Thursday, January 31, 2008

Personal update, trans health access

I know there are some of you have been aware of my struggle to improve health coverage at my employer for trans related healthcare for some time. My employeer (LGBT community center) actaully has good coverage, and one of the only plans where some things are covered..unfortunately they have some bad exclusions. They have (seemingly arbritarily, although I am sure it is based on some useage data or something) have decided that top surgery for trans men is not medically necessary--but bottom surgeries are.

From the very first day I started as a full time employee I have inquired about our insurance coverage. For the last 6 months (well for the last year and a half, but more aggressively for the last 6 months) I feel like I have put a lot on the line to stand up for what I think is just and right (my financial stability, my time, physical and mental health, my job, and parts of my community) in this grievance/emotional battle over health insurance coverage for my transition related health needs. I think even worse or more draining is that I put my own body on the line...advocating with, about, for my own body which took much more of an emotional toll than I thought it would.

And then...there are some movements on the issue...and this is supposed to feel like a victory...but all I feel are directionless and exposed and tired. And I suppose this is what organizing feels like....and I am not least not mostly. I have people I am consulting with and others who I am helping as well.....but everything is so strange, still. Maybe it is also because I am not a person who has ever advocated for myself and all of this is drumming up old self-worth issues. That I am valuable because I exist...that I am valuable because of many of my identities and that my basic health maintenance needs should be covered. If there was any internalized transphobie laying around..that's definitely been cleared out through this process....

Somewhere in the midst of this I forgot how to have fun, and fuck and enjoy it, and take walks and think and read and cook..and to get by have gone back on some psych meds (which oddly enough seems to be the most difficult part to write about)

Of course to cope I have been working 60 hours a week and I'm fine as long as I don't stop moving and working.....*sigh* I'm working on all this stuff and working on working less and getting back to myself.

I am trying to find time to celebrate some successes, even if they didn't come about in the ways I expected. I am also trying to do a better job of taking stock of my mental, physical, and emotional needs while doing this work beucase this is work I would like to do long term..and I know that even this I started at my place of employement, has just begun.

So, all this post was supposed to be was to let everyone know that I have a surgery date, Feb. 26th!!!---and all that shit came out. But I guess what I want folks to know is yes I'm happy and yes I am over-joyed..and yes I feel like I can move on with parts of my life and move on in doing the work I want to do becuase I'm finally going to have some of my basic health maintaince needs meet.....but the problem is not solved at my place of employment or for pretty much any other LGBT or LGBT friendly nonprofit in the state of Michigan. The solution (which I can't fully disclose) was beautiful and temporary.

I'll probably write more on this sometime soon. I haven't been able to talk about it while I was in the grievance process. I would also like to share some of the documents and letters I wrote, in hope that they might be helpful for others doing this work.

Kwame's Apology

I've been reading a lot of the public and news response about Detroit Mayor Kilpatrick's televised apology last night. I'm in agreement with Stephen Hawkins who's Free Press article highlights Kilpatrick's sole focus on "personal" overlooks all the harm to the city. I mean, from the transcript it sounds like a wonderful public apology to his children and wife---but like a lot of folks are saying this apology is about $9 million dollars too late.

Monday, January 28, 2008

stinky pinky

I don't think I've ever quite understood the joys of being teased. Maybe it's because I'm a little sensitive, or possibly beucase I never did much teasing myself. Thankfully there is no limit to the zaney "teasy" names Carrie's delightful and creative mind comes up with for me. Some of my favorites have been scritches and yanks, white cholocate and now...just today she came up with stinky pinky (while driving back from the doctor's office to get my eye infection/pink eye looked) I've come to learn this means I'm loved---but seriously folks, how the hell does she come up with this shit!? LOL

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Philly Trans Health Conference 2008

It seems so early to be talking about this already....but The Philly Trans Health Conference has been moved to Memorial Day Weekend (May) in 2008. I'm pretty excited about this many regional conferences seem to all happen at the same time. The site is up for 2008 at

I registered online today and a coworker (Laura Sorenson) and I submitted a workshop proposal--a skill building session on advocacy in medical settings for people of size. Hoping it gets accepted although we'll be going no matter what.

Our friends Patrick and Mindy also invited us to come early or stay late and spend sometime on the East Coast. Their daughter might also be in the area visiting. I'm pretty excited. Even though they have been out of the state now for a year and a half I still feel pretty close to them...and look forward to keeping our friendship going. They are just wonderful people!!

US Figure Skating Championships...file under GAY

I know some of you may think there are some more pressing news articles I could be sharing...BUT....I just got finished watching one of my FAVORITE (and okay..only) sports events....*drumroll* please...The US National Figure Staking Championships. I was so excited that Mirai won...even though she can't yet compete at Worlds....studpid rules!

ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) — Figure skating finally has its budding star.
Mirai Nagasu delighted the crowd — and herself — with a refreshing and entertaining show at the U.S. Figure Skating Championships on Saturday night. Oh yeah, the 14-year-old became the second-youngest woman to win the title, too.
The other mighty mite? Tara Lipinski, and she wound up doing all right for herself.
When her scores flashed, Nagasu looked at the screen with interest. When she heard she'd won, she said, "What?" then clapped her hands to her face, a big grin breaking across her face.
Nagasu is too young to go to the world championships; skaters now must be 15 by the previous July 1, and she doesn't even turn 15 until April. Rachael Flatt, who finished second, also is too young. Ashley Wagner was third.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

The sturdy skirt for men :)

The Local, Sweden Sturdy skirt a hit with Swedish workmen
Published: 17 Jan 08 18:38 CET
[PHOTO: <> ]

Mechanics, carpenters and plumbers who have tough physical jobs needstrong, functional clothing. But that doesn't mean they have to wearboring, old-fashioned overalls that their grandfathers might haveworn. A kilt for professional men recently introduced in Swedenfeatures roomy pockets needed to carry necessary tools and allows theworker to make a striking fashion statement at the same time

This men's skirt in heavyweight cotton has other advantages. It isundoubtedly refreshing – or at least mildly alarming – to feel acooling breeze running up your legs during a long, sweaty dayhammering in plasterboard or installing a new floor.

"We initially launched the kilt as a sort of experiment. We thoughtonly a small number of daring men would wear it. But it proved to besurprisingly popular," says Susanne Kristianson of Blåkläder, thecompany from Svenljunga, western Sweden, behind the unconventionalwork wear.
The trendy kilt has attracted a following among self-confident youngSwedish men who are not afraid to challenge conventional genderstereotypes - although, as any Scotsman would tell you, there wasnever anything girlie about wearing a kilt.

The unconventional garment is especially popular among carpenters: itfeatures two reinforced nail pockets, a loop for carrying a hammer anda knife holder.

One of Sweden's largest manufacturers of heavy-duty and protectiveclothing for men, Blåkläder sells its new workingman's kiltnationwide; it is also listed as a regular item in its productcatalogue. The garment was lauded as "Fashion Product of the Year" inlate October 2007 by TEKO, the Swedish Textile and ClothingAssociation.