R u ok

R u ok

Yeah, why would I not be?

Because sometimes life is incredibly hard.

Agreed, especially with an administration hellbent on taking away my rights and was elected because of racism and corrupt white men afraid of losing power and with the assistance of a murdering autocrat. Or, when family tries to hide who you are because it makes them uncomfortable . . . is what I type out, but I don’t send it. Instead I simply send, Yeah, I am good.

But, I didn’t feel good.

I felt confused, hurt, and lost about so many different things.

A battle to upgrade or not to upgrade my cell phone became an unbearable existential crisis.

So, when my friends arrive with boba and a vehicle full of camping gear, I entered the open road and made my way into the woods.

Advertisements

Memory Isn’t Dead, Chapter 6: Words

The road seems to fade in and out of focus.

I can’t get the article out of my head.

Why was it sent?

I thought they were an ally. Now, I am not so sure.

Is this what I should expect from now on?

To believe that someone has my back only to be disappointed later when uncertainty fills a silent void of communication.

The tires rumble on the highway as the road seems to pull me forward, in and out of focus.

*          *           *          *          *

My first pit stop is in Santa Fe.

I usually fill up the tank before I leave town, but this time, I just wanted to be on the road. I wanted to hear the voices of Night Vale and of Ira Glass. I wanted to focus on something other than looming questions before me.

Above the gas station convenience store, a sign reads: “Blimpie’s Is Now Open Inside.” I assume the name for the shop came from the sandwiches resembling a blimp. I guess it’s no weirder than a sandwich shop being named after anything else.

It just highlights the strangeness of words and names, like pit stop.

I assume that it is a racing term relating to stopping at a “pit” for refueling and tire checks, but my only real knowledge of racing comes from Pixar’s attempt to sell toys via anthropomorphic vehicles.

I don’t remember “pits” in the movies.

Maybe, there were.

*          *          *          *          *

Traveling means bathroom awkwardness.

It is the only part of traveling that I hate.

Which bathroom will I receive the least amount of stares and whispers?

Since my latest session of laser has made shaving difficult, I head to the men’s bathroom as I button up my shirt to try and hide what’s underneath.

Above the urinal, a “health center” vending machine hangs covered in graffiti. Through the black sharpie scrawls, I see the promise of “barely there bikini” and “exotic” condoms. Each description is more ridiculous than the last.

I dart out of the bathroom, hoping to not be seen.

There’s still many hours ahead.

*          *          *          *          *

I pass another billboard proclaiming the premiere shooting location.

In bold letters, it’s advertised as if this is a good thing.

What kind of a country continues to allow mass shootings again and again and again? Columbine wasn’t enough. Pulse wasn’t enough. (Insert name here) wasn’t enough.

What will be enough?

*          *          *          *          *

The tires rumble on the road, jostling memories loose.

I spent my whole childhood worried I was not manly enough, I was too effeminate, I was too nerdy, I was too weak, I would never fit in . . .

The last one still fits, but it’s funny how things change.

*          *          *          *          *

I see the text message flash before my eyes.

Love.

It feels like the last thing that I need.

I need an ally.

An advocate.

*          *          *          *          *

When the sign warns that the Focus on the Family headquarters is up ahead, I cannot help but know that they use the term in a very specific way.

Family to this conservative group means Christian, and it does not mean LGBTQ+.

I’ve begun to notice a trend.

Whenever an organization has “family” in its title, it almost always refers to a very specific type of family.

A family that excludes me.

“Political Exploitation”

Dear Senator James Lankford,

First off, I want to sincerely thank you for your openness and frankness when it comes to expressing your views. While there is very little that I agree with you on, I appreciate your candor with your beliefs, and that you are unapologetic about what you stand for. Also, I hope that we can both agree that dishonesty and secrecy pose grave threats to American democracy, and I appreciate knowing that when I review your voting record, I see that it aligns to your outspoken views.

Recently, you responded to INTO, an online LGBTQ+ media outlet. In your comments you accused me of “political exploitation” and that conversations that I had with my father should remain private. I would like to know why you view me speaking out in this manner.

