Growing Up Transgender with Jordan and Violet

Jordan is practically my son. I’ve known him since he was in third grade. I’ve been a part of his life since and I experienced the struggles and joys of his transition from female to male and his alignment as he was growing up transgender. He and his friend, Violet, male to female, tell their story with authenticity and honesty as they ask only one thing from the world: accept them for who they are.

On a personal note, nothing was harder for me than knowing every time Jordan had to shower, he was filled with self-loathing. The emotional pain was severe and he struggled with suicide. His parents moved as quickly as they could to learn more and support him in any way that could – even medically – which honestly, involved big decisions.

Unfortunately, the church let them down.

They were all very active in their church and I watched as they were rejected and eventually left. While their journey has taken them to places they never expected, their faith stayed strong and their ability to lift others up who were also struggling, is why they are an important part of my life. As they say, “they are good people”.

Resources below. Message me if you have questions or need support. Oh! And the music you hear at the opening/closing of the show, Jordan created it. Thanks J!

Or listen to the podcast

A few resources about growing up transgender

Ten Things You Can Do to support children who are questioning their gender. Dr. Shane Hill has been an essential support for transgender kids in Santa Cruz and the greater Bay Area. This short list is the very best place to start if your child is asking you to listen.

I worked on the first version of this website, it feels like 100 years ago. For more than a decade this organization has grown and thrives. The new site is beautiful and has many resources – especially for parents – who don’t know where to start or how to support their child.

Jordan mentions, Camp Aranu’tiq is a safe place for transgender kids to feel like themselves. Safe, protected and super normal, this camp really helped save Jordan emotionally. The Boston Globe even showed up to do a story.

ELI Assessment 50% off

 

The Golden State Killer Economy – Who’s Making Money

I was roasted on Reddit* the other day – totally unexpected – and it seems like things got weird when someone accused me of posting to promote my coaching business. Of course, my website has my coaching business on it, but that wasn’t why I was there. I was just participating in the discussion like everyone else, and then suddenly I was defending myself. It’s the first time that’s happened in two years since I went public.

Let’s start at the top: the prosecution and defense of DeAngelo.

There’s no doubt there’s a Golden State Killer economy. Holy smokes; it starts with the $20M price tag that prompted AB 141 to pay for jurisdictional expenses “incurred in connection with the prosecution and defense of Joseph DeAngelo.” There are a lot of people getting paid to try and defend this case. There are lawyers and researchers, scientists and testing facilities, computer experts and investigators and legions more who are working for both sides. We are nothing if not job security as this case is being prepped for the prelim. Also, don’t forget travel and housing expenses as teams from around the state come in and out of Sacramento to move things froward. We can debate if this level of expense is necessary, (and goodness knows I will in an upcoming blog), but let’s just accept this at face value. If we ever get to trial, chances are, this cost will likely increase.

Then there’s the content value of the case itself.

News, movies, documentaries, books, podcasts, blogs – some of these are highly monetized and some make no money at all. We all know when HBO or Michelle McNamara are telling the story, the intention is to make money. Not the only intention, but let’s accept one chooses that approach because there’s money to be made. Maybe that’s a better way to say it. I’m not casting blame here, merely noting there’s an economy in play and we all participate in it. In this category, I believe these folks truly care about the subject matter and the victims. I’ve worked with some of these folks and I’ve found them to be credible.

But we also have the exploiters. The folks whose sole motivation is money. They aren’t interested in the truth and have no interest in the victims, they are only interested in selling their product. I encourage everyone to keep their eye out for these folks; they are fairly transparent and tend to have a pattern to their behavior like focusing on click-bait, lying and repetition of same themes.

And then there are the victims; have they made money? Do they make money?

The honest answer is no, with a few exceptions. For the most part, any of us who are making money off the crime have been remarkably transparent. Jane Sandler-Carson wrote a book (not an affiliate link). That’s legit. She lived the experience; she did the work to write the book and she lives her truth. To the best of my knowledge, no one has been paid for any television appearances. There’s one activity where some folks got an unexpected honorarium, but I can’t disclose it and when I finally can, it won’t surprise you. And it wasn’t much.

