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Posts Tagged ‘Tucson’

Contact:
Jen Richards
Co-Director, The Trans 100
jen@thetrans100.com

 ABIGAIL JENSEN FROM TUSCON, ARIZONA ANNOUNCED TO THE FIRST EVER ‘TRANS 100’ LIST

We Happy Trans, This is H.O.W., Chicago House and GLAAD Announce Inaugural List Focused on Positive Work Being Accomplished by Trans People Nationwide

 April 9, 2013 – Today, Abigail (Abby) Jensen of Tucson, Arizona was announced as an honoree of the Trans 100, an inaugural overview of the breadth and diversity of work being done in, by, and for the transgender community across the United States. The 2013 Trans 100 list, created by We Happy Trans, a website that celebrates the positive experiences of transgender people, and This is H.O.W., a Phoenix based nonprofit organization dedicated to the betterment of the lives of trans people, was presented at an event sponsored by Chicago House, GLAAD, the Pierce Family Foundation, Orbitz.com, and KOKUMOMEDIA. The first effort of its kind, the list intends to shift the coverage of trans issues by focusing on the positive work being accomplished, and providing visibility to those typically underrepresented.

For a full list of the 2013 Trans 100 visit www.WeHappyTrans.com, or www.facebook.com/Trans100.

Abby is a transgender woman, experienced attorney and activist. Currently, she is closely involved in fighting bills introduced in Arizona this year that would not just override some of the limited protections for trans people available in Tucson, Phoenix and Flagstaff, but go beyond that to actively encourage discrimination and harassment of trans and other gender nonconforming people in Arizona. You can often find her posting about current social justice issues on Facebook and on Twitter @Arizona_Abby.

Asked about her selection, Abby said, “I am honored to appear on the Trans 100 list with so many amazing and creative people, all of whom are working to better the lives of our community. I look forward to renewing my friendships and working relationships with those I already know and getting to know those I have yet to meet.”

The list began as an idea by This Is H.O.W. Executive Director Toni D’Orsay, and was then developed in partnership with Jen Richards of We Happy Trans. The project received over 500 nominations in December 2012, with over 360 individuals recommended for inclusion.

A launch event for the Trans 100 list took place at Mayne Stage in Chicago on International Transgender Day of Visibility, a day which aims to bring attention to the accomplishments of transgender people around the world.

“The only sustainable self-interest is that which extends the sense of self to include the whole,” said Jen Richards at the Trans 100 launch event. “Look around: women, men, people of color, genderqueer kids, crossdressers, showgirls, sex workers, academics, activists, artists, and allies. We are all one community.”

“The value of the work that is represented by the 100 people on this list is immeasurable,” said Executive Director of This Is H.O.W., Antonia D’orsay, about the Trans 100. “These people demonstrate the diversity, the determination, and the incredible triumph of spirit that informs all trans people, no matter where they are. This is just a glimpse of what trans people can accomplish.”

“The Trans 100 will bring much-needed visibility to the critical, grassroots work that trans people have been doing in communities across the country for years,” said GLAAD’s Wilson Cruz. “While media coverage so often misses the mark on accurate portrayals of trans people, the Trans 100 is changing the game by sharing the inspiring and diverse stories behind trans advocacy.”

KOKUMO, an artist, activist, and African American transgender woman, hosted the event. Two accomplished transgender musicians – folk-rock songwriter Namoli Brennet, and singer Joe Stevens of the West Coast-based Folk/Roots group Coyote Grace – gave live performances.

Jen Richards partnered with Chicago House and KOKUMOMEDIA to produce Chicago’s Trans 100 launch event. GLAAD served as Inaugural Sponsor, with additional support from the Pierce Family Foundation, Orbitz.com, Progress Printing, and Dr. Graphx. Both Chicago House’s TransLife Project and This is H.O.W. provide direct services to transgender people experiencing homelessness, unemployment, violence, health disparities, and HIV infection. KOKUMOMEDIA uses film, music, and literature to provide to create and generate realistic depictions of transgender, gender non-conforming, and intersex (TGI) people of color.

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About We Happy Trans: WeHappyTrans.com was launched in early in 2012 in response to the lack of positive depictions of trans people in the media, and the absence of an online space that focused on the positive aspects of the trans experience. For more information, please visit www.wehappytrans.com or connect with We Happy Trans on Facebook.

About This is H.O.W.: This Is H.O.W. Inc. is a 501c(3) non-profit organization dedicated to the betterment of the lives of Trans (transsexual, transgender, and gender variant) persons experiencing crisis situations such as homelessness, substance abuse, familial abuse, and transition related difficulties. For more information, please visit www.thisishow.org or connect with This is H.O.W. on Facebook and Twitter.

