Chandra: “Ok, that is what I would suggest. You could not find the document through those means?”
Chandra: “Ok, that is what I would suggest. You could not find the document through those means?”
On Saturday, the event organizers of the 42nd annual Fantasia Fair invited me to deliver a keynote address on the subject of my choosing. Here is that address:
Lies, Sex and Journalism: Refocusing the Media’s Perspective of Trans Americans
Yes, I am THAT Dawn Ennis.
If you don’t know me by my name or reputation, let me explain. At the start of May of 2013, I became the first journalist to come out as trans in a network TV newsroom. That made headlines. One tabloid reporter in particular seized upon an very unusual aspect of my childhood that was stolen from a confidential book manuscript I had pitched to publishing houses. I learned the hard way what it was like to be the target of the news media.
Talk show hosts and shock jocks made me the butt of their jokes. Reporters hid in my bushes, and ambushed my wife and oldest child, visited the homes of my mother, my mother in law and sister. One went up and down my block, asking my neighbors what they thought of the “tranny next door.”
Despite this, life was good. I was accepted at work, by my children and had reached that rare thing married trans women long for with their spouses: peace, co-parenting, friendly coexistence.
In late July, I suffered a seizure that cost me everything: my successful transition, my good name, and a lot of support. This time I learned what it’s like to have your name dragged through the mud. I found out the price of being someone who detransitioned, even as briefly as I did, as deluded as I was that I could declare, “I’m not trans.”
The truth is, despite a 30 year career of digging for the truth, of reporting the facts, I realized: I was lying to myself. I had lied to myself before I transitioned, and I lied to myself after I detransitioned. I had lied to the love of my life, too. But just a month later, all became clear. I awoke from my delusion, resumed my transition in private, then public, without alerting the media. And just when I felt strong enough to be me, I made headlines one more time, by getting fired… hard as it may be to conceive, in this day of wide acceptance.
In the two years since, I have found a new career in the world of LGBTQ journalism, becoming the first trans staff editor at The Advocate. I’m the reporter who earlier this year asked Caitlyn Jenner if she wanted to be Ted Cruz’s “trans ambassador.”
But I gave up my life as an L.A. woman, walked away from the red carpets and Hollywood hunks, the day I became a widow. Now I’m a mom to three children, who call me “dad.” I’m a YouTuber and I hold down a half-dozen jobs which allow me to work from home. You can see my videos at The Advocate, I’m assistant editor at LGBTQ Nation and I also write for NBC OUT, BuzzFeed, OutSports and Logo’s website NewNowNext.
Unlike the career I led at ABC, NBC, CBS and CNN as well as a half-dozen local TV stations, I’m now an advocacy journalist. I report to our community and beyond from the LGBTQ perspective. I don’t hide it, and I’m proud to declare it. I believe I report fairly, but fairness requires that I do not ignore the fact that our civil rights are more threatened than ever before.
In August, a man on TV called the rights of transgender Americans a “boutique issue” that should be put aside until after the general election.
Here we are 16 days out.
And the outcome will surely determine our fight to be treated equally as Americans. Our fight is about more than just the right to use the appropriate bathroom, although that has been the focus of much of the media coverage this year.
Here are the facts the mainstream media ignores every time it reports on bathrooms and locker rooms. We transgender Americans face:
Who you are, is up to you. Some of you here may not consider yourselves transgender. That’s not for me or anyone to say, except yourselves.
Those of you who have struggled with gender identity and dysphoria, like I did, know exactly who we are.
We attempt suicide at a rate of 41 percent, and not because, as HBO’s Bill Maher joked, we are 6-foot-4 and cannot find pantyhose. It’s because we are different and instead of acceptance we find ourselves ostracized by our families, our coworkers and a large swath of society.
I am one of the statistics: when I lost my job I tried to end my life. I had gone from earning six figures at ABC to being ridiculed by the tabloids. I got a “pink slip to go with my pink slip.” One news manager said he “didn’t want my drama” in his newsroom.
But the tide is changing: Jen Christensen, the president of the NLGJA, the National Lesbian Gay Journalists Association, works at CNN’s Washington bureau. She told me she feels inspired by the transgender staffers working there. Staffers, plural. My heart leapt at the news.
