Top Posts (the past week)

Tonsils vs. Circumcision 18 views
A son asked his mother the following question: 11 views
What the %$#&, Steubenville?!? 9 views
An award winning mathetmatics teacher in Israel was told she faces dismissal after coming out to her students as a transgender woman 6 views
Did you hear about… 4 views
About 4 views
Game Design Competition 4 views
Walmart and Gap’s worst nightmare 3 views


“George Santayana”

Dallas the Phallus shared quotes of  “George Santayana” in the group Quote of the Day on Think Atheist I want to share with you.
George Santayana (16 December 1863 in Madrid, Spain – 26 September 1952 in Rome, Italy), was a philosopher, essayist, poet and novelist.


In fact, the whole machinery of our intelligence, our general ideas and laws, fixed and external objects, principles, persons, and gods, are so many symbolic, algebraic expressions. They stand for experience; experience which we are incapable of retaining and surveying in its multitudinous immediacy. We should flounder hopelessly, like the animals, did we not keep ourselves afloat and direct our course by these intellectual devices. Theory helps us to bear our ignorance of fact.


Happiness is the only sanction of life; where happiness fails, existence remains a mad and lamentable experiment.


That life is worth living is the most necessary of assumptions and, were it not assumed, the most impossible of conclusions.


Fanaticism consists in redoubling your efforts when you have forgotten your aim.


Progress, far from consisting in change, depends on retentiveness. When change is absolute there remains no being to improve and no direction is set for possible improvement: and when experience is not retained, as among savages, infancy is perpetual. Those who cannot remember the past are condemned to repeat it.


Injustice in this world is not something comparative; the wrong is deep, clear, and absolute in each private fate.


History is nothing but assisted and recorded memory. It might almost be said to be no science at all, if memory and faith in memory were not what science necessarily rest on. In order to sift evidence we must rely on some witness, and we must trust experience before we proceed to expand it. The line between what is known scientifically and what has to be assumed in order to support knowledge is impossible to draw. Memory itself is an internal rumour; and when to this hearsay within the mind we add the falsified echoes that reach us from others, we have but a shifting and unseizable basis to build upon. The picture we frame of the past changes continually and grows every day less similar to the original experience which it purports to describe.


Let a man once overcome his selfish terror at his own finitude, and his finitude is, in one sense, overcome.


Perhaps the only true dignity of man is his capacity to despise himself.


Miracles are propitious accidents, the natural causes of which are too complicated to be readily understood.


The Bible is literature, not dogma.


Profound skepticism is favorable to conventions, because it doubts that the criticism of conventions is any truer than they are.


Skepticism, like chastity, should not be relinquished too readily.

Beyond ‘boyfriend’: How the tomboy look is going mainstream

Rachel Matlow

Special to The Globe and Mail

Published Saturday, Apr. 27 2013, 12:01 AM EDT

When I was growing up, I was often mistaken for a boy. I guess you could say I was a tomboy (or what Larry David might call “pre-gay”). I had short hair, wore my older brother’s hand-me-downs and felt a profound sense of disappointment with the girls’ shoe section. Once, when I was six, my mother attempted to put me in a dress for synagogue, but I ultimately emerged, triumphant, in ripped jeans and hightops as we left the house.

At 33, I’m still mistaken for a boy, albeit a 17-year-old one. My nickname among friends and colleagues is Lil Bro. I often cross the floor to the men’s section to buy my clothes and have to compete with the boys come sale time for size 6-and-a-half designer oxfords. My sartorial role models include Ellen DeGeneres, One Direction and Shiloh Jolie-Pitt. (Have you seen Shiloh’s collection of blazers? To die for.) But boys’ clothes don’t fit the way they did when I had no hips and breasts and it became a constant quest to find masculine clothes that fit my body, my style and my sense of self.

