Oh the Places You’ll Go–In Just One Week!

Job of the Week

After a few days rest from the wonders of Oslo, I head off this morning on Amtrak for the beginning of a three week jaunt that will take me to (in order) Hartford, CT, Philadelphia, PA, Boston, MA, Providence, RI, Seattle WA. That’s week one 🙂 Actually once I get to Washington State I settle for a week in Tacoma at University of Puget Sound as their Artist in Residence.

First I have some other presentations to do. On Saturday night I will give a speech at the Connecticut Outreach Society Banquet.

The Connecticut Outreach Society (COS) is a support group for transgendered individuals and their spouses or significant others. Membership in COS is open to all crossdressers, transsexual ( both MtF and FtM ) and gender variant individuals, spouses, and significant other of legal age regardless of gender, race, creed, or sexual orientation as well as to interested medical and mental health professionals. We provide a safe place where crossdressers and transgender individuals may meet and socialize. We meet twice monthly in the Hartford area with members from all over Connecticut as well as from southern Massachusetts.

I know a few people who will attend, so it will be a reunion of sorts for me since moving from Hartford in January. I get to see fellow blogger Diana in her little corner of the Nutmeg State. (She’s going to be my ride and let me know if I am wearing the appropriate ensemble) My topic: Why the LGB NEEDS the T.

We do not need any reason or motivation to do justice work other than someone is being mistreated. Period. We don’t have to relate to them or their story or their identity.  It should be enough that injustice is happening somewhere. But sadly in this capitalistic age  minorities compete for a place at the table and oppressions get recreated around the table based on class, race, gender, gender presentation and orientation (woe to the bisexuals at the table who never get passed the mashed potatoes.) As my friend Tania in the UK commented to me,

There are two obvious  reasons T should be part of LGB

  • we have the same enemies and adversaries who make no distinction between out sub-groups,
  • we are fighting for the same or similar rights and respect with marriage, healthcare, job security etc

In addition to those two, I will highlight others. Not that the trans folks present don’t already know this, but as part of justice work, I think it is important that I state it publicly (and will continue to state it over the next several months in other presentations and writing.)

On Sunday I will do a performance at Friends Central School of Queer 101–Now I Know My gAy,B,C’s. I will spend the whole of Monday at this Philadelphia Quaker school doing a variety of presentations. According to my agent’s schedule (he is so efficient!)

8:30 – 9:00 – Set up in Meeting Room with Josh (faculty light and sound man)

9:00 – 10:00 – Speak on faith journey as a Quaker in all-school assembly in Meeting Room

10:00 -10:40 – Meet with Al’s all-senior class on “Sex and Society” in the Meeting Room

11:00 -11:55 – Break and tour of campus with GSA core team

11:55- 12:30 – Lunch with Middle School Teachers in Room 10.

12:30 – 1:10 – Lunch with Gay-Straight Alliance and interested Quaker Young Leader Students in Dining Hall (I get TWO lunches! That’s my kinda school)

1:10 – 1:50 – Meet with Robyn’s “Quakerism” Classes back across the hall in the Meeting Room.  – 2 classes combined.

1:50 – 2:30 p.m – Meet with students in the Writing Workshop in Wood 22.

2:30 – 3:10 p.m . – Debrief with Robyn and Al in Wood 25.

I have already begun working on my faith journey as a Quaker talk, and feel especially pleased to present it to a group of high school students since it was Quaker high schoolers (the Young Friends) who helped me to salvage my faith after my catastrophic breakup with Evangelicalism.

Peterson about to Transfigure

The next morning I will do a presentation on bullying over at Abington Friends Middle School. Then I head back up the East coast to Boston. On Wednesday March 24th I will present Transfigurations Transgressing Gender in the Bible at Northeastern University. See details here. For those of you who do not know, this play explores the stories and lives of gender non-conformist in the Bible and the world today. I play multiple characters and multiple genders. While in Boston I will also get to worship at Cambridge Friends Meeting for their mid-week service AND I get to hang out with my friend Wendy, a grounded, thoughtful and wise Friend.

From Boston I shoot over (up? down?) to Providence to present Doin’ Time with Peterson Toscano at Brown University. In this show I get to do a bunch of excerpts from four different plays (including the newest I Can See Sarah Palin from my Window!) My Friend Elizabeth has been trying to get me to Brown for some time, so I am thrilled it is happening at last!

After Providence I fly to Seattle, WA where I will spend the weekend with a fellow Ex-Gay Survivor and his partner. He had been through many ex-gay experiences and has done a lot of work to reclaim his life and undo the damage. Ron and I always have deep conversation and great food. I always walk away feeling affirmed.

On March 28 I head to Tacoma where I will serve as Artist in Residence for University of Puget Sound. Similar to my time at Warren Wilson College in February, at UPS I will teach classes, perform and connect with students. On March 31 as part of Transgender Day of Awareness, I will perform Transfigurations, but inserted between each scene individuals from the trans community with share something from their lives. Included in the presenters will be David Weekley, a pastor from Portland who came out trans to his congregation last year, and a wonderful poet from Seattle named Cole. We did this in Seattle for TDOR and it deepened the performance considerably.

David Weekley

In addition to seeing David’s wife Deborah on the 31st, (and I think seeing Kriss from Portland) I ALSO have the added pleasure of hanging out all week with my friend Jane, who like me survived Pentecostal Holiness church experiences, and who has a wicked sense of humor. (We really need to have a camera in the car with us as we whirled around and spin off into all sorts of crazy characters and do improv as we get lost–I’m sure our former oppressors would see that as a metaphor 😛 ) She is the mastermind behind my visit and is the world’s best stage manager (at the Seattle TDOR she jumped in last minute to do my pre-show speech since I couldn’t do a voice over).

Thanks to the efforts of Laura, someone I know from Tacoma who contacted me via Facebook, I will also do a presentation at the Rainbow Center.

The Rainbow Center is a safe, accessible and welcoming community space for meetings, activities and events that strengthen the lives of people in our community. We support Greater Pierce County by providing a centralized source of information and referral for and about the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender communities. We provide visibility to the history, culture and diversity of our communities.

Maybe I will do my new Rainbow Monologue that I premiered at TransFormAZ last spring. In it I express my grief after years of gender policing and oppression by religious leaders and organizations only to find similar patterns of oppression exercised and rigidly maintained by gay and lesbian people, spaces and organizations. In the monologue I share my shock and anger over this and join with the audience in committing to a community where “everyone has a place at the table. Everyone’s story is important, and we listen deeply to each other.” And when we see there is an injustice, we act.

You can see my whole performance schedule here. Feel free to send me notes via FB, comments or e-mails over the next two weeks. The road gets lonely at times and I get tired out easily. Even Joe Gee’s snarky remarks cheer me. 😛 And it will be good to be that much closer to Mila & Jayna (come up and see me ladies!)

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This post has 4 Comments

  1. Jim Burroway on March 19, 2010 at 10:47 am Reply

    Yay! Phoenix in October. If you have to go to Phoenix, October would be the month to do it.

  2. Jane on March 19, 2010 at 11:32 am Reply

    I do have video capability on my Blackberry. And there will be more driving adventures. Let’s stay away from Phinney Avenue though. I’m so glad you’re coming to Tacoma and that you get to do something at the Rainbow Center. I’m very excited.

  3. Jane on March 19, 2010 at 11:34 am Reply

    My name is Legion. (Couldn’t resist.)

  4. Fg68at on March 19, 2010 at 5:09 pm Reply

    “I get TWO lunches!” And you will have no time to eat both, and eat a sandwich between. 🙂

    I hope not. 🙂

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