that racism today remains one of the most damaging afflictions young men of color endure while trying to make their way in the world is negligent, at best. Does it happen, though, if it doesn’t happen to Kanye West? Is it all a thought trap? A forced narrative intended to keep people afraid of the sharp right turn society has taken, starting with the Trump reign, which has seen racism rear it’s ugly head more proudly than it has since… a time when Kanye wasn’t here?

If a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it, does it make a sound? That’s the famous old saying that comes to mind now, in 2018, regarding Kanye West. It doesn’t unless Kanye was there to hear it, feel the rush of wind under its branches as it collapses and he hears the moaning of roots grinding up from the unsettled earth…

However, is it so shocking anymore? Long before now, Kanye had become a perpetual internet meme called “Kanye loves Kanye” immortalizing him in a spectrum of scenarios wherein he is showing affection to himself; “Himself” usually being his face photo-shopped onto that of someone else.

Kanye Loves Kanye

Between his incoherent peacocking while taking a moment away from a teenage musician in front of a global audience, to the bizarre, conspiratorial tweets that make him appear less like an inspiring rap musician and Black icon and more like the white dude from American Psycho, Kanye doesn’t seem to love Kanye.

Kanye hates Kanye.

Known less for his groundbreaking music and more for his unstable, unpredictable antics isn’t typically the goal of someone with a thread of self respect or self love- especially when it evolves into the grandstanding indifference to your own community and casual rebuffing of a tragic history. These are not the actions of a proud man. These are the actions of a prideful, hallow human being; A consequential amalgamate of too much money, adoration and influence that allows him to shed his association with anything that’s too reflective, or too deeply unsettling for him to comprehend. We also call this delusional.

“Free Thinking” is not ignoring history. It is not pretending something we collectively recognize as canon didn’t happen in the way we know it did. It is not driving backward on the highway just because everyone else is going forward.

No, that’s not free thinking. That’s not liberation from reality. That’s blatant stupidity and a slap in the face to Black men and women who are here today only because their ancestors survived against all odds.

This is man that Kanye should take a note from rather than trying to write his own gospel:

But, stop calling Kanye a genius. Perhaps, at one time, his music reflected a man whose talent was irrefutable. However, still, just a man. An individual who was given an opportunity few will ever have, and it has warped his perceptions and world ideas beyond recognition; We cannot let his manipulation and reckless redefining of normal be regarded as genius… this is how we ended up with a Country run by Donald Trump.

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Tinder Wants Me to Be Alone… Because Someone Must Care For The Strays

I hate the concept of online dating. I’ve never been successful, mostly because I sabotage my own efforts. I half-ass it, to be honest. I’m not really committed to the act of committing myself to search the entire globe for someone to commit myself to.

That’s a lot of commitment.

I just want to point at someone I find mildly attractive and be like, “I pick you. Let’s get married.” Skip everything else in between. All the nonsense. Dating is for the masochistic anyway. Basically, you meet someone and have to hide all of your worst habits, traits and personal eccentricities until they like you enough to feel guilty if they bolt… or until they inevitably reveal their own and you have to decide if you still like them enough to stomach them picking their ass and smelling their fingers in long-term. Dating is an interview for someone of whom you can mutually tolerate.

When it gets to the meeting stage, I always chicken out, convinced they are probably a serial killer with the heads of past dates neatly organized, Tetris-like, in their freezer. It would be my luck. “There must be something horribly wrong with them if they like me this much.” That’s usually my thought process. What can I say? I’m your typical Gen-X’er brought up in a culture where being different is often targeted, definitely not celebrated. If I’m being pursued by a man it’s usually because I’m running. And I have. In high heels down Fifth Avenue from a group of guys yelling slurs. I can’t say I expect much from the human race in general.

I’m not yet eager enough to take that chance, thus, while I have dabbled in the online dating arena, usually during the lonely holidays while partaking from a box of Franzia, I might check in once a year, mostly out of boredom.

Of course, now we have dating apps. Attraction at your fingertips. There are apps for gays and lesbians, Christians and Jewish people, a whole catalog of them for straight, CIS gender people… none for people who fall outside societies firmly planted gender goal posts. Consequentially, we have to adapt ourselves into these narrow communities of folks who aren’t expecting us there. Parties we’re not invited to. Often, it leads to bullying, verbal assault, harassment and shaming. Not always, but most often.