Thankfully, there are more options today than Topman’s XXS collection for women who like a “masculine” cut. In February, Tomboy Tailors, described as a bespoke clothier that caters to “butch/ boi lesbians, female-to-male transgender individuals and people of any identity who like to don tailored men’s wear or tailored women’s wear,” opened in San Francisco. And just last month, the Portland-based tomboy shopping site Wildfang launched, aiming to liberate men’s wear “one bowtie at a time.”

Wildfang and Tomboy Tailors are just the newest among a handful of “genderqueer” clothing lines to pop up in recent years. There’s the Butch Clothing Company in Britain and Saint Harridan, Fourteen, Marimacho, Haute Butch and Androgynous in the United States. And Toronto-born Kiyomi McCloskey (of the band Hunter Valentine) recently told the transgressive-men’swear blog dapperQ that she’s starting a clothing line called Death and Diamonds for people who, like herself, aren’t afraid to play with “a little bit of femininity but are more androgynous.”

Tomboy Tailors’ 48-year-old owner, Zel Anders, a self-described butch lesbian, says the idea for the company grew out of her frustration with trying to buy men’s wear off the rack. Besides overspending on alterations, she was tired of salespeople’s discomfort with selling her men’s clothing. While Anders caters primarily to transmasculine individuals, she wants everyone to feel comfortable at Tomboy Tailors. “I want it to be known as a friendly place, not one that excludes people,” she says by phone from San Francisco.

The brand’s focus will be on shirts, formalwear and made-to-measure suits, which can be cut from more than 350 high-quality fabrics (from herringbone to plaid) and can be purchased\ in-store or online (it ships to Canada). Anders also plans to offer a variety of dapper accessories, including men’s dress shoes in smaller sizes.

So far, Anders says, the response has been positive – in the week before Tomboy Tailors launched, 3,000 people signed up for its newsletter.

How to explain the emergence of boutiques that cater to women who want to wear men’s-style clothing? “There has always been a market, but I just don’t think that society was ready to challenge binary gender expectations,” says Anita Dolce Vita, dapperQ’s managing editor.

Dolce Vita sees these new clothiers as part of an overall renewed interest in men’s wear and says they recognize that “even straight women don’t always feel comfortable running around in pencil skirts and pointy heels. You don’t have to be a lesbian to want to wear a sensible suit.”

Even the mainstream fashion industry is reflecting a shift in thinking about gender: New York-based artist Casey Legler recently became the first woman to be signed exclusively to Ford Models’ male roster, while Saint Laurent Paris cast Dutch model Saskia de Brauw, who has a boyish hairstyle and wears skinny suits, in its spring 2013 men’s-wear campaign. Raf Simons, meanwhile, opened the Dior spring 2013 women’s show with a model in a black tuxedo. And Dries Van Noten’s boy-meets-girl collection at the recent Paris fashion week featured traditionally tailored men’s-wear staples embellished with bright colours and worn with flat shoes.

Among mainstream brands like Old Navy and J.Crew, the “boyfriend” look is, of course, ubiquitous. Popularized by Katie Holmes when she stepped out in Tom Cruise’s jeans nearly five years ago, boyfriend style tends to be oversized and undertailored and, by definition, isn’t meant to look like it was designed expressly for women – think Old Navy’s slouchy fuchsia “boyfriend blazer” or a cashmere J.Crew “boyfriend sweater” constructed to hang long and bearing seams that droop over the shoulder.

Nevertheless, I was happy when boyfriend style did emerge. Finally, I could find blazers like Shiloh’s that fit me perfectly. The newest men’s wear clothiers don’t pretend, however, that their designs are inspired by – or borrowed from – their boyfriends’ closets. They’re made for women like me – and we are the boyfriends.

Mercury Enters Taurus

Mercury Enters Taurus!Although a few people may interfere with your plans this week, others step up to do all they can to help you! On April 30, when Mars opposes Saturn, stop what you’re doing and seek alternatives. The following day, on May 1, Mercury‘s entrance into thorough Taurus slows your mind down enough to allow you to get a plan together. Take advantage of all the support you can get this week!

