Trans people are not contagious

Trans people do not have cooties.

I repeat: trans people do not have cooties. Call the CDC and confirm it if you like, but you cannot catch any transgender germs from hanging out with someone who identifies as trans.

As ridiculous as it feels to type that, apparently there are some people who haven’t gotten the message.

I read this article this morning and was shocked, saddened, and in a bit of disbelief over the statistic it put forth:

27% of Americans don’t want to be friends with someone who’s transgender.

One in four of us.

What the actual fuck?

I cannot understand why. I mean, I really, really can’t make sense of that.

We’re not talking about proposing marriage, sleeping together, or even living in the same household. SIMPLY BEING FRIENDS WITH A TRANS PERSON IS A BIG. FAT. “NO” for one quarter of our population. Wow.

And WHY? Or why not?  Is it fear? Misunderstanding? Disgust? Religion? Judgement? Or something else?

Would love your thoughts on this. What are your experiences? Do you have friends who are trans? If you’re trans, have you had experience that you’d share regarding people who won’t befriend you? I really want to understand this statistic and could use a little help from my friends.

And because I’m not trans, at least I can assume I have some friends…

 

Where’s “Who Am I” now?

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I’m glad you asked!Option A

My book Who Am I If You’re Not You? is now available!

It’s the true story of one woman’s experience when her spouse changes gender. I’m extremely proud of this book because it presents the partner’s viewpoint, which hasn’t been well represented before now. There are a number of books out there that document what it’s like to be trans … but very few take into account what it’s like for the other half of the couple.

You can read more about it at www.whoamithebook.com.

Readers-Choice-Awards-circle-blue-n-gold-768x582

Help me win!

And hey, while you’re at it, maybe you’d consider voting for it! It’s up for an Independent Author award at TCK Publishing. Three steps to voting:

You’re awesome for doing so!!! (Actually, you’re awesome no matter what but this would really help me!)

The book has garnered some amazing reviews. Here’s just a bit of the feedback I’ve received so far:

“Once you start reading this book, you can’t stop.”

“Impressive, vivid, powerful, uncompromisingly honest. It made me cry and it made my heart sing.”

“A non-fiction page-turner, something of an anomaly in my reading experience. A true story, with true heart, told by a true writer.”

“Lynn captures the heart of Jen’s story well. I feel thankful to have read it.”

I hope you’ll consider supporting this book with an order (or two. The holidays are coming, you know).  I truly believe in my heart of hearts this story has the potential to help someone through their dark times, and will educate others who don’t understand what it means to transition.

Come and see me at the launch party! It’ll be held November 14, 2017, at Over the Moon Bookstore & Artisan Gallery in Crozet, VA from 7-9.

 

How a School Bus Driver Made a Wrong Turn with Trans Teens

Let’s face it: high school can be tough. I mean, pull-out-your-hair, cry-yourself-to-sleep, not-sure-survival-is-possible tough. If the pressures of growing up, getting enough sleep, worrying about your grades and your future aren’t bad enough, there’s the acne/braces/glasses/not-being-popular/forever-feeling-awkward part.

Then there’s the trans part. Then there’s part where the bus driver kicks you off the public school bus because you’re trans.

Wait, what?

Yep, you read that right.

In Glen Falls, NY, a public school bus driver kicked two male-identifying trans students off the bus after they sat with other males. The driver told them they had to sit with the girls, because that was their gender at birth. They politely refused, at which point the driver refused to give them a ride (despite other students standing up for the boys).

I don’t know these boys but I’m outraged on their behalf. And if I’d been their parent — well, let’s just not go there. Why? Why? WHY? They were doing nothing wrong. They weren’t being rowdy, insolent, disrepectful, or disruptive.

They simply wanted to sit with their male peers. And for that, they were forced off a school bus.

I hope administrators within the Glen Falls school system look long and hard at how they’re educating employees about acceptance, tolerance, and inclusion. Clearly it’s needed.

Our children – ALL children – need to know they’re safe. Adults are supposed to provide that safety. We’re supposed to understand when others don’t, and to be nurturing, welcoming, accepting, and loving. We’re expected to be role models. More precisely, we should be counted on to act like grownups.