Your public statements and voting record shows that you are adamantly opposed to LGBTQ+ rights, having earned a 0% on the Human Rights Campaign “Congressional Scorecard.” This is in addition to your history of derisive comments about the LGBTQ+ community. Your obsessive history of championing anti-LGBTQ+ rhetoric and policies tells me that I won’t be changing your mind about the queer community, nor is that my purpose for writing to you.

I write to you because I wish for clarity on your “political exploitation” comment. Why is me speaking about my father’s reaction towards my coming out and his overall LGBTQ+ views “political exploitation?” While I no longer live in Oklahoma, I have family, friends, and former students that do, and I have sincere concerns.

Isn’t democracy about all voices being heard and accounted for?

Is my voice less valid because of who I am?

 

Thank you for your time,

Bailey Coffman

 

“Republican Congressmen Refuse to Condemn Trump Appointee Who Called Trans Daughter ‘Demonic’”

https://www.intomore.com/impact/Republican-Congressmen-Refuse-to-Condemn-Trump-Appointee-Who-Called-Trans-Daughter-Demonic/34628102676944c1

“Resources: Your Elected Official – James Lankford”

http://www.hrc.org/your-elected-officials/profile?id=533

“What the Oklahoma Congressman Who Just Announced a Senate Campaign Thinks About LGBT Americans”

https://thinkprogress.org/what-the-oklahoma-congressman-who-just-announced-a-senate-campaign-thinks-about-lgbt-americans-fcf71ea38f20/

“What will it do. .”

My mother texted those words to me long, long ago during the first Women’s March.

It was a simpler time back then.

It was before the 45th president fired the FBI director over, as he said, eloquently as ever, “the Russia thing with Trump and Russia.”

It was before equating people protesting white supremacy to Nazis.

It was before the Muslim travel ban, and before the trans military ban, and before the countless lawsuits against an administration with no regard to the rule of law.

It was before the #MeToo movement.

It was before Stormy Daniels and Karen McDougal.

It was before the wave of women running for political office.

It was at the beginning of 2017.

A simpler time.

Yet, in the midst of the “Red State Revolt,” the Oklahoma teachers go on strike.

Perhaps, I should not have sent the sardonic text of “I won’t ask you “What will it do. .” after my mom sent me images from the Oklahoma teacher walkout.

Her response of “Why not” told me I missed the mark.

A few back and forths between the two of us, and I am left wondering if things will really change in Oklahoma.

A state that has vilified Democrats while its Republican leaders equate striking teachers to whiny teenagers . . . well, let’s just say I have my doubts.

All I hope is that teachers, parents, and politicians remember what led them to this point, what led them to year after year of education cuts.

I hope they remember in November.

 

The Memo: The Top 10 Trump Controversies of 2017

http://thehill.com/homenews/campaign/366336-the-memo-the-top-10-trump-controversies-of-2017

Trump, contradicting his own words, denies firing Comey over Russia probe

https://www.cnn.com/2018/04/18/politics/trump-comey-russia-investigation/index.html

All the president’s lawsuits

https://www.cnn.com/2018/03/28/politics/president-donald-trump-lawsuits-analysis/index.html

More Than Twice As Many Women Are Running For Congress In 2018 Compared With 2016

https://www.npr.org/2018/02/20/585542531/more-than-twice-as-many-women-are-running-for-congress-in-2018-compared-to-2016

The Red-State Teacher Revolt Has Been Brewing For Decades

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/americas-growing-teacher-strikes-were-decades-in-the-making_us_5ac8f468e4b0337ad1e8979c

Oklahoma governor compares striking teachers to a ‘a teenage kid that wants a better car’

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/education/wp/2018/04/04/oklahoma-governor-compares-striking-teachers-to-a-a-teenage-kid-that-wants-a-better-car/?noredirect=on&utm_term=.fdba7b88bbe1

“I don’t want to say lifestyle”

Some of this is a rehash, but all of it leads to this: “Senators Are Scrutinizing A Trump Nominee After His Transgender Daughter Accused Him Of Using Slurs.”

