Monday, October 31, 2011
For those of you who are familiar with the movie American History X, you will understand what that means. For those of you who have not seen this movie...I suggest you watch it! I won't go into the reasons that this film is important, or a great film, I will just say see it. When you do pay particular attention to the scene when Derek forces the African American man to place his mouth open on the curb. Force yourself to watch that scene!
That is what they did to Dane.
Almost one week later a 32 year old man was attacked outside the salon where he works by a group of men using the same derogatory language. While luckier than Dane, Cameron Nelson was still taken to the local InstaCare for treatment.
From 2006 to 2007 Hate Crimes in Utah almost DOUBLED!!! The majority of these crimes in Utah are because of who a person is sexually attracted to.
I am SICK of hearing about these kinds of instances!
In virtually every minority movement, the "majority" (vocal minority) are against the movement because they are afraid. Afraid of change, and afraid of what that might mean to them. A fairly selfish attitude to take. Their fears are never founded in rational thought, or backed by any kind of factual data, and completely self centered. Their fears are usually voiced in the following ways:
"What if one of them tries to hit on me?"
"Next thing you know they'll be demanding to be married in my church!"
"I don't care what they do with each other, I just don't want to see it!"
All of these statements, except the last one, assumes that a GLBTQ person cares about you more than they actually do. First of all you are probably not as hot as you might think, and contrary to what your own inflated ego might lead you to believe you are probably not that desirable to that person. And, by the way, neither is your religion. As far as the last statement goes....they probably don't want to see you affectionately nuzzle your mate in public either...but you go ahead and do it anyway. The difference is they probably just turn away and go about their business...while you on the other hand would take that as an invitation to put your foot on their head and crush it.
*please reader take note that I use "you" in a general aspect and do not intend it to mean you literally...unless of course you are an actual bigot guilty of such things...and in that case get the hell out of my blog!*
In almost every revolution there have been those who have led the way. Those willing to sacrifice everything to the cause. The ones we look to the leadership that will bring about the change that the world needs. The Ghandi's, the King's, the Malcolm's, and the Christ's. In every instance you can find that, while they advocated a form of peaceful resistance (except perhaps in the case of Malcom X), it was still RESISTANCE! None of them called for people to be accepting of the mistreatments heaped upon them.
"You're not supposed to be so blind with patriotism that you can't face reality. Wrong is wrong, no matter who says it." - Malcolm X
"If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality." - Bishop Desmond Tutu
"Civil disobedience becomes a sacred duty when the state has become lawless or corrupt. And a citizen who barters with such a state shares in its corruption and lawlessness....Non-cooperation with evil is as much a duty as cooperation with good." - Ghandi
"Dare to do things worthy of imprisonment if you mean to be of consequence." - Juvenalis
While Civil Disobedience has Civil as part of its definition, we need to remember that it also has Disobedience as a part of that same definition. Absolutely resistance can be peaceful. But, if you simply go about your business with the smugness of knowing in your mind that you do not "comply", then you are not resisting. Resistance needs to be seen by others in order for it to be a reality. Resistance is an action. And, by its nature, all actions can be seen if there are any around to see them.
Too often, I think, as minorities we retreat to "safe" places. I attended a recent town meeting on Hate Crimes Legislation in the state of Utah. They made a great deal about creating a dialog. Creating safe spaces for us to exchange ideas. Of respecting the positions of those opposed to our freedoms. While I am grateful for the safe spaces, the open dialogs, and the respect that others are receiving from us, I have to ask the question "When do we get to have the same respect given?"
My answer to that question is this. "When we have earned it!"
I fear that in our diligence to remain "civil" we have made ourselves invisible. That by striving to be "understanding" of their biases we have given those same biases legitimacy. Sometimes it's okay to be upset. Sometimes it's okay to be rude. Sometimes it's okay to be heard...and heard well! In every movement for justice in our history...NOTHING happened until the world was made to stand up and take notice. And that took volume!
Maybe...just maybe...it's time to take off the kid gloves...call the idiocracy out on their bullshit and be seen!
