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Frank Rizzo of the Hartford Courant asks,

Is there a transgender show trend emerging?

He’s referring to back to back one-person performances about transgender issues happening in Hartford, CT next month.

Peterson Toscano will present his newest solo theater piece, Transfigurations: Transgressing Gender in the Bible on Sept. 11 at Hartford’s Charter Oak Cultural Center. It’s about “gender-variant Bible characters,” he says. He has toured with the show in the UK, Sweden and North America.

The performance artist/activist is best known for his solo show, Doin’ Time in the Homo No Mo Halfway House.

Also on Sept. 18 and 19 at Hartford’s Real Art Ways, Scott Turner Schofield, a transgender performance artist, will present How to Become a Man in 127 Easy Steps.

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Peterson Toscano

Scott Turner Schofield

Scott Turner Schofield

Scott and I both performed at the “Sweet T” Unity Conference held at UNC Chapel Hill this past spring. He is an incredible writer and performer–intelligent and skilled. While he is in town, he will take part in a variety of workshops about transgender issues. The Trans-Community Forum will happen at Real Art Ways on Wednesday, September 16 at 7pm and will have a diversity of people on a panel for a community discussion.

Hartford has a vibrant Transgender community with a strong and active organization called CT TransAdvocacy. JeriMarie Liesegang and I both took part in what turned out to be a PRNDI Award winning radio episode of WNPR’s Where We Live with the topic of Gender Identity. (Check it out here)

Hartford is also the new base for the True Colors organization, an advocacy group for LGBTIQ youth which organizes the nation’s largest conference for youth and service providers (teachers, social workers, ministers, etc). They recently moved into the offices of Love Makes a Family, a marriage equality organization which joyfully worked it way out of theneed for office space now that Connecticut offers marriage equality.

As an artist and a queer activist, I have found Hartford to be a place that encourages, affirms and challenges me in my craft and my public witness. With many Hartford-based progressive bloggers at Queers Without Borders raising issues of economic injustice, immigration and torture, I have seen a model of LGBTQ activism that reaches beyond our own interests  to include a broad umbrella of individuals and groups deserving  justice. Hartford models a transection of race and sexuality issues as demonstrated by the successful campaign to ban an offensive black face drag queen performance from taking place at a local gay bar.

Some Hartford-area sheroes, heros and legends of mine include

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Looking at Dunluce Ruins

Looking at Dunluce Ruins

Cary, aka Little Bird, joined Glen and me for several of our jaunts in Northern Ireland. She maintains a blog, Little Bird, and is an absolute delight for conversation, knocking about, profound insights and a good laugh. Powered by coffee and her iPhone, she is a force of nature and a true fashionista of her own ilk.

Cary is also part of the Ikon Community along with Pádraig Ó TuamaA,  Peter Rollins, Amy, Shirley, Mark, Ian and others who showed Glen and me a gorgeous time.

I take few photos of people, but the camera LOVES Cary. When I uploaded my photos I found a ton with her in them.

Below are some photos of our recent wanderings around Northern Ireland. Thanks Cary for being such a fab travel companion and for coming to my talk at Queens!

Our 1980's Christian Band Cover (with Mark)

Our 1980's Christian Band Cover (with Mark)

Cary & Mark

Cary & Mark

How Lovely are the feet...

How Lovely are the feet...

Looking towards Scotland

Looking towards Scotland

Arm of Glen

Arm of Glen

Glen in the Mist

Glen in the Mist

Cary Marching to Causeway

Cary Marching to Causeway

Detail at Giants Causeway

Detail at Giants Causeway

Detail Giants Causeway

Detail Giants Causeway

Glen & his leprechaun

Glen & his leprechaun

Cary & Cair Paravel inspiration

Cary & Cair Paravel inspiration

Onthe way to the Causeway

On the way to the Causeway

Cary at Dunluce

Cary at Dunluce

Cary & Pádraig

Cary & Pádraig

Cary, come back to Facebook soon! When you do, you will enjoy updates like,

Jesus Loves You! Just be aware that he has enjoyed the services of at least one sex worker.

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The T is NOT Silent

I know I have been asking you for money. First it was Bitch Magazine. People responded, and this brilliant magazine has been saved for now. Then earlier today I told about how Soulforce desperately needed money, or it would have to cancel this year’s Equality Ride. It looks like that disaster has been avoided. Phew!

These are tough times in the US financially, and it hits some of us harder than others. In the past few years I have heard stories from several trans women and men who have overcome amazing odds in their lives. If you think discrimination against gays, lesbians and bisexuals on the job is bad, for trans folks it can be much much harder (All the more reason we need to pass an Employment Non-Discrimnation Act-ENDA that includes gender identity). Outside of the US in most places it is even harder still.

I have a very personal appeal today. Some of you may know of Yuki Choe. She is a trans woman, a Christian, and an LGBT activist in Malayasia. She has also written for the blog Ex-Gay Watch.

In the past few months she has suffered significant personal setbacks including the loss of an important relationship and unemployment with no immediate prospects, issues that she has shared with readers over at her blog. A highly responsible person, she has worked hard to find employment and get through this current crisis.

Today on her blog she asked for our help.

It is not something I am comfortable of doing, but looking at the circumstances I know I need to accept help before falling back into obscurity. I am now really in a tight struggle, and the job employment market had been tremendously slow due to the current unstable political situation in Malaysia. Adding to that, choices are not on my side being a transsexual living at these times in this somewhat intolerant environment. Currently, I do not have any ideas to work with, and time is running out for me here.

A friend encouraged her to open a Paypal account where people can send donations. I encourage you to donate.  You can read more of Yuki’s post and learn of other ways to give here.

Many of our LGB organizations add the T as a sort of accessory (and usually do little for the B too). We say that we like diversity, but as a dear Friend recently reminded me,

Diversity itself is morally neutral; only justice is inherently moral.

From that I draw conclusion for myself. We can’t talk about diversity as a moral imperative unless we are willing to talk about justice and then do something about it. Here is a chance. If you are an LGBT person or an ally, here is someone in the family who can use your help. If you are a Christian or a person of faith, here is a fellow sojourner who needs us right now.

Not to get all fundamentalist on you, but I have been thinking of this verse in I John 3 today in regards to our sister Yuki.

If you see some brother or sister in need and have the means to do something about it but turn a cold shoulder and do nothing, what happens to God’s love? It disappears. And you made it disappear. My dear children, let’s not just talk about love; let’s practice real love.

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