So, Tinder is not new but it’s basically awful. The concept is this: The app shows you a picture of some poor random character within a radial area using your GPS location and you swipe right if you like them, swipe left if you dry heaved. And POOF! Immediately it displays a new individual to judge.

That simple.

Swipe their face. You don’t know anything about them. You don’t have to. It’s like that old website Hot Or Not. If you’re hot you have your choice of chatting with a plethora of potential suitors… if you’re not, well, I hope you like Cats. I have seven.

Thanks to instagram filters and a cloak of makeup so massively disguising it could have been bought directly from Diagon Alley, I figured I might have a little luck. I figure I’m a solid 8 while doused in foundations and powder to conceal myself. I just have to find someone who likes me enough to accept the 4 that I am when I wake up in the morning.

I decided to appeal to gay men first. Why? I know, as a Trans individual who presents mostly female that certainly no gay man is going to be interested in me, very obviously. They tend to stick close to their valley of gyms and vegan take-out joints, tanning salons and Gap stores. However, I know from experience that sometimes men with more fluid sexual interests, or those more sexually liberated often wander into gay oriented bars or clubs… whether with intention or insatiable curiosity, so I figured the anonymity provided online might create enough of a comfort zone to possibly run into one of those open-minded types. I approached this entire effort like I was Jane Goodall in some deep, ancient rain forest trying to communicate with native tribes.

I was pretty direct with my profile… which no one apparently reads unless you match. I offered to chat with anyone if we matched, and explained I was very interested in gender perceived through a photo versus reaction to gender via disclosure. I had a lovely profile, at least I thought, as I sounded incredibly smart and surprisingly professional! I’d have swiped myself right, anyway. I approached this genuinely, only swiped right men I found honestly appealing. (As a sidenote: Always look at the second picture, the first is usually them 6 years ago in masterful lighting back when their face was still taught.)

I remained true to my general taste. The gentlemen I swiped right had a median age of 30, all races. I quickly left swiped men with children in their photos, or what appeared to be loving spouses. While it seems there were a few couples looking to swing dance, I don’t know how. I was also very careful not to swipe favorably any guy who looked like he might have guns or want to kill me as a result of accidentally matching with me. Call me judgmental if you wish, but the entire structure of the app is to determine who is worthy of speaking to based solely on their level of attractiveness. I’m only doing as instructed. If they look like Hannibal or a hillbilly with three teeth and a backwards baseball cap I am stepping out of their lane. This is called self preservation.

Well, the gay side of things was pretty lonely. As expected. I had matched 3 times in two days. To match with someone, you both have to both swipe each other right to ignite your flame, get it? Tinder? Cute. I’d get excited when my phone would buzz saying I had a match and I’d scramble enthusiastically to see which of the fellows I liked took a shine to me as well, mostly because it so rarely happened. To be fair, I imagine if I were a CIS gay man and a picture of a female popped up, I’d sling her ass to the left so hard she’d fly off my phone. No hard feelings. I get it.

For three days I tried to make a friend. No one liked me. Even the three I matched with never spoke to me. I made it clear on my profile I wouldn’t initiate contact as a courtesy and invited them instead to open a dialog so they could do so of their volition and not feel backed against a wall of obligation to say “Hello,” or feel potentially provoked by my presence. Like Jane Goodall I’d sit in the bushes with a book and let them come to me. Some got curious enough to swipe… but it was clear we didn’t speak the same language.

After three days I changed my settings and identified myself as Transgender instead of male, and seeking a male. I felt more comfortable identifying as female, anyway, despite feeling like I’d have much less luck given that most men willing to date Trans women are so deep in the damn closet they’re in Narnia.

I’d left the gay Jungle and now was in the heterosexual belt. I kept my profile the same; Same photo, same information, same invitation to chat and gender disclosure.

My phone began buzzing like a nest of hornets on coke who couldn’t handle themselves in the matter of minutes. Every swipe I made was a match. I racked up hundred of matches on the first day. Look at me, Mom! I’m popular! Suck it, Heather Blackford from sixth grade who told me I looked like Dracula in Drag. They like me! They really like me!

