Today’s Bizarre White House Press Briefing, Annotated

Today’s White House press briefing opened with Sarah Huckabee Sanders reading another reverent letter from a kid to Trump (which always sound more like something written by a Trump staffer than a kid), and things just went downhill from there.

Seven-year-old MacKenzie, of Dalton, Georgia was today’s enthusiastic Trump supporter. “I think you’re awesome,” she wrote, “in fact, I voted for you in my school election.” 

Now, I have to stop here and mention that 7-year-old Mackenzie must go somewhere other than public school, because public elementary schools – at least, according to my experience – do not hold mock elections using the actual candidates for POTUS in a current election cycle… in fact, they’re typically advised NOT to do that because a.) it’s not considered best practice because it would b.) put teachers and/or administration at risk of being accused (or at least giving the perception) of possibly endorsing one candidate over the other, and c.) it would allow strong emotions and national political divide to seep into elementary school classrooms. How? Because second graders are too young to understand most political platforms and therefore just repeat whatever their parents are saying at home. Not to mention, the ire of national political divide has no place in public elementary school, but I digress…

Young Mackenzie continues, “I know you’re a busy man but if you could meet me, or at least see your office, it would make my day, and I would love to shake your hand. You’re our leader, a hero, and a great man, and I can’t wait to see you and help make America great again. Sincerely, Mackenzie, your biggest fan. P.S. If you would like, I can bring something to eat when I come. I’ve always heard food brings people together.” 

Just once, I’d like them to read a piece of mail they’ve received that at the very least, questions them. I’m sure they get plenty of that kind of mail. It’s pretty gross how they choose to share this ego-stroking fan mail at press briefings. 

Immediately afterwards, Sanders announced that she had already answered a number of questions regarding outreach efforts. She said today she thought it would be more appropriate to have the Chief-of-Staff, General Kelly, address some of the questions that were specific to outreach to Gold Star families. She said he’d address questions on that topic only, (subtext: we’re controlling today’s content) and if they had other questions, the press staff would be there after the briefing to answer them. 

General Kelly began with a somber tone: “It is a more serious note so I just wanted to perhaps, uh, make more of a statement than an explana–give more of an explanation than what amounts to the traditional press, uh, interaction.” (Freudian slip with the word “explanation,” perhaps? I’m sure he finds himself explaining the President’s words A LOT.) He then began by stating how “most Americans don’t know what happens when we lose one of our soldiers (subtext: Trump doesn’t understand what happens when we lose one of our soldiers) …in combat, so let me tell you what happens.” 

The picture Gen. Kelly portrayed was moving and he presented it to a silent, captive audience. His descriptions were chilling as he explained how first, “their buddies wrap them up in whatever passes as a shroud,” and they are taken by helicopter to one of two stops to be packed and re-packed in ice before ultimately landing at Dover Air Force Base. There, he explained, “Dover takes care of the remains, embalms them, meticulously dresses them in their uniform with the medals that they’ve earned, the emblems of their service, and then puts them on another airplane linked up with the casualty officer escort that takes them home.” 

Gen. Kelly then took an odd moment to tout the movie, “Taking Chance,” a 2009 HBO American historical docudrama that depicts the process of bringing home fallen marine PFC Chance Phelps, who was killed under General Kelly’s command, right next to him.

Gen. Kelly continued, “while that’s happening, a casualty officer typically goes to the home very early in the morning and waits for the first lights to come on. And then he knocks on the door. Typically the mom and dad will answer, or wife, and if there is a wife this is happening at two different places, if the parents are divorced, three different places. And the casualty officer proceeds to… break the heart of a family member, and stays with that family until, well, for a long, long time, even after the interment. So that’s what happens.”

I was held captive, listening carefully at this moment. This was helpful to know. I never did know exactly how family members of fallen service-folks were notified. And General Kelly was certainly having a poignant, well-articulated moment here where I almost, almost wished for a moment “Can he be President instead?” 

