Posts Tagged ‘Voting


My Mom, Joe Biden and I all agree, Transgender Discrimination is the ‘Civil Rights Issue of Our Time’

The Vice President of the United States of America giving my Mom a great big bear hug!

So, as many of you might know, my incredibly adorable and emotionally opinionated, old hippie Mom made quite a splash this week.  She had the chance opportunity to meet Vice President Joe Biden, who was coming out of the Democratic Party Headquarters in Sarasota Florida when he spotted my Mom’s big blue eyes and made a bee-line to her to give her a big old bear hug!  It was just serendipity that my Mom was next door at her hairdressers when VP Biden was in town.  She didn’t even know the Dem Headquarters were in that building!

But when my Mom saw the Secret Service guys and found out who they were there to protect, she put on a fresh coat of lipstick and talked her way through the checkpoints.  We’re a lot alike that way.  It’s little coincidence that I became a genuine Pageant Queen (Miss Trans New England 2009), or that I’ve got a lot of opinions myself, that I am never afraid to say and say it LOUD!  It’s just how I was raised.

The further details of this encounter are easy to find.  The last time I googled, “Biden + Transgender” the results were hovering around one and a half million, with over 600 ‘news’ hits.  Suffice it to say though that my Mom, when she had the opportunity to say a few words to the Vice President of The United States of America, spoke of her transgender daughter and the imperative need to help transgender people achieve full civil rights!

My Mom posing proudly with her blonde curly locked transgender daughter.

I know that the resulting statement from Biden that “Transgender Discrimination Is ‘The Civil Rights Issue Of Our Time’” was somewhat surprising for most of the world to hear. In fact he is not far from correct in his statement.  Though even as a trans woman whose main focus is on the struggle for FULL Transgender Equality, I would remind folks that the fight for trans rights is ultimately about a fight for Human Rights for all who are oppressed.  Even so, it was surprising for most of the world to hear the VP make such a strong statement in support of transgender people.

But it wasn’t surprising to me folks!  This is the woman who raised me!  The woman who, when I was a baby and she was asked to be the featured speaker at a Feminist Rally, angrily declined when they expressed discomfort at her male-bodied child being present (In hindsight, seriously ironic…).  This is the woman who built the house I grew up in with her own freaking hands!!  And who convinced our local Rep, Speaker Of The House, “Tip” O’Neill to help her get in the program that allowed her to do so.

My Mom standing excitedly by my side moments after I won the title of Miss Trans New England.

My Mother is a woman who has never been afraid to speak her mind.  Something she also raised me to do.  A woman who, when she has something that she cares passionately about, and there’s nothing she cares more passionately about than her transgender daughter, is very good at getting people to do what she wants.  So no, I was not surprised to hear that Joe Biden, after being drawn in by my Mom’s Irish Eyes a-Smiling, said exactly what she wanted him to say!

I have been very proud of my Mom not only for being so supportive of me and working so very hard to raise me to be the person I am today.  But also for the tireless efforts she puts in to try and be a friend and ally to the whole trans community.  And when she encounters those who are alone and rejected by their own families, she never hesitates to be as much of a surrogate family member to them as health and distance allow her to be.

Though I am an only child myself, through my Mom’s Love I have found a growing network of Brothers and Sisters (and Zisters!).  Her example reminds me constantly that we are not simply a community, we are a Family!

And yes, I’m pretty much bursting with pride that my Mom, Linda Carragher Bourne, changed the world just a little bit this week.  Proud that she made the public discourse over the issue of anti-transgender discrimination just a little bit louder by getting the man who holds the second highest office in the country to amplify the heck out of it!

And with that dear readers, I duly turn my blog over to my Mom.  Who has something she would like to say directly to all of you.  I’d strongly recommend that you listen.  Not that you have any more choice in the matter than even the Vice President of The United States!

Good Evening, Friends! Hope you’re enjoying your Friday “reprieves!”

Now. We have PRECISELY FOUR DAYS until Election Day. That’s not much at ALL.

