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I’ve got coffee; and I’m not afraid to use it

Commentary: Trans Progressive

Transgender San Diego | LGBT WEEKLY | Gay newsTransgender

I’ve become painfully aware that I don’t always live up to my own standards.

Two recent incidents serve as perfect examples of my higher mind giving into the primal instinct of anger and to the age-old desire for revenge. Indeed, I have failed to live up to my own standards. The particular standard I failed to live up to most recently involves the principle found in this Martin Luther King Jr. quote:

“Man must evolve for all human conflict a method which rejects revenge, aggression and retaliation. The foundation of such a method is love.”

In each of the two situations – in flashes of anger – I chose aggression or retaliation; I chose to attempt to drive out darkness with more darkness.

Each of us has our own peculiar human failings. Owning up to the fact that we have such things as components of our characters is an exercise that we may consider demonstrative of weaknesses. But we must – I must – move past such egotistical fearfulness if I – if we – want to be constructively self-aware. Once we do that, we can (and often should) change some of our behaviors. In the interest of positive self-discovery and with a desire to improve my own character, I’m going to publicly own my two most recent failures.

The first situation began on a late Friday afternoon – the Friday before the annual Adams Avenue Street Fair. I was walking west on Adams Avenue, and I was carrying a two-thirds full cup of iced, decaffeinated hammerhead I’d bought from the Kensington Starbucks. Beyond 35th Street, I passed Lou Jones’s Inn – an establishment that bills itself as a “dive bar.”

In front of the bar were three male smokers who looked to be in their early to mid twenties. I wouldn’t have even given them a second thought, except that one of the three said words to the effect of, “Look at her … him … that thing” as I passed in front of them. Calling me a “thing” was the very memorable word of the man’s taunt.

Now for the most part, I “pass” in my target sex, which is to say I’m not often read as male. As a trans woman, that I “pass” in my daily life saves me from a lot of discrimination. However, I’m very publicly trans. I’ve been on local news programs here in San Diego quite a few times, and in the print edition of San Diego LGBT Weekly I have a photograph of me published with my columns. So, I have no idea whether this young man “read” me as trans, or recognized me from my being publicly visible as trans in the local media; and it didn’t really matter which of the two it was. What mattered to me is the very fact that he used an anti-transgender pejorative toward me that’s on par with the anti-gay f-word pejorative.

At the moment I heard and felt the sting of those words, I flashed red. I took the lid off my iced coffee and threw it in his face. While doing that, I said, “That’s for calling me thing.” Then I walked past – having noticed the young man had a stunned look on his face as I turned my back on him. I guess he expected me to lower my head in shame, obviously not knowing that I identify myself as being “Trans and Proud.”

I felt good about my behavior until I realized I’d given into aggression and retaliation. I did the man no real harm, and I didn’t engage in behavior that the young man didn’t on some level deserve … but that’s not the way I want to behave when confronted with hate.

The second situation involved Adams Avenue again; this time walking east after purchasing a hot hammerhead at Lestat’s coffee house. I was waiting at Adams and 35th when the light turned green and the pedestrian signal turned to “walk.” I stepped into the street, and a driver turning left cut through the crosswalk.

I can’t tell you how many times while walking down Adams Avenue I’ve been almost run over by drivers who didn’t bother to look for pedestrians before turning. I’m not exaggerating when I say it’s been dozens. But this time when it happened, I was in a bad mood, and I was again armed with a fresh cup of coffee.

Again, giving into anger, I took the lid off my coffee and this time I tossed it on the side of the driver’s car. I then continued walking.

Needless to say, the driver turned his car around, his passenger rolled down the window, and volley of yelling ensued.

Within moments of the last loud utterance, I felt regretful. Again, I’d given into the urge to express aggression and to retaliate. In each of those two situations, I saw that I’m not always the moral person I see myself as being, but instead am someone who, in flashes of anger, doesn’t live up to her own standards of tolerance, patience, love and understanding.

For me, I need to stop weaponizing my coffee and start thinking before I act in anger. Darkness can’t drive out darkness – only light can do that. I want to be a light.

Short URL: http://lgbtweekly.com/?p=17441

Posted by on Nov 17, 2011. Filed under Trans Progressive. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

16 Comments for “I’ve got coffee; and I’m not afraid to use it”

  1. Good grief! In both cases, Sandeen is very lucky he didn’t end up becoming a TG martyr. Then again, perhaps that is what he really wants. I seriously doubt he actually passes all that well as a woman. Especially given his penchant for inappropriate outfits. But tossing a coffee in someone’s face under those circumstances is just plain idiotic. And quite male behavior at that. I am really not at all surprised.

    And no, a verbal insult does NOT ever justify a physical attack. Anyone cheering on Sandeen’s actions is as foolish as he is. No one should ever be harmed by another, period. But it happens, and no matter what you might think, or how “right” you might be, acting stupid and getting killed does not make you a glorious martyr to be honored. It simply makes you a very dead fool.

  2. Throwing coffee at someone is assault.
    Me beating the crap out of someone who threw coffee at me is aggravated assault.