Enter For a Chance to Win an iPad Mini & More! Enter For a Chance to Win an iPad Mini & More!We are giving three lucky winners an iPad mini with our favorite career and finance apps and a personalized financial program from LearnVest Planning to help you live your richest life. Plus, everyone who enters will receive 10% off one of LearnVest’s customized financial programs! Enter daily for more chances to win!


Eden Food Update

The outrage over Eden Foods’s lawsuit against birth control coverage is building.

The negative press has been rolling in for a week, and a major grocery co-op in Brooklyn is already talking about dropping Eden Foods from their shelves.1 But Eden Foods’s CEO Michael Potter has doubled-down on his stand against birth control coverage, telling reporters that he’s getting a lot of criticism over the lawsuit–but that he’s also hearing from customers who support it.2

60,000 UltraViolet members have told Eden Foods to drop their anti-woman lawsuit. Thousands more have posted on Eden Foods’s Facebook wall demanding they drop the lawsuit or lose their progressive-minded customer base. But so far, Eden hasn’t budged–and if they win this lawsuit, it will set a dangerous precedent of allowing employers to make health care decisions for their employees. We can’t let that happen.

Now, we need to take the fight to Twitter so that the anger over Eden Foods’s anti-woman lawsuit is everywhere. Potter needs to see that those of us who oppose his attack on birth control coverage far outnumber those who support it. Since you’ve tweeted about important UltraViolet campaigns before, we hope you can help. Can you Tweet @EdenFoods?

Tweet @EdenFoods. Tell them to drop their anti-woman lawsuit.

It’s best if you tweet at Eden Foods in your own words. But if you need some help fitting it into 140 characters, here are some suggestions–just click one to tweet it:

.@EdenFoods–drop your anti-woman lawsuit or I’ll be dropping you from my grocery list #SexismFreeFood

Organics and sexism don’t mix. @EdenFoods needs to drop their lawsuit #SexismFreeFood

Anti-woman applesauce, right-wing wild rice, sexist soy milk? @EdenFoods leaves a bad taste in your mouth #SexismFreeFood

Their lawsuit against birth control coverage is motivated by right-wing ideology, but Eden Foods is ultimately a business. And they’re beginning to get the message from their customers that this anti-woman lawsuit is bad for their bottom line. We’ve got to keep putting on the pressure until they drop the lawsuit.

Thanks for speaking out,

Nita, Shaunna, Kat, Malinda and Karin, the Ultraviolet team



1. Soy Milk and Birth Control: A Look at the Eden Foods CEO Controversy”, Grub Street New York, April 24, 2013

2. Eden Foods sues over birth control mandate; customers voice outrage on social media, Detroit Free Press, April 22, 2013


Moje Transpłciowe Bohaterki – My Transgender Heroines

Interview with Lisa Salazar

Monika: Today’s interview will be with Lisa Salazar, a Canadian transgender advocate, author of the book titled “Transparently: Behind the Scenes of a Good Life” (2011). Hello Lisa!
Lisa: Hi Monika, thank you for your interest and for the opportunity to share with you and your friends.
Monika: Could you say a few words about your career so far?
Lisa: I have been a self-employed graphic designer all of my professional life. Unfortunately, my current work situation is very different from what it was five years ago — I am severely underemployed. I attribute this to four reasons; first, my client base has shrunk slowly as many of my clients (who are about the same age as me) have retired; second, the economic slow down has made finding new clients and employment very difficult; third, my age (I’m 62); and fourth, being transgender is a liability when it comes to doing business. In the absence of graphic design work, I have decided to go back to school this coming September to get a masters degree in Pastoral Care and learn how to offer faith-based support to the transgender persons and their families. I believe there is a need for this and I hope to help somehow.
“Transparently: Behind the Scenes of a Good
Life” (2011) – Amazon.

