Tuesday, May 23, 2017

Vera's Weekly Report: The Trump/Russia Investigation

Hello and welcome to Vera’s Weekly Report! Today, I was going to talk about the process of buying health insurance while being transgender. However, I’m not quite done purchasing health insurance. I’m waiting to hear back from one company that was helping me. I’ll definitely report on that next week. For now, I want to talk about the investigation into the Trump administration.

It starts with FBI director Comey. He was investigating the Trump administrations connections with Russia. While this was going on, Trump was doing everything concievable to make life hell for trans people. We have suffered fo so long, and he decides to kick us while he’s down. I won’t go into detail here, as I’ve already wrote about it once. He’s done more, but that’s another article.

When Trump felt Comey was getting too close, Trump fired him. As a businessman, this move would make perfect sense. If the janitor is telling off the CEO, the janitor gets fired. So it’s not too surprising the action that Trump took. The problem with this, is that Trump is not a CEO, and Comey was not a janitor. In America, anyone can challenge the president. When Trump fired Comey, he set up a major blow back.

Politicians have to be above reproach. Firing the person that’s investigating you proves that you are not. With Comey gone, Congress has hired a special investigator, Meuller. Meuller is not able to be fired by Trump, and anyone who denies him access to documents can be held in contempt of congress. A federal crime that is also treason.

Now, I’ll admit that I don’t have all the facts about Trump’s russian connections. Do I think he definitely has some? Most assuredly. There has even been rumors that there was talk of a direct line between Trump and Putin to be set up. Does firing the person investigating you look bad? Yes, definitely. Do i want Trump gone? Yes!

But now we’re getting a little too much into speculation and personal political affiliation. Let’s bring this back around to the realm of what’s mostly facts.

Trump has been horrible to trans people. He’s being investigated for connections to Russia. He is not above reproach. The White House is scrambling to try to hinder this investigation. In my opinion, a leader like this should not be in charge. And soon, he may not be. If there’s a connection, Meuller will find it one way or another.

Now, before I end this article… I want to talk about the Midterm elections. With the way that things have been going, democrats are set to take back congress. This is awesome, but it won’t happen on it’s own. We need to get out and vote! Vote for a better tomorrow, vote for a better year future!

And in Pittsburgh this year, there are elections in November. Get out and VOTE!!!! Get ready, educate yourself! Let’s do this thing!

Anyway, that’s my piece for this week. I hope to see you all again next week where I will definitely be talking about healthcare and insurance. Have a great week, and remember: You are an amazing person. You matter.

Vera Jane

TransPride PGH Steering Committee Member

Tuesday, May 16, 2017

Vera's Weekly Report: A Message I Received On Reddit

Vera’s Weekly Report, the report that is less of a report and more of a rant about what’s relevant in my life that may be relevant to others. I’m going start by putting a trigger warning in my opening paragraph. This article is going to be discussing suicide. If this bothers you, I’m sorry. You may want to stop reading here, and I’ll see you next week. Do I want to be talking about suicide this week? Absolutely not. I wanted to talk about health care.

You see, I’m going to need new insurance soon, and I wanted to talk about what’s been happening so far in my search for affordable health care that supports GRS and such. However, after posting on Reddit asking for help, I received a “lovely” message from another user. I’m going to quote it here, so that you can read it for yourself.

SUBJECT: Cheap Transgender Solution In PittsburghFrom: PCOSBill
Any local gun shop can set you up with a cheap single shot 12 gauge and a box of buckshot slugs for under $150. Hope that helps!

At first, I couldn’t actually believe what I was looking at. I thought, “Maybe he thought he was responding to another user's message and sent it to me by accident.” or “maybe he didn’t understand my question.” I couldn’t fathom what this message really was. You see, in my head, I live in a world where people don’t tell other people to kill themselves. In my head, I don’t live in a world that hates me. This was a very rude reminder that the world in my head is not the real world.

It’s kind of ridiculous, right? That a fantasy world is the one where I don’t get told to blow my brains out. After all, it’d be crazy to think we live in a world of equality. What a crazy imagination I have. I mean, I help TransPride Pittsburgh out because we live in a cruel world where Donald Trump can take over the government and use that power to try to make it so trans people can’t exist in public.

For a moment. One brief moment… I forgot the kind of world we live in. One where, some staticians say, 40% of trans people try to commit suicide. Not to mention the string of murders committed by people who hate us. I want us to be in a world like I have in my head.

