To an- swer this question we solicited many well-known community fig- ures. Their responses appear in this issue and the next. James Green: amily Values" is a catch-phrase designed by the religious right to inspire repug- nance for any manifestation of self that is outside the heterosexual and patriar- chal tradition. It is used to cast shame upon anyone who violates certain stan- dards — "their" standards.
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They invoke the phrase with equal intensity whether children are abused or adults assert their independence. Family is nature's way of teaching people how to get along with people they would not otherwise choose as friends. It seems pretty simple to me what "family values" really ought to mean.
If we had our own Transgender Family Values, the pre- cepts might read something like this: 1. Honor Diversity. Respect Others: All living things deserve respect un- til they willfully and maliciously cause harm to others and then they should be dealt with as respectfully as possible, given the circumstances. Respect Yourself: It is almost impossible to live fully or to truly give or receive love without self-respect.
Children are to be protected from harm, nurtured and encouraged to grow physically, emotionally, intellectually, and spiritually. Adults are to be encouraged to live, love, and express themselves as they choose, providing they do not cause harm to others. Couples must be able to join in marriage if they so w is Transgender Tapestry choose, regardless of sex, gender, or sex assignment. That, I believe, is how the television evangelists want their Hocks to see themselves: beleaguered and threatened by evil forces, and needful of the protection only they — and their version of God — can provide.
What we know today as "family values" are not the values that I want my family to live by, and I am teach- ing my daughter to recognize the difference between hypocriti- cal values and a functional family. Family should be a place where love and caring are taught. Sometimes TG children are taught fear and self-loathing instead.
Rather than being nurtured, we are beaten down. I was an adopted child, and I was very fortunate that my adoptive parents respected and loved their children unconditionally. In my family, I learned about the meaning and value of commit- ment to others. The fact that I was TG as a child and grew up to become a transsexual was not unproblematic for some members of my family. True to our version of family values, however, I was never rejected by any of my family, though I feared rejec- tion because of the pervasiveness of those other "family values.
I was lucky. If we want to create a new system of family values, we need to articulate it loud and clear — for ourselves, our children, and our extended families. Otherwise, the only voices we hear will be those of our oppressors. James Green is president of Female-to-Male International. So, we have to take that extra step: Tolerance, or, in a more personal sense, forgiveness. We have to forgive tolerate each other for being different, and for not al- ways liking each other. By coming from an approach, or inten- tion, of forgiveness, we are predisposed to tolerate the incur- sions of others into our awareness.
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We are more likely to over- look the reminder about parts of ourselves that we dislike. We are less likely to trigger each other's anger. From the perspective of the TG, this means that if we want people to be more accepting of our presence in the world, we have to be more accepting of theirs.
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Instead of attacking the religious righteous, we need to recognize and respect their val- ues, even when they seem as repugnant to us as our gender must seem to them. We are no more righteous telling them they have to change than they are telling us that we have to change. Fortunately, the more we accept others, the more we also accept ourselves. It's a win-win situation: Mutual tolerance makes us all winners. A primary point of conflict is what to do about the chil- dren. We are at fundamental odds on this issue, and all we will get by trying to change each other is bloody noses.
Rather, this difference is probably best resolved by negotiating in good faith. When there is communication across the philosophical divide, when compromise is tried and tried until the results succeed, then we will resolve our conflict, and agree on one more value in common. After all, we're not really so different. We share a com- mon love of freedom and family. What bond could be stronger? Nancy Nangeroni is host and executive producer of GenderTalk Radio. For more information see their website at www. Different families have different values, whether they live on opposite sides of the world across the street.
Since we don't all have the same values, we can't expect others to have the same values as we do. Likewise, we can't ex- pect others to change their values to suit us, any more than we would be willing to change ours to suit them. So, a cornerstone of all family values ought to be respect for this difference.
Without it, we cannot live together in peace. Whether our difference is skin color, language, dress, politics, econom- ics, or even ethics, a healthy set of family values must above all respect the values of others. Of course, the buzzword for this is diversity. As a friend of mine recently said to a dark-skinned acquaintance who was dissing TG folk, "There's more than one kind of diversity, honey. If we want others to respect our fla- vor of diversity, we need to respect theirs. And theirs may have them disliking us.
Which brings us to another fundamental principle: We can't expect everyone to like us. There are going to be people who don't like us, for whatever reason, and that's their business. Unfortunately, we can't simply avoid each other, there's too many of us. And we can't simply ignore each other, because I am a crossdresser.
Although a genetic male, I have a healthy feminine side which I express, among other ways, by wearing women's clothing. Outmoded social stereotypes concern- ing my sexual orientation or motivation do not upset me, for I know and accept the truth about who I am. Nor do I feel any obligation to abide by Genderland's stereotypes. Some do enjoy continued on page 46 Dr. Gold may not be a name famil- iar to many members of the TG community. But he's extraordinarily well known in the art world.
Nor has all his and this is only the half of it prodigious activ- ity gone unheralded. But, perhaps E. His West Coast semi- nars and workshops were legendary, drawing an astonishing variety of participants. Oh, did we mention his early work as an actor on television series like Rat Patrol. And who do you think had the idea for Green Acres to begin with?
The point is that E. Only E. In fact, E. He feels donning drag and experi- encing the world through the other gender's eyes helps open people up to their larger selves and wider possibilities. In one memorable ses- sion, he led crossdressed men and women down Sunset Blvd. Now E. A music video is the result, a delicious send- up of garage band punk, with a twist. Punk Video Transvestites.
Like much of E. Now, don't get us started about his TG group dreamwalking experiences But Gary's no mere clothes horse. Instead, he's a hard-working guy who keeps up a pace that would leave even the hy- peractive in the dust. The author of three novels, mostly about an elegant, aristocratic gay male vam- pire, editor of nearly one dozen anthologies,, a double award nominee, a pick for multiple best of the year anthologies, Gary has also found time to pen over short stories.
Keep your eye out for his novel Diary of a Vampire, which was a Finalist for the Bram Stoker Award, and Man Hungry,; a collection of erotic short stories in many genres. Gary's also edited Western Trails for Masquerade Books. He has short stories in three different 'best of' anthologies, as well as many other places.
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Bizarre Sex and Other Crimes of Passion it. Bad Boy Magazine. But Gary's activities are hardly limited to the literary world. He is also the founder and Coor- I dinator-in-Chief of the American Boyz, the second largest F2M orga- nization in the United States and the only one that includes intersexuals, butch women, crossdressers, transmen, and their fami- lies and allies. Gary also serves as a Director at Large of It's Time America, the national grassroots transgender lobbying organization that works state and local levels.
He even manages to find time to serve as a Director of the Gender Public Advocacy Coalition, a coalition of transgendered service organizations dedicated to lobbying and educat- ing Congress on TG issues. In his "spare time," he is a volunteer with the Fire Museum of Maryland where he enjoys doing preservation and res- toration of historic fire engines.
And, as if all that weren't enough, Gary recently established a web site entitled High Plains Drifter of the Internet, which can be reached at: http:www. At its end, Gary turned a beaming, if somewhat exhausted face, on the assembled throngs and said, "I have my community at last! Now Kate's flipping hers for them. Kate, author of the autobiographical.