Transgender Day of Remembrance

SeleenaK_2011-10-21-14.38.17I’m not a hateful person .. I’m really not. It’s just that as the years go by, things start to become a little clearer for me.  As the clock continues to wind down on this bimbo, I realize that ideals are wonderful but they don’t count for much when the rubber hits the road.

My so-called liberal-progressive friends grab on to the Transgender Day of Remembrance concept, turn up the drama and milk it for all it’s worth.  And it makes me crazy.

For those of you who may not be aware, The Transgender Day of Remembrance is “celebrated” every year on November 20th.  It’s a day to memorialize trans people who died violently in the previous year, simply for being trans.

But let me back up just a little.  One death is too many deaths.  This is indisputable.  And, yes, memorializing those who’s lives were taken simply because they were trans might be an honorable thing to do.  But in the ideological mind, there is no desire or need to understand the tragic data.  To them, there’s a very high-level, abstract feeling in the concept, so they run with it.

My mind just doesn’t work that way.  Partly because I’m analytical and partly because I feel responsible for my own safety.  I need to understand the risks to me and to those close to me, and to do this, raising a flag and making a speech to raise awareness falls horribly short.

Were these murders committed on my street? I’m my town? In my country? And were the victims cautious folks who avoided dangerous areas and risky behavior? Who killed them?  Friends? Family? Strangers?  “Clients”?  And why?  I don’t need to know how they died.  “Skinned alive”, “shot 3 times in the face”.  Even the most humane termination of life for this reason is horrific to me.  But for those so inclined, knowing how it happened does help feed the drama.

Maturity starts, when drama ends.  ~ Melchor Lim

This is where I get accused of “victim blaming” but that’s not what I’m doing.

No one deserves to die!  There are no actions or lifestyle choices that put the blame on the victim.  I’m just trying to understand what went so horribly wrong so I can try to protect myself and do my best to guide others away from danger.  Do I need to live in fear each and every day of my life  or can I feel reasonably comfortable by knowing what places or behaviors to avoid and what the danger signs in others might be?

This year’s sad number is 268.  268 transgender murders were reported worldwide.  One can only assume the number is higher since gathering numbers for the whole world is something even the WHO struggles with.

But let’s talk about the data.  Or better still, let me explain the detail I was able to find.

  • Of 268 murders, 154 (57%) were committed in Brazil. Yep .. again.  Over half the trans deaths in the entire world happened in Brazil.  Add in Mexico’s 31 (12%) and the United States 14 (5%) – the top three countries – and we account for 75% of all transgender murders worldwide.

My country, Canada, is usually not on the list at all but this year was the exception.  Two trans women were murder in 2014 in the same city – Edmonton.   Ironic side note here:  One of the reported victims was described as a very prominent drag queen.  Most of the trans community doesn’t normally consider drag queens as trans folk but when the opportunity presents itself to bump up the stats, drag queens suddenly become trans folk.

  • The 19-29 age bracket was the most victimized group.
  • a large number of victims were sex trade workers
  • some on the list were there due to speculation and hear-say as opposed to involvement in a documented hate crime

But does anyone care about the 154 Brazilian’s who died unnecessarily?  “Of course!  We care about everyone!” says the bandwagon, but posting an ‘in memoriam’ photo, attending a flag raising or expressing sadness (sniff, sniff) in the social media world does little to help the 150-ish Brazilian trans folks who will likely die before the next Day of Remembrance.

Please, bandwagon people, let’s work on real, substantial ways to end the bloodshed in Brazil, Mexico and the United States, for starters.  I don’t want to be memorialized on November 20th and I’m guessing you don’t either.

 

 

 

additional information and my reference numbers can be found at:
http://www.transviolencetracker.org/index.php/82-blog/110-preliminary-tvtp-transgender-violence-report-for-transgender-awareness-2014
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/courtney-odonnell/transgender-day-of-rememb_b_6088794.html
http://www.glaad.org/tdor

Secret Lift – Facelift Without Surgery

As the years go by, our appearance changes.  Sometimes the change is barely noticeable and sometimes it’s a little more dramatic.

I keep feeling like the years are not being kind to me but when I look back at photos that are 10 or 15 years old, I become aware that I really haven’t changed all that much.

I have a few age lines, very few actual wrinkles but the thing that has bothered me a little for the last few decades are my jowls.  That droopiness in the cheeks beside my mouth.

I had read about how to minimize the look of jowls, had discussed it with a makeup professional and learned the basics of using the medical tape solution.  But getting the effect “just right” was always a challenge.