And, then, I watched as each one of them subsequently “Unmatched” from me. Unmatching is a feature that allows you to unlike someone after matching them. Good for people with enthusiastic fingers who might right swipe someone they didn’t intend to, or realized just a moment too soon it was a first cousin. Well, I was being liked and then unliked en masse. It was a very bizarre sensation, kinda like someone shaking your hand and then smacking you in the face. You like me? Nope. No, you definitely don’t. I watched through narrow eyes as my number of matches in the upper corner declined…. 89 matches… 73… 66… 59…

In the interim, I had three men actually message me. One kindly invited me to place things up his backside. The next was a young guy who wanted me to be his new best friend because he “loved my look.” The third guy was terrified that he, himself, may be Transgender because he loved to wear women’s panties. Meanwhile, as the hours ticked by, my phone was humming with more and more matches. And then unmatches. Some wouldn’t bother to unmatch, but instead pretended it never happened, like a fart in the freezer aisle at Walmart. I don’t know if they dropped their phone and ran to confession… or therapy. I was like a regrettable one night stand; A leper that had threatened to spread my contagion all over the pictures of themselves in their ray-ban sunglasses and department store hoodies.I had dirtied their swiping thumbs. No one bothered reading my Transgender Status, which, upon introducing, Tinder claimed would change the game.

It was a level of rejection I hadn’t ever experienced in such a short period of time… and by so many people at once.

My phone battery died, twice, from all the rapid fire matches that kept pouring in and so I left it plugged into the charger so it could continue to endure the vibrating abuse. It made me think that Tinder would be a great device for the guy who wanted things up his butt.

Another message arrived, and I was ecstatic. “You have a message from Zach!” my phone announced. However “Zach” informed me she was actually “Zooey” a gender fluid 22 year old who preferred female pronouns. We spoke at length about our experiences with Tinder and she informed me that hers had been largely the same when she tried being honest. Now, she kept her status a secret until she deemed it necessary to reveal. We bonded over that and had a nice long chat as I sipped green tea and we regaled our mutual love of Linda Belcher and bawdy humor. It was nice to spend time with someone who understood the terrain we were on- this cold, unfamiliar landscape upon which it was evident neither of us were welcome- at least, not as ourselves.

In three days on the predominantly heterosexual side of Tinder, I find it ironic that my first and only real fruitful chat was with someone more similar to me than I ever expected to find there. An ally behind enemy lines. Not a total loss.

I got up to let the dog out as my phone continued vibrating with the voracity and determination of a yipping chihuahua across the end table. Ten minutes passed… the dog takes her sweet time in the bathroom. So did my ex, but the dog smells better. Finally she comes back in and I head to the sofa to continue chatting with Zooey, only to be met with an obscuring pop-up:

I don’t presume my experience is exclusive. I think it’s apparent that Tinder, despite allowing an option for non binary people to self identify, forgets that no one reads the profiles, or even the gender status. Their decision to swipe left or right is made in 0.2 seconds based on their sexual attraction. They only delve deeper once your connect, and even then, soetimes not until you’ve spoken multiple times. Then, they browse your profile and they crap their pants, start saying their Hail Mary’s and report me for abuse- as if I’ve deliberately deceived them or challenged their heterosexuality so strongly that they had to switch over to lesbian pornhub to remind themselves they’re straight, despite me. Tinder has been kind to allow us a gender identity option, but they need to let men filter us out of their choices instead of creating a situation where, instead, they’re reporting us while experiencing an unnecessary sexuality crisis. The extreme intolerance fostered there among it’s Cis male users, should someone like me slip through the cracks and dare create a presence, does not make for a happy- or successful- user experience.

It’s just one more thing that keeps Trans people compelled to hide their identity, passively inferring they do not belong by refusing to allow them a seat at their table, even if we’re allowed a gender marker, it’s ignored in favor of an enticing photo.

Yet somehow, I’m sure the guy who wanted me to shove the entire contents of my kitchen up his rear end is still there, swiping away…

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Bijou Phillips: I Used To Bully Gay People, But I’m Better Now.

Who are you again?

I’m being honest. I had no clue. Isn’t Bijou like the color in some limited edition box of crayolas or a tourist destination in the far south like, I don’t know, somewhere near Peru where people go to contemplate their life and take Ayahuasca?

