WEHO Exchange

"I am trained to look you in the eye but I am distracted by something."
Well, I think that perhaps he just got bad news as he was having a sustained conversation with the gentleman who just left.
I said, "Oh, that's fine hon."
He continues by asking me what vegetables I want on my sub. As he finishes wrapping the sub, throwing it in a bag.
He then says, "What I mean is that you have a wonderful body." He ends that line with a thumbs up and wink. All I can muster up is, "Oh."


for whom?

Met an old man named Rosie yesterday. He identified as transgender and a drag queen. I asked if he had a pronoun preference, he did not. Rosie met hir partner 32 years ago in San Francisco while on hormones to transition to become a woman. As they started dating this man said that if he wanted to be with a woman he would get a woman. Rosie decided to stop transitioning for him. Said that zie was interested in helping us fight for the freedom to marry, that zie would be so happy, so ecstatic if they could get married together.
These next few weeks are for her, for Rosie.



I can feel her shifting. She is pushing me to be better, to go for what I want. But that also means pushing me away from her. I can feel some anger towards me, frustration at me.
As we were getting off the phone, I said 'I love you.'; she said 'bye'.


the long end feels a lot shorter than you can imagine

There is something utterly amazing about a woman who will tend to your fires while you are gone. Putting them out while still trying to make sure that you feel supported and loved. Putting the pups, the ratties, my family, me to sleep.

Talked about applying for a couple of organizing jobs in New York City. A day of crabbiness and melancholy. She said, "Yeah, that did get me a wee bit riled up. Not because I don't want you to go, just because I want to too." I need to be more emotionally generous with Billy.

I am not sure how I would have been able to accomplish this summer without her. I stare at the picture of us at the base of the waterfall in Ithaca. There are things to be said. She wants to redefine what it means to be family, I want to be apart of her family.


Ratty Kisses

Huxley Beauregarde and Bingham Kingsley.

Bingham died earlier today. I cried in the middle of the sidewalk. I wasn't sure what to do, say. I wished I had more time to spend with her before I left. That last week I was home we rolled up and napped in the bedroom for a couple of hours, Huxley running around refusing to lay still. I remember bringing her home in that little blue cage with the yellow wheel. Noisy mustard swirls as she ran in circles throughout the night. I felt better knowing she was around. I would get up to check on her throughout the night. I was afraid to pick her up a lot, I wasn't sure what rats liked. She liked to be rubbed behind her ears and hide in my cleavage. Running, climbing, burrowing between my skin and shirt. I would pull my head in to witness her joy.
Before Bingham I didn't know that rats gave kisses. Perhaps she did it to groom or for the lingering taste of lunch but her little tongue would just have at ears, fingers, cheeks. She was so sweet, I was at school a lot during the day. Everything that I read said that rats like to live in pairs, I did not want her to be lonely. So I got Huxley. They fought; Bingham being mean to Huxley, Huxley being mean to Bingham. They grew to be good cage mates, guarding each other from poking dog snouts. When Bingham got sick and swollen unable to move to the food, I witnessed Huxley fetching her some food. Huxley would also help to keep her clean when she was sick.
I remember the first time she was sick. Her legs had swollen, her eyes with red tears. I cried, speeding us to the animal hospital in North Kansas City. I paid them nearly $100 to see her and to give us anti-swelling medication. This would not be the first time I had to do this. Although I formed a relationship with my local vet so I wouldn't have to do any last minute hospital visits. At one point I paid to have the vet to perform a biopsy on a growth she had under her chin and to drain her swelling. The biopsy came back ok, the doctor said that she had an infection deep in her bones. We kept watch over her, the swelling would go down with medication, come back a few months later, go down with medication, so on and so forth. Even when sick she was always ready to curl up in a pants leg, give you some kisses, eat some yogurt treats. Bingham was a chubby little rat.
The last full week I was home, I was bathing the rats and discovered a swelling on Bingham's belly that her fur had hid. Sending pics to the doc he said that we needed to operate, it was a tumor. The price was more than I could afford, it would cost about the same as for a cat or small dog. "They are considered exotic." There are only two doctors in the area who could operate. "It will probably come back in less than a month." I wanted to see what we could work out. "You can't keep doing this, you have to let her go." She died in her sleep, sometime after Billy gave them breakfast.
The funeral was tonight as I sat sleepily in the backseat from our Long Beach trip. I only wished that I could be back home in Kansas City, saying goodbye to Bingham. Instead of a Viking funeral Billy (with Dee Jay's help) opted for a more Tibetan funeral pyre, eventually needing to scatter ashes and burying the rest. I appreciate the care that went into this.