Kelly continued, “Who are these young men and women? There are the best 1% this country produces. Most of you, as Americans don’t know them. Many of you don’t know anyone who knows any of one of them. But they are the very best this country produces. And they volunteer to protect our country when there’s nothing in our country – anymore – that seems to suggest that self-service to the nation is not only appropriate but required.” 

Now, here I was starting to get uncomfortable. It sounded like he was insulting all the average, every-day Americans who contribute in numerous, unmeasurable, countless other ways that also – though perhaps differently – have a lasting impact and legacy on our country.  

“But that’s alright,” he quickly tossed out, as if he realized he was veering off track and trying to right himself. 

Getting back to the topic at hand, Kelly continued, “Who writes letters to the families? Typically the Company Commander, in my case as a marine, the Company Commander, Battalion Commander, Regimental Commander, Division Commander, Secretary of Defense, typically the Service Chief, Commandant of the Marine Corps, and the President, typically writes a letter. Typically, the only phone calls the family receives are the most important phone calls they can imagine and that is from their buddies. In my case, hours after my son was killed his friends were calling us from Afghanistan, telling us what a great guy he was. Those are the only phone calls that really matter. The letters count, to a degree, but there’s not much that really can take the edge off for the family members going through it.” 

So the subtext here was, “the President’s phone calls don’t matter to a grieving family. This whole thing is a non-issue.” Still, I was waiting for him to somehow address that Trump falsely accused President Obama of not having called families of fallen service-people, a claim that’s been widely disputed in just a couple of days. 

“Some presidents have elected to call. All presidents, I believe, have elected to send letters,” he continued. “If you elect to call a family like this it is about the most difficult thing you can imagine.”

Well, here we go, I thought. This is it, the moment where he will say, “there’s no good/perfect/easy way to make those phone calls.” And then he said, “There’s no perfect way to make that phone call.” Predictable. But also, the subtext came across as go ahead right now and forgive Trump’s words, God bless him, he can’t help himself. He tries, but he just can’t help himself. 

Kelly then said, “When I took this job, and talked to President….ah…” (uncomfortably long pause) “Trump… about how to do it… my first recommendation was he not do it” (subtext: because he’ll f*ck it up.) “Uh… because, it’s not the phone call that parents, family members are looking forward to. It’s nice to do in my opinion, in any event.”

Kelly admitted, “He asked me about previous presidents” (subtext: because he’s insecure in his job ability) “and I said I can tell you that President Obama, who was my Commander-in-Chief when I was on active duty, did not call my family. That was not a criticism. That was just to simply say, ‘I don’t believe President Obama called.'”

So, in my mind right now, I’m picturing Trump as the middle school gossip girl, who couldn’t wait to take something non-controversial you’d just said, something you’d neither assigned love nor hate to, put a decorative spin on it, and then tell everyone else to try and ruin your reputation in order to further her social standing. Okay, General Kelly, I hear you. I feel you, go on…

“That’s not a negative thing” Kelly said. I don’t believe President Bush called in all cases. I don’t believe any president – particularly when the casualty rates are very very high – that presidents call. But I believe they all write. So when I gave that explanation to our President, three days ago, ahm… he elected… (I could see the struggle here on his face as he selected a euphemism for the phrase ‘defied my orders’) “he elected to make phone calls in the case of the four young men we lost in Niger at the earlier part of this month. But then he said, ‘y’know, what, how do you make these calls?'” 

Okay, fair question. I can totally see a person – regardless of their stature – not knowing what to say in the given situation. However, this just serves as another reminder of why our Commander-in-Chief should not be lacking in the areas of empathy and candor, and why he should have a solid mastery of what basic, acceptable social interactions among human beings look and sound like. 

“The call in question that he made were to four family members, the four fallen,” Kelly continued. So he called four people the other day and he expressed his condolences – in the best way that he could” (again, God bless him, he knows not what he’s doing) “and he said to me, ‘what do I say?'”

