Anne Lamott Tweets about Caitlyn Jenner & gets Schooled by her Son: What we can Learn from them Both.

Via Christine "Cissy" White
on Jun 14, 2015
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Anne Lamott f’d up.

Big.

Yup—the sensitive, hilarious, brilliant, neurotic, astonishingly genuine and gentle, talented writer Anne Lamott.

It’s so disappointing.

The Anne Lamott who famously writes fiction and non-fiction about recovery, pregnancy, menopause, faith-seeking, single motherhood, grace, a complicated childhood and sobriety while being a liberal Christian.

The Anne Lamott who has won a Guggenheim fellowship, been a bestselling author and who sat across from Oprah on Super Soul Sunday.

The Anne Lamott who showed the world it is possible to be brilliant, bizarre and big.

It was a seismic shock when she of all people wrote this cruel, snarky, hateful, ignorant and insensitive comment earlier this week. She tweeted:

“Is it okay to be a tiny tiny bit tired of Caitlyn? Yes, was very brave but so far he’s gone from man to mannequin, instead of man to woman.”

She replied to a Tweet on her pronoun use of “he:”

“Will call him a she when the pee-pee is gone.”

It’s particularly shocking because she’s usually the voice of the underdog—genuine and gentle.

She can be fierce and scathing, but typically only about herself.

In the world of messed-up creative neurotics in recovery, Lamott is beloved.

She led the brave parade for memoir writers by being fierce, funny and talented.

Before Brene Brown taught us how to be vulnerable, Lamott was transparently vulnerable.

Lamott made “going there” possible by writing publicly about topics people still had trouble admitting in journals. She also proved that people needed and loved honest words. I remember hearing her quirky voice read essays on NPR while driving my beat-up yellow car when we still had tape decks and used the radio.

She’s made it easier to be an independent, single mother, seeker, complex being with a sketchy past who wanted to write.

And she wrote the book on writing, literally—Bird by Bird.

It’s hard to even imagine a world welcoming to Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray Love), Cheryl Strayed (Wild) or even the comic Amy Schumer (Inside Amy Schumer) without Lamott forging the way.

So how could she of all people say something so hurtful?

Lamott is not the only person having her preconceptions and stereotypes about gender identity corrected in real time.

She’s not the only one bumbling with pronoun use talking about Caitlyn Jenner, she’s not even the only one confused by how a woman can be called a woman if she has a “pee pee.”

There are plenty of issues and questions about the Caitlyn Jenner media circus and the obsessions about her clothes, make-up and figure, or the fact that she’s the oldest woman to ever appear solo on the Vanity Fair cover.

There are legitimate questions to ask and issues to explore. However, whether Caitlyn is actually a woman and if she gets to call herself one or not is not one of them.

I don’t agree with what Lamott Tweeted.

But I adore, admire and will keep buying books and following her on Twitter.

I might even like her more now.

Why?

Because of how she is responding to those who have challenged and educated her.

Especially her son, Sam. The same Sam who was the subject of her book Operating Instructions: A Journal of My Son’s First Year. He’s an adult now and wrote to her, via his Twitter:

I learned about trans life from a close FTM friend who was willing and patient to answer my ignorant and incredibly personal questions.

Trans life is so outside pop culture, and my moms [sic] small town life. This is how the truth gets out, this is how we evolve. We talk about it.

I know. It’s shocking. When the adrenaline wears off, remember that before you knew about trans issues, you didn’t know.

For everyone who is intolerant of my moms “intolerance”, @ANNELAMOTT is not perfect, but the best way to teach is with love and patience

Everybody gets to make mistakes. It’s a shame this lesson is so public, but the best lessons are often painful and embarrassing. @ANNELAMOTT

I love every single character he chose to use and the way he conversed with, challenged and guided his mother.

He showed wisdom, clarity and patience, and I’m guessing she must have shown him a bit of those traits.

He didn’t excuse what she said or hate on the people who were rightfully upset by her.

With grace, he helped grow his mother up—a process that doesn’t stop for any of us, no matter our age.

She’s got a few newer tweets out now:

I am so sorry to have caused pain to people in the transgender community, esp to parents of transgender children. You are loved and chosen.

It’s so amazing, awful & liberating to accept your grave & flagrant impection [sic]. It can make me physically ill—but doing so made me a writer.

