Trans Revolution Against Lies & Deception at GIEC December 5. 2010***New President Takes Helm Declares No More Lies
The Last Captain of The Titanic
My name is Teresa Reeves. Just one month ago today, November 12, 2010 , I received a really big surprise message. I was told by our outgoing president at Gender Identity Empowerment Coalition (GIEC) that I had been named Acting President! This was occurring 15 days after she had announced her resignation to to major health problems October 28. I was the Vice President and "Co-Executive". There is an expected line of succession in a job like this that says the Vice President fills in if the President is ill or incapacitated. But 15 days late?
I had been suddenly named Vice President back on October 9, but before I could even ratify the honor in a GIEC Board telephone conference, the New President was hospitalized suffering from seizures, migraine headaches and hearing voices. So our second Board phone conference was canceled for the first time and would eventually be canceled five more times because of her illness and PTSD flashbacks suffered by our GIEC co-founder and Executive Director who was an Afghanistan war veteran,. In the 34 days of my holding that office I was never told what my role as VP was or just what my "co-executive" authority was..
When I took office as Acting President, I found it to be underwhelming. There had been an attrition of Board members with each canceled phone conference, so as I achieved this great honor there seemed to be no one left to congratulate me. They had all abandoned ship. The once mighty GIEC had no Board members left, so there could never be a second board meeting. Board meetings are conducted to do company business and to enable a cohesive bond to be formed between Board members and Board executives that allows for the division and exercise of authority. I was now the President of any empty ship, all that was left of a big dream that was sinking fast. And I was handcuffed and chained to the ship's wheel. We had struck an iceberg and I was now The Last Captain of the Titanic.
Beyond the Broken Dream!
All things were bright and beautiful on the morning of May 1, 2010. I had gotten my life back, three years after I had been able to be home after being homeless and living in a shelter for almost 7 years in Seattle from March 14, 2000 until February 10, 2007, a total of 2,524 nights. That story is to be found in my Real Change News essay, "Beyond Invisibility & Silence" (see my wall) that was published on June 23, 2010. I had survived twenty years of despair and depression and the death of my mother from Alzheimer's disease.
i had found frustration and disappointment in coming back to life.. I was searching for the long lost community of trans, feminists, lesbian and LGBT people where I once had been accepted and respected. But the LGBT Center in Seattle was closed. There was no Lesbian center, no Women's center. And although I spent 47 weeks with them I found myself unwanted at the leading transgender organization in Seattle where my offers to facilitate were ignored despite my abilities, skills, training and experience as a counselor. I found myself humiliated at another trans organization in town. (see "The Last T in Seattle") I took a chance with the newer and better lesbian community that I was told was more accepting of trans women, only to find myself lovingly accepted at first, but later to be shunned and excluded for not being a "real" woman or lesbian.(see "Tear Down This Wall!")
But I had made what must be the greatest most miraculous transwoman comeback of all time!
I had found acceptance and respect as a woman among women as a writer, advocate, facilitator and speaker with WHEEL (Women's Housing Equality & Enhancement League) and its partners in the homeless community of Seattle. I had the honor of being able to tell my story to Gloria Steinem in front of an audience of 800 at Town Hall.on July 10, 2009.(see "Sic Transit Gloria".. I was honored to be asked to emcee the 15th Annual Homeless Women's Forum luncheon on November 18, 2009 and I led the singing of the 150+ women in the audience! And I was invited to join the Editorial Committee and I have been a contributing writer to Real Change News.
I found my way on the internet in February 2010 and in just three months I had built a news and information network of friends on Facebook to 1,700 people. I had finally found the long lost Sisterhood and Brotherhood of trans people! And because I found so many new friends in the Seattle area, momentum was building toward that wonderful day when I would be reconciled with the Seattle trans community and I would be invited to come back as a guest speaker!
The message I received that morning of May 1 from was from Dr. Arianna Davis of the Gender Identity Coalition (GIDC- on Facebook as Gen Id). She said that she had read my story and that it had in so many ways paralleled her own story and she liked the way I was doing things in my management of news and information in behalf of trans people and homeless people. She was inviting me to join GIDC as a California state representative and member of their Board of Directors.I had to point out to Arianna that I lived in Washington State -- to which she replied, "You can be their representative as well!".
