265 murders of Transgender people in the last year.
Phoenix Metropolitan Area Transgender people and Allies hold 14th Annual Memorial to remember their Dead.
Phoenix, AZ, November 18, 2012: Local Transgender organizations and allied groups have combined to hold the 14th annual Transgender Day of Remembrance, Sunday, November 18th, 2012 at 6:00pm at Wesley Bolin Plaza.
This Is HOW, the seven year old crisis intervention organization serving the needs of transgender people, with the help and assistance of HRC Arizona, Phoenix 1 in 10, Phoenix PFLAG, and Arizona TransAlliance have worked together to continue the yearly observation. This year, according to published reports from all over the world, 265 transgender people and those close to the have been murdered for their being transgender worldwide. Collected by TransEurope, the list includes people as young as 16 and as old as 70.
“Violence against transgender persons is typically excessive, brutal, and personal. The overwhelming majority of murders worldwide are never solved.” says Toni D’orsay, Executive Director for This Is HOW. “This year, 15 of these murders happened within the United States.”
The Transgender Day of Remembrance was started in 1999 by Gwen Smith, who sought to honor the memory of Rita Hester, whose murder remains unsolved. In Phoenix, the murder of Maurice Green continues to seek information and offers a reward.
“These are also just the reports that we can find, published stories of people who far too often are only mentioned when the details are salacious. So we know that this is a low number, because often these deaths are not reported with attention to the person’s life. These are men, women, and children whose lives are quickly forgotten, and we want to make sure that they are remembered each year.”
Traditionally held on or about the 20th of November, the event is a memorial for the fallen, and all the names of those lost will be read this year. “We are missing the names of many, and they will be remembered as well.” Ms. D’orsay said.
“There are over 15,000 transgender people in the Phoenix area, statistically, and they often feel that each of them is alone, with no one to turn to. This even gives us a chance to see each other, to see those for who these acts are constant reminders of the risks transgender people face.”
About This Is HOW
This Is HOW is a charitable organization that serves the needs of Transgender people in the Phoenix Area, and is the only organization of its particular kind in the country. Headed by local activist Antonia “Toni” D’orsay, it focuses on social service needs and providing people with the skills and opportunities to have a meaningful life.
Today I went and saw the film “Cloud Atlas”. As I type this, it is approaching twelve hours since I saw it, and in another room of the house I can hear the strains of the Sextet playing — purchased shortly after arriving at a place with wifi.
If I recall correctly, the last film I saw in the theater was “Star Trek”, in 2009. Going to the movie theater for me has been a challenge and a cost that is too difficult to justify. Other than that one exception in ’09, I don’t think I’ve been in a theater in a decade.
The last time I was as excited for a film as I was for this one, the film was Fellowship of the Ring. Excited is decidedly the word for it, as well, in the lead up, and now the word is something more, something else, and even as I type this I find myself trying to reign in the cascade of emotions that is welling up as the memories strike, still fresh, still so wonderfully amazing, still so awesomely incredible.
Had I the capability, I would buy out an entire theater and let everyone I know go see it for free. It is that kind of amazing, that kind of awesome.
Prior to the LotR films, the last film I can think of that I was this keyed up for was something in the early 1990′s.
Because for all that I love film, when something becomes hyped, I fear a little. I seems as if inevitably I will find flaws, my watching of films impeded by the ways in which I sit through it, paying attention to the writing, to cinematography, to acting, to direction, to set design, to the thousand little things that all feed into the making a piece of art by committee, for Film is a group effort.
I think I’ve mentioned before here how I usually have to watch a film a few times, before I can just watch it for the joy of it.
I am entertained by movies. And I have a great many movies. I have only a few things in my collection that I would deign to call Films.
The Matrix, for example, to me is a movie. So are the LotR films.
Cloud Atlas is a Film.
I watched the trailers, finding myself intrigued by the beauty of Ang Lee’s “The Life of Pi”, and then settled back. I’d read the novel previously — and I have long passed the point where I expect duplications, and this adaptation has the blessing of the Author himself. It did, slightly, interfere with my watching the film. To expect a novel of the depth and complexity of Cloud Atlas to be mirrored on the screen is foolish, but inevitable, as many people will cling to the visions in their minds.
But Film is a different medium. Film is like working with expensive, rare oil paints. Novels and books are not like paint at all. They are more like sculpture, where you hack out and forge things.
Vey different methods go into them, different kinds of planning, different kinds of things are possible. This may be why Graphic Novels are such a different kind of creation, a blending of the two.
