Friday, November 30, 2018

Whatever: Why I Never Debate "Arm-Chair Quarterbacks"

Pfff...Whatever is my characteristically Gen X response I have been saying more frequently in recent weeks. I do get unsolicited comments from some who claim to be offering "reasonable dialog" when clearly they have no intention of learning anything regarding my experience. They do not hold back in offering up all of their bogus assumptions (clearly drawn from the propaganda Alliance Defending Freedom, Family Research Council, American College of Pediatricians, TERFs et al) as if they were legitimate sources. Remember, the fear of trans women in bathrooms was INVENTED by the Alliance Defending Freedom in 2013. On the other hand we have been using women's restrooms for decades without notice or incident.

These fear mongers discount my decades long experiences, my own diligent research, critical insight, self reflection, evaluations and discussions with medical and psychological professionals. They lack the sophistication to distinguish enculturated views inasmuch as they continue to equate girls with pink, princesses, dresses, and passivity; boys with blue, trucks and aggression,  Then with their arrogant “armchair quarterback” opinions about trans women - they mis-characterize us as “disturbed men in dresses" a phrase which only further demonstrates their ineptitude, for really, what does wearing a dress have to do with being trans? Nothing in and of itself.  I am a woman regardless of what I am wearing.

It is exhausting enough when trying to condense my 48 years of experiences to bring every individual willing to learn up to speed, I do not need to waste time with those who are unwilling.

And since they are neither trans nor are field experts who have conducted bona fide research studies published in peer reviewed journals, I have no respect for their opinion. So I simply end my participation with, 

which is Generation X for ,"You are an idiot and I have a life."

In public, when I am confronted by people who question my sex and gender, I merely ask them for their Medical License, their WPATH credentials, and in which peer-reviewed journal their research findings have been published. If they cannot present any of those, it is safe to ignore them and go about my business -- even if this means, I have to do their job for them and serve myself because they claim a religious objection.

And if it comes down to it, It seems I have just as much right to inquire about, question their identity and refuse service if it does not coincide with my own religious views.

Whatever unabridged definition:
I do not waste time with detractors of my sex and gender. In every case, their objections begin with the factual error that being transgender is a behavior, an ideology. From there they take up a defensive position-- walled up within the rampart of their own fears nourished only by their stagnant political and religious dogma. They speculate with no meaningful insight – thinking themselves original in hypotheses which have long ago already been questioned, studied, and rejected by peer reviewed experts. Yet they stagnate and refuse to engage Reality. The Reality known by those who diligently conduct research, inquire and study -- not to mention my personal lifelong experience.

It is important to keep in mind that these detractors are not intelligent people. They lack the tools of and motivation for critical investigation, namely they cannot even identity the blatant use of logical fallacies committed in the arguments by those anti-LGBTQ+ groups listed above. Nevermind that their fallacious arguments are already built upon falsities. - But even then, as it is well understood that views of all deities, religions, laws, and traditions are the subjective products of humans and interpreted in myriad subjective ways and enforced by humans. Thus I cannot take seriously the claims of any “armchair quarterback” who discounts the experts and calls me delusional when I have spent my lifetime critically investigating my own views and experiences, when they themselves are unknowingly perpetuating human constructed beliefs.

Yet as the worldwide scientific professional medical communities verified the biological reality of multiple variations and combinations of sex and gender, a reactionary movement arose, discounting the decades of research and belittling my own experience as if being trans were some sort of dangerous trend. With no credible expertise, they played upon the false negative trans prejudices I described earlier. They created new lies and fears. In 2013 they INVENTED a tactic to be used against women like me, generating hysteria with the notion that we are bathroom predators. This is completely at odds with reality. They have spent millions in lobbying and legal actions which has served to facilitate violence and murder against women like me. Instead of politicizing science and the biological reality of women like me, a better use of their money would be to promote the expertise of research biologists, cognitive scientists, the medical, and psychological communities with their broad reach of their propaganda to assuage the irrational fears their followers have against women like me.  

Everything you believe about women the way women think, feel, emote, respond- That is me. That is the way my biological brain is wired, the way my physical body responds to sensation, the way I emote. Women like me are recognized as women by the peer reviewed scientific professional medical community. All of my legal documentation from my birth certificate to US Passport to my medical records themselves acknowledge that yes I am female.  This carries weight in objectively verifiable expertise whereas the opinions of anti-LGBTQ legal activists and trolls do not.

For those who were accustomed to me in my 47 years of pretending to be a guy, You saw my disguise, the manner in which I protected myself from physical harm. And while some may still see my body, hear my voice as male, - Never forget that my loves, my fears, my cares, my desires, my needs have always been those of a woman.

J.S. Bach's Saint John's Passion: Intention, Reception, Meaning

[* long and winding post regarding intention, controversies, reception histories and ultimately deep meaning JS Bach's "St. John's Passion" has for me].
A friend of mine administers a page on musicology (my academic discipline) and thankfully posts intriguing announcements and articles from around the world every day. As I am not currently employed in my academic field, his posts give me just enough to keep me intellectually stimulated on a wide range of musicological topics as I just do not have the wherewithal to sit down with the latest JAMS or IMS.

