Pronouns and why They Matter
So this week I have been attending the International Pride Conference which I have not attended In years. It’s the first conference I have attended in several years and the first conference that I have ever attended where each time you introduced yourself you were expected to announce your pronouns after your name. I truly am uncomfortable with saying her she because after years of working in corporate America and feeling like announcing I was female was often the last thing I wanted to point out, it just feels weird to me. So after attending about 10 different sessions and stating my name I flippantly said “her, she I don’t really care what you call me”. It was a female empowering session and I truly had no idea that it was an issue. Today however a trans woman talked to me and said how hurtful it was when I said that. Because for her she has had to fight to be allowed to use those pronouns. I cannot tell you how deeply painful it was to know that I had caused someone else to feel marginalized, especially in of all of meetings a woman’s session. I am right now supposed to be in a regional meeting but have not been able to stop crying since speaking with her and a couple other people that I believe identify as trans but may identify as non binary and I don’t want to make an assumption. I work hard to support human rights around the world and have a trans niece and friends and never in a million years would I have tried to be hurtful, but I was. I am not crying because they hurt my feelings because they could not have tried harder to use it as a teaching moment, I’m crying because it breaks my heart to think that in 2022 at a meeting of International Prides Trans individuals would not feel accepted. The reason this woman even told me that I had hurt her was because there was an uproar at the plenary session we were at today and I approached this group of people to ask questions after the session because people seemed so angry. The group explained to me that non binary and trans people at this conference were feeling marginalized. I don’t believe anyone here means to be marginalizing anyone intentionally. But if that’s how people are feeling it’s an issue. I am aware of the uptick in trans bashings around the world and I thought I was working with a community that was addressing those issues so therefore how could they feel marginalized here. It is hard for me to know what to do with this but I can change what I do from here on and own that I caused hurt to someone. I still don’t want to use pronouns when identifying myself but I will never ever again say it does not matter. It does. How someone wants to be identified matters. So if I chose to say nothing after my name I will say I chose not to use pronouns or I will identify as she her but I promise I will never take for the granted that I have that right and for anyone else that was in that session with me yesterday that I may have hurt I apologize. I truly am sorry. And to my niece Jessica and all my nephews and nieces I promise I will always be there to fight for your right to be who you are.
Terry's World aka Travel Magic are blogs all written by Terry Irons. I came up with this title because Terry is the best person I know to coordinate logistics for me to play music around this earth. That can be a highly complicated project when dealing with large corporations and moody artists. But Terry is quite amazing! She is my wife and my personal manager. I felt that it was important to give her space here since she is a endless supporter of my music and life. I hope that you will be inspired by her thoughts and writings as I often am.
A Brighter Day
So last week i had another doctors appointment and it looks like I’ll have another surgery. After all the medical appointments and everything else it finally got to me and I spent most of the weekend stressed and not sleeping. By Monday I truly did not want to get out of bed and it took all of my will power to make myself do anything. Sonia was so worried she sent me the Grateful Dead song “touch of grey” (we will get by). Then Tuesday morning I got up looked out the window and saw a huge line of cars waiting in the food line. All of a sudden I was embarrassed that I was feeling sorry for myself. Yes things are tough right now but I’m in the music business and it goes that way, when your artist is making an album all you do is spend. And although the medical stuff is not easy so far everything has been benign and my foot will eventually heal. I am not worried about putting food on the table in fact I stress eat so I should lose some weight. Life has been hard but truly we have friends and family and so much to be grateful for. Our house is not being bombed nor have we had to flee like our friends from Ukraine. Would I like interest rates on my credit cards to be lower, yes but at least I have credit. Do I wish that I did have so many medical issues, yes but at least I do have insurance to cover a lot of it. Do I wish we had not been out of work so much for Covid or before that for Sonia’s mom, yes but truly I am grateful we could take the time off for Sonia to be with her mom and we survived Covid when so many did not. So what right do I have to complain. Yes things are hard but today is brighter and I am grateful that I can see that. Thank you all of you for being in my life.
What a World
So everytime I think our world could not get any crazier it does. Today SONiA decided to make her patreon zoom concert open to the public but unfortunately before she started someone flashed a swastika and then once she started singing several people tried to interrupt until the host was able to kick them out. Unfortunately this meant that he had to close the meeting so no one else could join in. It’s really a shame that we have a world that is so mobilized by hate that even a simple act of sharing music is disrupted. I woke up this morning encouraged that our Senate and Congress finally seemed to be getting something done that would actually benefit your average American and now once again I wonder what kind of world we are living in.
Last week Sonia and I were with family and I was crushed when I realized that some of my favorite people in this world are so far from me politically. I truly think that whatever someone believes should always be respected and I have always welcomed political discussions with my young nephews and nieces but there no longer seems to be an opening for discussion. Some are very far left and refuse to hear anything that encourages compromise. Some are so far right that they are still defending the last President and cannot even bring themselves to condemn January 6th. It truly breaks my heart that the world I have worked so hard to try and make better for the next generation will not be what happens. I cannot imagine how Sonia and I could ever host these young adults at the same family get together let alone hope that they can work together to make things better. When did the world get so crazy that people we loved could attack each other on Facebook or people we don’t even know can interrupt a zoom session.
Today is a Jewish holiday and yet Israel and Hamas are bombing each other a few more times before a supposed cease fire takes effect, Russia is bombing Ukraine, China is threatening to bomb Taiwan and here in the United States there was another killing. Where does it end. If individually we cannot even talk to each other civilly how can we expect the killings to stop. I woke up this morning feeling hopeful and now I wonder if I will be able to stop crying.
Vote for Independence
It’s the 4th of July Independence Day here in America and yet I am at home sick with Covid which somehow seems fitting since the world has somehow stopped feeling very free. War is raging in Ukraine and here in America every channel is filled with stories of shootings or protests. The Supreme Court no longer seems like a judicial branch but a partisan branch of legislation. The legislature seems unable to get anything done unless it’s approving funds for war. And while I believe we should be standing up for Ukraine I don’t understand why it got this far. Where was the leadership when Putin was posturing for years for this day. I would love to be able to lay blame on one person, one party even, but that’s not the case. Our legislature has failed us for way to long. If we continue to vote in people that are so partisan that they vote only along party lines forgetting about the Americans who voted for them, then there will truly be no independence to celebrate. We force people to retire from companies all the time because of age and yet we have elected officials that die in office well after they are fit to be there. Few and far between vote their conscious outside of their party and when they do their party votes then out. Those few true American representatives should be celebrated. We need voices that are willing to speak out and tell the truth. I got an email yesterday from another friend that is thinking about moving out of the country to retire. While I understand the frustration with our political system right now I won’t be leaving. This is my country. This is your country. It’s time we put people in office that understand it belongs to all of us not the few hundred in Washington that are holding us all hostage with their votes. This year as you celebrate this 4th of July I hope you will make a plan to vote for a change in Washington, it’s time to clean out the house and Senate of people who can not find a way to do their jobs.