“I said to him, ‘sir, there’s nothing you can do to lighten the burden on these families. But let me tell you what I’d tell them. Let me tell you what my best friend Joe Dunford told me, because he was my casualty officer. He said, ‘Kell, he was doing exactly what he wanted to do when he was killed. He knew what he was getting into by joining the Mar— that one percent. He knew what the possibilities were because we’re at war. And when he died – the four cases we’re talking about in Niger and my son’s case in Afghanistan – when he died he was surrounded by the best men on this earth, his friends.'”

Leave it to Trump to spit out his very own garbled version of what Kelly had said so eloquently. The message relayed by Trump to Myeshia Johnson, the widow, as confirmed by both Sgt. La David Johnson’s mother, Cowanda Jones-Johnson, and Congresswoman Wilson (a family friend who also happens to be their Representative), was received by all as disrespectful. While speaking to Johnson’s widow, Trump never used his name. Rather, he referred to him as “your guy.” 

However, Kelly pressed on. “That’s what the President tried” (and failed) “to say to four families the other day.” (Dear God, did he disrespect four families and not just the one?)

Then Kelly launched into the part where everything went to hell. What came next was bizarre, to say the least, but also was nothing short of hypocrisy and projection. “I was stunned when I came to work yesterday morning, and broken-hearted, at what I saw a member of Congress doing. A member of Congress who listened in on a phone call.”(subtext: what a deviant; she was listening in, she was spying!) From here, I’m just going to have to put all subtext in General Kelly’s voice, because I truly believe he was not saying out loud what he was really thinking. Either that, or he was hardcore projecting. 

Kelly continued, “And in his way” (his deranged, anti-social way) “he tried” (and failed) “to express that opinion” (one I advised him not to make in the first place because he lacks empathy and a moral compass and cannot coherently express an emotion he’s actually devoid of) “that he was a brave man, a fallen hero, he knew what he was getting himself into – because he enlisted. There’s no reason to enlist. He enlisted. And he was where he wanted to be, exactly where he wanted to be, with exactly the people he wanted to be with when his life was taken. THAT was the message” (that Trump so miserably failed to get across). “That’s the message that was transmitted” (Okay I gotta step back in for this next part. Subtext here is either a. I understood, because I know the man very well, and I get what what he thinks he’s saying even if others don’t, or b., in saying “that’s the message that was transmitted,” Kelly meant that was the message that was transmitted from himself to Trump, only Trump got it wrong.)

Very passionately, Kelly then ranted, “It stuns me that a member of Congress would’ve listened in on that conversation. Absolutely stuns me.” (But remember, she’s not just a member of Congress, she’s a family friend, who was riding with the family to receive the body, and Trump’s call was on speakerphone in the limo). “And I thought, at least that was sacred. Y’know when I was a kid growing up, a lot of things were sacred in our country” (Oh brother, here we go again. This was a hearkening back to Trump’s #MAGA message that points to both no specific historical era and also a very specific non-existent rose-tinted historical era).

Women were sacred, looked upon with great honor, that’s obviously not the case anymore as we see from recent cases.” (Kelly, did you grow up catholic, by chance? And also, let me connect you with the many, many recordings of horrible things Trump has said about women in general, because it seems like you haven’t heard them yet).

“Life, the dignity of life was sacred, that’s gone.” (Kelly, have you actually watched a full episode of The Apprentice?)

“Religion. That seems to be gone as well.” (Then maybe people who are religious, people who practice Christianity, for example, should take a good hard look at themselves and find out why they’re driving people out of churches in massive droves. You know, Ghandi said something like, “I like your Christ, I don’t like your Christians.” Good quote to reflect on here.)

“Gold Star families, I think that left in the convention over the summer.” (This sounds like insider information to me. I have no clue what this is about. I got nothing.)

“But I just thought, the selfless devotion that brings a man or a woman to die on the battlefield, I just thought, that that might be sacred.” (No one is disputing the sacredness of Sgt. La David Johnson here. This is a huge deflection. HUGE.)