    Autumn what are you going to do if on the way back from the coffee shop you meet up with one of those people you previously encountered and he decides to teach you a lesson? You could be lucky and just have the crap beaten out of you, you could be not so lucky and end up raped or in the ER or the morgue.

    Being the good judge of human behavior that I am, I see a scared transperson who cannot defend herself and is reacting out of fear not rage. The women who are able to defend themselves usually just keep walking because they know unless the perpetrator can use superpose to his advantage and has a weapon everything is going to be just fine.

    You know the police won’t do anything, you have to threaten them with a law suite to get them to even come out and take a report. That was the experience of someone I know who is piratically your next door neighbor.

    Smart women also don’t give details of their regular movements throughout their home town, especially if they walk. This is reckless behavior, for all you know both of the guys that got under your skin are members of the gay community. That wouldn’t be unusual. There is a lot of neogynophobia in the male homosexual community.

    You owe it to your cats to be safe and that includes being able to defend yourself.

  3. First of all, to the above poster Jennifer: I believe you are using the incorrect gender pronoun for Autumn. Please use “she” or “her.”

    Kudos to Autumn for recognizing, confronting and making plans to change her own behavior away from angry or aggressive tactics. It’s hard to criticize yourself and feel like a hypocrite, but it’s a great reflection and an inspiration (to self and others) to live in harmony and perpetuate peace. As the Dalai Lama says, we can “practice inner disarmament” to help achieve peace one person at a time. Thanks for sharing!

  4. You’re human. Perfection, while a goal to be aimed for, isn’t attainable.

    You’re not trying to defend your actions, instead you’re publicising your screw-ups (however minor) so that others as well as yourself can learn from them. I hope I follow that example too. Not the screw-up, I try to be original in my mistakes, but the “process improvement” part.

    And who knows, while the second incident did no good, the first might have. Maybe they’ll learn from it. One can but hope. Waste of good coffee though.

    Still, it’s traditional – Caine Mutiny and all that.

    • Sandeen is very lucky either incident did not wind up with him becoming a statistic. While I can imagine him fantasizing about being one of the honored dead that is almost worshiped every Nov. 20th, he would have simply been another person who did something incredibly stupid, and then wound up dead. Not to say he would have deserved it…no one deserves to do for being simply stupid, but he would be dead nonetheless. He acted exactly like what he was accused of being, a man in a dress. He reacted in a very male manner. Women know their limits, and they tend to avoid conflict, not invite it.

      This is a lesson the transgender extremists cannot seem to grasp…just because people don’t have a right to pound them into a bloody pulp for being different, it is still very likely to happen. While those who commit such crimes should certainly be severely punished, as should anyone who commits an assault (in this caae, Sandeen should have been charged) that is not going to change the fact that people are not going to stop and think before reacting in a blind rage. Education may help some, but the smart money is on being careful. I don’t care how many laws on on the books, I don’t care how much “transgender pride” you have, I don’t care how much you think you have a right to flaunt societal norms, if you meet the wrong person, at the wrong place, at the wrong time, you are still going to be dead, and that is just STUPID. But hey, you will be near-worshiped on the next Nov. 20, and then, well, you will pretty much become just a statistic.

      • Throwing coffee at someone isn’t justified because someone exercised their first amendment right.
        There is no law stopping someone from saying a Tee-Gee woman looks like a man. There is no law stopping someone from calling a person a freak for whatever reason. There is a law against assaulting someone even with a cup of coffee.

        As someone pointed out Sandeen omitted a felony by throwing something at a moving car.

  5. A post I made over on “Notes From The T Side” a blogger blog.
    This was addressed to one of the posters there and sums up my latest thoughts on Sandeen’s actions. Some of this at first may seem out of contest but what I have to say later is couched in the beginning paragraph and I feel is necessary.

    I am not so convinced that our existence ends with the death of our bodies.
    I have read a lot of Sagan and I have found him to be headblind he suffers from an inability to perceive the quantum nature of conscientious. He doesn’t feel the connection or maybe has never been born with the connection most of us have with nature our fellow man and the collective concessions known as god.
    It’s as the kind of loss that a deaf person who has been deaf since birth will never know the sound of a spring predawn morning or the passion in her partner’s voice when he says ” I love you”. Sagan is missing out on 1 sixth of life. I’m not going to speculate if Sandeen has this awareness about here I can only go by what Sandeen tweets and how Sandeen speaks mockingly of religion and appears to go to church only for social contacts and networking now for enjoying in the fellowship as one of many who feels the existence of her maker.

    I believe that the importance of what we do in the moment does carry on into the future even far into the future and transcends our life. Yelling on the phone at the person who works for the doctor’s office that over billed you has ripples that travel forward in time. The love you give to a stray cat along the road on your way to the corner store even has ripples that go far into the future. Expressing your own powerlessness by throwing a cup of coffee at someone just because you still look like a man carries with it a massive amount of force into the future because you are crewel world you rail against. You are everything your oppressor is. You are the rapist as you exercise your power over that person who sees nothing wrong with pointing out that you look like some half man half woman creature. Now that you have stained his cloths he is going to go home and take it out on his wife or girlfriend or kids any of which can be scarred for life because you made your day by pissing on that person.

