Tuesday, March 31, 2009


After a hiatus of the last few days, I return. I wish I could say I'd accomplished something while I wasn't blogging, but this is not the case. I found out tonight that my supervisor has finally hired a relief person to work the weekends. Alas, she also scheduled me to work this weekend, presumably to train this person. I wish she'd given me a little more notice. I've had off almost every weekend, consecutively, since the first of the year. My New Life support group meeting is this Saturday, and for the first time since January, I'll have the use of my own vehicle for the weekend. AAAUGH!!!

I attended the meeting in January and then drove myself to work. I think I can manage that again. The associate I relieved back then knows me very well, and wasn't put off seeing me en femme. Naturally, I changed clothes before I clocked in. I'll be doing the same Saturday, but the person I'll be relieving doesn't know about me. I guess this will be a very eye-opening experience for her. Maybe for the both of us!

On the positive side of things, my nephews (Nick and Brayden) have come to visit this week. I haven't seen them since December, back before they moved to Florida. They're so cute! They love to play Halo, but they're not very good at it (they are 6 and 5, respectively). It's nice to have nephews again, if only for a few days. Later this week, we're talking about taking them to see Monsters vs. Aliens.

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

HRC Now Supports an Inclusive ENDA

I hope Julian will forgive me for ganking this.


After they threw us under the bus in 2007, they now say that they will only support a trans-inclusve Employment Non Discrimination Act. I'll believe in it when such a bill goes through Congress. That said, I'm crossing my fingers that such a bill passes.

Something Weird

I had the strangest experience Monday morning. I wrote here before about having to work on Saturday night, then having to work only part of a shift on Sunday night. That turn of events managed to throw off my whole sleep cycle for the last couple of days.

I left the hotel a little after 0200 Monday morning. I wasn't really tired, despite having been up since the FOM called at 1600 the previous day. I gassed up the truck, then ran by the local Wally World to pick up a few items. I stopped back at the gas station, a Wawa, on the way home and picked up a flatbread sandwich and a milkshake. At home, I sat up with the internet for a few hours, then laid down to take a nap.

I've started sleeping with the television on. I never needed it before (in fact I haven't had a TV in my bedroom in years), but for some reason it's comforting to wake up to some sort of soft noise. Anyway, I tuned the TV to MSNBC and dozed off. I woke, briefly, a few hours later, and I'd swear that I heard the news anchor say that someone had just died. The person named was a celebrity. I knew the name, though I couldn't remember who they were at that time. I rolled over and went back to sleep, and didn't wake again until sometime in the early afternoon.

When I woke up, I ran over to the laptop and hunted for this person's name. Aha! Now I remember who this is. I searched the news for headlines. There was nothing. I couldn't pin down that person's location, but I became reasonably certain that it would've appeared in the news if anything untoward happened to them. As nearly as I can tell, nothing has.

Did I have a dream? Was I imagining that I heard the news of this person's death. Notice that I haven't once mentioned the name. I'm afraid to. I don't want to say their name aloud, even. I don't believe in curses, or any of that nonsense, but I have this preternatural fear now. Knowing the power of the interwebs, I might inadvertently create a meme. "So-and-so is dead." "Jaye killed So-and-so!" Maybe I just need to chill.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

G Is For Gender...

I saw this on Genderfork the other day. It's silly as hell, but it looks like they had a lot of fun making it. If that is what it means to be genderqueer, count me in.

Another Saturday Night

and I ain't got nobody
I got some money 'cause I just got paid
And how I wish I had someone to talk to
I'm in an awful way

(My apologies to Sam Cooke an Cat Stevens.)

Tonight was NLTO Movie Night, and it was a special occasion. Ericka and Linda are moving to Northern VA to be closer to Ericka's job, and this was the last event they were to host. Yentl was this month's selection, because Julian likes it, and it's one of very few movies featuring FtM characters with a happy ending.

Alas, I couldn't get a ride. It's my own fault, really. I've known that Nate had to work all week. I should've put out the word that I was in need days ago, but I was so sure that if I called this afternoon, my friends would somehow come through. That's what I get for waiting.

So I stayed home. I surfed the internet for a bit. Commiserated with friends over the demise of Battlestar Galactica (though most of us did enjoy the series finale). I spent some time watching CSI: Miami reruns on cable, and was getting ready to pop Pineapple Express into the DVD player, when my phone rang.

