How to Be a Trans Ally; For The Love of Ashlie


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 MY FUCKING LIFE BACK (And YES, it’s all in caps because I am screaming at the top of my lungs)


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”


the tivo

  • Reality/Competition: The Amazing Race, Project Runway and Top Chef
  • Staples in Sitcom: The Office, Modern Family, Bored to Death
  • Divine Dramas: Boardwalk Empire, Parenthood, The Big C
  • Fav Fluff: The Daily Show, Castle, The Soup
  • Newsy Stuffs: Rachel Maddow, Bill Maher
  • Best Kept Secrets: Luther (BBC America), Terriers (FX), The Increasingly Poor Decisions of Todd Margaret (IFC), In Treatment
  • In The Bedroom (aka Stuff to Fall Asleep To): The Ricky Gervais Show, Home Movies, Corner Gas, Star Trek – Original Series and The Next Generation, Monk, a smattering of Zombie flicks

the eulogy mix


When my uncle died unexpectedly a few years back, his wife and a nephew stayed up late the night before the memorial, burning a CD of some of his favorite songs to play before and after the service. In the rush of the next day, however, the CD got forgotten and their labor of love got left behind. A couple of years later, I found myself making this mental list of songs I would want someone to think to play if I was the one who’d made my early exit.

I was still working on the list when Ash died, and some of the songs I see on here now have become hers in my mind.  (In particular the Hans Zimmer, the Dylan and the Pink Floyd). Even now, I shy away from all Pink Floyd. This post has been sitting in my draft box for nearly two years now, except for the last couple of sentences. I am sick of looking at it, feeling the horror that comes with the realization that i was worrying about the music for my own memorial, not knowing that Ash would make her escape before i did, and the guilt, of course, of even considering it “my escape” in the first place. Anyway, without fanfare, or further self-flagellation, i’ll post what was once intended to be my eulogy mix, back when the idea of a memorial CD was theory rather than reality.

  • I Wish I Knew How It Would Feel To Be Free – Nina Simone
  • The Happy Land – Nick Cave and Warren Ellis
  • Ave Maria – Aaron Neville
  • Latter Days – Over The Rhine
  • Scarborough Faire/Canticle – Simon and Garfunkle
  • You Belong to Me – Bob Dylan
  • Nitemare Hippie Girl – Beck
  • Muhammed My Friend – Tori Amos
  • It is Well With My Soul – Mahalia Jackson
  • Under the Milky Way – The Church
  • House of the Rising Sun – Lester Norton’s (by personal request) cover
  • If You See Her, Say Hello – Bob Dylan
  • Wish You Were Here – Pink Floyd
  • Rivers of Babylon – Sublime
  • Lithium – Nirvana
  • Variations on a Theme from Paganini – Rachmananov
  • Leonard Cohen’s “If It Be Your Will” – Antony Haggerty’s cover
  • You’re So Cool – Hans Zimmer

So there it is.