I wd [sic] be an even better support person for transgender teenagers now that I’ve learned the word is not “transgendered.” call me Mrs Mistakes.

She apologized. She listened. She responded.

It’s a spectacular exchange.

Don’t we want people to react this way when educated or informed?

I do.

I say this as someone who is sometimes a jerk.

I say this as someone who, as an advocate for trauma and sexual assault survivors, is not always graceful, patient or kind.

When people say things I disagree with that I’m personally or politically passion about, I sort of hate them.

A lot.

When I’m hurt or claiming the factual or moral high ground, I can be cutting. On purpose. Both hostile and holier than thou.

That’s hard to write. I’m cringing but will share my own recent example.

When people show ignorance or prejudice I can get enraged or exhausted that what seems like it should totally be common sense isn’t.

Of course, if “it”—whatever the “it” is—truly were common sense, there wouldn’t be racism or sexism or homophobia.

But we live in a world with all of these things.

So, while many of us are getting educated about trans and gender issues—important, overdue and necessary—in this Lamott/Lamott exchange, I’m getting schooled in how to communicate better.

I see so much of myself in Anne Lamott’s original comments and too little of myself in her son Sam.

He showed kindness and courage in response to ignorance.

Can I learn that? Can I keep my heart as open as my mouth? Can I even hope for that generosity of spirit from others when I’m a dumb ass? Especially when I’ve been skewering?

The truth is we are all big and small depending on: the day, hour, topic or person we’re conversing with.

We are all big and small depending on if we’re broke, tired, have had too little or too much coffee, carbs or booze.

We are big or small depending on what we have or haven’t lived with and who we have and haven’t been educated by.

Can we all be kinder when hurt, angry or conversing with someone in a moment of not knowing?

Might this make us more willing to take responsibility when we’ve failed, blundered and hurt others?

My Facebook writer-friend Jillian Ayer said:

“Love and courage wrapped up together. What beauty. The truth is that our children often raise us up. At times I am far less graceful then both of them (Anne made an enormously insensitive blunder but her vulnerability in owning her mistake models courage). There is a lot to learn in that exchange.”

She’s right. I feel badly for how self-righteous I get. She’s admitted it happens to her as well. It happens to many of us.

As do mistakes.

How we respond matters.

Seeing Anne and Sam Lamott in public conversation is more than a relief. It’s hopeful.

They show how we grow in relationships.

Plus, it makes the mother in me happy to know there will someday be more than eye roll responses to even my stupidity, which is hard to fathom with a 12-year-old.

Anne Lamott has helped people feel less alone for decades.

She’s utterly human about being human.

She will likely write a piece some day about this experience but right now she is the subject of a story and not just the author.

As such, she shows us:

We’re all capable of being shitty and superb.

Feisty and ferocious.

Luminous and limited.

We all have shadow and light. We all ride both sides of that human see saw.

She apologized. She’s updating, revising and expanding her awareness in real time.

She’s showing us what it is to be human.

She made a mistake. It’s true. And she’s also still a killer writer, a kick-ass mom and an adult with a difficult childhood who is gifted, complex and imperfect.

I’ll keep listening to her voice.

And though I can’t believe her kid is out of diapers I’ll listen to his too. I’ll treasure his tweet-able insights and communication style.

I’ll continue to treasure Anne Lamott’s wisdom about writing and life too.

She’s still imperfectly perfect and she’s still my idol.

I can and do disagree with her original tweets and can say, as her one of her book titles does:

Help, Thanks and Wow.

 

Relephant Read

Everyone is Missing the Point about Caitlyn Jenner.

Author: Christine “Cissy” White

Editor: Emily Bartran

Photo: Twitter

63,207 views

About Christine "Cissy" White

Christine “Cissy” Whiteknows it's possible to live, love and parent well after being raised in hell. Possible but not easy. Her work has been widely published in places such as The Boston Globe, Ms. Magazine online, Spirituality & Health, The Mighty & To Write Love on Her Arms. She speaks about developmental trauma, expressive writing and the lifelong impact of adverse childhood experiences. Her motto is "It's not trauma informed if it's not informed by trauma survivors." She's founder of Heal Write Now, co-collaborator of the #FacesOfPTSD campaign and Group Manager of Parenting with ACEs on the ACEsConnectionNetwork. Find her on Heal Write Now on Facebook: Facebook page Email [email protected] to contact Christine "Cissy" White.

