Thursday, January 18, 2018

Transgender overlap with unschooling

Because of some conversations in and around unschooling (late 2016, early 2017) concerning young girls who decided they were boys, and wanted hormone blockers (one girl reportedly had a crowd-funded mastectomy at 14), I expressed my opinion and got jumped and insulted.

Unaccustomed to having people tell me that I was not allowed to ask questions, or that something that came out of unschooling discussions was none of my business, I began to read more and to ask questions.

A quote from an article unrelated to unschooling:
Thanks in part to the full-throated support of progressives and trans activists, one approach is gaining ground in America. It contends that children know themselves best: if your three-year-old says he is a girl, do not deny or question her but instead support her. When she is ready to transition, assist her to do so – whether that means buying pink dresses now or approving her use of cross-sex hormones later on. Parents who affirm their kids’ desire to transition have been widely lauded for their courage; doctors who question whether medical intervention is in a child’s best interest have been accused of transphobia.

So contentious is this argument that parents I have spoken to fear publicly raising issues that worry them. There is one, in particular, that troubles many: what if my child changes her mind?
WHEN GIRLS WON’T BE GIRLS, CHARLIE MCCANN | SEPTEMBER 28TH 2017

It's not only in America.

In late 2017, a couple of unschooled girls "desisted." They changed their minds. Then another one changed her mind. When they were interviewed and their stories were published (one of the young teens was interviewed, and two moms were interviewed), unschooling groups variously attacked the reports, or removed the links. That was interesting to me, too.

I had already started collecting notes and information on my page at http://sandradodd.com/transgender.html

On October 5, 2017, I created a public facebook group I was going to call "Transgender Questions." There was already a group with that name, though, and it was rougher advice for adult transgender folk, so I added (Parents) to the name to distinguish the two. My hope was that people would join and share what they knew, both supporters and skeptics of treatment for teens.

What has happened (as I report this in January) was that people who never joined attacked me verbally (facebook writing, mostly), and in some of the discussions I could see, there were dogpiles of "yes, she's awful," complete with some detailed lies and various add-on claims that make no sense to people familiar with my unschooling beliefs, practices and writings over the years. I was called a TERF bitch, and told to shut the fuck up, that I had no business in or around that topic, that it was people like me who caused deaths, and suicides would come of it, all because of me.

In the early days of the group, some of the 35, 50 members, were adult trans people. No one was asked to self-identify in any way, but some people volunteered to do so. Their information, though, was outdated, and the assurances they were giving were not current as to what is being said and done then, late 2017, for/with/to children and teens who said "I think I'm transgender, too." They were wrong in thinking that this happened about equally with girls and boys. Overwhelmingly, it's girls, these days.

One by one, a few supporters came to the group. A mom; a young woman using "they" and claiming non-binary status; another one of those later; one less unidentified as to status. Each seemed sure that a few posts would persuade us all that we were wrong and they were right, but they were bringing no research, and no caution, just the same recitations and assurances of acceptance-or-death, and each lasted just a couple of days (or less) before getting pissed off and storming out, or dropping away.

Meanwhile, the world was continuing to change quickly—politically and medically. Those in the group who were concerned with danger to young people continued to bring real research and evidence. In the outer world, more and more young women who had lived as men, who had changed gender, some legally, some who had taken testosterone and grown beards and begun to bald, changed their minds. They decided they were women, started sharing their stories online here and there, saying had been swept up in something questionable, and that the drugs they had been taking were unhealthy.

Notably, many of them come back to say that they don't mean to suggest that others should not accept treatment, and there are transgender people, and they don't mean to suggest everyone who takes testosterone is wrong to do so, and such backpedalling and defensive statements. I'm guessing that they fear the bullying pressure of the transgender supporters.

These notes are here mostly for my own benefit, to check back years from now about when and why I asked all those questions. If there had not been so much overlap with and co-opting of unschooling terminology and principles in the defense of children's truth and right, without any consideration or questions about the legitimacy of the feelings or the pressures behind the expression of them, I still wouldn't know. People started saying that anyone who didn't immediately offer hormone blockers was "not a good unschooler."

It should not be associated with, or part of unschooling, in my opinion, because the problems with the whole movement and belief system are huge and growing. Unschooling shouldn't be connected with anything that can't withstand the light of casual inquiry.

Late 2017 and early 2018 are seeing revelations in other places, about legal, moral, medical problems with "the transgender community." If, from within, the emperor's clothes are sorted out, real from imagined, my Q&A group won't be at all needed.