So at a recent conference I attended, the topic came up in casual discussion.  A friend (thanks Cynthia!) recommended a product called Secret Lift so I thought I’d give it a try.  “Easy to use and very adjustable” she said.

Her suggested supplier was  Cosmesearch.  Upon investigating, I discovered they had  two versions.  The “original” and the “pro” version.  I ordered the original, and in a shade for those of us with dark hair.

SeleenaK_3021What It Is

Secret Lift  is basically two elasticized face-lifting bands with barbs on the ends and a hook to connect both sides and a bunch of adhesive tapes with a hole for the barbs.  There is also a single lifting band for the neck.

How It Works

While looking at yourself in a mirror, place your index fingers on your cheeks just in front of your ears and gently push your cheek back or up.  Note the effect.  Move your fingers up and down, forward or back and watch the changes to your overall face.  This is basically what Secret Lift does.

My Experience

I spent a minute or two trying to determine my sweet spot while looking in the mirror.  That sweet spot is the spot on my cheek that will give me the most flattering look when pushed back a little.

Once I found that spot, I wiped the area with rubbing alcohol to remove any lotions or skin oil that might negatively affect the adhesive tapes.  Before attaching the tapes, I pushed the barbed end of each of the two lifting bands through the small hold in the tab  part of the tape.  Next I peeled the backing off the tapes and pressed them to my face in the spot I had previously determined to work best.  Getting the tapes in the right spot with the lifting band attachment tabs pointing in the right direction wasn’t easy for me and will likely become easier with practice.  I think I was very close on my very first attempt.

As instructed, I pressed firmly and  rubbed the tapes for 30 seconds.  I didn’t connect the lifting bands together to attain the lift just yet.  Instead I went ahead and did most of my makeup.  When I was almost done, I pulled  the lifting bands together at the top of my head and noted the effect it had on my face.

Pulling too tight looked gave my face a stretched look; not tight enough minimized the effect, but somewhere in between I found the right amount of tension.

Wig cap, wig over the lifting bands and a quick touch-up to my foundation and powder and I was all set.

How did I look?  I looked marvelous! It really did knock a few years off my appearance!

The manufacturer’s short instructional video can be found here.

Now I didn’t go into great detail about the lifting band connection but suffice to say the bands are easy to connect and there’s a lot of adjustment.

The kit also contains a lifting band for a neck/jaw lift.  I’ll try that at some point too and will report back to you on it’s benefit.

That first day, I wore Secret Lift for about 5 hours and was mostly indoors in a very controlled climate.  The next time I used it was while attending an outdoor garden party.  It was a very warm day and I was outside into the evening; about 9 hours in total, and the bands stayed where I put them and there was no issues with the adhesive.

I removed the adhesive tabs when I got home and they had been quite kind to my skin.

The cost of the kit was around $20 including shipping from their Amazon checkout.  The kits included three lifting bands (two for the face and one for the neck) and 40 adhesive tapes.  So that’s 20 wearings when using it for the face only.   Tape refills are $12.95 for 40.

Although the product sheet shows women with their hair pulled back wearing Secret Lift, I can’t comment on how detectable the adhesive tapes would be.  But for a shaggy, hair-in-the-face girl like me, no one would have ever suspected I was wearing it.  And it’s comfortable.  After 10 minutes, I really wasn’t aware it was there working it’s magic.

Just how perceptible was my overall change created by Secret Lift?  When I came down from my makeup room, my darling spouse raised her eyebrows and gave me a “wow! You look fabulous!”

Note:  Next time, I’ll likely try Secret Lift Pro.  The tapes are permanently attached to disposable bands.  About double the cost per unit as the originals and less available adjustment but I do expect them to be even easier to use.

Remembrance Day 2014

As you may already know, I truly believe that without the heroic efforts of those who fought and continue to fight, both then and now, we would not have the freedom that exists today.

And I know that many of you out there honestly think we’ve always gone to war chasing “the boogie man”.

But on the 11th hour of the 11th day of the 11th month, I’ll put my right hand over my heart and observe a moment of silence.  Because it’s Remembrance Day here in Canada.  And I believe it’s important.

Here is a video tribute to those Canadians who gave so selflessly of themselves.  Please take a few minutes to view it.

Thank you to Jonathan Wagner – WagnerMedia.ca for the beautiful piece.

 

And lastly, a small crowd spontaneously singing our National Anthem at the Canadian War Memorial where Cpl. Nathan Cirillo was fatally shot by a masked terrorist less than a month ago.