So here I was this lost child in The Promised Land - a trans woman lost in the Emerald City of Seattle looking for my lost community locally and here I was being offered this whole new world like the Emerald City of Oz. Oz (or GIDC) rather was the huge community of over 2,000 friends growing at the rate of a 1,000 a month, a huge organization with dozens of staff members and a huge Board of Directors, andI was going to be one of two dozen important people-- expert professionals in all fields and Gen Id's photo albums were so impressive with dozens of pictures of that incredible Board and my picture was included! I had been welcome as a leader in a national and international trans advocacy organization andIi was becoming nationally famous. but almost all of my new friends were a thousand miles away. but not even this good news had any effect on the local trans community, a community that continued to ignore me no matter what I was doing. I was nationally famous and locally unknown.
It seemed like GIDC was involved in everything everywhere. They announced a series of coordinated marches across the country called Trans Uprising 2010, scheduled May 29 & 30.
There was a upcoming Trans March on Washington D.C in an effort to secure passage of a trans-inclusive ENDA (Employment Non Discrimination Act) law on May 24.
But then I was asked to do something impossible. Start a Washington chapter of GIDC which would change its name to Gender Identity Empowerment Coalition (GIEC) in a few days. I was anguished about even trying to start something in a town where i was invisible. I sent a plaintive plea to GIEC: "You are asking me to open a coffee shop across the street from a Starbucks, and it is the only coffee shiop in town!" It took five days for a reply to come back: "We're behind you 120%!". But they were all in California. But I did get strong backing from Misha Balch from Gender Alliance of the South Sound in Tacoma.
So on June 1, 2010 I proudly announced through a pictorial essay, "Trans Empowerment in Washington State: Welcome to Gender Identity Empowerment Coalition." (see Note). It was well received nationally, even internationally, but virtually ignored by everyone locally again. I found out that I was the only one to even try to establish a state chapter and certainly the only one ever to announce one.
There had been a GIEC plan to attend and participate in protests of a violent transmisogynistic movie which exploits the blood, suffering and even murder of transwomen for laughs called "Ticked off Tra**ies With Knives". This hateful movie was first confronted by Educational Protests initiated by Ashley Love in New York at the Tribeca festival, and there were plans to pursue the movie in protests when it opened in Ft. Worth in June and New Orleans.later on.
But a disturbing pattern of behavior was beginning to emerge at GIEC. They were announcing a wide range of upcoming events that they were initiating or participating in, but the events either don't happen, or they happen without GIEC involvement. But they were such a big organization and they were doing so many things at once and perhaps they were spreading themselves too thin. At least that was the way it appeared behind the Gen Id logo, the Emerald curtain. You could hide a whole lot of people and stuff behind that curtain-- or you could hide absolutely nothing at all.
I received a urgent message from Kelli Anne Busey of Dallas Transgender Advocates. She had mounted a protest of "Ticked Off"'s second premiere on June 5 in Fort Worth. asking me if I and GIEC could demonstrate and educate against this film's upcoming premiere in Seattle in what she thought would be less than 30 hours. Fortunately Kelli's information was wrong and I had 7 days. But support and backing offered to me from GIEC never materialized and i was fortunate to receive help from Misha Balch, on behalf of GASS, Elayne Wiley-Weichers acting on her own and Comrade Alita , my friend in GIEC who provided a sign during her graveyard shift lunch hour but could not stay for the protest. So the protest did come off on Saturday June 12, but not at all on Sunday the 13th. (see note "Trans Empowerment in Seattle").
The leading local trans organization did nothing to help our protest. Two of their transwomen bloggers made fun of our protest. one referring to it as "Look Out Mr. Luna (the director), the Tra**ies Are Out to Get You" and the other calling the movie "Ticked Off Tra**ies Gonna Get You Sucker". and when I returned home that Sunday night, I found I had been deleted by tjhe first woman's transman husband for criticizing her.
Although the effort in Seattle was not met with the greatest of success, the efforts did convince film festivals in other cities not to select to show the film, but instead to select films with more positive portrayals of trans people.
But I had been able to accomplish the first and only completed GIEC sponsored event ever!
