Saturday, October 25, 2008

A Rethinking

I love this community. I have never known a sweeter, kinder, gentler group of people, and I have been gently upbraded for my previous posting by Lori and Kathryn. Please read their comments.

I wrote the last post fresh out of bed, still in nightgown, housecoat, and pink fuzzies, and without the benefit of a cup of English breakfast tea. (I confess: I'm a tea junkie, and don't even get me started on Nutella.) I'd just read another blog regarding sportswriter Christine Daniels' transition back to Mike Penner, and my posting came undiluted out of my head and into my blog.

I wasn't very generous.

My point of view was formed from a literal and pragmatic view of the role of reporter and writer. It did not take into account the human being in question. It took the gentle comments of two very wise women to broaden my vision. My assessment of the journalistic integrity of closing down Christine Daniels' LA Times blog may have been accurate from an editorial point of view, but in light of what may have been some very painful realizations on that writer's part, it was mean-spirited and short-sighted.

I want to thank both Lori and Kathryn not only for their comments, but for their compassion and empathy. These are aspects of the eternal feminine and may we all be blessed with them.

I also would like to apologize to Mike Penner, whether or not this reaches his eyes. He has shown personal courage that has exceeded anyone's rightful expectations, and it would be unfair of me or anyone else to ask more.


Kathryn said...

I must admit that upon first reading of Mike's detransition, I too was a bit taken aback. As I read more, I thought of the person behind the story, and the struggle that must be taking place within. There are many out there who are very concerned, concerned about the loss of a friend, concerned for the friends well being, concerned that Mike has made the right decision. We all make our decisions. I, like Lori, have chosen to transition despite having families and your children. We know that we cannot be there for them if we do not take these steps. The battle that raged inside of me for as long as I can remember was slowly destroying the parent that my children need me to be. Today, I am happier and more engaged with my children. I am participating in life again. Those were my conflicts and my choices. Mike made his. I hope Mike has made the right decision, but I know that you, and I, and everyone else in the community will welcome Christine back into our community should she find that she made the wrong choice. If not, then we support the decision that Mike has made, wish him the best, and hope he realizes that those who supported him during transition are still here for support. I hope he will not forget the friends who were there for him before.
I also wanted to say that I just found your blog, thanks to Lori, and I am enjoying reading it. I truly enjoy your writing, thank you for sharing with us! I look forward to reading more, and hope to engage in more thought provoking conversations as well.


Abby said...

I hope we don't have to wait for Mike to change his mind and become Christine again to offer him a place in our community and our continuing support. Anyone who has experienced what he has gone through will always be transgender, regardless of whether or how he chooses to express his internal gender identity. In my book, he will always be one of us and I hope he knows that we still love, support and welcome him, just as we did Christine.

As for you, Gillian, I love you and the warmth and beauty of your heart. Thanks for sharing it with all of us.

Lori D said...

Well I finally got home from a long evening out. There's quite a story about that within itself. But for now I'll just say that my blackberry was full of comments to my own post on it today. I have to reply to my own site, but I never thought you'd be "crucified" over it. I did, however, figure people would be very opinionated about it.

Hey, that's what good blogs are made of.

And that's not to say we can't all learn from processing our thoughts and comments on a blog. I've been berated by others before for what I've posted, and I tried to learn humbly by what everyone shared.

That being said, I am in a very uneasy situation myself, as the events in California, coupled with some very deep introspection has me questioning if even I should detransition. (Every bone within me is telling me that's not what I need). I'll have more to say on that, but for now this little "secret" can remain within this single comment.

I value your humility, and I look forward to continuing reading your posts. You can put your shields down now ;)

Gillian said...

I love you all.

Now let's all go to bed.


Abby said...

OK, I'm going to bed, but I don't like that "separately" part. Myself, I think a "puppy pile" with hot chocolate and blankies would be much more appropriate about now. :-)

Sonora Sage said...

Coming late to this as I don't have a whole lot to say personally that hasn't already been said on both threads, both here and over on Lori's blog. I did wake up this morning to see that Donna Rose has gone into great lengths with her opinions on the subject and seems to agree with the rest of us. Still worth a read for the eloquent way in which she expresses herself, as always.

I guess I'm too late for the Virtual Slumber Party, too! ;-)

Gillian said...

Dear Sonora,

Yup, you missed it. And I am chastened. I just told Lori in an email, when ABBY feels it's necessary to take you to task, you KNOW you've overstepped.

I just scanned Donna Rose's blog (admittedly with the egotistical fear that she was going to launch a salvo at me) and I agree, she handles it all with her usual grace.

I swear, when I read back over yesterday morning's post I wonder where my head was. I was, until way too late last night, taking the stance of a journalism teacher, totally discounting the fact that I was writing about a human being who had gone though a completely life-changing trial. And I do not believe that Mike Penner will ever go back to the same life.

I've certainly re-thought a number of things over the past 24 hours.

Abby said...

"when ABBY feels it's necessary to take you to task, you KNOW you've overstepped. "

Oh, my! I had no idea I have such influence. Even still, I hope my tasks remain loving and supportive.

Gillian, I am grateful for your commitment to me and your other readers here, and to your students, but as you so eloquently make clear, there is no contract. None of us has the right to demand those things of you. As you say, doing so would taint them, for the true value comes from your willingness to bestow such precious gifts on us from your heart, and our, your readers, honoring them for what they are.

Keep on blogging, Gillian, you have added a valuable voice to our community.


Lori D said...

Trust me, dear, Abby is no different than you or me. Being "taken to task," when done in a caring manner with the intention of correction and NOT humiliation is every right of bloggers who allow comments. That's why being able to freely disagree makes this a better place.

And I'm not knocking Abby either. Heaven knows she's called me on some stupid things I've written, and I'm thankful that she has done so in her always caring way. But I feel comfortable enough to know that I can just as equally publicly disagree with any of Abby's writings.

You know, I'm really enjoying our ability to get down and dirty with some of the more serious issues once in awhile.

Nichole said...

Being able to say one over-stepped is hardly a shame, Gillian. The fact remains that when you realized "the other side" that Kathryn and Lori pointed out to you you revisted your thoughts.

Nothing more can be asked of one than that when certain facts are pointed out that one changes her mind. If it was good enough for John Maynard Keynes, then I suppose it's good enough for us as well.

O, you've been tagged.

Gillian said...


I love it when someone makes me look something up.

Let's see...

John Maynard Keynes...

Wow! It's really flattering to be mentioned in the same paragraph with one of the world's great economists when I can barely balance a checkbook.

Two quotes have actually been running in my mind since Saturday:

From Emerson: "Speak what you think now in hard words, and tomorrow speak what tomorrow thinks in hard words again, though it contradict everything you said today."

From Whitman: "Do I contradict myself? Very well then I contradict myself, (I am large, I contain multitudes.)"

And, for good measure, let's add another: "Judge not lest ye be judged."

Admitted they are all pretty cliche, but cliches become cliches because the withstand the test of time.

If there is one thing that I have re-learned it is that compassion, understanding, and courtesy are all more valuable than being right - especially when rightness isn't all that quantifiable.

Now, as to being "tagged." OK. Give us a bit to think on it.