With contempt Kelly then said, “and when I listened to this woman” (THIS. WOMAN. UGH. Say her name, damnit! She has a name!) “what she was saying and what she was doing on that TV, the only thing I could do to collect my thoughts was to go and walk among the finest men and women on this earth” (ok, we get it. You think they’re better than everyone else. NO REALLY, we get it.) “and you can always find them, because they’re in Arlington National Cemetery. I went over there for an hour and a half, walked among the stones, some of whom I put there, because they were doing what I told them to do when they were killed.” (By now I’m thinking this little speech is more for Kelly, speaking to himself, consoling himself over this mess he has somehow found himself in, always cleaning up Trump’s elephant loads of shit piles). 

I won’t publish Kelly’s final remarks following his “I’ll end with this” comment, but suffice it to say, he lost all my respect in that moment. Party lines aside, I at least respected this man for seeming like a decent human being. But wanna talk about “politicizing?” That’s exactly what he spent the next two minutes doing, digging deep into his collective memory for some detail – any detail – to bring down this black congresswoman who merely shared the sentiments of over half of Americans right now: “Trump is rude and crass and should not be President.” General Kelly took those last moments to call Rep. Wilson an “empty barrel” and to misplace his anger on her, instead of on Trump, where it should be. Then he announced he’d only take a question or two from someone who was either a Gold Star family member, or someone who knew a Gold Star family. 

Before leaving the room, Kelly got one last dig in, a dig at the wrong people. He said, “we don’t look down upon those of you who haven’t served. In fact, we’re a little bit sorry. (He literally just said we don’t look down on you but we do look down on you.) “Because you’ll never have experienced the wonderful joy you get in your heart when you do the kind of things our servicemen and women do. Not for any other reason than they love this country. Just think of that. And I do appreciate your time.”

So, a couple things here. If Rep. Wilson had instead gone on the news and lavished praise on Trump’s phone call with Sgt. La David Johnson’s bereaved family, I’m sure General Kelly wouldn’t have come forward speaking of how “nothing is sacred anymore.” Trump’s staff would’ve printed a transcript and paraded it around like a kid who got their first ‘A’ on a spelling test. They would’ve published the phone call transcript on the White House website to prove how great of a job Trump’s doing at winning. Winning all the things. So this bizarre “statement/explanation” was exactly about misplaced, misdirected anger. Kelly isn’t mad at the Congresswoman from Florida. He’s mad at Trump. He’s mad at himself. And he needs a scapegoat.

And here again, we have yet another example to add to the large list at the intersection of misogyny and racism, where an old white guy with power is using his voice to talk over and silence a black woman with power.

And the fact is, this chaos has only erupted because Trump started it himself. That General Kelly even had to come to the podium and try to clean up this never-ending shitshow is a direct result of Trump’s anti-social behavior. Trump ignited it in the first place by deflecting (as usual) when asked on Monday if he would contact the families of the fallen, and rather than respond yes or no, Trump falsely accused President Obama of not having called families in the past.

Trump made the matter even worse on Tuesday when he threw General Kelly under the bus and directly made him part of the conversation by using Gen. Kelly’s slain son as a political pawn. (Which by the way, was a conversation Kelly wanted to keep private). So, General Kelly, and the entire Trump administration have no right to accuse Rep. Wilson of “politicizing” this. As usual, Trump is the one who politicized it from the start. And no amount of deflecting, diversion, projection, or misplaced anger can hide that. 

 

Our TGNC Journey: Middle School, 6 1/2 Weeks In

Today’s post is coming from a place of deep hope, because my hope has been renewed, and therefore, I hope maybe my story can do the same for some of you parents who are struggling with gender noncomforming or trans children. For as many posts as I make public here on my blog, or publish at HuffPost, Medium, Scary Mommy, and elsewhere, there are quadruple that amount of posts I’ve written that are just sitting here in my unpublished drafts – unpublished, because they’re not stories to share today, and many are painful. But today I am filled with hope so I have to share. 