In our ranks are sports journalism power hitter, Christina Kahrl of ESPN; Vincent Shields, a trans photojournalist in New York City; Eden Lane is a longtime TV host in Denver; Parker Molloy writes for Upworthy in Chicago; Janet Mock is on MSNBC and wrote a wonderful memoir, Redefining Realness.
Plus there’s Jillian Page of the Montreal Gazette; Meredith Talusan who is also writing her own memoir and recently left BuzzFeed; Zoey Tur who’s been on Inside Edition and has a radio show in L.A.; Jacob Tobia has contributed to MSNBC; writer and trans activist Hannah Simpson is one of the brightest young minds of her generation and has helped advance understanding of us through both words and video; my longtime friends Brynn Tannehill and Melody Maia Monet have written some of the post powerful and thoughtful pieces on our experience to date. And like Hannah, each has done some groundbreaking work in video, too.
Blogger Monica Roberts is a media powerhouse who has been honored by this conference in a prior year. And be sure to check out Amanda Kerri, a standup comic in Oklahoma City and an insightful op-ed writer for The Advocate.
Beyond those and many other trans journalists, we of course know the transgender media stars who have become household names Caitlyn Jenner, Chaz Bono, Jenny Boylan, Laverne Cox, Sarah McBride, Jazz Jennings, and Kristin Beck to name a few.
Kristin has launched a program in conjunction with the TSA to hold airport agents accountable when they misgender or otherwise harass travelers. Read more about that by clicking here.
On the verge of breaking out are poet Trace Peterson who’s right here with us and presented earlier this week, as is spoken word dramatist Lorelei Erisis; actors Trace Lysette, Scott Turner Schofield, Alexandra Grey, Jen Richards and Angelica Ross of HerStory; trans standup comics April Reed and Tammy Twotone; and singer/songwriter Summer Luk.
I find it interesting that the vast majority of people on that list and those here are predominantly female identified. It’s gotta be hard living as a woman who feels she is male, experiencing that second class existence only to face discrimination all over again as a transgender man, as so much attention and focus is heaped on trans women. About the only group that gets less media attention than trans men are trans people of color.
One reason the media, both the news and the entertainment branches, overlook us, trans men and especially trans people of color is because there are so few of us in their newsrooms. With 1.3 million trans people in America, I would hazard to guess we might have a few dozen transgender journalists in America. If those making the decisions about who to hire or who to cast had more first-hand experience with trans folks, it wouldn’t be such a rarity to have trans reporters and actors.
And when there is no job, some of us turn to the only thing we have to sell to survive: Our bodies. It’s the job that can kill you, just for being you. And in the news media, those who have been preyed upon as victims of crime are all too often robbed of the dignity the dead deserve. Why? Because they rely on a biased local law enforcement authority that insists the only identity that matters is not what name a transgender crime victim used but what’s printed on a license. We need more advocates to work with the police departments in our cities and towns and have them recognize our needs, not just when we’re living but for those we lose.
And I believe that the Perception of Deceit is what drives this discrimination. Be who you are, but if you are perceived to be dressing up by a cisgender person — meaning someone not trans — your life could be placed at risk. Lawyers tried cooking this up as the “trans panic” defense, as if murder and violence was justified given the shock of finding out the girl you took to bed was assigned male at birth and has had no surgeries to change that.
GLAAD and other advocacy groups have helpful guidelines for both our allies and the news media to help them avoid stereotypical mistakes and mischaracterizations.
But what I hope you will take away from my talk today is a mischaracterization of the profession I love: Journalism.
Friends, and I hope you’ll all follow me on social media, send me a friend request, so I can truly call you my friends… I need you to understand the most basic rule I’ve learned about being authentic. Here it is:
The Media Is Not Your Friend.
Are there friendly reporters? Sure! Will you be thrilled to meet that nice guy or sweet lady you see on TV? Yes, and they’re probably just as nice when the camera isn’t rolling.
But they’re not your friends. They have other stories to tell and their mission is to get this one done so they can either get to their next assignment or dinner or home.
