RSSCategory: Inspirational

Parents Support Transgendered Child

May 24, 2009 | By | 3 Replies More
Parents Support Transgendered Child

An eight-year-old child in Omaha, Nebraska, the middle of three boys, has told his parents throughout his life that he is a she. Since he learned to talk, he has said, daily, that he is really a girl. His parents have come to believe him, and are letting him begin the next school term in a new school, as a girl, with a new name.

Ben-turned-Katie will not be allowed back in his Catholic elementary school. According to the priest in the parish, since the Catholic Church believes a person is born one gender and cannot change, his appearance at school would lead to too many questions and cause discomfort for the other children.

It might, of course. Certainly it would raise all kinds of questions, yes. Hard questions, the kind that parents aren’t sure how to answer. My guess is, though, that if the school called in an expert on the subject and held an assembly in which the child’s situation is explained in brief and concrete terms and the other children were allowed to ask any questions they had, parents were allowed to attend, etc., the issue could be handled and put to rest. Children that age are amazingly accepting, and what a wonderful life lesson it could be. That is how it would be handled in our school – or similarly, somehow – one of the many reasons we are there.

In watching the video, I was struck by the dedication of these parents to their child. I am so relieved, on Katie’s behalf, that she has this kind of support. In conservative Nebraska, this can’t be easy. I wish them well, and thank them for being the kind of parents every kid deserves to have. Unconditional love at its finest.

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Check out Aimee’s legs

March 19, 2009 | By | 1 Reply More
Check out Aimee’s legs

Check out Aimee Mullins’ legs. Please note, though. She’s not disabled. Watch this video and you’ll never think of prosthetics the same.

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SLSO, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

March 8, 2009 | By | Reply More
SLSO, Hubbard Street Dance Chicago

Normally, a nosebleed seat is not the pick of the prince, but since tonight’s performance is an audio-visual one, it’s prime! I can see the tendons in each dancer’s calves; the sweat flying off their faces (visceral, if nothing else); but best of all, I can observe pre- and post-entrance dancer behavior in my sliver of a view into the wings. The verdict? Gasping for breath, these dancers still stand erect even after they’ve slid offstage.

One of Mozart’s last symphonies is Symphony No. 40 in G minor – and tonight, the Hubbard Street Dance Chicago company performs Marguerite Donlon’s Strokes Through the Tail to Symphony No. 40’s rippling anticipation.

There goes Robertson with his knees again. Bouncing with the beat, crouching low to pull the oboe in like a thick, heavy rope, his hair isn’t flouncing as much as usual. It’s been cut. In a brief pause, we see that the orchestra is as cool as a cat, though it’s sounding jittery with the suspense of unresolved harmony.

Suddenly, the lights dim, and you guessed it! Physicality as the instrument arrives with the second movement. In deference to Mozart’s wired lyricism, Principal Female plays a wind-up doll, fleety-flighting in unpredictable directions with each musical shove. Then, hooray! Guys without shirts on! These young ‘uns are wearing tailcoats, but their breasts are bright white in the stage light.

Synchronous scampering ensues. These could be members of a boy band. Individuals all – the super-young innocent, the mustachioed Borat character, and a slavic-looking baldy with a long scar next to his left eye – nevertheless chained in imitation, they showboat their long legs and make nearly identical half-turns, one after the other, like fancy dominoes.

Principal Female and her boy wonders prod each other with the crown of their heads or chest-bump like blind zygotes to transfer electricity. Tailcoats vibrate with each dancer’s buzzy shudder and periodically, a head-nudge causes one to crinkle her fingers as if she’s received a shock. No wonder David Robertson wasn’t wearing a tailcoat tonight. These Tailcoats conduct kinetic energy among themselves and direct each other’s movements like a bevy of conductors.