Some of you who’ve been following our journey or just know us are familiar with Charlie’s lifelong struggle with anxiety. When Charlie was a mere 14 months old, I witnessed (him, then) have a panic attack in the elevator at the shopping mall. It was Charlie’s first time in a stroller in the elevator. I thought nothing of it – I’d done the same with my older two, Jack and Kate, and never had a single problem. The elevator was full. Not stuffed or overcrowded, but with my stroller and about four other people, it was full. Charlie was all giggles that day, but as soon as the elevator doors closed, Charlie began shaking violently and turned beet red. Then for the entire ride, Charlie continued violently shaking and quickly, hyperventilating. I mean, this was only of about 15 seconds, start to finish, but everyone in that elevator (including me) thought Charlie was having a seizure.

Panicked gasps and hands from all around me reached in to touch my baby as I knelt beside Charlie in horror, feeling helpless, one moment away from screaming. Someone began to call 911. Another lady asked, “Has he had seizures before?” And then, as soon as the elevator came to a stop and the doors opened, Charlie stopped shaking and froze, the blood quickly drained from Charlie’s face, and we all listened in shock to this child pull his 18-month old self out of a panic attack with positive self-talk, “Charlie okay now. Charlie okay now. Charlie feel better. Go bye-bye. Go toys. Charlie okay now.” 

No two episodes were alike until much later in Charlie’s youth, but in hindsight, I eventually realized that was Charlie’s first panic attack, and it also served as a well-fitting metaphor for Charlie’s life, one where Charlie has always refused to be boxed in in every sense of the term.  

What started as severe encopresis from age 16 months only worsened over the years and continued to manifest in outward behaviors that came out as frustration, self-defeat, negative self-talk, verbal aggression towards others, dramatic over-reactions and melt-downs, and every other behavior no parent wants to come face-to-face with. I knew my child wasn’t a spoiled brat acting like a jerk for not getting his way; I knew my child’s gentle, heart of gold, his intense ability to empathize with others, how he’d cry when he saw others crying or attempt to comfort them with toys he knew they liked. Charlie was expressing compassion for others and empathy in ways that were more developmentally advanced than any normal, typical, socially developing child. And this was a child who had no problem potty training, no known digestive issues, or allergens. It made no sense.

We had no idea then what it even was, or that encopresis was the name for this painful, excruciating, condition that would render my child sick, unable to attend preschool for an average three days as we had sleepless nights from the abdominal pain, and it was nothing short of a miracle if we could get Charlie to even fall asleep in our bed just so we could nap. Over the years, the pediatrician ignored my pleas of “something is wrong with my child,” and always reassured me with, “it’s just chronic constipation. Keep pushing the Miralax and water. It will resolve.” 

Encopresis kept us away from social events and birthday parties. We missed school and I missed work for numerous three-day segments of time. And it would continue for another six years, until Charlie was having final episodes of it in second grade, because my marathon google searches for what-the-hell-is-wrong-with-my-child eventually yielded the result of encopresis, and how to treat it behaviorally. Within a few months of CBT, Charlie was done forever with this painful condition. But the anxiety underneath it still manifested in other ways. 

Daily panic attacks became a thing in 2nd grade, went on a short hiatus for 3rd grade, and came back in full force again in 4th grade, this time with a vengeance. This was also the year my child began to assert their gender, or, at least, it became evident to everyone else that Charlie was not a stereotypical “boy.” Friendships became impossible. Charlie wanted to continue playing with girls, but in 4th grade, girls wanted to only play with other girls. And boys certainly didn’t want their reps tarnished by a “girly” boy hanging out.

Charlie mentioned playing alone on the playground, or sitting on the buddy bench, “but no one ever came to ask me to play,” as daily parts of life they were just resigned to. By then I was fully employed in the public school system, and able to support this child who at the time needed my presence. We were into weekly panic attacks by this point, coming at random and for no apparent reason. A really bad one came during lunch when Charlie’s class was having chocolate birthday cupcakes for a classmate. No rhyme or reason, as chocolate and cupcakes are favorites of Charlie’s.