I’m so glad the others on the bus rallied around these kids. What a lesson we can learn from them!

By the way, there are resources out there dedicated to transforming the educational environment. Cheers for TSER, which is Trans Student Educational Resources, which seeks to create a more trans-friendly education system. Gay, Lesbian & Straight Education Network, or GLSEN, is another important organization that works to make safe school environments for all students.

I hope Glen Falls school administrators happen across this blog, and I hope they’ll consider working closely with TSER and GLSEN and other similar organizations that can help them better understand how to accept all students.

Which leaves me with a question: Who’s schoolin’ who?

The ABCS of LGBTs (aka, how to teach kids about diversity)

It’s back to school time, and I’ve seen a lot of FB posts about ensuring thatkids and schools remember that bullying is never okay. So true! As the target of a few bullies growing up, I can recall all too well that feeling of being less-than. I wanted nothing more than to fit in and a few mean-spirited kids made sure I knew I didn’t and never would. It hurts.

Everyone deserves the chance to just be themselves and to be accepted for who they are.

In the spirit of that, I offer you something about how to explain LGBT to kids of all ages, so that children who identify as LGBT don’t feel ostracized. Check out this link from WelcomingSchools.org. It offers kid-friendly definitions that will help a child understand what some of the myriad LGBT terms mean. It also emphasizes the need to make sure that when defining terms for children, it’s smart to use examples to help them understand the definitions.

As with any discussion you have with kids, it’s a good idea to let them lead it. Found what they’ve heard and what they *think* it means, and then clarify as needed.

And it should go without saying, but here’s a prime opportunity to make sure that a child is not using any LGBT term in a derogatory way. They may have heard it used that way; as a caring adult, it’s your job to set them straight (no pun intended!).

Let’s teach our children to be allies instead of bullies!

Hats off to Cville Pride but not a stupid hat vendor

As if Charlottesville hasn’t had enough to deal with lately, the city’s Pride Festival is now the victim of discrimination.

The Festival organizers were working on merchandise orders, like this awesome purple shirt (in case you didn’t know it, I’m a tried and true purple fan). They also tried to order hats through a company called Legacy Athletics.

Notice I used the word “tried.”  Wanna know what they got in response to the order they placed?  This:

I am sorry for the delay, this is a design that we would not be able to produce.

While Legacy does offer custom logos, we also carefully nurture and protect our brand.  One of the ways we keep a positive connotation to the brand, is by avoiding doing any products with custom logos that might be deemed as controversial, political, offensive, etc.  This does not in any way mean that we either support or do not support the organization making the request, but the reality is that in light of recent events in Charlottesville as well as the fact Gay Pride events are political activism; we respectfully decline this order.  Again, I hope you can understand our position.

Ummm, sorry, no. I don’t understand your position. I understand you’re discriminatory.

So hats may or may not be part of Cville Pride Festival this year. You know who definitely will be? Me. I’ll be there with my book, and I’ll be prouder than ever to let my Ally flag fly.

I hope I’ll see you there, with or without a hat on.

I’d rather write than be pregnant

Birthing a book is like having a baby in a lot of ways. You carry it around inside of you for a reallllly long time, worrying about it, thinking about it, growing it. You agonize over what to name it. You think about what it will look like, and how amazing it will feel to hold it for the first time.

There are also other similarities. You can’t wait to share the news with others, excitedly talking about every aspect from the story to the cover to the promotion. Don’t forget about the labor pains, which involve waiting and waiting and waiting for it to be edited. For it to be laid out. For it to be printed. And when it’s finally “born,” it’s magical.

Thankfully, the waiting on this little project of mind is nearly over! I’d hoped to be able to launch Who Am I If You’re Not You? in October, but, like having a baby, sometimes it takes a little longer to be born.

I can share with you now that my book will launch on November 14!

That birthday is significant. It has nothing to do with being a Scorpio, and everything to do with it marking the beginning of Transgender Awareness Week. (Hint, if you didn’t already know what this story is about, it deals with trans issues.)

