Sunday, July 26, 2009

The new paradigm

[note to ppl in the non-English world, I am using 'Alice in Wonderland' references to tie things together]

"Is that a rabbit in a waistcoat with a pocketwatch?"

At the cursory level, there was an election in Iran. It was pretty obvious to most people around the world massive election-rigging went on. The losing party demonstrated and the government fought back.

"Why is it running towards that tree?"

The protest quickly became not about the election, but about fundamental rights. That could be easily seen from both what the protesters were doing and how the world was interested in it.

"It looks like there is a funny hole in it the rabbit went into."

A cause people quickly pointed to was the prevalence of the internet. This is an easy one to do as it is nice, neat, and explainable. In one sense it is true: how can you not feel am emotional tug when you read what may be the last thing another human being typed?

"The inside of this tree looks funny ..."

I think the world is shifting to a new way of looking at things. It the past individual countries were stand-alone entities. A web with others of treaties and animosities, sure, but completely separate when you came right down to it. Now though people are starting to see themselves as world citizens first. Hurt any part of that collective and the whole world feels the impact and stands beside the affected part of it.

Recent events show it more and more, but it seems to be on the increase. Look at the reaction to the 9/11 attacks in 2001. That was forgotten quickly though. Now 8 years later look how linked people are to the events in Iran even after the news has stopped covering it.

True, there are cultural and legal differences depending on what country you are in but you have that if you compare, oh, Boston with a small town in Alabama.

So we have gone from what looks like a localised political squabble to a worldwide movement. How far down the rabbit hole will this path take us?

Monday, June 22, 2009

Things so far

(note that, for consistency, all reference to times are EST unless noted, Iran is 8.5 hours ahead of us)

Leading up to this weekend I heard Iran mentioned the previous weekend when I was out of town, but without a context I did not know what was going on. Then all week there were street rallies there. While there was clear injustice involved, there was little violence so I did not lose much sleep over it. Green my twitter icon and change my location there, set up a TOR proxy on Friday, and all that.

There was a huge news blackout and the typical news sources (CNN, MSNBC, etc) were lagging far behind the events. So people were turning to social networking sites, particularly twitter, to get news and pass it on. There were Iranian government agents in the crowd, but they were usually spotted soon after they started spreading disinformation and blocked. In fact, twitter was regarded as so important as a news link that the state department had them reschedule a maintenance downtime.
It was announced that Khomenei would be talking on Friday, after he led a prayer service. Thursday night I was watching Rachel Maddow’s show. The talking head she had on gave three options of what he would say: overturn the election results, stall for more time to let the process work, or solidly support an obviously stolen presidential election.

Well, he chose the last option instead. Essentially saying if people were not for him they were against him. Not only did he throw his support behind the selected president, but he was quite clear that the protests had to stop. A huge protest had already been planned for the next day, so the entire world was watching to see what would happen. The people who would be protesting in Iran made twitters and posts that were clear acceptance that they might die the next day. Reading them was heartbreaking, knowing there was little anyone outside of the country could do.

Early Saturday morning I could not sleep. I woke up before the protest was due to start and checked out twitter. After being up for a few hours I went back to sleep for another hour or two waiting for things to start. At the appointed time it looked like nothing was happening. Police were blocking the entrance to the square where the protesters were going to gather. Several tense hours went by … then everything erupted and events happened quickly. I will let the tweets I have at the end of this blog post speak to them, as they also give a sense of my state of mind.

Saturday evening I needed to take a break and process things. I walked about 1.5 miles down the Mt Vernon trail and walked back. On Sunday morning I was grabbing sleep about 2 hours at a time, then getting up to check on twitter and the TV news. Sunday afternoon I was at a rally in DC (the Sea of Green that was called for, I had been avoiding the regime change marches, but unfortunately the two groups merged). After that was the midsummer ritual at my Wicca Circle … my sending energy, strength, healing, and protection to the protesters.