I’d never heard of her before, but thank god it’s not 1999 anymore because without google, no one would. She’s just be that shady bitch with parents who smoked way too much weed. That’s not far off. Bijou is the child of John Phillips of Mamas and the Papas fame. If you’re too young to remember the Mamas and the Papas, as I am, they were a 60’s and 70’s tambourine playing band of Flower Power people who were famous for songs like “California Dreamin’” and “Monday, Monday.” Most notable of the group was the iconic Mama Cass, the heavy lady with, undeniably, the best voice who infamously died at an early, from choking on a ham sandwich in bed- at least according to Urban Legend. For her sake, I hope it’s true. That’s how I want to die, except I want it to be beef bologna, sprinkled with Dorito crumbs.

They were equally famous for the affairs that occurred between group members. John Phillips carried on a tumultuous love affair with Michelle Phillips that ended in divorce, but a series of semi-famous children came from the groups various coupling, including actress Mackenzie Phillips, star of the 70’s series “One Day At A Time” who more recently detailed in her biography she had engaged in a consensual, incestuous relationship with her father beginning the night before wedding… And you thought your family was weird.

Also part of the kooky clan is Wilson-Philips singer Chynna Phillips who had a few hit singles in the 90’s that I still know all the words to. “I know that there is pain, but if ya hold on for one more day, break free from the chains!” She went on to marry William Baldwin- The good Baldwin. Not the one who calls his teenage daughter abusive names or the one that converted to radical Christianity and makes robocalls for Donald Trump.

Is it any wonder that Bijou turned out to be a complete mess? An entitled beast whose bad behavior has gotten her more press coverage than any personal or professional accomplishment. She’s worse than Lindsay Lohan, primarily because people, at the very least, know who Lindsay Lohan is… I mean, you have too in order to get the jokes.

But, the story about Bijou is that she is also a notorious homophobe and was called out not so long ago by actor Daniel Franzese. I know. I’ve tried to say the name out loud three times and people just keep blessing me. Regardless, he claims that during their days filming 2001’s sleeper hit, ironically titled, “Bully”- also Franzese’s first film, Phillips subjected him to intense humiliation. She body shamed him for his weight and poked fun at him for his sexuality, making crude remarks in front of their fellow co-stars. She went so far as to arrange a get together with Franzese in her trailer, and when he arrived, she made sure she was engaged in full on penetrative sex with the film’s headline star, Brad Renfro, who died in 2008 of a heroine overdose. She wanted to embarrass him by putting her heterosexuality on full display with a Man Franzese had developed a fondness for.

Personally, I’d have found the nearest hose and doused the vile brat while saying the Lord’s prayer as loud as I could. Instead, Franzese kept his composure and maintained his professionalism, stating that Renfro himself came to apologize for Philips disgusting behavior.

He called her out in a lengthy facebook post seventeen years later citing the fact that he was inspired by Ellen Page, who brought to light the onslaught of homophobic and abusive behavior she endured at the hands of director Bret Rattner while filming X-Men. Of course, Rattner had a notorious reputation for abusing women, thus became one of the hundreds who fell on the sword off the #MeToo movement.

In a response to Franzese’s post, Phillips released a carefully constructed statement through a representative. She has a representative? Why does she need a representative? She’s done four projects in the last 8 years. Ah, well. Trust funds.

This was her statement to TMZ;

“I want to write to address what Daniel has said. I don’t remember that time well, those years are a blur. I was a teenager and reckless in my behavior. I know Daniel to be a trustworthy and honest person, and to find out through social media that I was not the friend I thought I was to him made me so sad. I am so mortified by this behavior and have contacted Daniel and apologized to him privately. I am not and never have been homophobic. I have nothing but love for the LGBTQ community and Daniel.”

I have a hard time remembering people I publicly humiliate, too. In my case it’s usually myself after a few vodkas… in hers, it was likely the pharmacy she kept in her Gucci bag. Needless to say, she and her husband, that guy, Danny Masterson from “That 70’s Show” (What is it with these people and the 70’s?) who sports the pedophile mustache and looks like he could use a bath, are also devout Scientologists. We all know how much they love our community; According to their doctrine, “Homosexuality is destroying civilization by removing the foundation block of family.”

