Nevada Bill SB 201 Passes: Conversion Therapy now Illegal

My amazing friend Brooke sent out an email yesterday saying:

“Today, Wednesday, May 17th, 2017 Governor Sandoval will sign into law SB201, which will ban licensed providers from engaging in the abusive practice of Conversion Therapy. I have been working with Senator David Parks and others to get this law passed for the past two sessions. Crucially, for us, gender identity and gender expression are included, along with sexual orientation, in the language of this bill. Nevada will be the 10th jurisdiction to pass this type of ban. Only eight other states and the District of Columbia have passed legislation before Nevada.”

Another wonderfully supportive friend of mine, who works in the legislature, has just emailed me that the bill is now law.

I’m not sure how much my letter helped, but it’s nice to be on both the winning side of history as well as the one that makes sense. I’ve noticed that these don’t always coincide.

Here is a special “thank you” to Brooke Maylath, whose energy seems to know no bounds in dealing with very complex and tedious issues so that right can prevail.  Some superheroines don’t wear capes, it seems.

Yay!  Time for a quick “basking in victory” picture.

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Protectress

ggIMG_20170414_011258-001I was in Livermore, California yesterday. A good friend of mine lives there, and his business is there. He is also my client as to custom business software — and his business is under attack, computer-wise, in a subtle way against which I can defend. I am enjoying the process of safeguarding my friend in his business.

This role fits my self-image on good days, as a tall, muscular, blonde warrior queen protecting the innocent from evildoers.

It’s a fine line as to when to engage vs. when not. I used to fight others’ battle for them and I found ample reason to not so do any more. That includes someone who got himself or herself in trouble knowingly, sort of as in playing with fire and getting burned. In such cases, I sympathize … the burned party can still be in the right, like someone who tells a Nazi inspection squad in the late 1930s that no, they can’t come in and inspect the basement. Brave and righteous, but it sets the person up for the sort of reprisal that makes martyrdom likely. That’s not when I step in to help defend. It’s when, by my standards, someone was for the most part minding their own business and going to reasonable measures to stay out of trouble yet even so, trouble finds them.

Instead of a sword, my weapon is typically a computer keyboard — and not in a physical sense, as in I don’t beat bad guys over the head with it. Even so, a computer keyboard is not always my only weapon — sometimes it gets physical.

For example, I was in a Chinese restaurant in Oxford, England a few years ago, enjoying a quiet dinner. A burly typically-English-looking guy with a bad attitude was having a loud argument with the diminutive Asian owner of the restaurant, The English guy was being blatantly unreasonable and had already done something violent — and things seemed likely to get worse. To my surprise, the other patrons were trying to pretend that nothing was happening. I stood up, walked over and stood next to the Asian guy, shoulder to shoulder, face to face with the aggressor. The gesture radiated protection and allegiance. The aggressor went berserk. He seized a 5’ tall chromed-steel “please wait to be seated” sign as in wanting to beat me with it. I was expecting something like that but I didn’t have time to respond. The restaurant staff swarmed the guy. He threw a heavy glass dish at one of them, but missed. Soon he had half a dozen Asian guys all over him and the next thing the aggressor knew, he was out the door. The restaurant owner was very appreciative of my allegiance.

Another similar time happened last year. A trans girl friend of mine (yes, in this case there is a space between “girl” and “friend”) was ready for her first day out in public, as the girl she has always been though this time, openly so. I was supportive as to her looks and styling and off we went to spend a fun day in Reno. Things generally went well, in part because I chose safe places with friendly faces, but in one case I had misjudged. At a restaurant, someone was saying mean things to my friend. I’m all for the right to freedom of speech, and someone can be as insulting as they like; that’s their right. It’s when they seem likely to be about to get violent that things change, for me. That’s a fine line to read well– especially in this situation because the mean person was behaving erratically and talking oddly, and had made a comment to the bystanders that she was on crack cocaine. This would explain the peculiar behavior and irrationalism. I’m all for people putting drugs they bought in their own body but my concern was that she was about to do something violent to my friend, as in it seemed likely that I would imminently need to protect my friend from physical attack. My friend might have been able to defend herself physically but psychologically she was not in that mindset – I’d read her as feeling very vulnerable, something that she later confirmed.

I decided that our “dine in” order had just become a “to go” order and I briskly escorted my friend out to the car. My friend was at the time trying to quit smoking but she was so shaken she needed some nicotine, pronto. I’m all for her enjoying her chemical of choice but I don’t like the smell in my car, so she stood outside the car.calming her nerves, while I kept watch. The crack lady came out of the restaurant and headed toward my friend. Battle stations. I instructed my friend to get in the car and lock the door. As for me, it wasn’t so simple.

Sometimes the safest thing one can do is to run away. Other times, that can be the most dangerous thing. For example, when face to face with a Nevada mountain lion, if one were to turn and run, one has just announced “I’m prey, chase me” to the big cat and it might well end fatally for the prey. By contrast, standing one’s ground intimidates the big cat, typically enough to make it turn around and slink away. The same analogy can apply to humans. I remained assertive and watchful, neither retreating further nor escalating. I watched and waited. The on-crack lady walked a safe distance past me, got into her beat-up old van, and that was the end of it. As it happened, she’d intended no further malice; my car had just been parked between the restaurant exit and where her van was parked. Even so, it felt good to be ready.

Location, Location, Location

I sometimes exchange emails with trans girls who live in hostile environments and whose lives are deeply miserable as a result of that. Sometimes a negative culture is so pervasive yet so integrally tied to the location that really there is no solution, short-term, except to leave.

