There was a time when I was a quiet, almost timid ally of the transgender people who passed through my life. When my daughter Ashlie revealed her true gender in 2008, the level of my engagement in trans-issues changed forever. Tomorrow would have been her 20th birthday and every year now, as the date approaches, I try to find something to focus on besides the great gaping hole in our lives.

This year I've been thinking a lot about specific people whose small gestures of kindness and acceptance touched our lives in that final precious year and today I challenge you to consider these simple ways in which you can be an effective trans ally and join with me in supporting and encouraging our transgender brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers, daughters and sons.

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I want to not be invisible anymore.

I want to get up and shower and have somewhere to go.

I want to punch the people who talk about the recession being over.

I want to not have to choose between toilet paper or dog food.

I want to take back all the money I spent on the education that does me no good now.

I want to stop mending the waistband of five-year-old sweatpants.

I want to not consider two tacos for a dollar at Jack In The Box a splurge.

I want to walk into a job interview not reeking of desperation.

I want to be able to afford a simple goddamned urn for my daughter's ashes.

I want to pay just one bill on its due date, not have to wait until the FINAL NOTICE.

I want to be able to drive across town to pick my kid up so he doesn't have to walk in the rain.

I want to have a shit job to bitch about.

I want to not panic every time the doorbell rings unexpectedly.

I want to shop at the Dollar Store because I'm thrifty, not because it is the only way I can afford luxuries like body wash, toothpaste and laundry soap.

I want to split a tab or treat someone to something.

I want to wear contact lenses again, instead of these wobbly old glasses.

I want to be able to buy a present for my goddaughters.

I want to go to the theater to see a movie and pay for my own damn ticket.

I want to drive a completely legal car legally.

I want to not have to choose between buying tampons or a pound of ground beef.

I want to buy a book that ISN'T on the 25-cent rack at the Thrift Store.

I want to stop avoiding my friends because they're pitying or worse.

I want to not have to invent new ways to rearrange my resume and STILL get no response.

I want to get my dogs their shots so I can take them to the park.

I want to drive to Santa Cruz to visit my dying friend.

I want to pay for a haircut, instead of using the kitchen scissors to “even up the ends again”.

I want to use good trash bags.

I want to wake up without dread that today is the day it will all come tumbling down.

I want to consider owning a spicebox and a mortar and pestle NOT a pipe dream.

I want a new bra.

I want to feel like a real person again.

I want to BE a real person again.


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Friday Five; The A list


[The following is a partial list of the songs my computer’s media player currently shows as Five-Star-rated. This list is, of course, subject to change and flights of fancy, but I will try not to tinker with it just to make myself seem hipper, cooler or more musically literate.]

Aaron Neville’s  “Ave Maria

ABBA’s  “Fernando

Al Green’s  “Let’s Stay Together”

Alanas Moresette’s  “You Oughts Know

Alice In Chains’  “Don’t Follow

Alice In Chains’  “Sludge Factory

Amos Lee’s  “All My Friends

Antony and the Johnsons’  “Cripple and the Starfish

Antony and the Johnsons’  “Divine

Aretha Franklin’s  “Chain of Fools”