One of the risks of an open blog like mine is comment spam and rude people. For those of you who logged on earlier and saw the filth that someone posted earlier, before I could ban the person from commenting, I apologize.
All I know is that the person logged on from Taylor Dunham in Austin, TX after surfing over from another blog (a bar exam blog). For those of you who want to block him in anticipation, his IP address is: 184.108.40.206.
As is my wont, this post has no place in the blogosphere, yet here I post.
My middle daughter, Melody, turns 22 a week from today. The next day, her younger sister, Amanda, graduates from college (cool that she's able to be the first to graduate (at 20) despite being the youngest). Naturally, the Girl and I are flying down to be there for both events. I don't get to spend many birthdays with my kids, so this is special.
What really has my panties in a wad right now is the fact that Melody's mom and her older sister have decided to have a birthday party for her on the evening of her birthday. Now, Melody lives with her mom, so she gets to see her every day. And, it's been known for many weeks now (more likely, months) that we would be down there for that day (purposely left here a day early -- likely before my last paper is completed) just to spend Melody's birthday with her.
Why would they do that? Why would they schedule a party for her (really just a family dinner) on that evening? I suspect it is just one more way that her mom gets in a little dig on me. I'd love to call her up and ask her to reschedule, but she and I aren't on speaking terms; she still villifies me for my transition. So, since Melody has her last final exam on that afternoon, I'm relagated to trying to squeeze in a few minutes with her in the middle afternoon. This just annoys me.
OK, vent over.
Last year I had the privilege of attending Lavender graduation for the first time. This afternoon at 4, I not only get to attend, but I've been asked to present an award in recognition of the service of one of my friends. It is such an honor for me to pay tribute to his hard work, commitment and dedication to other people's needs. Last year there was not a single law school graduate in attendance, and I expect to see no difference this year. But, it is nevertheless very cool to see all the other young queer students graduating. I had the option of "graduating" with this class but chose not to as I won't be officially graduating until December and it felt a little like putting the cart before the horse. Of course, that means that I probably will never actually attend Lavender Graduation for my own graduation, but I can live with that. I'm just delighted that I get to participate in this one in a meaningful way. Go PJ!
I finished my only in-class exam yesterday. It was 30 binary-answer questions (a recap of a statute/case and then we had to decide if it was upheld or struck down). We were given 90 minutes to complete it. Most of us were done within 20. I'm fairly certain I got them all right -- but, then, I'm just as certain everyone else did, too. This class (Church and State) was a good class, however, most of the grade comes not from this silly in-class exam but from a 4,000 word limit paper that we have to write (that's about 17 pages, double-spaced). That paper has been kicking my butt. I've put in many hours into it -- far more than a 2 credit class deserves. Yet, it has forced me to really learn Establishment Clause jurisprudence and that's a good thing. Too bad I can't really learn this stuff during the semester!
Afterward, the Girl and I went out into the beautiful, sunny afternoon and each hit a large bucket of golf balls. I am now to the point where I can actually connect with the ball 95% of the time. I even hit about 10-15% of them straight. I've only been using a 7 iron and a 7 wood so far (why mess with other clubs until I can actually learn how to consistently hit the ball?) and the ones I connect well with go about 150 yards. Not far, to be sure, but it makes me happy. What a silly, silly game. Yet, it is so much fun when you actually do remember everything (keep your knees slightly bent, keep your arm straight, hold your hands just so, keep your head down, don't twist your wrist, follow through, etc., etc.) AND are able to relax enough to strike the ball well. Those few occassions are what keep me swingin'.
OK, I still have to finish that C&S paper, plus my Politics of Identity paper, plus I pick up a 48 take-home exam tomorrow. My brain will hold no more!
OK. In comments, Jillian points out that she agrees with some of the things said on the Questioning Transgender website and suggests that might start a firestorm (I hope it does!). I also have to say that I agree with some of the things there -- and probably more than I'll say here, just because I've not gotten to all of that site yet. For example, consider this post (under 12 Myths):
Trans Argument: What makes a woman? Is it a lack of a penis, being "legally" labeled as female, or living one's entire life experience in woman's culture? Who has the power to decide who is allowed to be labeled "woman"?
Feminist Response: It is men who currently assume the power of defining both what a man is and what a woman is. Males at every age torment and abuse any male who does not meet their definition of manhood. They label as female (by using terms such as wuss, pussy, wimp, etc.) any male who does not meet the masculine stereotype. Meanwhile, they also hold for themselves the right to define what a woman is, and what is feminine, as evidenced by their labeling of any woman who is not sufficiently subservient, accessible and attractive to them as not feminine, mannish, lesbian, etc.
As long as men retain the power to define both men and women, they also maintain oppressive power over women.
For women, an oppressed group, to define ourselves is an act that takes power for ourselves. Women taking power by defining ourselves works toward dismantling patriarchy. Challenging women's right to define "woman" reinforces patriarchy. A more radical and feminist thing to do would be to focus on challenging men's right to define both men and women.