In the spring of 2017, my relationship with my family was highly strained after coming out to them as transgender in 2015, but I decided to lay down the gauntlet by sending them my blog post, “To Whom It May Concern.” In that post, I laid out where I stood on the 45th president and how I needed to know if they would support me or if they would not. A follow-up post chronicled their responses. With the aftermath of that fatefully sent post, relations with my family strained further. And, it was during this strain that I was told of my father’s new position, one nominated by the 45th president.

From my father’s response to the sent post, I’d known he hadn’t bothered to read what I’d written, about the democracy destroying individual corrupting the presidential office and everything the administration touches. Yet, upon hearing the news, I’d thought there was nothing I could do. Another anti-LGBT+ official in a sea of many.

I was wrong.

While I did not speak much to my father over the course of the spring or summer, seeing him only once during my sister’s high school graduation and would have seen him another time had I not been uninvited to my brother’s collegial graduation, I did receive a text from him in October, which included the presidential press release about his nomination going forward to the senate for confirmation.

I’d been wrong.

There was something I could do.

I’d thought that the position was a done deal. I had not realized that this was a senate confirmed position. After spending months watching nearly every swampy and anti-LGBTQ+ nominee confirmed by the senate, regardless of the outcry, I had had enough.

I wrote to my senator and to various LGBTQ+ organizations.

I waited.

And after making a few connections, I did an interview with an Oklahoma LGBTQ+ news outlet called, The Gayly.

After “Child of Trump nominee speaks out” was released, familial relations continue to be strained as I was told that I am “wrong” and “mean” and “cruel” for speaking out against my father.

Perhaps, my favorite thing I was told was “He dosent think those things u said. He was just reacting in the heat of the moment. This isn’t easy.”

I opted to avoid Oklahoma for the holidays.

It was a good decision.

I heard nothing about when the confirmation hearing would be, nor did I seek out information from my family. But, I did browse the Web, attempting to find the information on my own.

It was an attempt that would lead nowhere.

Yet as the spring neared, I was contacted by the National Center for Transgender Equality, one of the organizations I had reached out to in October, about my father’s upcoming confirmation hearing. They wanted to know if I was interested in being contacted by a reporter.

Enter Buzzfeed.

I told the reporter my story.

And, when he reached out to my brother to confirm it, my brother denied the events that happened.

And, so, the story with Buzzfeed was shelved.

Except, that it wasn’t.

Not entirely.

As part of the confirmation process, my father would not only have to respond to the Gayly article but would also have to respond to the retweets from his Twitter account which had such gems as sports franchises having “lost their moral compass” by their support of trans rights and allowing trans people in the military was “immoral garbage.”

In regards to his Twitter account, he was only trying “to elicit conversation.”

But, with the Gayly article question, asked by Sen. Feinstein, he denied the things he said.

He lied to congress.

Another Trump nominee lied to congress.

And so, with the questions asked and his responses given, the article was published.

Where things go from here, I can’t say, but I am certainly doing more than just trying “to elicit conversation.”

Look.

You don’t have to agree with what I have done.

You don’t have to like it.

But, people deserve to know the views of who represents them in government.

And, if you don’t like it, well, I guess I’ll just say this. If you agree that trans people are corrupt and freaks, well, then, I guess I just don’t support your type of lifestyle.

 

Side note: Well I appreciate the exposure, I was totally surprised a version of the Buzzfeed article running on The Advocate, considering I had never spoken to anyone from there. Also, they used an old Facebook profile picture for the article . . . Fascinating.  

 

“To Whom It May Concern”

https://formergoldenchildblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/to-whom-it-may-concern/

“Three out of Four Reactions”

https://formergoldenchildblog.wordpress.com/2017/02/03/three-out-of-four-reactions/

“Child of Trump nominee speaks out”

http://www.gayly.com/child-trump-nominee-speaks-out

“Senators Are Scrutinizing A Trump Nominee After His Transgender Daughter Accused Him Of Using Slurs”

https://www.buzzfeed.com/dominicholden/senators-are-scrutinizing-a-trump-nominee-after-his?utm_term=.yegRyNRr2#.tlQ8dR8E1

“U.S. Marshals Nominee Accused of Transphobia–By His Trans Daughter”

https://www.advocate.com/transgender/2018/4/16/us-marshals-nominee-accused-transphobia-his-trans-daughter

As I Hike . . .