Comments

20 Responses to “Anne Lamott Tweets about Caitlyn Jenner & gets Schooled by her Son: What we can Learn from them Both.”

  1. Kathy Monkman says:

    How she is still responding to this terrible faux pas (to be generous) is by leaving that "mannequin" tweet out and proud. Which tells me it's what she still believes. My experience of Bruce Jenner (then) through his interview was a very multi-dimensional, vulnerable yet honest human putting themself out there in a very bold and scary way. That is hardly a "mannequin" which is a non human one dimensional inanimate object. Yet her assertion that "he" went "from man to mannequin" still stands when she's had ample time to remove it. That alone (although there is more, to me) defines her position for me. It's very clear where she lands on this issue of public cruelty toward another person doing their best to be their true self. And it's hard for me to reconcile that with every other thing she's presented to the world.
    Yet, according to her, that comment is still valid. And it's, to me, utterly cruel. Not to mention a completely uninformed superficial opinion. The opposite of how she's presented herself to the world. This is way off kilter to me and I need to see some ownership of that discrepancy to dig her out of the canyon she fell in to. My opinion of course.
    Her son's comments felt much more compassionate and real yet why did he feel the need to rescue his mother in this way…a person who chose not to rescue herself?
    It wasn't a mistake, this was and is deliberate. And that is a huge distinction and very disturbing, still, to me.
    I did appreciate the read though. I just can't go there, at least not on this limited information.

  2. Hi Kathy,

    Thanks for your comments.

    I don't know why she hasn't pulled the comments but for me, I don't assume it's because she still believes them or stands by them. They've been said and there's no unsaying them even if pulled. To me, apologizing is a way of saying this is where I am at now. To me, pulling them would be a way of saying "I didn't say that" when she did.
    I hope a more direct apology comes and perhaps an explanation as to why she is/isn't or does/doesn't pull those comments.

    I also saw a real and vulnerable and incredibly open and honest human being. Those are traits I most love about Lamott and her work too. She has so routinely and regularly given a voice for people on the margins in so many ways:
    recovering
    addicted
    single parents
    mothers
    people who have depression
    people with childhood trauma
    people who are sensitive, self-doubting and neurotic

    Maybe I do feel protective because she was an advocate and a voice for many groups I'm in that are not the most well represented or heard. Is it possible to know she said something hateful and to keep loving her without loving what she said? That's how I feel. But I don't want it to seem that what she said wasn't hateful or hurtful or that while I still adore her I don't know that.

    I do think she and her son have shown me some sides of my own self that have stretched me – hopefully for the better.
    But I'm not at all glad for or standing by the comments she originally said – deleted or not.

    Thanks again for responding.
    Cissy

  3. Kathy Monkman says:

    Thanks for the dialogue Cissy. I truly understand and appreciate your position and admire your loyalty. I haven't been as influenced by Lamott as many before this happened so my distance informs my view on this I think.
    I'm still conflicted and confused by her words and continue to be but people like you, writing more thoughtfully about this issue are encouraging me to keep an open mind which in my own way, I feel I am doing.
    All in all I've been getting quite the education on the Transgender community which I don't think I would have gotten any other way. I look forward to reading more from you in the future.

  4. Heidi says:

    Cissy,

    You are, quite simply, the best. The best at being fair, giving people the benefit of doubt, the benefit of honesty and real genuine perspective. Thank you. There are whole stories….and sides to stories I never would have considered without reading you. I don’t know Anne Lamott. But, if she knew you, she would be nothing less than absolutely honored. I can’t wait to read her reply.

    And, thank you for making me feel human when I’m shitty and feisty and limited. Thank you for every minute you spend inside that head of yours, slinging that pencil for the rest of us.

    You’re a beast.

    Xo

    Heidi

  5. Another Anne says:

    I'm making a guess here about what Anne Lamott was trying to say, but I think we should remember that she came of age in the 1970s, in the midst of the women's movement, and grew up in the 1950s and 1960s, in which entrenched male privilege was the norm. Many women of Anne's generation struggled for the right to NOT have to wear makeup, do their hair, wear dresses, etc., in order to be considered "suitably feminine," and I imagine it might seem kind of galling that a biological male transitioning into a female-gendered person appears to focus on that to the extent that they are willing to be photographed on the cover of a glossy magazine in "full makeover mode," complete with corset.