Monika: You have solid transgender advocacy background. What are the current issues on the Canadian transgender advocacy agenda?

Lisa: Let me first explain that I am a reluctant advocate. When I transitioned five years ago, I had the notion I would be living the rest of my life in complete obscurity and privacy. I was going to go stealth, hide and blend into the woodwork. If I had my way, nobody would need to know anything about my past. It didn’t quite work out that way. Six months after my surgery in the spring of 2010, a friend asked me to be one of the presenters at an event called “Interesting Vancouver.” He wanted me to share my story and told me I would have fifteen minutes to do it in. This seemed completely preposterous to me, here I was trying to be a private person and accepting this invitation to speak to three hundred people seemed like a sure way to torpedo my privacy row boat out of the water forever. I had a moment of crisis trying to decide what to do, but this forced me to see the futility of trying to hide my past; but more importantly I thought, what all my attempts to hide my past would communicate to my three sons, that their existence was a liability to me? God forbid they would ever feel that way; they are the most important legacy of my life and I love them more than my life. I know this is a long answer to your question, but it is the only way I can explain how I became an advocate. The experience of sharing my story publicly surprised me because I found that I had a voice, and shockingly, what I had to say was of interest to people. And the further realization was how opinionated I really am!
Lisa in 2008.

Case in point, a couple of years ago I wrote a short comment to the editors of The Province (one of the two major newspapers in Vancouver) about my opinion regarding the transgender rights bill making its way through the Canadian Parliament. Whatever it was I said caught the eye of the editor and I was invited to write an OpEd on the topic. It was published the following week. A few days later, a radio station called to invite me to talk about what I had written. This, you could say, is how my inadvertent advocacy was born. With respect to the proposed legislation to extend protection to on the basis of gender identity and gender expression, Canada is really close to passing the current version of the bill. Bill C-279, as it is called, has passed in the House of Commons and is now in the Canadian Senate. Unfortunately, the Senate has a Conservative majority and the Bill could still die and never become law. If passed, this bill will provide Federal protection from discrimination and violence on the basis of gender identity and expression. A couple of Canadian provinces have already passed this kind of legislation to amend their respective human rights codes, but we really need explicit language in our Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms so all transgender and gender-variant persons in Canada will enjoy this level protection. I am hoping 2013 will be the year Canada passes this important law.

Monika: Politics is based on the interaction with different interest groups that wish to pursue their specific goals. How successful is the Canadian transgender community in this respect?
Lisa: Canada is a big country, geographically speaking. From my perspective, this has resulted in a very fractured and disjointed transgender community. Ontario and Nova Scotia, the two provinces that have recently passed the laws I mentioned above, seem to have cohesive organization and interaction within their borders, but I see no national movement that speaks for all Canadian trans folk. That is not to say there is no discussion or lobbying taking place, because many individuals have invested a lot of time an energy to support and promote Bill C-279, and they need to be thanked for their tireless efforts. I look enviously at organizations like the National Center for Transgender Equality in the United States and wish we had a Canadian equivalent.
Lisa in 2010.

Monika: The transgender cause is usually manifested together with the other LGBT communities? Being the last letter in this abbreviation, is the transgender community able to promote its own cause within the LGBT group?

Lisa: As a new comer into this LBGT club, I was dismayed to see just how dissed the Ts were by the other letter holders. It still comes as a shock to me when I give workshops and a gay or lesbian person admits to me they did not understand how different and difficult life was for trans people and thank me for helping them finally get it. I was under the erroneous impression that the LGBT umbrella was a happy collection of people. Then you read the stats that many organizations that claim to be LGBT don’t even have a transgender person on their board of directors and though they include the T in their monicker, they really do nothing on behalf of gender-variant persons. This is as true in Canada as it is everywhere else. The Vancouver Pride Society has recognized this deficiency and to their credit, have installed trans people in their board and are making a real effort to be more inclusive of trans people. However, this is very recent; they have been around for a long time.
Monika: Is there anyone in the Canadian transgender society whose actions could be compared to what Harvey Milk was doing in the 60s and 70s for the US gay activism? 
Lisa: Harvey Milk was a very iconic person, its hard to find to many individuals who have his stature. As I said, I am a new comer to this scene, having live the first fifty-eight years of my life deeply closeted. I know of no-one that I can think of on a Canadian national level who has had the kind of impact Harvey Milk had in the U.S. (and the world). I apologize to any Canadian who may be deserving of recognition, I just don’t know if any exists.
Lisa in 2011.

