Saturday, May 9, 2020
It is safe to say, it was not important enough to post at that time. Today I feel differently about it and I believe it has value, if only to hold a glimpse of my mind, well before I lost it.
The discussion swirled around the need to further conversations past the cursory curiosity questions and into the marginalization experienced by all trans people, minimum in some, much greater in many.
However, at one point she touched on where [Andreja] Pejić will align herself in terms of advocacy and whether it is fair to place expectations of activism or advocacy upon out trans people.
I think coming out is an feat of activism. It's action that benefits a cause.
Yet, there should never be an obligation for someone who happens to be transgender to be drafted into compulsory service.
Many want resolution to the years of marginalization and microaggression they faced. I understand the need to balance out one's life.
Yet there is not a national transgender entity, where our members who dedicate themselves to service of others, can come together to promote solutions to communal needs. We have LGBT organizations which tokenize trans people and trans organizations which serve to monopolize the issue space.
Everyone wants to play leader.
There is a better way. It involves the collective conscience of community, no longer bound by birthright or access, or how self important one thinks they are. Where color and conformity are not barriers, but beneficial attributes.
Because society places too many expectations of external change upon the trans individual coming out, many do not realize the process they are enduring is seeking gender authenticity.
Wednesday, June 10, 2015
That may or may not be true, these notions or ideas about brain differences. It is a straw man argument. Proffering such seeks not to discuss the greater issue, but to obfuscate it. We do not need to debate such notions, because the outcome changes nothing with respect to Burkett’s real claim, “that being a woman means having accrued certain experiences, endured certain indignities and relished certain courtesies in a culture that reacted to you as one.” Burkett further claims that “female is a social construct that has subordinated [women].”
We can agree that Woman is a social construct and that it most certainly has subordinated women, however, her vague “certainties” are lacking. What precise experiences, what certain indignities, and which certain courtesies is Burkett professing? Besides not being fully articulated in her piece, Burkett’s Rules of Womanhood are, so far as I am aware, not articulated elsewhere. If one discounts trans women for failing to possess some or all of Burkett’s Rules, what becomes of cisgender women without all of the dynamics Burkett asserts are necessities, not just sufficiencies? Do people like Burkett have the privilege of asserting qualification upon womanhood?
Arizona State University Professor James Paul Gee is vested in the study of linguistics and discourse communities. Gee’s work is well documented and his understandings of literacy, learning and acquisition are nearly unparalleled. For Gee acquisition is “a process of acquiring somethingsubconsciously by exposure to models and a process of trial and error, withouta process of formal teaching.” We find Burkett presenting a notion of acquisition.
Social constructs rely upon acquisition. It is a process by which enculturation transpires. Burkett accepts Woman is a social construct. She asserts acquisition is a mechanism which bestows membership. Since acquisition requires exposure, and such exposure alone, without a process of trial and error is insufficient to acquisition, such memberships change over time. The greater the exposure, the more frequent the process of trial and error, the stronger the acquisition. So if one is to accept Burkett’s ideas of membership into womanhood, all women are not equal members. Some have less exposure to models (constructs) and fewer sequences of trials and error. Are they less of a woman? Burkett believes so.
So what of those individuals who were assigned female at birth, but didn’t have the same certain experiences Burkett ascribes are necessary for membership within the construct of womanhood, namely being reacted to as one?
Sojourner’s Truth is filling this discussion faster than the Republican Presidential race is filling with hopefuls.
“That man over there says that women need to be helped into carriages and lifted over ditches, and to have the best place everywhere. Nobody ever helps me into carriages, or over mud-puddles, or gives me any best place! And ain't I a woman?”
Sojourner Truth’s lived experiences are that of not being seen as a woman by a culture that devalued her very existence. Burkett’s arguments would deny Sojourner membership for not “having accrued certain experiences, endured certain indignities and relished certain courtesies in a culture that reacted to [her] as one.” So membership may consist of assignment at birth, or it may include lived experiences, yet possession of both are not necessities. Given this, the social construct of Woman is open to all women, of all experiences, regardless of sex assigned at birth or Elinor Burkett.
“…and now old Sojourner ain't got nothing more to say."
Sunday, February 19, 2012
I was recently asked to provide input for a piece being written in Baltimore GayLife concerning Women's History Month. I was asked who my role models were and if I knew any Sheroes (she-heroes, women regarded as heroes.) After citing several role models and women I admired and looked up to, I was informed by the author, I had be listed as a shero by someone else and if I could write a little something on it.
Humility, that ever elusive sliver of mercury, impossible to grasp and deadly to hold, has been my guide. I failed but managed this:
I’m Jenna Fischetti. I have been a facilitator of the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Community Center of Baltimore and Central Maryland’s (GLCCB) Gender Identity Group since 2006. It is a peer led group for gender non conforming persons. I have been sober for 6 years. In both areas of my life, it was necessary for me to seek integrity.
For me, the moment I integrate the inner and the outer, I produce integrity. The processes for sobriety and for gender authenticity require that I take the actions (outer) so that I may live the truth (inner).
The amazing dynamic which has appeared in my life is that these lessons, these experiences transcend sobriety and gender authenticity. They apply in everyday life, to everything I do. I was just blessed with the gift of alcoholism and a gender which is free of a binary construct. Without these opportunities in my life, it is impossible to say I would have ever known real integrity.