    This is anecdotal, but one thing I've noticed, having had many discussions with one individual during their MTF transition, is that there is, (at least on the part of this individual, who was a white male prior to their transition), sometimes some callousness/ignorance about some of the struggles/trauma that cisgendered women have faced during their lifespans. In this person's case, they would often say things to me such as that "women have it better than men because they're taken care of," and protected by others. This person also would ask me dozens of questions about how to put on makeup, noting that, "You're a woman, so you know how to do all that," (even though I don't, for example, use face cream, foundation, and so on). In a memoir I read recently (can't think of the title right now…) by a woman whose husband went through a MTF transition during their marriage, it struck me how much the MTF individual continued to behave as a sort of "typical" cisgendered father, e.g., relying on the wife to do all the household and childcare management that has traditionally been part of the "wife and mother" role, while still insisting that she was "just as much of a mother" as the wife. In other words, the MTF individual took on *part* of the female role, but chose not to step up as a typical mother would in terms of childcare and nurturing responsibilities. (With the disclaimer, of course, that in some families it is the father who is the main caregiver, and not the mother)…

    As much as I am glad that transgendered individuals are sharing their experience in the media, and as much as I hope this will contribute to a lessening of the discrimination against transgendered people, I do sometimes recognize this resentment about MTF individuals among cisgendered women. I'm wondering if this was what Anne Lamott, in a very hamhanded kind of way, was attempting to express in her original tweet.

  6. dreamsinalaska says:

    Cissy, this is a beautifully written piece, and I agree with every word of it. Anne Lamott is my hero and will always be. It is her genuine nature that creates the connection with her readers, and whereas I agree she may not have handle the tweets in the way I would have, we ALL have said things that we wish we'd said differently, but life goes on. ~Cindy

  7. Ann says:

    Ann-with-no-e here! I want to say that Another Anne's response (above) is SPOT ON. I agreed with every word.

  8. c says:

    Kathy,
    She's been such a life saver for so many of us who have been marginalized and has shared so much and so deeply. It's impossible not to know the millions of other lines she has shared that give hope and wisdom and speak to and for groups few listen to or pay attention to. I too am getting quite the education. And the other topic people are talking about that Kimbery Lo write about here http://www.elephantjournal.com/2015/06/the-real-o… has also been utterly absorbing and interesting and has me constantly thinking and re-examining my own assumptions, judgments and thoughts. Thank you for your comments and for helping me understand other perspectives as well! Cissy

  9. c says:

    I adore you Heidi!!!

    Do you think if I put this line on a resume it would get me a job that pays?
    "And, thank you for making me feel human when I'm shitty and feisty and limited."

    And thank you for thanking me for this:

    "Thank you for every minute you spend inside that head of yours, slinging that pencil for the rest of us."

    It made me teary and that's rare. I am so glad to have a warrior beast tribe of women friends with wit who write, love, fail and don't stop picking ourselves and each other up!

    Thank you!
    Cissy

  10. c says:

    Another Anne:
    Interesting points.

    I love comments for just this reason – stuff I'd not considered. How does sexism come in and play a part as well and how tangled up and overlapping some issues are and it's hard to sort them through or even clearly identify and articulate the range of thoughts/questions and issues that arise…. as is the case with Rachel Dolezal as well. I'm not saying it's the same only that it's the same in bringing up strands of important and bigger and wider context conversations as well as specific stuff right at hand.
    I have my own gut reactions and then hear or read something and am like… huh… didn't ever think of that or know about that or consider that….
    Thanks for pointing out some brand new points to consider. I really appreciate it.
    Cissy

  11. c says:

    Ann,
    It adds much to this conversation that I've not heard said or even considered before!
    Cissy

  12. c says:

