Update: She’s Out

AthenaI promised to update this blog when I learned more about Athena Cadence, the trans prisoner who was on a hunger strike because she was being housed in the male pod of a California prison.

She’s free.

Here’s a quick reminder of her story: Cadence was sentenced for misdemeanor assult. She started a hunger strike to fight for a change in her housing situation. At this particular penitentiery, trans prisoners are housed together, but within the men’s housing area of the jail – which is against jail policy. During her two-month stint of not eating solid foods, Cadence lost 40 pounds and went to the hospital three times. A judge released her last week and she went straight back to the hospital to start being reintroduced to a regular diet.

Cadence complained several times about harrassment by prison staff. The grievances she filed did nothing to change things during her stay, but jail officials say they are investigating her complaints.

There are two other trans inmates still being held there. I hope that while Cadence’s hunger strike didn’t change things for her personally, perhaps her actions will help them and future trans prisoners.

I’ll keep you posted!


Does the Golden Rule Always Apply?

golden ruleI don’t know many people who enjoy going through security at an airport. (I probably don’t know ANY, but I haven’t asked everyone I know so I’m erring on the side of caution here.) It’s a cumbersome and time-consuming process, and if you have to go through a pat-down, it feels downright invasive.

I imagine for someone who’s trans, it can be even more uncomfortable.

This article talks about how the TSA got it right when Amanda Sapir was in the airport. Machines marked her as a man, but the security agent on duty handled the situation well when Amanda told her she was female and trans masculine. Amanda probably expected her to react negatively. But lo and behold, the agent was kind, courteous and non-judgmental. And perhaps one of the nicest parts of the whole exchange was the agent’s comment when Amanda thanked her for being so cool about her situation. The agent said:

I love people. We should be kind to everyone.

Isn’t that the truth? Such a simple philsophy. Be kind. To everyone.

Why is that so difficult?

It’s easy in theory. Be nice. Most of us learn The Golden Rule somewhere around kindergarten – treat others as you’d like to be treated. It shouldn’t matter if they’re the same age as you, the same income bracket, or work at the same company. The Golden Rule doesn’t discriminate. It doesn’t say, “Except if you disagree about politics.” There’s no addendum about, “Unless they’re redheads with green eyes.” No clause about laywers, drug addicts or janitors. And it sure doesn’t say, “Except if they are LGBT.”

And yet we find ways to be unkind to others all the time. Maybe it’s undertipping a server. Or the driver who passes a homeless person and yells, “Go get a job!” Even those who cut ties to someone on FaceBook because they support a different candidate. They’re all forms of being unkind to another human being.

And those who are LGBT face it every day. Judgement. Job discrimination. Violence. Why? I cannot wrap my head around it. They’re just doing their thing. They’re not hurting me. It doesn’t affect my life one little bit if they’re sleeping with their own gender, in a same-sex marriage, cross dressing or taking hormones. They’re living their life and I’m living mine. Just like the janitor. The drug addict. The redhead with green eyes. Even the lawyer.

How much better could this world be if we just took that TSA agent’s comment to heart and lived it every day?

We should be kind to everyone.

Even those who support a different political candidate. 😉