Suicide, Leelah Alcorn, and Living Openly Trans*

I’ve kept quiet much for the last few months because I’ve been mourning a loss, the equal I can only compare losing my father at age 11. I’m not going to share the particulars of this loss because it doesn’t really matter in the context of this post, and secondly because it’s extremely personal. But emotionally I’ve been hampered a bit in just getting by day to day. I’m just trying to work out a plan for my future and try to do all the things people do when they’re mourning a huge loss. Trying to move on when you don’t really want to.

The holidays haven’t made it any easier. My circle of friends in Madison, Wisconsin is small. This is the first Christmas without my partner. I’ve just been putting my head down, going to work, and trying to make it through.

And then I read the suicide note of a trans teen, Leelah Acorn. Her parents tried Jesusing the the trans out of her to the point she killed herself. Some cis-gender (not trans*) people (especially those people that can’t bring themselves to call trans women, women but feel the need to call them “penised individuals“) have suggested that it’s irresponsible to post Leelah’s suicide note.

This is thorny territory for me personally. When I read it, it did trigger me. I’ve been pretty much staying away from social media the last few days because of her suicide. In her suicide note she said:

“I have decided I’ve had enough. I’m never going to transition successfully, even when I move out. I’m never going to be happy with the way I look or sound. I’m never going to have enough friends to satisfy me. I’m never going to have enough love to satisfy me. I’m never going to find a man who loves me. I’m never going to be happy. Either I live the rest of my life as a lonely man who wishes he were a woman or I live my life as a lonelier woman who hates herself. There’s no winning. There’s no way out. I’m sad enough already, I don’t need my life to get any worse. People say “it gets better” but that isn’t true in my case. It gets worse. Each day I get worse.

That part of her note pierced through me like a knife. I understand her pain, because I feel like I am the embodiment of the comments of her future. I’m a visibly trans woman that struggles every day. As I said to a friend after this story broke:

“I’m not clinically depressed or having suicidal ideation. I’m currently mourning a loss and been having dysphoria related issues lately. Basically I’m the person she said she didn’t want to live to be. That was a huge punch to the gut.”

and

“I’m not saying it for hugs or attention (but thanks for the love), but that it’s just hard. Especially what she said about it not getting better. If you don’t have cis-privilege, life is fucking hard being openly trans.”

But I don’t think it’s irresponsible to publish her note. I think it’s wise and compassionate to warn people with “trigger warnings”. But for someone that routinely fights for the right to exclude trans women from “female only” spaces without one shred of evidence that trans women are a threat (regardless of their genital status), I find Ditum’s words to be both disingenuous and oppressive.

Irresponsible? That would be the Philadelphia Gay News publishing a story about an underage child’s genitals. Irresponsible would be the Statesman asking a TERF who openly mocks trans women to write a piece on a trans child’s suicide.

The answer to transphobia that leads to suicide isn’t more transphobia. The answer to transphobia isn’t silence. Not talking about it isn’t going to make it go away. Trans reparative therapy isn’t going to suddenly go away on its own. It needs to be talked about and people need to know how awful and destructive it is.

She says:

“Trans lives matter. We know that transgender people are at particular risk of suicidal thoughts. So why are people endorsing and sharing material that, if it has any effect at all, is likely to be the catalyst for a trans youth to attempt suicide?”

Ditum’s pity feels a lot like the pity trans people get from Focus on the Family. She knows that trans people are at particularly at risk for suicidal thoughts, but never seems to ask why. I’m suffering every day as a visibly trans person, and it’s not because I’m mentally ill or because I’m diagnosed with any sort of depression. It’s because being visibly trans in this world IS A HARD LIFE. It’s because there are people that other us, disrespect us, and objectify us on a daily (and sometimes hourly) basis.

The answer isn’t silence, it’s education. The answer isn’t fear mongering, mis-gendering, or “gender nerd snark“, it’s treating trans people with respect and human dignity. It boils down to just letting trans people live their lives authentically without being attacked for who they are. Ditum and folks like her aren’t part of the answer, they’re part of the problem.

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Is Wall Street Disconnected from Main Street?

“It all makes me wonder if the stock market hasn’t fundamentally changed in the past 15 years. It seems like it’s no longer a safe place for an average Jo to put their money.”