A few days later, I had two new assistants join me on the Washington team. But there was something going on at the home office that wasn't making any sense. It was the official policy that GIEC condemned the use of the word "Tra**y" as a perjorative word felt by Ashley Love, dozens of trans activists nationally and perhaps 75% of all trans-identified people to be as bad as the "n*****" word.
But the very kind transman who was brought on as my assistant had been the emcee for an entertainment program of talented trans people called the "Tra**y Road Show" and he had won a scholarship for doing it. And he had not wanted to protest the movie because having been a victim of transphobic violence, he found it empowering to see the trans women victims rise up against their attackers.
But he announced that he was brought on by GIEC because he was sponsoring a national demonstration called "TransDenny Day" which protested the mistreatment of a trans woman denied use of a public restroom in Maine Denny's 3 years ago. But the court in Maine had ruled in favor of a state law that supports non-discrimination of trans people. There seemed to be no urgency or real need for this protest andI I ended up doing more promotion of it that he did.
I was fortunate that I was finally able to meet him and an attorney who was also my assistant and a GIEC Board member on July 10. But although they were dedicated to providing service and support in their own way in their communities, at no time ever did they ever act as my assistants on anything.
What Lies Beneath, What Lies Behind the Emerald Curtain
As time moved on and the pace picked things started to get more bizarre, just plain wacky.
GIEC announced it had brought on a transman as editor of the new GIEC magazine, Gender Voices and I was asked to write an article about homelessness.
There was supposedly talk of GIEC trying to established shelters for homeless trans people and sex workers, where and how much money was going to be spent was never clear.
I had received a message relayed to me from "Hillary Swank" The problem was that the message was sent to a GIEC staff member, had no reply or return address and had misspelled her name with two Ls. A private investigator responded to my query that this "Hillary" was authentic-- but I still had nothing I could do with the message.
By mid July GIEC was offering itself up as a charity although it did not have proper documents or 501c3 status as a nonprofit. They were offering grants for various kinds of surgery and treatments on Facebook and they found themselves inundated by thousands of messages asking for these grants.
but a financial crisis was looming by mid-July because our founder's mother had been in a car accident and she had an a bill of $11,000 bill to pay. With thousands of people clamoring for money and a shortfall in available funds, lots of people were not receiving grants that were promised to them and they were getting angry.
Somebody suggested a brilliant fundraising, idea everybody donate $1 a month!
My assistant tells about his Tra**y Road Show and suggests we put on a show to raise money!
Shortly thereafter a transwoman and her partner are insulted, misgendered humiliated and mistreated at a hospital in Muncie, Indiana GIEC wants to hold a press conference in West Hollywood on July 30 and in Muncie in August, and we're all going.. aren't we?
Of course no magazine is produced, there is no road show and no press conference in Muncie or West Hollywood and two more press conferences that could have been held over mistreatment of trans women in California hospitals are not held.. And GIEC can't t keep its promises.to those waiting for grants.
Then on July 30 GIEC was announced a really big event. It's a Trans Strategy Conference to be held at Soka University in Aliso Viejo, California, and there will be scholarships and grants for those who wish to attend. Like me. It will be held in late August, or September or October or November
It was to be postponed and rescheduled definitely 7 times. I finally canceled it in my first official act as President .Even though our founder vowed it would go on Thanksgiving weekend over her dead body if necessary! And no one, including me, ever received those scholarship grants.
On August 7, a friend, Sara Beth came to me with a blog post from a former housemate of our founder's alleging fraud and misrepresentation and criminal misconduct in her past.. There is nothing in the charges that can be substantiated and the accuser had enough of his own persona llegal and criminal problems and he did not want to name names.
But an emerging pattern of exaggeration, procrastination , grandiosity was beginning to become palpable. On conversational threads at GIEC There were plans announced for mutiple regional trans "empowerment centers" "trans-only shelters" and a huge high speed mega communications network-- all projects that could cost millions while GIEC funds continued dwindling
The Dark Side of the Moon
But anything and everything began to unravel on August 12, 2010 at 11:27 am. Our founder announced in a message "Making Use of Time" that she was suffering from brain bleeding that would shorten her life unless there was emergency brain surgery.
From this moment on GIEC its reputation, its credibility and integrity went into free fall continuing on for the next four months until today.
Critics found the timing of the illness, to be terribly convenient , just as some had found her mother's car accident to be convenient and suggested that her medical condition was a fraud.
Suddenly what appeared to be the crowded organization behind the Emerald curtain had suddenly become deserted.. Long time staff members Monica Seaton and Kali Sucherup had vanished without saying goodbye. Drop in visitors no longer dropped in. There seemed to be only 2 people left in the GIEC office, the founder and the secretary. But suddenly there was a new Vice President brought on and there never was any Board meeting to confirm her because there was never any real Board,. it was all just window dressing. Including me. We were all just "advisers".
There was a plan in place. The founder would step aside for her surgery and recovery and the Vice president would take over as President. As the day of the surgery approached, all those who were asking unanswerable questions and challenged the credibility and integrity of GIEC found that they wee confronted by a regime hunkered down in a bunker mentality.
Monica Roberts and Sara Beth led the demand for the truth and some of the regime defenders were trash talking hurling back insults and personally attacking Sara Beth over petty stuff like her name. I personally found the regime defenders to be far more vicious that the detractors, when I got trashed for asking the unanswerable questions even though I was a member of GIEC.
As the day approached for the surgery our founder was despondent and talked of hara-kiri to save face on Facebook. A remark that drew no response for hours. Later a former GIEC associate who had supposedly received a grant sent a message-- "You're a fraud. Take your life!"
But the new President had shutdown GIEC's official pages and all official GIEC communication had gone to the "Dark Side of the Moon". An orbiting spacecraft signal to Earth is blocked by the moon when orbiting the Dark Side, so there are lengthy periods of radio silence. And GIEC's official radio silence would stay on the Dark Side for more than two months.
Fearful of losing our founder and of the entire collapse of GIEC, I started a 17 person thread of GIEC people who were now silent after having been hyperactive in the days before. I suggest that somebody after i had already get over to her profile and cheer her up. If i was facing such scary surgery, i would need it badly.
The credibility issue over the need for emergency could have been resolved simply but was muddied over an assertion of right to privacy laws (HIPAA). If I were undergoing such surgery i might not want any visitors and certainly no photos. But releasing the name of the surgeon and the name of the hospital afterward even days later would demonstrate innocence. But if no such surgery occurred I would want to assert my privacy rights!
The 17 person thread evolved into the necessary reorganization plan including the creation of a real sitting Board with authority. But it deteriorated into infighting. The new President had no public relations skills or abilities and a had managed to avoid public contact as much as possible by making it difficult to communicate with GIEC. She had demanded that the prior Board step forward and take responsibility for this mess knowing well that she only rose to power because there was no Board to certify her or not.
When I complained that I had been the only one to carry forth the philosophy and mission of GIEC in last four months, I was told by the president that anything i had done before she arrived in July did not count in her eyes. Since i had to" friend" her on September 2, it was indeed likely that she knew nothing of what I had been doing for GIEC prior to September 2. So she ended up saying that I hadn't earned and didn't deserve appreciation or thanks from GIEC. When I was ready to quit from being insulted and disrespected a transman and close personal friend proceeded to mock me and suggest that i was some kind of crybaby and that in his eyes i didn't deserve4 thanks. "What do you want? The keys to the President's office?" , he mocked. But he was damn prophetic.
After taking the verbal beating on the 17 person thread for trying to save the founder and GIEC I was so disgusted from being disrespected i was ready to explode and ready to b;ow the whistle on all the lies and deception through September 19. Of he 17 people I had chosen for that thread, people who I thought were my friends had not given me any back up at all. But the "recovering" founder saved me and ordered apologies be made to me. I got an apology from the man who mocked me, but never one from our rogue President.
The View from the Bottom of Credibility Canyon
Peace had been made and the founder was doing the right thing and a real Board meting took place as a telephone conference on Monday September 20. The founder had wanted to make it up to me for all that had happened so she said was going to send me a plane ticket and an event ticket to attend a ACLU-hosted "Garden Party" that was being held an O J Simpson's former home in Brentwood on Sunday September 26.. I was having to purchase an evening gown. But I never did receive an invitation or a plane ticket and I messaged on Friday morning, September 24 wanting to know about the trip and it took half a day to hear from the GIEC secretary that the event had been canceled for lack of funds. But it is cruel for the founder not to tell me.
This was supposed to make up for all that I had been through and it was all a lie. But why lie to me? Again and again and again? I had stayed with the organization because I thought the i founder had respected me. But business had gone back to the way it had always been done. and GIEC was in hibernation and I had stayed too long at the unfair.and all that lies beneath and all that lies behind are the curtian are lies.
I was aggravated even more .when that evening the founder published a photo on Facebook of "Further facial surgery". She had talked of having some cosmetic surgery around the time of the bleeding crisis. Now it was beginning to look like there could be another explanation for what actually happened on the day that the "emergency" surgery was to have been performed and I was really pissed off.
On Sunday, September 26, instead of being in L A with the temperature soaring to a record 113 degrees, I posted on my wall a parody I had written of Rick Nelson's famous "Garden Party" song where I took my best shot in anger.
If you want to shmooze with the bourgoisie.
Make sure you can ante up with the dough-re-me!
I took the song down after I received a message from the secretary chastising me for ridiculing and embarrassing GIEC. Now I know I should have left it up there,
Just four days later on September 30, Monica Roberts would write in Trans Griot that GIEC is not suffering from a credibility gap, but instead from a "Credibility Chasm"!
By the first week of October I felt trapped and abandoned while GIEC was in hibernation. When I was included in a group message to leading trans writers by Ashley Love about her idea for a MAGNET project supporting trans victims of bullying that she called "Make it Better for..., I began to realize that there were people out there who respected me and my abilities as a writer and advocate and I was looking for hope for the future of my stepping away or breaking away.
i was shocked and dismayed when i received a message from the President. The beginning of it said...." Please step down as a Board member... you are ill served as a member... and thank you for your service." I was thoroughly disgusted. Then when I read more I learned that I was asked to step to be Vice President! . What a lousy way to write a good news message !It looks like they didn't have anyone else in mind but me for the job.
And as I ascend to the rank of Vice President I find myself descending deeper into Credibility Canyon and I feared I would never see daylight again.
The Last Captain of The Titanic
I was looking forward to our second telephone conference Board meeting. where I would have a chance to form a cohesive bond the new Board andI I would learn what my duties and responsibilities and what real "Co-Executive" authority I had. But just a few days after I was named, the new president was suffering a major health crisis with seizure, migraine headaches, hearing voices and needing to be hospitalized. Six times this second phone conference was canceled for the health problems of the president or for PTSD flashbacks suffered by the founder, an Afghanistan veteran.
But I was shocked when I saw on her profile that our new president of less than 2 months had announced her resignation. I fully expected that as Vice President I would be named immediately as her successor at least temporarily, but instead it took 15 days for that message to be conveyed to me
So in all the 34 days I had served as Vice President i was never to learn what my duties or executive authority was and there would never be another board meeting because with each cancellation we were losing more people who left in disgust.
I complained out loud in a message after the 6th cancellation. on November 10 ."You don't need a Board, a Vice president or even a President at all if you want to continue doing business the way it has always been done.'
When I took office as Acting President I found it to be underwhelming. There was no one left to congratulate me or even serve under my command.. The once mighty GIEC had no Board members left, so there couldn't be a second Board meeting to convey my authority. I was told by the outgoing president that I have total authority but that I have to get board permission for everything. But she never had board consent when she was in charge and she had made a number of executive decisions.
I was now the Captain of an abandoned ship, all that was left of a really big, wonderful drea, sinking fast.. and I was handcuffed and chained to the ship's wheel.
We had struck an iceberg and I was now The Last Captain of The Titanic.
Mutiny on the Titanic
There was only one way out of the impending typhoon.
"I have a plan, This is the only chance that GIEC can survive
And I am the only one who can pull this off.
We have to reverse course. We must tell the truth.
We must reveal all the lies. We need to have done it yesterday and long ago.
We have to unabandon our 4,700 friends and restore our public presence on Facebook.
Total honesty, full disclosure , absolute transparency!
It is the only way to win back their trust.
I will reveal all the lies that were told to me.
I will strive not to name names, but we all know who told the most lies.
I refuse to be the Last Captain of the Titanic I demand administrative control over all GIEC pages and I demand information and support for me in my role as your President. I want a formal announcement in the form of a press release announcing my ascension to President. You do not name people as executives to office without public notice.
Because of Facebook Security it took two weeks to gain administrative authority.over GIEC pages. And my first official act was to cancel that 7 times postponed Trans Strategy Conference. The founder resisted saying it she would over her own dead body see to it that it happened on Thanksgiving weekend. When I told her I canceled in in twelve posts and that she would be reversing the only executive order I'd given, she backed down.
But nothing else was forthcoming Press Release to organizational support , no necessary reports and documents. I was told that two days before Thanksgiving , the "professionally written" Press Release was almost done. Five days later, the Sunday after Thanksgiving I was told that she got yelled out for trying to get the guy to finish it.
I was so fed up I gave a warning. I am prepared to write two essays
1) Welcome to the New GIEC- an organization that has learned from its mistakes
2) Say goodbye to GIEC as it sinks under the weight of all the lies and deception
and which essay shall I write?
By Sunday December 5 I was so thoroughly disgusted by the foot dragging and lack of support from GIEC that I was ready to issue the last ultimatum.
The finally came about over one last slap in the face by the resigned ex-President.
In a fit of arrogance she had deleted me from her friends list while maintaining contact everyone else at GIEC.. I confronted her over it and she defended her wright to delete me.
But since she is the ex=President and I am her successor I need administrative information and she cannot be allowed to have free access to the organization while disrespecting me as its leader.
I thought I was going to end up in a siege situation and i intended to end this endless misery once and for all. Either I get all my demands met and all the promises made are fulfilled or I was prepared to open fire and blow the ship out of the water at sunrise on December 7, Pearl Harbor Day.
But until that day it was just me, just one voice crying out in vain..But then Tracy Bumpus spoke out and said,
"Why all the lies... why don't you just let Teresa take over?
apparently sheihas a plan and is willing to do what you can't do and with all your illness, seizures, PTSDs, mental and physical health problems, you are just not fit to lead.
I said, "This lie is over! No more lies!"
and by mid afternoon the mutiny was over.and the founder said, "Teresa is in charge."
So the completed "professionally written" press release was done and posted and some information was coming to me. Bu that press release wasn't written by a professional at all.
it was dated September 2010 and mislabeled my organizations of WHEEL and SHARE.
And the headline "Highly Capable New President" ? It sounded to Monica Roberts like Fox's "Fair and Balanced" News. In other words, more lies!!
I choose to believe that my being selected as Vice President and then President of GIEC was the best choice our beleaguered and failing organization could do. Even if at the beginning they handed me the job because they thought that they could handle me, decieve me. In the end I am the only one who can stop this organization from doing iself in. but to chose me and expect me to remain silent would have been the worst choice of all.
Gender identity Empowerment Coalition is a wonderful dream of idea that three people including Arianna Davis founded. An organization dedicated to advocate for the Human Rights Civil Rights and and Equal rights of all Trans-Identified, Intersex and Gender Diverse People. An organization that is willing to take action and willing to take lead throughout the world to stand up for our rights and our place as full and equal partners in the LGBTIQQ community To seek the depathologization of differences in gender identity and gender expression and allowing a perjorative free diagnosis of us as a medical condition. A change in laws to allow for trans-inclusion in ENDA and other nondiscrimination laws.including our marriage rights, gender marker assignations, and right to serve in the military without DADT.
We want to be a clearing house providing news, information & resources for our people and someday soon we will become a charity that can offer help in limited ways.
But is this dream worth saving? Yes I think so!
Is this organization worth saving? Yes, with the right person in charge it could be, and if there was a full sitting board with real authority and we had a responsible treasurer or financial officer
Am I the right person in charge? Perhaps, but it's really up to you and to all the 4,600 friends who have stayed with this organization despite our crises. We would like your feedback. Would you like to join us in our dreams and to help to make our dreams real and the lives of all trans-identified people better throughout the world. This a call out to you. This is your chance. Come join us and do something that matters and makes a difference.
Thank you for your consideration and for taking the time to read this very long message!
Teresa Ellen Reeves
December 12, 2010
Human Rights, Civil Rights, Equal Rights Are For Everyone!
Not just for Straight White Men, Not just for Lesbians, Gays & Bisexual!
Say Yes to Transsexual, Transgender, Intersex & Gender Diverse People!
Say Yes to Trans-Inclusion in Non-Discrimination Laws and Hate Crime Laws!
Say Yes to the Depathologization of Gender Identity and Gender Expression!