Sara Jade Woodhouse
Monday, August 15, 2011
Those of you who have been faithfully following my blog are aware that LeAnn and Kris Davis (mother and son) have most recently made their bigotry known. Apparently, however, only to be known by me (and my mother and two sisters). When confronted by others who ask the right questions...the story...might get a bit skewed. Allow me to clarify.
About a month ago, on my way home from work on Sunday, I received a phone call from my sister Jen. She was obviously upset, and proceeded to let me know that Kris and LeAnn made it clear to everyone (except me of course) that I was NOT invited to Kris's impending nuptials. Kris hadn't worked up the guts to tell me himself...yet. It was her way of giving me a heads up.
Now, there is some disagreement within my family about whether Jen should have done this or not. Well, it's done. She did. So, deal. Thank you Jen. I understand the motivation behind the rest of you not telling me (the idea being that Kris should have that burden) but it just doesn't matter. Later on, that same evening, Kris found the balls to give me a call. Know this...Jen giving me a heads up did nothing to change the conversation that took place.
That conversation is recreated here VERBATIM!
Kris: Hey, John?
Sara: It's Sara...but go ahead.
Kris: Well...I just wanted to let you know that you're not invited to the wedding.
Sara: That's fine I wouldn't want to come anyway.
Kris: Well...that makes things easier... Sara: Goodbye.
That's it. The entire conversation. Now, should you confront Kris, you might hear a different story. One in which he tells me I could come to the wedding as long as I wore a suit. A nice woman's suit, of course, but no dress. While I'm going to leave the hypocritical bigotry of that statement alone...for now...it simply wasn't made. It's a fiction. A lie.
That night a line was drawn. NOT by me. A line that I am inexorably on one side of. I will tell you this...I am PROUD to be there. I wouldn't want to be anywhere else but comfortable with me. The fact that Kris sees fit to change his story when confronted by those who find his actions offensive, says that he is NOT comfortable with himself. Have the courage to stand by your convictions...regardless of how asinine they may be.
Now, to the point. Should the fiction that Kris has created in his mind have been true...know this...MY ANSWER WOULD HAVE BEEN THE SAME. Now I could launch into a lengthy post on bigotry and transsexuality...but wait...I already have.
More recently, Nick has entered into the fray with this little exchange...
Found on my sister Jen's Facebook page. For those of you who are not her friends on Facebook...here is the exchange reproduced...
Posted on Friday, August 13th
Jen: Girls night tonight. Just me and my girls! Can't wait! Woo hoo!
Nick: Too bad you couldn't make it to the wedding.
Jen: Yeah. And it's too bad Sara couldn't be there too.
Nick: That's a situation only between Kris and John the rest of us need to stay out of it, is that the reason why you didn't come to the wedding.
To some, this situation may seem "complicated". Allow me to simplify. Ask yourself this, faithful reader, if someone you cared deeply about (a spouse, child, parent, lover, friend) was excluded from an activity that you had been invited to because they didn't fit the mold of what the host considered worthy...would you continue to go without them? Not fair you might say...well you're right...it's not. But, it is the truth. Life is full of examples of infamous fence sitters, hedgers, avoiders and their like. None of them fair very well. They are not remembered in a positive light. History is made by those that stand, firm and public, in their convictions.
There is no gray area here. Kris, and LeAnn, have seen to that. You either agree with them or you don't. You either support them or you don't. But, unless you make that known...then you can be claimed by anyone. You are owned by whichever side chooses you as theirs. Until you make your stand known...you haven't made one.
I think that Yoda said it best...
"Do or do not. There is no try."
Should you see fit...you may voice your opinion publicly in the comments section here, or on Facebook, or on my sisters Facebook (should you have that permission). I would encourage you to do so...because a voice unheard is a voice uncounted.
