Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Transgender Day of Remembrance

Monica Helms, the Trans woman who created the Transgender flag, stated, "The stripes at the top and bottom are light blue, the traditional color for baby boys. The stripes next to them are pink, the traditional color for baby girls;the white stripe is for people that are nonbinary, who feel that they don't have a gender."
Transgender Day of Remembrance (TDOR) is an annual observance on November 20 that honors the memory of those whose lives were lost in acts of anti-transgender violence. As we remember those we have lost, we must pick up the mantel they left behind, in order to move toward an anti-trans violence free world. A way to help is to spread awareness through available resources for trans people and their allies. 

As a center of informational wealth, this week Armacost Library will focus on wonderful resources for those who are Trans, Trans allies, or looking for more information. There are many resources available on the topic of Transgender culture and experiences, from personal blogs to informational books and articles, to clubs at community centers, libraries, and across campuses! There are many ways to engage with different communities. Let’s talk about two of the most common resources that often serve as starting points. 

Local Resources

The Pride Center was opened in 2005 after students campaigned for funding from the University for a safe space for people who identified as lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer or allies and for those that wanted to have a resource on campus for exploring such topics.
The Pride Center serves as the meeting space for student groups and host speakers, discussion groups and community events. It has it's own Pride library, too! 

With a host of books, articles, DVDs and more, the Armacost Library has it's own collection of valuable resources available both online and at the library itself. Stop on by to check out what we have to offer. Chat with a librarian to help narrow down your search through e-mail, online chat, over the phone, or in person. 

The LGBTQ Center provides addiction treatment & recovery, HIV-related care and prevention, community development though educational, career, and entrepreneurship coaching, leadership development, as well providing cultural competency training to local providers, businesses, and the community.

Transgender Community Coalition 

There are an estimated 27,000 transgender people in the Inland Empire.

Transgender Community Coalition (TCC) devotes its energies to passionately advocating for the transgender, intersex, queer, gender non-conforming and socially and politically under-represented members of our community. We invite you to explore this site and find ways to support this underserved community.


Uniting people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) with families, friends, and allies, PFLAG is committed to advancing equality through its mission of support, education, and advocacy. PFLAG has 400 chapters and 200,000 supporters crossing multiple generations of American families in major urban centers, small cities, and rural areas in all 50 states, the District of Columbia and Puerto Rico. This vast grassroots network is cultivated, resourced, and serviced by PFLAG National, located in Washington, D.C., the National Board of Directors and 13 volunteer Regional Directors.
Trans & Gender Force
Rev. Renee J. Painter
860 E. Gilbert, San Bernardino, CA 92404 / (626) 824-7837
Email: RevRJPainter@aol.com
A group for talking about transgender issues and educating the community. Meets at 6:30 p.m. on the last Thursday of each month.

Long Distance Support & Information 

Jennifer Pellinen's Transgender flag
GLBT National Help Center
(800) 246-7743 (4 p.m. – 12 a.m.)
Peer counseling and resources for LGBTQ individuals, including coming-out support, relationship concerns, HIV /AIDS anxiety, and referrals to social and support groups, and gay-friendly businesses.
(866) 4U-TREVOR (866-488-7386) / Text “Trevor” to (202) 304-1200
Crisis and suicide prevention services for LGBTQ youth, including toll-free and online chat hotlines.

GLAAD Transgender Resources 

An extensive, in depth list covering legal services, health, emotional support, trans veterans, economics, information, trans campaigns, and much more. GLAAD is at the forefront of LGBTQA+ advocacy: GLAAD rewrites the script for LGBTQ acceptance. As a dynamic media force, GLAAD tackles tough issues to shape the narrative and provoke dialogue that leads to cultural change.

The National Center for Transgender Equality 

This national social justice organization is devoted to ending discrimination and violence against transgender people. They provide education, advocacy, and resources on national issues of importance to transgender people. They have two key initiatives: The Racial and Economic Justice Initiative (REJI) and the Trans Legal Services Network (TLSN). 

The Jim Collins Foundation 

The Jim Collins Foundation raises money to fund gender-affirming surgeries for those transgender people who need surgery to live a healthy life, but have no ability to pay for it themselves. We recognize that for those people who require surgery for a healthy gender transition, lack of access to surgery may result in hopelessness, depression, and sometimes, suicide. The Jim Collins Foundation is a community-based initiative promoting the self-determination and empowerment of all transgender people. JCF co-founders and board members are available for speaking engagements.