I believe I’ve mentioned before that I once considered suicide. A combination of a stressful job, being unable to transition, and depression. I felt that the world would have been better off without me. But I’m still here. I’m helping others. I’m still fighting for the world I wish we had to become a reality.

Well, PCOSBill. I’m not going to stop fighting for trans people. I’m not going to sit down and die because you tell me to. I’ve gone through so much more than you ever will. You don’t know the pain our community has been through. A pain that I don’t wish on anyone, even you. The gods will judge you in the next life, and our community will stop people like you in this one. Society’s changing. They’re coming around to our side, and you’ll be left behind.

You see, even with all of the horrible stuff that’s happening in the world, we’re still standing up for each other. The world is taking notice of us. We’re making them take notice. I’ll be damned if don’t do my part.

To my readers. If you’re suffering, if you’re being harassed by people like this, talk to someone. Find someone you trust, a teacher, a counselor, a close friend, a therapist, or even someone at Persad or TransPride Pittsburgh. We’re here for you, and we won’t stop fighting to help you.

This is my report. I hope you all have a great week, and I’ll see you again next time.

Have a great week!
Vera Jane Harriman
TransPride PGH Steering Committee Member

Friday, May 12, 2017

May 22nd-TransPride Pgh Femme April Meet Up

Monday, May 22 at 6 PM - 9 PM
 Persad Center
5301 Butler St, Ste 100, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15201
Come join femme identified folks, friends family and loved ones for a night of social support.
( feel free to bring something share if you are so moved.)

May 21st- Pittsburgh Bisexual Community Meeting- May 2017 @VictoryPointe

Sunday, May 21 at 4 PM - 7 PM
Victory Pointe
1113-1115 E Carson St, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15203
We're gonna make the marching banner for Pride! We'll be marching with Trans Pride Pittsburgh!! Come and discuss your plans for People's Pride which will be June 11th, you can go check the march date out here - https://www.facebook.com/events/1836561729926215/

Time Slot 4-7
Victory Pointe Arcade! "The queerest non-bar in Pittsburgh!"

FREE to attend, family friendly

We're going to meet and have some chatting inbetween whatever you'd like to do in the space. It is FREE to be there (we can bring our own games) there are also things available for fees. If we bring our own games, we can play those, there is a full kitchen (and everything on the menu is available gluten free!) As of our scoping it out, entrees are $5, sides are $3, drinks are $1.50. There are cost structures for playing archade, video games, and the boardgames they have in-house, if you're interested, but there is absolutely no need to spend any money to join us.

***So about the event itself!***

This event is for discussing the unique struggles faced by bisexual/non-monosexual identitifying people, in a supportive setting. Wellness idicators in the bisexual-umbrella community are unsettlingly bad, and supportive communities are rare if available at all. BiPGH is hoping to fill that gap for Pittsburgh. There are currently no other bisexual-specific groups available in the city. By inviting you we are hoping that you can help spread the word. Regardless of your own identity, someone you know might need us. If you are interested in getting together and discussing this month's topic (listed at top) please come on by. Afterward, you can stay for some gaming or nommy food, if you feel so inclined.

This event is for community building for the Pittsburgh community of Bi-umbrella/non-monosexual identifying individuals as well as supportive partners and friends, and those questioning. This is intended for discussion of oppressions and adversities we are facing as bisexuals and non-monosexuals. All ages, all genders, all relationship statuses and structures. YOU ARE WELCOME HERE. Come on out and enjoy some time with YOUR community!

Cover art from: http://cosmicmindcomics.tumblr.com/post/99741900394/happy-coming-out-day-everyone-im-pretty-sure

May 15th--TransPride Pgh GQ Meet Up

Monday at 6 PM - 9 PM
Persad Center
5301 Butler St, Ste 100, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania 15201
 GQ- A Gender Queer Meet-up is a monthly gathering of like-minded folks.

Getting to know you, getting to know all about you!
We will be taking some time to talk and learn about one another, chill and snack. feel free to bring snackage to share.

Free to attend, Open to all Ages.

Tuesday, May 9, 2017

Vera's Report: Art for Change 2017

Welcome to Vera’s Weekly Report! This week, I went undercover at the Art for Change 2017 event as a volunteer. Now, I’m going to let you all in on the juicy secrets that only the people behind the scenes know! By this I mean, I volunteered at this year’s Art for Change, and I’m going to tell you about it.