With that in mind...allow me to make this affirmation publicly. From this day on LeAnn, Kris, and Nick will never see or hear from me again. I do not need people in my life that are mean, bigoted, ignorant, and a complete waste of my time. I have two sisters whom I believe love me dearly, and a mother whom I'm sure believes she feels the same. My father, when he was/is here, made it clear that he loved me...and that is how I will always remember him. I have quite a few friends, some clearly closer to me than others, and literally thousands of students who have voiced their high opinions of me both privately and publicly. And, most important, I have a daughter who loves me more than anyone else is capable of loving me. And, I love her too...coast to coast. And THAT is why I don't need them...or anyone who thinks like them.
Sara Jade Woodhouse
P.S. If you haven't started following my blog yet...now might be the time...I have a feeling things are just going to get more interesting from here. Also, this is the last time I will address this event.
Sunday, August 14, 2011
So, let me officially throw my hat into the ring...that is if I had a hat...of course it would be a pretty cowgirl hat with a pink band around it and swirly designs.... Anywho, here are my campaign promises.
I promise never to mention anything my opponents have done. Why should I draw attention to them when it's my campaign?
I promise to let you know how little I know about what's going on, and how much I need your help to make sense of it all.
I promise to always put freedom first. And I mean freedom for everyone. I don't care whether you are black or white, yellow, red, purple, pink striped and polka dotted (and any other color I may have left out). I don't care whether you are straight, lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, transgendered, queer, queer friendly, queer not-friendly; religious, non-religious, religious only on Sunday's, religious about beer; man, woman, child, child at heart, heartless; I promise you all freedom. Freedom to express your opinions, your wants, your desires, your desired opinions about wants; freedom to love, marry, engage in sexual intercourse...with or without love and marriage; freedom to debate, discuss, hate discussion or debates, or just hate. As long as you do not impinge on the freedom of others to do the same...you are free.
I promise to keep my beliefs private, and as far as the governing of the country to adopt a position of agnosticism.
I promise I cannot be bought...and to let you know when it is tried.
And, above all else, I promise that as President I will have no problem admitting when I am wrong, using the words "I don't know.", and letting everyone know, on a daily basis, how imperfect I am.
There you have it. I know it's not much. But, vote for me anyway. If nothing else I promise it will be interesting. That is if I can find that pink cowgirl hat...dammit...where did I put that thing...
Sara Jade Woodhouse
P. S. I started this post quite some time ago...and only now got around to finishing it. But, I figured it could still serve it's purpose.
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Born of ignorance and fear, nurtured by hate, and carried out by a general lack of intelligence...Bigotry is never warranted and always ugly. It ignores the facts and, unfortunately, often relies on (or rather uses) religious vagaries to justify it.
So...let's examine some facts:
Trans-sexuality is NOT new.
The Hijra's of India have been documented for at least 4000 years.
Trans-sexuality is NOT a choice.
Here are just two of the many SCIENTIFIC studies on the matter:
Trans-sexuality is NOT homo-sexuality.
While the studies are too numerous for me to list here...here is a link that contains more than enough information (and it's own links) about this issue.
Bigotry of course takes on many forms:
There are the "Tolerance" Bigots - they have no problem referring to you by your proper gender while you are around. Of course this changes when you are out of sight (but not out of mind). Once that happens it becomes "he" instead of she, old (obviously masculine) name instead of proper (feminine) name. The condition becomes a point of humor, and derision, as opposition is never corrected or brought into question. These bigots are chickens/sheep and lack the moral fortitude to back up any decision they may make in their lives.
There are the "Vindictive" Bigots - these bigots, after knowing all there is to know, go out of their way to use the wrong gender, and the wrong name, when talking about you (or to you). They make a point of it (emphasizing the usage) to show that they do not care. These bigots lack compassion and (like the next two) are dangerous.
There are the "Religious Zealot" Bigots - calling upon mis-interpreted scripture, and the words of "holy" men, they justify their refusal of your rights and exert their right to do so because "God" has given them permission. They are fanatical, egotistical, and insane for they would assume the power of Prophet and lay claim to the judgement that their same "God" would say was His, and His alone.