I agree; nearly without reservation. I do think women should be allowed to define our/them selves without the patriarchy overseers. I completely support the idea of challenging men's right to define both men and women. I sometimes wonder if feminists who believe that mtf trans-folk are not women have bought into and are perpetuating that same patriarchal model.
Expletive. SLDN loses its case -- at this judicial level.
Court grants government's motion to dismiss.
WASHINGTON, DC – The U.S. District Court for the District of Massachusetts has granted the government’s motion to dismiss in Cook v. Rumsfeld, a constitutional challenge to the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” ban on lesbian, gay and bisexual service members.
“We are disappointed in the court’s decision, and are reviewing all possible responses,” said C. Dixon Osburn, executive director of Servicemembers Legal Defense Network (SLDN), the organization representing the plaintiffs in the case. “We continue to believe the military’s ban is un-American and unconstitutional. There is no reason lesbian, gay and bisexual Americans should be prohibited from serving our country. The men and women in this lawsuit represent the best of our armed forces. They are patriotic, dedicated veterans. America should welcome their contributions and honor their commitment to our country.”
I will have much to comment upon, when I finally come up for air after these exams (assuming they don't kill me).
I know, I know. I still have two papers to write, why would I be blogging. Because it's what I do when my mind gets full! As I was reading a couple of blogs just now I learned something cool: today is "blog against heteronormativity" day! Who knew?
I don't have the time to write all that I might, but I beg you to peruse these posts and consider their thoughts:
Engaging heteronormativity at Desperate Kingdom (which is also where I stole the art from)
Against normal at rhetorically speaking, and
Against heteronormativity at Jay Sennet Jaywalks and, most of all, this post:
Two years! I can hardly believe that I've maintained this blog that long. My first post was intended merely as a way to come out to my law school classmates as transsexual -- primarily to save me the trouble of doing so on a one-by-one basis. It was a tough decision at first. I thought very seriously about trying to "go stealth" but in the end I knew it wasn't in my nature (and, seriously, I knew it was just impossible).
I've enjoyed blogging. It's been a great source of connection for my family - my mom, my sister and at least one of my daughters are regular readers - and for my friends. I've made many new friends blogging, both in real time and in cyberspace. I've even met a few of my cyber friends in real-time and look forward to meeting more. Plus, it's been a good therapy for me. It has become my personal journal as well as a place for me to voice my opinion about current affairs, particularly as they relate to the world of transgenderism. It doesn't matter if that opinion means nothing to anyone else, it's a nice record for me of events and feelings.
During the past two years, the blog has undergone two transformations -- first from AOL Journals to a plain vanilla TypePad interface, to the one that I have now. I've seen my readership rise and fall, and rise again. I've not ever spent much time worrying about it (I mean, really, who cares?) but it's fun to watch. In that vein, I snatched a global mapping tool from Unblague which I added to the lower right stats part of my page. I think it's cool to see how many places from around the world have managed to stumble across the blog. I've created categories for people to navigate to their area of interest. My favorites are: Transgenderism (of course), Gay Civil Rights, Law School, and Sea Stories (despite no recent posts there). Having said that, I also like Poetry and Internet Quizzes. Blogging is so multi-faceted; hmmm, I wonder if it reflects my personality?
I don't know when I'll stop blogging. I've threatened several times, mostly during periods of distress and depression, as I'm sure long-time readers will remember, but I've never stopped for longer than a week or two. Still, after I graduate, who knows?
Anyway, thank you my readers -- for reading, for sticking with me through the ups and downs, for your generosity in comments, for your willingness to engage in thoughtful debate and your openness to new ideas. You make it all worthwhile.
I am sorry that I overlooked that April is National Poetry Month (just as it was last year and the year before)! It comes at a tough time in the school year and I apologize. I will try to find some of my favorite poems and publish them here before the end of the month. Go. Read poetry. Post some, too. In comments, or on your blog, or in your heart. Poetry is good for the soul. So say I.
[UPDATE 3] And, oh my gosh, HOW did I overlook Julie? If you don't already read Carter's Little Pill, you should. Scroll backward through her archives. She's got a poem for every day of the month (which she calls NaPo).
This semester is over. I am sad to see it end. I enjoyed every single one of my classes -- a first in my experience in law school. I still have papers to write - 3 (yikes!) - and one in-class exam, and one 48 hour take home exam, but all of that will be behind me by 5/4 when we leave for Florida for Melody's 22nd birthday and Amanda's college graduation. Then, it's a summer working in DC and one final semester before my own graduation in December. Again, I marvel at the passage of time.
I will miss so many people graduating this semester. The graduating Outlaws had a party last week, but the announcement came too late for me to attend. ::pout:: Many of the bloggers that I've come to know and appreciate over the past couple of years will be graduating (Carey, Heidi, Ambib, ESpat, and so many more). The good news about blogger friends is that they *might*, like Samples, She Says, Shelley, and Rogue Slayer continue blogging after graduation. Everyone else will be gone. This final semester will be a weird one for those reasons.