    Cindy,
    I think Kathy (above) was on to something in that those of us who have loved and read Anne Lamott for years have dozens to hundreds of experiences of her genuineness that we have and do know her heart. I can see how without that I might feel different but it makes me wonder, what if I assumed better of most people (and I don't)? I'm not saying – BAM – I can do that now but the seed of that question is in me in a different way because I want people to do that for Anne Lamott and look at her whole life and all of her work and how she has reacted. Thanks for commenting Cindy and we ALL have and will again say things/do things and keep being imperfect. The older I get the more I get that just goes with being human and we grow into accepting it rather than outgrowing it…
    Cissy

  13. Fiona says:

    Cissy,

    Thank you for your thoughtful and well considered response to Anne and Sam Lamott’s recent public conversation on transgender issues. You highlight how Anne, a generally well respected, compassionate, advocate may have fallen prey to what so many of us do – plain ignorance. Like you, I have cherished Anne’s writing for many years finding great solace and deep wisdom in it. I was shocked to read what she wrote about Caitlyn Jenner. Granted, my perspective is that of a trans-woman and, as such, I feel more connected to the subject than perhaps some of your other readers may be.

    There are some definite challenges to be overcome as transgender people become more and more visible. We’ve been around as far back into history as art and literature go and almost certainly before that. This is not a new trend but rather an emergence in the common era made possible by significant shifts in societal views. Transgender people that have hidden in shame and fear are beginning to come out in to the sun and peek around owlishly with sometimes bleary eyes as they get used to a new perspective – one of being open, honest and respected for who and what they say they are.

    Declaration is of paramount importance here. We, you and I, get to say who we are. There is a fundamental assumption that, whatever we might say, that we will be acknowledged as being what we say we are. Transgender people are still struggling to achieve the level of normalcy that the rest of society takes for granted (privilege). Not so long ago survivors of abuse too were closeted, vilified, and treated as somehow undesirable to the rest of society. Was this the “truth?” Obviously not! It takes time, patience, and persistence to change the views of a culture even a little bit. Today’s icons stand on the backs of oft unsung pioneers that made it possible to have the discourse we enjoy today.

    The conversation about male socialization forever indoctrinating those doused in it into the male category is an old one most recently dating back to the feminist movement of the later 70s. The talking points are centered around ideas widely credited to Janice Raymond’s 1979 book “The Transsexual Empire: The Making of the She-Male.” While a minority within the feminist movement, today’s radical feminists stand on the idea that born with a penis or socialized male = male forever and for certain. For my part, I know first hand what the loss of white male privilege feels like.

    Almost overnight people who had previously accepted my word as fact routinely began to question me and my expertise. When I died my hair blonde to hide the grey I had the sensation of being nice to look at but none too smart. It was one of my children that asked my wife, “…Mom, if Fiona’s a girl why doesn’t she cook and clean?” My first reaction was from the place of privilege, “what kind of sexist / genderist s*** is that!!?” My wife gently pointed out that the expectations of women by men in society, while essentially fabricated, remain essentially intact. This was the beginning of the unraveling of my male socialization.

    Figuring out where to stand in life is a challenge for anyone. Trying to sort that out from the edges of normalcy is even more challenging. Transgender people are real. Our existence is validated by real peer-reviewed science and acknowledge by all of the major medical associations. Treatment protocols have been established, and are constantly being revised, for the treatment of gender dysphoria. Yet even the simple act of using the pronoun consistent with who we say we are elicits fear and anger. Why?

    We humans love to place things in their boxes with neat little labels all sorted and stacked. The reality of this existence, and perhaps it’s beauty, is that very few, arguably none, of these things can be neatly sorted save by narrowing one’s perspective so as to see nothing outside of what you are considering. It is natural and normal for people to react from a place of fear and confusion when confronted with something outside their world view. That said, it’s rare for someone to step back from a misstep even a little in the public eye. While I am not entirely satisfied that Anne has made good, I am satisfied that she is looking with new eyes at a larger world.

    Warmly,

    Fiona Corwin

  14. Dear Fiona:
    You write so well, so clearly and bring up so many emotional, personal and important political and historical perspectives… to be honest… I feel a bit schooled myself. And grateful that you shared so much. I have so much of my own learning to do.

    Do you blog or write or share your views with others? I hope so. You have a lot to say and so well.

    The fact that you wrote this: "Transgender people are real" actually makes me tear up. I'm so sorry that even needs to be said and all that might mean to have it not be seen, accepted, validated or honored, celebrated and appreciated too.