There are the "Ignorant" Bigots - when you don't know the truth, and you refuse to learn the truth, then you can count yourself among the idiots of society. They ignore explanations steeped in science because the greatly diminished size of their brain cannot comprehend them. They are so primitive, and learning is so painful to them, that they prefer to remain in the darkness of their tiny caves. No matter how much proof they have presented to them...they will ignore it in favor of the superstitions that they are comfortable with.
The last three are dangerous...for they are often the leaders of such mob mentality as that which
the first one...well the first one may seem innocent enough...after all it is based in "tolerance"...but make NO mistake...the first one EMPOWERS the rest! You may think that because you don't participate DIRECTLY in this kind of hate, you are not like them...however the fact that you do nothing about it...allows it to take place. Be clear about this...
THERE IS NO MIDDLE GROUND WHERE BIGOTRY IS CONCERNED
If you are not a part of the solution then you are a part of the problem. It really is that simple.
Each person makes their stand wherever and however they choose. Bigotry flourishes in the dark confines of a demented heart and outside of the public eye. Expose it to the sun of public criticism and it WILL be seen for what it is...UGLY.
The world is round, the moon is not made of cheese, and bigotry is wrong.
*Recently I have discovered that my "sister" LeAnn, and her son Kris, have made it clear that I am NOT invited to his wedding.*
Tuesday, May 17, 2011
Friday, April 8, 2011
Bad is having some "flat-earth" moron take one look at me and surmise that I'm a "guy-in-a-dress" freak. Refusing to use the name so prominently displayed on my nifty librarian badge, and choosing rather to refer to me by every masculine pronoun his limited cro-magnon brain can recall.
Bad is watching the "ever-so-NOT-sneaky" mentally underdeveloped men/boys as they believe themselves to be invisible while they crowd around the corner to peer at me from down the aisle and laugh.
Bad is having my identity challenged on a daily basis by those who should care about me most...but obviously don't.
Good is being so completely accepted as female...while making an emergency run to the grocery store...sans make-up and any form of confidence.
Good is having a student become so confused by my profile on IMDB as to ask if I shared the resume with my husband.
Good is being led to believe...for the merest moment...that a handsome straight man might find me attractive in the genuinely appreciative gaze from a stranger.
Good...could happen more often...please!
Sara Jade Woodhouse
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
- Harriet Beecher Stowe
I find it very hard to begin this particular post. But, they say that anything worth doing is difficult to do...well then...this post must be solid gold! ;p In all seriousness though...what I have to say has gone unsaid for far too long. I hope that you will bear with me as I attempt to kill two birds with one stone.
The first bird I would like to kick in the kisser is this...
I have, in past posts, waxed metaphorical and because of this some people may be confused as to the exact state of my dad. Allow me to be completely clear. My father has Alzheimer's. It is an aggressive and incurable disease. His Alzheimer's brings with it Dementia, Psychosis, and Aggression. It is a horrible thing to witness and possibly one of the worst ways to lose a loved one.
My dad, as hard as it is to hear, is lost to us. He is NEVER coming back. My mother on the other hand is NOT. My mother, as far as we know, is not afflicted with the disease that has taken my dad from us. That is not to say that my mother is in perfect health...there are some very deep concerns that my sisters and I are losing sleep over every night. This is our lives and we are dealing.
I would like to speak directly now to all the "friends", "family", and "friends of the family" that would seek to offer their "sage" advice to my mom in her time of need. My dad is where he is for a reason! Late last summer, my dad reached a point in his illness where hospitalization was necessary. The psych ward at University of Utah, while a competent and caring place, is a very cold and clinical place for your loved one to be confined. While he stayed there, the rest of us searched high and low for someplace that my dad could go that would be comfortable, friendly, and...warmer.
There were stipulations. My dad had to be in a secure lockdown type of facility and they had to have an in house 24 hour qualified nursing staff. These were NOT suggestions! They were, and STILL ARE requirements. In addition we wanted a place that was...nice. Friendly, warm, compassionate...and didn't smell of urine or look like a prison. That place was Silverado. Thank God for them! I shudder to think of how it would be to visit my dad in most of the other options we looked into. And we DID look into ALL of them.
