Tracker Pixel for Entry

​Driving Through Life Defensively

by Faye Seidler | .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address) | Editorial | August 8th, 2018

I’m one of the most well known trans individuals in the Fargo/Moorhead area. This is because I’ve purposely put myself out there as a symbol of visibility. I’m out there to show people that you can be transgender and that you can be happy. I’m also out there to be an open contact that anyone can reach out to with questions or to find resources. In many ways, I’ve become everything that I needed but didn’t have when I was transitioning in this state.

I’m not sharing that to brag, I’m sharing that for context. Despite being so known, despite my name showing up on Google searches, and despite half of my Facebook posts being about transgender issues, I do not mention that I’m transgender at my current or former job. I don’t mention that I’m queer in any way. I don’t mention nearly anything about myself or the girlfriends I have back at home. And when your life is that of being a trans activist, sometimes it’s hard to even talk.

While not just on the job, at every moment of my life I have to make considerations for if it is safe for me to be openly transgender or to be openly a lesbian or openly poly and so on. People like to bash safe spaces because they think it’s some ideological safe haven, but the reality is that these places are the ones where you expect to not experience violence or other negative consequence for being who you are.

In many ways the considerations and concessions that people in the LGBTQ+ community make are very similar to the concepts laid out in defensive driving. Since this is a state where nobody knows how to use their turn signal, let me briefly explain what defensive driving is.

“The Safe Practices for Motor Vehicle Operations” defines defensive driving skills as "driving to save lives, time, and money, in spite of the conditions around you and the actions of others." They go on to list some general defensive driving principles like controlling your speed, maintaining a safe distance behind other vehicles, and in general being alert.

This is great advice to consider because the possible consequence of rushing to work to get there on time could getting killed and being dead forever. That sweet feeling of euphoria that some people must get as they ride your bumper like a hungry shark is definitely worth the risk of serious injury if you have to stop short. And while driving a metal monster that weighs a few tons at speeds of 40 or more miles per hour, surrounded by other metal rockets, it’s definitely not the best idea to literally take your eyes off the road to text your bestie about plans later on.

When you’re transgender and you want to work in a state without any protections, where your employer could fire you simply because you’re trans, driving defensively is never talking about your identity. When you can be evicted because you and your husband rent from someone who doesn’t like gay people, well then maybe you’re just really good friends whenever the owner drops by for an inspection. When you’re a gay or lesbian person and talking to a group of coworkers who are talking about their boyfriends and girlfriends, maybe you have a “partner” back home. When you’re transgender, maybe you never use a public pool because your body doesn’t match any swimwear and going to the pool becomes something that only other people get to enjoy. Maybe when you and your girlfriend are walking downtown Fargo, you don’t hold hands or kiss.

At every level of our life we have to make considerations of our safety. We have to be aware of the people around us, we have to pay attention to what they said, and make judgments for how open we can be. We often have to limit our actions because of the possible consequences and usually dance around language to convey some semblance of what everyone else talks about easily, unburdened with our consideration like our bodies or our partners.

Not everyone drives or lives defensively and not everyone experiences consequences for more socially aggressive behavior. There are people who loudly state and defend their identity and love, regardless of the consequences. I’m out there fighting as hard as I can, but I need a job to live and that’s when I have to drive defensively.

Fargo/Moorhead Pride is coming up really soon and I want people to understand that this space and this celebration are a time for people to stop driving defensively. It is a time they can be openly themselves, where they can be affectionate in public, talk about their partner, and use spaces without the same fear of consequence they have in everyday life. We don’t see a straight pride parade because there is never consequence to being straight.

While this article focuses on LGBTQ+ individuals, I suspect people of color experience a similar world, if not one more sanction by white people with weaponized phones. What I want to leave everyone with is a plea to help make the roads safer for all. We can do this by passing anti-discrimination legislation. We can educate ourselves in policy by attending the LGBTQ+ Advocacy Training being held on Tuesday, August 14th, at the West Fargo Library (109 3rd St E, West Fargo, ND). Please have conversations with friends and family members about what it actually means to be an LGBTQ+ person. It isn’t always safe for a person under the rainbow umbrella to advocate for themselves, so it becomes quintessential to have the support and advocacy of our allies. So, basically, let us ride shotgun in your giant metaphorical truck and drive forward to a better tomorrow!

Recently in:

After nearly two and a half years since the people of North Dakota voted to pass the Compassionate Care Act into law in the state, medical marijuana is finally available to patients. Only one dispensary is open right now, but seven…

It was an, “aha,” moment, said Jeremy Jensen. A woman had her vehicle towed into the Fix It Forward Auto Care shop in Moorhead. Jensen and fellow Fix It Forward Auto Care co-founder Matt Carlson had the vehicle on a hoist…

Thursday, April 18, 5-9 p.m.Drekker Brewing Company, 1666 1st Ave N, FargoThe folks at Drekker have partnered with a handful of area artists and the Lend A Hand Up program. A program providing help and hope to families facing…

In 2016, the Rand Corportation’s National Defense Research Institute published a year-long study looking at potential consequences for transgender members to serve within the U.S Military. This study looked at seven different…

The Nordic ModelDr. Thea Hunter, a graduate of Columbia University and an adjunct professor of history at a number of elite colleges and universities, recently died at age 63 of extreme capitalism—and asthma—because of lack of…

Cocktail Showdown

​Yo ho ho!

by Sabrina Hornung

Well shiver me timbers. After weeks of sampling some of the finest drinks in F-M from more bars than we could shake a belaying pin at, the results of High Plains Reader’s 6th Annual Cocktail Showdown are in! For nine weeks,…

After three years Jon Beyer aka “Jonny B” has become the face and the beard behind Jonny B’s Brickhouse in Jamestown North Dakota. Besides the largest selection of craft beers between here and Bismarck, wood-fired pizzas and…

By Gary Usseryusseryg@gmail.comFYB. Three letters, three words, well known by the guys who make up Cascades, and anyone who is a fan of the five-man band. When asked what genre best describes their sound, I was bombarded with at…

Harmony Korine keeps a tight grip on his title as one of the most critic/critique-proof filmmakers of recent times with “The Beach Bum,” a sultry companion piece to 2012’s memorable “Spring Breakers.” Not without its own…

Arts

​Hold your head high

by Sabrina Hornung

“I started to look around at state arts council positions because I felt that even though I had never done that, I felt like it would be a really good blend of skills, so I started to look around in 2016. A few jobs came up but I…

Countless examples can be found throughout the history of great art that was only recognized as such after the life of the artist that created it. Such is true of Georges Bizet’s opera "Carmen."  While its reception during his…

Stand-up comedy is traditionally a one-way exchange. Outside of the odd question addressed to a random audience member, the limit of the spectators’ contribution to the conversation is their laughter at the comedy stylings being…

By Gabrielle Herschgabbyhersch@gmail.comThink & Drink is coming to Fargo! Organized by Humanities North Dakota, Think & Drink is a happy hour series that hosts a facilitated public conversation about big issues and ideas. Lead by a…

I’m a big man, I’m tall and powerful, but this also causes some issues in the body department. I suffer from acute scoliosis in my lower back, and pain radiates from this area on a daily basis. I have only ever had one massage…

by Devin Joubertdevinlillianjoubert@gmail.comIt’s that beautiful time of the year that’s filled with seasonal decorations, sparkly lights, warm family gatherings, and delicious feasts. I love everything about this time of the…

It seems like the threats to North Dakota’s Badlands never cease. Let’s go back and revisit Wylie Bice. He’s the rogue, rich, rancher up in Dunn County, on the eastern edge of the Badlands, who’s built himself a private…