01 June 2008

What happened today...

I continued to celebrate my solitude with yet another trip to Pasadena's Neighborhood Unitarian Church, as well as the TransUnity events at LA Gay Center.

At the church, I attended the service which was the graduation ceremony for the church's 12 8th graders to high school and adulthood. All were asked to formulate what they personally believed about faith, God, and more; the answers were very varied, and showed the diversity and the strength of Unitarian Universalist thinking. I think I learned a lot about the faith from these kids today - from those who offered a traditional Christian view of God, heaven, and hell, to those who reduced God to an abstract omnipresent being.

I was pleasantly surprised to find that one of my former writing instructors at UCLA Extension, author Phyllis Gebauer, attended this church too, but was unable to stop her for a chat. I did say hi to some of the lesbians I had picnicked with last week.

I wrapped up my church business by having a lunch with Kit, the husband of Assistant Minister for Social Justice, Rev. Hannah Petrie. Kit, a Canadian currently on student visa but in the midst of getting US permanent residency, had a lot to say; we shared memories of his hometown Vancouver, and talked about the significance of gay marriage legalization in both Canada and California, discussing the similarities and differences. Also present was Sara, the Sunday school teacher who had taught the graduating 8th graders of today.

I moved on to LA Gay Center's Ed Gould Village Plaza near West Hollywood afterwards, where I met with some of my new trans acquaintances at TransUnity 9. I attended workshops on transgender financial empowerment (where I shared my unsuccessful past experience trying to recruit lesbians and transwomen to Mary Kay cosmetics sales, as well as listening to discussions on creating a transgender "yellow pages" of supportive businesses) and passing, and got questions answered on the status of my 2000 name change court order (it's still good, though I'd need a voter registration card and/or a library card as Rachel in order to get Social Security to recognize my old court order). I hope to keep in touch with the people I met today and in the past few weeks.

I also picked up information from Los Angeles Gender Center, as well as Human Rights Campaign, which is hard at work trying to clean up its tarnished image among the trans community. The HRC gave me a list of LGBT-friendly (and not-so-friendly) businesses in a pocket-sized directory; I was surprised to find that the once-homophobic Alaska Airlines, for example, is now considered more LGBT-friendly than Sarah's employer United Airlines, which still scored well. (Speaking of airlines, American is the tops in this category, with a perfect score.)

Although the movie fest is going on right now (showing short subject movies showing the likes of Calpernia Addams and Pauline Park), I had to return home early to take care of the house.

I will miss all the socializing and networking I did during the past few weeks; I was especially proud to wear my new permanent name tag at the church this morning. In the short term, I will lose my folks again to Alaska for the 4th of July for a week and a half, so I will get to be out and about again then. But in the long term, I need my own place.

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