In the end, though, writing a novel is like writing a novel, and making a Film is like making a film, and there are very good reasons for us to call them by separate things.
And the Film started, and I sat there.
And then it ended, and I didn’t want it to. I didn’t want to see credits rolling and have to start dealing with the world again, and I wasn’t ready to do it, wasn’t wanting to do it, wasn’t able to do it.
I was, then and now, enraptured. Entranced. A glamour was placed on me by this film, and after I staggered out into the parking lot and pulled out my phone and typed something, this is what I typed:
oh my god! The film is sep from the book, same stories, same scale, same sense of the elements.
It is an awesome, amazing film that is able to stand up against eveything hyped about it for me.
There is a true exhultation, and we as the audience gain it.
It was an hour before I could begin to face it more clearly, and what came out was this:
This won’t make much sense to a lot of people, but Cloud Atlas is Our Film. And there isn’t a trans person in the film. But truly, this is a movie that is as rich and complex and deeply moving as the lives of Trans people, and it carries forward with so many themes that it resonates soundly with transness in a way that it id challenging to describe.
It is a movie for those who love, and for those who are loved. It is a film for those who struggle, who wonder, who hope.
It is awesome, and if you haven’t started making plans to see it, then you really should start to do so now…
I was trying to talk around it, but Kelley Winters popped on and pointed out that it is a trans person, the Film, that everyone in it is a trans person.
And that freed me to say the rest:
And not merely Trans, but that’s our lens. It is, without a doubt, a phenomenal film that speaks to the emotions, the yearnings, the triumphs and the defeats of our lives, in so many sparkling, brilliant ways, and leaves you breathless — not sad, but willing to cry, not joyous, but willing to triumph, and dare I say leaving you just a tiny bit unwilling to leave, unwilling to let go, because to stop is just not enough, and there is always more…
And I say that because Cloud Atlas, as a film, speaks more deeply to a different set of ideas, more clearly to a different set of emotions, more visually to a whole different way of seeing the themes in the book.
And in so doing, it stands on its own, separate from the novel, which, I will say again, I loved. I loved it from a writer’s standpoint, I was entralled by the crafting of it, the details of it, the scope of it.
The film is a different beast, and it is not a wonder that the author embraces it.
The work I do is a holistic focus — we tackle many problems at once, and when I’m not busy asking people to donate 10 dollars a month to fund those efforts, we do one hell of a job at it. And we are only able to do all the stuff we do because we do all of it — this isn’t peiemeal, and we don’t reinvent the wheel, and this Film is like that.
Like a giant, massive Holistic look at life, the universe, and everything. It is a giant 42 plastered across the giant screen that it is so absolutely best seen on.
There is talk of an Oscar for this film, which by all accounts it is Lana who spearheaded it. It deserves at least one. The ambition in it is incredible.
Were I a critic, I would rate it 9 out of 10, and the only reason that it doesn’t get ten stars is that I read the damnable book first. Don’t do that. Watch the Film, then read the book. The book has so much more and is so deeply fascinating, but there are, as with any sort of crossing a boundary, differences between the Novel and the Film.
But I am not the only person who sees so much here.
I was never, ever bored by “Cloud Atlas.” On my second viewing, I gave up any attempt to work out the logical connections between the segments, stories and characters. What was important was that I set my mind free to play. Clouds do not really look like camels or sailing ships or castles in the sky. They are simply a natural process at work. So too, perhaps, are our lives. Because we have minds and clouds do not, we desire freedom. That is the shape the characters in “Cloud Atlas” take, and how they attempt to direct our thoughts. Any concrete, factual attempt to nail the film down to cold fact, to tell you what it “means,” is as pointless as trying to build a clockwork orange.
We have selected four critical areas of need that we have as an organization in order to meet our mission.
The mission of This Is HOW is to create opportunities and environments that empower Trans people to recover, to succeed in accomplishing goals, to reconnect with themselves and others, and strive for a purpose in life, to rise from poverty, and to live authentically, making them healthy, vibrant and whole.
We seek to make the whole of life better for Trans people.
With that firmly in mind, we have looked back over the last several years and studied what we have done right, what we have done wrong, and where it is we plan to go down the road, according to the ten year plan we adopted.
The four Goals this year are:
To open the Phoenix Trans Center for the use and enjoyment of the entire Trans community.
To stabilize our Core Programs
To improve our fundraising capabilities
To ensure that we can retain and attract the best possible trans people for our positions
Each of these goals has been carefully budgeted and figured out to work out to around 2500 dollars per month for each of them. There are more details on each of those budgets and what it is they cover in the pages that fall beneath this one, with links to those pages below.