    I'm going to go to the Lamott Twitter page and link to this comment because I hope others who are mulling, ruminating, processing, opening hearts and brains hear what you have to say.

    I hope Lamott does "make good" at some point in a way you can feel. I honestly believe that's happening not because I know her at all other than her writing, but through her writing, and even what she's Tweeting that's the impression I get from my own limited view and maybe my own adoration and affection for her as well. I guess I want her mouth to open more because I'm dying to know how she is thinking and feeling and processing. But that's my own human need which you write about so beautifully here.

    "We humans love to place things in their boxes with neat little labels all sorted and stacked. The reality of this existence, and perhaps it's beauty, is that very few, arguably none, of these things can be neatly sorted save by narrowing one's perspective so as to see nothing outside of what you are considering."

    You wrote, "This was the beginning of the unraveling of my male socialization." What an experience this must be! And also, "For my part, I know first hand what the loss of white male privilege feels like." There are so many that still doubt/deny there is white male privelege.

    You also say: "Not so long ago survivors of abuse too were closeted, vilified, and treated as somehow undesirable to the rest of society." Yup. It still took me to my 40's to sign my name to my writing and I still get emails and people who can't or don't want to "like" a page that says Heal Write Now: How to Live on Earth When You Were Raised in Hell because they don't want to be judged or upset or hurt family or be viewed with an identity that will be shamed and on and on. But there is the existence of the internet and whole new ways of people once feeling utterly alone to be able to speak with one another.

    I think too, for many who have been silenced by pain and trauma, that's part of the loyalty to Lamott. She was an early voice of just saying how life actually is, often, and including all the painful parts. That was so rare and sometimes literally life-saving that I think that impacts at least how I feel. I do see her as an ally do people who are marginalized but it's not for me to say how much hurt her comment caused others and I realize that as well. But she's saved my ass and I can't not have that knowing and experience too. And I don't know how deep this has hurt people, though I see/hear and respect that it has. I hear all of her other words too. However, if my experiences in life were different I'm sure I'd feel different.

    So let me say again, thank you for sharing your thoughts and feelings and insights because it honestly is essential.

    I don't know you as a person either but through writing I know you and say to you what I say to my dearest ones on their birthday which is I AM SO GLAD YOU ARE HERE ON THIS PLANET AS EXACTLY AND ENTIRELY WHO YOU ARE.

    Cissy

  15. Fiona says:

    Cissy,

    Thank you for your amazing reply! I cried. You seem to me to be very intentional about the way you write; not in the this word or that word sort of way but rather in the larger, more overreaching sense. It's as though you hold the space for something to new arise in accordance with your intention. I would guess that you have an overall feeling or sense of what you wish to communicate and that you more or less surrender to the flow and write. In any case, very cool and I'm glad I found you.

    I do blog, albeit sporadically. You can find me at: fionacorwin.tumblr.com. I also maintain a YouTube channel where I share my experience. All of the videos on the blog link to that channel so you should be able to find it readily.

    You wrote that you were into your 40s before you became willing to sign your writing. Fiona Corwin is a nom de plume that I use to create a barrier, however thin, between my real life and my online life. I use it as much out of consideration for others as out of a desire to protect myself. The veil between the two grows thinner day by day. Unfortunately, there is a stigma attached to supporting trans people that is nearly as brutal as the stigma attached to actually being trans. It's not right but people actually challenge supporters with horrible words like, "I can't believe you hang out with / tolerate / put up with / support that freak!"

    Transition is, while deeply personal, something that everyone who has chosen to stand by me has had to do as well. My kids have answered the question of whether they'll support me and hang out with me positively but they will be asked to affirm that decision many times over the course of their lives. What do they say to their fiance'? What do teach their kids to call me? Do they invite me to events? I could go on but you get the point. Everyone in my life will be consistently challenged by my transition.

    end pt 1…

  16. Fiona says:

    begin pt 2

    Anne was challenged. She was challenged to take a public position on her use of pronouns. I can't imagine the pressure she must experience as a public figure to get it right all of the time. I can tell you that as a trans-woman, activist, feminist, advocate, and survivor that I am constantly challenged from within and without. I attempt, at some level, to expand my knowledge, my thinking, and my compassion but I too get mired in the concern of getting it right. Sometimes I just let it fly and make my apologies later, but most times I chose to respond rather than react. There is no definitive party line – trans talking points shift, to a greater or lesser degree, daily.

