Archive for March, 2013

Coin Flip

I’ve heard it said that coin flips tell us how we truly feel about one of the two options. That is to say, we know the outcome we want when we find ourselves fervently wishing for one or the other as the coin flips through the air. And me, I am inclined to agree with that. It can be quite revealing to see what it is that I want when I am forced to make supposedly equal decisions. That isn’t to say I have any decisions to make right now, though. My problems cannot be solved by a coin flip. I am waiting for other people to make decisions right now, and all I can hope is that if it comes down to a coin flip, they listen to whatever it is that they heard while the coin was in the air.

This isn’t an attempt to be intentionally cryptic, so I shall explain. I recently applied for a Financial Crimes Consultant 2 position (oh how we love our titles) with Wells. In San Francisco. Which in it of itself was a bit of a decision. I just bought a place, it seems. And moving 2000 miles, or even entertaining the thought, is a bit daunting. Right, it’s a complicated thing, and as with most cool complicated opportunities in life, I have had ample chances to talk myself out of it. But here’s the thing, it’s not my choice until and unless the put an offer on the table. So why make too many decisions before that point? Either I am going to get kicked out of the pool or they are going to make an offer. That’s the first point I have a major decision beyond the initial one. Obviously a lot of other decisions cascade out of that one, but why not see where it goes?

Certainly, it can be difficult to embrace that sort of mindset. If I have seemed a bit distant or out of character in regards to my planning, well, hopefully it makes a bit more sense in this context. I am not planning like I am going to be living somewhere else, but at the same time, there are few things that have come up in the Twin Cities that I couldn’t just figure out after giving this application time to play out. And at this point, I highly doubt I will be moving, given that the process has dragged on for a while. Then again, Wells is a large company and there are a multitude of reasons these things can take a long time. It’s not unheard of for people to hear back 3-4 months down the road from interviews, at least anecdotally speaking. Now who knows if the people I talk with are just trying to assuage me because that’s what I want to hear. It doesn’t particularly matter. What does matter is that I was being a bit backwards in my logic.

See, I just spent all this time talking about how I haven’t had decision points. And that’s true, I haven’t. But the same applies to things here in the Twin Cities. Sure, if I up and move, it’s a pain to get rid of the concert tickets I might buy for shows down the road. But it’s doable. Now I don’t think I’ve particularly missed out on anything yet, because I think the impulse to take the options that are in front of me is pretty strong, but I have been avoiding some commitments on the basis that I had applied for something (and in fairness, had gone a decent way into the process on). Have I just been using it as an excuse? I know I’m not always the best person at saying no, but I don’t think that’s it. I think it’s just the inherent hypocrisy in all of us. Our ability to apply different logic to different situations in ways that doesn’t make sense always strikes me as one of humanity’s most fascinating aspects. I am by no means immune. So it’s something I need to constantly question when I see it present in my actions and thinking.

To that end, I have applied for yet another position, same title, but this time a little closer to home (though further from where I live now) in St. Louis Park. Well, it’s across the street from the GMI main campus. It doesn’t feel like it’s in St. Louis Park, that’s for sure. But that is neither here nor there. It’s in the area that I’ve been targeting all along (Fraud Risk Management for those of you keeping score at home), so it’s not that surprising that an opportunity came up that I’m qualified for since, you know, that’s what I’ve been working toward. The position itself is definitely something I’m interested in. And all the hypotheticals around it, well, they are just that right now. Again, it’s the same logic. I’m not wantonly looking for whatever’s next. But I have applied for things over the past couple years that both seem interesting (as much as one can glean from a job description, at least) and that I’m qualified for. No one’s gonna come along and just give me that next job. Who knows? Perhaps I’ll go through the whole process for the job here and get offered a position in SF. Perhaps I’ll get offered neither. Really, it comes down to the same overall process. All I can do is what I can control. I can control going in and giving good interviews. I can control looking out for myself and trying to push myself professionally. I really don’t have any intention of getting too bogged down in the details. Perhaps I’ll be trying to sell my place. Perhaps I’ll be trying to figure out the logistics of a bike ride to the west metro from my place as my commute. Perhaps I’ll be doing nothing more than continuing to do my job and waiting for the next opportunity that looks like a good fit to come along.