I shall be putting together a Blog very soon, but, time is of the essence, and I shall not wait one single more minute to say what needs to be said!

Yeah. Luck was with me, this week, at the Democratic Headquarters here in Sarasota. I got to “catch the eye” of Vice President Joe Biden. I got to SAY to him, basically, “Our Transgender Population, which includes SO VERY MANY Loved Ones & Friends, is NOT reaping ANY Benefits of Constitutionally Affirmed Civil Rights, HUMAN RIGHTS!”

Biden, in turn, responded that Transgender Rights is “a (or “the,” depending on which news source you are reading; personally, I can’t exactly recall. Just being honest here, Friends.) ‘Civil Rights Issue of Our Time.” It was a wonderful moment, for me, personally, for my trans daughter, my countless number of Transgender Friends! It was also, let’s be frank, kind of adorable. The Hug. The sweetness of “it all.”

K. That’s DONE now, Friends. That’s YESTERDAY’S NEWS! I cannot stress that point ENOUGH! I was blessed with the HUGE opportunity to Speak OUT for Trans Rights. I was, apparently, “heard,” evidently agreed with.

Now. This Old Granny Rabble Rouser was lucky enough to “light the match.” However, the Community Organizer, from past days, rises up in me and SHOUTS: TIME’S AWASTIN’!!! We need ACTIONS! We need them more than EVER! We need them RIGHT NOW!

I am here PLEADING with each and every one of you to whom ANY Human Rights are held dear, most especially to those who are working day & night to achieve RIGHTS for Our Precious Transgender Population (which is MUCH larger than “folks” want t’ know!), to GET OUT THERE! TO MAKE SOME NOISE! To share YOUR STORIES! Wherever, However, with the Largest “audience” that you can REACH!!! This is CRUCIAL, Peeps!

I want EVERY SINGLE ONE OF YOU (yes YOU!!!) to be at YOUR Local Polling Place on this coming Tuesday, with your voices, with your willingness to share YOUR TRUTHS…and, yes, with your SIGNS! The ones that will inform EVERY SINGLE “about to vote” voter that YOUR LIVES and LIVELIHOODS ARE AT STAKE in this Election.

The SOLE possibility for Transgender Rights being ANYWHERE near supported, endorsed, at the Federal Level, lies with an Obama/Biden “Win.” There is ZERO possibility for anything but fewer rights, more violence, more untethered bullying and Hatred (Hate CRIMES! Loss of LIVES!!!) if their Republican Opponents are inducted into the Office of Presidency/Vice Presidency of OUR United States. ZERO. ZIP. NADA.

So. GET OUT THERE, Lovies! Make a NOISE! Be your SweetSWEET selves, but, BE HEARD!!! It’s, honestly, and quite tragically, Our Only Hope…

Yes. That ‘s precisely what I feel, what I (at 60) KNOW! Pretty eyes be damned. That’s simply an Old Hippie “Theater In The Streets” bit, Friends. Ya use what ya GOT. THEN! YOU ORGANIZE YOUR ASSES OFF!!!

Just. DO IT!!!

Love OUT! Fist Raised HIGH! Your Always Lin
Power To OUR People!!!! That includes ANY disenfranchised “group,” but my Heart is Specific here. I know a zillion of yours are too!!!

-Linda Carragher Bourne

Trans Rights Now!

If you’re looking for more on my Mom meeting the Vice President, check out these links to The Huffington Post,, my own paper, The Rainbow Times and The SF Weekly.

If you find yourself inspired to get involved in the fight for Trans Civil Rights, I strongly recommend checking out and contacting the following organizations to find out how!  The Massachusetts Transgender Political Coalition and the National Center for Transgender Equality.

For much more in depth information about the discrimination that transgender people face daily, I urge you to read over the results of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey performed by the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force.

And of course, don’t forget to get out and vote for Vice President Joe Biden and his running mate for President, Barack Obama next Tuesday!!!


Why Vote?