I spent many days in the health office bathroom with Charlie, as he was hunched over the toilet, trying in vain for 30 minutes to vomit the panic out of his body as he shook, sweated, and turned beet red, just like that time in the elevator. The panic attacks even carried into the summer. They’d come as soon as we arrived for a day at the swimming pool, Charlie’s favorite thing in the world at the time. Charlie would sit out, wrapped in a towel, shaking, feeling nauseous and miserable, sometimes for hours before the feeling passed and Charlie could get into the water at last. We’d been to therapists. Nothing helped. None of them really seemed to click. Medication was off the table because the mere thought of having to swallow pills would bring on another, full-blown panic attack, and apparently, the type of medicine Charlie needed didn’t come in the liquid form – at least not in any brand that we could afford. 

Charlie had forever been showing us their gender (mostly not boy; mostly girl, but refusal to fully embrace being a girl either), but we missed the signs, or didn’t fully comprehend how important it was. We missed that all behavior is communication. We somehow missed the life-empowering memo of just letting Charlie live authentically. Not just in the confines of our house or yard, but everywhere. We knew Charlie never showed interest in typical “boys” toys, clothing, or school accessories. But we didn’t know how important it was.

The very first sign of the anxiety resolving was that trip we finally took to Justice, at the very beginning of 5th grade when I let Charlie have a shopping spree and pick out clothing that he (he, then) wanted to wear. Shortly later we found a therapist who specialized in gender, and that opened all kinds of doors for us. The combination of letting Charlie live authentically from a young age (expressing as a girl despite being AMAB, preferring the gender neutral “they/them” pronouns, but also not correcting others who use “she/her,” because that’s okay for Charlie, too), combined with the gender therapy for Charlie, Matt, and me, which also trickles down to our other two kids, were the forces that stopped this beast of anxiety that plagued my child. 

We are now into the middle of the 6th week of 6th grade/middle school. The first time Charlie and I have been at separate schools in nearly five years. Words cannot express how scared I was to let go of that control. To let my child go into middle school, without the safety of me being a few steps behind, and being a child who is still AMAB (assigned male at birth), who expresses female, and goes by “they/them,” or “she/her,” for the first time in middle school, was a living nightmare. I needled them with questions every single afternoon, and it was putting a wedge in our relationship. Charlie had this. Charlie HAD this. Charlie was good. Charlie didn’t need my questions. The gender therapist helped me to realize that. 

Has 6th grade been hard so far? Somewhat. Yes, there is a group of boys who called Charlie, “retard,” “weirdo,” and a host of other names. But with an amazing principal and staff, that behavior was nipped in the bud as soon as I brought it to the principal’s attention. Charlie is developing a good core group of female friends with similar interests, and they seem pretty protective of Charlie. But the single most important event (or actually, trio of events) that led to Charlie’s anxiety going away was 1.) allowing Charlie to live authentically, regardless of the imminent bullying and harassing that happened for two years in elementary school which led to 2.) realizing this is about gender and finding a good gender therapist, and 3.) Letting Charlie grow on their own, in their own space, from the seeds of acceptance we planted years ago.

The resilience this kid shows living authentically behooves me every day.  Everyone tells you, “oh, middle school is the worst. Brace yourself.”  And certainly, that was true for my older two cisgender kids.  But so far, middle school for Charlie? I keep waiting for the other shoe to drop and it’s just not happening. (finding some wood to knock on right now.)  but had we waited until it was “safer,”  when Charlie was “older,”  I don’t think it would’ve happened. I think the confidence building needed to happen early for it to happen at all. 

I’m in awe as I watch Charlie get off the bus each day, laughing, sometimes arm-in-arm with their good friend, Ava. And I realize, Charlie is only getting through this because of their extreme amount of self-confidence, which has only occurred because we as parents allowed Charlie that freedom from an early age. So despite any teasing and taunting happening out there, Charlie is not bothered by it. I now have before me an extremely confident child who does not seek the approval of the popular 6th grade boys; who lives out loud and proud, and won’t let anyone dull their sparkle.  If we all could live that freely, what a beautiful world it would be. 