I’ll be honest, I wasn’t feeling up to going at first. Then I heard that they need a lot of people still. So, I pulled on my big girl pants and headed out. I even dressed fancy because it was a charity auction. When I got there, I was put into a sort of waiting/dining room where they had free food for the volunteers. That was pretty neat, even if I didn’t eat anything. But the fact that they were thinking of volunteers was super awesome.

I was quickly scooped up by the amazing Billy Jo to do security. She tried to get me out of there before I had to put on the red vest thingy, but to no avail. Thus, I looked like a Christmas tree with the green volunteer shirt and red security thing.This mostly involved wandering the room and making sure that people didn’t touch anything.

It was actually really fun. I got to wander around, look at the art, and chat with people. For the most part people were very well behaved. There were a couple times when people were grumpy with me for telling them not to bump into stuff, but then, that’s what happens when you work with people, you know?

The artwork itself was really nice. The most notable piece to me, was entitled “True Love” and was created by Maugham Kantneau. It depicts a simplified human figure in red paint on a silver background. But what’s truly notable about this piece was that it featured metal underwear that could flip down. I don’t know what was under it, but I do know that I had to stop people from touching it to see what was underneath.

The room was filled with people in fancy clothing drinking wine and beer. They discussed the art and Persad. If I had a couple thousand dollars in the bank, I would have loved to be one of them. Though I have to say that giving my time still felt good.

Barefoot Wine provided the bar. Which is really funny as I have a bottle of Barefoot here at home. It’s absolutely amazing. So, I was very happy to see that they were the company for wine there.

Things came to an end around 11, I helped move some stuff, gathered some stuff, spoke with the amazing lyndsey for a while, and headed home to have a glass of wine. Overall, I feel that it was a very successful night. I’m glad I went to volunteer.

So, that’s my undercover experience volunteering. It was a lot of fun, a lot of work, and for a good cause. I highly recommend it to any and everyone!

Now, if you’ll excuse me, I’m going to have a glass of wine and enjoy the rest of my day. Have a great week everyone, and I’ll see you again next week for Vera’s Weekly Report!

Have a great week!
Vera Jane Harriman
TransPride PGH Steering Committee Member

Tuesday, May 2, 2017

Vera's Weekly Report: Games as Escape

Hello Everyone. This is Vera’s Weekly Report! And this time, I’m going to be talking about games! Video games, tabletop games, and others. Why? Because games are a great escape and outlet for trans people. At least in my experience.

You see, when I was growing up, I was never able to present myself as the girl I was. When I was little, I would find books with a female protagonist. This was to live vicariously through the character. But then came the advent of computers. And with computers, came video games. Suddenly, in a digital world, I could be the the woman I always wanted to be.

And of course, video games weren’t the only thing. Tabletop games like dungeon and dragons also let me live as the woman I wanted to be. (There wasn’t really any doubts for me until I hit my teens.)

I remember RuneScape, specifically. It’s actually still around. You see, RuneScape is a Massive Multiplayer Online game. This game lets you build a character, and choose many things about them. One of these things includes gender.

I built a female character for this game. People would call me “she” and “her” and if they asked if I was a girl, I would of course answer “yes”. It was an incredibly liberating experience and while this sparked a game addiction for a while, it helped make me happy and get rid of my dysphoria for a few hours. I even had an internet boyfriend for a week. Looking back, I never thought I’d get this far in life.

Then, there was Dungeons and Dragons. D+D never had a major impact on my life until the end of high school. I would play with some friends after school. I had a female dwarf character, and while I wasn’t any good at the game itself, it was still able to help me get through some difficult times.

Essentially, games are a great outlet to help ease dysphoria. You see, for me, without these outlets, my depression would have gotten worse than it already was growing up. When you play these games, you can be literally anything. I’m currently being the GM (Game master) for a group, and we have two non-binary characters in a world that just accepts them. Because as the game master, it’s my world, and I say that they can exist without being threatened by my world. (Well, except for monsters, of course!)

Games for me, and I hope for you, can be a wonderful way to express yourself to the fullest. And to all of the other GMs out there, I would urge you to let your characters play as any gender (or lack thereof) that they want to.

That’s all for this report. I hope you all have a great night. And please remember, it doesn’t matter if you’re a man, woman, in between, or anything else. You’ll have a place in my world, and you deserve a place in this one.

Have a great week!
Vera Jane Harriman

TransPride PGH Steering Committee Member