The unschoolers' accounts referenced above, and the link to the facebook group:


Brie Jontry: Born in the right body

Noor Masterson (Brie's daughter), and her account: It’s not conversion therapy to learn to love your body: A teen desister tells her story

Jenny Cyphers, A Careful Step into a Field of Landmines



Transgender Questions (Parents) public (readable without joining) facebook group



KRST Radio (history)

KRST (for "Crest"), one of the best early FM stations in the 1970's, was my favorite.
They played rock, from albums, of the late '60s and the then-current 70's.

Here was their logo, for a while. I scanned it from some program or other, but I'd had a nice glossy vinyl sticker of it back in the day.


I listened to that station every day, in the car, in the house sometimes. One morning I turned it on and it was country music. Current country music.

No warning. A complete change.

If anyone knows what day that was, leave me a note. Wikipedia says it was 1980, Urban Cowboy that did it. It very likely had to do with the country line-dance craze that replaced disco as a singles-bar activity for lots of people. I thought it was earlier than 1980. I'm curious to know.

Wednesday, January 03, 2018

Ivan Dodd

Ivan was born December 28, 2017, at Presbyterian Rust Medical Center in Rio Rancho.

Day 1:



Day 3:



Day 6:








Monday, November 27, 2017

Española Elementary, me, 1960-65

I'm so glad I found these while I had a scanner and a website. First I put them on Facebook at "Española, do you remember when?" but that's a closed group. Then I put them on my webpage. I'm hoping people who are in the photos, or their kids or grandkids might find them. Click one to go to some notes and names, and when you get there if you click the image twice, you can zoom in on people.



5-B



4-D


2-H


1-B


2-H

Friday, November 17, 2017

David Bowie's kindness

Because David Bowie wrote me a long, sweet letter when I was a teen and he was barely an adult, others have sent me David-Bowie stories and art, but this one is worth saving and sharing. I had seen it once before, but this time I thought I should put it in a safe place and connect it with the letter.

I responded:
That combined with the letter her wrote me make a really nice picture of what kind of guy he was.

Alex Polikowsky:
Yes. I thought the story is plausible because of the letter he wrote you!

And it really paints a picture of who he was. It was heartwarming, like the letter.

The story is on Neil Gaman's Tumblr blog, here, from October 5, 2017, but I will quote it, in case it gets lost.
My friend told me a story he hadn’t told anyone for years. When he used to tell it years ago people would laugh and say, ‘Who’d believe that? How can that be true? That’s daft.’ So he didn’t tell it again for ages. But for some reason, last night, he knew it would be just the kind of story I would love.

When he was a kid, he said, they didn’t use the word autism, they just said ‘shy’, or ‘isn’t very good at being around strangers or lots of people.’ But that’s what he was, and is, and he doesn’t mind telling anyone. It’s just a matter of fact with him, and sometimes it makes him sound a little and act different, but that’s okay.

Anyway, when he was a kid it was the middle of the 1980s and they were still saying ‘shy’ or ‘withdrawn’ rather than ‘autistic’. He went to London with his mother to see a special screening of a new film he really loved. He must have won a competition or something, I think. Some of the details he can’t quite remember, but he thinks it must have been London they went to, and the film…! Well, the film is one of my all-time favourites, too. It’s a dark, mysterious fantasy movie. Every single frame is crammed with puppets and goblins. There are silly songs and a goblin king who wears clingy silver tights and who kidnaps a baby and this is what kickstarts the whole adventure.

It was ‘Labyrinth’, of course, and the star was David Bowie, and he was there to meet the children who had come to see this special screening.

‘I met David Bowie once,’ was the thing that my friend said, that caught my attention.

‘You did? When was this?’ I was amazed, and surprised, too, at the casual way he brought this revelation out. Almost anyone else I know would have told the tale a million times already.

He seemed surprised I would want to know, and he told me the whole thing, all out of order, and I eked the details out of him.

He told the story as if it was he’d been on an adventure back then, and he wasn’t quite allowed to tell the story. Like there was a pact, or a magic spell surrounding it. As if something profound and peculiar would occur if he broke the confidence.

It was thirty years ago and all us kids who’d loved Labyrinth then, and who still love it now, are all middle-aged. Saddest of all, the Goblin King is dead. Does the magic still exist?

I asked him what happened on his adventure.

‘I was withdrawn, more withdrawn than the other kids. We all got a signed poster. Because I was so shy, they put me in a separate room, to one side, and so I got to meet him alone. He’d heard I was shy and it was his idea. He spent thirty minutes with me.

‘He gave me this mask. This one. Look.

‘He said: ‘This is an invisible mask, you see?

‘He took it off his own face and looked around like he was scared and uncomfortable all of a sudden. He passed me his invisible mask. ‘Put it on,’ he told me. ‘It’s magic.’

‘And so I did.