As I type this another rally is going on in Iran. It also sounds like the general strike is being planned to start tomorrow.

Through twitter news and images got out. I verified as best I could each one before retweeting them, so read my twitter archives for the full story. Which also gives you an idea of my sleep schedule this weekend. Note that the times are Iran times in order to confuse the authorities. Also that ‘RT” means retweet (a relayed tweet). It was so hard to pick and choose, but read the archives for more. A few of the following have comments from me in brackets. Some of them starting on Thursday and ending this morning:

RT BBC have film of rally with John Simpson. Biggest crowd to take to streets in 30 years. Estimate more than 2 mill #iranelection #gr88:

RT @InfoTick EVERYONE everywhere set ur LOCATION 2 TEHRAN, IRAN! Confuse them.They can't follow everyone! PLS RT! #IranElection
[a pretty popular thing to do]

RT Simple ways to help Iranian free speech: #IranElection #gr88 Pls RT

RT From Iran: "140 characters is a novel when you're being shot at."

RT from Iran MOUSAVI - This Gov is not what Khomeini wanted for Iran - I will change all this - This is the SEA of GREEN - RT RT RT


RT Death to Theocracy! Khamenei has confirmed that if you are not 'for' him, you are "against." reminiscent of G.W. Bush.

RT from Iran Iranian ppl will go w/Ganhdi-like protests, we genuinely believe peaceful protests 2 B most powerful.

CNN, BBC not covering Iran much this AM, more news from twitter, some from MSNBC :(

RT FROM MOUSAVI CRUCIAL Demonstration on Saturday 16:00 in Tehran and all around the world, please spread this message around.#iranelection

RT CNN Breaking News: (e-mails from Iran) Quasi Martial Law in place now! Checkpoints/Roadblocks w/ armed state militia!!

RT: Mousavi asks ALL WORLD to WEAR GREEN SUNDAY! Help FREE IRAN! Please Participate Spread Message Beyond Twitter #Iranelection #GR88

really humbling that some tweets I am reading from Iran could be from ppl that will not be here by the time I wake up
[this is not just the news on the tv, it is real people who I am following on twitter]

RT from Iran I have one vote. I gave it to Moussavi. I have one life. I will give it for Freedom.
[how someone prepared for what would happen]

RT "On 9/11, the world said we were all Americans. Tonight, we're all Iranian" -Daniel Mangrum #iranelection
[that is for sure!]

to the Iranian protesters: know that the entire world would be proud to call you friends #iranelections
[that is not an exaggeration]

I spent the past few hours having convos with all 7 of my deities (I am a Wiccan) how they could each help over there #iranelection

as my partner and I both get up (no, not wake up) and stumble towards our computers ... #iranelection

[here they go …]

RT from Iran Helicopters pouring acid on people from the sky - #Iranelection

RT from Iran Mousavi - Confirmed - I have prepared for martyrdom - #Iranelection

re @persiankiwi it is also World Refugee Day today ... remember that anyone trying to get to an embassy #iranelection
[people were going to embassies rather than hospitals, as they risked arrest there]

RT From Iran: Bassij opened gunfire on people near Sadeghieh, West of Tehran,till now 4 died! #iranelection
[the authorities are desperate]

RT @persiankiwi: Mousavi - confirmed - IF I AM ARRESTED THE NATION IS TO STRIKE INDEFINITELY - #Iranelection RT RT RT

[first video I saw of someone being killed in the protests]

DC people - 3 pm tomorrow - Dupont Circle - sitin wearing green -

RT Tehran 6-20 GIRL STANDING WITH HER FATHER MURDERED BY BASIJI #iranelection #gr88 #tehran
[this was Neda … who became a martyr and a symbol, there was no turning back now]

RT Beautiful quote today: "Iran isn't falling -- it's standing up."