Want to know more? The book’s website is www.whoamithebook.com, and you can check out the prologue. I also feature it on my website, www.lynnthorne.com. Stay tuned to this blog to find out where you can get more sneak peeks at content in the coming months. I can’t wait to share it with you!

Even though the official launch isn’t until November, I will have copies in hand by Labor Day, which I’ll have available at CVILLE Pride Festival on September 16 in Charlottesville, Virginia, and at VAPrideFest in Richmond, Va on Sept. 23. If you’re in the area for either of those events, please stop by my booth and say hi!

You’ll also be able to order it from me directly after Labor Day. It won’t be available on Amazon or in bookstores until the launch, but I’ll be happy to fulfill any orders as soon as I have copies in my hand! Shoot me an email at Lynn@lynnthorne.com and I’ll gladly get you hooked up.

By the way, in case you were wondering, there is one VERY big difference between birthing a book and birthing a baby: when this baby is born, I won’t have to change a single diaper. Sorry, Pampers … your time has come and gone. (Insert “crappy” joke here.)

 

 

The Options These Days

Today is a guest post from blogger Miss Vee, whose blog I follow (and you should too!). Her down-to-earth style resonates with me and I asked her to share some thoughts for my blog. This entry deals with some really private and intimate thoughts. It’s not the first blog I’ve included about gender and children (check out this post from my friend, Rachel) but it helped me understand better some of the things parents face in raising kids today. Thanks, Miss Vee, for being part of my journey to learn more about the LGBTQ+ community!


“Time’s are a-changin’.” I can hear an old man in my thoughts. They certainly are. I would agree with him. Trans awareness and acceptance is growing. It’s a fascinating sight to behold. Until recently, I only knew them to be cross dressers and drag queens. I never knew that people were born into a different body than what they actually felt they were. With people becoming more aware and more educated about the transsexual community, transitions are starting to happen as young as 4-years old. What brave parents these children are!

It’s evident from an early age that one of my daughters was not like the average tomboy. Her sister would teasingly say she wanted to be a boy and my unique tomboy would say “So?” She has even told me that she would rather date girls than boys. Automatically, I assumed she is lesbian.

My sister has told me numerous times that she will follow in my footsteps because I’m a lesbian. I brush off these comments. I told myself that we would have a serious talk about sexuality when she’s older. She’s a kid. I’m not going to approach the subject unless she does. I want her to her own conclusions.

As years go by, the comments of wanting to be a boy become more frequent. She doesn’t correct people when mistake her for a boy. She’s even tried to convince a kid that she is a boy. At this point, I’m scared that she’s trans. Yes, I know. That sounds very hypocritical coming from a member of the LGBT community. But as a momma bear, you must understand my need to protect my cub. With all the talk of suicides amongst young trans and homicides of adult individuals. I don’t want my baby’s life any harder than it has to be.

But then a couple of days later, she dresses up in lace shirts and putting a flower crown in her hair. This momma bear can’t keep up. And I never have and will never force her to wear anything she does not want to wear. She’s dressing how she feels.

I came across an article during my confusion about a boy being gender fluid. It was an interesting read. His mother states that he doesn’t identify with any gender. He will wear dresses. He doesn’t correct people when they call him a girl but still uses the male pronouns.  I showed this article to my fiancee, and she confirmed what I was feeling. My daughter is gender fluid.

Let me tell you; I was even less aware of gender fluidity. I did not understand it at all until I read that article. Who knew my daughter would be gender fluid.

So, what is gender fluidity?  The Merriam-Webster dictionary describes gender fluidity as “relating to, or being a person whose gender identity is not fixed.”  I read an article on the National Geographic website titled “How Science Is Helping Us Understand Gender”.  The magazine interviewed a girl named E.  She said the term “transgender” didn’t quite fit.  She still went by female pronouns and her given female name.  Individuals who are gender fluid switch between male, female and neutral genders.  (I’ll have to do my research on the neutral gender.)

