Archive for the ‘queer’ Category

sp a c e as formmm

October 9, 2017

1

history of repeating divide and conquer can’t stop–

because the need for the strategy will not go away.

it won’t work; doesn’t succeed in its goals–

2

because we keep sticking together,

3

connecting, coalitioning.

we rise up with irascible constancy and love,

even under the thumb.

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between, beyond, within

September 22, 2017

where you’re from  <——–>  who you are

between, beyond, within

allyship  <——–>  identity

between, beyond, within

being exclusive  <———>  feeling included

between, beyond, within

students teaching  <——–>  teachers learning

between, beyond, within

bird landing  <——–>  parent dying

between, beyond, within

never the right time  <——–>  it is time

between, beyond, within

neutrality supports oppressor  <——–>  equanimity enables action

between, beyond, within

celebrating diversity  <——–>  further objectifying

between, beyond, within

dancer sleeping  <——–>  coma patient dreams in dance

between, beyond, within

poverty  <——–>  privilege

between, beyond, within

ignorance of intelligence  <——–>  wisdom of heart

between, beyond, within

sun setting  <——–>  lamp lighting

.
“You have become undone, released, unmoored.
You are floating and will seek safe harbor.
This New Perspective will allow the insights to
pour out on us, seal us, reprove us, imprint on us,
teach us, reveal us, search us, speak to us,
instruct us, renew us, intercede for us, strengthen us,
quicken us, comfort us, lead us, sanctify us,
flatter us, humble us, right us, re-imagine us,
chastise us, and completely fall on us.
 .

“One who bears a bowl of water feels its weight,

but if you go right into the water it will be all over

you, and you will not notice the burden of it.

~ David Byrne, The New Sins, p. 93
(modified for gender neutral language)

missives from the playground

March 14, 2017

a

adult playground – in photos

child’s playground – in words

both true.

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how to make chalk hand-prints (best results when 6 – 8-yrs-old):

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get a friend to trace around your body sprawled on the asphalt/ground with chalk

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spend long time deliberately skrushing in various solid colors with huge sidewalk chalks; for clothing, hair, accoutrements, and skin of your silhouetted image [could take 20-40 minutes]

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lightly pat your open palms onto chalk colored self-portrait a couple three times

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place hands firmly in an unchalked spot on the asphalt

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leap up into a handstand – after a breath, plant feet again earthward one at a time and stand tall [takes 1-2 seconds]

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there they are. bright colored hand-prints clear and detectable for all passers-by

b

meek mind

February 18, 2017

i keep running into divide-and-conquer tactics pummeling us. from there i keep painfully stepping off the ledge into all-of-us.

remembering white water hydraulic preparation: to get out of the spin-cycle, go limp. relax. stop. fighting. do less. release wild effort.

counterintuitive, mind-bending, breath and heart stopping logic.

we’re gonna have to go counterintuitive to survive this.

divide-and-conquer is in full employ from all directions. it will not suffice, depending on outcome goal(s).

what exactly are y/our goals? what does/will it mean to “win”?

how to symphony my body, parts, and systems, and breaths?

how to symphony those that see my existence and more like me as delusional mental health problems versus liberated spectrum of beautiful being wei-wu-ways?

corners of my mouth feebly upturn to greet fellow driver i pass at the intersection. center of my upper lip weighs like a bladder canteen of tears. threatening. wobbling.

a planet of injustice surrounds these permeable pores. there’s no resistance as my arm moves my hand through space, for a finger to flick off the light for the night.

Meekness is… an active and deliberate acceptance of undesirable circumstances that are wisely seen by the individual as only part of a larger picture. …The patient and hopeful endurance of undesirable circumstances identifies the person as externally vulnerable and weak but inwardly resilient and strong. Meekness does not identify the weak but more precisely the strong who have been placed in a position of weakness where they persevere without giving up.

see comment for quote source

i… i just. want…

January 23, 2017

imma be selfish for a min… for a time.

i want you to be free.

i want you to revel and reckon with these vids. they might not / might meet you where you are. may they be a balm for these times.

the longer vid speaks to me more directly than anything i’ve seen in these months – regarding maintaining my health, engaging social justice, and contemplating dharma and yoga.

long vid worth the time! this video is e.v.e.r.y.thing.

shorter vid setting up the longer one

and for good measure:

…it is selfish bias that i hope these morsels benefit you, that i shove meanings from furthest dark materials to deepest within, from my heartmindformspace to yours…

with love,

elliott

2017 how to

January 3, 2017

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how to be with the messy in-between of

frozen-with-fear and taking action

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to be with the messy in-between of

my intentions and making big mistakes

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be with the messy in-between of

making big mistakes and results of my actions

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how to be with the messy in-between of

results of my actions and my intent

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sync to sink

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or

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sink to sync

p.s.

touching ground

November 18, 2016

yeh, we are moving upstream

john-lewis-sncc

against a wave of thousands of years of human tribalism/othering,

as is our animal nature.

still and all, we are the same species.

buddha-hand-touching-ground

 

 

tap

October 24, 2016
a

hevin

.

ac

irth

.

ae

hewminn

inspired by my beloved’s tap shoes

dying to death: a living will addendum

October 12, 2016

this is about dying. not death. this is about how you like to fall asleep, how you find deep rest… how you let go and release bodied consciousness.

this post is about a rare sliver of a possibility.

this is about the slippery time after alert/awake consciousness before death – dying – with space-time for loved ones to attend to your passing …not a sudden death or a chronic illness situation, wherein you’ve been conscious enough to coherently make choices about your care closer in to the end.

death and dying are not the same thing. obvious, yet, worth stating.

i was inspired by a beloved friend’s sharing their addendum to their living will, as well as other advance directives. the extra page reveals specific precious ways any of us loved ones could offer support in their time of dying, for any of us who are still around and that time comes in such a way that we can participate.

as a death-positivity advocate, who has had explicit conversations about advance directives and living wills with yoga students for years, i found i must finally complete my own forms. gotta get beyond the DNR and organ donor heart on my driver’s license. no more excuses. but…

i’d had my state’s versions downloaded  for years. i came round to opening and reading and staring and closing them repeatedly for about 6 months. i am an extreme solo type in quite a queer identity and lifestyle. it took me a long while to realize that these factors were freezing me up in my attempts to complete the rather simple forms.

i am due some minor but unavoidable abdominal surgery. consciousness, will, control, and just being skillfully ahead of the game of any unfortunate turns were on my mind. as were anesthesia, others manipulating my body while being unconscious, pain, exhausting self-advocacy…

it wasn’t the living will directive that was stalling my process. it was the health care agent / power of attorney form. i have no primary partner or child to select as the top person to direct any medical personnel for my care. e-v-e-r-y one of my chosen family folks has either a significant other or child that i can imagine they have in this place, if they’ve filled out these forms. (which everyone should do. yesterday!) you can see my dilemma; i have been touting this advice for years and hadn’t completed my own directives.

so, then it came to a day where i was in that repeating loop, i’d opened and re-read and was staring at the forms. i didn’t close them though. i had a good cry for about 2 hours. this tension-release was about confusion that this imagined state of unconscious dying would require other humans’ involvement: perhaps first responders, doctors, family-of-origin, chosen-family, and/or friends… i am a terrible patient. i’d like to be left alone, thank you very much. i live alone, i attend theatre and dine alone. i love it that way. leave me alone and just let my die already! …ahh, fear…

so, in fact, i twist around to phone with this beloved who has so thoughtfully and compassionately completed their forms. this beloved dropped some sinking sparkling heavy plumb-lined pennies in my well (of preferred loneliness):

this is about your care while dying – not while living. not while recovering, healing, or in some terminal chronic conditions wherein you are competent or conscious enough to make decisions. this is about preparing for that rare condition of unconscious dying. meaning, you didn’t cross all the way over in a sudden trauma, or the myriad other possibilities of dying to death. it is a rare reality anyway – that one is given a chance, that one’s beloveds are then given a chance to attend to your dying. indeed, in this light, as is simply true for advance directives at all, it is supreme to consider all this in a competent conscious state… to ease any drama for your loved ones.

okay, that was a doozie. and, yet, so relieving and clear. this is about care for me in my dying. this is not about caring for me in some living way. (why is this called a living will and not dying will. why is a driveway for parking and a parkway for driving…)

i can get with the willfulness bit though. that’s the medicine in all this: using your lucid, un-triggered conscious will to think through these options and desires.