Me, I’ve never been one for flipping coins. It’s a lousy way of determining most outcomes. Most times, I find I know what I want to do, but I’m just afraid or lazy or a lot of other adjectives. A coin doesn’t change that. I can. Like the jobs, I’ve just gotta try. When I look at a lot of aspects of my life, I can see that I’m not always trying. Anyway, it’s not about making the right decision. Who knows what the right decision is sometimes? It’s about making decisions, about being ready for them when the come, and not dwelling on them in the meantime. In respect to the two jobs so far, I’ve done what I can, and if it’s not enough, then I’ll revisit what I did and see what I can do that better next time. Though I’ll probably do the same thing even if I get an offer, because at least professionally speaking, that’s the kind of person I am. All I can do is keep going into work and doing my job in the meantime. And while by no means magical, the rest will take care of itself. Or rather, it’s other peoples’ decision. And you know what, ignore what I said earlier. I hope it doesn’t come down to a coin flip.


After a fair amount of ballyhooing in an attempt to talk myself into it and approximately 70 or so straight Mondays with snow, I finally managed to pull the bike off the hooks this morning and take it out for a spin. And by a spin, I mean the 11 miles to work. It’s finally not so bad out there. It was almost above freezing. There weren’t that many sheets of ice between the two cities. Most of the paths are fairly clear and you can ever start to see where the bike lanes are most of the time on Summit. And it took me quite a while longer than it will once I am riding more and it’s warmer, but it wasn’t all that bad considering the shape of the roads out there and the shape that I am in. Which is to say neither is too terrible, but both could use a little more work now that it’s getting warmer. It’s just been a while since I biked (my last ride to work was January 10th…ain’t technology grand?) and it’s different mechanics than going for a run or even jumping on an exercise bike. And all told, it was pretty good. I made it to work on time. The locker room wasn’t too crazy. The ride home felt a lot nicer other than the rotten shifting line (damn salt). I sussed out the maintenance my bike needs before the first truly nice day when Freewheel suddenly gets backed up 2 weeks just to get some minor work. And best of all, I didn’t use any gas today (at least until I randomly decide to go to First Ave later…that’s a different problem). Which is nice.

Sitting on a bike isn’t always luxurious. Waiting at lights, getting splashed on days like today when there are giant puddles, trying to augur exactly whether that driver wants you to go or just thinks you’re too incompetent to follow traffic signals, it’s not always particularly glamorous. I don’t miss that stuff when I’m not biking. I don’t miss the black ice. I don’t miss riding into a 10 mile an hour wind. I don’t miss the fact that it takes me a lot longer every time it’s cold just to put on all the layers. But all of that sure as hell beats sitting in totally inexplicable traffic. And while I know that it doesn’t (at least in any perceptible way), hopefully me being on that bike leads to a few slightly less frustrated drivers out there, and a little more space on the road. I’m not gonna go crazy and think that all of a sudden everyone out there is going to give up driving. But it is nice to change your relationship with it. Biking does that for me. Hell, biking does that for a lot of things for me. Even when I’m lollygagging (or at least that’s how it feels sometimes) on the bike, I’m still riding 22 miles a day, give or take a bit. And that’s still a lot of calories, so it helps keep me honest. But it’s more than that. There’s the cascading of driving.