Later that afternoon, shortly after her “Heartfelt” apology, Phillips was caught taking her daughter for a stroll… and taking selfies in a floppy black hat, not altogether like Jessica Lange in American Horror Story: Coven, except without the class or talent. Instead she was busy trying to find her good light.

Franzese stated that Phillips did indeed call him to make ammends; The smart thing to do with the tide of career destroying behavior accountability rolling in. But, her public apology was problematic, to say the very least.

If she had no problem with the LGBTQ community, she’d have never used her own sexuality to torment Franzese over his own. Nor would she have felt so superior to him as to body shame him and even resort to physically assaulting him. She didn’t say “18 years ago I was an asshole.” No. Not at all. She claims she never- keyword- never had anything but love for the LGBTQ community and Daniel.

Well, if that’s how she expresses love, I’d hate to on Bijou’s bad side.

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The Straight Pride Badge Looks Like A Cheap Drug Store Eyeshadow Pallet (And I Love It.)

In the world we inhabit of the Have and Have-Nots — I realize that sounded like the beginning of a Dr. Suess Book, but I digress.) — cisgender, heterosexuals tend to get a little resentful that we have things like Gay Pride, or Trans Day of Visibility, and well, like their Rights and Equalities, they want to keep these things for themselves.

For a long time, those of the heterosexual persuasion have wanted their own pride flag, their own marches and days of acknowledgement, and have been begging for it on social media like that little kid from “A Christmas Story” who wanted a Red Rider BB Gun. They also want White Pride marches, and to rail against this mythical beast — the troll of all “ism’s” — Reverse racism, by declaring their resistance to white oppression, despite none existing. Does it still need pointed out that White people invented the system of Racism, and thus cannot be a victim of their own machine? I guess it does. Their machine worked too well, actually, and victimized millions of people… But they view their own victims as possessing a privilege they do not have; that of outrage… thus, they inherently desire the right to be outraged as well, so they feign their own victim-hood, just to keep the status quo. “If you can be angry, I can too.” or, to borrow from the classic film, Annie Get Your Gun, “Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better.” Except they didn’t.

It’s hard to be angry. I literally can’t. There’s a pang of pity over the sheer demonstration of ignorance, which I’m using as a nice word for blatant stupidity. Another part of me feels like they’re a mere puppy, who rolls in their own crap because they think it makes them smell fantastic, never realizing the rest of the world is cringing, as we run away holding our noses.

So, in the latest effort to put on parade their thinly veiled anti-gay belief system, they’ve attempted to create their own “Straight pride Flag” and it looks as bland, boring and sub-par as one would expect from a bunch of folks who have spent their life comfortably between the goal posts of acceptability, never having to acknowledge or fight against adversity because of their gender, color, or sexual orientation.

I present to you the “Straight Pride Flag pin” — possibly a brooch, for the lapel of a woman who would most certainly need to speak to every manager of every salon, department store and restaurant she’s ever been to. For every Barbara, Debra, or Karen, and their equally heterosexual, missionary-position-only husbands, Tom, Bob and Bill (Sometimes William at the office where he sells car insurance.) here is the most dull pallet one could possibly manifest, not even if they tried harder:

I feel like Avon might have sold this in 1978, back when we women were returning to the phase of “I’m wearing make up, but you can’t tell” era of mediocrity. As a piece of fine jewelry, nothing about this shouts “Wow! That’s Brandable!” to me, like I wouldn’t buy it on a Mug or a T-shirt because most definitely one of the colors would disappear.

Oddly, so uninspired was this flag that literally two of the colors are exactly the same. Brown and brown. Even taking this into my lab- which is photoshop- the gradient of hex codes indicating the colors were indifferent to each other. Did they just get to the fifth color and get tired? Did Harry look to Brad and just exclaim, “Wow, this is hard.” They could have gone to the Lowe’s paint department and picked out a more creative swatch from the wall, to be honest- problem is, they’d likely have had to ask the lesbian working the counter for help. For the record, I love Lowe’s lesbians. They helped me build my deck.

I’m not mad about the Straight Pride Flag, but confess, I am amused, if not altogether entertained. You see, dear reader, everyone is looking to be mad about something. Everyone wants to be incensed by the slighted slip of the tongue or conflicting opinion that it’s put an entire generation of folks on meds to cope with the fact that people… brace yourself.. won’t always agree with you.