more tossed pennies:

you don’t have to pick 1 agent. the forms are designed to be as brief as possible, and yeah, most people have an easy answer for who they want in that position. not choosing has it’s legal ranks. …closest living family-of-origin relatives (this relativity-ness is defined by heternormative bloodline capitalist patriarchal society mind you. no judgement, ha! just the whirrld we swim in, where folks like me don’t quite fit the mold). then attending physicians are in line of power… if no one is found or reachable. i was feeling despondent, resigning it all to: “i don’t care. I surely won’t care in this scenario… i’ll just let the chips fall as they may.” then my friend calmly quietly pointed out 2 crucial details: i can list as many agents as i want, and she spoke of specific folks who would be in line to care for me if i didn’t select a healthcare power of attorney.

kerplunkaplunnk. pennies landing and wet with splashy consequence.

sheesh. i can list as many agents as i want. there will be only one acting agent, but i can heartlessly or heartfully communicate here in advance who i trust in this way…

i want this friend to be there. i want this beloved friend chosen-family person-of-Earth making some of these decisions – or no! not having to make any decisions, but following my advance directives, duh. …ensuring that my plans are honored. some others are loving beings i love, but they might not handle such a scene the way i ‘d prefer. i’m trying to save us all from any such angst.

this thought process is entertaining: why am i so important that it’d be so unsettling for me to be dying? who cares?! …but people have weird hang-ups about dying and death. i can make this egoistically about me, or i can recognize how real this all is. i can get out of the way and actually try to prepare all of my loved ones with ease and peace of mind, for if such a rare scenario as this attending opportunity ever comes to pass…

just because you want someone to live does not mean that is the healthiest well-iest path. it could be prolonging suffering for your loved one and you, as well, it could be plain selfish.

we’re all gonna die. so.

go watch Harold and Maude.

and remember, it’s a comedy.

some suggestions for contemplating your dying wishes:

  • you can practice dying as an active process, not an event of inaction or absence. you can uncover as well as cultivate your preferences for easing into absence and inaction.
  • you might practice dying by contemplating space or freedom between you and your name, your body, or any identity-limiting sense of self, after the overt moving bit of a yoga asana class, during corpse pose/final rest/savasana.
  • other favorite practices of mine are breath awareness as i drift to sleep, lucid dreaming, and breath awareness as i return to waking consciousness through the sleep stages.
  • contemplate/meditate on deep relaxation, emptiness, what sooths you, your identity/ies, sensory pleasures, music and/or stories that calm you (or stimulate you),
  • watch Harold & Maude

some additions to the formal/notarized Living Will:

  • one from my beloved friend’s and my documents, modified with permission:
    • I strongly prefer caregivers who are neither chatty nor cheery. (Seriously, the thought of some nurse coming into my room crooning, “Good morning, sunshine,” is like nails on a chalkboard.)
  • as my friend inspired me – i list books i would like read aloud, music i would like to listen to… and otherwise that social silence and media silence please be respected around me.
  • here’s an item from my living will:
    • Please allow as much natural light and natural moving air as you can (open windows). This would be wonderful, whenever possible – even if briefly each night, dawn, day, and dusk – even in extreme cold or hot seasons. I would like to avoid artificial lighting as much as possible. I would love to allow the natural rhythms of nightfall and sunrise to fill the space I am in.
  • there are further details of what i know soothes me, and of what i want my remains donated for… and clear thoughts about how my Health Care Agent can make decisions for ease regarding where i die, etc… how explicitly to reduce burden on my loved ones…

some suggestions for completing advance directives:

  • find your state’s Advance Directives forms, complete them, and share them with the pertinent folks (any/all listed potential health care agents, other family and/or friends you’d want to know your wishes, any health care providers you want to know of your wishes… therapist(s), nurses, doctors, etc.).
  • do not waste money filing the forms with some state registry. this is not where the info will be sourced if you are dying. if in some emergency/accident or severe illness conditions, your wallet and/or your attending medical care folk are the best source 😉
  • get copies filed in your records with any health care providers you would like to have them.
  • make a small card for your wallet with all of your potential healthcare agents’ contact info.

with love,

elliott

To Rosetta Lee, if i could…

August 21, 2016

To identify as transgender is not telling me anything about one’s sexuality.

The energy of my response is about invisibility and marginalization, to expose and heal.

