Bruce Parker

Response to Ellen's Challenge

Filed By Bruce Parker | February 03, 2006 4:21 AM | comments

Filed in: Living, Transgender & Intersex
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"It Only Takes Moment"

I realize that I probably wouldn't have started understanding myself as an activist if Mathew Shephard hadn't been cute. Isn't that awful? I realized that it could happen to me. Me or someone I love could be killed simply because of who we are. Growing up in Southeast Kentucky, I knew that it was hard being gay. I didn't realize that people died for it. I remember becoming obsessed.

I cut out every newspaper and magazine clipping that I could find about his life and death. I searched the Internet for every story that I couldn't find anywhere else and watched all the media coverage with a feverish devotion. With the inspiration of my friends and the fear brought on by Matthew's murder, I dedicated myself to finding an effective outlet for my newly emerging feelings. Lots of nights crying led me to combing for training activity and resources to educate people out of hate. I designed diversity workshops that addressed some of the learning outcomes of the Kentucky Education Reform Act. This accomplished the goal of getting high school teachers to let me teach workshops an hour and half in length to my classmates with the hope of changing their views or at least teaching them compassion.

My focus on gay rights took a dramatic turn when I fell in love with the most amazing man I have had the opportunity to know. He also happened to be a female-to-male transsexual. Politics become much more pressing when I realized that he was constantly in danger and not just by bigots but also by a system that rules our society that he just doesn't fit so neatly into. Activism and political involvement no longer seem like choices instead they seem like responsibilities.

Last night, I wrote a reading response about the importantance of moments in autobiography for curriculum studies. Only by capturing moments of how we got here can we ever know where we are going. Not a step by step guide to the political me but two pivotal moments that made me understand who I am.

In conclusion: Hillary 08 "bitches"


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Hillary in 08? She may be a friend of the gay community (given her support for the war, and Bill's "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and "DOMA" legislation... I doubt she's even a friend of the GL community), but she's not transpositive AT ALL.

Bruce Parker | February 3, 2006 2:45 PM

Marti,

Can you tell me a little about her record on Trans issues? I actually have never heard or seen anything in print about it before? I would be curious and may have to adjust my view.

Thanks for any info you can provide,

Bruce

Monica Kelp | February 5, 2006 2:03 AM

She's very divisive and comes off as bitter. Do the Dems want to prove they can run someone just as bad as the Republican we've got?

It's a race to the bottom! We'll all lose togther. Won't that be fun?

Monica

Ellen Andersen | February 6, 2006 11:15 PM

These are exactly the kinds of comments I was hoping to elicit with my challenge post. From a geeky academic perspective, you've just pointed to two "critical events" that forced you to re-evaluate your political understandings. I think every contributor on this blog has experienced moments that really helped forge their political identities. For instance, despite my raging feminism, I actually got involved in LGBT politics through AIDS activism more so than the women's movement. Why? It's probably because I was in college in the second half of the 80's, just when heterosexual panic over AIDS was at its peak. (Does anyone remember the consternation when Rock Hudson revealed he had AIDS in 1985, and he'd just done a guest stint on Dynasty where he'd kissed Linda Evans? OMG, the outcry it provoked...) And I was panicked that my friends would become HIV-positive, and furious that political commentators like Patrick Buchanan were arguing that gay men ought to be tattoo'ed to protect "innocents." And so when I graduated from college, I threw myself into AIDS activism.