wish me luck!

I have an interview tomorrow, second round — hopefully they’ll like me! Have a mock presentation to do, and will have to provide a writing sample (they want it written there, should be interesting)

I want this video game, don’t you?

Now to get back to practicing my presentation and doing some practice writing for tomorrow’s interview.

sick

Recovering, feeling much better though. Lost my voice for most of today.

I went back and made one of my friends-only posts public, because I want your feedback. Read it here and post a comment there or here.

owes me big time now, and only she knows why :)

Gasp. The smoke burns my throat worse with each puff. I cough repeatedly, opening the window, trying to restore my equilibrium. And it comes to me, clear as the image on a brand new television set. I hold onto the issues because I want to. I retain my pain because I know it well, not because I need it to survive. And, in as quick a flash as the previous one, I know I can let it all go just as easily. If only I could breathe . . . .

Gasp. Homecoming is easy. These just-met friends have incredible stories, and are as good at telling them as they are at listening to my own. Acceptance flows as freely as the bubbles in my Guinness submerge, circle, then rise through the center to restart their journey, hoping one day to escape into the Nirvana of Belgian lace. The balance beam scale has been perturbed, and is oscillating up and down in an unpredictable manner. Yet, now, I feel more stable than when it was perfectly level.

Gasp. His hair smells wonderful, scents of spice and vanilla mixed with the raw essence of masculinity. I pull myself closer to him, running my fingers through the short kinks and resting my cheek on his chest. So what if I slightly intimidate this wonderful soul? He slightly intimidates me. I wouldn’t have it any other way. But sleep doesn’t come, and I continue to toss and turn, desperately wanting to begin my next step.

Gasp. I belt out the song, unashamed, rendering every trill, slide, and crescendo as best as I can. Each note makes me grin wider, until even a passerby, walking the opposite direction from me, exclaims “Beautiful smile!” and pauses a moment before continuing on his way. For an instant, I ponder what he has seen: a woman, strangely possessed, singing with enough projection to be heard all the way down the block, energized by her song. I smile wider and continue my journey.

Gasp. I gulp in the cold air, hoping it will soothe my sore vocal chords. People step back from me on the street. I look into their eyes, and see the impression I’ve left on them: quiet wonder, respect, and a tint of admiration. Through my worn, haloed vision, I gradually notice each individual peeling off, heading their separate ways, until I am alone, gently rocked back and forth by the subway car.

Gasp. This time, the lump in my throat clears, leaving my body confused that there’s nothing left to worry about.

Aren’t we aging well, you and I?

4th Annual Day of Remembrance

Today is the 4th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance. I’m not a huge activist per se, but I am wearing all black today – thanks to an LJ friend for reminding me of this important occasion.

Read this article I wrote in December 1998, and reflect on the loss to the LGBT community each time someone like Rita Hester is murdered. (Edited for relevancy.)

The atmosphere [here] on the night of December 1st, 1998, was filled with tension, fear, and only the most anxious of laughter. Just three days earlier, some of us had learned that one of our compatriots, Rita Hester, had been brutally stabbed to death in her apartment. Informing our sisters and brothers was not the easiest of duties, but one for which we felt much compulsion — not only for the increased alertness required by all, but in sheer shock at Rita’s portrayal by the local and national media.

For those of you who haven’t heard the full story, or have only managed to gather what morbid morsels the rest of the press has doled out, here’s an account combined from various eyewitness and friends’ accounts. Rita Hester was an out, transgendered woman who had lived as a full-time woman for over 10 years in the Allston/Brighton community (just west of Boston proper). Comfortable with both herself and the way she was received by all segments of the local communities, Rita was a well-loved patron of both transgender-friendly clubs such as Jacques and straight bars such as Allston’s Model Café and The Silhouette. She had just returned from performing abroad, a career path which she thoroughly enjoyed. While the press has chosen to focus on Rita’s transgendered nature, her friends have instead highlighted her vivaciousness. Jessica Piper remembered her particularly well:

Everywhere Rita went, people experienced her as an incredibly vivacious, outgoing woman. The Globe’s quote about her “double life” only makes sense metaphorically: in Boston, she hung out in two different cultures, on opposite sides of town, and she was one of the only links between the two. The other queens wouldn’t go out to Allston from fear. And the straight Allston kids didn’t want to go to downtown queen bars.