A few days ago a topic emerged regarding anti-Semitism in JS Bach's "St Johns Passion" BWV245. This was freshly on my mind as just a few weeks prior, a beautiful and most musically literate friend of mine attended a recent performance of this work and was herself quite disturbed by the anti-Semitic texts Bach selected. 

These are in fact what I consider serious issues which arise quite often when discussing the works of Martin Luther and especially the writings and music dramas of Richard Wagner.
And while this ethical dilemma continues in my own soul, This particular work has a different meaning for me which I felt compelled to share, so below is my response to this discussion: ***

"I wrestle with meaning, ethics and reception histories; how something which has always been part of joyful memories for me are downright trauma inducing for others. I often think about my home here in St. Paul, Minnesota where I have lived for the past 22 years as a mere 2 miles away from what was the thriving African-American Rondo neighborhood which all but totally destroyed with the construction of Interstate 94 in the 1960s. A mere two miles almost due east from where Philando Castile was murdered which I drive past nearly every day. - How the land on which my home sits was once home to the Ojibwe and the Dakota. And how one of the wealthiest suburbs in the Twin Cities was built on the nourishing land and lakes of the Dakota.

- But these are things which I dare say most do not even think about. Not understanding how the collective actions of our ancestors enabled our modern privilege.

So on this point, knowing and understanding the anti-Semitic influence of librettist Erdmann Neumeister in early-mid 18th Leipzig upon the culture and the views of Bach in particular is something I consider an obligation.
** On a personal level, I was born in 1970 raised in northeastern Iowa as Lutheran (what became ELCA) family. My parents both grew up in the northwestern Nebraska Sandhills. My father was a professional organist at one of the largest Lutheran churches in the nation (he himself had converted to Lutheranism both for the music and for when he married my mother - who grew up on a homestead in a Lutheran family of musicians/ranchers. - and both of my parents being music educators I grew up exposed to just about every sort of music available since I was very young.

Lutheranism to me, is synonymous with music. I never paid attention to the texts - In fact even when I am listening to pop music, I cannot understand or hear texts unless they are written out in front of me - even when I am singing the texts, unless I am studying them - to me they are always just phonemes (e.g. I love Joni Mitchell, but once I started reading what she was singing about, I really love Joni Mitchell).

My late wife also grew up Lutheran in Northfield, Minnesota. We met in choir at Luther College in Decorah, Iowa. While we both started off as music majors she ended up earning her undergrads in Anthropology and History , mine in Philosophy and Classical Languages. 

And despite our strong Lutheran upbringings we by that time had become disillusioned with the BS of religion and describe ourselves as Atheists. But the culture of the chorale Music, organ works, et al and the traditions remain - I brought to our marriage gift exchanges on Xmas eve, Gluhwein and springerle; she brought teatotaling lefse and dancing.

* Now things get a bit dark for me. My wife was killed on June 1, 2017 by a drunk driver. We both had our re-auditions with the Minnesota Chorale that night. She was a contracted singer (a coloratura actually) with the Chorale, and had served as a board member. Her audition aria was, "Zerfließe, mein Herze, in Fluten der Zähren" from the St. John's Passion. I have many memories of her diligently practicing, perfecting this work for her audition Her effortless coloratura floating those passages; her out of the blue sending me a YouTube link of an orchestra playing on period instruments - knowing I would love it. - it is tied with my joys of our 26 years of singing together, meeting in choir, singing at our wedding... lip trilling this work in the car. I have heard Krista sing so many works, including both Queen of the Night Arias - but the passion and soul she put into this was far beyond anything I had ever heard her sing. Lovely, with effortless control it suited her and I was left with chills. This was her finest voice.
Xenia and Krista singing Karaoke in 1991
She never did get to perform it, the fact is she was leaving her work place were she was a Director of Organization Development and Learning for Hennepin County Medical Center and driving to her voice lesson before her audition. 

Knowing Krista, she was most likely warming up her voice by lip trilling the aria along with her recording when the drunk driver broadsided her blue Honda Fit right in the middle of her drivers side door at 71 miles mph with his SUV at the intersection of Park and 15th in Downtown Minneapolis. In fact her CD remained lodged in the player, though I managed to recover the broken case for her copy of St John's Passion. 

And I will forever associate this work with the last memories of my wife. 

** When it came time for the memorial the following week. Because Krista and I rejected religion - Music was our religion, 80 members of the Minnesota Chorale volunteered to sing at an outdoor ceremony. It was really just a gathering in a park, I had the chorale do a few prepared selections, then for catharsis some of the Middle High German sections from Carmina Burana and a sing through of the 4th movement of the 9th symphony beginning with the tenor solo / march. (Krista was on the Grammy nominated recording of the MN Orchestra just two weeks before our daughter was born). With the prepared works, I had a brief discussion with the executive director of the chorale regarding whether or not the Brahm's selection should be sung in English. - I insisted it remain in Deutsche as the music is more important to convey than any words.

* So I do strongly advocate for the understanding of the text of works selected as well as the intended us for all music. It is also important to understand the reception histories of those works and why they are used and when the new use is at odds with the intention (thinking about how politicians seem to use pop music by artists, only to have those artists speak out against the politician)
Okay, thats all. Thanks for reading."

ANYWAY, I'm attaching the memorial my disguised form