Category Archives: Op/Ed

Congratulations, But We’re Not There Yet

(Republished from Sept 2015)

Over the years, we’ve seen a lot of progressive changes here in America. While some show us just how far we’ve come, others let us know just how far we still need to go.  I was reading the latest piece here on The Kinfolk Kollective (brilliant writer btw, check her out) about Viola Davis and the nonsense (read bullshit) that ensued.

While I did not watch the awards, I saw the immediate spreading the joyous news of Viola Davis’ well deserved win on social media.  I think she’s an incredibly talented actor and I was very happy that she received her due in this well earned recognition.

LOS ANGELES, CA - SEPTEMBER 20:  Actress Viola Davis accepts Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series award for 'How to Get Away with Murder' onstage during the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California.  (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
LOS ANGELES, CA – SEPTEMBER 20: Actress Viola Davis accepts Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series award for ‘How to Get Away with Murder’ onstage during the 67th Annual Primetime Emmy Awards at Microsoft Theater on September 20, 2015 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)

Later I saw her speech, along with the very short and spread out list of other firsts and I was saddened to realize how little progress we’ve made in this area. To be honest, since I’m not a fan of the awards shows or their history I had no idea until this moment how far behind we were in this arena.

I remember seeing Halle Berry’s acceptance speech in my younger years thinking “cool, we’re there” and being completely oblivious to the fact that we are so far from it in this vein. Viola really hit the nail on the head when she pointed out you can’t win awards for parts not written. It’s a simple problem with a seemingly simple solution.  Right?

But of course no one can have their 15 seconds forget 15 minutes, in the sun before critics and assholes feel the need to tear people down with their own Ignorance.  This phenomenon was never more apparent than when a Tweet by an unnamed white actress (only because I refuse to offer any publicity with her name attached) who felt that Viola should have allowed someone else to write her speech for her. Are you kidding me?

So here we finally have the first African-American woman in this country to win an Emmy for Best Actress in a Drama, and this person felt, either out of jealousy of the win or personal discomfort because it didn’t align with her life of privilege, that it should have been censored or desensitized for those who prefer to speak out of their asses because their heads are buried deeply in the sand.

If I can offer a brief but meaningful segue  – One of my favorite movies is A Time to Kill starring Matthew McConaughey, Sandra Bullock and the ever powerful Samuel L. Jackson. The 1996 movie is based on the book of the same name by John Grisham, and is a story told from the defence attorney’s perspective as he digs deep to defend his client (Samuel L. Jackson) accused of murder after killing the men who repeatedly and brutally assaulted his young daughter.  McConaughey’s closing speech as Southern defense attorney Jake Brigance is one that will stop your heart and give you the deepest understanding of racial divide that you never saw coming. If you haven’t seen it, I urge you to watch it here.

After you regain your composure, feel free to join in the singing “Everyone’s a Little Bit Racist” from the Broadway musical Avenue Q and be sure to invite and include almost everyone you’ve ever known to join you in the chorus. There’s no shame in realizing that down deep you have some racially disparaging leanings at your core.  Of course you couldn’t.  You didn’t realized that you’ve been groomed this way from birth and while you may wash away some of it, there’s a couple of places you didn’t know were even there.

American society historically has been very racist and it didn’t stop with the end of the Civil War. In fact, slavery didn’t even end with the war. If you’re not familiar with Juneteenth look it up.  Don’t be surprised if you’re not familiar with it. It’s an event that is not taught in schools.  Why?  I don’t know.

I didn’t learn about the racially motivated Internment Camps to restrict the freedoms of Japanese-Americans during World War II either.  We learned a fraction of the relocation and atrocities committed against Native Americans by white settlers and Americans, too grievous a list to reference here.  Then again until the casinos opened, most folks thought that Native Americans were more historical figures than living peoples.  Out of sight, out of mind.  I guess that’s what that actress was hoping for with her tweets.

American History books would have us believe that this country was settled in harmony with only a few gunfights, a really cool railroad, the creation of the pony express and some really funny clothes and mustaches, then a few battles as part of the Civil War and once the war was over, we all continued living together happily until the 1950’s when we became a society divided again (for some unknown reason that nobody remembers I’m sure…) leading to Rosa Parks being the catalyst for the Civil Rights Movement with the Montgomery Bus Boycott.

Every generation does a little bit better, but we have to strive for it to keep progressing as parents, as industry, as a society, as a country.  Dr King said it best in his historic I Have A Dream speech “I look to a day when people will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”.  While I have always been moved by, believed in and agreed with that sentiment, we need to remember it just as much now as on that historic day in August 1963 on the the steps of the Lincoln Memorial.