Another spring break celebration in Santa Fe, and as I hike, I cannot help but be consumed by thoughts.

I want to think about tomorrow’s trip to New York. I want to plan out the places to go. I want to not be bombarded by the realities of today.

As I hike, I think of Parkland and another attack on transgender military servicemen and women and corruption and lies and I simply lost in thought.

When will the tide turn?

How did it get to this point?

Where do we go from here?

Trump Follows Through On Banning Most Transgender Troops

https://www.buzzfeed.com/verabergengruen/trump-follows-through-on-banning-most-transgender-troops?utm_term=.fxqWwk0k4

Flashbacks from the Wild, Part 1: Fuel and Fury

As the narrator reads through the president’s decision to ban transgender people from the military, an almost inhuman rage fills me as I scream, “Fuck you,” in an empty car.

Tears well in my eyes, as I continue to mumble, “fuck, fuck, fuck” over and over again.

The glass is beginning to fog and ice over from the clouds hovering on the ground. It is much colder driving back home than it was driving to Carlsbad.

 

I was looking forward to the drive and to a weekend getaway, even though winter break had been filled with one getaway after the other.

But, I was particularly looking forward to this drive because I would be able to listen to Michael Wolff’s Fire and Fury. On recent road trips, I’d listened to Devil’s Bargain by Joshua Green and Unbelievable by Katy Tur, which were informative, fascinating, and only fueled my revulsion for this racist and paying-hush-money-to-pornstars Dear Leader.

Nothing in the book was surprising.

It only furthered my resolve to resist, to stand up for what’s right.

But, as the words were read as I made my way down to Carlsbad, I couldn’t help but think about recent news revelations, i.e. Shithole-gate.

Once again, the president was caught in another moment of racism and Republicans were bending over backwards to find a loophole out of his racism, or simply to excuse it. Meanwhile, neo-Nazis were praising their elected troll from all corners of the internet.

I’d always thought I’d been taught that racism was wrong, evil.

How’s is it a topic for debate now?

Then, as my car rumbled down the highway, I remembered a conversation.

Prior to moving to New Mexico, I went up to Tulsa, on this particular trip for three reasons. One, to search for engagement diamond options. Two, to close out my original savings account in favor of an account I could access across state lines. And, three, to have lunch with my grandparents.

After I accomplished my first two tasks, I met my grandparents at my, then, favorite spot, Siegi’s Sausage Factory.

It’s funny because there are a few meals there that come to mind. My mother ordering salmon (it’s a German restaurant) off the dinner menu at my birthday lunch. A meal with my ex after the trans-intervention with my family. And, actually, quite a few others.  

Yet, this one’s stands out in a more profound way.

It was the first time I remember having fundamental disagreement with my grandparents.

One where I could not see or understand their point of view, and I could tell that they were disappointed in mine.

As we ate, and I have no recollection of how it was brought up, my grandparents expressed their dismay at the University of Tulsa changing the name of its law school after it was revealed that the founder of the law school had been affiliated with the KKK.

From my point of view, of course the university would want to distance itself from the racism and bigotry and of any association with that hate group, and I expressed as much.

After much back and forth, the conversation went nowhere.

They had their opinion.

I had mine.

And as the words of Michael Wolff filled my car as I rumbled down to Carlsbad, flashes of that meal and conversation swirled through my mind.

 

Trump Attacks Senator Who Confirmed ‘Shithole Countries’ Comments

https://www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/trump-twitter-shithole-countries_us_5a5d13bce4b04f3c55a526e4   

University of Tulsa law school to remove founder’s name after discovering his affiliation with the Ku Klux Klan

http://www.nydailynews.com/news/national/tulsa-law-school-remove-founder-due-kkk-associations-article-1.2626106

What Kind of Year Has It Been? (2017 Edition)

While contrite and perhaps a bit predictable, let’s review the year of 2017.

