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Different People Are Different…And Also People

Because I have no intention of watching "Requiem for a Dream," loved "Black Swan," and may very well see "Noah" when it moves to TBS.

Because I have no intention of watching “Requiem for a Dream,” loved “Black Swan,” and may very well see “Noah” when it debuts on TBS.

LGBTQ (RSTUVWXYZ, seriously guys, get a better acronym) causes have been in the news a lot recently. And by news, I of course mean the two or three online mags I check out from time to time.

But aside from the gay marriage issue, which I’ve spoken about before, I’d like to talk today about the transgender community, a community which — as a straight, white, Christian man — I am in no way qualified to  talk about.

You might be surprised to hear this from someone who has no problem with the government legalizing homosexual marriage and no problem with mosques being built in or around NYC, but I’m actually fairly conservative.

As a practicing Catholic, I subscribe to a binary sex system, which dictates that there are two sexes built for each other. I can’t help but believe that a person so uncomfortable in their own flesh as to necessitate identifying entirely with the opposite sex is by definition mentally-imbalanced.

Of course, that’s only my opinion. I’ve only taken one college-level psychology class, and it was an audited course, which means I’ve taken zero college-level psychology classes. 

There’s a bit of a stigma attached to mental disease/disorder. As an autistic person, I can assure you there is nothing “wrong” or “broken” about anyone with mental illness. Bipolar disorder, ADD, OCD, and all the other anxiety-causing, hallucination-inducing what-have-you’s are no less shameful than the common cold or any physical handicap.

Likewise, there’s nothing to “cure” when it comes to certain forms of mental illness. Autism, Down Syndrome, and even bipolar disorder are not diseases in the sense that the only “cure” would be a complete rewiring and rebuilding of the patient’s brain.

Good luck with that.

Good luck with that.

If you “cured” me of my autism, I’d no longer be recognizable as “me.” That’s what happens when you mess too much with the brain. A scary thought, especially for folks like myself who believe in the existence of Spirit and the immaterial, immortal nature of the human soul.

That said, treatment is available and highly-desirable for most forms of mental illness. Some of us can’t function in any real sense without our medicine, and that’s ok. No one would be surprised that a paraplegic requires a wheelchair. No one should be shocked to discover that a man with paranoid schizophrenia requires a daily dose to keep the hallucinations down to a bare minimum.

But none of that really applies to transgender folks.

With what little research I’ve done into trans-related issues, I’ve discovered that the only reliable treatment for transgender folk is for them to go ahead and be the sex/gender they identify as being. Therapeutic attempts at helping them accept their birth-sex have met with mixed results, to say the least.

Of course, that’s assuming therapy is even an option. That’s assuming the person in question hasn’t already faced bullying on par with the Spanish Inquisition.

So what are we “normals” to do? How should we treat those who are different?

The answer should be obvious. 

The idea of loving one’s neighbor is not a new one.

"It has been found difficult and left untried."

“It has been found difficult and left untried.”

Indeed, good sir. And maybe it is too difficult for some of us to conceive of loving someone far different from ourselves. Perhaps it would be easier for us to start with politeness.

First: What NOT To Do

1. Don’t ask someone about the condition of their genitals. Not a stranger, not someone you just met, not even your friends. Seriously, it’s rude.

2. Don’t beat someone to death because they had a penis when you thought they’d have a vagina. Beating people to death is wrong. Seriously, I shouldn’t have to tell you this. It’s wrong to rape. It’s wrong to murder. How do you not know this already? Are you from the moon?

3. Don’t stare at odd-looking folks. Every so often, I see certain folks on the train or at a grocery store. At first glance, I can’t tell if these folks are women dressed as men, transgender folks, men dressed as women, or some other category I can’t be bothered to look up at the moment because I got other stuff to do today, and I’m running behind as it is. What do I do when faced with these people?

I smile and continue about my day. I don’t stare. I don’t ask them personal questions. I treat them like everyone else I happen to run into, with love and respect. This is not that difficult. It’s what your mother taught you. It’s what the Church teaches. This should not be new. It is not a new concept.

What To Do

Here’s a list of ways to interact with transgender folks, other members of the LGBTQ community, members of minority ethnic groups, people with different hair color or skin tone or eye color than you, people with different religious affiliations, and people who hate everything.

1. Smile.

2. Nod.

3. Interact as you would with anyone else.

Seriously, that’s all. Show a basic level of human empathy and politeness to others. If a Different Person asks you for the time, pull out your watch or phone or alarm clock and tell them what time it is. If a Different Person asks you for a haircut, give them one and charge them the right rate. Unless you’re not a hair-stylist or barber, in which case, you are free to refuse service.

Seriously, why would you ask me for a haircut? I don’t even own one of those squeaky barbershop chairs.

Update: My stance on the gay marriage issue has since changed, slightly. While as a Christian, I cannot vote for it, as an American, I will not vote against it. The government has no right to forbid the marriage of two consenting adults. I call shenanigans on that. Shenanigans, all around.

Shenanigans.

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Book Update — Ahh! So Close!

Hey, folks.