I am constantly judged by those who see me as a caucasian woman, when the reality is that I am a genderfluid individual who only racially identifies as human, formerly married to an Afro-Cuban man for 10 years (which was illegal within my own lifetime btw) and is someone who has family and friends in every color of the rainbow and every position along the gender spectrum.   That’s not to say I’m not free of prejudice, not even close.  What it means that race and gender are not my identity nor is it my sole scope of experience for viewing the world around me; and as I recognize these flaws within myself, that awareness allows me to target it for removal like radiation directed toward cancer cells.. but only if I choose to do so.

Hate is a cancer of the human soul and prejudice is only one of its symptoms.  As we’ve seen in the past year racially motivated crime at an all-time visibility.  Understand that because of our changes in technology, these injustices are more visible than ever before, and with it comes the demand for accountability and change.

Please recognize that these are far from the only injustices that are occurring.  Young vets coming back are dealing with having to fight not only for their earned benefits but the continuing the fight they’d thought they’d left being as it haunts them constantly, creating an unprecedented veteran suicide reaching record numbers that this country has never seen before.

Transgender individuals, both adult and youths are assaulted and murdered daily, make up a majority of the homeless population as backs are turned on them at every turn and maintain a suicide rate of over 40%.  These two things in particular you don’t see on mainstream news because they don’t feed the fires of racial tensions and controversy, instead they breed empathy and compassion.  That doesn’t sell advertising.

The honest truth of the matter is that it’s going to take many more generations of Americans to water down and weed out experiences known as daily reality for many, many people in this nation both past and present, but it takes work, and a lot of it.  There is no room for complacency, the old adage is true “if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem”.

We as a nation and a society need to be proactive in repairing the current wounds and old scars of injustice for ALL of our citizens, not just the majority and the underserved need to be sought out.  Trust needs to be built, that’s the hardest part, and the nightly news makes sure to work against that because that’s how they get viewers and sell advertising.

So please look to the disparity around you and know that you can be the catalyst for change.  Compassion and empathy can make the difference in whether someone continues living or chooses dying.  Never forget that Rosa Parks wasn’t some visionary radical, she was a woman tired from a long day at work whose feet hurt.  Even the smallest pebbles can create the biggest ripples, you can be a superhero, all you have to do is use your powers for good.

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie

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PTSD Support

PTSD Sucks is the understatement of the year. I wish there was a word that would relay just how bad it is.

I’ve been dealing with PTSD for going on 26 years now and I know many others who suffer with it as well. I applaud the spirit of this post, but for most of us this isn’t how we need help.

First and foremost we need people to understand what it is. We’re not “overly sensitive”, “crybabies”, “special snowflakes” or any other term that gets used to diminish the horror we deal with regularly.

Image result for ptsd fireworks

Believe me when I say that I really wish I could “just get over it”. I’ve learned to accept that this is my life, and that there are times when this will be triggered and out of my control. The best I can do is to continually remind myself that this is a cycle and cycles pass…well, until the next cycle is triggered.

As I learn what things will trigger it I can attempt to avoid them, but there’s no getting away from it unless I want to live in a bubble by myself with no tv, Internet, flashing lights, loud sounds, certain smells, fireworks…..

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We aren’t all triggered the same way either, it’s personal, unique, just as unique as the trauma(s) that we have all suffered as individuals. If you really want to help, please ask us if we can help you understand what we’re going through then be willing to listen and learn.

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One of the biggest things you can do for us is as simple as being our “bodyguard”. To have someone that we know we can trust, really trust, take over for us while we can’t think or function in the moment, to be a buffer to keep the rest of what’s happening away from us and get us out of that situation. Knowing that we can depend on you for that is a gift unlike any other. But please don’t jump in and do this without having this understanding with us first or you could make things exponentially worse for us even though you don’t mean to do anything other than help us.

PTSD doesn’t discriminate, men, women, kids, young and old, civilian and military. It’s the result of being in a situation out of your control and your brain decides that you can’t handle anymore and the slightest thing that reminds your brain (not even you consciously) of what happened before will set off a myriad of different things…night terrors, flash backs, panic attacks making you feel in that very moment that you are going to die right there and then. I wouldn’t wish this on my enemies (and only one ex-husband).

