The weather couldn’t have been better. Cool enough to be comfortable, but warn enough to enjoy Splash Mountain. I always hate the crowds, but getting their early helps a great deal. The New Soarin’ around the World at California Adventure is great. Didn’t see Frozen….yet. But as always, the Paint the Night Parade and fireworks are worth staying for.
If anybody local who reads this would even like to join us, you would be more than welcome. Annual Passes, so we go at least once a month, on Fridays.
Pictures are in the Gallery.
There is not a single argument the NRA can make to justify the kind of proliferation of Guns we have in this nation, and the blood lust people have to use deadly force to make their point. Oh, sure, you can kill with a knife, a club, a rock, even a car or a bomb, but nothing seems so handy and easy to obtain and used as a gun. We are killing ourselves at a rate that is barbaric, and those who are responsible for allowing it to happen don’t care. To them, life is cheap….our lives. And then, they mock the bible and pervert it, along with the Constitution, to justify their savagery and callousness. Nothing in a civilized nation, which it would seem the United States is not -we are no better than the most violent of Arab nations in civil war) has the kind of murder rate we have, and it is self inflicted.
And do not give me crap about Radical Islamic Terrorism. What we have in America, what is killing our children and our youth, and innocence, is Radical Christian Terrorism. It is not imported from abroad. This is home grown. This is people who worship their Guns more than God, who kill on a whim when insulted or cut off on the freeway because they no longer have anger management or common sense, or even respect for human life. They use guns to solve problems, thus only creating MORE problems, sorrow and grief. Not even Orlando was Radical Islamic Terrorism. It was AMERICAN Terrorism, pure and simple. This person was from New York, for crying out loud. His religion has nothing to do with it. HATE, and the free and easy access to weapons designed to KILL people, caused this disaster, and still the Gun lobby try and excuse the deaths along with fake and hateful preachers as God’s punishment on Gays. NO, this is YOUR inspired murder of human beings who probably have more right to be alive than they do.
If we don’t grow up as a nation, and FAST, there won’t be much of a nation left to grow up. We are committing suicide so that some few rich merchants of Death can get richer off of their weapons of war. You ammosexuals who love your guns more than you love God, and people, if you really need to parade around with your AR-15’s, etal, be a real man and join the Military, and prove your worth. Otherwise, you are just a bully and a coward who can only express his displeasure in life by destroying somebody elses.
When was the last time some Civilian stopped a bad guy but using his own AR-15? When? Now, compare that to the last time somebody, a civilian, murdered innocent people, and even children, by USING an AR-15. The Answer is June 12th, 2016.
If you support the NRA, and you continue to support people owning military grade weapons such as the AR-15, you are just as guilty as every murderer out there who settles their emotional issues with DEATH. May God have mercy on your souls. Nobody else will.
Over the years I have faced many challenges, as all transgenders have. It is not a life we choose, but a life that chooses us. Like so many my age, I went through many years of doubt, fear, hiding, questioning. In addition, I did so much of it alone, in a hostile world that knew nothing of what transgenders were. Therapists and psychiatrists knew nothing, and what little was published was generally wrong.
But I endured. I suffered the loss of my first marriage, and a level of alienation with my son, and the rejection of relatives. I have lost jobs as well, and had careers dismantled because I was trans, but still living in the shadows, struggling with my inner self against my outward image.
Like so much in life, there is a watershed moment, a crisis point, where everything changes, and I was no different. I was a teacher, struggling with my word, even though I loved it, with having to hide who I was by day, until I was attacked by a student and left disabled. I have already been suffering with other disabilities, but this last one was more than I could handle. I walked away from teaching, and walked away from my fake life.
I was fortunate though in being in a marriage where my wife always knew, and always supported, and this last decision she was fully behind me, but I still needed to do something beyond sitting at home in pain and having my life pass by. I did have my passions, and outings, friends and even family, but it wasn’t enough.
When my foster daughter died, my world collapsed. Killed the day after her birthday in a single car roll-over, she died instantly, but it changed me. I didn’t want to be strong for anybody, but I had to be. Others around me hurt also, but I fell into depression. On the heels of this, my wife had a stroke, and then Ovarian cancer, and depression or not, I had to fight for somebody else again. We got past both of these, and she has remained cancer free, but the stroke had a horrible side affect…dementia, which raised its head a decade later. I still have to be strong, but where do I get my strength with so much constant pain?
Religiously I was never dogmatic. Raised a Lutheran, I went to church in my youth, but as I got older, I drifted away. It never dimmed my faith in God or Christ, but I found no solace in the structures of a formal religion. I also felt unwanted because of who I am. No church seemed to call to me with welcome and hope. In the midst of the death of my daughter, and my wife’s illness though, I came into a church family that welcomed me with open arms. It wasn’t so much the denomination, which at that time was the Metropolitan Community Church, but it was the people, and the Pastor. I spoke to him about becoming a deacon, but he felt something more in me, and within a year, I found myself, openly trans, attending Seminary Graduate School, and four years later graduating with my Masters in Divinity.
During those years, I preached, I did what outreach I could, always with the belief in my heart that there was a place in church, and religion, for transgenders. As things progressed, I encountered more who were, mostly transmen, but that was important. A year after I graduated, I was ordained as a Reverend, a very proud moment, and a major accomplishment, and two years after, I transferred to the United Church of Christ.
My faith journey is by no means complete. But on that journey I have learned a great deal so far, and I continue to speak out on a religious, faith platform for Transgenders. My voice is not as loud as the Haters out there who say that transgenders are an abomination and hated by God, but I will resist that hate and preach a different message of Love every change I get. I do so because I know something the haters don’t know…I know that the Bible, which they seem ignorant of, speaks to us all, in hope and compassion and love, and yes, even to transgenders. We too are in the Bible, albeit referred as eunuchs in scripture, but that is us. Highly respected in the courts and finer homes in antiquity, we served in trusted capacity others unlike us were not trusted to. We are mentioned by Jesus in Matthew, were he identifies himself with the transgender, and finally, as the first non-Jew convert to Christianity in the Bible with the Ethiopian transgender in Acts 8.
Such praise and recognition in scripture placed who I am in life, and how I serve in church into a brighter light. I know, after all these years, that God looks on all of us with love, and with the special gifts we have as transgenders, we are even more loved. Do not let your gift go to waste. Be proud of who you are as a person, and remember, you are a child of God, and blessed for it.
I make no plea for you to join a church. That is up to you. But I do say to all who feel they have been turned away by the hate from so many pulpits, that hearts and minds, and times, have changed. Along with the Metropolitan Community Church and the Church of Christ, the Disciples of Christ, the Evangelical Lutheran Church of America (ELCA), the Episcopal Church, the Presbyterian Church of the USA, and even elements of the United Methodist Church welcome us in compassionate love.
I know they rarely seek us out, or go into the trans community and try and convert. That is not our way for the most part. But the doors are open, as well as the hearts. There are still the haters and fear mongers who do not know Christ, and they still make a lot of noise, and even inspire violence in their words. Stay away from them. They will be judged in time. But there is much hope still out there. I found it, and I became a part of it. So, I welcome you, in love. I welcome you into my own church in North Hollywood, California, and I welcome you into our Virtual Reality church in Second Life at First UCC SL. In short, I welcome you to a safe place in love.
For those who have been to my site, or who check if off and on, I apologize for the long absence. Life has thrown me some curves and has taken up a great deal of my time. But I am back, and I hope to be more involved. I will be uploading sermons on occasion now, as well as my own posts and observations on life as it relates to Faith and being Transgender.
I am suffering great pain in my right leg, a legacy from being alergic to statin medications, coupled with severe stress. I cannot walk or stand without support at this time either, and need a wheelchair or walker just to get around. This is even more trying when you are also the sole and primary care giver for somebody with dementia. I have no help with the basics at this time, from just cleaning and cooking, to laundry and shopping.
As such, I will be taking a break from active preaching, both in Second Life and on line, so I can hopefully get some rest (I wish), and maybe get better. As it is now, I’m physically no good to anybody.
Please keep me in your prayers.
I was at the TDOR memorial in West Hollywood this evening. There was a large turnout of both transgenders and also our allies and supporters, family and spouses. What I did find lacking is visible church representation. I find this very sad since it is still from many churches that the horrific damage to transgenders has come, and in some cases, still comes, in the form of twisted and perverted use of scripture (where nothing exists against transgenders), and how this has broken the spirit of so many who are trans. For this reason, may have turned away from both churches, and God, believing that they are unwanted.
It can only change when church leaders make the visible and concerted effort to show up at such events, and prove they really do care, and that transgenders do matter. It’s called putting your money where your mouth is. Preach inclusion, but then show up and make it count. I was there, and I felt very alone in that regard.
I put this forth as a challenge to all clergy in the Los Angeles area for 2015. If you care, show up. Make your presence known and felt. Put the word Love into action, and help make a difference to the spiritual aspects of people’s lives. They won’t come to you until you come to them.
This following letter was re-posted by Vanessa Sheridan, and I felt it was important enough to share here also, especially on the eve of Transgender Day of Remembrance, 2014.