Monika: You have been living in three countries: Colombia, USA and Canada. What is your general view on the present situation of transgender women there?

I only have direct experience in Canada and anecdotal knowledge of Colombia and USA. It is undeniable that Canadian trans persons have it far better than their Colombian and American brothers and sisters. Unfortunately, we still have a long way to go in Canada as a whole. Once you leave the larger urban centers, you will find lack of trans-friendly services and pockets of intolerance where any gender-variance is likely to result in some form of negative reaction. The challenges faced by trans persons are as real in Canada as anywhere. From my conversations with others, it can be said that we are underemployed and we experience a silent discrimination that is systemic. I have experienced it myself, and as I shared earlier when talking about my career. For example, I know of at least one client who hired someone else to replace me for a large project; It turns out he was worried about the optics—he projected his own prejudice on his staff and customers when he expressed concerns about my presence in their office. He didn’t want anyone to feel uncomfortable. I didn’t find this out for several months; it wasn’t until one of his assistants confessed this to me. How can you fight that kind of discrimination? The answer is through education and advocacy — even if it is only one person at a time.
Monika: At what age did you transition into woman? Was it a difficult process? Did you have any support from your family or friends? Did it have any impact on your job situation?
Lisa: I was fifty-eight years old when I transitioned. That was almost five years ago; it was in the Summer of 2008. By that time, I had already lost about 15 kilos and undergone 200 hours of electrolysis to remove my beard. I wanted to attract as little attention to myself as possible and it was important to me to present as authentically as possible for my age group. Being a very visual person, I studied women my age whom I found attractively dressed and took mental notes of what they wore to work, to go shopping, etc. In this regard, I did not go through a delayed adolescence, I never purchased or wore a mini-skirt nor tried to look like a teenager. In my opinion, there is nothing more pathetic than a sixty year-old woman trying to look half her age … so imagine how sad it is to see a trans person trying to pull it off. Even though I lined up my ducks the best I could, I was terrified about the prospect of going out in public as a female. Unlike some trans persons I have met, I never went out in public cross-dressed.

Lisa in 2011.

I knew little to nothing about how to apply makeup and I didn’t have an extensive wardrobe. Purchasing clothing became easier with time, but the first three to four months of living full-time were full of panic attacks, with me coming home so tightly wound up and scared, I though I was going to throw up. Transitioning was not cake walk for me. Despite the challenges I faced, I must say I finally felt true to myself and was no longer having to pretend to be something I was not. The gender dysphoria (distress) I had lived with all my life seemed to evaporate. Equally important to me was the positive feedback I received from family and friends. Their complements were very welcomed affirmations. Even my mother (86), who has always been very fashion conscious liked my choice of clothing. With respect to my job, the fact that I was self-employed made me fear the worst. My livelihood was literally put on the line, but my clients were amazing. As far as they were concerned, as long as my work continued to be of the same quality and professionalism I had always delivered, they would continue to use me. And they did, at least as long as they were still working. As mentioned earlier, many of my clients have been retiring and this has resulted in considerably less work and fewer referrals.