Driving makes lots of things easier. I like to have a coffee every day, and I can get that at work. I don’t need anything fancy, I’m perfectly happy with a good cup of black coffee (or a mediocre one as the case is). And really, there are a ton of options for that. I also happen to enjoy a good pastry. The Twin Cities has a number of nice little bakeries that all have the fortune of being relatively convenient on my way to work. Which isn’t a problem when you are driving an average of once a week. Then it’s a treat. The stuff at work largely sucks, so it’s not that hard to avoid, but when I have the option to get a blueberry buttermilk scone at Isles Bun & Coffee sometimes I’ve got to avail myself. The problem is, I’ve had that option too much. Especially with the erratic winter road conditions. I leave early to make sure that I have plenty of time to get there and all of a sudden I have time to kill. And while there’s nothing wrong with something like that every once and a while, it adds up. In so many ways. Even if it is delicious. Biking doesn’t necessarily make me eat better anymore than it makes me spend less (at least relatively). But I do spend a lot of time working that off (and a lot more money on something I’d rather put it into). Not that I was sitting on my hands or anything. I still worked out. But another funny thing that biking does is it makes lots of stuff a lot more inconvenient.

I’m not a huge fan of stopping on the way to work when I bike. It’s a much more regimented schedule that I don’t leave a ton of room in to make a stop that’s inconvenient. Even when I used to stop at the Donut Cooperative (R.I.P.), which was all of 2 blocks off the Greenway, it usually ended up being a 10 minute affair. Nor do I particularly enjoy stopping on the way home. While I have more time in the sense that I usually don’t have to be somewhere right away, I still just want to get home and get on with whatever my evening has in store for me. Sure, if I need to pick something up at the store, something small like a prescription, that’s all fine and well. But picking up food on the way home is kind of a pain. So it just makes me go home. And then I’m home, and I have all this stuff here, so I cook or have some leftovers or whatever. I know that all of this must seem a little stupid. But we all only have so much willpower in a day. And after 8 hours of keeping my wits about me and trying to not say anything too stupid at work, well, I’ve spent all the willpower I’ve got many days. So yeah, I’m gonna swing by someplace a lot of times. Because I just want to be home, sure, but the difference between stopping in a car isn’t necessarily as big. Because I don’t consciously have to do the work. Right it takes more gas, and it certainly takes more time, but the difference just doesn’t seem significant enough to keep me away from it in regards to those aspects. I know myself. I know the easiest way for me is to just not make something an easy option. It’s the kind of personality I have. I’m not particularly ashamed of that. There are some good sides to the converse of that (another time). But I know biking does a lot of good things for me. Besides perhaps the obvious things that you might associate with biking. Because I tell you, it doesn’t end up costing a whole lot less. I just spend it on that bike. I’m sure if I got rid of my car, that’d be a totally different scenario, but at present, that’s just not the case.

So yeah, it’s gonna start to be that time where I complain about double-wind days. Or where I lament the fact that I’m getting up just before 6 am again consistently. Or where I curse how so many parts could break on my bike at once. But it’s also time where I get that great feeling of seeing the buildings in downtown are that brilliant pink-orange in the morning. Or when I see a bald eagle flying along the Mississippi like I did today (I know, without Instagram, it never happened). Or when I start to actually make better use of those bike racks in front of First Ave once more. It’s weird sunburns and rides to Wisconsin and rides by Minnehaha because one should go there often, regardless of season. It’s getting to bed a touch earlier because that’s what it takes though it comes easier after a day of riding. Anyway, early for me is probably different than early is for you.
Besides, it all gets a touch easier when I get back into the swing of things. So here is to a good first day of what will hopefully be many, many more. Perhaps one of these years there won’t be a need to feel this way because I’ll never stop. But I imagine a lot of things will change, even between now and next winter. And let’s face it, Minnesotans, we can finally say winter is on its way out, so let’s not think about that for a while. In the meantime, let’s get out there. You’d be amazed what you’ll find.

Reasons (Excuses)

If you’ve been to my place, you’ve seen my bike hanging all too low from the hooks. It’s been hanging there for over two months, with my last ride coming prior to my trip to Burbank. I have a litany of excuses, some more valid than others, but overall, they are just that. I am a creature of habit, so it’s not that surprising. And it’s not like I’ve just been sitting around for a couple months, as I’ve been trying to challenge myself to be more of a runner since that’s a much easier thing to do when I travel. But again, it’s all just rationalization.

