November 21, 2008

A Flock of Flamingos

Posted in Apropos of nothing, News at 5:39 pm by The Lizard Queen

News from the lighter side for a Friday afternoon…

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Mystery surrounds missing flamingo flock:

LOVELAND — The Thompson Valley High School band is missing a flock of pink flamingos, and band members suspect foul play.

It began about a month ago when the 80-member marching band started a fundraiser involving pink yard flamingos, said band director Robert Pippen.

Three teams of band students, each team wielding around 15 flamingos, were paid to cover a person’s yard with a flock of the fake birds.

The surprised recipient of the flock then had some options: pay $10 to have the flock removed; pay $25 to flock someone else’s house; or pay $35, which includes flock insurance.

The insurance ensured people would never be “flocked” again, Pippen said. He emphasized the “flocking” is all in good fun to raise about $10,000 for three new marching tubas. They’re up to $400.

“If someone is really upset about it and doesn’t want to pay, we won’t make them pay, of course.” Pippen said.

But one flamingo team got grounded two weeks ago after “flocking” a home. The day after the “flocking,” the birds were missing and it appears someone may have taken the flock for themselves, Pippen said.

I think this is a delightful fundraiser idea (and I am, of course, extra enthusiastic given the fact that they’re raising money for new tubas!), but I can see why it wouldn’t fly (pun fully intended) with some people.  There was a man who lived down the street from the house I grew up in who took great pride in his putting-green-quality lawn, and who I imagine would be utterly livid to discover a flock of plastic flamingos marring it.  (When I was fourteen he came to our front door with a shovel full of dirt and, ostensibly, cat shit (I was happy to take his word for it) and told me that if he ever caught our cats using his planters as a litter box again, he’d kill them.  I’ve had indoor-only cats ever since.)

Even with that former neighbor in mind, though, what kind of Scrooge McGrinch steals a high school band’s flock of lawn flamingos?  I hope they’re returned soon.

[Photo from GetFlocked.com, which proudly touts “flocking” as a fundraiser idea.  🙂 ]

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November 20, 2008

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Posted in Civil rights, Gender issues, GLBT issues, Human rights, Trans issues at 12:48 pm by The Lizard Queen

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From the TDOR website:

The Transgender Day of Remembrance was set aside to memorialize those who were killed due to anti-transgender hatred or prejudice. The event is held in November to honor Rita Hester, whose murder on November 28th, 1998 kicked off the “Remembering Our Dead” web project and a San Francisco candlelight vigil in 1999. Rita Hester’s murder — like most anti-transgender murder cases — has yet to be solved. …

The Transgender Day of Remembrance serves several purposes. It raises public awareness of hate crimes against transgender people, an action that current media doesn’t perform. Day of Remembrance publicly mourns and honors the lives of our brothers and sisters who might otherwise be forgotten. Through the vigil, we express love and respect for our people in the face of national indifference and hatred. Day of Remembrance reminds non-transgender people that we are their sons, daughters, parents, friends and lovers. Day of Remembrance gives our allies a chance to step forward with us and stand in vigil, memorializing those of us who’ve died by anti-transgender violence.

Jack at Feministe points out that “Remembrance is important and necessary, but we cannot stop at remembrance. If we want this violence against trans people to stop, we must move beyond mourning our dead and take up the fight for the rights of our living,” then goes on to list a number of ways to do so.

Some facts compiled by the Remembering Our Dead Project:

  • As of November 11, 2008, 16 transpeople [the site says 30 elsewhere] have died as a result of transphobic violence.  This is already double last year’s number.  These numbers include not only those who were murdered for being trans, but also those whose deaths were caused by transphobia in other ways.  One example is Tyra Hunter, who in 1995 “died from non-life-threatening injuries received in an auto accident because EM workers stopped treating her when they discovered she was Transgender.”
  • Twelve states, along with the District of Columbia, have hate crime laws that include gender identity.  Is your state one of them?  If not, what can you do to change that?  If so, are those laws being enforced?
  • Transpeople themselves aren’t the only victims of transphobic violence.  Being in a relationship with a transperson can put someone at risk, too.  Indeed, even just the slightest sign of gender non-conformity can be an excuse for the transphobic to act out: “Willie Houston was not a transgender person, but faced anti-transgender and (and anti-gay) violence because he was carrying his wife’s purse, and assisting a blind male.”

In related news, Out in Memphis has a list of what needs to be done in the aftermath of Duanna Johnson’s murder.

Also, Little Light expresses frustration at the HRC trying to get involved in Portland’s Trans Day of Remembrance (and trying to shift the focus “to ‘Trans Awareness Day,’ something much more upbeat, much more focused on feel-good celebration of the community, something much more acceptable to upper-class, culturally-normative assimilationists you can put in the newspaper without making anyone feel threatened”):

The Day of Remembrance is ours, and it is sacred. It is the one day we set aside to honor those in our community, overwhelmingly poor trans women of color, who were killed due to bigotry and hatred. It is a single day in the year where we make certain that the names of the murdered are heard and held up, so we can all remember that these people mattered, were real, were loved, and are missed. It’s a day to gather the community together and call attention to the violence directed against us and the caring we have for each other. It came from us. It was built by us. It was never supposed to be flashy or glitzy. It is a solemn mourning for the dead, a place to hold hands, and a promise to those who violence took away from us that we who are still living will hold together, take care of each other, and push forward together into a world where that violence is only a painful memory.

Other posts worth reading: queenemily at Questioning Transphobia: How to Mourn, Cara at the Curvature: Transgender Day of Remembrance 2008, Autumn at Pam’s House Blend: Today is the Annual Transgender Day of Remembrance.

Remember.  Mourn.  Act.  Speak out.

November 4, 2008

Music for Election Night

Posted in Current events, Music, Politics at 10:40 pm by The Lizard Queen

This song popped into my head as I was sitting here, watching election coverage on TV and poking through my overfull blog reader.  Oddly enough, the version I tend to hear in my head is Simon & Garfunkel’s, I went looking for Bob Dylan’s, but was struck by Tracy Chapman’s rendition, so that’s what I’m posting.  (After watching this video I enjoyed a lovely live rendition of “Talkin’ ‘Bout A Revolution,” but thought that might be a bit much, all things considered.  That said, though, if you like such things and weren’t already aware, Tracy Chapman’s debut is a fucking amazing album.  Just sayin’.)

Anyway, on to the music — The Times, They Are A-Changin’: