Texas Discriminates Against Our Transgender Community

They did it. The Texas Senate just passed the very poorly thought through Senate Bill 3. Hiding behind a bogus argument for “privacy,” Senator Kolkhorst authored and argued for a bill that discriminates against our transgender community. Now it’s up to the House to maintain our dignity and prevent Texas from becoming the next North Carolina.

This is personal for me. SB3 discriminates directly against my son. He grew up in Texas. He works and pays taxes. He is sweet […]

July 26th, 2017|Transgender Issues|

Texas Transgender Non-Discrimination Conference

Our son Jeremy is a shy man. He would like nothing better than to live his life as the man he has become and never make an issue about being transgender. He even contemplated moving to a new town to get a fresh start after he transitioned, so that nobody would see him as the man who used to be “Emily.” He wanted to do that, but he didn’t; his friendships in Boulder ran too deep. So he stayed. […]

July 19th, 2016|Transgender Issues|

Our Transgender Children

About a month ago, I had a Facebook post go viral. I’d written about my 26-year-old transgender son, Jeremy, and how I miss him. He won’t move back to Texas because here, the laws do not protect him. Not only can he be fired from a job for being transgender, he can be thrown out of his own home. The Department of Justice is trying to fix that, to interpret transgender people as a protected class, but the Texas […]

May 30th, 2016|Transgender Issues|

Atticus Finch – Hero or Racist?

My father was Atticus Finch and I was Scout. I never doubted that from the first time I read “To Kill a Mockingbird” when I was ten years old. Dad was a foot soldier in the War on Poverty, having moved our family from the white suburbs of Boston to an all-black town in the Mississippi Delta so that he could become the medical director of a new clinic, built to serve the poor black population for miles around. […]

November 4th, 2015|Racial Relations|

Are the Police Our Friends?

A little blonde boy steps confidently out of his kindergarten classroom on the first day at his new school, but he makes a wrong turn and heads directly away from the spot where he’s supposed to meet his older sister for the short walk home. When he never appears, she goes to the office to call home and their mother contacts the police. The little boy, confused by his surroundings, approaches an officer serving as the school crossing guard […]

October 20th, 2015|Uncategorized|

Is Black Beautiful?

 

The phrase “Black is Beautiful” that swept the nation in the 1960s was heard frequently in my mother’s classroom.  Her students were surprised one day to walk in and see written boldly on the chalkboard, “Black is Not Beautiful.”

When the students, all of whom were black, began to object, she pointed out that black has come to symbolize unpleasant aspects of life.  She didn’t have the brain science to prove it, but she suggested that this may go back […]

September 18th, 2015|The Shakespeare Lady|

Small Worlds and Full Circles

Who is that speaking intently with President Johnson back in the early 1960s?  It’s my uncle, Herbert Kramer.  I’d never seen the picture when I was growing up, but I knew that Uncle Herbie had a way with words and had worked closely as a publicist and speech writer for the Kennedy and Shriver families.  I knew he had penned the motto for the Special Olympics:  “Let me win, but if I cannot win, let me be brave in the […]

April 1st, 2015|Family Stories|

Deciding to Write in Dialect

When my mother started teaching, the word Ebonics hadn’t yet been coined; nobody had grappled in the academic journals as to whether to accept it in the classroom or make students speak a more mainstream, i.e., white, speech.  All she knew was that she couldn’t understand her students easily and assumed that if she couldn’t, than neither could others and this barrier in speech would create a barrier in life.  So, without saying that black speech was bad, she […]

February 3rd, 2015|Creative Process|

What makes a story resonate?

My mother was known for being a storyteller. As she grew older, she repeated the stories more and more, but I still listened. I knew exactly what she was going to say; she’d use the same phrases over and over, with the same inflections. But every time, I enjoyed hearing her. And she enjoyed telling the stories.

So why didn’t it work to just take her stories, write them down, and include them in my book? […]

January 26th, 2015|Creative Process|

Fears About Writing About Race

I’m nervous even as I write this first line.  How does a white person write about her interactions with black people in a way that doesn’t offend anyone?  There are so many ways that I can be offensive without meaning to be.  And it’s not just being politically incorrect that scares me.  What’s defined as correct changes over time.  I’m talking about something more personal.  In many cases, I’m writing about people I know, love, and respect, and I […]

January 19th, 2015|Creative Process|