This decision does not come without its downfalls. Silverado IS far away. Silverado IS expensive. BUT Silverado IS THE BEST PLACE THERE IS!!! There are those who would say to us, or my mom, "When are you going to move Allen down here closer?", "He needs to be closer to everyone down here.", "He would be so much happier if he were in Provo, or Spanish Fork.". Let me be blunt. YOU HAVE NO IDEA WHAT YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT! If you should happen to visit my dad on a "good day" and wonder 'why is he in this place so far from home' and 'he could be cared for at home why isn't he there'. PLEASE try to remember that you happened to catch my dad in a good MOMENT. Chances are once you left he proceeded to shout at people in the dining room that they were all going to die because the plane was crashing, or started smashing all his dishes for no apparent reason. My dad is not a bad man. My dad is not a dangerous man. His disease...is.
It is true that his meds have reduced his paranoia quite effectively. That is so AWESOME!...when he takes them. A skilled nursing staff sees to it that this happens. It is not always easy...and during those times when it's not...we are grateful for their expertise. But, remember that, even though his paranoia is under control, he is still DEMENTED and PSYCHOTIC! He needs constant supervision and he needs a controllable environment. He is most of the time looking for an escape. Trying to take doors off their hinges, trying to open doors that (luckily) he can't, or planning to dig a tunnel out with the other residents. You might try to familiarize yourself with the disease before you offer an opinion based solely on the emotion of the moment. Try spending a complete day with my dad. Try spending even five straight hours with my dad, and you will see that he is where he needs to be.
My mom struggles with where my dad is every day of her life. She feels guilt, and sadness, and frustration to an extreme. She wants to simply carry my dad away. This is a justifiable emotional response. She misses him. But, what her emotions do is to cloud her logical judgment. She doesn't realize the impact of such a decision. When others feed her desire to have him home...it leads her further down an emotional pit of despair. Because, that is NEVER going to happen. Alzheimer's doesn't have a cure. My dad will not get better. Not amount of medication will reverse what has been done, and what continues to happen, to his brain.
So, before you think about how sorry you feel for my mom, and how happy everyone would be if she could just have him closer to home, think about all that that would entail. I don't care if you think you have some kind of "in" with a facility closer to home, unless they have a secure lock-down building AND a 24 hour skilled nursing staff, it doesn't matter. So, your suggestion does nothing but aggravate the issue. Instead, think about all that I have said and offer this to my mother...
"I know that you are hurting. I can't even imagine how bad it must be. But, he is in a good place. A caring, beautiful and safe environment. Be happy that he is where he is. And, if you ever need to get up to see him. Give me a call. We can work it out."
There now...isn't that better?
Now, onto birdy number two...
My family, like most every family in the world, is dis-functional. We have never had a reason to doubt the love our parents have for us...but growing up in a family where praise and encouragement were rarities had its toll on all of us, each one in its own way. Communication between each of us was never our strong point. So, perhaps there is alot of misunderstanding by each of us. Because we have a hard time communicating our feelings to each other...we assume too much. And, in addition to making an ASS out of U and ME...alot of hurt gets passed around. Most of the time...I like to think that this is unintentional.
I would like to bridge a vast gap here and offer some insight for all of us.
First, we are our father's children. My dad was a workaholic! No denying that. He was always the first one at the airport and the last one to leave. And, it wasn't just the airport. His workaholic nature pervaded his religious and civil assignments as well. He absolutely threw himself into his roles as City Councilman, Bishopric, Mayor, and Bishop. As his children we are no different.
Each of us works hard! We work hard at everything we do. We wouldn't be Allen Woodhouse's children if we didn't. Not ONE of us works harder than any of the others! Seriously...let me say that again. NOT ONE OF US WORKS HARDER THAN ANY OF THE OTHERS!!! IF we can get that through our thick skulls...that will be a huge step in the right direction.