    In my mind we are all one and we must do unto others as we would have them do unto us.

    This will come back on you Autumn make no mistake of that, you are how you treat others.

  6. HELLO, “Not Your Friend”? You are a vicious twisted piece of work. That you can say, as an attack on Autumn: “In my mind we are all one and we must do unto others as we would have them do unto us” after yet another one of your nasty screeds against her, is just freakin amazing. To quote Rita Mae Brown, You must have an ego structure like a rotten persimmon.
    Also, you spell like a teabagger. #MultiLevelFAIL

    • Nothing wrong with my spelling, a tee bagger? no I don’t think so and I don’t think you know what the phrase means.

      As for my 2 posts that seem to be wildly in conflict, they are not.
      Autumn has no consideration for how Autumn interacts with people.
      Autumn needs to be taken down a few rungs for Autumn’s felonious behavior.
      Sandeen is a criminal, she just happens to have gotten away with it this time.
      She won’t next time.

      The guy that made a judgment call although he was rude had a right to do so.

      It’s in the Constitution get over it and grow up.

      If you want to call someone a hypocrite start with Sandeen who attends MCC San Diego and should start acting like the Christian she claims to be.

  7. Not Your Friend, 1 John 1:8-9 states:

    If we say that we have no sin, we are deceiving ourselves and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and righteous to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.

    And James 5:16 states:

    [C]onfess your sins to one another, and pray for one another so that you may be healed.

    And Psalm 51:17 states:

    The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
    A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.

    From a Biblical perspective, one should own, and sometimes publicly confess, one’s mistakes, be contrite and apologize as necessary for those mistakes, then look — in the spirit of repentance — of what one can do not to repeat those mistakes.

    Jamie, in her comment, got to the point, and understood what I was attempting to accomplish by publicly owning my mistakes.

    So, I know what Christian faith states I should do about any mistakes I might make, and what I’m doing about the two mistakes in question follows those Christian tenants fairly closely.

    • Well you are not doing enough Autumn.
      You know need to acknowledged the right under the first amendment to the constitution of the united states that me or anybody else in this country has to voice our opinion based on your appearance.

      If you look like a man in a dress and someone calls you out on it then accept it on face value and move on. If nothing else question their gender or sex.
      They have the right to say that in the United States and nothing you or I do can change that short of martial law or throwing out the constitution,
      which it seems the last 9 administrations have been working on doing.

      You must accept that if someone wants to call you a dude in a dress that is their right to do so.

    • Well, you could start off by writing an article that does not come across as bragging about your behavior. The title makes it clear you are not at all ashamed of what you did. Also stating that the young man deserved the assault, which is a crime, whereas what he did is not, and generally coming across as bragging about your behavior, does not sound like someone engaged in confession of shortcomings. The whole article comes across as self-aggrandizing puffery. No, what you are doing is just self-justification and attempt to salve your own conscience.

  8. LGBTweekly.com is committed to hosting discussion forum that is as free, vibrant and open as possible. We are also serious about recognizing and eliminating threatening language, slurs of any kind – including gender-identity slurs (e.g. referring to someone in a context opposite of their self-identified gender); personal attacks, and hate speech. Everyone, except those threatening or appearing to threaten physical action against another person or themselves, is given one chance to amend inappropriate behavior on our site. If unacceptable posting continues after a warning, the poster will be banned. If you or someone else is subjected any of the four categories of unacceptable posting listed above (threats, slurs, personal attacks, or hate speech), email ruth@lgbtweekly.com.

    Thank you for visiting LGBTweekly.com, and for making this site the exceptionally vibrant forum for social and political discussions that it has become.

    • I find it interesting that while you insist on adherence to pandering to people’s delusions (i.e. that one’s sex is subject simply naming it and claiming it) you clearly had no problems when I was viscously attacked in an attempt to out me on several occasions. I also notice that you clearly had no problems with people being encouraged to contact my church (an effort that has failed repeatedly, even when your columnist Sandeen engaged in it). I will admit, I am not surprised. Some people, particularly Sandeen, cannot abide being challenged. I will simply avoid pronouns when referring to certain people as I will not lie.

  9. I am a bit confused here. LGBT Weekly has as its stated policy, an intolerance of, ” four categories of unacceptable posting listed above (threats, slurs, personal attacks, or hate speech”. I laud and appreciate that policy.

    However asking yor readers to SUBMIT to a suspension of reason is IMHO a bit of an over-reach in terms of political correctness. You seem to espouse a policy of acceptance and inclusiveness, and yet you prohibit the free expression of individual perception.

    Asking…no, demanding that readers suspend reason in order to conform to someone’s self-identification is a prescription for anarchy. If I self identify as a highly skilled eye surgeon, will those who judge me to be mad or that my claims have no basis in reality and refuse to call me “doctor”. be summarily banned?

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