The big interview you prepare for, get your hair and nails done for, that you DVR and tell all your friends to watch, is likely to be fewer than 2 minutes on TV or 500 words on a website. I won’t deny that it’s a thrill to see your name in print or broadcast on TV, just that you must recall that when it’s done, they move on. News is, by and large, a Profit Game. Reporters are not interviewing you to be altruistic. It’s not a priesthood. And if it’s a scandal, or controversy, don’t bet your pumps that the way it’s told will necessarily be how you see it, or even to your advantage.
Ask any lawyer on the planet: Hey, Lawyer Larry, before we go to trial I was thinking maybe I’d give an interview to NCF-TV… WhereNewsComesFirstFollowedbySportsandWeather27.
What do you think?
Lawyer Larry will in almost every case remind you that the risks outweigh the value. The exception, to me, is when you are fighting our government. This week, I helped an American trans girl who is stationed with her family in Germany win the right to use the girls bathroom. I did that by asking questions at the Pentagon and at Ramstein Air Force Base, which put officials on notice that they needed to avoid the appearance of discrimination. That’s a rare thing.
So how can you use the news media and avoid letting them use you?
Find an advocate. Who’s working in public relations at your local LGBTQ center? Start with someone already on our side, and then become their friend or follower on social media. Find out if there is an LGBTQ journalist in your area, and if not, seek out the ones who are at least allies. Google them and see what events they attend on their own time. Seek out mentors, and if you feel so inclined, offer to be one.
Remember – The Media is Not Your Friend. But don’t presume the media is your enemy, either. I know that most people have a negative view of the media, which is not altogether undeserving. But like us, members of the media are Americans, with families and friends and biases and perspectives.
Jenny Boylan who spoke here earlier this week often says what we need to remember:
No One Hates You Who Knows Your Story.
You are the best one at telling your story. That doesn’t mean you shouldn’t offer character references to be interviewed when a journalist comes calling. My advice remains, talk to your lawyer first.
If you’re thinking of writing something to public about you, be smart. If it’s a memoir, recruit or hire someone to help you craft your story, like an editor or ghostwriter. Be prepared to wave at the start of every performance you do and take a curtain call. Telling your story comes with benefits as well as drawbacks. And the magical thing is, if it doesn’t sell — and some of my friends in the business have done this — you can always self-publish.
But even there, watch your back. Your reputation, your story, even your face can be at risk of being stolen or told in a way that does not represent your view.
I sincerely believe that with the exception of Breitbart, FOX News and the other right-wing nut sites, there is no plot against us. They just don’t recognize that we are fighting for our lives. Not special rights, equal rights.
Your mission, whether you decide to accept it or not, is to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your story.
Because in the end, you have only one person you can honestly rely upon when faced with an unknown journalist or media representative. YOU.
I believe our efforts now should be to stop playing into the hands of penis-focused opponents. I suggest we work to move the conversation away from phallus obsession and toward the brain.
OPENS with music: PUSSY PEOPLE (Been Disgusting So Long)
Adapted from lyrics by David Bowie (hoping to obtain actual permission)
See your face so orange
Feels like it’s been a thousand days
Creepier than Ted Cruz
And you think your dick is so long
Feel our blood enraged
It’s just the fear of electing you
Don’t want to say your name
Wish you would say, “so long”
And you’ve been putting out fire with gasoline
See your hair so… Red?
Red like the flow from our… wherever
From the pussy you grab (no! Never!)
Fool the bigots and wash their minds
They don’t see you’re so wrong
Scarier still is Mike Pence
Knowing he could be prez in a heartbeat
Don’t say “sorry” to us
We just can’t believe what we’ve been through
Think your fingers are so long?
Well, they’re not so long
And you’ve been putting out the fire with gasoline
Putting out the fire
See the money so green
Your heart’s three sizes too small, like the Grinch
Taxes you never paid, so mean!
And you think we’d suck your angry inch?
See your tweets so petty
We can’t stand your thousands of lies
Just be quiet already
We can’t believe what Melania’s been through
You’ve been lying so long
You’ve been disgusting so long
And you’ve been putting out the fire with gasoline
Putting out fire with gasoline
Disgusting so long
Predator so long
Well, it’s been so long
Lying so long
I’ve been putting out fire
Fingers not long
Well, it’s been so long
Running so long
Been putting out fire
Say so long
It’s been so long
Say so long
Been putting out fire
Say so long
Say so long, so long, so long
Say so long, so long, so long
Been putting out fire
Say so long, so long, so long
Been putting out fire
Say so long, so long, so long
I bet you’re worried. I was worried. That’s why I began this project.