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You may have noticed that almost all of my posts are prompted by other people’s blogs. Oh, well, I’ll take my inspiration where I can get it.

This morning, I read Sonora Sage’s description of her recent roadside encounter with Mr. and Mrs. All-American while changing a flat tire. Although she appreciated Mr. All-American’s help loosening the lugnuts (once he figured out the “righty tighty, lefty loosey” part, that is), she didn’t appreciate his obvious belief that she could never have managed the job on her own, and Mrs. All-American’s simultaneous performance as the clueless female.  Nonetheless, Mr. All-American insisted on doing the job himself.  (Hmmm, where have I heard that before?  Oh, yeah, now, I remember.  That was the way I lived most of my life, having learned at my daddy’s knee — he never really sat me on his knee, but I wish he had  — that “if you want the job done right, do it yourself.”)  Anyway, Sonora’s story prompted memories of a somewhat similar experience of my own, which I left as a comment on her post and which I am sharing here (with a couple of minor edits) for those who might not find their way to her blog.

I encountered some of the same attitude myself awhile back, although, in my case, the roles were reversed: I was the (would-be) rescuer, Mr. and Mrs. All-American, and their All-American son, were the ones in need of help.

During most of my years growing up, my dad owned a Jeep (then virtually the only 4WD vehicles available in the States) and we spent many hours bouncing down back roads, climbing hills and getting stuck (and, eventually, unstuck). And I’ve owned my own 4WD vehicles for 15+ years just so I can go where other people aren’t, primarily at the ends of northern and central Arizona’s many rocky roads. Although I haven’t done as much of that since my transition, I still enjoy it when I get the chance.

A little over a year ago, I was in Tucson for a workshop. I’ve been down there for these workshops before and on my way back I like to find a different way home that inevitably involves some amount of “4-wheeling.” This time I decided to drive to the top of Mt. Lemmon and down the other side to Oracle. My friend Alison in Tucson warned me that the road was really rough, but I found it not particularly challenging. (In fact, it can probably be done without 4WD as long as you have decent ground clearance and know how to negotiate your way around the high spots.)

I had gone perhaps 5 miles down the dirt road on the back (north) side of Mt. Lemmon, when I came upon an SUV (i.e., one of those vehicles that have 4WD but are clearly not made to drive off the pavement) stopped by the side of the road. Mr. All-American appeared to be about to start changing a tire, while Mrs. All-American and young All-American son watched. Growing up, I learned that you never pass by someone in possible need of help in the backcountry without stopping and doing what you can to help, since you never know when you’ll be the one in need of rescue. Feeling quite smug in both my driving skills and my ability to change a tire, I stopped, rolled down my window and asked Mr. All-American if he needed any help. The look on his face in response clearly said that he had no idea what a woman could possibly do to help him and wondered what in the hell a woman was doing driving down this remote road all by herself anyway? (I suspect there was also a bit of hurt male pride to see me safely negotiating the road, when he couldn’t, a feeling I had no interest in alleviating.) In any case, he said, no thanks, and I went on.

As your Mr. All-American told you, I’ve changed my share of flat tires, as I’m sure you have too. So, my Mr. All-American got to save face in front of his wife and son, but was left on the narrow roadside to fend for himself. Oh, well, his loss.

BTW, if you ever get a chance to take that drive, please do. It’s beautiful, especially as you get lower down above Oracle where there are fields of bear grass waving in the wind.

Thanks for the memory, Sonora. I hope you get those new tires soon, that is, unless you want to repeat your fake “damsel in distress” scenario to see who stops the next time. :-)

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Both of my fans ;-) have been clamoring for some good news, so I promised Khyri I would see what I could do about that.  (Actually, I want to thank all of my friends for their caring and concern.)

This summer has been a challenging time for me in many ways, although it has also had many rich rewards.  One thing that has been clear since last spring, however, is that I need to make some big changes in my life.

First, I want – actually, I need — to change my job.  One thing that has become clear since I went full-time last year and have become more involved in fighting for equal rights for trans, as well as, lesbian, gay and bisexual, people is that that’s where my heart lies.  I get up every morning, turn on my laptop and start reading blogs and the various Yahoo groups I belong to, posting comments, and chatting with friends, giving support where I can, receiving it when I need it.  I can quite easily and happily spend hours doing that — and often do.  But, when the thought of my need to work and actually earn a living begins to creep into to my pleasantly occupied brain, instead of joy, I feel dread.  Over the last few years, I’ve worked hard to learn to recognize when I’m having a feeling, something I had no clue about for most of my life, but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to see that there’s something wrong with this picture.

(more…)

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