Second, all of us have grown up. I know that may sound obvious and strange...but think about all that that implies. As a "grown up"...I have earned the right to be respected by all those around me. Those who don't respect me...I don't have to have anything to do with them. As a "grown up"...I make my own decisions. I also suffer the consequences and rewards of making those decisions. NO ONE ELSE has a right to take that away from me! I don't have to justify a decision of mine to any of you and you should feel the same. As a "grown up"...I have enough on my plate to worry about without your life and what you are doing with it. I don't care how you spend your money! I don't care if you go on vacation or not! I don't care if quit your job or not! I don't care if you want to become a $2 stripper in New Orleans!!! Your life is yours! I hope you LIVE it! I will rejoice with you in your triumphs! I will be sad with you when something doesn't happen the way you wanted it to! I will support you in EVERYTHING that you have decided to do! WHY? Because you are family! I may not agree with all of your choices...but they are YOUR CHOICES!
Lastly, there is one person, in all of this, that is in desperate need of ALL the attention that we can spare. That is our mother! While it is true that she has been through a tremendous amount of pain and despair...she can get better. But, not without our help. She is in no position to make vital decisions on her own right now. Her judgment is clouded by her depression, frustration, and God knows what else is going on mentally and physically. As a diabetic there are numerous dangers which are new...to her and us. Of course we don't expect her to snap back into "normalcy" but she needs to have certain things done. Things that she no longer has the luxury of choosing whether or not to do. IF she can't make those decisions on her own...then she needs us to be strong enough to make those decisions for her. Out of love! I'm sure that none of us, as children, ever WANTED to go to the doctor. But, if our mother, and father, hadn't made us go...well some of us might not be alive today.
Well, there you have it. Quite possibly my longest post to date. I'm sure I have left some things out which I shouldn't have...and I'm quite sure that I've stepped on more than a few toes. But, I am not sorry. I am hopeful!. I hope that we can be a bit kinder to each other. I hope that we can understand and respect each other a bit more. I hope that we can help each other see my mom through this darkest of periods in our immediate families history.
I love you all!
Sara Jade Woodhouse
Sunday, February 27, 2011
I am alive!
I have not been lost forever to the realm of the vanished...banished...the displaced. It's been an undeniably tenuous hold on sanity and, with ragged nails dug deep into my own flesh, I have held on to...me...my animus...my self.
My father has raced into horizons where none of us can follow. I can wish for years, months, or even days and hours, but nothing I, or anyone can do, will bring my father back for things that were left undone, places that were left unseen, or things that were left unsaid. His days are filled with missions that only he can understand, with events that only he can see, and conversations that only he can carry. People with opinions, and suggestions, about how we should care for him, and where he belongs, are literally 'a dime a dozen'...both in quantity and value. But, that is for another blog (soon I promise). For those of us who live with this every day, and love him more than any other person on earth, our choices are neither light nor easy. I hate that the man I knew has been reduced...to this shell. I am full of longing for the strength I once saw, the wisdom that used to glimmer in his eyes, and the laughter that used to brighten up his face. But, I know that he is not coming back. His course is his own now...I only hope that he flies it straight and true, and that the sunset is unforgettable.
My mother is almost as lost to me as he is. Her descent into the madness that is consuming her frustrates and angers me. I cannot understand it! Does she truly not know how disconnected she is? Does she honestly believe that none of us see her instability? Or, does she just not care? We need her...here! We cannot tumble down the rabbit hole with her...or stand by and watch her slip away to the Mad Hatter's tea party. I feel like we are throwing life saving line after line as she simply treads water at a slower and slower pace. Sinking into a sea of blackness without so much as a reach out to the help we so desperately need her to grab onto. I don't know what my mother's future holds...but I hope...I hope for more.
I know this isn't much, dear reader. I know that you all deserve more. I can only say...that I am here. That I am making my way through it all. That the book is still being written (chapters 2 and 3 are on their way). That tomorrow dawns another day and that dreams allow escape each and every night. I am glad that there are those of you who are still with me...and I am grateful for those brief and oh so precious words from you who are my anchor...my home.
More soon...I PROMISE!
Sara Jade Woodhouse