Monika: At that time of your transition did you have any transgender role models that you could follow? What was your knowledge about transgenderism?
Lisa: Let’s face it, I was so well repressed, I had little contact with other transgender persons. Thanks to the Internet and sites like Lynn Conway’s website “Transsexual Women Successes,” I was encouraged to see others who had “made it.” I read their stories and wondered if I would be able to succeed. Honestly, I seriously doubted it and this depressed me horribly. I learned a lot from Lynn’s website and as time went by, there was more information available on the Internet that helped me understand more about myself. Let’s also remember that the word “transgender” itself was only coined less than twenty-five years ago. Therefore, I was gleaning relatively new information. Compared to the vacuum I grew up in, now there were mountains of resources. Unfortunately, as I will explain later, I refused to give myself permission to act on any of it.
Lisa in 2012.

Monika: What was the hardest thing about your coming out?

Lisa: I came out to family and friends nine months before I transitioned. It was one of the most difficult periods of my life. Paradoxically, it was also one of the best periods of my life. With the exception of my wife, who had known about my ‘problem’ since about 1980, my coming out was a total shock and surprise to everyone else. I had done such a good job at hiding my secret by living as the model husband and father and respected member of society, nobody ever suspected anything. I found the process of disclosing equivalent to undressing in front of people — I felt terribly vulnerable. I always feared I would be judged and thrown away and that my life would be over; that I would loose everything if and when people learned my secret. Like many others trans persons before me, I wrote a letter to help me explain things as clearly as possible. To my delight and surprise, I experience universal acceptance from all I came out to. I felt as if a huge load had been taken off my shoulders and I have never felt as loved and affirmed as I did going through the process. But it was an emotionally exhausting thing to go through. 
Monika: Have you ever been married? Could you tell me about the importance of love in your life? What was the reaction of your spouse to your transition decision? What role does religion play in your life?
Lisa: My marriage lasted 37 years. My wife and I divorced one year after my surgery; she was my best friend for forty years. We met in California at a Bible study in 1971. We developed a very platonic relationship. At the time I knew I was moving to Canada to work with my older brother in a little over a year. A few months before I met her, I had a religious conversion experience which filled me with the hope I was going to be “normal” and that somehow Jesus was going to heal my gender problem — that was my sincere belief.
Imagine how grateful I was when I fell in love with her; to me, it was the answer to my prayers and I interpreted this as God beginning to correct the flaw in my brain. We were married in the Fall of 1974 and we settled in Vancouver. We had our first of three sons in 1976. After the birth of our second son in 1979, and not seeing my gender struggle go away, I came out to my wife. It was a confession—that I felt inadequate as a man, that I had always been attracted to female things, etc. Since the word transgender and its accompanying definition was not available to me, this was the best I could do. Because of my Christian faith, I had compartmentalized this issue and categorized it as a spiritual struggle. That is how I tried to deal with it and for the next ten years I tried as hard as I could to be the best man I could be with the love, help and prayer support from my wife. 
Lisa in 2012.

Disappointingly, no amount of prayer and self-discipline seemed to make any difference; I still had the same thoughts I always had. I felt defeated and like a hypocrite and this produced a depressing amount of guilt. In view of my ongoing need to cope, my wife made some allowances and I purchased a few women’s under garments, I only wore them in the privacy of our bedroom. I slept in them and the following morning, when I would revert back to male mode, I felt as if I was ripping my skin off. This was not a solution, anymore than applying a small bandage strip to a gaping wound. Though my faith was the source of much guilt, I do credit it with keeping me sober of mind—I never engaged in any risky, addictive, or self-destructive behaviors. Today I am both grateful for the life I had together with my ex-wife, and sad about the fact our marriage did not survive my complete transition. In the end, my wife was unable to live with me in a same-sex marriage. We still share three wonderful, loving, adult sons and two little granddaughters. It could be worse.

