17-Year-Old Trans Teen Pens Heartbreaking Suicide Note

17-Year-Old Trans Teen Pens Heartbreaking Suicide Note


I am unfortunately pretty used to human cruelty by now, but something like this, where someone on the margins is made to feel like nothing by the very people that should care, fills me with a most rotten kind of sadness.  Abandoned by society, friends, and even your own parents, because you didn’t fit in with what was considered “normal”, is truly absurd and heartbreaking.   Let me tell you about “normal” people:  They are often as fucked up as anyone in their own way.  To quote Morrissey, “There is no such thing in life as normal.”  And who is more fucked up:  The person who is genetically born to feel different about their sex from most others, or people that choose to believe in an invisible man in the sky that permits them to treat their own children like dirt?  The first is nature and the second is delusion.   Only one of those is normal. 

As long as people don’t hurt others, allow them to find happiness in there own way.  If someone was born to feel differently than you, accept them for who they are. 

“There is only one rule that I know of, babies – God damn it, you’ve got to be kind.” – Kurt Vonnegut

The Good Within Reach

I was reading Doris Kearns Goodwin’s book Team of Rivals last night and there is a scene right after Lincoln issues the Emancipation Proclamation.  Even though it was obviously a controversial measure at the time, a lot of the people in Washington had a joyous celebration that evening.  I remember feeling really happy recently when the news came on and it said that we were establishing a diplomatic relationship with Cuba.  A little door, once closed, now opened a sliver, with the possibility that there might just be a little more understanding between two countries.  I remember feeling happy when Obama was elected for the first time, or when Obama himself put an end to Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.  Not because I was under any illusions that racism or bigotry had been destroyed, or that it was game over for injustice, or that white straight people like me should pat ourselves on the back.  It was because, whatever you think of the outcome of Obama’s Presidency, the world had become slightly more tolerant and inclusive, even if reality was and remains more complicated.  These were still pluses for civilization.

I keep being amazed by this new Pope.  Instead of spending most of the time focusing on petty internal religious doctrine, like his predecessors often did, he seems to be trying to make the world a more equal, tolerant, and just place.  Although I’m not Catholic and will never join a church of any kind, I find what he is doing to be appealing.

There is a quote that is supposedly by Lincoln himself, where he says, “When I do good, I feel good.  When I do bad, I feel bad. That’s my religion.”  Now in all honesty, I can’t figure out if Lincoln actually said that, or if it is one of those quotes that has just been attributed to him over time.  Especially with the internet these days it is hard to tell.  But no matter, anyway you cut it it is a great quote.  (Lincoln was known to be a skeptic for much of his life, even if his views did change slightly towards the end of his life.  That still does not mean that he said the above quote.)

I don’t understand why more people don’t get that actually doing right by other people can actually make you feel good as well.   It can actually lead to the happiness that is so often missing in our lives.  Who do you think feels better at the end of the day:  The person that helps a gay couple get married, or someone that spent all their political time and energy getting the tax rate down 1%?

Now there is a funny line.  I’m not talking about feeling self-satisfaction for the kind of thing people should be doing anyway.  Like just because you decided to not be a racist, doesn’t mean you should get some reward.  I mean more the kind of pride and happiness one feels from doing a good job.  Like you can either go into a job and schlep your way through it, not hurting anyone, but not really helping anyone.  Or you can do the best that you can do and take some kind of pride in your work.  You don’t feel pride because you showed up one day and worked harder than normal.  I’m talking about a pride that comes from continuous effort to do the right thing, no matter what the circumstances.

You would think that more people would get addicted to kindness, would take pride in seeing the world become a better place, would feel happy about progress even if they themselves didn’t play any roll in it. Yet, I am never surprised when I see some kind of barbarous cruelty on TV.  Meanwhile when I saw the news about Cuba, I was not only happy, but I was flat out surprised.  Why are we so often incapable of seeing the good that is possible, that is just around the corner, within reach?