2017, a year of devastating consequences and hope.

From every single time the 45th president opened his mouth to every time that the Republican party caved to his immortality for the sake of power to every vile policy enacted (Muslim Ban, Trans Military Ban, CDC Word Ban, Tax Scam, Ending DACA, and every other dismantling of U.S. democratic institutions) to the cowardice and the traitorous failing to hold the 45 president’s administration accountable for their election collusion and corruption to the rise of open white supremacy in the name of the Alt-Right and #MakeAmericaGreatAgain, 2017 has taken its toll.

It has taken its toll on me and on others.

It has taken its toll on the relationships with others.

It has led to “To Whom It May Concern,” to “Disappointment,” and to “Where Things Stand”.

It has led to “Child of Trump Nominee Speaks Out.”

It has led to the Women’s March and the March for Science and the Tax March.

It has led to ACLU and Human Rights Campaign donations.

It has led to action and voting and calling my member of Congress.

It has led to being called mean and cruel for speaking up and out.

It has led to near-breaking, near-shattering.

Yet, as the shadow falls across a once proud and hopeful nation, it is not the end.

Though, it is an ending.

And, with that ending, hope still remains because even in 2017’s darkest moments, there was joy.

There was camping and board games and paintings and new friendships and city exploring and a Drag Queen Christmas and skiing and resolve.

Resolve to get through this.

Resolve to move forward.

Resolve.

Because as 2018 promises more darkness and devastation, for not just those who are marginalized but for all of American democracy, there is still hope.

There will always be hope in the darkest of places.

And in the words of a Jedi Master, “This is not going to go the way you think.”

Aware. Never Forgetting. Now, Always Forward.  

To Whom It May Concern

https://formergoldenchildblog.wordpress.com/2017/01/26/to-whom-it-may-concern/

Disappointment

https://formergoldenchildblog.wordpress.com/2017/06/14/disappointment/

Where Things Stand

https://formergoldenchildblog.wordpress.com/2017/11/26/where-things-stand/

Child of Trump Nominee Speaks Out

http://www.gayly.com/child-trump-nominee-speaks-out

Where Things Stand

Two years ago, I came out to my fiancee as transgender, which ended that relationship. A month later, I would come out to my brother and parents. Here is where things stand.

 

Dear Senator,

 

Hey made it to Quartz mt.. I want to talk to u soon.. I am in class until 6. Then A mtg. Then dinner.. so if u are available this evening I would like to talk to u..

 

Have a good time at Quartz Mountain. I’m not really available tonight, getting ready for a Paint Night tomorrow.

 

Ok.. have fun painting.. I didn’t know I had upset you again. I will delete my Facebook account as soon as I can figure out how to save my pictures..

 

Why would you delete your Facebook account? That makes no sense. If you stand by your posts, why delete it?

 

Because u get very upset and I don’t want to continually upset u.. life is short

 

I get very upset? There are so many other things that make me upset than your Facebook posts. I am still not even sure what blog post you are referring to.

 

While I have no idea if this message will reach you or make a difference, but I could not live with myself if I did not express my concern. The Trump administration continues to nominate radical and dangerous individuals to high government positions, and with a heavy heart, this also includes my father, Frank M. Coffman for the position United States Marshal for the Eastern District of Oklahoma.

 

I am way more bothered by my father’s new job than anything I have ever seen on your Facebook wall. But, I do want to add this. Your post about Puerto Rico and CNN being fake news scares me. It really does. It is naive and discredits the media. And just so you know, my coworker lost family members in the hurricane that hit Puerto Rico. The island is devastated and will take years to recover.

 

I am very sorry. For your feelings and your friend who lost their family members

 

https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/conversations-with-people-who-hate-me/id1257821731?mt=2&i=1000390479804

Deleting your Facebook page is ridiculous. If you feel a need to apologize, listen to this podcast instead. There are nine episodes, and listening to them would mean more to me than an apology ever would.

 

Ok.. do I download something

 

Did the link not show up for you?

