28 June 2013

Win some, Lose some.

While I am happy that DOMA is now defunct, I must say that marriage is not and has never been my schtick. It's nice to see some equality happen, but it's only the bare minimum.

The same day that the Supreme Court ruled on DOMA they also struck down part of the voting rights law. This is the one that came about through the civil right movement. You know, the one that allowed people of color equal voting rights. The changes don't make it legal to discriminate or limit anyone from voting, but some of the protections are now gone.

Okay, that's a bit of a sidetrack, but still important. What I really want to say is while marriage is not my fight, trans issues are. Not in a militant way, but they are simply more important to me and should not be left out of equality discussions. 

On his show, Colbert brought up that with all of this recent coverage of LGBT rights etc, people are starting to wonder what the last two letters mean. Specifically the T. Sure, people know what it stands for, but not what it means. Even LGB people often don't think the T should be a part of the movement. 

I don't like to play the victim card, because I don't see myself as a victim. However, I do know that many- if not most- trans people are victims. Victims of hate, physical violence, sexual violence, self-hate and all forms of discrimination. And yet there are very few actual laws protecting trans people. In fact, in the UK it's a criminal offense to be a trans person and have sex without disclosing one's status. This is horrendous and unsafe. There are numerous cases of physical violence going unpunished because of the "gay defense." Basically, turning homophobia and transphobia into self-defense. And the opposite. A trans woman defended herself from physical racial and transphobic violence and ended up in prison for murder. A male prison I might add.

These are things that not everyone hears about. These are inhumanities happening right under out noses. And while I'm not generally outspoken about all of this, I think I need to be; more people need to be.

So while I celebrate a bit of a victory for the LGBT community regarding federally recognized marriages, my heart still aches for those who are fired, beaten, killed, homeless, hungry, unemployed and suicidal due to their gender identities.

(If you want sources for any of the things I've mentioned, just ask.

26 June 2013

Damn, I really need to write more.

Last weekend the boyfriend and I went climbing. It was my first time since I was 13 or so. It was his first time ever. It was amazing and well worth the (discounted) price. Now to find some friends who are already outfitted so we can tag along every now and then.

Liam and our guide dude. for scale.


I'm alergic to heat. Perhaps I should just move more north and deal with the dark winters. Anything is better than the oppression and fires that come with summer.

I feel tired. And spent. I think I'm too young to feel this old. I need a vacation. A proper one.

18 June 2013

Pridefest was a bit different this year. I didn't feel pulled in so many directions by so many people. Three friends came into town and stayed at our place. Usually there are around ten that spread between two or three residences. It gets rough. But it was nice this year to keep things a bit more low-key. And the weather was perfect. No sunburns. And I had purple hair for a bit. Actually, I still do. Apparently my job doesn't care as I was worried it might. I cut it though, now it's just vaguely spotted.

10 June 2013

memories of hay

The smell of fresh hay brings many memories flooding back to me. It's odd how smell does that.

One memory is of horses. Or course. Prior to buying my own horse, I worked on a ranch. My memory is of ridding the back of a 6-wheeler and tossing flakes of hay over an electrified fence for horses wooly with winter hair. My breath puffed out with each toss. The horses ahead of us nickered impatiently for breakfast.

Another memory of hay is driving the old (very old) tractor slowly (very slowly) around the field. My dad paid to have the hay cut and baled, but we had to pick it up ourselves. So I drove (steered really) while my dad and brother wrangled bales onto the trailer.

The last memory was one that recently eluded me when I smelled hay. The smell ignited the feel of a place, but it took me some time to figure out what I was remembering. It was a vast, low roofed shed. Dim and dusty. The most pervasive smell was not of hay, that was the underlying one. It smelled of sheep. They have a very distinct smell. Much like the smell of new leather. And the shed was full of them. Most of them 'ma-a-ing' contentedly as their lambs nuzzled close. It was lambing season -April probably- and I was perhaps 10.

Lambing season on a sheep ranch is a hectic time of year. Hundreds of ewes can easily give birth to twins and be on their way, but some have difficulties, or have triplets. My job was to care for the 'bummer' lambs; the orphans. They were kept together in a pen near the front of the shed. Here some natural light came through the open east side, but no chilly winds. The fence around the bummer pen was only a couple feet high so there was no gate. I spent hours leaning over that low fence, or climbing it and crouching among the tiny sheep. Every couple of hours, I would go to the crock pot near the pen and pull out the bottles of warming milk. I would attached a nipple to the tops of them and then disperse the contents to the lambs. They were generally very eager, greedy even; butting against the bottle and each other. It was my job to make sure each of them got the proper amount. And some of them were younger, weaker, shyer. So I would have to remove them from the pen and spend time with them; coaxing them to explore the black rubber nipple. Once they realized it was good, I rarely had to remind them again.

The rancher told me of a trick they often used to get ewes to adopt bummer lambs. The process of giving birth apparently takes a lot out of a mother, so the ewes were often very deficient in salts. Generally, they were supplied with a salt lick. However, when a ewe's lambs died or if she only had one, the ranchers would coat a bummer or two with salt and put them in a pen together. The ewe would eagerly lick the lamb and after a time it would smell like her, and she would take it in as her own.

I took home the ones that couldn't be grafted, and completed the process as a surrogate mother. Usually I only had 2 at a time, but occasionally up to 5. I gave biblical names to most the lambs. Names like Daniel and David, Esther, Ruth. Also there was Loni, Holmes, Little One, Quark. And many more I do not remember.

Some I had to feed every 4 hours. I even had to set an alarm to feed them in the middle of the night.

Davey came down with an odd paralysis in his hid legs and I would walk him around while supporting his rear end. He recovered from it and everyone was very surprised. Little One was a constant companion. She was one of the tiny ones I had to feed ever 4 hours. Occasionally, I'd have to give them Pepito-bismal or cod liver oil. Even injections. They were my projects. Many of them did not survive to adulthood, but many more than would have had I not taken them in. When they were nearly a year old, I would sell them back to the rancher and he would pay me by the pound.
Little One and me, age 11 perhaps. 

I still like sheep. And I still have fond memories of the lambing shed. They are silly animals. Not smart, but quite endearing.

Perhaps I'll move to New Zealand and join their largest industry. I wonder if job experience counts when it's been 15+ years.