I was worried about Donald Trump. I was worried what we think about Donald Trump. And I was even more worried that we don’t think about him.
I was worried about pussies. They need protection. And a parody song. A parody play. A community and cultural response from women with pussies and also those without.
There is so much darkness surrounding Donald Trump’s treatment of women. In the first place, it’s nearly impossible to avoid Donald Trump these days.
Women have gone days, weeks, months, and no matter how much they try, they cannot avoid him. I chatted online with a high-powered businesswoman and she told me she doesn’t have time to protect her pussy.
Avoiding him is a full day’s work, she says. “You’ve got to shut down all your social media, turn off the TV and radio, avert all glances at newspapers and magazines, and of course avoid the gold-plated building on Fifth Avenue between East 57th and East 56th Streets in Manhattan. Trump Tower. And you can’t look directly at it.”
Since she was too busy, she risks going unprotected.
But I was undeterred and decided even without her help, I needed to do this project. It was Time for the Pussy to Grab Back. It started with a casual suggestion on Facebook. And it turned into The Trump Monologues.
I enlisted the help of other women: young women, older women, married women, pregnant women, women who are moms, lesbians, queers, transgender women, single women, college professors, corporate professionals, actors, sex workers, African-American women, Asian-American women, Hispanic women, Latinas, Native-American women, Caucasian women, Jewish women, Christian women and atheist women.
Not one woman was reluctant to talk about Donald Trump. Women love to talk about Donald Trump. They do. They really do. Mainly because we’ve been talking about him for more than a year and now people are finally paying attention.
Let’s just start with the most horrific thing he’s said — that we know of — so far:
“Grab them by the pussy.”
Them, being us. Women.
A presentation requiring two voices, as presented by NBC and the Washington Post
DONALD TRUMP: “I moved on her. Actually, she was down on Palm Beach. I moved on her and I failed. I’ll admit it. I did try and fuck her. She was married.”
BILLY BUSH: “That’s huge news!”
TRUMP: “Nancy, no this was… and I moved on her. Very heavily. In fact, I took her out furniture shopping. She wanted to get some furniture. I said ‘I’ll show you where they have some nice furniture’. I took her… I moved on her like a bitch. I couldn’t get there and she was married. And all of a sudden I see her. She’s now got the big phoney tits and she’s totally changed her look.”
BUSH: “Sheesh, your girl’s hot as shit. In the purple.”
TRUMP: “Whoa! Yes! Whoa!”
BUSH: “Yes! The Donald has scored. Whoa, my man!”
BUSH: ” It better not be the publicist. No it’s her, it’s…”
TRUMP: “Yeah that’s her in the gold. I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her. You know, I’m automatically attracted to beautiful… I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything.”
BUSH: “Whatever you want.”
TRUMP: “Grab them by the pussy. You can do anything.”
As reported by Cosmopolitan and the Telegraph
“You know, it really doesn’t matter what they write as long as you’ve got a young and beautiful piece of ass. But she’s got to be young and beautiful.”
To a female lawyer who asked for a medical break during a deposition, to pump breast milk for her 3-month-old daughter: “You’re disgusting.”
“Robert Pattinson should not take back Kristen Stewart. She cheated on him like a dog & will do it again — just watch. He can do much better!”
About Megan Kelly of Fox News: “ “You could see there was blood coming out of her eyes, blood coming out of her wherever.” And “Fox viewers give low marks to bimbo Megan Kelly will consider other programs!”
Later, he asked her: “Did I say that? Excuse me.” Then followed with “you’ve been called a lot worse, wouldn’t you say?”
About Arianna Huffington: “Ariana is unattractive both inside and out. I fully understand why her former husband left for a man — he made a good decision.”
He repeated the attack three years later: How much money is the extremely unattractive (both inside and out) Arianna Huffington paying her poor ex-hubby for the use of his name?”
