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Monday, May 18, 2009

Can one man's actions "derail" a movement? Let's hope not.

I am angry right now.  I am angry at a man who could have such blatant disregard for others that he would put the lives of a trainload of passengers at risk, and put the livelihoods of every transgender person in America at risk, just so that he could send his girlfriend a text message.

His name is Aiden Quinn, and he was a light rail operator in Boston.  He has recently acquired some infamy for texting on the job, and crashing his trolley into another as a result.  But of course, what really has everybody in a tizzy is that he is a transgender man, female-to-male, that was hired by the transit agency through their Affirmative Action program.

This really couldn't have come at a worse time--just as we get to a place where we CAN claim our transgender status as a minority, all of a sudden the blogosphere is abuzz with bigoted remarks about how we must be negligent, unsafe people to trust with important jobs such as operating trains.  

I'm mad at the bigoted bloggers and commenters, yes, and I'm mad at the sensationalist news reporters that just had to throw that juicy little tidbit of information into the story.  But mostly, I'm mad at Aiden Quinn himself.  Most people's actions only reflect back on them personally, but as members of a vastly underrepresented and misunderstood minority, everything we as transgendered people do reflects back on our community as a whole.  We need to make sure we are valuable contributors to society; it is the only way we will ever be respected.  

Aiden Quinn did not cause this crash because he is transgendered.  He caused this crash because he was negligent about his duties and responsibilities in the operator's cab of the train.  This is not a queer issue, it is a cell phone issue.  Should this man be fired from public service?  Definitely.  But his actions should not be allowed to set our community back, or to be a roadblock to the next transgender person that may decide to apply for a similar job.

This is his fault.  Not ours.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Tranny justice ;-)

Today's jury duty day. Cool and blegh at the same time. They called me in by my old name, and at first I thought they weren't going to respect my name change ("it takes 24 hours to go through the computer system..."). I was cringing at the thought of them calling my old name out in front of the entire room full of a hundred people--(hey everybody--there's a transsexual juror in the room!) But a really nice lady behind the counter agreed to make a special note for me (on account of my charm, I suppose :-) to make sure I was called Wenda. Yay! Time and time again, even bureaucrats prove to be so nice sometimes. Several months ago, before my name was legally changed, I was forced to out myself to a lady on the phone from the DMV--again I expected the worst. She was so nice! She told me "if you were here right now I would probably give you a hug for being honest and sharing that." I love people sometimes.

On lunch break, I wandered over to Olvera Street and caught the beginning of a beautiful free concert in the park--some guy set up playing exquisite flute and pan-pipe music in the plaza. City living can be wonderful sometimes, even in L.A.

I got to meet Judge Lance Ito, of the O.J. Simpson trial fame. He actually seems kind of nice, despite the disaster that that trial was. As of right now, I'm still sitting in the assembly room, waiting to find out if I can go, or if I have to come back again tomorrow :-( But even if I do, it's not all that bad. Next time I get called for this, it'll be the Multnomah County Courthouse...

Happy Thursday,

Check back for more slices of Life, Love, and Transgender Good News!

Friday, April 17, 2009

I don't do mornings......

...but I have to get up at 4:30 tomorrow. Yay, it's Day on the Ride! I'm working lunch stop in San Pedro (lunch, that's why I have to be there at 8:30?), and have to be on a bus by six a.m. Yawwwwn.

I did volunteer for this, right?

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

I'm glad I'm a Roadie...

The other day I went on a 26-mile bike ride with my mentor. That's half the length of the shortest day on the LifeCycle--and now my legs hurt in places I didn't know legs COULD hurt. It was fun, at least the first half. We started in Culver City, following the Ballona Creek bike path down to the beach, then another six miles down the beach to Manhattan Beach, one of my favorite little beach towns in the L.A. area. We got to watch the hang gliders go for their ridiculously short flights off Dockweiler Beach.

But then we had to go BACK to Culver City. Yeah... Little hills that didn't seem that bad the first time all of a sudden seemed twice as hard to climb. After sitting for that long on a bike seat, the tip of it starts to press really, really hard in a really, really bad place. And with every bump in the road, it sends achey shockwaves throughout my whole body. And this is "only" 26 miles. At the last Roadie Meeting, everyone kept saying that we work harder than the cyclists. I don't really see how that's possible... Bicycling is HARD WORK! I'm glad I'm a Roadie.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Ah, planning.

I wonder, is it strange that the thing that has me the most nervous about my participation in AIDS LifeCycle is not the work I'll be doing, but how the hell I'm going to make the logistics of getting myself up to San Francisco work...

To be honest, I'm a little scared of going to San Francisco by myself. I don't really know why--maybe it's the size of the place. I've been to Portland by myself, but that somehow felt different. Portland is compact and logically arranged, and if you get lost there, you can usually figure out how to get back. Portland is a bit laid back--like a pleasantly overgrown version of Old Town Pasadena. San Francisco seems somehow to be a bit more hardcore. I've never really gone to quite such a big city by myself before. I know, for someone who takes buses all over L.A. (yes, people do take buses in L.A.), it should be a piece of cake, but it's different having grown up in L.A. and knowing my way around like the back of my hand.

Basically I'm gonna get off a Greyhound in S.F. on Saturday morning of The Week, and have to get myself to some godforsaken place called the "Cow Palace" in Daly City. Cow Palace??? Images are conjured up in my mind that I'm not sure I like....... I can't help but envision a cow decked out in a robe (and sunglasses, for some reason) sprawling on a throne in a palace.

No biggie. I think. Right? The Muni trip planner sends me on the BART, the Google trip planner sends me on an express bus down the 101 freeway, a fellow Roadie who lives in Pacifica tells me to take the bus on Mission Street that she can't remember the number of. Then another bus on Geneva Ave, and you're there. "Ask the bus driver before you get on if they go to the Cow Palace," she tells me. "If it's the wrong bus, you'll end up back on Mission Street." "When you get off, make sure you go to the right! Don't turn left, or you'll end up in the projects!" Great... "No, really, that's not the greatest part of Daly City, so don't cross Geneva Avenue." But I can't miss this place, right? It's a big arena, and won't there be a couple thousand people with bicycles? "No, it's behind the big arena--you can't see it from the street." Oh, wonderful.

Friday, April 10, 2009

Hi there.

My name is Wenda. I'm an out transgender girl living in the Los Angeles area. I've read a lot of blogs and miscellaneous postings on the web by others who seem to only post the horror stories of discrimination and mistreatment that some in my community do face, making it seem as though that is everyone's experience all the time.

I respect that many have had experiences like that; I am not trying to discount that in any way. But it has not been my experience, and I want to show that by writing about my own life and unique viewpoints on the world.

I am not going to write about the particulars of transition or transgenderism in general unless it pertains to my personal life--if you are unsure of terms or exactly what I am talking about, please visit the website

A little background on me: I began my transition from male to female a little over a year ago, and I can't imagine how I got through before I started. I will be attending Portland State University in the fall, majoring in community development. I love Celtic music, and I get overly fascinated by the inner workings of public transportation systems.

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