Saturday, June 29, 2019

Pass ability: My Trans Problem by Ruth Utnage

I don't know about other trans-women out there but my concern is always pass ability. It takes a lot of space in my head. I wonder often what others think about my appearance. Then I look at myself in the mirror and make my own judgments.

There is a show on FX Tuesday nights called Pose. It is about the trans community in the late 80's and early 90's (so far) and is bringing to the forefront of its viewers minds the struggle and highlights of being a trans or LGB person of color. But, as much as I like the show and applaud everyone on it for their bravery and tenacity (I am sure the hate mail is flooding their lives) I worry about the fact that all of them are passable.

Walk passed any one of them on the street and you would not notice that they are anything other than a beautiful woman. Congrats. But now they are the benchmark of the trans woman, regardless of color. Now everyone knows how beautiful I am not.

Like I said, I'm super proud of all of them for representing us so well. Bringing our communities beauty to mainstream media is extremely difficult and requires one carry a very heavy burden. I guess I'm just a little self-conscious.

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Jeff aka Ruth Utnage

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My Pride Speech Part 1 by Christopher Havens

Ahh you hot?. It's just so hot in hea! Somebody has turned the broilahs on too loud (fan yourself). This is nothing like a bah-mitzvah.

Y'know, this is all okay with me.. My son has recently come out as trans pah-tisan.. he's a membah of cahngress. They say it gets easia every yea... but it doesn't. I'm just so vaclempt. Say it with me everybody... Va-clempt. ..Ugh.. Yah naht gittin it. Can they hea me in the back? CAN THEY HEA ME IN THE BACK? Ruth, please pass around the meneshevitz.. their naht gettin it! So vaclempt.

Long long pause

...There you are... (nod in approval **get in natural character**). . Be at ease everybody, we're not gonna do any math. I need you to see me.

Some, of you know me as the math guy. To few, I am anonymous. Today, my name is Christopher Havens.

I grew up on the streets of San Francisco... Not because I had it that rough, not because I was running from certain death, and not because mommy and daddy stopped loving me. None of that. It was because I was attending of hard knocks. If you take into consideration the fact that I chose a foul smelling seedy spot covered in pieces of cardboard in the dirt behind a Walgreens, over a bed in a home with a decent family, than you can probably come to conclude that my brain had been ...Addled. To my defense, my spot in the dirt was prime location... right underneath a luxury hot air exhaust vent... it was wonderful.. When it wasn't raining.

At the time, and by my standards, it was only a matter of time before MTV Crates came around and filmed an interview for having the best spot in the alley. heh..the naivete of youth. To put it into perspective, I lived by the motto "drive it like you stole it". And I did... as you can see. My earnings from that lifestyle are many. One such incident caused me to jump off a cliff in a high speed pursuit. my crime partner was a puppet named Leo the Lion.. This resulted in one of three severed nerves in exacltly the same spot, the bones on my hand are literally mangled, and,.. in all honesty, my hand would look a lot different if it weren't for that stupid puppet. Addled. To put the cherry on top, there are places in my brain that I can no longer reach.. But because the universe I live in is sarcastic, the math I study is at the research level now, and I always wonder how much further I couldv'e gone had I chosen another cliff.

But my time on the streets didn't last the whole time I was out there. I had hit rock bottom and learned that rock bottom is quite - - bottomless. Contrary to popular belief, there is no layer of bedrock waiting for you at rock bottom... it just keeps going down. I believe this constant state of rock bottom is commonly refered to as hell... So for any of you who have trouble grasping the concept... Let n be a natural number.. Then Hell is defined to be the limit of n-th layer of rock-bottom as n increases without bounds. On the other hand, If n decreases without bounds, that is, if n becomes infinitely small, than the limit does not exist, and hell is undefined...... :-)

Ergo, rock bottom usually marks a defining point in our lives. In one of my journeys there, I found myself just about to jump from the walkway above the Harvey Milk plaza on Castro street. I was delusional and scared.. and as I leaned over the railing, looking down on the muni station, I tried to will my hands to relax.. and just let go but I had a crowd gathering. A little group of three or four radical fairies. And they're like.. "Dude. Hey, get down." I wanted it to be more dramatic than that... (smile) ..And by using... Logic... you may deduce, that they talked me down.

I remember that I felt as if I had absolutely no place in this world. I felt as if I was excluded by the rest of the world. But they asked me to come with them. And as I walked with this group of queers, they spoke to me like I was already one of them. ..that I had been all along. .. but we had simply never run into eachother before. ... It was strange that in my infinite list of flaws , the only one they saw was my pain.

This began my first real residence in San Francisco. By now, the guys that talked me off that ledge were my family. ..Our group was the center of a huge social circle.. There were a bunch of us. I got my first job at a scuzzy club called the Black House, up on Castro street.. a bed and breakfast upstairs and a dungeon, "the Black House", downstairs. I worked there amost every day of the week. However, I did not work there on Tuesdays... Because tuesdays, everyone would gather at the Tuesday Sucks parties.

This was a place where social circles would meet. a bunch of colliding atoms.. some never belonging together, others fitting like a glove. In this time period, Dennis Peron was actively trying to legalize the use of medical marijuana, and if I remember correctly, he also tried running for governor. And we would always run into Dennis Peron's group. This guy was popular because he was a revolutionary, and although Dennis is directly responsible for the marijuana movement in thee United States, our little groups couldn't stand each other. Dennis' cliq was up scale and a bit snobby, and mine was chill, but we always had to make ends meet. But at Tuesday Sucks, everyone played nice. This was a sanctuary of sorts.
Y'know, there is some irony pointing to my theory of a serendipitous universe.. the first man I fell in love with was here in Washington.. Within the last few years. I KNOW, I KNOW! I have been down about 10 years... And by using... Logic... :-) but ironically, we had met several times years before without even knowing it at the parties. He was one of the rich boys I couldn't Stan from Dennis's crew!


Christopher Havens

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N.V.C by Marshall Byers

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

The most peaceful time in prison is after 9:00 pm. I am locked in my cell around 8:45 pm, the guards walk by and count us. After that, prison becomes very silent. Yes, you can still hear the sound of a toilet flush, a sneeze or a burst of laughter, but overall the night is my time to relax and gain understanding, to reflect and write in my daily journal.

I'm feeling energetic, refreshed, loving, restored and safe. Today I'm so grateful for having the ability to help others and really care about them. I'm learning from current challenges to slow down and breath. Ask for help and be kind to myself, but just as importantly to be and live in the moment.

Today was Soooooo wonderful. Pure enjoyment, I'm still gushing with happiness. Laura, Lauren, Danny and even Big Rich spill kindness, love, acceptance, humor. They bring a unique experience that pales in comparison to all other groups/classes every time they show up. My need for community, friendship, education, familiarity, sustenance, discovery and connection was met! My heart always swells seeing them, they are so very welcoming and considerate.

Tonight I filled my large cup to the brim with yummy life giving tap water. Sat with my back against the cold hard prison wall, and slowly drank with deep appreciation and empathy. My intention was to think of all the people/animals in the world that are without water.

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Marshall Byers

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Marshall Byers

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