‘Then he told me, ‘I always feel afraid, just the same as you. But I wear this mask every single day. And it doesn’t take the fear away, but it makes it feel a bit better. I feel brave enough then to face the whole world and all the people. And now you will, too.

‘I sat there in his magic mask, looking through the eyes at David Bowie and it was true, I did feel better.

‘Then I watched as he made another magic mask. He spun it out of thin air, out of nothing at all. He finished it and smiled and then he put it on. And he looked so relieved and pleased. He smiled at me.

‘'Now we’ve both got invisible masks. We can both see through them perfectly well and no one would know we’re even wearing them,’ he said.

‘So, I felt incredibly comfortable. It was the first time I felt safe in my whole life.

‘It was magic. He was a wizard. He was a goblin king, grinning at me.

‘I still keep the mask, of course. This is it, now. Look.’

I kept asking my friend questions, amazed by his story. I loved it and wanted all the details. How many other kids? Did they have puppets from the film there, as well? What was David Bowie wearing? I imagined him in his lilac suit from Live Aid. Or maybe he was dressed as the Goblin King in lacy ruffles and cobwebs and glitter.

What was the last thing he said to you, when you had to say goodbye?

‘David Bowie said, ‘I’m always afraid as well. But this is how you can feel brave in the world.’ And then it was over. I’ve never forgotten it. And years later I cried when I heard he had passed.’

My friend was surprised I was delighted by this tale.

‘The normal reaction is: that’s just a stupid story. Fancy believing in an invisible mask.’

But I do. I really believe in it.

And it’s the best story I’ve heard all year.

from Neil Gaman's Tumblr blog



Here's the 1967 letter I received that complements this story in revealing a thoughtful kindness in the man:



You can read more about that letter here: David Bowie Letter: Images, Notes and Follow-up


Thursday, October 19, 2017

Calvert Reserve (band, Española, late 60's)



I've had this photo since the 1960's but only scanned it lately.

Those shown are Earl Salazar, Matthew Chacon, Leonard Maestas, Sweetie Garcia (Oliver Garcia), and Joseph Garcia.
Later, Frankie Saiz was the drummer.

Earl is (again, or has been more than once) Governor of Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. His mom was of that Pueblo (San Juan Pueblo, at the time) and his dad was Hispanic; they lived just across the river. His mom had beaded a guitar strap for him with a star and a duck to represent his Indian name. Earl was one of the photographers for the annual, so it might have been take with his camera, but I don't know who to credit for this, if not Earl. Norman Rhee, the other possibility, didn't take it.

Matthew became an attorney and inherited his dad's office and client base. He is now deceased.
Matthew's younger brother, Michael Chacon, was head of another band called The Bitter End. Both bands played regularly at shows and dances at various venues and schools in several town around. Michael's band also included Jimmy Powers, Jimmy Green and Robert (Bubba) Torrez.

Joe Garcia is still making music in California.

Wednesday, October 04, 2017

Up with People

I wasn't a member of Up With People, but a school friend was—Jon Tsosie. His sister, Betty, had been, too, and they toured once and stayed on Mackinaw Island in Michigan. Jon told me it was the most beautful place he had ever seen and he wanted to go back and live there.

Years later, I met (and later married) Keith Dodd, who had been in a local Sing-Out group in Alamogordo. They went on a road trip once to a gathering, convention, or something. He wasn't in a touring group of Up With People, but it seemed all to be the same thing, somehow, musically and as to focus and intention.

The other day in a moment of curiosity, I looked up to see whether the group was related to the Mormon Church. That would not have surprised me, because Jon's involvement started when he lived in in Utah—I don't remember now which suburb of SLC, and he and Betty were recruited as Native American cast members. There were other Indian kids, too.
Jon, middle of five; Betty not appearing in this photo.


By the time I knew Jon after he had moved to Santa Clara (where his mom had grown up), the Up With People participation had come and gone (maybe partly because he was not in Utah anymore—I didn't think to ask more).

It wasn't Mormon, but there was a religious seed, according to this article:
The Hidden Story Of The Up With People Singers. From that article:
Up With People emerged from the controversial religious movement Moral Re-Armament (MRA)—a cult-like organization that preached honesty, purity, unselfishness and love—so it’s no surprise that the groups bore more than a passing similarity. In fact, Up With People founder J. Blanton Belk was heir apparent to Peter D. Howard, a British journalist who succeeded Frank Buchman as MRA’s leader in 1961. But Belk broke away to incorporate Up With People as a non-profit after President Dwight Eisenhower urged him to distance himself from the dreary image of MRA.

Whatever started it, both Jon and Keith really liked the songs they learned, and they got to travel because of it, too.