Greetings all. While the December Project dominated my home page during the last month, I did want to post links to two columns of mine that appeared in the New York Times during that month.
The first is about my days ringing a bell for the Salvation Army. Here’s a short tease:
A Transgender Volunteer for the Salvation Army
By JENNIFER FINNEY BOYLAN
Published: December 16, 2013 206 Comments
BELGRADE LAKES, Me. — I GOT to the Waterville mall a few minutes early. My shift began at 11, and snow was falling from a pewter sky onto the parking lot. I’d been having a hard time. This was about four Christmases ago, a few years after I’d come out as transgender. In the aftermath of that unveiling, I’d lost a couple of important friendships. Getting into the spirit of the season had been a struggle.
Then, one day, I saw someone ringing a Salvation Army bell outside a Walmart. I thought, hey, I could do that. And so I signed up, hoping it might help dispel the blues. I wasn’t sure how the charity would react to the fact that one of their volunteers was a 6-foot-tall trans woman, though. This was before stories of the organization’s antigay discrimination really started emerging, or at least before they’d reached my ears. Still, I knew that it was a traditional religious charity, and I could picture the scene — the head of the Red Kettle corps taking one look at me, knocking the Santa hat off my head, contemptuously snapping all my candy canes in half.
Instead, as I drew near, the woman standing at the entrance to the mall said, “Oh, thank God you’re here. My arm is about to fall off.” And with that, she….(click here for the full story, over at the NYT site.)
The second is about someone who disappeared 30 years ago New Year’s Eve. I never knew Sam Todd, but I still “mourn him like a brother.
CONTRIBUTING OP-ED WRITER
Haunted by a Disappearance
By JENNIFER FINNEY BOYLAN
Published: December 30, 2013 81 Comments
IT was 30 years ago this New Year’s Eve that Sam Todd left a party in Soho to get some air. He would not be seen again.
I was living uptown that year, across the street from a vacant lot, trying to be a writer. We were the same age, Sam Todd and I. The New York papers were full of the story of his disappearance. Fliers were posted; homeless shelters were searched. Rivers were dragged. Weeks went by, then months. Eventually there was nothing more to say about his story, other than the unbearable sadness of never knowing its ending.
The story haunted me, however. I’d wake from dreams in which Todd was knocking on my door. Come on, he’d say. Everybody’s waiting. He made it sound as if… (click here for the full op/ed, at the NYT site.)