CHS Pics | Trans Day of Remembrance lanterns rise above Broadway

Some of the lanterns quite literally crashed and burned. Others soared high into the night sky of Capitol Hill, orange dots drifting away. A night of inspiration and remembrance at Seattle Central Tuesday included speakers, plenty of mingling, and an emotion-filled project to write the names of transgender people who lost their lives in the past year on paper luminaria before setting the lanterns free to drift away over Broadway.

“I can either sit down and say that is none of my business. Or I can say, ‘You are just like me, come stand next to me. I got you,” organizer and Seattle Central student Astro Pittman told the crowd assembled inside a large meeting room at the Broadway school about his motivation for bringing the event together. Continue reading

Gender Justice League announces founder Askini to step down — UPDATE

Askini at this year’s Trans Pride Seattle march

The Gender Justice League, a nonprofit with an important presence on Capitol Hill providing support and advocacy for transgender and gender diverse people, has announced executive director Danni Askini has stepped down from the organization she helped found:

Gender Justice League has been rapidly growing in size, budget, and influence. However, under our current model, we will not be able to sustain this rate of growth indefinitely. We are taking this opportunity to undergo a strategic restructuring of our organization.

Askini’s legal situation, meanwhile, is fraught. Continue reading

Rally Saturday to fight for rights of Seattle transgender students

Every week, it seems, brings a new target as the Trump administration seemingly picks its way down the list of some of the biggest progressive gains and efforts of the past decade. Wednesday brought the latest affront as news spread of a new White House memo rolling back Obama administration protections for transgender students. In Seattle, of course, people are already fighting back.

“I can’t believe they’re going after the kids,” the Gender Justice League’s Danni Askini told CHS Wednesday afternoon.

The White House letter issued Wednesday tells officials at the nation’s public schools to disregard the previous administration’s directives that established that prohibiting transgender students “from using facilities that align with their gender identity” violated federal anti-discrimination laws. Continue reading

“Back a Dream”– Share the Message of Authentic Living!

My 40-year memoir of the joys and struggles with my own spirituality, gender identity, and commitment to living true to myself.

What is 40 Years in the Wilderness – My Journey to Authentic Living?

The story I tell is one of a man, facing his truth, embracing the woman she was always meant to be, and returning to her faith with wholeness and authenticity.  I believe my story must be told. It is important for everyone to hear and will hopefully inspire and empower many others who face seemingly insurmountable obstacles to wholeness in their lives.

My story is not simply a tale of personal triumph over inner demons. Rather, I am telling my story in order to, with the help of God, inspire and help others who are mired in obstacles — people for whom achieving a life of authenticity, genuineness, and wholeness feels impossible. I, like many individuals, was paralyzed by fear, shame, and low self-esteem for most of my life.

Like me, these individuals find themselves unable to make the leap of faith they need to honor their own inner truth. Many people, deep inside, yearn to somehow catapult past their personal demons, the forces strangling, suffocating, and wringing the life out of them.

40 Years in the Wilderness: My Journey to Authentic Living will appeal to any human being who struggles daily to be honest with him or her self.  Imagine what it would be like for that person to wake up one morning and live the entire day as a personal testimony to his or her inner truth.  The Jew, the gender variant, or anyone, who wonders how he or she can go on one more day living a life that belongs to someone else, a life that is tragically not their own.  My book may, just may, help one of these individuals.  It is for that one individual I am writing this book.

The Story

In 1971 I visited Israel for the first time, a 20-year-old man tormented by gender identity confusion. Long before the advent of the internet, support groups, and immediate accessibility to both massive amounts of information and a global community, I felt isolated from the world. I truly believed I was the only person on the planet suffering from the chronic pain of feeling that I was a female trapped in a male body. I left Israel feeling a new sense of pride in my Jewish identity. I made a commitment to myself to study and experience more of Jewish culture and tradition. Alongside this enthusiasm was the certainty that I would always be challenged by my own Judaism, even more than the world in general, to live an authentic life. In a way, my newly found source of pride and identity only exacerbated my distance and disconnect from myself and from those around me.

The Jewish world that I was about to explore adhered to a strict binary gender system, leaving no room for the blurring of lines or any fluidity.

As with the children of Israel’s physical journey in the wilderness, I journeyed for 40 years in my own personal wilderness. I too left a place of exile, a place of bitter enslavement to forces inhibiting my authenticity. And I too, after 40 years in the wilderness, began to experience personal redemption and sweet freedom, to taste truth and wholeness. In 2011, I returned to Israel. This time I was no longer tormented by gender identity confusion. This time I did not feel isolated from the world. This time I was no longer one gender trapped in the body of another. This time I was a woman.

Translations, Seattle’s transgender film festival, begins its 8th year on Capitol Hill

Gender Failure starts the 2013 festival Thursday at Harvard Exit

Gender Failure starts the 2013 festival Thursday at Harvard Exit

As springtime has most definitely arrived, so has Translations, the Seattle transgender film festival. Returning for its eighth year, Translations is a four-day festival starting Thursday produced by Three Dollar Bill Cinema.

“The impact of film is strong, because it allows people to understand individual experiences,” says Sam Berliner, the 2013 festival director. The Berkeley, California-based Berliner wrote and directed the short film Genderbusters which received the Translations audience award in 2011. Continue reading