I've got a tentative schedule for next semester that includes a clinic, a class with Catherine MacKinnon (Sex Equality), my GSI teaching job and one easy class. I'll post the final schedule when I get it.
Freaky the rooster used to be a hen. Seriously. I wonder how much therapy he had to undergo, or if the other chickens whisper about him or question his sexual orientation.
Freaky the hen spent the first eight months of her life laying eggs and attracting the attentions of a rooster.
But last September the silver-laced Wyandotte started crowing at sunrise and being aggressive.
She has since developed the full comb and wattle of a cockerel. She has put on weight and engages in simulated mating. Only the equipment to produce offspring is missing.
Her owner, Jo Richards, 42, of Saltford, near Bath, said: "One morning, out of the blue, she just started crowing. I have kept chickens for years but never heard of such a thing."
Victoria Roberts, the Poultry Club of Great Britain's honorary vet, said Freaky's condition was "very, very rare - about a one in 10,000 event." She
said: "I have been keeping poultry for 35 years and seen it only twice.
"Only one ovary normally functions in a chicken, the left one. If that is damaged, by a tumour, for example, the other one kicks into life. The right ovary can begin to develop as a testis, producing testosterone which influences the male characteristics.
"These include the colour and shape of the plumage and a wattle and comb.
Sometimes they even crow, but they can't fertilise eggs."
She added: "Sex change chickens are rare but they have been around for centuries." An old proverb says that "a whistling woman and a crowing hen are neither fit for God nor man."
As I reported earlier, I'm in my final couple of days of classes, and finals are looming, so I'll be scarce for a bit. That is frustrating to me because there are so many things I want to comment upon (Jespersen's case -- this is an immensely important case; the KY governor writing discrimination against gays and lesbians back into KY law (and citing trans people as one of the reasons); the IRS' irrational rulings concerning domestic partners and trans folk, etc.). But, I just don't have the time right now. Still, I wanted to share the following with you.
Thanks, in great measure to one of our law school professors, Bruce Frier, the University of Michigan's governing body of faculty, called the Senate Assembly, passed a resolution (by a vote of 27-3) calling for the Regents to amend its bylaws to protect gender identity and expression. The resolution is below the fold. The story in the Michigan Daily is here.
I just got this opinion (from a fellow UM Law student) and I've not had time to read and analyze, but I will later. In the meantime, I wanted to provide the link to those who haven't seen it. Unbelievable. I hear that the dissent is great. I wonder if this will make it to the Supreme Court.
We agree with the district court and the panel majority that on this record, Jespersen has failed to present evidence sufficient to survive summary judgment on her claim that the policy imposes an unequal burden on women. With respect to sex stereotyping, we hold that appearance standards, including makeup requirements, may well be the subject of a Title VII claim for sexual stereotyping, but that on this record Jespersen has failed to create any triable issue of fact that the challenged policy was part of a policy motivated by sex stereotyping. We therefore affirm.
Sorry about the dearth of posts lately, but I've been just very busy, and it's not going to lighten up significantly for another week or two. To recap this week:
Tuesday: Only one class, but this night we went to the theater to see Les Miserables, at the Fisher Theater in Detroit. Wow, what a terrific play. In the middle of the second act a guy in the row in front of us suddenly slumped in his chair and his [pregnant] wife began screaming for help. The play continued on, we jumped up ran out into the lobby and had someone call 911. He was revived and walked out of the theater (with help) under his own power. The play never paused, so we missed a few minutes of it. We never heard what had happened to him. Still, the play was SO good.
Wednesday: Since my (our) presentation was on the topic of transgenderism (part of the instructor's syllabus, not my choice), we thought it might be fun to hand out snacks that were hyper-gendered. So, we went to the bakery and had little girl and boy cookies made; they were so adorable (and pretty tasty!). That afternoon, we gave our presentation to the class. It went really well, I thought. The Girl came to school with me (which is always fun!) and she noted that leading a discussion among law students is kind of like "herding cats". This was our final class. I enjoyed the class very much. Now, I have a 20 page paper to write.
Thursday: Studied in the morning for my final Sexual Orientation and the Law class -- this (Friday) morning. Skipped my Negotiation class and we went to the Tigers baseball game. So much fun! We lost the game (damn!), but it was a beautiful day -- 74 degrees and partly cloudy. Afterwards, we went to dinner with Jami. On the way to dinner, I got a call from my good friend in Germany; what a wonderful surprise that was! Life is very good for her right now, and that makes me so happy. How fun to talk with her. Dinner with Jami was, as it always is, fun and interesting. I was delighted to introduce The Girl to her.
Today: Final Sexual Orientation and the Law class. This afternoon we head to St. Louis to spend the weekend with The Girl's mom. That will be wonderful. She's a cool lady. Maybe we'll let her know we're married on this trip. Yikes!
So, no more posts for a few days. Thanks, as always, for reading.