Are Transgender Conferences Fading?

The last few years have brought about some changes in the world of transgender conferences.  And it’s a little concerning to those of us who enjoy attending this type of event.

After 10 or 15 years of status quo, the first thing to shake the tree was the disappearance of  the Be-All conference in Chicago.  Although where were rumors of infighting and mismanagement, most of us will never know why the management team decided to call it quits.

Most recently, the Southern Comfort Conference organizers announced they’re moving the event from Atlanta to Weston Florida in the Fort Lauderdale area.  It was no surprise, really, that changes were necessary but I always thought the location was the best thing about SCC.  I loved that hotel!

When I was there in 2013, the only three ‘seminars’ that even remotely appealed to me were all cancelled on the ‘day of’, and it seemed we were in charge of making our own fun.  Generally speaking, I came away wondering what exactly I had paid for.  My response to a request for post-event comments was met with hostility because I had negative observations and no suggestions for improvement.  Improvement, for me, is to stop giving them my money.

The organizing team are presenting positive attitude after announcing the change but we all know they must be concerned.  In spite of some pretty decent media coverage, the move isn’t being very well received except by those who live in Florida.

Gal’s Spring Fling, here in Ontario, might also be on the chopping block.  The organization of the event is in the hands of a single person who seems to have lost the energy to continue.  Time will tell but I would expect an announcement in a few months.

From my observations, it appears that Keystone Conference, First Event, Colorado Gold Rush and Erie Sisters Gala are all doing well and growing.  Although there are many other events, I can’t comment if I’m not aware of them.

Fantasia Fair is a big question mark for me.  Although it appears to have very loyal attendees, the clique and attitude is best suited to the mature transgender to the extent that young trans folk might not feel welcome.

It appears they’re struggling to find a suitable location in Provincetown to accommodate current attendee numbers for their Saturday night gala so maybe growing the numbers isn’t desirable.  But who will be there, in the not too distant future, when the small and aging crowd can no longer attend?

So, in summary, I have to wonder if large, all encompassing transgender events have run their course.  Back in the days when most of us were forced to remain stealth, getting together occasionally with like-minded spirits was huge.   And that enormity was a motivator for organizers.   These days, with Girl’s Night Out’s and Pub Nights happening monthly in many areas, the need for large gatherings has lessened; similar, maybe, to the effect that small casinos have had on Las Vegas.

I just returned from Fantasia Fair and will review this year’s conference in a separate blog post.  But the highlight of my year will continue to be the Keystone Conference in the spring.

Please, Keystone organizers … don’t change a thing!

Fantasia Fair 2014

SeleenaK_3382sFor those of you who are not aware, Fantasia Fair is an annual transgender event held in Provincetown Massachusetts. It’s the longest running trans event in the US, possibly the world, and it celebrated it’s 40th anniversary this year.

I attended the conference once again in 2014 (my 5th) and had a fabulous time as always. But reflecting on my time there, I have to admit that my enjoyment came more from the town and the time I spent with friends than it did from the actual event.

So what has changed? Did I change or did the event change? A little of both, I suspect.

I’ve changed in that I expect more for my event dollar than ever .  Or more accurately, although I’ve always felt that financially supporting events like this is a good, honorable thing to do, I’m feeling like an outsider who’s enjoyment SeleenaK_3363sis on no one’s mind.  The kumbaya stuff from years ago means little to me now and seeing  a handful of new introverted girls “blossom” has lost  it’s shine.

**** And due to the “wedge” that still seems to exist due to a persistent “I’m more trans than you” hierarchy, I’m just not comfortable financially supporting an hugely unbalanced itinerary. I felt this at Southern Comfort Conference and I felt it at Fantasia Fair.  It cost me the same to attend zero seminars as it did the person who attended them “all”.  ***

But the event has changed too. In my opinion, it’s gotten a little more cliquish than it was, and has lost a lot of it’s youthful vibe.

Side note in this regard: Online warnings prior to the event about the hazards of wearing heels in P-town felt excessive. No matter how good the intentions of the ‘flats-only’ preachers, the vast majority of the tgirls out there and potential attendees love their heels. Yet rather than provide advice on how to make high heel wearing work on the streets of Ptown, the official word was “don’t” –  you’re  foolish if you do (I paraphrase). Talk about scaring away potential newbies and making the heel-wearing crowd (me, included)  feel self-conscious!

Fan Fair spends way too much time honoring someone (usually themselves) and not enough time with the peons who pay the bills and quietly attend looking for a fun time.