 

I see it. I will have to get head phones

 

Almost two years ago, I came out to my parents as transgender, and needless to say, it went poorly. I am writing to you because a person in the position of U.S. Marshal must be objective and non-biased  in regards to following the law. Based on everything I know about my father, he is committed to his prejudices over his respect for the law. For instance, beyond a shadow of a doubt, I know he views the Black Lives Matter movement as criminal. Yet, it is his disdain for the LGBTQ+ community that frightens me the most. He refuses to accept family members as LGBTQ+ and has explicitly told me that I am under the influence of demons and corrupted by society because I am transgender.

 

Why are u bothered by your dads new job as a us marshal in Oklahoma

 

Because the Trump administration is threatening the very foundation of this country’s democracy and my father wants to work for that administration. Also, as radical and extreme as the Trump administration is and out of everyone in Oklahoma, the Trump administration sees my father as a kindred spirit for this role.

 

Whoever the president is has to appoint the Marshall.. you know your dad is not a kindred spirit.. he was more a bush kindred spirit.. I think he quit being a secret service agent because he didn’t want to be involved so closely with trump..

 

I have no idea why he quit the USSS. And while I used to think he aligned his views with moderate Republicans, I know the media he consumes and the views he holds. Just his views on social justice movements and LGBTQ+ individuals certainly does not make me feel safer or confident that he will objectively use his authority to protect all Americans.

 

I disagree.. if something happened your dad would not see gender or race or anything to help and protect.. u seem very angry and filled with rage!

 

Where is this coming from? And, of course I am angry, but filled with rage is a bit extreme. And, unfortunately, knowing things my father believes, I have to disagree with you about him.

 

To talk to u .. u don’t seem angry.. your blogs and text are extremely angry and raging!! U have been hurt by your dad and u r very sensitive to him at every level.. it is OK for people to have different beliefs and opinions!! It is EVERYONES right to feel and think differently.. and then of course someone thinks they are right and someone else is wrong! But to try and force that anyone believes exactly to believe/agree with everything u do is impossible

 

At this time, he and I barely speak, and his support of radical conservatism only drives us farther and farther apart. It is heartbreaking to write this to you, but if I do not speak out, who will? I ask you to oppose his nomination and to continue to speak out against other current and future Trump nominees that threaten democracy and the freedoms of this country.

 

You are completely right that everyone is entitled to their own beliefs and opinions. Here is a key difference though. Some of those key differences could cost me my job, my healthcare, a place to live, my students’ families, and lives. Not all thoughts and opinions are right or just, even though you are entitled to them.

 

Yes every opinion and every thought can cost someone something.. costing a life is the most important loss.. the things your dad said to u was horrible and he was falling apart.. and the things I say to u are not to hurt u..but past all of that u can’t make anyone feel what u feel

 

Is he still falling apart? Are you? Regardless, the things I say and write may not change how anyone thinks or feels, but I have to try. Because, if I don’t, who will? And, how much damage will be done in the meantime if I stay silent?

 

No he is ok.. being a Marshall removes him further from trump. I am ok.. I just don’t like feeling like we r fighting . I accept and love who u r. I want u to love me and accept who I am..

 

While that is not entirely accurate about his new job, I would prefer us not to disagree. However, I will not stay silent. I love you both, but that doesn’t mean I will just accept your views and opinions just because you are family.

 

Accept isn’t the right word.. from my text.. u don’t have to accept my beliefs maybe accept the right to be different from each other.. have u thot much about meditating for inner peace

 

I certainly accept your right to be different. I don’t have to be okay with it. Just like you don’t have to accept me for who I am. And meditating? I’d rather be a bit more proactive for inner peace, like getting involved, contacting legislators, etc.

 

Just sometime for peace and to relax a bit

 

What brings me peace is knowing that I have done something in the face of what is happening.

 

Thank you for your time,

Nicholas Bailey

 

Ok what do u do to relax

 

Paint nights. Movies. Spend time with friends.

 

Child of Trump Nominee Speaks Out

http://www.gayly.com/child-trump-nominee-speaks-out