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I’ve recently (since June) started putting back money for my retirement both in a 403b and a bit of money in some individual stocks. Seeing my portfolio see-saw back and forth, and at best maybe breaking even,  I have to wonder who makes money in this market? I’m not moving what I have, but it all makes me wonder if the stock market hasn’t fundamentally changed in the past 15 years. It seems like it’s no longer a safe place for an average Jo to put their money.

Media Barr Roseanne From Criticizing Cosby, But Trans Women HELL YES!

Apparently the media think it’s news that Roseanne Barr has made some rather lewd comments about Bill Cosby, who:

“Several women in recent weeks have come forward to claim the comedian drugged and raped them or touched them inappropriately in past decades.”

But when Roseanne said some really horrible stuff about trans people? The media was and is silent.

What did I learn today? The same thing I learn most days. Trans people’s lives aren’t worth much at all.

A Green, Green Thumb: Help the Newbie!

So I thought I’d spruce up (and help the air quality) of my apartment by buying a houseplant. So I traveled down to my local store and bought this:

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There have been a few problems with this plant (right now I’m not sure what type of plant it is):

the previous occupant of my apartment put hooks in the ceiling next to my windows (6 windows, a hook in front of each one):

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but the hooks are currently over my futon:

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and my computer desk:

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This poses a problem. Watering is a bear. With the current plant I have, when it’s watered it will drain on the futon if I were to water it where it is at (because of the design of the pot)

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I’d like to keep this plant, and get more. But to water this plant I have to take it into the bathroom and water it in the bathtub and let it drain then hang it back up.  So my question to you more experienced green thumbed people:

  1. I’m thinking of buying a new hanging planter for this plant, but I don’t want to have to go through this process of watering. I’d just like to be able to water it in my living room without worrying about spillage onto the furniture or floor.
  2. Can I re-pot this into another planter without killing it? How do I do that?
  3. I’d like to buy more hanging plants for my apartment so that all six hooks can be used. Any tips on which plants to get? My windows have a southeastern exposure.. I’m currently painting and getting new curtains, so plants that can survive with irregular direct exposure are best.

Thanks for any help!

Why I’m Angry at Conservative, Corporate Media

In a Twitter discussion with LBC radio presenter, Julia Hartley-Brewer asked me:

I AM angry. I’m angry because corporate conservative media outlets are engaging in a propaganda war against the poor. She and her station posted this:

and

I posted a response, saying that I thought this was just an attack on the poor. She responded by saying:

Since her housing benefit is .0003% of the benefit budget, the problem isn’t one of impact. In America we call this dog-whistle politics.

“Dog-whistle politics is political messaging employing coded language that appears to mean one thing to the general population but has an additional, different or more specific resonance for a targeted subgroup.”

“You should be outraged that lazy people are getting over on hard working people!” That’s the dog-whistle that British conservative media are sounding. If you actually read the story, the woman has lived in the area for 5 years and the reason rent is so high is because the housing market changed around her, not some special deal she has received. This does anger me, because this kind of political propaganda has an agenda, and that agenda is to incite class division. It’s done to mask real issues that matter, instead blaming the poor, immigrants, and the disabled. The most vulnerable people are blamed for the ills of Britian, but as I said in my previous post:

You can logically argue what banking practices caused the financial crisis in 2008 that still haunts the global economy, but you can’t say it wasn’t the fault of bankers.

The underlying push by conservative corporate media is that the economic collapse that happened in 2008 was due to immigrants, or the strain of the housing or employment benefit budget. I asked Hartley-Brewer what the percentage of the benefit budget housing is and she said:

But data from The Guardian will help put that amount into perspective: Public-spending-on-Benefi-001 Around 20 billion? According to the Guardian data, it’s more like £16 billion, but why quibble (if I was going to quibble, she still doesn’t give a percentage)? By my crude math, that’s about 12% of the total benefit budget. Pensions are about 44% (£74 billion) and paying interest on the debt is around £48 billion. If Julia is right, and the housing benefit is “huge”, then you’d have call pensioner’s pull on the economy as “gigantic” or “massive”. With that being true, why doesn’t Hartley-Brewer/LBC dedicate more time to pensions and debt reduction? I’m guessing they push immigration reform and benefit cuts for the same reason that UKIP pushes a false narrative about immigration. It might not be true, but it sure pushes buttons of angry, frustrated people. That in turn, brings listeners/voters. Talking about pensions and the strain they put on the budget would especially alienate (mostly older) conservative listeners/voters. Why do I care? Because the people who are the most vulnerable are used as scapegoats, while the rich and blameless continue to receive corporate “benefits”/”welfare”.