To New York Times columnist Gail Collins he sent a copy of one of her columns with her picture circled and a note that read: “The Face of a Dog.”
“Sarah Jessica Parker voted ‘unsexiest woman alive” — I agree.”
To Celebrity Apprentice contestant and former Playboy playmate Brande Roderick: “It must be a pretty picture. You dropping to your knees.”
“Bette Midler is an extremely unattractive woman, I refuse to say that because I always insist on being politically correct.”
And of course, then there’s Rosie O’Donnell:
“Rosie is crude, rude, obnoxious and dumb — other than that I like her very much!” He followed up by saying she deserved those insults “and everyone would agree and she deserves it” because of how “vicious” she’s been to him.
“Rosie O’Donnell is disgusting, both inside and out. If you take a look at her, she’s a slob. How does she even get on television? If I were running The View, I’d fire Rosie. I’d look her right in that fat, ugly face of hers and say, ‘Rosie, you’re fired.’
“We’re all a little chubby but Rosie’s just worse than most of us. But it’s not the chubbiness – Rosie is a very unattractive person, both inside and out.”
“Rosie’s a person who’s very lucky to have her girlfriend. And she better be careful or I’ll send one of my friends over to pick up her girlfriend, why would she stay with Rosie if she had another choice?”
In 2013, he replied to a tweet asking him how much he’d want to make-out with O’Donnell: “One trillion, at least!”
About wives who expected their husbands to change baby diapers: “There’s a lot of women out there that demand that the husband act like the wife and you know there’s a lot of husbands that listen to that. So you know, they go for it.”
About Gold Star grieving mom, Ghazala Khan: “Look at his wife, she was standing there. She had nothing to say. She probably, maybe she wasn’t allowed to have anything to say. You tell me.”
“Frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote. The only thing she’s got going is the women’s card.”
What should Ivanka Trump do if she faced sexual harassment on the job? “I would like to think she would find another career or find another company if that was the case.”
On women seeking abortions: “There has to be some form of punishment.”
Trump called NBC campaign reporter Katy Tur “Little Katy” and a “Third-Rate reporter,” and tweeted that she “should be fired.”
When Breitbart reporter Michelle Fields filed a criminal report against a Trump aide alleging assault, Trump said she had “a larger pattern of exaggerating incidents,” called her “terrible” and told Fox News host Geraldo Rivera “Maybe I should file a report, she was grabbing me.”
Heidi Cruz was his target when Trump tweeted that “Lyin’ Ted Cruz just used a picture of Melania from a G.Q. shoot in his ad. Be careful, Lyin’ Ted, or I will spill the beans on your wife!” And he retweeted an unflattering photo of their wives side by side.
Trump called Sen. Elizabeth Warren a “fraud,” “goofy” and “Pocahontas:” “Pocahontas is not happy, she’s not happy. She’s the worst. You know, Pocahontas —I’m doing such a disservice to Pocahontas, it’s so unfair to Pocahontas — but this Elizabeth Warren, I call her ‘goofy,’ Elizabeth Warren, she’s one of the worst senators in the entire United States Senate.”
When Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg called Trump a “faker,” he tweeted “Justice Ginsburg of the U.S. Supreme Court has embarrassed all by making very dumb political statements about me. Her mind is shot — resign!”
About Mika Brzezinski, he tweeted she “is off the wall, a neurotic and not very bright mess” and suggested she is dating co-host Joe Scarborough, calling her “his very insecure long-time girlfriend.” He also called them “Two clowns.”
Trump used “neurotic” to describe the DNC’s former chair, Debbie Wasserman Schultz, too: “The highly neurotic Debbie Wasserman Schultz is angry that, after stealing and cheating her way to a Crooked Hillary victory, she’s out!”
About Kim Kardashian, Trump said “she’s gotten a little large” during her last pregnancy and “I don’t think you should dress like you’re 125 pounds,” then blessed her clothing choices when prodded by an interviewer: “Well, I think that’s great. If she feels good about herself, A.J., do it Kim.”
from The Telegraph
1990: “I would never buy Ivana any decent jewels or pictures. Why give her negotiable assets?”