The leader-follower imitation mime-time carries over into garb. Briefly, Principal Female solos in white chiffon and tulle. Then the boys are back – but without their jackets! Donning delicate white skirts, they perform the lotus gait behind Principal Female in a long line like ducklings … until we notice that the (mustachioed) little swan hasn’t arrived yet. Swinging torsos – elephants turning their heads: where is mustache? Ah, here he is! Men’s legs in white light – I quite enjoy them in transparent chiffon!

Principal Female returns to the stage wearing blinding-bright pride, black boxer briefs and a tailcoat of her own. (The lacy chiffon top remains.) Tightly-bound, consequential, sequential movements conduct kinetic speed betwixt each person as they pass it on – pass it on – with a biological yearning to bond and release with and from one another.

Time and again, Innocent Boy falls behind, missing a wardrobe adjustment or curling into comfy nap time in the background as the show carries on without him. Then, to reward his audacity, Innocent Boy gets a mini solo as he runs after the others in slow motion or fancies himself autonomous. Mustachioed Joe is even gladder than Principal Gal to return to the stage himself – the first to be back this time, in black boxer briefs and his original tailcoat. No more downy feather-skirt for him.

The audience has been chuckling and giggling for some time now. We’ve bonded with the dancers. Maybe it was the yearning-bonding-slacking-off-then-falling-in-again that drew in our empathy; that and the shocking virtuosity of these athletes who skate across our vision as if on ice.

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Compassion As Discipline

March 1, 2009 | By | 5 Replies More
Compassion As Discipline

“True compassion is not just an emotional response but a firm commitment founded on reason.” – HH, the Dalai Lama

Think of people as a cross between ants and marbles constantly moving in somewhat random patterns. A mass of movement, whirring about, jostling for position and direction going about our business of motion. Sometimes we bump into each other and those bumps impact direction and velocity. When we bump, it is a function of being in the right place at the right time to have whatever impact we do. We go about our days, bumping into other marbles in the checkout line, while making lane changes, and while making a living. Many contacts happen without us being aware of them, without thinking. People often have tunnel vision and are focused only on our own paths. The reality is, though, that the opportunity for real connection is always there, we simply must expect it from ourselves. Even amidst seemingly random patterns we can choose to forge bonds with each other, but we must be committed to seeing other people with compassion.

One day I was on my way to the grocery store to pick up a prescription. It was a gray, blustery day. Traffic in the parking lot was horrible, and I could see an even more frustrating backup while a car inexplicably sat in the way of any traffic in any direction. I hate that. I was not in the best of moods that day, and after I waited five long minutes I got out of my car and walked to the head of the line, which was now edging out into the street. I gestured at the driver and at that moment a man walked out of the store and headed over to the waiting car. He asked me what my problem was, and I said that I was going to ask her to move the car so the traffic could pass. I was on my best behavior, I was professional, pleasant, not at all nasty. I really didn’t expect the vitriol that spewed from his mouth at me. I can’t remember the details but I remember my reaction. Instead of flinching back I took a step forward, straightened my posture, stuck out my chin, and said his attack was unnecessary. He then said, “What are you going to do, hit me? You big dyke.” Bizarre. I am anything but big. I am a little thing, even if I am strong, and I don’t necessarily transmit dykeness, at least that is what folks tell me. I was really taken aback . . .

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Check out these high school kids playing Shostakovich

February 20, 2009 | By | 4 Replies More
Check out these high school kids playing Shostakovich

TED has some incredible offerings these days. Here is one that about knocked me out of my chair. Turn up your computer sound and sit back for 20 minutes. Here’s the description from TED.

Gustavo Dudamel and the young members of the orchestra, many born into poverty, had had their lives transformed by a national music teaching program built by TED Prize Winner Jose Antonio Abreu. The Teresa Carreño Youth Orchestra contains the best high school musicians from Venezuela’s life-changing music program, El Sistema. Led here by Gustavo Dudamel, they play Shostakovich’s Symphony No. 10, 2nd movement, and Arturo Márquez’ Danzón No. 2.

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