Image result for ptsd fireworks military

You may not be able to empathize with what we go through, but accepting the fact that this is what we go through, without judging us or our trauma is huge. There’s nothing worse than opening up and sharing this part of yourself with another person only to be told that you’ve been through worse or that happened to so & so and they don’t have a problem with it doesn’t help, in fact it makes it worse. So thanks for being willing to help and thank you for recognizing that what I go through is very real for me, even if it doesn’t happen to others.

How do you sleep at night?

Fox News Host Says We Shouldn’t Care About Border Separation Because “These Aren’t Our Kids”

I’m going to say this one time. If this is how you feel… Unfriend me. Block me. Lose my number. Forget my name. Remove any memory of me from your brain. Just leave.

In a segment of Fox and Friends, Fox News host Brian Kilmeade defended white nationalism and Trump’s family separation policy by claiming that “those aren’t our kids, and it’s not like Trump was doing this to the people of Idaho or Texas”.

Yes, really.

If this is how you feel, and these are the actions that you support and endorse our “president” for, you are a vile, reprehensible, disgusting, poor excuse of a human being. You don’t deserve friends, you don’t deserve a family, you don’t deserve children, you don’t even deserve so much as a damned goldfish.

I am embarrassed, disgusted and nauseated that not only are you my fellow countryman but that you represent this country and it’s culture to others around the globe.

And don’t you DARE utter the words “I’m a Christian”. Hell is too good for you.

America is on the wrong side of history and I am ashamed.

How Can we Demand inclusion if we’re exclusive?

With all of the community news, events, and celebrations that come with June being LGBTQIA there’s still the undercurrent that the Cis/Hetero community isn’t necessarily aware of unless they are in some way connected.

Following posts and links and reading articles that all spill forth with Pride month, you get to see more than you may have bargained for. I was so thrilled to find this article about Budweiser and what they are doing to be Pride inclusive. Awesome. I wish more people and companies would follow suit. Thanks Budweiser!

Budweiser launches Pride cups in
EVERY color of the LGBTI rainbow

I came across this article, thanks to the Gay Star News, and was very excited to see the inclusion represented and the steps that they are taking. Unfortunately, that excitement was very short lived once I got to the comments… not from trolls, but from actual members of our community, denying acceptance and in some cases siding on the erasure of our own Rainbow Tribe family members.

” It’s bad enough polluting with more plastic, we’re polluting the lgbt with more of that “asexual” nonsense. ”

“So I am stuck getting a SJW cup.”

” But they’re not, and talking over actual lgbt people to pretend you are doesn’t get you anywhere. “

” asexual isn’t even lgbt. full stop. “

” Agender is a gender? “

” asexuality is not a part of pride, sorry. just because you arent attracted to any sex doesnt mean you are lgbt “

“I think you spelled that wrong. LGBT. Has been and always be that acronym. L – lesbian. G – Gay. B- bisexual. T- transgender. Quit adding your letters to try and feel validated. Sorry buddy. Just because you or someone else isn’t sexually attracted to a gender or a person. Doesn’t mean you are persecuted and name called and raped. No. Pride is for those that have been through that or DIDNT MAKE IT. Stop trying to push your way into this. You or whoever else that is asexual can be an ally.”

Tell me how inclusive the rainbow is when members of the community pick and choose who can and can’t join… it’s a not a 10-year-old’s tree house that says “Private. No girls allowed.”

It’s comments like these that are the exact reason that I am in love with the Progress Pride Flag.

Progress Pride Flag – Portland-based designer, Daniel Quasar, felt that the six-striped LGBT flag should be visually separated from the newer stripes due to their difference in meaning, as well as to “shift focus and emphasis to what is important in our current community climate.”

Anyone who is non-hetero, non-cis, non-hetero romantic and has a combination of reproductive organs of more than one sex is a member of the Rainbow Tribe known as LGBT, LGBTQ, and/or LGBTQIA+. Really. It’s that simple.

We have members of the gay community that are racist, members who are anti-trans, who are binary exclusive (TERFs). And, woohoo, we got a T, a Q, an I, and an A. Great for Wheel of Fortune, not so much for Transgender, queer/questioning, intersex and agender/asexual members of our community.

And let’s not forget the “+” added on as a catchall for other sexualities. You’re on the fringe so you get to be an asterisk and be put in the bargain bin and ignored.

And yet people they still refer to the 1978 rainbow flag as being a gay pride flag and the gay community is just one part of the LGBTQ* community.

I’ll be honest, I personally don’t think that the last 4 letters should have been put with the first three. Sexuality and gender are two different things and I think it adds to confusing the cis-heteros and rather than asking questions they just say we’re all fucked up and shut the door in our faces.  And how can we blame them for being undereducated on the subject when a large part of our own community is as well?