Granted, time is finite, and winter riding, even when it’s a weak winter like last year, is not the most enjoyable activity. Between random patches of ice, wicked breezes, and near-constant efforts to figure out how to keep every part of your body warm while not getting too hot, it’s quite a chore. I spend probably an hour of my day putting on and taking off clothes. I have to get up earlier. But there is that rewarding feeling of doing something, even when it is not easy. I’ve been missing that recently.

I also feel I am doing a poor job of living up to my reputation as a bike commuter. But as it is most of time, it is just making the decision and making it stick. And I haven’t done that yet. Every weekend, I look at the weather, and I keep thinking, okay, this Monday. And yet, I don’t. Whether it’s snow or sickness or just the general lassitude of winter, I keep telling myself no, not this week. Of course, I could do it other days, or at least just take advantage of the relatively nicer days as they crop up. All true.

But it’s like everything in life. You just gotta do it or not, and be okay with whatever you decide. Right now, I am still not there when it comes to getting back on the bike. And I’m okay with saying to myself and others that I am just not right now. Most will nod and understand, given that they wouldn’t do it on a perfect day as it is. A few will understand because they are out there in those conditions for short rides. And a few will scoff because they don’t stop for anything. There’s truth in all of them, of course. That’s always kind of vexing, that so many things can be true at the same time. But I am a lot of things. I am a bike commuter as much as I’m a certified fraud examiner. Or a concert aficionado. Or a binge TV watcher. Or quite plugged in here in the Twin Cities. Or an occasionally on-point blogger who thinks she’s got something worth sharing. And a lot more things. And all of those things, all of those aspects are competing. So yes, right now, I am just doing what’s easy, at least in regard to the biking. But one of those other aspects surely has filled that space. It certainly makes the late-night weekday concerts a bit easier. But mostly, I am a creature of habit. And while they shift, I am in them strong when I am in them. One small change (like say, a warm week) and all of a sudden I am back getting up before 6 and on the bike. And then the habits shift a little to accommodate.

Monday isn’t exactly looking like a day I am ready for, with more snow and more that just makes me want to take the easy way in. And I will get in the car, I imagine. But perhaps I’ll make some decisions next fall that prepare me to ride through the winter. I’ll get some better gear, and a better bike (or at least better tires) for it. Who knows? That is quite a ways away. Though let’s be honest, if you don’t mind having gear that isn’t the newest, going out of winter is the best time to prepare for the next one. Perhaps I am not all that forward-thinking, even when I try to be. In the meantime, I can just be honest and say I haven’t done a great job of riding this winter. The reasons don’t really matter. I’ll get back on and it’ll be all good. There’s no sense in setting myself up for failure by trying to force myself to ride in a snowstorm when I am not ready for that. Reasons and excuses are quite often interchangeable, depending on how you feel about the subject. In this case, they’re both. There will always be more of either. And once I am back on the bike, those reasons and excuses will shift, perhaps to keeping me in when there’s a band to go check out. They are always there. You just have to be okay with that.

Variations On A Theme

I know I’ve certainly mentioned it before, but I came across a couple articles recently that reminded me, once again, of the dangers of conflating similar, but unrelated, things. Now when I say things, I specifically am thinking about the wide gulf between concepts of gender identity and sexual identity and how they get rolled under one big umbrella in the minds of a lot of people through the use of LGBT (or LGBTQ or GLBT or however many other letters you feel are appropriate for that acronym). Now I’m a strong advocate of unpacking all of those letters because they all mean pretty different things, each with their own unique challenges, but I understand. It just seems to be in our nature. But it isn’t always the most useful way to think about things.