I’m putting this out in the ether webby ness before any beloved editors can heal and help my wordings. I just wanna get this out there. Stumbling fumblings to be caught and wholed with your support…

I am keen to see how the meaning and use of the term transgender evolves over time. It just may come to reference one’s sexuality. I do not think it does so presently. Presently, I think it reveals one’s gender identity. Below I expound why I find this discernment relevant, in North Carolina, in 2016, no less.

Please engage and change me, relieve me from my confusion and suffering – I want to learn and understand.

Please call me out, or call me in, on any stuck, narrow, binary, right/wrong thinking I express herein. I am much more interested in etymology and the evolution of language, thought, and movement (all pun possibilities intended) than being right, narrow, stuck, etc.

The person I wish I could dialog with (Rosetta Eun Ryong Lee) speaks to her interest in action over too much quibble with words/labels/terminology. I respect that. That lands as workable progressive change process. Yum!

Alas, I quibble whole-heartedly, I question whole-self-edly, with some unknowns – with some experience I had in a session facilitated by her the other day. I wish that I could ask her directly how she came to understand transgender as a sexuality, and further explain a point she and I exchanged about publicly.

Key note: I use pronouns she/her/hers for this amazing leader and activist, as that is what I find online in her self-made website. I am going to trust she is in control of that pronoun usage so publicly; that she is self-identifying with these pronouns, which does not reveal to me her gender identity. We simply don’t have enough pronouns yet for all of us.

I avert social media, excepting email and this blog, so I will not sign up for twitter or LinkedIn, the only options she publicly provides for contact.

I’ve been drafting this letter I fantasize will find its way to her for 5+ days… Today, two articles appeared that wrangle me to post sooner than later. Links are at the bottom of this post. Or, for choose your own adventure, click here and/or here.

This is in large part about the use of a term that she and I disagree on – use of which I find dangerously confusing here in NC in 2016. There is a second part I publicly commented on with her, in the session last week, in front of my brand new unknown colleagues.

Here’s my letter I dream finds its way to her incredible social justice activist heartmindbody:

Hi Rosetta, amazing leader in change-making,

Thank you for journeying down here to the southeast USA so much! I am the genderqueer folk from __ who shared that I’d helped work to get you to ___, as co-clerk of the committee through which __ called for you specifically. As a new staffer at __, I was so delightfully eager to hear and learn from you.

There were two examples in the day, Wednesday, August 17, 2016, at __, when I struggled as the only self-identified and out trans staffer.

I wanted to discuss further with you. Alas, time-space has its limits. Here is a remote/digital form of my querying.

I was so uncomfortable standing for the up-downs exercise, I did not see if you raised your hand as other than cis-gendered. Online, the pronouns she/her are used towards you. I dared to stand up in any way I could, as a potential resource for students and staff. There was no sense of standing proudly for me, as you instructed. I am too new at this school to know… I’ve belatedly heard that you were seen to raise your hand for the up-downs of, “Neither male nor female work for you.” Of course, we could present the up-downs with 8 or 50 or… 200 options for folks, unpacking gender more fully the way race and ethnicity were. I know you know that. I only mention it because many many more people might have stood if the distinctions were furthered, regarding gender nonconforming, any expression other than male or female, and then on to clarities like transgender, genderqueer, agender, etc etc.

I appreciate your naming a couple of times that you are more interested in action than language. That’s good clean fun and actively progressively useful! And -as ever- a both/and situation. The poetics of naming -phew- matter in this season of trans visibility. The two examples regarding language (unpacked below) felt crucial, for me, especially in that they could have confused people regarding trans lives/experience/politics, in NC in 2016 no less.

1st example: transgender as a sexuality

I wish I’d had time to ask you to:

Please share more of how you come to understand and reinforce the term transgender as a sexuality.

You stopped a teacher from interrupting you, after they’d asked why you included transgender as a sexuality. Their interruption was flowing towards something like that they had understood it as a term of gender identity. You explained that the gender identity of anyone can be mis-read or fluid… something to that effect (which is accurate!) You added, in different words, that someone gender nonconforming, depending if they are partnered or attracted to a man, woman or whathaveyou, allows the originally referenced person to be in a transgender sexually attracted dynamic? …I am not clear on your meaning/distinction by this point in the dialogue…

I delight and giggle at my own tightness around use of transgender as a sexuality. Any such condensing feeling marks a growing edge, a sensitive period, a zone of proximal development, something for me to pay attention to!