I’ve been called lebophobic for defending Transwomen against “Radfems” who claim the state of existing as Transgender is a War on Women- and they even have rallies and marches about it.

I’ve been called homophobic for standing up against gay politicians who want to excise Transgender people from the LGBT umbrella and declare we are a “Liability to the gay agenda.

I’ve been called Religiously intolerant for defending lesbians who just wanted a damn cake baked for their wedding.

I was accused of “Body Shaming” for chastising a stranger who sent me a photo of his genitals and acted like he was doing me some enormous favor. Enormous, not the word I used for his penis, meant that I was humiliating him rather than defending my right to exist in my space without having some random guy’s penis thrust in my face… er… inbox.

I’ve been called- get ready for this- Transphobic for saying that I’m not bothered by the hatred spewed at me, or deleting nasty transphobic comments on my wall because I believe in letting people have their opinion, and letting the world at large judge them for it, rather than hide it, or delete it on their behalf.

I laugh. I’m a comedian. I stopped taking the world so seriously long long ago, recognizing that if I let every knife hurled in my direction cut too deeply, I’d end up scarred for life. Indeed, I write in defense of disenfranchised communities; I fight back against political ostracization of LGBT people, People of color, all women and the brutal, disproportionate murders of Trans Women of color. I know when it’s serious.

I also know when it’s ridiculous. And like the time I had to roll my eyes and hold in my teeth when I read that white women were mobilizing to get the #WhiteBabyMagic hashtag trending on twitter to combat, what they uniformly dubbed, “the aggressive breeding of black folks” I refuse to debate with those in a vacuum.

Instead, I’m going to laugh at them.

And their straight flag. And their straight pride marches and their declarations of reverse racism, and their fear… their absolute desperate fear of, for once, being in a minority.

Indeed, White, straight folks fear falling into the minority.

That fear is born from the reality that, perhaps, suddenly they will become vulnerable to being treated just as they have treated us for centuries.

Indeed, that must be terrifying.

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I Documented The Men Who Hit On Me On Facebook… And The Results Were Hilarious

I’ve never thought of Facebook, Twitter or Snapchat as a means to make a love connection.

I figured that was just presumed. I never share personal information on social media. I keep a firm boundary between the ongoings in my day-to-day life and the masses online that both consume and opine on one’s status updates. We all know that girl whose boyfriend cheated on her, or the guy reveling in his new relationship- the third one that week. There’s the fights between friends, couple or colleagues, which I admit I follow with the enthusiasm of teenage boy who’s discovered his first pubic hair. I watch with bated breath for the next accusation or insult to come hurling across the universe and land squarely on my timeline.

Sure, sometimes I share my reactions to current news topics, or Trans-positive thoughts for the day, but mostly, my timeline is an abyss of bad jokes and random thoughts typical of someone heavily, happily medicated. I don’t take social media seriously, nor do I apply much gravity to the things I read.

I’ve learned that Facebook and other social media sites have a whole other demographic: And that is primarily men looking to ‘connect’ with women. In the past few years, I’ve become rather discriminating with regard to the friend requests I accept, because allowing a stranger past the threshold of my virtual door usually resulted in an immediate instant private message… a “Hey baby,” or “Hi sexy.” Is this Craigslist?

It became so predictable that I started to just have fun with it. So, exchanges like this became routine.

I know, I know it seems cruel. But, as I’d sit here, fiddling about on my laptop, working, only to be inundated with something so unexpected and oftentimes simply grotesque, I could think of no other way to react other than to be as bold and unapologetic as these complete strangers had been to me.

I particularly appreciated the men from places like India who possessed a level of sexual confidence that I envy. Like Ragamesh, for example, who invited me to be his cow.

Words cannot describe how flattered I was to be offered such a spirited opportunity as being plowed like a cow. I like to think that this is about as close as one can get to a marriage proposal in his part of the world. Others who reside in his general area were far less creative.

That’s a lot of thumbs, and while the approval is hugely appreciated by someone like me, who often wonders if my efforts are paying off, the routine “Thumps Up” emoticons of varying sizes became the measure of my daily status success. I figured, the bigger the thumb, the better my status updates must have been on that particular day.