I’ve Been rethinking the map of my world, both in a geographical and political sense. I’d put my Lost Order of Good Guys too far away from the Evil Bad Land for them to be effective.  And it makes no sense for a wizard’s tower to be that deep in the dragons’ mountains.

Anyway, the point here is I have to give it one more round of personal editing, then another professional edit, then let some writers’ groups look at it and all that.

Once that’s done, I’ll start submitting again to agents.

Frustrating, I know. Will let you know as soon as it’s done.

The good news is the first book is the hardest one. The rest will come out much quicker!

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Holy Farting Sharks…

The Optimist’s Umbrella will be updating in about 9 hours with a filler piece, composed more out of obligation than anything else. I just couldn’t think of a topic.

Then I turned on the news.

Russia might not be trying to take over parts of Ukraine, but, you know, they’re doing a pretty dead-on impression of it. Combine that with Russia’s thousand-year-quest for beachfront property, and well, here we go again, kiddies.

I’ve said for a while now that Russia’s been acting a lot more like Russia lately. Putin’s a total different bag from Yeltsin. Under Yeltsin, Russia was all warm and nice and polite. They were basically France.

Not anymore, folks. The Bear is back and he is pissed the hell off!

Speaking of Putin, is anyone else thrown off by this guy? First off, how is he still in charge? They have free elections in Russia. I know. I’ve lived through at least two of them.

I’d thought Putin wasn’t the president or premier or whatever anymore. It’s like if we elected Barack Obama, but kept listening to Jimmy Carter into the 2010s.

Ok, fine. So, he’s the President of Russia now. Whoopdee-doo.

But I thought this whole Pan-Slavic, nationalistic, “Russia for Russians,” self-determination-for-all-ethnic-groups thing went out of style the day we dropped the Bomb?

Now, Russia’s acting all big and bad cuz they want the Crimean peninsula?

Paging Nurse Nightingale to Ward One…

Uh…WTF?

This and Arizona and the ongoing healthcare thing where our President decided to give us our medicine because it’s for our own good and it’s all just…BLEEEEERRGGH!

The Affordable Care Act isn’t that big of a deal to me, honestly. Aside from taxpayer-funded abortions, I really don’t care that much. I’ve never picked my own doctor before. Continuing to not have a choice isn’t a downgrade.

I’m more concerned with the fact that on one side, we have an honest-to-God egomaniacal dictatorship forming, and on the other hand, our own president has an army of flying killer robots.

Is this the future or the past?

Have we all gone nuts or stupid?

Are we human or are we dancer?

What the hell is Brandon Flowers even singing about?

Well…

I really need to see this movie.

And dammit, I miss Philip Seymour Hoffman!

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Book Update: Emerald Sword

Hi kids!

Sorry updates have been a little sparse. I’ve been hard at work on Bubblegum-Man and the novel.

The bad news is there are a few tweaks I need to make to the book to get it where I want it. The good news is that these changes are largely cosmetic. I’ll be reworking parts of the final battle, as well as adding more description to the Tower of the Skull and fleshing out the culture and customs of the plains-elves. Basic world-building. Nothing that would affect a release date.

More bad news on that front. Or rather, no news. No bites yet for Emerald Sword.

On the upside, Bubblegum-Man should be making his first online appearance shortly. Stay tuned!

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IHST – On the Name of the Lord

IHST 11-23-13

Remember when we did these every week?

Ah.

Those were the days.

Speaking of awesome things, my book is done…er…again! Had some editing to do these last few weeks, and now I’m really feeling my book is ready to go out there. Granted, that’s what I said last time…Ah well.

Anyway, if any of you would like a copy, let me know. From now until Christmas, I’m emailing electronic copies to my friends and followers. Let me know if you’d like a peak. And please, let me know what you think.

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IHST – On the Invention of Birds

IHST 10-21-13

 

When I was about 11 or 12, I got a pet bird for Christmas. She (or he, we never did get the gender sorted out) was a bright green and yellow budgie. I named her “Quiver.” A short while later, we got another pet bird, a blue and white budgie I named Mr. Bluebird. I was feeling particularly imaginative.

Mr. Bluebird was a survivor. A neighbor had given him to us after her cat had eaten his mate. He was also a total tool. The moment Mr. Bluebird entered that cage, Quiver lost whatever affection she may have had for me. Mr. Bluebird became her one and only.

Of course, Quiver had always treated me with more trepidation than anything else. Not that I blame her. Who wants to be a pre-teen’s pet, anyway?

Quiver and Mr. Bluebird died when I was in high school. By that time, we had a pet dog, and I didn’t give them much attention anymore. Of course, they had each other.

During their brief lives, Quiver and Mr. Bluebird had many adventures both inside and outside the cage. They ate and drank and sang all day long. But the thing they loved to do most of all was poop. Between the two of them, Quiver and Mr. Bluebird produced around two or three pounds of poop per week. That’s saying something, considering both birds were only a few ounces each.

Consider, if two birds can produce so much poop in a week, imagine how much poop all the birds in your hometown can produce?

Sometimes, I look out my window and can’t help feeling surprised at how very little of the world is covered in bird poop.

Auklet flock, Shumagins 1986

“Look out below!” –Auklet flock, Shumagins 1986 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)