How I Found a Different Perspective on the Military Trans Ban

I keep reading things about the military ban on transgender soliders. Most of what I’ve read is support for the transgender community. Many of the responses favor allowing our trans soldiers to continue to serve. Of course there are exceptions, including those who name-call and explain at great length why, in their minds, these particular people aren’t fit to serve.

This topic, like most things about being LGBT in today’s society, is divisive … which makes one particular piece I read all the more poignant.

I invite you to read this article published by The Washington Post in February. Authored by a trans woman who serves in the Office of Naval Intelligence, it gives me hope. In particular, this section strikes me:

When I look beyond the sweeping statements of a few loud and cruel voices, I am struck more by the similarities of the conversations across our communities than by the differences. Most people are fundamentally good and want to be even better.

My earlier post on the trans ban came from a place of anger. I need to shift my thinking. If this author can find a way to be hopeful after the type of treatment she and others like her receive, we all have reason to be hopeful.

No Trans in Military? What the Actual F*ck?!

I stay away from political posts as a rule. I don’t want to engage. I’m not going to change anyone’s mind (and their comments aren’t going to change mine). So this blog has always focused on what I am learning about the LGBTQ+ community. My goal is to inspire others to open their hearts and minds and learn a bit about a community that is so misunderstood.

Today, I change the rules. I cannot sit by, silent, after the news that President Trump has banned transgender people from serving our military in any capacity. That they are a “distraction.” Hinting that they are only serving so the armed forces can pay for their medical procedures.

I’m disgusted, saddened, sickened and outraged. And those are only the words I feel comfortable sharing here.

We have heroes among us, ready to defend this country and its freedoms. Think about word for a second. “Freedoms.” Freedom for everyone except those that live a lifestyle that our leader deems “distracting.”

I’m sitting in an airport in San Fransciso as I write this, watching all manner of people walk by. Young, old, straight, gay, white, black. And yes, transgender. And you know what? None of them “distract” me. They are all people, just like me, trying to get to the next leg of their journey on this earth.

I’ll write more on this, rest assured. Feel free to unfollow this blog if that bothers you. And if it reassures you, or comforts you, to know that this is my very public stance, feel free to share my blog with others.

To the trans people who have chosen to put their lives on the line to save mine, thank you. You have my undying gratitude.


Who’s looking out for Grandpa? (Hint: the answer’s in here.)

I was talking with a long-time friend today and we both commented on the number of younger adults who are coming out or transitioning earlier in life. I watch this phenomenon unfold with awe and appreciation. It wasn’t that long ago they weren’t comfortable enough to do it. Society didn’t accept the idea of LGBTQ quite as readily as it does today. Anyone who wasn’t straight or cis often chose to hide it much longer than the youth my friend and I were discussing this afternoon.

I watch the kids who go to school with my teenager who are comfortable in their own skin and don’t care who knows it. How great is that?!  I wasn’t comfortable in school and it had nothing to do with my lifestyle. These kids have so much confidence in themselves. It makes me happy to see it.

(And yes, I fully acknowledge that I live in a progressive area. The comfort young people around here feel in coming out is not represented everywhere. I get that. I am so happy to see it, regardless!)

Then I read a NY Times article that made me think about the opposite end of the spectrum: the elderly LGBT community, which doesn’t necessarily enjoy that same comfort. The article talked about how many of them feel they have to go back into the closet when it’s time to go into a nursing home or some sort of assisted care. My heart broke all over again at the thought that they are once again forced to live a lie.

Studies prove they’re right to worry. One showed that 48% of older lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people have faced some sort of mistreatment. “Bias” is the reason given in the article I read … that “the older someone is, the more likely he is to harbor bias.” Call it what you like — bias, or stubbornness, or someone who’s set in their ways. At it’s core, it’s still discrimination. And it’s damn sad.

And then, just as I was about to get discouraged about their plight …  hope! I read about Sage, a nonprofit organization that provides services to older people who are LGBT. Among its other efforts, Sage is building NYC retirement communities with subsidized rents. These facilities ensure seniors who live alternative lifestyles have a safe and welcoming place to call home in their golden years. What a gift!

Sage, you and the people within your organization are doing such great work to give seniors a better life. In fact, this seems like a good time to celebrate all of the efforts on behalf of members of the LGBT community. Those who make it their mission to help this group feel comfortable, worthy, safe, and loved are amazing. Well done!


Why I now respect a ton of folks I don’t even know

One thing I’ve learned while writing this book: WRITING the book is one TEENY, TINY part of the whole process. You have to have a story. You have to sit down and write it. You have to edit and re-edit it. You have to query agents and publishers, and convince them they should pay attention to what you’ve written.

And if you’re lucky enough to actually land a contract, even then your work’s not done.

Oh no. Because now, you have to MARKET the sucker.

As someone who’s been around marketing for (ahem) a year or two, I figured this part would be a piece of cake. Geez, was I wrong. There are so many pieces to it! The part I’m currently working on is trying to convince people who don’t know me to do me a favor:

I’m trying to land endorsements.

These are the blurbs that go on the cover, or inside the jacket. Praise, accolades, compliments. Research shows these actually make a difference. If you have strong endorsements from people who are well-known among your target audience in particular, the average reader is more likely to buy your book.

So here I am, trying to convince these perfect strangers to take time from their fabulous lives to read my work AND say something nice about it.

Hence my recent flurry of emails, tweets and Facebook requests to people like Lady Gaga, Whoopi Goldberg, Jennifer Aniston and J.K. Rowling. Yes, there are many requests to men too: Ben Affleck, Larry Kramer, Jim Parsons, and John Grisham among them.

Here’s the interesting thing, though. I had to research people who had ties to the LGBTQ+ community. They didn’t have to be a member of the community, mind you; they did, however, have to be visibly supportive of causes that impact this group. These are the folks that my target audience are most likely to respond to. So I started scouring the Internet to see who I could find.


I was floored. Honestly, the more research I did, the more people I found who’ve used their celebrity status to advocate on behalf of the LGBT people in this world. Names like David Leavitt, Chuck Palahniuk, and Alison Bechdel might not be familiar to you. But what about Daniel Radcliffe, Christina Aguilera, Oprah Winfrey and Queen Latifah? (By the way, if you ever try to write a letter to Queen Latifah, let me know how you address it. I struggled with that. “Dear Queen?” “Dear Ms. Latifah?” Lady Gaga caused the same issue. “Dear Gaga” just sounds odd.)

All of these celebs and so many more support the idea that we all deserve love. That we’re all equal. That we’re all worthy. And they’re using their fame to promote those messages, even though some of them are straight, cis, and could advocate for so many other causes. How great is that?!

This book has taught me so many lessons. Some have been tougher than others. Some have been painful (rejection letter after rejection letter gets rather depressing after awhile). But this one, this one … well, I’m very glad to have been reminded of just how supportive human beings can be.

And by the way, in case you’re wondering, my book goes to print July 17! Stay tuned for more on that one…