I’ve been thinking about the Democratic Process this morning as I often do.  (Yeah, I know, I lead such an exciting life….)  It was spurred by a question my Mom posted to her Facebook page expressing frustration with the current political situation and asking in all earnestness if anyone could convince her of any good reason why she should continue to vote.

It should be no surprise that a lengthy debate ensued with many opinions and tangents expressed.  But it really got me to thinking and I thought I’d share my response with you here.

The basic question under discussion essentially boiled down to this:  Should you (or any of us) continue to vote?

The short answer is yes.  But that certainly bears some lengthier explanation.

I am not sure really how much individual votes actually count anymore it’s true.  I really believe that our original Electoral College system is far too easily gamed.  Individual votes can easily get lost, discounted or simply disregarded.

However, I would still urge you all to continue to vote.  As my old friend Ben Gulacsi put it, “if ya don’t vote, ya shouldn’t complain”.  That sounds harsh, I know, especially in light of the argument that individual votes don’t necessarily count.

The problem ultimately, with not voting, is that it encourages a form of political apathy.  It represents a refusal to participate at the most basic level of our “Democracy”.

Right now, many of us are pretty pissed off at our leaders, even the ones who are supposed to be “on our side”.  Frankly I think both parties are to blame for the current crisis.  The Republicans for being willing to play chicken with our national economy and ultimately putting average Americans into a situation where we are likely to face an even greater downturn in the current recession.  Democrats for being too cowardly to make a stand, too willing to just give in and give up on their principles.

And how have we gotten here?  How have we gotten to a point where the Super Rich are able to essentially purchase “Democracy”?  Apathy.  People who are willing to let their elected representatives do their jobs behind closed doors with little to no real constituent accountability.  An electorate who are more than willing to look no further for their news than what they get from the corporate mouthpieces of the big media outlets.

I’m not talking about merely Fox News and the Murdock Media Empire here either.  I’m talking about CNN, The New York Times, AOL, Yahoo, Time Magazine, etc..  There is real information out there, but in this internet age, you have to not only dig for it, you have to be able to think for yourself.  You have to be able to sort the wheat from the chaff.  And have a willingness to go to the original sources.

And that requires an active and interested engagement with the political process.  Take the Tea Party for example.  They may be more corporately funded that they like to appear and I would probably disagree with 90% of the platforms they are pushing for.  But I admire their zeal.  Their political cohesion and their ability to mobilize the vote.  Heck, I envy them!  As much as I think they are being spoon-fed massive amounts of disinformation, at least they f—king care!!

An interview with a reporter talking about lobbying groups I was listening to recently, talked about the importance of politics at the state level and why so many of these conservative PACS were focusing on influencing legislation at that level.  Basically it boiled down to the idea that while the media tends to be overly focused on what’s going on at the national level, the real change comes from the local level.  This is a Republic, it’s important to remember.  A collection of affiliated States, each with a distinct social tone relatively unique to that geographic region.

If you can influence change in enough of those parts, it will inevitably effect the larger whole.

Finally, a specific example of what I’m talking about here in regards to the importance of voting, the effects of apathy and the reality of change coming from local levels, would be the still fairly recent election of Scott Brown (R) to The United States Senate from our great State Of Massachusetts.  Nobody here thought that a Tea Party supported Republican had a snowball’s chance in hell of being elected to the Senate seat that had been held by Democratic Lion, Ted Kennedy for so very many years.  Certainly not the State Democratic Party.  But Scott Brown, like him or not, went out there and WORKED for the vote.  He spoke to constituents.  He got people energized.  He ASKED for people’s vote.

Meanwhile, the leadership of the Mass Dems just sat back and figured the usual suspects would do as they had always done and elect the Democratic Candidate.  They underestimated the will of the people.  They took the electorate for granted.

And we all got f—ked because of it.  Of course Scott Brown got elected!  He wanted it.  He worked for it.  And people who agreed with his views or who simply were dissatisfied with the Status Quo, VOTED for him.

As Stan Lee would say, “’Nuff said.”

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