I mentioned sometime before that I'm a hotel night auditor, I think. Last week they fired my relief, and until they hire another one, they've got various part-timers filling in. The girl who filled in last weekend is AWESOME. She did the work without a hitch. The dude they got to fill in this weekend is USELESS. He isn't really what I would call a properly trained auditor, but he can push buttons, and the audit here largely consists of button-pushing. He called me at about 2100 to say that he wasn't sure that he could come into work, and asked if I could cover for him. I told him, "No." Nate had the truck, so I couldn't come in. Plus, I'm already scheduled for 40 hours this week, and my employers HATE to pay out overtime, even when it's necessary. Especially when it's needful, because then they start bitching about, "Why did we need to pay so-and-so?" Plus, I was a little miffed still about not getting to go out. I didn't tell him to sod off, but I definitely told him I wasn't going to cover his shift.

Flash forward a couple of hours. Nate's home from work. I get the news that our uncle Gary passed away this morning. We have a late supper, and start settling in for the night. My phone rings again. It's my associate from the evening shift, calling to see if I'm coming in. Dude called off, and told the job I was going to cover for him, without clearing it with me. I'm out of makeup and back in drab, but I really don't want to go into work. My associate says that she's called both the Front Office Manager and the GM, and no one's answering their phone. Especially not Dude. I called her back in a few minutes and told her I was coming in.

I do need the money. As for management's attitude towards overtime, forgiveness is always easier to get than permission. I made a snap decision, and hopefully acted in the best interests of the company.

So here I am, at work. My "not mine" shift ends in an hour. I imagine my relief will be a little surprised to see me.

Thursday, March 19, 2009

Knights Out

I just saw this on the Rachel Maddow Show, a GLBT support group for graduates of the US Military Academy.


I forgot to mention earlier that they had a representative on the show. He was talking about how the group is looking to bridge the gap with the armed forces if/when the government strikes down the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy, which is currently under review. Then the audio sort of fizzled out, and they switched off the feed. Rachel made a joke about someone pulling the plug because they were talking about GLBT issues, but MSNBC's been having audio difficulties all day. They lost some of the audio during his town hall meeting in Los Angeles, so I don't think it's a conspiracy.

Ume - The Conductor

I present to you now a brief musical interlude, from a little band out of Austin, TX, called Ume. Thanks to John Scalzi for the heads-up.

If Only It Were This Easy

You've probably seen this elsewhere on the web, but I'm at a loss for anything to post right now, and most of the blogs in my reading list are full of such heavy stuff, that I thought I'd try for a little levity.


Only in Japan.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Work Weirdness

I can't recall if I've posted anything here about my work, at least recently, but I need to vent a bit. I'm a working schlub in the hotel business, and the last month at my hotel has been interesting, in the ancient Chinese sense of the word*. A month ago, it was announced that the current general manager was no longer with the company. Actually, it was phrased, "I'm sure you all know by now that so-and-so is no longer your manager." As it happened, no one had been told at that point, so it was like corporate dropped a bomb into the middle of our staff meeting. A moment later, we were introduced to our new GM, and all hell broke loose.

The new GM seems nice, but she's a stickler for rules and regs and brand standards. The previous manager played things a little looser, and being forced to comply to previously unknown standards has been a little jarring. She warned us at that first meeting that she was going to fire some people, and she has. I doubt we've seen the last to go.

She likes to have mandatory attendance staff meetings: we've got three scheduled in the next three weeks. One's in the morning, shortly after I would get off, so my being there won't be any problem, but the other two are scheduled for 1700, and I've got no reliable transportation in the afternoons, what with my brother working at the Beach. I'll work something out.

Last week, we started handing out little bags of jelly beans to the VIP members of our frequent stay program. I haven't poached any of them, but apparently someone has. There's a notice posted in the office that anyone caught taking them or eating them will be terminated with prejudice. They must be magickal jelly beans, or else they're sehr expensive.

Anyway, before this post commenced, I received a phone call at work. I answered the phone within the required three rings, took a breath, and launched into the official telephone greeting, "It's my pleasure to serve you here at the blank blank, this is Jaye. How may I assist you?"

