May 27, 2008
Recruiting Transgenders for Law School!
Mary and I are leaving for Florida again tomorrow, for 3 days. I was asked some months ago to speak before the Law School Admissions Council (LSAC) on the subject "Best Practices in Recruiting Transgender Law Students". LSAC is a nonprofit corporation whose members are more than 200 law schools in the United States and Canada and is best known for administering the Law School Admission Test (LSAT®). I am honored to share the stage with my friend Dean Spade, currently a Williams Institute Law Teaching Fellow at UCLA and Harvard Law Schools. In 2002, Dean founded the Sylvia Rivera Law Project (SRLP), a non-profit law collective that provides free legal services to transgender, intersex and gender non-conforming people who are low-income and/or people of color.
The LSAC has an annual meeting of Admissions Directors from all the law schools every year. This year, it will be held on Marco Island, in Florida. When I applied to law school, as an out transgender student, I was very uncertain how I would be received. But, as everyone knows, I was so committed to being out that I made my transgender status a central theme in my Personal Statement. And, of course, I got admitted. Now, this consortium of all the country's law schools wants my advice on how to bring more transgender students to law school (although I imagine that there will be some law school representatives, such as from Ave Maria Law School who will choose not to attend this session). How cool is that? I'm very excited.
In case you're wondering how they decided to ask me (I wondered), it turns out that they use the old-fashioned approach -- they did an internet search and stumbled across this blog. After reading my law school application's Personal Statement, and skimming the Law School related posts, they decided to approach me. I'm honored, truly.
May 26, 2008
How do I love thee?
You all know I'm a veteran. I'm proud of my service. I consider myself a patriot (this in apparent direct contradiction to my belief that nationalism is a crime most heinous). But, I abhor war. I believe, sincerely, that there must be another way. I don't know what that way is. I'm not enough of a student of history to know if there were alternatives to war in WWII. With my limited (and state supplied) education on the subject, it appears to me that there was no alternative and I'm glad we fought and I'm glad we won (having said that I strongly disagree with the tactics of bombing Japanese cities with nuclear weapons).
So, when Memorial Day rolls around each year, I'm torn. I want to express my patriotism, but I also don't want to feed the death-for-glory culture we have created. I believe that dissent and protest are patriotic. Still, I recognize that my version of patriotism isn't the only version, and certainly not the only right version. The minister at the church I attend reminded us that Monday was Memorial Day, a day to remember those who died so we could be free. But, then, he went on to say that people are still dying today so that we can be free. I disagree with that. I have been opposed to this war since before its inception. Our young men and women are not dying today so that we can be free. They are dying to satisfy whatever appetites held by those in power today in this country. But, they are dying.
One such young man was Major Alan Rogers. I found his story at the SLDN blog. He was a patriot, who died doing the job they sent him to Iraq to do. He did more than merely follow orders. He shielded two other soldiers from the blast of an exploding IED, saving their lives. He was respected and honored. But, as one officer who served with him said -- "There was so much about Alan I never knew." Indeed. Alan was a gay officer and his country required him to lie in order to serve.
The story was written by a friend of mine who works at SLDN. She writes:
Why does it matter? Why should anyone need to know that Alan Rogers, an American patriot who died doing what he loved most – serving our country – also happened to be gay?
It matters because in our country the law says that gay people who want to serve in our nation’s Armed Forces have to conceal their identity for the privilege of doing so. And as a result, thousands of very good, fair, and decent straight service members have no idea how many of the phenomenal people they work with every day also happen to be gay. This invisibility creates an environment of complacency about “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and what it requires of gay Americans in uniform. And change does not happen in an environment of complacency.
To honor him on this day, I give you this link and ask you to read his story. This is how I choose to honor Memorial Day. I hope you do, too.
May 15, 2008
Marriage Equality in California!
Rainbow Law Center joins the rest of the country who values fairness and equality in applauding the decision of the California Supreme Court today in the "In re: Marriage Cases" when it said:
"Our state now recognizes that an individual's capacity to establish a loving and long-term committed relationship with another person and responsibly to care for and raise children does not depend upon the individual's sexual orientation,""...we determine that the language of section 300 limiting the designation of marriage to a union “between a man and a woman” is unconstitutional and must be stricken from the statute, and that the remaining statutory language must be understood as making the designation of marriage available both to opposite-sex and same-sex couples. In addition, because the limitation of marriage to opposite-sex couples imposed by section 308.5 can have no constitutionally permissible effect in light of the constitutional conclusions set forth in this opinion, that provision cannot stand."
Surrounded as I am now by wonderful children and grandchildren, not a day goes by that I don't think of Richard and our love, our right to marry, and how much it meant to me to have that freedom to marry the person precious to me, even if others thought he was the "wrong kind of person" for me to marry. I believe all Americans, no matter their race, no matter their sex, no matter their sexual orientation, should have that same freedom to marry. Government has no business imposing some people's religious beliefs over others. Especially if it denies people's civil rights.
I am still not a political person, but I am proud that Richard's and my name is on a court case that can help reinforce the love, the commitment, the fairness, and the family that so many people, black or white, young or old, gay or straight seek in life. I support the freedom to marry for all. That's what Loving, and loving, are all about.
--Mildred Loving, June 12, 2007
May 09, 2008
Since you've been gone
Sunday, Mother's Day, is the 1 year anniversary of my mother's death. I still miss her every single day. Mary and I went to a concert by Cheryl Wheeler at the Ark in Ann Arbor a few weeks back and loved her so much we bought a couple of her albums. I came across this song on one of them. I cry every time. I miss you, Mom.
Since You've Been Gone Words And Music By Cheryl Wheeler A woman my age, sittin’ here cryin’ I oughta be stronger than I am Oughta take comfort in wisdom or something like that But it isn’t that way, ‘cause sooner or later I’m still that nervous 9th grader Watching you pull us together, I never knew how And since you’ve been gone I’m just fallin’ apart There’s a hole in my life, in my soul, in my heart And I stare out this window till light becomes dark And there’s nothing that’s touching me now But not to complain, we’re just bereft, not deserted Lord knows your rest was deserved It’s just your absence is present in all that I do In the sun in the field, in the poem I keep saying In the hymn that some church bells were playing You have always been part of them but I never knew How could I ever begin to say? Surely you already knew What is this world with you gone away? How can this finally be true?