This encounter I describe was the only interruption in the day, with all staff together, when you held your hand up, palm out, at shoulder height – powerfully. This was the only time someone asked a question from a countering view and you held your ground – stopped them from interrupting you – hand up, palm out, in the air at face height, beautifully full-on Supremes style – thus your response landed as significant important correct?!?!

You got that theatrical performative intensification many script writers only dream of – and it was organic, on-the-spot, in real time, real life. Thus, the weightiness or gravity to your doubling down on your interpretation and use of transgender was amplified.

We were invited repeatedly to be more interested in our response to things, rather than getting hung-up on this or that terminology

I am so curious about your doubling down on your perception and use of transgender as a sexuality.

As you pointed to, there is power in naming “normative” gender as cis-, to counter a historical pattern of uniquely referencing more marginalized identities. Cis- is a way to call out/in mainstream genders.

The T in LGBT has been discerned as a gender and not a sexuality with such effort in media and academia etc. To confuse that in this era of (national and local and global) trans visibility is confounding.

I perceive that the T is about self-hood, not who you love.

As the only self-identified genderqueer person in the audience, it was discomfiting to witness this exchange.

One can identify as gender nonconforming and cisgender simultaneously. I dare suggest every single person, cis- or no, is gender nonconforming. That’s part of the wonderful freedom we transgender folks have to offer the world, just as soon as everybody realizes the usefulness and the emptiness of DNA or plumping based binaries!

I am not certain how you self-identify and do not want to unskillfully project. In case you do identify as a:

  • Woman / cis-woman (gender?)
  • Lesbian (sexuality?) Though this does imply homo/same. Thus the gender id of both parties is possibly revealed. Oh binary. A transwoman who chooses to pass could be within the lesbian territory and often is!
  • Or in case you do identify as gender nonconforming, but not as transgender or genderqueer,

…it may have been as it felt – that you flexed some cis-privilege?

As a (the!?) genderqueer and transgender person in the room, I disagree/d with your interpretation and defense of your use of the term transgender.

Alas, Hail to:

Bisexuals

Pansexuals

I’m sure I’m unaware of many other terms that could suffice…

These terms beautifully meet your meaning, I think.

They seem to meet your point regarding either the perceived and or inner gender identity for any attraction or sexual encounter… noh?! Bisexuality and pansexuality are sadly overly invisibilized too! We could use both terms oftener and educate even more preciously and lovingly about binary and nonbinary sexuality!? Yah?

Part of the energy of my response is about invisibility and marginalization – as all of your national touring work aims to expose and heal. To slide transgender identity into the sexuality realm can obscurate the struggles to simply use the bathroom we are fighting for here in NC.

Never mind the beatings, murders, and suicides that unfortunately increase, with the visibility we didn’t ask for from odd state legislation. (Though it is not odd at all, if we understand the history of state politics by design pushing against national and smaller/local governing fronts.)

One can identify as a transgender asexual.

In other words, to identify as transgender is not telling me anything about one’s sexuality.

One can be a genderqueer pansexual, a transmasculine bisexual, an agender pansexual, a gay trans man, a straight trans man, a lesbian trans woman, a straight trans woman, and on and on…

So, again, I am open to being re-educated about what the term transgender means.

This precious new article speaks from some middle school age folks today, these brilliant evolvers of language and gender – and they are in alignment still with my understanding of transgender. Curious. And I sure love to lean on pre-adolescents to keep up with what’s what any day. Link below as well.

2nd example: danger of trans-enough-ing qualifying

Later in a breakout session for pre-K – lower school staff, I did speak out, after you expressed that “really really really trans” folks tend to self-identify around 3-years-old, with insistence, persistence, and consistence.

You did ground your frames and models as tools only, not to be swallowed whole. Alas, you are in a power position in the role you serve schools across the nation. What you emphasize and speak illustratively to and make a slide for becomes “expert” data, swallowed more wholly maybe than you even ever intend…

You speak fast and identify as a scientist which translate into much intellectual privilege. Your presentation lands as expert info, whether you intend it or not, especially when your exposure to and life living with any topic at hand grossly outpaces the majority of the audience.