I was asked to repeat myself, as the caller, a man, said he didn't hear a word of what I said. I took a breath, and repeated the greeting. The caller again said he didn't hear me, and demanded to speak to a manager. This was midnight, and there's no manager on hand other than myself. I said so, and assured the gentleman that I could assist him however he needed. He then proceeded to tell me that I couldn't talk to him like that, and asked for my name. I told him, "My name is Jaye," and he said, "No, my name is Jay, what's your name?" I hung up.

That's my life on the job these nights. And I was going to try to come out at work again. *SIGH*

* - I almost forgot, the curse "May you live in interesting times." is a (relatively) modern invention.


Monday, March 16, 2009

Movie Review: Religulous

I didn't set out to make this blog about either movies or religion, but both topics are of interest to me, so don't be surprised if they appear here from time to time. Imagine my delight at finding a movie, however snarky, about religion.

"Religulous" is a documentary, almost a mockumentary, hosted by Bill Maher, of HBO's "Real Time". It's a series of interviews with various personages, intercut with Maher's monologues, film clips and other bits. I've read several complaints that Maher doesn't present the material straight, but documentary filmmakers always cut the film so that people appear to say what they want them to say.

Maher travels around the world: from the US to the UK, the Netherlands and Israel. He talks to Christians of assorted stripes, Jews (including a Holocaust-denier) and Muslims. He visits a religious "theme park" in Florida, the Speakers' Corner in London and the Temple Mount in Jerusalem. He tried to film at the Latter Day Saints' church in Utah, but the Mormons chased him away. I half-expected some of his interviewees to resort to violence, but the worst that happens is that one guy, a trucker at a roadside chapel in Raleigh, NC, walks away.

Maher says at the beginning and end that he's preaching doubt. He admits that he doesn't know what happens when we die, and he resists the notion that anyone is capable of knowing. He's frightened of the certainty that some religious persons possess. That guy in Raleigh left because Maher was challenging the existence of his God. I've got to say, if your faith is so weak that it's shaken by a couple of questions from a comedian, then you're probably not the believer you think you are.

I found the movie to be entertaining, but I am a member of the choir Maher was preaching to. I can't predict how others will react. All I can ask is that people approach it with an open mind.

Sunday, March 15, 2009


So, after much hemming and hawing, I got a Facebook account. I'm all for this social networking, but some of the features are a little weird, like the suggesting of people I "may know". In the very first iteration of this, it tossed up a seemingly random hundred people, all strangers, and Jennifer Finney-Boylan! I know who she is, but I don't "know" her. I don't know if it's appropriate to "friend" someone I don't know on the basis of a tenuous connection.

Then there's the added wrinkle of me signing on as my femme self. I scouted around last night, and identified a couple dozen people I know, most of whom I went to school with, but none of them know the real me. We've got a class reunion coming up next year. Should I break the ice with them now? Or wait till the reunion? This is the 2000s. It's a new age, right?

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Nacho Drag?

I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw this on TV last night. I can't make up my wind whether it's funny or tasteless.

"Are you wearing makeup?"
"Don't judge me!"

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Trans-Positive: Story in Marie Claire, April 2009

I couldn't find a link to this article on the magazine's website, so I'm going to post it here, in it's entirety. If someone could point me towards a proper link, I'll remove this later.

Bangkok may be the sex-change capital of Asia, but transgenders - also called "the third sex" and "ladyboys" - still live on the fringes, often denied secure work that pays and anything resembling acceptance. A ray of hope: At Suan Dusit University, a new initiative to openly recruit ladyboys has drawn 100 of them to the school, where they can wear the girls' uniform and behave "like ladies" without facing discrimination, and where other transgenders teach and serve as role models. "I couldn't wait to come here," says 21-year-old Wittaya Jannoi, a pretty, hormone-enhanced marketing major who hopes to have a sex change after graduation. "We can be ourselves, because we don't have to hide."

Yeah, I could've put this up on Trans Talk, but I'm lazy.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Yea, Diversity!

Check out the story linked in the title. Apparently, a contingent from the Westboro Baptist Church (those "God hates fags" yahoos) showed up at the University of Chicago to protest their support of President Barack Obama. They brought the usual assortment of nasty signs, and chanted, but the students and faculty were prepared for them, and they counter-protested, with their own signs, and song-and-dance numbers and stuff. It sounds like they had a lot of fun. The photo above is one of the counter-protest signs.