Late in the night of my 3rd birthday, less than 8 short miles from my home, transgender women started the Stonewall Riots and kicked off the beginning of the “gay rights” movement. “Gay rights.” And the only ones who seem know who started the movement are the ones in the trans community.  

Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera c.1969

The night of June 27, 1969 marks a historic turning point, putting the wheels in motion for contemporary LGBTQ+ rights in the US.
A routine police raid on the Stonewall Inn in New York City ignited a violent, multi-day rebellion after patrons of the bar resisted the discriminatory conditions they long endured and refused to take anymore abuse, discrimination, and hate. . 

“Gays” can now be in the military, get married, adopt kids, live where you want, work where you want and are covered under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act.

Trans folks? Nope, get out of our military and stay the fuck out of our bathrooms! I don’t want you to live near me, work with me, or be in school with “our” children.  

We have TERFs who say that non-binary folks – genderqueer, genderfluid, agender, pangender, demi gender, etc. aren’t *really* trans folks. Well we’ve got a choice in gender with only two options, cis or trans. That’s it. So if non-binary doesn’t count… who the fuck are we other than not welcome and invisible?  

We have gay & lesbian folks that say that asexuals aren’t one of “us”. In fact a poster on this very thread said they’re not allowed to be in the club because they haven’t struggled. Says who? Oh wait, and what makes your arrogant ass think that they need your damned permission? Again, two options… gay or straight. Straight, which is the baseline of “normal” or so it used to be called and still thought of by some, is pretty simple and pardon the pun, straight forward. So if you’re not straight, you’re a member of the Rainbow Tribe.  

You think you had it bad as gay or lesbian? At least you were acknowledged as existing. 

And as far as the inclusion of the brown and black stripes… there is too much racial divide in the gay community, and trans women of color are being slaughtered at such a rate that soon they’ll be classed as an endangered species. I hope we can have a telethon to save Laverne Cox at least. 

LGBTQIA+ – I know it’s a mouthful of letters, but we’re (allegedly) grown folks and unlike the guy in the oval who “knows the best words” (but can’t spell them), I think we can manage 5 to 7 letters. Can’t we? Tell me how we can ask and even demand acceptance if we’re not willing to accept members of our own community?   

New York City Monument Will Honor Transgender Activists Marsha P. Johnson and Sylvia Rivera

The two women were instrumental in the 1969 Stonewall Uprising and spent their lives advocating for marginalized groups

Maggie ॐ 

Defend and Protect

Pro-Choice does not mean pro-abortion.

The first amendment not only guarantees my right to practice the tenets of my faith (or lack thereof) without government intervention or penalty, but it also protects me from having your beliefs forced upon me.

Roe v. Wade is based on the 4th Amendment regarding a right to privacy and the autonomy to make personal medical decisions without the intervention or inclusion of someone else.

Our military and our elected officials have sworn oaths to support and defend the Constitution of the United States of America. That means, that you/they swore an oath to defend my rights as laid out in the Constitution, regardless of personal views and beliefs.

It’s time for them to recognize the obligation that they swore: “so help me God”.

If you support the military, have been in the military or have ever mentioned how someone in your family fought for the rights of our citizens, etc, these are the rights they fought for.

Honor their fight. Be a patriot.
Stand up for the Constitution.

#YouKnowMe

I was going to share the graphic, along with a few words on Facebook. Those few words trickled out until they hemorrhaged through my keyboard. Sorry for the TMI, but it’s my truth.

So now instead of a few sweet words and a graphic, you get a very real, not sweet moments of my life in a blog Op/Ed. I hope that you can share your truth so that we all stand up for what is being done to us and against us in this moment of history.

– M​​aggie ॐ

 

 

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For the woman who has a miscarriage, where the body expels non-viable embryo or fetus, it is called a spontaneous abortion. I wonder how many of these bible banging hypocrites know their wives have had an abortion… against their will at that.

In 2006 I found out I was pregnant, only to miscarry shortly thereafter. It was an ectopic pregnancy which is when the fertilized egg nests in the fallopian tube rather than in the lining of the uterus. Normally an ectopic pregnancy doesn’t miscarry, but rather creates a life-threatening situation where the size of the embryo exceeds the interior width of the tube causing it to rupture and leaving no other choice but emergency surgery and in most cases, having the damaged fallopian tube to be removed.

