"Origins" Essay

  Last June, a year after the Dobbs decision, Tangled Locks Journal continued to speak out for women's abortion rights. They shared this thoughtful and informative post about the whys and whos of abortion. And they published a series of essays about abortion.  I am pleased to have my essay, " Origins " on that list. (And regretful I didn't post it here sooner.) I'm grateful for the opportunity to share my story and my words.  The choice of when and how to have a child is a fundamental right, and I will continue to fight for this truth. Only when women have complete control over our bodies will we truly be free. 

In Support of Trans Rights

My colleague, Veronica Pillar, gave a powerful speech last night at the Legislature about supporting people's right to simply be who they are. Please read and share and support trans people however you can.


I want to speak briefly on trans rights, because recently there has been an alarming sharp rise in anti-transgender rhetoric and policy. I'm sure you've heard of the bathroom bills that require kids to use bathrooms that match their genitals rather than their actual asserted gender. Other laws ban teachers from using their students' preferred pronouns.
I'm a teacher, I have trans students, and I would never call my students by pronouns they don't use because that is a denial of who they are. Several states are banning gender affirming healthcare for minors, essentially requiring teenagers to detransition.
Tennessee has banned wearing clothes that don't match the gender on your birth certificate.
Florida is working on legalizing the kidnapping of trans children and bringing them back to Florida for conversion therapy. And a speaker at a large conference last week called for the eradication of transgenderism, which inherently involves the eradication of transgender people.

I’m not making any of this up. This is inhumane and terrifying.

I was always taught that our country was founded on ideals of freedom, on the inalienable rights to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. Now a fringe minority is trying to take away freedoms.
Freedom to live our truths. Freedom to choose your name. Freedom to choose your pronouns. Freedom to dress in clothes that are feminine, both, and neither. Freedom to discuss and obtain medical care with a doctor who will learn and understand your particular self and your particular needs.

We will not back down in defending these freedoms.

In New York State, four years ago the state enacted the Gender Expression Non-Discrimination Act (GENDA), which added gender identity and expression as a protected class in New York State’s human rights and hate crimes laws. In Tompkins County, gender identity and expression has been protected in our human rights policy since 2004.

In the middle of all this horror, I’m happy that we have some strong trans and queer community in this county supporting each other. Shoutout to the community organizations doing this work. Shout out to the County Public Library for affirming LGBTQ kids and adults, for hosting a drag class for teenagers; I went a month or so ago to see a trans comic artist speak and the space there was just the most loving, queer, affirming place I’d been in a while.

Shout-out to every queer and trans kid, teen, and adult living their fullest beautiful selves, or struggling to live their fullest beautiful selves, or just beginning to have gender feelings and wonder if they have a fuller beautiful self that has so far been buried. Our county needs to be a place where everyone can explore those feelings freely and with enthusiastic community support.

I hope everyone listening will join me in finding ways to be proactive to protect our people, to protect trans and nonbinary folks in this county, and be ready to extend protections to trans folks and their families who might flee other places to come here while it’s still safe.

And for anyone listening, I want to hear what is helpful, what my colleagues and I can do to keep this hatred and attacks on trans people out of Tompkins County. Thanks.