    I do not hold with those that demand that potential supporters get it right from go. Patience, compassion, and experiential learning must be present in almost every case if we are to avoid alienating these folks. I see Anne as one of these folks. She, like many others, doesn't know us. That is why I choose to remain visible – to fight for those that do not enjoy the privilege conferred upon them by "passing" as I think folks like Caitlyn Jenner, Janet Mock, Laverne Cox, Chaz Bono and many others too numerous to list. I could, like many of those I mentioned, slip silently into a normal life as a CIS woman enjoying the rights and privileges all CIS women enjoy. This would do nothing for those who may never achieve my level of acceptance in society. It is for them that I am visible.

    The more folks that come to know trans people, the more that love us, the more that respect us, trust us and support us, the quicker we arrive at some semblance of normalcy. We are everywhere hiding in plain sight. Some of us have transitioned while some of us never will. I believe that each and every person on this planet has something of unique value to contribute that may, if allowed and encouraged to be expressed, advance us as a species.

    I'm reminded of something Marianne Williamson wrote, "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. It is our light, not our darkness that most frightens us. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. There is nothing enlightened about shrinking so that other people will not feel insecure around you. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone and as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give others permission to do the same. As we are liberated from our own fear, our presence automatically liberates others."

    Anne's gifts are obvious and we are better for having her among us. Your gifts too have touched my heart and nudged me forward. It's time to get back to writing that novel I left incomplete years ago in fear that it would not be understood or well received; that it was too close to home and that many might see right through it to the real me. While some things are necessarily private, there is nothing of me left that is a secret. I am who I am, exactly as I am, and I can only work to be the best me that I can be in the service of others. I've gone on WAY too long for a simple reply. If you'd like, reply privately and we can continue the conversation!

    Thank you again for the light you shine,

    Fiona Corwin

  17. E says:

    She did not F up. Everyone is entitled to their thoughts. Bravo to her for speaking what many are feeling. Yes, sick of Caitlin. And yes, fake hair, fake nails, fake teeth, fake tan, mannequin isn’t a bad comparison . I know folks who truly struggle with mental disorders and being on television would be the worst thing they can imagine. Even when someone writes them a big check.

  18. Merwyn says:

    I used to know Annie many years ago. I always found the Anne Lamott of the printed word a very different person that the Anne Lamott of real life. I think her writerly self is the one she really wants to be, but the one I knew and experienced was a far cry from the one in print. Also, she's never NOT given credit to her editors for making her a better writer than she is. Just like in t.v., there's a LOT to editing.

    It seems like "Real Life" Annie escaped on twitter with those nasty, uneducated, less-than-compassionate comments. I hope that her apology was legit, but still found it offensive that she feels so bad for the parents of transgender people. I don't think Jazz's mom & dad feel they need any sympathy for their strong, confident DAUGHTER.

  19. Merwyn says:

    Are you saying that being transgender is a mental disorder? Is being gay a mental disorder? Perhaps a bigger disorder would be lack of compassion? Judging others for who they feel themselves to be? Perhaps I shouldn't be so publicly harsh on you or anyone, as I used to think transgender was a sexually deviant way to spend one's life. But after a long evening of you-tubing on transgender children initially led to the subject by Oprah, I learned that these folks know that they're in the wrong bodies from the time they can articulate it. I guess that's one of the reasons why Annie's comments are so offensive to me – because she loves children so much. She might feel very differently if her dear son or grandson walked the path of the transgender folks.

  20. Merwyn says:

    Since I wrote what I did a couple of nights ago, I have felt all kinds of bewilderment that I felt the need to go online and diss Annie over her Caitlyn Jenner comments. Yes, I have experienced the less-than-holy Annie, but I have also experienced the very kind, loving Annie. Not unlike any of us, she is complicated, and I am ashamed of myself for in anyway contributing to bringing her down. I hope that my previous comments can be deleted, as I don't think what I said makes a hill of beans difference. She has the balls to live her life very publicly, which I do not, so I hope that my comments can either be deleted or taken with a grain of salt.