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Posts Tagged ‘change’

My friend Michael is one of the organizers of, and the webmaster for, the Central Arizona Gender Alliance.  Recently, he asked me to write a profile of myself to be posted as the feature story on the CAGA website for January 2009.  Rather than start from scratch, I adapted my “Who I Am and Why I Do What I Do” post.  Since I wrote that post, however, my involvement in the issues affecting our community has increased.  That led to the following comments that I added to the story that will appear on the CAGA site, which I wanted to share here.

While I have this chance, I also want to say some things about activism. The trans community in this country is small, and the number of those willing to speak out on the issues that affect us is even smaller. That means that each one of us is vital if we ever want the public’s attitude toward us, and the discrimination, hate and bigotry that we face, to change. It also means that one person can have a significant impact on the direction that our community takes in addressing the issues that we face.

It sounds clichéd, but I have learned through experience the truth of the statement that if I don’t do it, if I don’t step forward and say “this is wrong and must change,” if I don’t propose solutions and work to make them a reality, then who will? The answer is no one. It happens every day. We see or hear about something that we know is wrong – another trans woman shot in Memphis, another trans woman homeless because she can’t get a job – and we stand by in silence and do nothing. Those things will never change if you don’t work to change them, even if all you can do is to say “this is wrong.” Keep in mind too that, although it is important that we in the trans community know about these injustices, it is our families and friends, our lesbian, gay and bisexual sisters and brothers, and the general public that need to hear our voices. So many people truly have no idea about the mistreatment that we suffer, how widespread it is and how few protections exist to ensure that most basic of human rights: the right to live lives of peace and dignity. Those are the people we need to speak to, because it is their sense of justice and morality that we need to invoke if we ever want things to change.

Is it scary to step forward and say, “I am trans, this is wrong and it must stop”? Of course, it is. But there are also rich rewards in showing the world that we are proud of who we are, that we refuse to cower in the darkness of ignorance and hate any longer, and in knowing that we are helping to change the world, not just for ourselves, but for people everywhere. Join me! Today do just one thing to make the world a better place to live, whether that’s giving a hug to a friend you know is having a hard time, writing a letter to the editor or simply telling your story. But, most of all, Be Who You Are!!

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UPDATED 1/18/09: I’m feeling inspired by the beginning celebrations of Barack Obama’s inauguration in two days, and decided to move this to the front page for awhile for all to enjoy. I don’t know about you, but this video brings tears of hope to my eyes every time I watch it.

This video demonstrates the promise of change, and the hope that it brings, that inspired millions of us to elect Barack Obama as our next President.  Today, I choose to believe in this message of hope and I commit myself to doing all that I can to change the hate and bigotry that led to the passage of same-sex marriage bans here in Arizona, and in California and Florida, and a ban on adoption by gay, lesbian and other unmarried couples in Arkansas.  Hate can never win!

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Hopefully, none of you will be disappointed to find that this post isn’t about a picnic or a trip to the mall. Instead, it’s about my decision to once more tell my story.

As I mentioned on my About Abby page, A Course in Miracles has been an important part of my spiritual life for more than 11 years now. In fact, without the things I have learned through the Course, I would never have had the courage to accept the truth of who I am and become the woman I am today. Thus, I owe a tremendous debt of gratitude to the Course.

I first came to the Course through a woman I began dating in August 1996. Linda had been a student of the Course for several years and we discussed it briefly several times while we were together. At one point, we read the Preface, which describes how the Course came to be and the major lessons it teaches. What I read spoke to a deep place within me but the study group that Linda had been part of had disbanded and I didn’t know how else to begin, so I didn’t pursue it further. In January 1997, however, Linda ended our relationship. By then, I had lived in Prescott for almost two years. During that time, I had noticed an announcement of a weekly Course in Miracles study group in the “community calendar” feature in the local newspaper. Having lost the relationship that I had been clinging to for support and companionship, I was angry and hurt and felt myself sinking further into the depression that has been a part of my life since I was very, very young. Fortunately, by that time, I had learned that I didn’t have to live in misery. I also knew, however, that I had to find something besides the twelve-step meetings, therapy and breathwork sessions that I was already doing, to keep me afloat. In that moment of pain and desperation, I turned to the Course.

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Yesterday, my friend Callie wrote about the need for change in her life and came to the conclusion that only the “atomic option,” i.e. exploding the status quo that those around her seek to impose, is likely to work for her. I had a pretty powerful reaction to that idea, and wrote her a long comment, which is pasted below, in response. I know that much of what I wrote is about me, not her, and, in fact, directly relates to our discussions about the delusion of the necessity for sacrifice to get what we need during my Course in Miracles study group yesterday morning. (If you want to see what prompted those discussions, read the section called “The Time of Rebirth” in Chapter 15 of the Text of A Course in Miracles, which appears on p. 324 of the second edition, or, in ACIM speak, you can find it at T:15:X (or Text, Ch. 15, Sec. X).) But I also had a lot of other things going on yesterday, all of which led to one of the most emotional days I’ve had in a long time.

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