A Mom’s Letter Introducing Her Transgender Daughter
Posted: 11/15/2014 9:35 am EST Updated: 11/15/2014 9:59 am EST
Writer, editor and parent
Dear family and friends,
Many of you already know that, over the past year, my youngest child, who has been known to us all as “Jon” since birth, has been questioning, exploring, and, more recently, affirming her gender identity. (Yes, I have used the female pronoun here correctly. It turns out that for all these years I was using the wrong one. My bad!) What my child has come to understand is that she is transgender and identifies as female. She has chosen to call herself “Elana,” a name she feels more aptly reflects the person she knows herself to be.*
I realize that some of you might not be familiar with the term “transgender” or what it means to live as a transgender person. I have learned that a full understanding can be both deceptively simple and extraordinarily complicated at the same time. Thinking back to the moment of Jon’s birth 15 years ago reinforces this observation. Toward the end of my labor, my husband and I experienced some moments of terror when the monitor showed a slowing heartbeat and the doctor declared, “We have to get this baby out.” I remember hunkering down into a primal space and pushing for dear life, and although I did succeed in pushing this baby out, the room was leaden with silence as we all waited for that first cry of life, which was notably, frighteningly absent. When the wail came, the room seemed to explode with a palpable measure of joy. This is the simple part: I had birthed a healthy baby.
What followed is what follows the natural sequence of all births: the proclamation of the baby’s sex — in our case, a boy! Within seconds of the birth, everyone in the room had begun making and acting on assumptions about the significance of our child’s genitalia. Since our baby quite visibly had a penis, we did not give the matter a second thought, and we forged ahead along the gendered path before us, as we had with our three older children, and as our parents had done when raising us. On a very basic level we assumed that the genitalia wholly determined the gendered direction of our child’s life, and we also assumed that our child’s identity would naturally align with maleness.
So here is where it gets more complicated. Most children are born with a penis or a vagina (and some are born with genitals that don’t fall neatly into either category). For the majority of children, the brain and the body will match; that is, the interior — the brain, or neuroendocrine system — will work in tandem with the exterior, the physical body. These children will typically grow up aligned with the gender assigned to them at birth, and they will be comfortable in their skin, so to speak. For other children, the brain/body relationship is differently matched, complicating the relationship between the two. This can simply mean that that an individual with male genitalia knows herself to be female, and another with female genitalia knows himself to be male. (There are many other variations along the gender spectrum, which I will not go into here, but I would be happy to point you in the direction of more in-depth information, should you wish to learn more.) And now back to the simple part of this story and the most important truth of my life: I gave birth to a healthy baby, a human being, not a prepackaged promise of a predictable gendered life.
And now I am the fortunate parent who lives in awe of her 15-year-old child, whose courage and conviction to live authentically in a largely unfamiliar and often less-than-friendly world is humbling. And as Elana has grown into herself, so too have those around her. I have watched our family’s love deepen as we’ve traveled alongside Elana on her journey. I have seen the care with which our friends have made the switch from male to female pronouns and from “Jon” to “Elana” without blinking an eye or missing a beat. I have watched our community — neighbors, teachers, doctors, nurses, and, yes, even police officers — unequivocally agree to see and address my child as the person she knows herself to be. I have been blessed to see humanity outshine ignorance again and again.
I am writing to you today to thank you for being a part of this amazing community we are fortunate to call home, and to ask you to join us in using the name “Elana,” along with her chosen corresponding pronouns, “she” and “her.”
Much love to you all,
*I have used the pseudonym “Elana” to protect my child’s privacy.
Follow Liz Hanssen on Twitter: www.twitter.com/eshanssen
We should always remember that the greatest power in the end is love, and a parent’s love for their child, no matter how different they are, can make the difference between success or failure, hope or despair, or life or death.
I try and make it a point to the general public that transwoman are nothing more than people, no different than anybody else, who have the same pasions and desires, needs and wants, and wish to just be accepted for who they are at heart. It is for this reason that I make a point about being so public, enjoying life openly and fully. This lastest trip to Disneyland is no different. But there is more to this post.
While being out there and living life, it is also about supporting others struggling to be free in their own lives, both emotionally and socially. This comes from help within the community, but must also come from friends, family and allies. I am grateful I have all of that. Many others do not. There is still a high level of ignorance and fear towards transgenders, mis-information and mis-conceptions. It is long past time we moved out of the closets and into the classrooms, forums and public arenas, to educate, and do so in numbers. There are many great leaders already doing so, in religion and politics, in social work and authors and educators. We need more. We need those positive, and sometimes, not so positive stories publicly told, to increase awareness and understanding.
I am often asked on line where are there trans friendly places in Los Angeles. I generally answer “everythere”. I have found that is you present yourself honestly and with confidence, dress appropriate to the event, most people don’t pay that much attention or give you problems. Those who do ask, use it as a teaching moment. But I don’t have issues. This is just my latest trip to Disneyland this Halloween with my wife and a friend, and we had a great time at both parks.
It can be done if you only want to do it.