My voting experience

 As I woke this morning preparing my daughter for school and prepping for the arrival of my husband on the bus, I wondered what the day will hold for me. While dropping my seven-year old daughter off at school, she tells me

” mommy we are voting at school today!” It makes me proud that’s she is so excited to have this experience.

I know it is a mock election for fun, but I wonder if she will face ridicule if she decides to not vote the popular vote like everyone else in her class.I tell her to have fun and not discuss who she voted for or why. She smiled at me and like every other day hugs me and says

” I love you mama, you are the best mama ever!”

After this I went home and got ready for my day while waiting or the hubby to get here so we can go vote together. Driving to the polls we discuss the negative behavior and rhetoric we may face walking thru the doors, we are usually not greeted kindly based off our looks alone. On the way there, there were a certain candidate supporters parked on a side road standing in a small section of city property waving flags, holding their candidates sign, drinking beers, and growing in numbers minute by minute, and no doubt putting down anyone who opposed their point of view, as they usually have!

Upon arrival at the polls things were surprisingly smooth, we received our ballots, and proceeded to fill them in. I was dumbfounded at the lack of Democratic Candidates on the ballot, as far as local government is concerned. When the time came to cast our vote, the machine decided to jam!!!! So the volunteers told us to hand over our ballots and they would enter them in when the machine was repaired. I was hesitant to do so, but was reassured that everyone’s ballots would be entered.

Today was shockingly uneventful, it was a welcome change of pace! My daughter came home from school and announced that Trump won the school election.

Image: Raven Moore
Image: Raven Moore

 

I would say the most memorable part if my day would be my husband voting for the first time ever, and I had the privilege to be there with him.

No, we didn’t discuss who we voted for with each other, but it was a pretty amazing experience to share with him. Voting and having a voice is an honor and privilege for me, I have that privilege due to the women before me who started the women’s suffrage movement, and I will not let their sacrifices be in vain.

Interview with Spike Larr

At Michigan Pagan Fest, Spike Larr walked onstage and blew her audience away.  It was real. It was raw. It was everything it needed to be.  It was so magnificent that it had to be given space here for everyone to see and feel.  And so, she has given us permission to use her videos.  Come meet Spike Larr, and feel her roar.

Would you like to tell us a little about yourself?

I’m a non-binary trans woman, a Pagan witch, and a fire carrier for Brighid, I have a beautiful 2 1/2 year old daughter named Jasmine, I live in Ann Arbor with my lovely girlfriend, I have 2 cats, they’re jerks and I love them. I’m an active part of the Pagan community here, (I like to think, lol) and I hope to give to and learn from others in the community in whatever way I can.

Image of Spike at Michigan Pagan Fest 2016
Image of Spike at Michigan Pagan Fest 2016

How long have you been a practicing Pagan?

Well not as long as I’ve been a wishy-washy-about-my-practice-Pagan; LOL. I got into Paganism and witchcraft, I’ll say, 5 1/2 years or so ago, while I was going to a Catholic school in California, funny enough. Both California and Michigan have wonderful Pagan communities. Very different, and they both hold a place in my heart.

Do you find the Michigan Pagan community accepting as a whole?

As a whole, I think the community was very accepting of my message. But yet there have been people within the community that I have had to call out for their transphobia, had to call out for claiming to be an ally but not listening when being told they’re not being one.And generally I’ve been able to work things out, but transmisogyny is certainly alive in the Pagan community.

But I also believe that people are trying to grow and do better. Many people knew me from before my transition and so they often screw up my pronouns, but the important piece is when corrected, they apologize, correct themselves, and move on. So in general I would say our community is moving in the right direction.

How liberating was it to be able to get up and do this at Michigan Pagan Fest?

Incredibly. It was amazing just being able to share a piece of myself with the community, to stand up and say that, hey, I’m a trans woman, I’m part of this community too, and this is my experience, my feelings, my frustrations: this is me. And I got enormous support, even from those who I thought might just think I’m salty.

 

For me poetry is a form of therapy, can I assume the same applies to you?

Absolutely!

I can’t be dishonest in my poetry. Things come out sometimes that I never expected to come out of me, and performing it, writing it, everything feels like the weight of my experiences are no longer just mine to carry, but are offered to the world as a force of change.

The message in your work is so moving and strong! It’s hard to imagine the daily struggle to be transgender. As part of the LGBTQ community, I see a lot of contempt thrown my way. Even in the community, someone very close to me is transitioning. She is constantly being referred to by her ” old” name and gender. Any advice?

This happens to me all the time. I didn’t change my name, but again people who knew me, and even some who didn’t, often use the wrong pronouns and titles, and most of the time it’s as simple as a gentle, but firm, reminder. Most people I’ve found are willing to correct themselves, apologize, etc. I know how hard that can be, and I know how humiliating it can be, but being firm and loving yourself for who you are is the first step.

How hard was it for you to come to the decision to be yourself? Do you feel your family and circle of friends was accepting?

It’s complicated. I’ve always been one to be so unapologetic in who I am that it scares some people. When I came out first as non-binary, a lot of people didn’t really understand it, and some felt that I was asking too much to be referred to with gender neutral pronouns. And my partner at the time felt like I had lied to her about a part of who I am, partially because I didn’t feel safe and so I didn’t tell her first.

*Explicit Language Warning

It was a really hard time for me coming out, but I also think I learned who was supportive and who wasn’t. Thankfully I have friends online in the LGBTQ community that I could talk to and that understood what I was going through. Now my situation is a lot better, i have a wonderfully supportive girlfriend and my family has come to understand that this is a serious choice that I have made to be myself. But it was a tough road to get here.

Thank you so much for the interview. We definitely need more people like you!

I appreciate that! I think many in the Pagan community have so much to offer and I’ve learned so much from the headliners, the fire tenders, and just others I’ve chatted with in our community. I just hope that my lived experience and what comes out of it can be an asset to our community as well (smiles).