As a result, we need to raise $120,000 dollars for an entire year, or 10,000 dollars a month. The way we have chosen to do so is to find 1000 people who will sponsor This Is HOW and our leading edge programs, 1000 people who care about the needs of Trans people, 1000 people who have compassion and understand the hard work that we do.
Sponsor This Is HOW Today!
We are asking those 1000 people to donate 10 dollars each month for a year. This is what we call a Gold Sponsorship, and these people will be our Gold Sponsors. That’s all it takes — not a lot of people in a country with 360 Million people, of whom at least 720,000 are Trans people.
These people are the heart and soul of our organization, and we know that. We know that many of them are our fellow Trans people, who struggle with almost no income themselves and yet donate a little because they recognize that we help those who are in the greatest need.
We know that we have tremendous support among the wider LGBT community, people who understand first hand some of the challenges and difficulties that we face.
We know that many of our donors are in the wider community, who see that we help trans people in ways that stun and way that help them to help others. People who recognize that we do not give fish away, but instead we teach people how to fish, and we help them while they learn.
We serve the Phoenix Trans community, which has between 8,000 and 16,000 Trans people within the Phoenix Metropolitan Area, directly, but we serve the national community as well, through the development of leading edge programs and via the people who travel from all around the country to join our Residence program. We have initiated the development of Chapters across the country, providing them with skills, knowledge, and tools that will enable them to duplicate and expand on the programs and services we offer here, carrying them to other locations around the country.
Our mission does not say we help only some Trans people. We help all of them. To the limits of our ability, and sometimes beyond. We operate on a “do it yourself” model that allows us to achieve great things at lower cost.
We have more than just Gold Sponsors available. We have 3 different classes, and each class has five levels of sponsorship, to allow people to find the right level for them.
The first, and most important level, is the level that isn’t listed, though. If you know someone who might be able to donate, spread the word and tell them. If we can reach enough people, then we can make this happen. For less than the cost of a dinner out.
Other ways to Sponsor
Sponsoring by Check
You can go to your online bank account system and set up an automatic
bill payment plan that sends a check to us each month for the amount of
If you choose that option, make the check payable to This Is HOW
This Is H.O.W.
P.O. Box 45225
Phoenix, AZ 85064-5225
You can also just manually write a check to TIH and mail it that way.
Direct Deposit to our Account
Additionally, you can also walk into any branch of Bank of America and
make a direct deposit to our account, or request that your bank do a
To do that, you will need some information:
This Is HOW
2308 E Monterosa St
Phoenix, AZ 85016
contact us for the routing and account number at
Lastly, there is another way to do it, if you don’t mind taking the time
to make sure it can be done each month:
You can pay via Square. Signing up for an account is free, and there is
an app for iOS and Android phones available here:
Once you are set up search for This Is HOW in Phoenix, and make your
donation. Paying with square also lets you earn additional perks!
We hope to have an improved payment gateway up and available for you
soon, but aren’t quite there yet, so if you still prefer that, come on
Please remember to tell your friends to donate themselves and become
Sponsors of This Is HOW.
Each Sponsorship Level comes with certain recognition gifts. These gifts are as follows:
Subscriptions are to our twice monthly Newsletter to our Sponsors (not available to anyone else), and our Magazine.
The Magazine we will be producing from the Trans Center (shipping 6 weeks after we reach our half way point, digitally at first, and later in Print, featuring articles from leaders and everyday people about the Trans Community).
Sponsor Cards will also act as Discount cards, with the discount level reflecting the level of Sponsorship. The discounts will apply in our Support Shop, which will be expanding to include the crafts and creations and art and work of Trans people from all walks of life and all habits. Every Sponsor will receive one of these cards, and there’s more to come there, as well.
The Totes, Mugs, and T shirts, will be produced in house, as we are using the funds to improve access to such materials for the entire Trans community.
Certificates are framed certificates that mark the Business as an offical Sponsor of This Is HOW, ensuring that Trans folk can know they support us.
Plaques are special plaques we will have made to honor the Sponsor.
Awards are special Awards, engraved with the business name and marking them as Sponsors of This Is HOW.
In addition, all Sponsors will be included here on the website (anonymous donations are also welcome, and will be noted as Anonymous). Links to their websites will be given if the Sponsor so wishes, or links to the site of their choosing (as long as it is safe for work). This page (and those that it will break out into) will be updated weekly.
Business Sponsors can also choose to have a graphic logo used with their listing, as well as a Sponsor Ad in the new Support Shop when it is completed and goes live.