Abbott and Cruz Vow to Block Same-Sex Marriage

“Is there an asshole convention in town?” – Richard Pryor in Moving

“I could sense the hate from the Lone Star state.” – Morrissey

Cruz and Abbott Vow to Block Same Sex Marriage

Morrissey wasn’t singing about same-sex marriage and Richard Pryor wasn’t talking about Texas, but they might as well have been.  Ted Cruz and Greg Abbott, our senator and one of our candidates for governor, are trying to prevent same-sex marriage from spreading.  There are two paths up ahead.  There is one that is a long, slow, hard, climb to a world where everyone is treated equally and just under the law, where kindness and decency are the norm.  There is another that is a slow decline backwards into a world of ignorance and destruction.

You see same-sex marriage isn’t just about the right of gay couples to get married and live in happiness like the rest of us have the right to.  It’s about treating our fellow human beings as people worthy of respect.  They are people with hopes and dreams just like everyone else.  Protecting your tribe leads to destruction.  Realizing that human kind all has common shared interests is the only chance we have of making this thing called civilization work in the long run.  Realizing that your gay neighbor down the street or a farmer in Africa  are worthy of living a life of dignity is a step to making a world, that will reach a population of around 9.6 billion people with dwindling resources by 2050, worth living in.  We can either come together or bleed out slowly in our tribal huts with hate and fear of the “other”.

Touring and Struggle

A great deal of the time I spend on the road I am miserable.  I am an introvert by nature, and being around people, on other people’s schedule all day, wears me out.  However, I view happiness as being overrated.  I’m not complaining despite what it may sound like in the first few sentences.  I have gone on every tour I have been asked to and will continue to do so.  Whenever I look back on a tour I am glad that I went.  I feel that I have expanded my horizons and accomplished something.  I have met new people, and seen new places, and at the very least provided people with a few hours of escape from the daily grind.

Life is often suffering and struggle.  Despite the pretty pictures that lie, has climbing a mountain ever been easy? Yet, except for maybe the few and the dead, I bet anyone that has climbed one is glad that they did.

We are surrounded by images in modern society that tell us how happy we’re going to be if we only do a certain thing.  Buy this deodorant, get laid, finally be happy.  Go get a McDowell burger, be satiated, finally be happy.  Buy a fancy car, impress your friends, finally be happy.  Although many of these things may bring about happiness, it is only in a transient sense.  Pretty soon you are stuck with yourself and right back to the problems you faced.

Love and friendship and being kind to people and doing good deeds and creating things that last and taking chances and experiencing life:  These are the only kinds of things that will bring fulfillment.  Anyone that tells you different is selling you snake oil.

I know like I sound like I am giving advice.  Christ, for some reason that bothers me.  Go out and find out for yourself.  Don’t take my word for it.  Some things you can only figure out for yourself.

Kindness as Defiance

I see death
At every bend in the river
In the peaks of mountains
Where nothing grows
And in the backstreets of the city
Yet despite this,
Given my own limitations
Of character and chemistry
Of which there are many,
I try my best to be kind
And to treat others with love
Not because I am afraid
Of what will happen
When I die
For I will not let fear dictate my life
But to spite and defy death
And if there is a God
Who allows such a cruel master
To lord over us here on earth
Then Him too

The Texas Highway 8/10/14

Tour Poetry Day 9: Struggle to Survive

Days come and go
Without much occasion or meaning
You were there and now you are here
Often we remember great feats
Or great depravity
But the everyday struggle to survive
Fades away into the ether
If you are half intelligent
And have some awareness of what is going on
Around you
To just to walk out the door in this world
You either have to be tough or crazy
So my hat is off to you
If you can manage
Such a small yet incredible task
With any degree of dignity and kindness
Although if you have surrendered your intellect
To magical thinking
I’m deducting points

Paonia, Colorado 8/8/14


Tour Poetry Day 4: Los Alamos

Living amongst the ghosts
Of mankind’s worst creation
People still blossom
Like flowers pushing their way through concrete
Parents take their children for snow cones
A gay couple celebrates their marriage
Teenage girls dance without self consciousness
And young lovers hold hands and swoon
All have gathered to hear music
Despite a heavy unyielding rain
Small acts of love and kindness
Are the ultimate acts of defiance
Against the gods of war

Los Alamos 2/8/14