1997: “There are basically three types of women and reactions. One is the good woman who very much loves her future husband, solely for himself, but refuses to sign the agreement on principle. I fully understand this, but the man should take a pass anyway and find someone else. The other is the calculating woman who refuses to sign the prenuptial agreement because she is expecting to take advantage of the poor, unsuspecting sucker she’s got in her grasp. There is also the woman who will openly and quickly sign a prenuptial agreement in order to make a quick hit and take the money given to her.”
2004: “All of the women on The Apprentice flirted with me – consciously or unconsciously. That’s to be expected.”
2005: According to one woman who appeared on the show, Trump told her: “I bet you make a great wife.” That soundbite never aired. Hmm, I wonder why?
2006: “If Ivanka weren’t my daughter, perhaps I’d be dating her.”
2007: “Beauty and elegance, whether in a woman, a building, or a work of art, is not just superficial or something pretty to see.”
About Angelina Jolie: “I really understand beauty. And I will tell you, she’s not – I do own Miss Universe. I do own Miss USA. I mean I own a lot of different things. I do understand beauty, and she’s not.”
Trump pitched a new reality show that was never produced, called “Lady or a Tramp” in which ‘”out of control” party girls would be sent to charm school to learn some manners. Because as the Telegraph reported, “God forbid a woman should be anything but demure.”
2008: Trump speaking of Anne Hathaway: “So when he had plenty of money, she liked him. But then after that, not as good, right?”
In 2009, Beauty queen Carrie Prejean revealed the ‘Trump rule’ at the Miss USA pageant, which required the women to parade in front of him so he could separate those he found attractive from those he didn’t: “Many of the girls found this exercise humiliating. Some of the girls were sobbing backstage after [he] left, devastated to have failed even before the competition really began,” she wrote in her book. “It was as though we had been stripped bare.”
2010: Contestant Mahsa Saeidi-Azcuy claimed that during taping of The Apprentice: “So much of the boardroom discussion concerned the appearance of the female contestant – discussing the female contestants’ looks – who he found to be hot.
“He asked the men to rate the women – he went down the line and asked the guys, ‘Who’s the most beautiful on the women’s team?’”
Financial adviser Gene Folkes said: “I think it was most uncomfortable when he had one contestant come around the board table and twirl around.”
2012: The Miss Universe pageant kicked out contestant Jenna Talackova for not declared she is transgender. Attorney Gloria Allred declared that no one had asked Trump to “prove” he was a man by showing his anatomy. In response, Trump told TMZ Live that when it comes to his penis: “I think Gloria would be very impressed.”
He attacked Cher on Twitter after she accused him of wearing a “rug.” “Cher, I don’t wear a ‘rug’ — it’s mine. And I promise not to talk about your massive plastic surgeries that didn’t work.”
2013: Trump reveals he knows why there are so many victims of sex crimes in the military: “26,000 unreported sexual assaults in the military — only 238 convictions. What did these geniuses expect when they put men & women together?”
2015: Someone handling Trump’s Twitter account tweeted “If Hillary Clinton can’t satisfy her husband what makes her think she can satisfy America?”
Trump told The New York Times: “ “Heidi Klum. Sadly, she’s no longer a 10.”
Trump insulted fellow Republican candidate for president Carly Fiorina about her looks: “Look at that face. Would anyone vote for that?
“Can you imagine that, the face of our next next president? I mean, she’s a woman, and I’m not supposed to say bad things, but really, folks, come on. Are we serious?”
And: “Why does she keep interrupting everybody?”
About Hillary Clinton, this year: “Bill Clinton was the worst in history and I have to listen to her talking about it? Just remember this: She was an unbelievably nasty, mean enabler.
“And what she did to a lot of those women is disgraceful. So put that in her bonnet and let’s see what happens.”
“She doesn’t have the look. She doesn’t have the stamina.”
Of former Miss Universe winner, Alicia Machado, whom he called “Miss Piggy” and “Miss Housekeeping,” Trump tweeted: “Did Crooked Hillary help disgusting (check out sex tape and past) Alicia M become a U.S. citizen so she could use her in the debate?” The Republican presidential nominee told Americans they should check out a sex tape, which does not actually exist.