Checking In On Us
In order to increase our transparency, our newsletter will break things into five parts so that people can follow along with our growth and our service levels to our community.
In the Book of Proverbs, one part of the Bible used by many Christians to condemn Trans people, there is a part that says: “As a man believes so is he.” (23:7)
This goes to much of the difficulty of being a Trans person who is trying to make their way in the world. It is a challenge to live what we generally call Authentically in a world where everyone else often seems to want their version of who you are and what you are supposed to be to reign supreme over your life, your decsions, and your sense of Self.
As a result of this, sometimes there are things that Trans people believe that are dangerous and harmful to their being able to do more in their lives. Here are five of the most common things Trans people believe that make their lives more difficult, and limit their chances of success.
1. My self-worth is based on what others think of me.
Some people define themselves based upon how they guess their relatives, family, and friends, and even strangers see them. Often, Trans people are convinced that others think poorly of them, and so lack the self-confidence necessary to consistently take actions that involve risk — such as going to the store to buy a book or clothes or even groceries.
2. My past equals my future.
When trans people experience a series of setbacks, they often assume that their goals are not achievable. Over time, they become dispirited and discouraged, and avoid situations where failure is a risk. Because any significant effort entails risk, such people are then unable to make significant achievements because they never step out to take those risks.
3. My destiny is controlled by the supernatural.
Some people believe that their status in life–or even their potential as a human being–is determined by luck, fate, or divine intervention. This all-too-common (and ultimately silly) belief robs such people of initiative, making them passive as they wait for their “luck” to change. Luck never changes by itself, though. Mistakes are how we learn, and the most successful and well adjusted people on the planet are those who ignore luck, and just keep trying stuff until they get it right.
4. My emotions accurately reflect objective reality.
Many Trans believe that their emotions are caused by external events. You see this all the time when trans people say things like “so and so made me so angry when they called me Miss!”. This is dangerous, because emotions are determined by the perception of those events, the way that we, as indivdiuals read the stuff around us, combined with our own preconceptions about what those events mean. Trans folk that do this often find it difficult or impossible to “get out of their own heads” and see situations from another person’s viewpoint. This means that they react to difficult situations poorly and make bad decisions based on too little or wrong information, often making things worse than they really were in a kind of devastating self fulfilling prohpecy.
5. My goal is to be perfect or do something perfectly.
Because perfection is unattainable, the people who seek it are simply setting themselves up for disappointment. Perfectionists blame the world (and everything in it) rather than doing what’s necessary to accomplish extraordinary results. That’s why “successful perfectionist” is an oxymoron. TIH feels that if you are going to be perfect at anything, be perfect at being who you are, and recognize that in being who you are, you will have flaws and behaviors that aren’t always the ideal.
If you are having a hard time dealing with any of these beliefs, contact us at This Is HOW and we will help you to overcome these often disabling thoughts and mindset, and enable you to reach forward into your future on your terms, not someone else’s.
On June 2nd, 2012, TIH will be hosting a Trans-Formal event in Phoenix, AZ for the trans community to have a chance to get dressed up and go out and dance and have fun.
There is a limit of 150 tickets total to this event. At the door, tickets will be $35.00 per person, but, if you order now, you can get a discounted price of 25.00 per person, or 45 dollars per couple.
The theme for the evening is Wishing On A Star, the event acts as a fundraiser for This Is HOW, enabling us to improve our ability to provide services to the trans community locally and beyond.
Attendees will be greeted by a DJ and great dance music, the opportunity for a picture to be taken of them if they wish with various options there, dinner (a choice of BBQ brisket, stuffed portobello mushrooms, or chicken breast, with side salad and vegetables or beans), and raffle prizes, including a door prize.
The event runs from 7:00pm top midnight, allowing for plenty of time after to go out to the nightlife for those wanting to, and means mixing and mingling with people in a fun place.
It is being held at Circle H Barbeque, who have agreed to shut down their restaurant for us that night, giving us the place entirely.
Sponsorships are available for a reasonable rate of 250 per sponsor, and tables can be purchased for $150.00, giving four seats.
Contact any member of This Is HOW for more information or to purchase tickets, or email us at email@example.com for more information.
HELP! TIH has an IMMEDIATE need for a replacement cooling system, ours has died. We’ll have final figures on the cost of a new evap system tomorrow, and we have two very gracious heating/AC volunteers who will install, but we’re looking at somewhere between $500-800 to keep our residents from getting heat stroke! Please help us out by donating what you can today. Use the paypal button to the right, or flag down a staff member!