Oligarchy lives.

That is why, Julia, I’m so pissed off.

update: (10/30 1800 GMT)

Because oligarchy media scapegoating has consequences:

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Above is what British people think, verses what the reality actually is. Who is at fault? I’m looking at you, corporate, conservative media….

update November 09th, 2014:

Cost of benefit as a percentage of GDP:

 

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Scroungers, Benefit Cuts, and the Tory Media

This morning I was listening to LBC radio and the radio presenter, John Stapleton (who was sitting in for James O’Brien), took a call from someone that said the Tories don’t care about benefit cuts and people in poverty:

Stapleton called the caller “harsh,” then parroted the government line. I had a brief conversation with him on Twitter, of which there was little response. I’ve noticed that when callers hit pay dirt on talk radio, the presenters don’t like to talk about it.

You can logically argue what banking practices caused the financial crisis in 2008 that still haunts the global economy, but you can’t say it wasn’t the fault of bankers.

When I read Howard Zinn’s “The People’s History of the United States of America”, I often wondered how people could be duped into supporting policies that actually suppressed them. I now understand how that can happen, because I’m seeing it happen globally today. In the United Kindgdom some will blame the floundering British economy on immigrants, some will blame the fiscal malaise on the NHS budget, but still others will blame the UK benefits system. The media willingly promotes this myth by producing shows like Benefits Street, that seek to build a narrative. But that narrative is simply fiction when applied to the majority of people claiming benefit. If you look at the benefits pie as a whole, a solid majority of it goes to pensioners. Do you see UKIP/Tories going after pensions/pensioners? If they really were concerned about the economy, they’d focus on the majority of the burden. But that wouldn’t win them any elections. Pinning immigrants against the poor, has always been a tool of the wealthy ruling class to keep the lower classes busy. This war is no different.

It’s hard to form policy around the actual data that shows the rich will get richer, and the poor will get poorer, because that won’t fire many people up. It’s all rather glum. It’s a much easier task to blame those who can least defend themselves. The poor, disabled, and the disenfranchised don’t have friends in places of power to advocate on their behalf, but the rich do.

Apparently they also have their mouthpieces in the media, as well.

Update:
Another example of this use of poor to forward an agenda:
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Giving Banks Credit

Now that I’m almost a year into fixing my credit, I’m starting to get a lot of offers for credit. Well sort of. Most of the loans in being offered are really absurd; a loan for $1000 that will cost $500?! I’ve also received a lot of credit card applications. Many of these offers say “pre-approved” or “prescreened.” I’m finding that what that means is that they’ve realized my credit is improving, but this doesn’t mean they’ll approve me. First National Bank of Omaha sent me this kind of offer.  I had a discussion with FNBO here.

Chase Bank has sent me these kind of offers too, and they denied me as well. This isn’t some random act. I’ve never received these types of solicitation before my credit repair efforts, so I KNOW it’s not some random event. When  I contacted customer service, they apologized but didn’t really offer give any signals that they would change the way they send out offers. This annoys me to no end. If you send me offers that look as if it’s been looked over when it’s not, that’s misleading. Not only that, but every credit inquiry has an impact on my credit rating. So it’s not only a waste of my time, but a negative to my effort to repair my credit.

That being said, there’s not a lot I can do about it. Well, there’s not a lot I can do, save one thing. I’ve decided that even if it costs me over the long run, I’m going to be brand loyal to those that sent me offers and came through for me (namely Capital One and American Express). I know that my credit will get better over time. I’ve had my credit rating increase around 70 points in a year, and I plan on keeping up my monthly pay-offs of my credit cards.  Even if they’d offer me an interest free credit card, I won’t bite. The only way I can protest this type of  business practice is to reward those that don’t do it with my business, and refuse business with those who do.  It’s something small, but it’s what I CAN do.