Over the weekend, I noticed an article from last week from the AP about the growth of mainstream advertising featuring gay themes. It’s certainly nothing earth-shattering to anyone who’s been paying much attention to anything recently, but it’s still a nice thing to see in the AP featured in papers around the country. It carries some pretty standard undertones of a lot of writing of this type, in my opinion, in that it’s kinda got that “look, things getting better!” feel to it. Frankly, it’s nice to see, if a little fluffy and light on much of any real information. It’s nice to see that rather than vitriolic statements that one doesn’t have to go that far to find coming out of, say, the Minnesota state legislature’s current public hearings about whether to even have the body vote on same-sex marriage. And I’m a big supporter of stuff like this because I think it’s a good thing to see.

But (you knew there was a but, didn’t you) correct me if I’m wrong, I’m not seeing a whole lot of T to that article. Call it my inherent selfishness, or my inherent disbelief that there’s any mainstream advertising that features people like me, but I’m not seeing it. I’m not saying that there has to be in that article. Frankly, I still think we’re a number of years away from a modicum of comfort with trans issues in regard to it being something that’ll just be in an ad. Besides, there’s plenty of rightful questions about how you show that or what that really means. Right now, people can get pretty comfortable when it’s not something that’s right in front of them, so it’s an issue of passing. Whatever that means. And I, while, I’m perfectly comfortable with who I am and how I put myself out there in the world, obviously I cause enough problems for the majority of people to not fit into that category. Or I wouldn’t get called sir so much. So while there may be advertising that features trans people out there, there certainly isn’t advertising that’s particularly worried about making people who might not be able to go stealth. There’s nothing out there that’s trying to convey any sense of normalcy as the article intimates about gay and lesbian advertising. And I don’t necessarily think that needs to come up anywhere in the article. That’s not really what it’s about and I’m okay with that. I’m a big booster of gay and lesbian issues (bisexuality, too, but in the sense of advertising, I am not sure how that’d be treated, so let’s just set that aside). But I do think it’s important not to conflate things by using LGBT when there’s obviously not any concern with the T. I mean, it’s used 8 times in the article, and while it certainly saves some column space, this is the internet, I don’t think that’s a huge concern. It’s the carelessness of conflating things once again. Not that I felt bad, or that their use of LGBT in that article made me feel bad; I just think it’s important to realize that conflating is going on, and I do feel like a lot of people don’t realize that they are doing that.

Conversely, here’s an article I saw today in Citypages highlighting some of the depressing issues around the state of LGBTQ health care. Unsurprisingly, this article has the opposite issue of the previous one. Its focus is mainly on the T. And frankly, that’s understandable. Short of a sore throat, I’ve been seeing the same doctor both pre and post-op. She works at the Center for Sexual Health, and as a part of that job, is obviously far more aware of the concerns of trans people as we make up a fair amount of the clientele there. And while the article does seem to tangentially touch on non-trans issues, the fair conclusion from the article seems to be that the risks for transgender individuals are definitely there. And while I certainly understand why someone wouldn’t be forthcoming about sexual orientation, I am just not as aware of what issues there might be in regard to one’s medical treatment due to that. But I definitely can understand how not knowing someone’s birth gender could have a huge impact on medical treatment. I can equally understand the desire to not say something about it if you don’t have to. Though it seems sad that someone should have to worry about who they are affecting the quality of care, or even their ability to get it as the first respondent sampled states. I definitely took a lot away from the article and spent a lot of time nodding my head. But I did wonder, what are some of those issues that one might face not disclosing orientation. Of course, there’s the obvious impact if one has a doctor who might discriminate on that basis. But that’s really all I could come up with, and I didn’t really get a good feel as to what those other problems might be, other than outright discrimination. Since the article talks about hidden disparities, I was left wondering, well, what’s that hidden ?disparity for a gay or lesbian or bisexual individual other than outright discrimination. And that doesn’t seem like one that’s all that hidden. That seems like one that’s being dealt with every day. But again, it seems like there are unique issues present for all of those groups, and conflating makes it a little more difficult. Non-trans people don’t have to spend time educating their doctors about what being trans means, for example. Certainly, please, feel free to do that, but it’s not a risk anyone but a trans population faces. So it feels a little weird to attach that to a larger group that doesn’t face those same issues.