He did, however, admit to watching Paris Hilton’s sex tape, in an interview with Howard Stern unearthed this year: “Now, somebody who a lot of people don’t give credit to but in actuality is really beautiful is Paris Hilton. I’ve known Paris Hilton from the time she’s 12, her parents are friends of mine, and the first time I saw her she walked into the room and I said, ‘Who the hell is that?’”
Stern asked him: “Did you wanna bang her?”
Trump replied: “Well, at 12, I wasn’t interested. I’ve never been into that … but she was beautiful.”
Apprentice Producer Katherine Walker told the Associated Press Trump frequently talked about women’s bodies and said he speculated about which female contestant would be “a tiger in bed”. While a crew member who asked not to be identified, recalled: “We were in the boardroom one time figuring out who to blame for the task, and he just stopped in the middle and pointed to someone and said, ‘You’d fuck her, wouldn’t you? I’d fuck her. C’mon, wouldn’t you?'”
That revelation came out the Monday before the release of the video of Trump’s vulgar remarks about former Access Hollywood host Nancy O’Dell, who now hosts Entertainment Tonight. O’Dell summed up how many American women feel:
“Politics aside, I’m saddened that these comments still exist in our society at all. When I heard the comments yesterday, it was disappointing to hear such objectification of women. The conversation needs to change because no female, no person, should be the subject of such crass comments, whether or not cameras are rolling. Everyone deserves respect no matter the setting or gender. As a woman who has worked very hard to establish her career, and as a mom, I feel I must speak out with the hope that as a society we will always strive to be better.”
4. Not All Guys
By Jennell Jaquays
In the past, I was able to work stealth in all-male environments in the entertainment industry that might as well have been those boys clubs, those “locker rooms” used as excuses for Trump’s talk and actions (and I’ve been stealth in some locker rooms as well). Some men did talk in private like Trump does. More, actually many more did not.
It was always uncomfortable to be around such decidedly unprofessional conduct with the ones who did. It makes me sad to even think about my daughter or step daughters having to work with, or work for, or even date men like this.
So I’d like to finish with a quote that came into my feed by way of Rebecca Wald “If you have a male friend explaining right now that ‘all guys are like that in private,’ he’s telling you something important about himself. Believe him.”
My latest YouTube video is dedicated to the wonderful women of my widows group, who have helped me to feel human again by getting me out of the house and connecting with them outside our biweekly sessions to explore our grief.
We all went out recently, had a few drinks, had a lot of laughs at a local comedy club, and bonded. I’m so grateful to them for including me and making me feel welcome and a part of their sisterhood.
Not one of us would give up a chance to have those we lost back in our lives, but since that’s not possible, we have each other. And my video this week is really for every person who feels cut off, and alone. It’s important to get out, make new friends and find connections. To find time for ourselves to grow and be with other grownups once in awhile.
I’m very glad my friends found me!
” Honor what I have lost by being grateful for what you have. Love completely, fight less often, find more opportunities to show compassion and love to someone who needs it.”
I cannot say this any better than Becky already did. Thank you, my friend. ❤️
I recently read an article that hit me from the very title, You went to a funeral and then you went home. I hadn’t even finished reading it before I started typing away…
This morning, shortly after I woke up, I posted some “New Rules,” a la Bill Maher, but not to support him, rather to match my own thinking… and I’d like to expand upon one in particular before I turn in.
This new rule is something I myself have worked to fully incorporate into my life both online and in the real world, and I am making strides but it’s not something I think I will ever say, “Ah, well, cross that one off the list; it’s done.”
What every single white person I know does is immediately think, “that’s not my experience.” I do it, too. And what should, in my opinion, happen next, is for us to go:
Think on it. Ponder. Share. Let your action be to raise up the voice of someone who doesn’t have your privilege. Not to point out the difference between us.
I had just been discharged from a hospital where I spent a week recovering my memories and trying to figure out so many things: what year this was, who I was, why did my driver’s license have a picture of me wearing a wig, a gender marker with an F, and this other name that people called me.
Dissociative amnesia, I am told, was the result of a seizure that struck one night at the dinner table in late July. On that same night, as my wife rushed me to a hospital, my mother’s second husband died at a hospital in Florida. It was a bizarre, hard to fathom experience that I still have trouble explaining.