Writing helps me to feel better but I will still cry tonight. She was one of the most darling pets and a joy to have around. I love you, Bingham Kingsley. Goodbye.


fear, hold me in place

I hear they are digging up graves, my granny's will more than likely be one of them. I cannot bear to call my parents for fear that they will do nothing.

had to

I had to visit your ex-lover to discover something that I didn't know. I then wonder if I should return.


Dyke March

Dyke March, originally uploaded by betwixt.

Part of my weekend, my first San Francisco Dyke March.

Trans March

Trans March, originally uploaded by betwixt.

Part of my weekend, my first San Francisco Trans March.

San Francisco Pride

SF Pride, originally uploaded by betwixt.

Part of my weekend, my first San Francisco Pride.


solstice dreaming

I had a dream the other day. I was well into my ninth month of pregnancy and still working full-time as an organizer for some miscellaneous social justice campaign. Billy and I both worked at this organization; we were partners (in the queer sense). She has built the tub in which I was to have the baby, her mom, Celeste, staying with us as my midwife. At a demonstration rally, I was leading the charge, bullhorn in hand. Next thing I know my water has broke, Billy comes to my side making sure I stay upright. I yell to my next in command, bark, "Take it from here! Keep this moving!" Other help Billy get me into the car so that we may get home for the birth. Next thing I know I am in the tub, Celeste coaching, finally coaxing the baby out. The baby is out, floating, next the placenta. I relax momentarily cooing over the baby, everyone titters at the sight of the newly birthed baby. I feel pressure, more birth pains. Celeste looks at me in concern, taking care. I tell her I think she better look/feel around down there. 'But...' She does. Not sure if she says 'oh' or 'oh my'. Next thing we all know it is baby number two. I'm not sure which came first the male or the female but there are now two. Floating, beautiful. Billy is all too happy. I am happy. Much too happy to wake up but I did.

What I did for summer vacation...

I fought for the freedom to marry for folks regardless of gender or sexual orientation.

Every day, gay and lesbian Californians are denied the freedom to marry the person they love. Let California Ring is a public education campaign to open hearts and minds about the freedom to marry and the respect, support and legal responsibilities that come with it. At its heart, Let California Ring is a conversation that begins with you.

Find out more at www.letcaliforniaring.org

self aware

I have been in Los Angeles for over two weeks. I have hesitated to write. Not as if I have little to say, I have been committing bits and pieces to my travel journal. There are so many feelings still swirling. Happy for the work, glad to learn.
Discovering where I fit in. Wondering what will happen when I return home, head filled with knowledge, wanting to put it all to good use.
L.A. Pride came in, saw the city, hit the ground running as far as work is concerned. Not too excited about this city but figured it would be at least a little fun. I have had some fun here and there, my coworkers are really awesome. Work can consume so much time as well as finding your way around such a huge mass of land sans car (Somehow I have managed to lose weight in the first couple of weeks. Wondering if it has anything to do with all of the walking and bus catching?).

Responding to my first weekly report, Moof, my supervisor, called me 'very self-aware'. Here is a bit of what she was responding to:

• Which one of Fred Ross’s axioms speaks to you and why?