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Book Review: Gender Outlaw

I picked up Kate Bornstein's Gender Outlaw the same night that I bought the aforementioned The Kiss Murder. I've been reading all sorts of fiction in the meantime, and reading Gender Outlaw when I was between other books. It goes that way sometimes for me and non-fiction, especially if the material is deep and philosophical. Boy, was this all that and more.

I read everything I could find about being transgendered when I was a teenager. There weren't too many books, but I worked in a library, so it was easier to find them. I wish I could say I found them inspiring, but in the main they were depressing. On the other end of the spectrum were books about crossdressers, mostly written by professionals. One library branch had a series of non-fiction books by Virginia Prince, the founder of Tri-Ess, but those weren't very helpful either. There were lots of helpful tips for passing, but there was always a caveat. Ms. Prince said that all crossdressers secretly wanted to be found out, so they'd leave tell-tales to aid in their discovery. Me, I was deathly afraid of anyone finding out, and the idea of setting myself up to be very disturbing.

In the inervening years, I found a few other titles: RuPaul's Lettin' It All Hang Out and Hiding My Candy, by the Lady Chablis (as seen in Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil). When I found these I was married, or very nearly so, and the stories were entertaining, but not as helpful for someone settling into quiet domesticity. At the end of my marriage, I discovered Jennifer Finney-Boylan's She's Not There. That was the last book by or about trans people I'd read, and that was nearly six years ago.

Gender Outlaw is not like any of these other books. It is Kate Bornstein's life story, in part, but it is also a manifesto on the concept of deconstructing the concept of gender. All of my life, I have looked at things in purely a male/female sense, never dreaming that there might be any way of thinking of things. If I'm not a man, then I must be a woman, right? But if I'm not a woman either, then what am I? "AAUGH!" as Charlie Brown used to say.

I wonder if I can wrap my head around the concept. For too long I've been rooted in the idea of two genders. Some of my friends at New Life call themselves genderqueer, and imply that they are neither. Then there are Kathy and LLLLL, who prefer to use neutral pronouns in place of the conventional he/him or she/her, they use ze/hir or ze/zir. I don't typically think of myself as being old, but I may be too old for this idea. Or not.

That said, the material is thought-provoking, and in that respect I think the book does its job. I can't stand it when I read a book that doesn't tell me anything new. No worries about that here.

Monday, March 9, 2009

A Little Change

When I started this thing a few months ago, I identified myself as male-to-female (MtF) transgendered person. I felt like I was in a sort of Limbo, floating between genders, so I didn't feel comfortable identifying myself as a female. Now, I am a little more firmly planted on the path to transition. I've gotten lots of positive reinforcement, from my friends here and at New Life, ad even just from walking around out in the world. So I took the plunge, and changed my "About Me" description. Just a little. I feel liberated.

March NLTO Recap

I forgot to mention that Saturday was this month's NLTO meeting. There were a few more people there this month, which is a good thing. My friend Debbie (who has appeared here before) brought another lady named Debbie. We met Sharon, who is getting out of the Navy this year. My friend Kathy brought her genderqueer friend Ashley. We spent the first part of the meeting getting to know each other.

LLLLL did a presentation about this year's Camp Trans; it sounds like a lot of fun, but I'm a city girl at heart. I'm too high-maintenance to rough it in the middle of nowhere (Michigan) in June. We talked about this month's Movie Night. It's the last that'll be at Ericka and Linda's; alas, they're moving to Alexandria. Anyway, this month's selection is Yentl, with Barbra Streisand and Mandy Patinkin. I haven't seen that since I was in grade school (it was on HBO), so it'll be almost like seeing it for the first time.

We had another clothing swap. There was more to choose from, and I actually found a few nice pieces. I got a (tight) pair of jeans and a denim mini that used to be Michelle Marie's, and a few tops that were Debbie's. One of the tops is leopard print (!) and I'll need to wear my smaller forms ('cause it's a little revealing). All that didn't go home with someone will be donated to the CHKD thrift store.

Before we broke up for the night, we broke up into little groups and chatted about stuff: blogs, Battlestar Galactica, physics, politics, etc, ad nauseam.