And that’s the worst thing I could have done: tried to explain. It was diagnosed as “transient global amnesia” at first, which spawned endless puns, and the doctors advised me upon my release that I needed to be cautious and not make any hasty decisions.
So, of course the first thing I did was tell my job I was returning to work as the man I once was.
File this under, “Things You’ve Done You Wish You Could Take Back or Do Over.”
Reaction among most of my “friends” and supporters was just short of Salem, only instead of burning me at the stake, I was set ablaze on the internet. Thank God for those of you who stood by me, then and now. And those of you who returned as my friends, I cannot blame you for joining the witchhunt, or standing by as I twisted in a tornado of my mind’s own creation.
To this day, I cannot explain what happened to me other than that I was clearly not as ready as I thought I was to continue my transition. One doctor compared it to a circuit breaker snapping, or a fuse blowing, when too much energy was required than it could handle.
Through that date, I had come out to my wife, to my children, on the job and to the world. I wasn’t regretting a thing, except of course the end of my marriage. That was devastating, but understandable and anticipated. There was no going back, no putting the genie back in the bottle.
And yet, for all of August 2013, that was what happened. I lived as Don again. A man with a generous set of moobs. A man who peed sitting down as that was the only way. My identification, which I had been told had been quite easily switched to “Dawn” and “female,” was not so easily changed back, however, given I could not get a doctor to write a letter that I was undergoing a gender transition from female to male. I ran into roadblocks that I could not overcome and decided to just lump it and explain it as best as I could, should the subject come up, like when I had to present a driver’s license to a cashier.
Those kinds of quiet explanations are understandable. However, telling my “close friends” at work what had happened, in writing, was the height of stupidity. I had no idea at that time who my enemies were, and how or why anyone I called a friend would leak my email to gossipmongers and tabloids.
If only I had just kept it all to myself. But if you know me, you know that’s like asking a shaken soda bottle to please not explode when you open the cap, pretty please?
I was under enormous pressure to get back to work, and earn the money we counted on for survival. I felt obligated to prove I wasn’t this “transgender woman” the identification papers and newspapers and websites said I was, and I wanted more than anything to be with my wife and children, not living separately from them with a couple of gay guys an hour away.
And then, slowly, I started to realize, every time I looked in the mirror, the face staring back at me wasn’t the one I thought it would be. Where did she go? Who was I, truly?
My nights were plagued by dreams of being this other person, a woman. My days were filled with embarrassing moments such as walking into the ladies room while still presenting as a male.
And I wasn’t sure what to do with all those shoes, and clothes, and wigs… until I decided, actually I do want to go back to the lovely guys who took me in when my beloved kicked me out. I chose to move this time. And when that letter came, that fateful letter, it clicked.
To: Dawn Stacey Ennis
From: National Institutes for Health (NIH), Bethesda, Maryland
It said in part: “The patient is a successfully transitioned woman, born male, who…” I stopped reading. That’s ME, I thought.
What the hell happened? Memories flooded back. I realized what I had done in my deluded state and cried, and hugged my roommates, unsure what to do. I had killed and buried Dawn Stacey Ennis, and I had not the slightest clue how to bring her back to life. How to resume my authentic life.
I realized the delusion was not that I was trans; it was that I could be anything but.
By September, I would be back on HRT and by October of 2013, I resumed my presentation as my authentic self, in secret, away from work and family. I was further back in the closet than I had been when this all started.
It was not until May of 2014 that I finally came out, again, and have lived true.
I have tried to be a voice for those who do voluntarily detransition, to stand up against those who would shame them, for fear it taints all of us. What I learned was except for those very few who never were trans, that no one transgender ever really detransitions; they stop presenting, they can deny who they are, but they are always, endlessly transgender. And sadly, closeted.
Three years later, I cannot say I don’t have regrets, but I am a better person, a happier person, a more authentic person than I ever was when I pretended to be someone I wasn’t.
I like to think it took nothing short of a medical catastrophe to make me think I could be him again, and that when I got better, the truth came out. I am a successfully transitioned woman named Dawn Stacey Ennis, a woman born male.
And although the road to me has not been easy, there’s not a woman alive who can say that it ever is.
“One is not born a woman, but becomes one.” – Simone de Beauvoir
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