“Leadership – You don’t develop new leaders, you push people into taking action by refusing to do it yourself. You are then providing them the opportunity to become aware of their own capabilities.”
I think the most important idea that I learned this week was ability to work with volunteers and to be looking for leaders at every junction. I feel that the ability to work with and for people is very important to making any movement or change sustainable. The name of the game in organizing is sustainability of a movement, for volunteers, and for the organizers themselves
In the past I have struggled with sustaining myself and other organizers whether that was from lack of help, lack of asking for help or recognizing when someone else needed help. I am not going to let that happen. I am going to make sure to take time out for myself, explore the city, and ‘get a life’ outside of work.

I think I need to listen to myself more.


Leaving on a jet plane...

Heading to Los Angeles in less than one hour. I will be there until mid August. There are so many feelings swirling in and out of my head through my ears. Excitement at the opportunity to work for the Task Force, to be paid to learn how to become a better organizer. I have taken a look at the schedule for the first week and I must say, 'Whoa!' So many trainings, long days, events. Also heading over a little early so I volunteered to work L.A. Pride - when I get into town I already have a training planned.

I am staying in a not-so-great area but I am not very worried - everyone else is worried enough for me. What I am worried about is being broke and without a safety net. What I am worried about is being in a new city without my car. I have only been driving for a few years but I have taken to it greatly.
I will miss my friends, my home, my girlfriend, our dogs and ratties. Gretel's high pitched bark signaling time to wake up, Pip cuddling me back to sleep.
Billy is so amazing and I  will miss her. I have grown accustomed to cuddling her while she sleeps. 
My flight has started to board. I will miss Kansas City.


peach fuzz

I need to say something and it is something that I have been hesitant to talk about until recently.

I have polycystic ovarian syndrome or PCOS. It's this icky icky medical diagnosis that includes irregular/absent periods, acne, and weight gain. The list can go on and on and on. A lot of this culminates in obesity and diabetes (oh and certain death) if I dont get a handle on it now. As a bonus there are support communities like SoulCysters that I can join. (Get it? Soul Cysters... heh.)
In and of itself PCOS cannot be treated, only the symptoms can be managed. Changing diet and exercise habits is the first but hardest aspect of treatment. So far they have me on medication for insulin resistance, another to block excess androgen, and progesterone to temporarily make me menstruate. There is talk of putting me on a regular birth control pill - I am resisting that. There are only so many pills I want to take in one day.

In addition to those symptoms I am in the process of growing one mean beard. It started out as one hair here, then two hairs there and has now evolved into a little forest directly beneath my chin, a little bit of fuzz on my chin and a pair of oh so fuzzy chops. I spy the little hairs on my upper lip beginning to thicken.
I am a hairy lady, I am (or will be) the bearded lady. It's scary but fun in a queer way. I am coming out as hirsute. Bear in mind I don't even know how to pronounce that. Her-sweet, hur-suit, nope still don't know. There is a medication cream to take care of that but it is pretty pricey at nearly $60 a bottle. I have laser hair removal already purchased but have been terrified to start the process. Plus, I'm starting to like the chops.


Quote of the Day!

Billy: it is sort of like people who smell colors. I emote squishiness.

P.S. Check out the April issue of Curve, on page 14, yours truly is pictured with a little write up about Creating Change. It's the issue with the oh so hot Jackie Warner on the cover. Yeow!



that hopefulness paid off and I received the Organizing Fellowship with the National Gay & Lesbian Task Force!

They are placing me at their Los Angeles office for the summer. It's very exciting! I am now looking for housing in L.A. for the two months that I will be there (preferably close to their offices).

Anyone got tips, leads, couches, luck? Let me know.


Nascent Realizations

Early this morning I had the strangest dream. I dreamed that somehow I was to be killed by an assassin. Instead they killed what they thought was me. When the assassin saw that she had killed the wrong person, who looked a lot like me, she told me to grab some things and escape as the clean up crew would arrive soon.