The growth that I must go through in order to consummate my truth in all areas of my life requires that I live to be of love and serve to others. Worthy intentions indeed, yet it is imperfect in persistent practice.
Moreover, I am humbled when I am approached by peers and those outside the select recovery or transgender communities who use words like “courageous”, “inspiring” “brave”. I suspect I never gave those words a second thought before. It is because the words they use describe actions I took because of my faith in God, in my Creator. Simply put, it was a Power far greater than I.
When I let go of the notion that I alone could author change and accepted that I needed help from others, my life changed. My God works through other people. The men and women in my life who were overtaken by societal expectations of their gender, forced to deny their own truth, helped me by allowing me be of service to them. The peers imprisoned in drug and alcohol addictions, wanting to be free, yet not knowing a path, were my life rafts to safety. No, for it is most assuredly in giving that I have received. If any one ever believes I’m a SHERO, it is because they see the actions of countless others helping me along the Way.
Today there are Principles I have as Guidelines in my life. They give me strength to grow spiritually. It is my basic spiritual believe that each and every human possesses a spirit, a soul which is equal to all others and embodies the Divine. Our bodies, our minds, our gender are the diversities we utilize to touch and help each others. My experiences help you, and your experience help me. The end game is to awaken the Spirit in all of us to practice love and tolerance of others. Again, this Way is imperfect in persistent practice.
Tuesday, September 20, 2011
“We can worry about who is this and who is that, we can argue about who does or doesn’t belong. We can talk about how much more legitimate one or another of us is. In the end, we’re all somebody’s freak – and basic human dignity is not a privilege of the lucky superior few, but a right of all or none.” -Gwendolyn Ann SmithI've been busy. Life is full and so are its challenges, especially for a member of the transgender community.
I've lost friends and gained new ones. I’d been forced to find new surroundings and met the challenge with open arms. Like most transgender people in this country, I live well below the poverty line ( <$9,000 per year, albeit the concept of “poverty” in this country is relative) I’ve had my life threatened on the streets of Baltimore and the shoebox I sleep in is just cozy enough to refresh me for the morning trek to the bus stop daily.
I can not begin to claim I am an expert on the challenges of small finance and street harassment but I am working on my Masters. I am a transgender person without means for FFS, SRS or at least an orchiectomy. I am unable to swirl a fat check (no, not fat chick as I do not want any “hate mail”) into the coffer of those promoting the Slow March to Equality, nor would I want to.
I exist, I believe, at the Will of my Creator. The length of the hallway between that door which opens after the other one closes, is sometimes very long, but its always just as long as its supposed to be (Thank you Gil). The experiences I live through, both good and bad simply serve to give me the tools I need at this very moment.
So while I may consider myself one of those at extreme risk of the rampant transphobia which exists in this world, I am not above the principles of spirituality I wish to ascribe to. It’s just that I have a standard I have to uphold irrespective of the chicanery of others. Because someone professes virtue yet practices them not, I am not excused from my own action. Even if the acts of others increase the risk I face, I have to accept they are as they are supposed to be. I do not have to approve of them. I can stand up against them, however, I must not allow my principles to be martyred.
I know because we are one in that.
May we grew as one in this.
Tuesday, February 15, 2011
Monday, January 17, 2011
Sunday, January 16, 2011
The Child Within - Many of the emotional wounds that we carry around were inflicted when we were children. One way to heal such wounds is to comfort the child within. Imagine a child standing before you. Gazing down at the child, you realize that its you when you were small. Kneel down beside the child and introduce yourself. Encourage them to come toward you. If they are willing, hold them close to your heart in a warm embrace. Reassure the child that they are safe in your arms and that you will always be there to protect them from harm.I burst into tear the moment I saw, myself, standing there, arms at my side, no more than 4 years old looking very much like the photo here.
I reached towards him and was distracted by a message from a friend. And I realized, the true message. My vulnerability is my strength. My growth comes from it. Like the inner child I seek to protect, God sees me as His inner child and is there, on His knee, offering me His hand, and holding me near His heart, protecting me on my journey.
I am blessed and for that I am eternally grateful.
"A great man is he who does not lose his child's heart" -Meng Tzu (c.372-c.289BC)
Saturday, January 1, 2011
Happy New Decade to all of my friends and family. A side effect of being a bit geeky is knowing that the New Millenium and thus Century and Decade started on 01/01/01. This means of course last night marked the close to our very first decade of a very apparent brave New World. Most for the obvious reasons, many for reasons yet obscured, yet I suspect, we all feel great change. I know I do.
In looking back, but briefly, I've seen the lost of deeply cherished loved one and the placing of new ones in my life. I've seen my old notions eradicated only to witness new ones germinate. I've taken stock of growth in others, albeit finding that growth within myself too.
My tears, my laughter, my fears, my joy, my struggles and my Faith all still exist. However they have changed. I have changed. The world I view through my own eyes has changed and for once, I end a decade grateful for it all.
Monday, December 27, 2010
I realize you are the lone hold out of my peers at work which refuses to accept my existance. I understand when you refuse to reply to my hellos. I can have empathy with your disrespect of my personal property by throwing it away. I feel the rise in your bile as I sit directly across from you in the break room causing you move to another table. My dear coworker, I am compelled to love you with every ounce of my existance, even when its seems to go to no good. Because sweet friend, oh frightened one of questioning faith and strength, you are I and I am you.