Monika: What is the attitude of the Christian religion to the transgender phenomenon? Is there any reference in the Bible in this respect?
Lisa: This, perhaps is what motivates me the most as an advocate — I want to help raise awareness among Christians that being transgender is not a sin. Truthfully, this was the issue that kept me from acting on my diagnosis twenty one years ago. When they told me at the Vancouver Gender Clinic I had a serious case of gender dysphoria and the recommended course of action was for me to transition socially, medically and surgically, I laughed. There was no way I could begin to contemplate making any of the changes on the list of things that according to them I needed to do. I opined that I was going to take my struggle to the grave and walked away resigned to my fate. Not only was I not prepared mentally, socially, or financially, I was not able to reconcile my diagnosis spiritually. What did God have to say about this? All I could find in the Bible to help me deal with my problem left me convince I would be sinning if I gave in to my gender struggle. I was not sure how to deal with what the doctors offered me as a solution. Until I solved this dilemma, I was not going to proceed with transition.
Fast-forward to 2006; I was in dire straights. I had come to the point where I started to fear having a total mental collapse — a serious breakdown of some kind. I didn’t wan to loose control, but the alternative to transition still seemed untenable. I knew I was in trouble because I was thinking about death all the time… I wanted God to end my misery. Ironically, as I read and re-read the passage in Matthew chapter 19, which deals with marriage and divorce, I came to a new understanding of human sexuality. The key to my spiritual impasse was Jesus’ comments about eunuchs. It was poignant to me that his brief mention on eunuchs in this conversation about God’s perspective on marriage was encapsulated with the caveat that not everyone would be able to understand what he was going to say. Why was I drawn to that particular passage? It was in this passage from which I had extracted one verse out of context to use as the sledge hammer to pound myself into spiritual submission…“God created us male and female.” I used that phrase over the years in my vain attempt to “retrain my mind.” For your readers who are interested in this theological discussion, I invite them to my blog. Search for “eunuch” and you will find several blog posts on the subject at
Lisa in 2013.

Monika: What inspired you to write “Transparently: Behind the Scenes of a Good Life”? 

Lisa: Writing a book was the farthest thing from my mind when I transitioned. The inspiration was an innocent exchange of emails with a very curious friend who wanted to know all the juicy details of my life. It all started with a short list of questions in an email, which then turned into a string of follow-up emails with a never ending list of questions. I protested that if she kept it up, I would have a book written before we knew it. She found my story “riveting” and “inspirational” and pushed me to continue telling her my story. She suggested I copy the answers I had already sent her and paste them in chronological order and to use this as a starting point. This exchange took place a couple of months before my surgery in Montreal. It was perhaps the best thing I could have done to prepare myself for surgery; it put me in a very tranquil state of mind. I found the process of writing about my life both cathartic and therapeutic. I had never written anything down about my gender confusion for fear of it being discovered. There I was, and committing things to paper and ink was at times embarrassing, at times sad, and at times humorous. I did a lot of laughing and crying during the writing process. I finished the book in 45 days. To decision to publish the book was another matter. When word got out that I had written my story, friends wanted to read it. I made a deal with every person I shared the manuscript with, that they tell me if they found any spelling errors or grammatical problems. In this way the book got edited. The feedback was consistently the same, that I should publish the book because it was going to help a lot of people, especially people who want to understand how one can be a transsexual Christian. My spiritual journey, which is one of the treads in the book, is what makes my book slightly different from other transgender stories.
Monika: Having transitioned yourself, what would you recommend to all transgender women struggling with gender dysphoria?
Lisa: More than anything, I am cognizant that not all transgender persons have the same level of access to medical and surgical transition as I have been blessed with. Additionally, there are many other barriers to transition which prevent many from ever achieving the congruence they so desperately need. Speaking from a position of privilege is something I am reluctant to do, especially since I have received heart-breaking letters and emails from trans women who tell me they envy me for one reason or another; It is all very humbling. There is another painful reality that also tempers my answer to your question…even if one has access to all the care to transition medically and surgically, there will always be some whose bodies will always be impossible to retrofit. I know two trans women who began their transition but changed their mind after they realized how impossible it was going to be for them to never draw attention to themselves. Both of these women were over 6 feet three inches tall and were large persons. They have had to pay a huge emotional and psychological price.
Lisa’s blog: lisainbc.blogspot.