Progress Pride Flag designed by Daniel Quasar.
LGBTQ 6 full sized color stripes representing life (red), healing (orange), sunlight (yellow), nature (green), harmony/peace (blue), and spirit (purple/violet) 5 half sized stripes representing trans and non-binary individuals (light blue, light pink, white), marginalized POC communities (brown, black), as well as those living with AIDS and the stigma and prejudice surrounding them, and those who have been lost to the disease (black)

Monday, November 05, 2018

Vaclav Havel and The Memo

 Image credit: Vaclav Havel Library

This month the University of Redlands theatre department presents The Memo by the Czech playwright, human rights activist, political philosopher and statesman Vaclav Havel.

Havel was born in Prague in 1936 to an affluent family who lost their wealth and status after Communists came to power in 1948. Denied the ability to attend high school, Havel got a job as a lab assistant, took classes at night school, and struck up friendships with other young writers and intellectuals. At the age of twenty, he attracted notoriety when he made a speech appealing for official recognition of banned poets at a government-sponsored writers' conference. Havel's interest in theater developed during his two years of army service; upon being discharged, he found work at Theater of the Balustrade, a small, avant-garde theater company. Here he had the opportunity to try a little of everything - shifting scenes, electrical work, manuscript reading, dramaturgy, and eventually playwriting. He also fell in love with another company member, Olga Splichova; their marriage would last 32 years until her death in 1995.

The Memo was the second of three significant early plays Havel wrote for Theatre of the Balustrade. Premiered in 1965, it displayed the influence of the Theatre of the Absurd - the company was regularly staging plays by Beckett, Ionesco and Kafka - as well as Havel's fascination with "the power of language as a perpetuator of systems, a tool to influence man's mind and therefore one of the strongest (though secret) weapons of any system that wants to mould him" ("Vaclav Havel").

Absurdist theater was a natural outlet for Havel's need to communicate the crushing effect of political repression. As he later wrote, "life saves itself by going offstage. Forced to be actors, people return to the audience as soon as they can, and take the chance to jeer at their forced selves. Their real culture must be hidden. It must go underground for protection" (qtd. in Chamberlain 76).

But within a few years, Havel's life would change dramatically, sending him on a path towards another type of salvation - active resistance. A brief period of political and cultural liberalization in Czechoslovakia, the "Prague Spring" of 1968, would end violently with Russian troops invading to crush protests and help hard-line Communists retake control of Czechoslovakia. Denied work in the theatre and put under surveillance, Havel would travel the country talking with workers, sign open letters, give underground radio broadcasts and smuggle his writing and speeches to the West. He would be jailed multiple times, once for four years. His writing would make him famous worldwide. He would write more plays, now more autobiographical and deeply introspective, probing the risks of moral compromise and self-deception facing people living in relationship to power. The plays would find audiences, abroad and - despite the risks to performers and audience members alike - in Czechoslovakia. Acknowledged for his skill at organizing coalitions and giving voice to human rights causes, Havel would be the unanimous choice for president when the country's last Communist leader resigned in December 1989 and Parliament needed to choose a successor. He would be "a new type of leader for Czechoslovakia. The long-persecuted but never silenced dissident was a modest, diffident intellectual who, lacking a professional politician's self-conscious self-confidence, readily admitted his fears for the future and amazement at his success. In his first months in office he accomplished much" (Byers 204).

During this transition away from autocratic rule, Havel's early plays, banned for so long, were  officially allowed to be performed again on Czech stages. Barbara Day observes the irony of plays like The Memo seeing their belated revival "as the work not of an aspiring stagehand, but of the country's President" (Day 457).

Works Cited

Byers, Paula K., ed. "Vaclav Havel." Encyclopedia of World Biography, 2nd ed. Detroit: Gale, 1998, pp. 202-204.

Day, Barbara. "Havel, Vaclav." International Dictionary of Theatre, vol. 2: Playwrights. Detroit: Gale, 1994, pp. 455-457.

Havel, Vaclav, "In the Communist Mirror." 1990. Cited in Chamberlain, Lesley. "Play It Again, Vaclav: The Wisdom in Havel's Plays." The World & I, vol. 16, no. 8, 2001, pp. 76-81.

"Vaclav Havel." Contemporary Authors Online. Detroit: Gale, 2012. Literature Resource Center, http://link.galegroup.com/apps/doc/H1000043432/LitRC?u=redl79824&sid=LitRC&xid=ac925923. Accessed 26 October 2018.