By contrast, I live in what appears to be a very red-necky town east of Reno yet the people are super-nice to me even though I am obviously a trans girl. Their benevolence helps me be even more cheerful.

Typically, this inspires me to dress more elegantly too, as my way of celebrating being alive, being happy and living openly as the female I am. On that premise, I try to generally look as elegant as fits the context. What amazes me is how well it’s possible to dress with an ultra-modest budget, and that even includes elegant shoes. Whether from strangers or friends or my super-candid mom (on days when I visit her) I tend to get several compliments during the day as to my clothing and shoes, and it’s nice to have such feedback.

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This morning, I really needed to make only one business trip, to sign a new lease agreement for my shop. I nevertheless made a point of conditioning my hair, then wearing the elegant dress shown above, plus some elegant black dress sandals. I felt personally more confident, happier and more outgoing as a result. I’m inherently shy but when I’m confident enough, I can attain enough critical mass to be so personable that it’s hard to reconcile that to how quiet I am, on days when I’m in pensive mode.

A peculiar sequence of events played out today, and they made it viable for me to run several errands that I hadn’t planned on doing, when the day began. It felt good to look my best and be more confident during all of these, not least because today, an acquaintance was having a really lousy day and I managed to be a good enough listener to be able to make a difference in her day and her perspective. It is safe to say that somewhere during the course of our conversation today, she and I became friends. Even though she looked super-glum when we said “hello,” she was cheerful and seemed inspired not too long after. You know that someone is having a really bad day when she prefaces a sentence on the theme of “I’m unhappy with my life” with “I’m only a year older than you, and ….” So, I listened, asked the right questions and empathized, and the world ended up becoming a better place. Had I felt less confident, I might have not handled the conversation well.

I had just gotten home when there was a polite knock on my front door. I opened it and there was a gentleman from the local Police Department asking my assistance in translating a piece of evidence with some wording printed on it in German … since they know me, they like me, I like them and they know I speak German. It was the perfect icing on the cake that symbolized a delightful morning.

On the subject of law enforcement, when I see a police officer, I feel as if I’m seeing one of my personal bodyguards. I tend to work late and go for walks by myself in the evenings or even late at night. Even so, I always feel safe even though I live in the downtown area and my automotive business is in the sketchiest part of town and I sometimes walk from my apartment to my shop. The local police officers come across, to me anyway, as just a little extra protective when it comes to me, almost as if I am their little sister. I greatly appreciate how they deal with me.

One day, I’d been removing groceries from my car, which was parked right outside. I’d left the interior lights on, and the trunk plus several doors were wide open. I’d forgotten all about it, hours before. I didn’t realize that this made it look like perhaps my car had been ransacked.

I tend to wear sexy underwear under my everyday clothes, and when I’m home, the top layer comes off soon after I walk in the door. As a result, I tend to walk around inside my apartment in a pretty bra and thong, on days when I even wear a bra. On warm nights, I also like to have my front door open to the cool desert air.  So, late that night, I was cheerfully sashaying around my apartment, dressed like a Victoria’s Secret model, with the front door wide open. There was a polite knock on the open front door, and three local police officers peeked into the doorway, two guys and a girl. They’d seen my car and my open front door, and they just wanted to make sure I was okay. I also immediately recognized one of the officers, since his mom used to work in my software business and I’ve known him, so to speak, since he was a toddler. It was all very positive. I assured them I was okay, albeit forgetful — and all was well.

Them checking on me tends to happen every now and then. I work in my software business until late at night and sometimes I next go work in my automotive business. Sometimes that requires me to remove or replace parts off one of my cars, most of which are outside, in my lot. It has happened several times that an officer showed up suspiciously but then when he saw it was me, he relaxed, said hello and explained: “I just want to make sure nobody is messing with your stuff.”

Some months ago, one of the semi-dead-but-nice cars in my parking lot had a flat tire and I didn’t want to inflate it by hand, so I tried to park a running car nearby, at a peculiar angle with one wheel on the sidewalk, so as to get it close enough for me to power an air compressor from the cigarette lighter of the running car. All this was happening after midnight.

I was also wearing extra-skimpy clothing such as ultra-short shorts, no bra and a top with very thin, light-colored fabric.  At the time, I had two girlfriends and each of them had already assured me that this type of top left nothing to the imagination even as to any subtleties in the shape and the color of whatever was underneath the fabric. I suspect that they were each gently attempting to coax me to not dress as if I were sixteen. Even so, I like to wear tops like that because after a thousand years of feeling overly masculine, I nowadays feel mostly happy with my look, and dressing like that is my way of celebrating the change.

Also, in my defense, I should mention that I hadn’t expected to interact with anyone that night. I’d planned to pump the tire up quickly and be done with it, but the cord hadn’t quite reached and so my park-closely-enough exercise became ever more extended and exotic until it couldn’t fail to attract the attention of the local police force, which (with my eternal gratitude) tends to drive past my automotive business delightfully often, to make sure things are OK.  Two officers noticed the peculiar activity, and approached to see what was going on. Instead of scolding me, or staring at my chest, the officers were magnificently professional and polite, and simply asked me to please remove the car from the sidewalk. This was done, and instead of getting the world’s biggest parking ticket (as I richly deserved) I simply got a courteous and friendly “good night.”

I have read some horror stories and even seen one horrible video about law enforcement elsewhere actively discriminating against a trans girl. By contrast, it sure is nice to live in a town and within a culture where that sort of thing has never happened to me — and if it ever did, it would be completely out of character.

Life is good, but a lot of it has to do with where I choose to live.