Read the whole article here:  http://www.nationalgeographic.com/magazine/2017/01/how-science-helps-us-understand-gender-identity/

Now my primary objective is to read up on all that has been written on this subject. I need to know of the issues that can arise, and I need to know how to communicate with her. I need to be her advocate for her as well. If this is who she is, I will make for damn sure that her life isn’t any harder than it has to be.

When “just” is a four-letter word

I recently read something from someone who, like me, said she is “just” an ally. When I saw those exact words — “just” an ally — it really hit me. I felt the same way. I belittled my position because I don’t exist within the LGBT community. I downplayed my significance to those who are living their life as lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender.

When I saw her post and particularly that one word … “just”… I was struck by a couple of thoughts.

One, why do we think we’re lesser because we “only” support the LGBT community?

It’s true, we don’t live the daily struggles of someone who is LGBT. We haven’t experienced the discrimination they face, the fear they live with, and the harrassment for just being themselves. And thank God for that. What a tremendous injustice those behaviors are!

But just because I haven’t lived it doesn’t mean I don’t understand. I’m sympathetic. I see the injustice and the pain it causes, and it hurts my heart. No, I don’t live it but I sure do *feel* it.

My second thought when I saw that word, “just,” was indignation. (Even though I’d also thought it. Welcome to my schizophrenic mind.) We, as allies, can be a force to be reckoned with. We *don’t* experience those struggles, that discrimination, or fear … and yet we stand up against it. We rally around those in this community because we care. We see how our friends and loved ones are treated and we recognize how wrong it is.

Better yet, we can do something about it.

We can work to change the discussion. We can work to educate those who don’t (or won’t) understand. Our words and our actions are weapons to be used to defend those who are LGBT. We can defend through personal conversations, at PRIDE events, and at the polls. We can volunteer. We can be a sounding board or a shoulder to cry on.

Allies have the capacity to change perceptions, to change behaviors, and to change minds. That’s pretty powerful stuff. That’s nothing to sniff at. Forget “just” being an ally.

So the next time you think about being an ally, be proud. I am. And now if you’ll excuse me, I’m off to change the world.

Right after I finish my coffee.

P.S. If you’d like to read more about how to be an ally, please visit my website at www.lynnthorne.com and click on “Giveways.” I’ll send you tips on being a better ally!

 

 

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!

 

Who Am I If You’re Not You?… aka, What’s Next?

My book project is in full swing! I am thrilled with the pre-order campaign, in which 323 very kind people ordered a copy of my book before it’s even completed! Talk about humbling. The fact that friends, family and business sponsors were willing to shell out money for something on faith that I will make this book a reality  – well, let’s just say I’m honored. And tiny bit terrified.

Writing this book has been on my mind for 4-5 years, give or take, ever since I met Jennifer and Marc and heard their amazing story. I knew someone else out there would benefit from hearing it, and I hope that it will help open some peoples’ minds. I don’t expect to change anyone’s mind, but I believe that maybe someone who isn’t altogether supportive of the LGBT+ community might learn something that softens their heart. That’s my goal with this story. (If you’re not familiar with it, check out this blog post where I explain the book. And if you’re curious, this blog post tells you who I’m hoping to get to write the foreword!)

And here we are … about to make it come to life. The book is about half written. This weekend, I’m leaving to go squirrel away in a quiet cottage for several days to finish writing it. I’m in talks with a few publishers who’ve expressed interest in working with me to print and distribute it. I have two stores who’ve committed to stocking it when it’s printed, and hopefully whichever publisher I choose will convince others to put it on their shelves.

There’re a couple of ways to look at this project now: with excitement – that people believe in me and this book; and with fear – that I won’t be able to deliver a product worth their confidence in me. I’m going with first point of view, at least most of the time. Now and again, doubt creeps in and I’m overcome with butterflies, wondering whether I can really make it happen.

When that self-doubt creeps in, I think about Jennifer and Marc – the couple at the heart of my book – who struggled against so many obstacles and kept their marriage intact. They lived this story. I only have to write it. I’m gonna be okay.

And this book is gonna kick ass.