What a strange and wonderful week! I had something of a media quinella these last seven days, and while the usual internet boast-o-rama makes me cringe more than a little, it’s all stuff I’m proud of, so I wanted to put up some links and shine a spotlight on some of this work in case you, as my very loyal readers, might be interested.
On Thursday, July 17, I was a guest on Fresh Air with Terry Gross. The occasion was the publication of the new TRANS BODIES TRANS SELVES, and I shared the microphone with editor Laura Erickson-Schroth and contributor Aidan Key. You can hear the interview here, or purchase the book here, for which I wrote a very charming introduction that talks about, among other things, my adventures at a ventriloquist convention.
I spent a lot of last week at the wonderful Maine International Film Festival. I saw a dozen movies in six days. The festival’s over for the year, but if you’re in Maine in mid-July, you should mark your calendars now. It’s breathtaking.
That brings us to Monday July 21st. The day began with the New York Times running an op/ed I’d written about some of the films at the film festival, and two in particular– Linklater’s “Boyhood,” and Malick’s “Better Angels” got me thinking about summer days when I was a child. Linklater’s film shows 12 years in the life of a real young man, and Better Angels is about 8 year old Abe Lincoln. It made me think about my own strange boyhood– and that of my son, Sean, who, as I wrote the essay, was outside in the July sunshine riding a unicycle while listening to headphones. You can read my op/ed here.
On the same day, Huffington Post ran a story I’d written for them entitled “Five Things Not to Say to a Transgender Person (and 3 Things You Should). I wrote this a little begrudgingly at first, restless about the form of the “listicle”. And yet, I’m happy with the result. Judging from my Twitter account, the HuffPo piece got to more readers than the NYT opinion piece, which says something I guess. You can read the HuffPo piece here.
Finally, and most importantly, I got a phone call over the weekend asking me if I’d like to be on hand in the East Room of the White House as the President signed into law the executive order prohibiting discrimination against LGBT employees in the federal government, and specifically extending those protections, for the first time, to transgender people. It was breathtaking. I had to go through many security checks, including a special author-sniffin’ dog, before finally finding my seat dead center, three aisles back from the podium. And then President Obama entered the room, and we all stood up and cheered. You can read the text of his entire speech here. It was an amazing day, and an incredible end to an amazing week.
Not every week of my life is like this, thank goodness, but I’m grateful for this one.
Best of all, by sunset I was back in my house in Maine with my wife and son and dogs, and we put our feet up and talked about all our adventures, including the ones to come.