Anyway, those were just some thoughts I had in response to some recent reading. And something to think about. I’m sure I do it in my own ways in response to issues that I conflate in my head that I just haven’t unpacked. And by all means, tell me that. Challenge me on that kind of thinking. I’ll keep challenging you on that kind of thinking, at least in regard to trans issues, because I can. When you start looking at everything that falls under the umbrella of LGBT (etc, etc, etc), I think there’s plenty of great things to think about. Just remember that it’s not necessarily all tied together. Gender identity and sexual identity are different things, they have different impacts, and they can be combined in far more ways that you can imagine if you think about all the variations therein. Gender, specifically, is not static poles, but a fluid range with multifarious expressions that vary greatly.

For The Children

One of the more common over-arching tenants when it comes to polarizing arguments in modern society here in the States revolves around whether it’s good for children. Take any divisive issue currently and there seems to be a strong angle around that. We’ve gotta protect the planet for them. We’ve gotta fix our finances so that we have a country to give them. We’ve gotta figure out what to do about guns for them. I could go on and on. Mind you, these arguments seem to involve people playing both sides equally. Take gay marriage, for example, where it is lauded as good for children and warned against as something that is bad for children. I have to say it’s one of the more tired pillars of arguments. For all of the feelings we have about want to protect our children, it really does have to do with wanting to shape the world for them a little bit. I think wherever you fall on your spectrum of opinions, it’s a bit difficult to avoid.

But when we say we are trying to protect our children from something, are we really trying to protect ourselves? Or truly, the views we are trying to impart on children? Are we trying to protect ourselves from the fact that I children can and will end up with divergent viewpoints and opinions by not introducing certain ideas? I seriously wonder about that. After all, I am the kind of person that many people feel the need to protect their children from, being trans. At least in general. I have not yet had a single time in my life where someone’s told me not to show up because of that. Nor can I think of a moment where I was left out of something that friends put together simply because they don’t want their children around me. It’s not like I see my friends’ kids every day, but I do see them plenty enough, and I think it’s far more common for me to not go to things they do because it’s parents doing things with their kids, and I don’t have any kids, so it’s not exactly something I’m queuing up to do. I’m thinking about this because something a friend posted on Facebook seems to have launched into a whole discussion about that. Admittedly, there’s always going to be some element of controversy when you’ve got drag queens doing pretty much anything since they really occupy gendered space in a way that makes people uncomfortable (anyone with a fluid gender identity does). I’d argue they occupy a space that makes people more uncomfortable than many trans individuals who have a less fluid presentation, but that’s for another time. The point is, I get that there are things about this that make people uncomfortable. I personally think it’s ridiculous, but there are things that make me uncomfortable that other people think are ridiculous, so I have to step back a bit. And I believe imparting a bit of that is natural, and obviously is going to have a lot of bias around it.

But it does seem a bit insulting nonetheless to know that there are many people who feel that way. I don’t know enough about this specific situation to now how tenable it would be for parents to remove children they don’t want to be their for that. That’s their right as a parent, and I respect that solution. But I do wonder why to worry so much. I don’t have a magic wand and go around making other peoples’ kids trans. Hell, I am quite proud of who I am, and it’s certainly a lot better than it used to be (and hopefully continuing to get better), but being trans isn’t exactly something I’d wish on people. A drag queen reading to your kids isn’t going to turn them into drag queens any more than anything else. Perhaps the fear is just that whatever your child is feeling, whatever inchoate istigkeit that is, will find a name. And names are powerful. And while it’s perfectly acceptable to think “a police officer read to my kid and that stoked his/her desire to be a police officer”, I think that’s a bit reductive. We all like to pinpoint these elegant little moments in our lives where we realized who we are, who we love, etc, but memory is a faulty thing, and a lot more goes into who we are than half-remembered and potentially rewritten memories. There are certainly decision points, no one can doubt that, but as we look back, I think it can become obvious that the decision points that we thought were important at the time might not have been so important.