But on a positive note, the lunches were excellent and the (provided ) dinners were decent. The registration process was lightning fast and, although my “package” lacked a couple “coupons” for things I had paid to attend, hassle-free.

The welcome reception at the sushi restaurant, Saki’s, was a lot of fun but the “Town and Gown” event was good and not so good.  Christine Howey’s one-woman play, “Exact Change” was  fabulous!  But the event was billed as a Town & Gown event.  A handful of us did dress accordingly yet they served hamburgers and hotdogs, buffet style for dinner.  Wasn’t expecting that .. lol.  Did I not get the memo?

One thing that I did miss  this year was the charm. Each year we’ve received a Fantasia Fair keepSeleenaK_3410ssake suitable for putting on a bracelet, yet this year, and on an anniversary year at that, there was none. I later learned that only those who attended the farewell brunch got one. No explanation offered and no apologies given if it was an oversight.   Kinda makes heeding the”let’s all be there to celebrate our 40th” request seem a little one-sided.

But back to my thoughts on the planned activities. The Saturday night Gala was fun! Our friends at The Crown & Anchor did a wonderful job with the room and the food. Bravo to all involved.  And seeing everyone looking so glamorous is always a treat.

The Wednesday evening fashion show was fun too but, to be totally honest, I miss hostesses Robyn and Liz terribly. (Their removal as hostesses smells political and seems quite unfair.)  The current hostesses are wonderful individuals but the cohesion between them is still developing and is painfully missing.  Please, can we have Robyn and Liz back?

Now the talent show, the Fantasia Fair Follies, was a train wreck, in my opinion. Far too much lip synch without a dynamic stage show to support it. Yes, there were a few lip synch performers that were a little fun to watch but they were the exception.  I do understand how being supportive is a good thing and that participation in something like this can be a confidence booster for some but still .. townspeople, as well as the rest of us, pay money to attend and therefore a show with a slightly higher degree of entertainment value and professionalism seems only reasonable.  The townsfolk seated in my general area spent more time looking at each other with a raised eyebrow than they did laughing or applauding.  And I could totally sympathize with their feelings and felt embarrassed.

And there was a coupleSeleenaK_3393s tasteless, inappropriate bits in the show too.

To further mess with my trannier-than-thou sensitivity,  a post op girl did a comedy(?) bit about her vaginal dilation exercises after genital reconstruction surgery, complete with her collections of dilators/dildos. I’m no prude but found that performance pretty tasteless.  Although I’m no stranger to dildo’s, the entire bit seemed to be a “look at me, I’ve had the surgery!” ego trip.  My spouse, a genetic woman, was in attendance and found the entire piece quite disgusting.

As well, there was the “Fuck You” song. A song that repeatedly used to phrase “fuck you”, played to a slideshow of US Republican politicians and conservative public figures. Also, not funny and very tasteless, in my opinion.  The phrase “Fuck you” is NOT offensive to me, in fact, I love CeeLo Green’s Fuck You song but this event is no place for silly US partisan politics.  The song’s words a quite judgmental and more than a little hateful … not exactly appropriate for a group that pleads for tolerance.  But then tolerance is a one-sided concept, isn’t it?

I know, I know.  Why so negative? It’s because I spent almost $1200 USD for my Kim and I to attend an event that barely made me smile.  And that’s the conference cost alone.  Accommodations in P-town were way more than that.

SeleenaK_3399sBut I still did have a great time!  I shopped at Klymaxx Unliminited, Provincetown’s premier shop for bling, cosmetics, skin-care for both men and women, jewelry, drag accessories, wigs and handbags.  I bought some fabulous bling and a new shoulder bag from Hera and Michele.

I also shopped at the Golden Horn where I found more great bling.

I stayed at the Brass Key Guesthouse again and was totally delighted as always.  Thanks, Rick, for being so cool.

Away from the event, evening dining was fabulous at Jimmy’s Hideaway, Ross’s Grill and The Mews as were the Fantasia  Fair lunches at Bayside Betsey’s, The Post Office Cabaret and Cafe and The Crown & Anchor.

So, in closing, I had a fabulous time! The best time ever in Provincetown but little of it had to do with the Fantasia Fair event. I’ll certainly return in the future but will be much more selective regarding how much money I give to the event. And no  more donations to the scholarship fund for this girl.

Sadly, I have to wonder what the future holds for this event.

Move over, SCC, as you grasp at redefining yourself. You’ll have company soon.

SeleenaK_3391s