I set about picking out the things out of my room in the apartment which morphed into a house, my parents house. Somehow I had some stuffed dog I was trying to take with me. I grabbed notebooks, socks, photos, too much, I was taking too long.
The clean up crew arrived, I was still there debating on taking my diploma. The assassin told me to leave it for my parents.

The clean up crew supposedly knew the target, my hair had changed covering half of my face. I felt that I knew someone in the clean up crew. Someone told me that I better be glad I wasn't the target, I agreed audibly and wholeheartedly. Another came in saying that she heard a word that reminded her of someone. I was terrified. I could feel the assassin tense up.

The assassin said that my parents would reveal the truth and get me killed, that I could no longer be what they knew, Jovan was dead. She told me to go, GO!

As I left for the door I looked back, my parents were about the house. My dad spotted me and said 'Hey, Jovan!' The assassin tried to distract, telling him he was wrong, telling me to GO. My brother opened the door to look after me. I ran, though yards, past children playing, behind bushes, over fences.

I knew my life depended on me getting away, depended on them no longer knowing the me that lay dead on the floor.

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Meet Greta/Gretel!

Meet Greta/Gretel!, originally uploaded by betwixt.

Meet the newest edition to my pack, Greta/Gretel! Let's just say that my 25th birthday rocked and my girlfriend is super awesome.


New York, New York

Pink Elephant, originally uploaded by betwixt.

Quite a different trip from my first one in September.
View the whole set [here].


Lately I Love.

Here it is Christmas morning, early morning. My roommate is out of the country and I am sharing my home with Billy and my little brother. I am happy.

I am typing this from her PowerBook as mine is sitting there waiting for me to digitally pry it open, releasing the imperfect pearls of my life. Unrefined pearls made of sorrow, giddy discovery, happy moments, lazy afternoons, frustrated ramblings. There is no Kino, no village to pine for these pearl’s wealth; they are only worth something to my own life.

Something, or someone, else of worth has entered my life. This experience is progressing at an interesting charge. One decision among many, driving out to Lawrence at the last minute, a date that I was unsure that it actually was.

Returning to see where she sleeps now, to meet the guardian pup, her new apartment.

There were hours of dancing, not literal dancing mind you, the dancing of those studying, deciphering the other’s intentions. We filled that time up with Scrabble, coffee, and conversation.

I was unsure of the next move, there was waiting. Fetch with the pup led us to the bedroom and propelled us forward. Not so fast, as I hesitated to make the next move, yet fingers, lips touched.

Overhead lights offer a blinding distraction from intimate conversations, all she had to replace that intrusion were tea lights lined across the sole windowsill. Discussion of what we wanted sexually, movement to action.

Sex with someone new is always a bit dizzying. Sex with Billy transforms moments, with pleasure, gender shifts as well.

The morning sun touched the burnt out tea lights, signaling that our two hours of sleep over, barely allowing my eyes respite. Realizing the time, wishing I had more, I called ahead to give warning to my co-organizers. “I will more than likely be late. Yes, I am still in Lawrence. I so owe you two.” I hung up the phone, their giggles still in my ears matching the ones at the base of my throat.

Morning grins, kisses, nervous stomach butterflies signaling hunger and a giddy excitement. All over my body, I could still feel her hands caressing, her lips kissing.

The city, the conference lies in wait. Billy blew me a kiss as we got into our cars; I followed her speed down 70. We would see each other again in a few hours.

Throughout the conference, we kept close to one another, hands clasped together under tables and behind corners kissing. My eyes darting nervously, words stammering, stuttering, betraying how much I like her. As soon as she would leave my sight, I would take a deep breath, close my eyes, and let out a high-pitched noise of elation.

November brought us, Thanksgiving, which we spent together at her place. I was happy there, cuddling with her, the pup, and the ratties.

Coming back to Kansas City did not feel the same; it still does not.