For me, one of the most important things I felt I needed to do was loose weight and have my beard removed. The total cost for 300 hours of painful electrolysis was over twenty thousand dollars. This cost was more than what my medical plan pain for my bottom surgery. I know this cost is a deal breaker for many. I also had facial feminization chin reduction. This also had a substantial price tag. Again, for me, these costs were necessary; I needed to have the confidence to present as authentically as possible. I wish I could wave a wand whenever I meet a trans person who has had to forego those things that could improve how they present and have accepted their fate with courage and grace; I wish for them what I have been able to do. Do you see why it is so difficult for me to answer this question and to offer advice? However, there is one word of encouragement I want to give, make an effort to stay healthy. This by far is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It doesn’t cost you anything and it will make an incredible difference if you should decide to transition. I have been physically active for 20 years—I jog, walk and and do body weight exercises four times a week. With all my interactions with doctors over the last five years, one thing I have been congratulated for is my level of fitness. You can do it too.

Monika: Could you say that you are a happy woman now?
Lisa: Yes, I am a very happy person. I know this is a cliche, but it is true to say that I have never been as comfortable in my own skin as I am today. The only regret I have is not that I wish I could have transitioned sooner, but that I lost my best friend. I miss my wife very much and at times I feel very lonely without her. My consolation is that I am still alive and life is good and I am passionate about helping make the path wider and smoother for trans persons (and their families) who are following behind. Peace.
Monika: Lisa, thank you for the interview!


Done on 28 April 2013


More about Lisa Salazar (in Polish): here.

© 2013 – Monika


Toxix Nation News April 2013

We are the 95 per cent

iStock photoWhat do 95 per cent of Canadians have in common? Last week, the federal government released the Second Report on Human Biomonitoring of Environmental Chemicals as part of the ongoing Canadian Health Measures Survey. Health Canada collected 6,400 blood and urine samples from Canadians during 2009 -2011, and analyzed the samples for exposure to a wide range of environmental chemicals. The report is pretty technical, but it contains one glaring piece of information that’s simple enough to understand: bisphenol A (or BPA), that pesky chemical found in food cans and plastic containers, was found in 95 per cent of Canadians.

We here at Environmental Defence have been talking about BPA for years. We helped get it banned from baby bottles back in 2007, but this latest report confirms that there’s more to be done. Canadians aged three to 79 had measurable levels of BPA, with the highest levels being found in the most vulnerable group: children. Studies have found many potential health effects from exposure to BPA, including breast and prostate cancer, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder, and a wide range of developmental problems.

Make sure to sign our petition to get BPA banned from other Canadian products.

The birds and the bees and pesticides

Bee and bird populations are being threatened by toxic exposure to pesticides, and these chemicals also have negative impacts on human health. Human exposure to pesticides has been linked to a whole host of adverse health problems – endocrine disruption, reproductive and developmental problems, asthma and poor respiratory health, and even cancer, to name a few.

We have signed on to a letter, with the Canadian Association of Physicians for the Environment, calling for an immediate province-wide ban on the use of commercial pesticides in British Columbia. Yesterday BC NDP leader Adrian Dix committed to enacting the ban if he is elected.

We’re encouraged to see this issue entering the public discussion in BC – for the birds, the bees and humans. Check out our blog to learn more about this issue.

A little recognition

We’re working hard to ensure a greener, healthier and prosperous life for all, and our chief rewards are the small successes on the environmental progress we see happening every day. But sometimes it’s nice to get a little recognition too! We were honoured to be included in this year’s Green Living Show Victories Celebration – an event to highlight some key environmental victories that have been fought and won. Our Toxics Program Manager, Maggie MacDonald took part in the Victories Celebration, accepting an award for our toxics program work on behalf of Environmental Defence. We thank Green Living and co-sponsor Alternatives Journal for the recognition, and we extend our congratulations to our fellow honourees!