Create a Culture of Peace – This is on You, Too

I woke to a number of “this needs to stop” and “something needs to change” posts across social media this morning. I have not seen one “I’m going to…” response to last night’s shootings in the city.

If you can’t see that this problem reaches beyond the responsibility of parents and city officials then you inarguably are not looking hard enough at the real issues. To choose to reside in an area where violent acts continue yet put the onus on others to rectify the situation so that you have a better place to live is irresponsible and elitist.

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I Scream, You Scream

When I was just weeks shy of three years old, I was hanging around the house with my mom doing the stuff that toddlers do, I guess. It was mid-morning on a warm spring day and I was bored and tired of playing with whatever age acceptable toys had been placed in front of me. My mom must have been focused on my sisters at the time – one was older and the other younger than I – because she didn’t notice at first that I’d made an all-important decision to find something else to do. I’d always preferred to be with my dad and that day was no different. Dads always did the cool stuff and I wanted to do cool stuff with my dad instead of the usual toddler stuff. I knew he was at work and lucky for me, his work was right next door. So I decided I was going to go to work.

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Don’t Fence Me In

Young trans boys want the same things as any other boys growing up. I was no different. I liked being outside and getting dirty and I wouldn’t be surprised if I’d have broken records for wearing through the knees of my jeans. I’m pretty sure I mastered that challenge with a record time of less than two weeks to wear holes in at least one of the knees. Oh, and the patches that my mom sewed on them usually “fell off” in even less time than that! Everyone knows that cowboys do not wear patches on their jeans!

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Ever the farm boy…

When I was a kid everyone assumed I was a tomboy. I played by myself much of the time because I hated playing the girly games. I had the most fun doing my own thing – which often involved finding what appeared to others to be the most “tomboy” activity I could find. If I couldn’t be a boy, at least I could act like one. This was easiest to do when I could be outside and even more so when I got to visit my grandparents’ farm. Sometimes revisiting our past reminds us that who we’ve become may not be all that far from where we began.

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Trans centered art donation.

Recently I had the honor of being asked to create a finished piece of art live as part of the TEDx RitenourRoad event in St. Louis. I chose transgender and transition as the focus of the mixed media painting. Raffle tickets were sold during the event and at the end of the night a ticket was drawn and the painting presented to the winning ticket holder. Funds from the ticket sales were donated to support TransParentStl and the good work they do working with trans youth.

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