Not all of them bothered with a cute emoticon or sweet little kissy-face sticker to express their approval, some amorous fellows just decided to bombard me, like that classic cartoon character, Pepe Le Pew and his eternally unrequited love interest who spends every episode trying to escape his, ahem, charms.

Priorities.

I must be big in India. Like, huge. A proper sex symbol. At least in my head. I bet they have a billboard of me somewhere with my Facebook URL, because it isn’t just the sudden manifestation of random men who find their way to the terrifying cesspool that is the “Filtered” inbox of my messages, but some pretty interesting job offers as well.

I had to google what a lahk was, and I’m pretty sure I’m worth a whole lot of lakhs. So, I passed up this offer in hopes that a more lucrative opportunity might pop up down the line.

To be fair, some part of me also appreciates the persistence of some men. The sheer refusal to be ignored, even after months and months of failed attempts to fetch a response. But, I’m a charitable sort.

The accounts with strange, clearly fake names aren’t the only sources of gratuitous solicitations of my person. On a few occasions, I’ve received quite polite messages from interested men who’ve mistaken Facebook for Tinder, or OKCupid;

Take Care.

I love it when you don’t even have to say “No.” You just hand them their pride, pat them on the head and they find their way to the nearest exit. Other times, they seem thrown into an abyss of confusion when my response isn’t as overwhelmingly agreeable as they believed it would be…

What do you Mean?
WEB MD Was offline.
Detachable Parts
Oh, Don.
The light is red.

They don’t get angry, or start calling you names. Usually, in my case, an outright rejection fetches catastrophic results and the guy who was just asking to see me in my underwear is now calling me “Ugly,” and an “Abomination to God” or a “Sick pervert.” The irony is too entertaining to actually muster any reciprocal outrage.

Most odd, though, are the men who know me… or more precisely, knew me at some point in my life. By some sheer coincidence, perhaps curiosity, they find me again, like this old schoolmate who I couldn’t remember for the life of me, but he certainly knew me.

I’m still amazed he remembered me, given he strikes me as the kind of guy with Velcro shoes. Others try to be clever with their pick up lines, but I’m a pretty hardened bitch. As a Trans woman, I have to adapt a tough exterior, so I don’t leave much room for guys to think they have a hope in hell that I’m suddenly going to fall madly in love over messenger.

You have to do better than that.
Because you never can tell.
OMG.

And then there are the married men- or men in relationships. I still find it bizarre that these men write me love letters online like I’m the Santa Claus of sex. Like if they’re convincing enough I’ll drop down their chimney or show up on their doorstep like Frost the Hoe-man.

Check yourself before you wreck your marriage.
She cries herself to sleep at night.
Spread the word.

I think my favorite type of guys are the ones who think that they can best stimulate your interest by being combative or aggressive. They charge into your private messages like the Don Juan of bullfighters, waving a red flag to challenge something you’ve said in a status to demonstrate their bravery and dominance- even though there is little question that they were just looking for an open door to start a dialog. That’s the wrong way to approach me.

Said with Love.

Some just get outright angry if they don’t grab your attention by other means.

LUV U 2

As much as facebook has offered me a portal into the universe, and sometimes the lives of strangers where I sit like some voyeur scrolling down my feed, I’ve been most entertained by the treasures left in my inbox. I’m sure most of the women you know get these messages, have a cackle with their girlfriends over the water cooler at work and move on with their day. I save them.

As much of a social experiment as Facebook is, it’s just as much fun to see what happens when a user approaches it with a different intention altogether. I’ll leave you with my favorite experience so far. The guy who attacked me online, and I decided to tell his mother.

Thank you for messaging.

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Was Rainbow Brite and her Gender Non Conforming Friends the Gayest Cartoon Ever?

It never occurred to me, but yes. Yes it was.

When I was a kid, I wanted a Rainbow Brite doll more than anything in the world. I was dazzled by her shock yellow hair and daring club kid haute couture fashion.