RT IRANIANS Confirmed injured protesters removed from hospitals and taken away by Basij. INJURED GO TO EMBASSIES NOT HOSPITAL. #IranElection

RT from Iran: Mousavi willing to die for Iran, but Ahmadinejad doesn't have the courage to show his face for his country. RT
[what a leader, huh?]

rt @i64 This is my last tweet, I will be in the protests, I might tweet tomorrow, can't be sure about it. (sent 8 hrs ago, nada since -K)
[I really hope the person just meant the last weet of the day]

going for a walk now, I need to get out and meditate for a bit
[this was my break Saturday evening, I needed to clear my head and process things]

@ferenain @sf4t9rfan1 huh? where did I say I was ashamed of Obama? I do not envy his choice in this, but the US can not be officially in it
[we do not have a good history over there, he made the best choice he could have]

June 21 is midsummer, a time for magic, a LOT of protection spells will be cast by us pagans for the protesters, blessed be #iranelection

RT @persiankiwi: Brothers and sisters were killed before our eyes today - the innocent blood of the martyrs of Allah - #Iranelection

RT @persiankiwi: confirmed - Bank Melli hospital Tehran - at least 9 dead - #Iranelection
[Neda may be the symbol, but ppl realize she represents the rest]

RT @persiankiwi: confirmed - Rasoul Hospital Tehran - at least 11 dead - #Iranelection
[I wonder how many hospitals they have there?]

the leaders over there must be desperate, you NEVER create martyrs if you want to stop something! #iranelection

RT @persiankiwi: Mousavi - we have gone too far to stop now - #Iranelection
[about what everyone knew, but good to hear it]

@oxfordgirl what kind of leader hides? nero fiddled, hitler was committing suicide, .... hmm, I am starting to see a pattern here ...

can not sleep

RT @austinheap: "It’s not about the opposition leaders anymore; it’s about the people." #Iran #iranelection
[this started as an election protest, now that is a side issue]

to #iranelection protesters (1 of 2) "If I fall, another will take my place, and another, and another. " -- Delenn, "Babylon 5"

2 #iranelection protesters(2 of 2) "This body is only a shell. You cannot touch me, you cannot harm me. I'm not afraid." --Delenn, Babylon 5
[I thought those 2 quotes might lift their spirits somewhat]

@austinheap what is this 'sleep' word of which you speak? :)
[he was coordinating the tech stuff]

RT @persiankiwi: Many ppls was killed in Iran Saturday - hospital sources say 'tens of ppls killed' - #Iranelection

ponders a green button that says simply 'sleep?' .... does IV caffeine exist?

RT Basiji beats 7 year-old boy in Tehran (youtube) #iranelection #neda

RT CNN Says 10 dead in tehran today. Also students boycott final exams.. #iranelection (bear in mind CNN will be conservative -Kara)

RT @persiankiwi: If you catch militia - do not use violence do not kill him - treat him as your brother - #Iranelection RT RT RT

RT @persiankiwi: UNCONFIRMED - several of the pro-democracy leaders in prison have started HUNGER STRIKE - #Iranelection RT RT

RT @persiankiwi: Mousavi - Neda is not an angel - the angels aspire to Neda - #Iranelection - Allah Akbar - peace be upon Neda - RT RT RT

yes, I know having 'allah akbar' in those RTs prob makes me a bad pagan, but is a direct quote & the Iranian protesters draw comfort from it

RT TODAY 4pm - Haft Tir Sq - Meydan 7 Tir - Tehran - candle vigil - sitting on floor - in memory of our martyrs - #Iranelection RT RT RT

RT @BreakingNews: Iranian state media reports that Iran is "reconsidering its ties" with Britain.

RT @persiankiwi: In memory of Neda - the fallen ANGEL of Freedom - #Iranelection RT RT RT

RT @oxfordgirlBritish Foreign Office withdrawing families of embassy staff from Iran RT RT RT #iranelection #iranelections #gr88 #neda

Sunday, June 07, 2009

Trans as a Gender and Generational Views

I tend to see trans/transgender as a gender identity unto itself. Or to be more exact, a collection of related identities. A bit akin to using it as an umbrella term for a variety of related identities.