I got home a little later than usual. I didn't have dinner before the meeting, and as good as Giles' cookies are, I needed something more substantial. Nate rolled in from work a little after I got in, and he hadn't eaten either, so I ended up ordering in Domino's. If you're looking for a recommendation, the Memphis BBQ Chicken pizza is awesome! The delivery driver hardly batted an eye when I answered the door en femme.

I stayed up to watch a little TV: CSI Miami reruns on A&E, then Ghost in the Shell: Standalone Complex (my fave anime) on Adult Swim. There's a whole discourse I could write about being trans and relating to the themes on this show (and especially the music), but that'll wait for another post.

Sunday, March 8, 2009

More Like Myself

I got my Xbox 360 back via UPS Friday. I was without that cursed machine almost two weeks, yet I survived. It took me a little while to get everything reconnected, then to go through the Xbox Live Marketplace and find all the material I had previously downloaded. A few months ago, Microsoft upgraded the Xbox Live Experience so that each player could create an avatar. In previous iterations, one's avatar was a flat, 2D image. Now, avatars are fully-realized little people, capable of movement and and interaction. My previous avatar was a reasonable facsimile of my male self, but this time around, I decided to try for something that looked more like my true self. I even have an outfit that looks something like this!

(I'm not an idiot. I cropped out my gamertag.)

Friday, March 6, 2009

More Funny

A friend of mine emailed me this. Emsy is way off-key, but she's having fun, and we all need to do that from time to time.

Thursday, March 5, 2009

That's Funny

I got an email today from the Julia Serano mailing list, about upcoming appearances and performances. I won't be able to attend any of them, alas, because they're all too far away for me to travel at this time. What made me giggle, were the ads that appeared alongside the email, provided by Google. There were listings for two of the venues in SF where she'll be gigging, then a couple of ads for feminist materials (t-shirts and the like). That's nothing unusual. Under that, though, was an ad for "DB9 Gender Changers", which are adapters for 9-pin computer cables and connectors. I'm still smiling. If all it took was a little piece of hardware...

Suddenly I See

Her face is a map of the world, is a map of the world
You can see she's a beautiful girl, she's a beautiful girl
And everything around her is a silver pool of light
The people who surround her feel the benefit of it
It makes you calm
She holds you captivated in her palm

Suddenly I see
This is what I want to be
Suddenly I see
Why the hell it means so much to me

I feel like walking the world, like walking the world
You can hear she's a beautiful girl, she's a beautiful girl
She fills up every corner like she's born in black and white
Makes you feel warmer when you're trying to remember what you heard
She likes to leave you hanging on her word

Suddenly I see
This is what I want to be
Suddenly I see
Why the hell it means so much to me

And she's taller than most
And she's looking at me
I can see her eyes looking from the page of a magazine
She makes me feel like I can be a tower, a big strong tower
She's got the power to be
The power to give
The power to see...

Suddenly I see
This is what I want to be
Suddenly I see
Why the hell it means so much to me

The words and music are KT Tunstall, but the feeling is all mine. It's taken me a while, but I finally feel like I'm getting my life together, and before me I see all my sisters, who have blazed the trail, found the path and shown me the way. I love you all, and cannot thank you enough.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A New Place To Shop!

I read this on the New York Magazine site, and found it elsewhere for confirmation. Forever 21 is opening a plus-sized line in May:


A friend of mine (of smaller stature) is always raving about Forever 21. She's always saying things like, "You'd look good in that," or "You should buy those!" I appreciate her input, but until now, they haven't made things in my sizes. It's a little thing, really, but I need the positive energy right now.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Prejudice on Xbox Live

A woman was banned from Xbox Live because she identified herself in her profile as a lesbian.


I guess it's a good thing there's nothing in my profile about being transgendered. A few weeks ago, they banned a gentleman whose surname is "Gaywood". They said his name was offensive. His name, for frak's sake! All the time, I run across players with racial slurs in their gamertags, or else the tags are built from euphemisms for genitalia. I file complaints with Microsoft whenever I see these, but the players always come back. Sounds like a double standard to me.

One Last Word about L&O

I finished watching the SVU episode "Transitions" a few minutes ago. At the end of the show, the card came up proclaiming "The preceding story is fictional. No actual persons were depicted." Fiction or not, the story hit all my buttons. When "Jackie Blaine" told her story of being attacked, it tore my heart out. Trans people are attacked all the time, just for being who they are, and all the whys don't make it any easier to understand.