Monday, May 08, 2006
Thinking Trans Situations
The things my faith will lead me through.
I've mentioned that I've been pretty busy. Very busy. So busy, in fact, that I haven't been able to blog in a good long while. Happy May, everybody.
Some new things: I saw the National Aids Marathon Training Program ad in the Express, and it jumped out at me. It was like, SubhanAllah (to God be the glory), I need to do this.
And just like that, I did.
I'm now training to run the Rock'n'Roll 1/2 Marathon in September on Labor Day. I'll be running/walking as a fundraiser to raise funds for the Whitman-Walker Clinic.
I don't know if any of you non-DC peoples know about it, but that particular clinic is crucial; they provide affordable care in the DC Metro area, most notably the biggest provider of affordable AIDS care in the city. I've been hearing about the Whitman-Walker Clinic since I first got to DC for undergrad.
This is a physical way to give to others who are in need, who are ill, and to show my faith by actions. AIDS, my friends, is a serious serious and scary fatal illness. There is no cure. And I've found since I began both my studies in Public Health and my life's journey as a Muslim that our ummah is ignorant, sometimes willfully, of what's at stake. So I'm doing this to raise awareness, and to use my body in an act of worship. So insha'Allah, I'm running. And walking. Training hard, so that I'll finish.
Can you see me, this big, tall muhajabah, crossing that finish line? Insha'Allah, insha'Allah.
I'll also be finishing in Imette's memory. I can't think of a better tribute. She didn't have AIDS, but she was a compassionate -and fit!- person. (This weekend someone reminded me of the time she came flying down a zip line in the Shenandoah mountains in the lotus position. My goodness, that child lived a life! I had completely forgotten about that.) I'm still trying to get in touch with her mom and her sister, just to let them know, out of respect, that I'm doing this.
I've started a blog over at MarisaMarathon@wordpress.com, in order to log my experiences specific to my training for this marathon, to keep my goal in front of me on the tired days, and to use as a fundraising base. (**AHEM. If you know anything at all about blog publishing and formatting and adding links and making blogs look nice, esp. for WordPress, I'm ASKING YOUR HELP! Wordpress makes me panic, but I've lost too many entries at blogspot to want to risk it.) I'm starting my letter-writing campain this week, so if you've ever known me and you're reading this, get ready. I'm asking for donations from everywhere. See, my small goal is $2500; and I must raise a minimum of $2,100 for the clinic by 5 July in order to enter the Marathon. If I don't, all the funds raised for the clinic stay with them, but I won't be able to run. By then, I'll have been training for two months. Ain't no way Ima train for 2 months out of 5 and then quit. No.
So, do stop by from time to time and see how that's going.
The other thing- and the title of this entry- has to do with my weekend.
I went to see a friend who is ill. That, b/c I'd been worried about her, but also because someone (ahem, UmmZaid) reminded me that our friends who are ill have rights over us as Muslims. So. Again, that "Subhanallah, lemme go see her" came about when another situation was canceled at the last minute. Yay!
I enjoyed my time w/my friend, and I did stay overnight at her house, which was just as well b/c she is very ill. She was able to de-stress by letting me know everything that's been going on in her life; and during one very scary situation, she became pretty sick while I was there. I'm glad I was there to help her and let her know she was not alone. She introduced me to the man I know she's going to marry; and I gave my seal of approval.
Thing is, my friend lives with a transgendered individual. And I'm deliberately not going to say s/he here. I'm just not. I just want to point out that English now has need of a non-gendered pronoun to refer to people, which thought came to mind after this weekend.
I made a faux pas with said individual, because I kept using the wrong pronouns. In my head, it was hard to wrap my mind around the person, b/c the gender displayed vs. their vocal qualities confused- confuses- me. I was fine when looking, but at one point I was just listening to speech, and so I slipped up.
HOW EMBARRASSING. And the person stopped, corrected me, and moved on. I felt so bad for disrespecting that person by ignoring something they've gone to many (many) lengths to display and identify with. It'd be like someone repeatedly acting as if I were a Christian, in a way. I did pull the person aside and apologise later on.
But that's a really unusual thing. I've known some transvestites in my lifetime, and a good deal of people who are gay, but transgendered? That's where I really had to pull on my "people are people and children of Allah" hat and concentrate hard on that. That, I think, is why I was so embarrassed to disrespect this person. And also, I really really wanted to know what Islam says about someone like that. Outta curiosity, not necessarily b/c I'm gonna be all dogmatic about it. Are they treated as eunichs? Ahhhhhh I don't even want to think what some "conservative" people would think. Goodness.
So, yeah, that's what I've been dealing with over the past coupla days.
At work: I got a gold star for my Quality Assurance reviews! Yayyyyy!!!! Funny how gold stars still work 20 years after kindergarten, man. I'm sised about that thing. Masha'Allah.
Now, back to work before my supervisor has a hissy fit.