Starlite, Rainbow Brite’s trusty and Sassy Steed

She rode around on a magical pony, Starlite, that farted glitter and had a sassy attitude that could rival any drag queen. Her mission throughout her story was to bring color and light to an otherwise bland and bleak world, which had fallen into a a state of disarray due to the growing power of her adversaries, Murky Dismal and his henchman, Lurky. They hate color. They loathe anything different or unique. They embark on a relentless war to rid the world of anything unlike themselves…

Then there was her best friend; Her “Personal Sprite” aptly named Twink. You see, Twink was this adorable little white puffball with antennae adorned with small golden stars. He was unique, however, in that he had fallen victim to the guile of Murky, and had his bright color stolen from him, thus leaving him white instead of boasting radical colors like his fellow sprites. He had been forcibly converted to a life of the mundane. Regardless of being robbed of his spectacular display of color, Twink was rescued by Rainbow Brite and made her right hand, often left in charge while she was away on her adventures. Twink was the eager-to-please type who wikipedia describes as “often appearing manic due to his heightened sense of urgency.”

Twink wasn’t the only sprite that made up Rainbow Brite’s little army of cuddly, genderless critters. There was also a variety of others, including Champ, the gym fanatic who was obsessed with working out. Hammy was a campy comedian who had a one-liner for virtually every scenario. Spark was hyper active, always optimistic and the life of the party. O.J., well, he was your typical narcissist, absolutely in love with himself, distracted by his own good looks and loved it when people fawned over him. Romeo was the dashing romantic. He knew how to throw a compliment whether genuine or not. He could talk a snowman out of his carrot if given the opportunity because his charm was simply irresistible. I.Q. was more gentle than her primary colored friends, more effeminate, shy, a little awkward but always well meaning. He preferred to engage in thoughtful, existential conversations rather go to battle. Lucky Sprite was perpetually jolly for no particular reason. He was like that best friend you could always tell a secret too and know it would be kept safe in his care- and he also probably crawled under dumpsters to rescue cats if he heard a stray meow.

These Sprites weren’t alone in Rainbow Brite’s war against the forces of oppression and erasure of anything beautiful or otherwise diverse; Not in the least. Each Sprite, you see, was the companion of what were affectionately known as “The Color Kids.”

The Color Kids — Red Butler, Lala Orange, Canary Yellow, Patty O’Green, Buddy Blue, Indigo, Shy Violet, Tickled Pink, Rainbow Brite, Stormy, Moonglow.

Many of The Color Kids, whose very personalities reflected their coordinated colored Sprite, presented with the kind of gender ambiguity that was typical 80’s synth bands- not really Saturday Morning Cartoons. While their dress code may have been sometimes male/female indicative, their flamboyance and gender indistinct mannerisms may have left adults wondering. Yet, suffice it to say, the non conformity of Canary Yellow, who refuses to don the hoop skirt the other girls are famous for, and the drag look- and name of Tickled Pink left me wondering how I managed to miss such blatant references and deliberate borrowing from LGBT culture in the most amazing ways possible. Also important to mention? Indigo Shy, who far predated Disney’s Princess Jasmine, was showing us that children of ethnic diversity were just as vital- and magical as their white counterparts. And, she was playing a pivotal role in ensuring the world itself stayed as proudly bright as ever.

Who can say whether or not Rainbow Bright was some genius metaphor for equality, diversity, and the resistance to the demand to conform and comply with socially imposed norms. However, now I can’t watch a single episode without seeing it. The parallels are indisputable, intentional or not. If Rainbow Brite wasn’t a remark on girl power before the Spice Girls sang about it, or Gay Pride, ethnic pride, and the power of unity in the face of relentless adversity coming from positions of power, the it was prophetic, at the very least. Simply put; Rainbow Brite was the Queer Icon we needed.

As it happens, my favorite villains in Rainbow Brite were not the primary duo of Murky Dismal and his easily confused bestie, Lurky, but the Glitterbots.

Yes, the Glitterbots. A horde of sentient robots under the control of one Sgt. Zombo, a military prison warden who uses the Glitterbots to enslave and control the colorful sprites, and enslave anyone who dares depart from standardized forms of bland acceptability.

Ultimately, Rainbow Brite was all about being liberated from ideologists who had a very specific, linear world view which alienated most everyone else. As a result, they were often pursued, persecuted or imprisoned altogether for nothing other than being different.

Later reboots of the series clearly saw the gay undertones and went to great lengths to change some of the references- and even the names. In the 2014 revival, Twink was renamed Mr. Glitters- the first time an intentional male pronoun was used to refer to a sprite. The Color Kids kept their iconic looks, but were given a very modern update.

The 2014 Color Kids Reboot.

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