Good ol’ intention versus actions versus results. They are most often not in alignment for any of us.

This use of “really really really” plus the young age qualifier is inaccurate and potentially dangerous.

In many layers of gender and sexually diverse identities the “enough” ness – trans enough, bi enough, gay enough, lesbian enough ness is so so damaging.

I queried with my HT provider who is steeped in the medical field of providing healthcare for trans folks. They gasped at hearing of the reference to 3-yr-olds’ prevalence of identifying. There is no (ack, who cares) empirical scientific data to back up the claim regarding early childhood and “opposite” gender identifying.

A 3-year-old who can insistently, consistently, and persistently identify as “the opposite” gender from what they were labeled at birth only exposes that they have been brought up in a binary reinforcing culture – that there are only two clear choices.

Now, sadly, this is largely true for most of us still today. We’re working on it.

Nevertheless, touting such quantitative data in a qualitative field is, I think, dangerous for gender nonconforming, non binary, genderqueer children and olders getting further invisibilized – thus even continuingly further marginalized regarding physical, mental, and emotional health, and social/cultural equity.

 

Ahhh, breather here for humor at my tightness.

I sure do feel strongly about this stuff. Thanks for any laughing and reading along.

Breathing slow and deep is encouraged.

Rosetta, you seemed to graciously understand my point here about qualifying, quantifying, and binary reinforcing, as we spoke publicly. Thank you for that!

Another note is how many folks’ personal histories expose how utterly unknowable and/or inaccessible alternate options were regarding gender identity in their youth. All sorts of privilege and random and profound life incidents play into how and when people self-identify as trans or gender variant.

As I mentioned Wednesday, in some soon years, maybe in this current generation, this particular note could become irrelevant. Attention and visibility for trans existence abounds, whether we are ready or not.

Note: the day after our workshop, NC court-battling legislative legalities doubled down on trying to scientifically dismantle the existence of transgender people. It is fun to live here right now, feels dandy, let me tell yuh.

For folks around my age and older, to be validated or invalided according to when they/we intrapersonally became convinced of their gender self-identity can be incredibly harmful, unskillful at minimum.

In some brevity, this is all about marginalization and invisibility.

The fight for gay marriage invisibilized the T in LGBTIQ for many years in recent history.

Now the T is loudly in the media.

And it will be many painful years before nonbinary genderqueer folks gain any traction of safety or social equity with any visibility.

For now, of course, the visibility for both binary and nonbinary transgender/gender nonconforming/genderqueer folks feels threatening, especially here in NC – which includes cis-gender identified, gender nonconforming, sexually queer folks!

I dare to take the time-space to express my thoughts, even as I see how wonderfully full your schedule is as you travel and lead in so many awesome inclusivity-diversity efforts.

I feel I must wield the many forms of voice and/or privilege I do have, to help make visible mine and so many others’ invisibility, and our presently painfully further marginalized existence as genderqueer, nonbinary, agender, gender nonconforming.

I understand you may absolutely include yourself in this experience, identity, and tenderness!

Please consider how you teach to the identity development of marginalized gender variant folks as happening more legitimately in early childhood. This may be a unique distinction from most other marginalized identities which are, as you say, unavoidably explored earlier in life than most privileged identities. This is only relevant or valuable in context of the external/environmental/societal/cultural/systemic binary.

How can we all present and explore this data with more breath for the spectra?

There were other interesting discrepancies noted between gender & sexual diversity and other forms of diversity… ever more growing and evolving, with the thinking and learning around this wonderful tender living experience. That people are beaten, murdered, and suicide over much of this identity territory calls me to action!

Love and peace and ease to Hande Kader’s chosen family, friends, and ALL!

with sp a c e,

elliott

p.s. There’s a hilarious twist interpretable here, where i could be seen to be cruelly pointing towards Rosetta as not trans enough! My query is more, really, what she means by transgender and is she trans identified or how is she trans identified. that bit could use some clearing, before i then went on into the second example…  Yah, I’m stepping in it! I wish I could communicate with Rosetta. Phew. I am open to dialog – to be called in. Please and Thank You.

A gay middle schooler relieved to meet a transgender girl on the first day of school.

A wonderful trans 101 primer from a self identified genderqueer transgender person – worth the read and thought provocation!