Rita was also known as a “large woman who could take care of herself,” a fact which makes her murder only more puzzling. On Saturday, November 28th, at about 6:20 PM, a neighbor reported to police a disturbance at Rita’s residence. Upon arrival, they found her in cardiac arrest, having been stabbed multiple times. She was rushed to Beth Israel Deaconess Hospital, only to be declared dead after her arrival. Eyewitness reports variously claim that she went home with one or two people after meeting them at Jacques on the prior Tuesday, behavior that struck them as not typical of her style. Rumors abounded in the lay press, at various times suggesting the potential involvement of everything from blackmail (hardly likely, given how out she was to friends, family and community) to Rohypnol (“Roofies,” or “the date-rape drug”), but nothing has been substantiated at this point. The only suggestion that seems plausible is that she was murdered by people that she knew; since she was a “6’2″, 6’3″, 225, maybe 230 [pound woman],” it seems unlikely that she could have been murdered by someone breaking into her home.

But all of the conjecture aside, what enrages me is her blatant misrepresentation by the press as he, male, and “Rita,” as if this name was an improper appellation. A transgendered individual who has had breast implants, who has lived in a community for 10 years as a woman, and who is known even by “straight” acquaintances as Rita, is not “Rita.” She is a woman, and whether or not you agree with her chosen lifestyle in any aspect, you owe her the respect to treat her as she wished to be treated. Yet the Boston Globe, an otherwise respectable publication, referred to her repeatedly as male while quoting friends who correctly used female pronouns and her correct first name. Even Boston’s gay/bi/lesbian newspaper, Bay Windows, repeatedly used male pronouns and Rita’s obscure given first male name throughout their article. But to everyone who knew Rita, this was the first they had heard her referred to in this way.

All of the wild allegations and improper references to Rita have made many more aware of a similar murder committed just a few months ago, that of Monique Thomas. On or about September 11th, 35-year-old Monique was robbed, tied up, and stabbed to death in her apartment. She was discovered a week later. George Stallings, a 25-year-old man, has been charged with first degree murder in Monique’s death. He was arraigned on November 24th, with motions to be heard on December 15th. This time, the Suffolk City District Attorney’s office say they have “a lot of evidence,” which perhaps will be enough to finally appropriately commit one of these bigoted individuals for an appropriate sentencing.

Massachusetts, like other states in the Union, often bases its law on the principle of “common law,” the concept that if everyone agrees a certain thing is just so, then legally it is just so as well. It appears that our state’s most venerable institutions have forgotten their roots. This giant step backwards for the Massachusetts (and national!) transgender community has grave implications for all of you who read this publication. Imagine losing the ability to use the correct bathroom or fitting room for your external gender identification in such cities as Pittsburgh and Cambridge, which have recently passed transgender protection laws. Worse yet, think back to the days when crossdressers were arrested for “lewd and lascivious behavior” for simply filling their gas tank at the local Mobil.

As has been said for many years, we cannot let these actions go unpunished and unchallenged. To sit back and pray that our beloved Justice System will see things righted only failed with Chanelle Pickett, whose murderer was only convicted of assault and battery. All of us, closeted or no, lesbian, bisexual, gay, transgendered, BDSM or straight as an arrow, must raise awareness of these wrongs to anyone and everyone who will listen. It is definitely time that the insensitive reporting, the public discrimination, the proliferation of incorrect age-old stereotypes, and especially the savage murders come to an end. Your action can help all of us retain our rights to privacy, freedom, and life.

“Joanbites”

  • Finding these entries mundane? I put a lot more interesting stuff in the friends-only section, and even more useful stuff goes in my private, eyes-only diary. Oh, and hello out there, prospective employers reading my webpage. :)
  • That said, today is a “Joan-Free” day. If you’d like to take me off of your friends list, go for it. I may remove some folks today, but it’s not out of a lack of friendship! Just trying to simplify my online life. :)
  • Bond is selling out. I wonder, did they switch to BMW just so they could, in the future, get a more profitable re-branding from a domestic (e.g., British) car manufacturer?
  • It takes a lot to fall out of a Cessna 152, including both having a failing seat belt AND a faulty door latch. I’m betting he jumped, but I don’t know all the facts.
  • There is hope, assuming the skies stay clear, that I could be skiing or boarding in VT this week! YES!

I want my WohTV!

so I was on TV tonight — on a show called play, a current performing arts show on the CBC cable channel. It was for this cute folk rock duo from Vancouver called Tegan & Sara. I really do dig their music, but likes it a whole lot more :)

Anyway, we got a photo together, which I’ll post as soon as uploads the photos. I even got to trade cute comments with Tegan about lending her my jeans, since hers weren’t tight enough. (Don’t ask :P )

And the host of the show is a really cute guy; I didn’t realize until later he was Jian Ghomeshi of Moxy Fruvous! What a small fuckin’ world. Everyone was unpretentious, and reaffirmed my belief that unassuming artists are far better than those who spend effort on nothing but their image.

Now, if only my throat didn’t hurt from overexposure and smoke….time for bed. Check me out on the CBC Newsworld tonight at 3AM, and again on Friday at 8PM and Saturday at 7pm. If you do, tape it for me? I have no VCR… :)