On forms for GLBT places it is not uncommon for the part for gender to say ‘male’, ‘female’, and ‘transgendered’. Assuming it is a web form that will only allow one choice which one should I choose? My transgender identity is as important to me as my identity as a female.

Since I can only speak for myself I will list how I view things with respect to transgender issues and how the two generations that flank me seem to view things. Note these are just how I have observed each group and they are generalities, so obviously there are plenty of individual exceptions.

Gen Yers and Baby Boomers: did I call it right? Gen Xers: are your views similar to mine?

Age of starting transition (or equivalent):
Baby Boomers: 40s
Me: 30s
Gen Yers: 20s

Baby Boomers: follow it to the letter
Me: use it as as advice
Gen Yers: meh

View on Gender over life:
Baby Boomers: originally birth gender, then trans, then surgery, then target gender
Me: originally birth gender, then transwoman
Gen Yers: it can be constantly in flux

Baby Boomers: it all depends what stage of above they are at
Me: transwoman
Gen Yers: increasingly often genderqueer

Importance of SRS (or whatever surgery is applicable):
Baby Boomers: it is the Holy Grail
Me: it was nice to get to, but would not have been the end of it all if I had not got it
Gen Yers: varies

What is transition:
Baby Boomers: just a temporary phase between one gender and another
Me: transition never ends
Gen Yers: it may or may not exist

In general, Baby Boomers seem to be more conservative in their approach to trans issues. At the other extreme we have Gen Yers who are extremely fluid in what they do. I seem to find myself between those two extremes, but much closer to the Gen Y end of that spectrum. So am I acting as a bridge or what? Probably this also explains why I relate better on other stuff to people in their 20s than to people my own age.

There is a long established tradition of the previous generation of trans people helping the next on their journeys. As the journey changes, I can see that mentoring changing too.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

FWD: On-going Human Rights Violation: Hunger Strike for Improved Services May Prove Fatal

From: Andrea Shettle
Date: January 21, 2009 9:44:14 PM EST
Subject: On-going Human Rights Violation: Hunger Strike for Improved Services May Prove Fatal

We in the disability human rights community have an opportunity to save a life.

A quick summary: a woman with disabilities in Sudsbury, Ontario, Canada (Minna Mettinen- Kekalainen) is SUPPOSED to be receiving home care services. The North East Community Care Access Center has been denying her these services. Minna says this is because she had complained about their nurses because they had failed to follow her doctor's orders. Minna is now on hunger strike in an attempt to pressure the CCAC to provide her the services she needs. However, someone who knows Minna and who is familiar with the way that care services work is concerned that this tactic will fail, and that Minna will die. Please take a few minutes to support efforts among disability rights activists to save her life.

1. First, read more about the situation at the following link. You will also want to read the comments that people have left, because people are using the comments area at this blog page to exchange more information and ideas on how people can help:

2. Send an email to the following people to urge them to intervene on Minna's behalf so she can receive the home care services that she is asking for:

Sudbury MPP Rick Bartolucci
Constituency Office email:
Ministry of Community Safety & Correctional Services email:

Minister of Health & Long-Term Care David Caplan:

Non-Canadians can use these email addresses, too. If enough individual people write to them, they may take notice.

3. Consider also communicating with the North East Community Care Access Center on Minna's behalf (unfortunately there seems to be no email contact for them):

Phone: 1-800-461-2919

Mail: North East CCAC
Rainbow Centre
40 Elm St, Suite 41-C
Sudbury ON P3C 1S8

To access the Long-Term Care ACTION Line call: 1-866-876-7658 or TTY: 1-800-387-5559.

(More detail on their Complaints and Appeals Process at

4. Please circulate this text further via your network of contacts in the disability and human rights communities, Facebook page, blog site, etc.