Mine was unique in that I miscarried before it gained enough size to create the aforementioned situation. Generally, after a uterine miscarriage or abortion, a procedure known as a D&C (short for dilation and curettage) is performed to ensure that the uterus is completely cleared out. In my case, this was not an option because you can’t do a D&C on a fallopian tube, and while my tube had not ruptured, the threat was still there because any “residual cells” could continue to grow and rupture the tube anyway.

 

My husband and I went home that night from the ER, devastated and grieving for the child we had lost. A child who never got named anything other than “spontaneous abortion”. The following day, we were set to return for their improvisational treatment to address my unique situation, a course of chemotherapy that would retard and eliminate the growth of any “residual cells”.

 

In one of the cruelest situations of my life, I was to go – not to the cancer ward to have the chemotherapy administered – instead, they sent me to the OB/GYN department, where I got to sit at eye level with every pregnant belly, every inverted turkey-timer looking navel. And just when I thought that fate couldn’t get much crueler, the nurse came over with a clipboard with paperwork for me to complete, one of which was an authorization for an abortion.

 

The only word that applied then, and now, is “mindfuck”.   And the fun was just beginning… I started with the “I’m pregnant” pukies, only to be followed by the “I’m not pregnant anymore” pukies and the “chemotherapy” pukies. And just when you want to crawl inside a hole and die or find some way to hide from the people who knew you were pregnant and now ask how you’re doing… it got worse. I had to go for weekly blood draws to monitor my HCG levels.

 

HCG is the hormone that is detected in a pregnancy test. You see, my “residual cells” were still causing me to have those. And those weekly blood draws were to make sure that my HCG levels were staying the same or declining because there was still the chance that they could increase. If they did it would mean that my “residual cells” would be increasing in volume and surgery to remove them. 14 weeks. 14 weeks before my HCG levels finally started tapering off and maintained a steady decline.

 

I was pregnant, had a spontaneous abortion, had to give consent for them to perform an abortion, all while spending 14 weeks waiting to find out when I would finally stop being pregnant. I am pro-choice, but this was not my choice, far from it. The 11-year-old who was raped and is now pregnant, that wasn’t her choice either.

 

And now she gets to spend every day reliving the horror as her body continues to remind her of the worst day of her life while people force her to endure this day after day. Only for her to finally deliver (c-section would be my guess, 11-year-old bodies aren’t really ready to carry and naturally deliver a full-term child). So even if she is able to deal with the additional anguish of giving the child up for adoption, she’ll have that scar to give her warm memories of happier times, huh?

 

Silly me, I almost forgot If she does wind up keeping the child, she gets to co-parent with her rapist. Won’t that be fun?

 

Thanks to all the men who keep making laws about shit you don’t fucking have a clue about and the torture you inflict on others with your overblown sense of morality.

 

Fuck you.

 

Now that you’ve read my story, ask yourself where I would be in a state like Alabama if you were the doctor and what would you be allowed to do to treat me.

I mean that truly to be devoid of personal beliefs and judgment, just what you need to do, as a physician, to treat your patient under the mandate that if you perform, aid or assist in an abortion, then you are subject to personal liability and criminal prosecution. Tell me how you would have treated me or better yet if I would have lived.

Also, in the back of your head hold on to the thought that in Mississippi several years back they tried criminalizing abortion to the point that if a woman had a miscarriage that she would be charged with manslaughter.

It’s a very tangled issue, and blanket statements and legalities that don’t accommodate for cases of rape, incest, the viability of the fetus, the overall health and survivability of the woman just confuse and muddy the situation even further.

Abortion is not just some person who was too lazy to take birth control but doesn’t want kids.   And for the record, men are largely responsible for unplanned pregnancies.

Wake up and pay attention America

I try to keep politics off this page, but it gets to a point that it’s nearly impossible to do. It seems that many of us missed the reporting of the CPAC in 2017 where Trump supporters were waving Russian flags with his name on them. No. I’m not joking. I will post the link at the bottom of this post.

A fellow outraged American posted this response and I have to say it’s incredible and I felt that I needed to help it see the light of day instead of being buried and collecting dust as a response on a thread that will be hard to find in two days.

I want to thank the author for, what I consider to be, the most intelligent, most succinct, factual list of 45’s atrocities as President and the passive approval he receives from his supporters.

Many thanks to Mr. Durwin Bonds and his masterful summation of the last two years with 45 out front.

{{{hugs}}}

Maggie ॐ 

The referenced article can be found on HuffPo at http://tinyurl.com/y35gort9