And further, what is it that we as a society are protecting our children from? There are times where drag can be viewed as funny and palatable for modern viewership, and that is okay as long as everyone knows it’s a joke to a lot of people. Which says a lot about how we think about gender because I can’t think of that many instances where women dressing as men are the butt of those kinds of jokes. But again, another time. Yet there are other times where it’s viewed as something that’s deliberately off-putting. What does it say about the sexuality of someone who thinks of himself as totally heterosexual if he sees someone in drag and thinks that she’s attractive? How does that change once the knowledge of gender is re-introduced? Or what if he knew all along? Right, that’s complex and messy and all sorts of things that we don’t normally want to think about because it’s challenging and we’re told that’s not how it goes. But certainly, that level of concern isn’t there when we’re talking about young children. Especially because that’s making the mistake of conflating the intertwined but rather different concepts of sexuality and gender. I don’t think that’s a valid concern when it comes to grade-school children.

In the end, much like obscenity, most people tend to rely on the I know it when I see it line of thinking when it comes to uncomfortable ideas that they are protecting their children from. For some, that’s religion; for others, it’s irreligious life. Continue making paired lists ad nauseum. This isn’t particularly meant as a condemnation of people have those attitudes either. It would be hypocritical of me not think that I hold views about things that children should be protected from that would insult other people because those aspects are strong parts of who they are. But I think it’s important to honestly explore those things, to try and figure out why we think something is wrong, and challenge our own viewpoints on it. And more importantly, I think it’s worth challenging whether we are protecting ourselves or our children? Are our ideas so weak or trivial that they cannot be challenged? If so, what does that say about what we feel about something? It isn’t an issue of right or wrong; it’s something we should always be thinking about as we are introducing ourselves (and others) to new ideas. Then again, I love ideas. And perhaps life truly is simpler for other people. I find myself constantly interrogating my own long held ideas and thoughts, and sometimes I too just throw my hands up in the air because there’s nothing to say. Much like I can never fully explain what being trans is like to you, there are going to be things others can never fully explain to me. That’s called faith. It guides what we all do, even if many individuals only think of it in a religious context. And I think that’s the core concept here. Parents must have a lot of faith that they are making good decisions for their children, and I respect that because I have a hard enough time making what feel like the right decisions for myself. But we are all making the best decisions we can at the time with incomplete information. To some, obviously, the thought of a drag queen reading Dr. Seuss was just too much. But just because I respect peoples’ rights to those thoughts and feelings doesn’t mean I don’t think they should be challenged. They must be challenged.

Perhaps this all rings a bit hollow. I don’t have children of my own, so what would I know? Quite true, I do not. But I take issue with the fact that who I am to my core is something that people need to be protected from. While this example shades differently, it still hits on the gender identity front. It still gives people opportunities to make revealing comments that make me shake my head about what kind of gender variance is acceptable and what kind isn’t. And all the while, no one can say why it is wrong. Of course, I make the base assumption that there’s nothing wrong with gender variance in this regard, which is a different launching point than the predication that gender variance is wrong. Oh sure, we can make intimations about how it confuses children, but I meet just as many confused adults. And I of course understand that parents have all these ideas about where their children are going in life, but your children are their own fully realized people, even at a young age. Their lives are going to go where they But I’ve always been of a mind to make my mind up on my own. And I come from a house where my parents let me do that. So I am reading my own experiences into it. Then again, I’m also coming from a life where I didn’t even truly have the words to even describe who I was until I was 17, and I didn’t put that all together until 9 years later. I don’t think hearing Green Eggs And Ham at a young age from a drag queen would have changed that all that much for me. Of course, it’s impossible to know. Some kids know right away that something is not right about them, that something’s not quite right between their inward and outward gender; some people take years to get there. But we all have the experiences we need to have to get us to where we are going in whatever form or fashion that is. To think that we can shield anyone from those is a bit naive. Obviously people disagree with me. As they should. Just don’t do it for the children, do it for yourself.

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