Privilege And Pronouns

Republished on Medium

Being the founder/facilitator of S.E.A.R.CH., and also a member of several online support groups for parents of TGNC children & youth, I hear a lot of the same concerns over and over again, which always reminds me how much more work we have ahead of us. Invariably, someone in the group always seems to mention that they have a skeptical friend or family member requesting scholarly articles regarding trans people, why they should be supportive, or what the scientific/psychological/psychiatric/medical research says. While it’s never the duty of a marginalized person to Continue reading

My Child Is “They,” And It’s Society, Not Language, That Needs Fixing

Originally published on Medium

Before anyone asks, no, I’m not some sort of new age, millennial, hipster chic parent living in a commune, attempting to raise genderless, nameless offspring who will one day grow up and decide these things independent of their father and me. We learned all three of our kids’ sexes via ultrasound and we planned accordingly. I dressed my boys in blue, my girl in pink.

I’d always hoped to have a child of each gender. And God, in only God’s divine way, was brilliant enough to give me one of each: a cisgender male born in 2000 named Jack, a cisgender female born in 2002 named Kate, and a few years later, when my third and last child was born, well, God threw all caution to the wind and decided to confuse everyone and Continue reading

Free Speech and Hate Speech and The First Amendment, Oh My!

Lots of arguments are going around about the First Amendment. While most people don’t generally agree with it, they will still assert that white supremacists & neo-nazis have as much of a right to the First Amendment protections as everyone else. But I’m thinking hate speech from groups like the KKK should not be protected under the category of free speech. How does that make sense in 2017? After the Charlottesville tragedy? Ultimately though, it’s the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision.

Currently, the First Amendment names the following as being not protected, or beyond the scope of what’s considered Continue reading

Charlottesville: What Trump Said By Not Saying Anything

Also published at HuffPost

On August 12th, 2017, an act of domestic terrorism propelled by racists and white nationalists occurred in Charlottesville, Virginia. I’m calling it domestic terrorism propelled by racists and white nationalists (or white supremacists), because it’s time (for white people, in particular) to name this for what it is. And while it may be legal for white supremacists to express their alt-right, morally repugnant views, it is absolutely unacceptable to do so in this day and age. It’s far beyond time for all Americans (but most especially white Americans) to use our privilege, our platforms, and our collective, rhetorical power to denounce racism, and to say that it is absolutely unacceptable for anyone to be a white supremacist, or neo-Nazi, or alt-right member in 2017 America. We cannot afford the normalization of this.  Continue reading

#ThanksObama!

Originally written on July 25th. Posted later. 

This is long. Very long. But I need to get it out.

From 2010 on, did/do you have a child who was/is a young adult (approx. age 19-26 years old) who was allowed to stay on your health insurance plan? If so, you can thank The ACA (Affordable Care Act, aka “Obamacare”) for that. Prior to that, dependent children typically “aged out” and were booted off of their parents’ health care plans by age 19, maybe 22 if they were full-time college students. Obamacare made it so that young adults (to age 26), EVEN IF Continue reading

The Credit Belongs To The Man In The Arena

Recently, Scary Mommy ran one of my stories on raising a TGNC, non-binary child. They changed the title and added a stock photo, as often happens in the hands of editors. For a few days, my piece had top billing and was prominently featured on the front pages of both their LGBT section, and LGBT Kids section – something I want to commend Scary Mommy for, because when they first published a piece of mine a while ago, there was no LGBT Kids section (at least not to my knowledge). So, major points for that addition – something that was needed for a long time, since we now know the “T’ part of LGBT includes children. It’s hard to keep up with the fast-moving research on this, but currently, it shows that for the most part, all children Continue reading

She’s A Republican And I Support Her, Because This Was Never About Politics

Republished at HuffPost

Ana Navarro is a Republican strategist. Though she’s no stranger to political commentary on the news, she’s one of a a few handfuls of bold voices in the media who are willing to speak truth to power right now, regardless of potential consequences. Navarro voicing her dislike of Trump is nothing new, but the clip of her talking with Wolf Blitzer, where she accurately describes Trump and his Twitter Tantrums, was exactly what everyone in America was thinking that day when Trump’s latest Twitter diversion pulled attention from the actual newsworthy events of the day.

On June 29th we should’ve been Continue reading