Victims aren’t making bank on this. In fact, generally we are all financially poorer because of DeAngelo’s crimes and arrest. Of the victims I know, we are out-of-pocket on therapy, time away from work for hearings and other legal proceedings. Some of us travel to Sac to participate in these activities and have hotel bills. If there’s one thing the “true crime” industry has done that’s a disservice to victims, it’s the implication that everyone is making money.

We simply aren’t.

It’s maybe the saddest part of the Golden State Killer economy. Yes, there are some Victim Assistance programs but they vary by jurisdiction and they are publicly funded so there aren’t deep pockets. Honestly, many of us are doing okay and feel like those funds should be used by people with greater need.

So back to Reddit and the great Jen Carole takedown.

Let’s get real. I don’t make money on my blog. You can do a quick check and see there’s no advertising. In fact, when I tried some affiliate ads, I got no clicks (and I was highly selective). Why? Because that’s not what my blog is about. Yep, it’s just me, the website (I pay for) and my computer.

It is the same for my podcast. Honestly, the reason I stopped doing it is I had to work and didn’t have time to dedicate to doing it well. I would very much like to sell my podcast and get paid to do it so I can afford to attend the preliminary trial in May. I am transparently sharing that with you. I have no idea if I can sell it. My coaching business is how I figured I could earn a living while attending court because I can coach in off-hours. My LawyersDaughter.com audience is not my coaching target. That’s why I have two URLs (that I pay for): one for my business and one for this journey.

I don’t intend to sound defensive. I just reread this blog and I still might. That’s truly not my point. My point is, if DeAngelo died tomorrow, this little  economy is a house of cards. It all falls down with a few exceptions. I think the highly developed content will have a longer lifespan, but most of what’s been created around this [expletive deleted] criminal will fall by the wayside. As it should. And if you don’t believe me, just look at Casey Anthony and Scott Peterson, both who are realizing they are beyond irrelevant. So how do they goose the system to try and make money? They exploit it. Sickening.

On behalf of the victims, we appreciate your goodwill. We have no intention of exploiting it. We will take the opportunity to support ourselves if it makes sense. If you feel we have crossed a line, please speak to us directly. Otherwise know, you’ve bet on the right people in this hot mess.

And it’s appreciated.

*This did not happen in the EARONS sub-Reddit. I traveled outside our group and I will never do that again! The EARONS community has been amazing and honestly, along with Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc. and those of you that read this blog, have been so supportive. It’s the reason I have the courage to do these speaking engagements. 


March 2020 – Santa Cruz, Sacramento and Ventura

I’m coming to town in March. Absolutely free. Get a ticket by clicking on the graphic!

Live Event with Jennifer Carole - Free!

Top Five Reasons Having the DeAngelo Trial in Sacramento is Pure Gold

When the FBI released the news about the Golden State Killer, the Orlando shooting massacre happened and took over the news. Today, when the DeAngelo press conference went live, Cohen was heading to court and the Manafort verdict was coming in. Our poor law enforcement folks can’t get a break! But it’s all good. On the day of the arrest, they owned the conversation with the best news ever. 

UPDATE: Rather flattering…Madison Wade from
ABC 10 in Sacramento turned this blog into a news story on August 23rd!

I got a call just before the press conference from Ventura District Attorney Gregory Totten. He wanted to let me know the venue for the trial would be Sacramento. I let out a little “whoop”. I couldn’t be happier. I was thinking we’d be in Ventura or maybe Orange County, but Sacramento hadn’t really been discussed as a viable option. And yet, these folks came up with the best decision possible given the scope and breadth of the crimes.

We also learned DeAngelo will be arraigned (again) this Thursday at 1:30 in Dept 61 (the courtrooms that are at the jail) on 13 more charges. At this point, we might as well turn these charges into trading cards. There are so many. I’m going to drive up and go to court. We have to keep-up the pressure (this is how it works in my head: he knows we are there, he hates that we are and the very idea that we are in the courtroom eats away at him as he wonders over and over how he got caught. Also in my head, ice cream has no calories – it’s a happy place).

But let’s get back to it. Here are my top five reasons for why it’s amazing that this trial will be in Sacramento.

It’s Affordable

Apparently there is reimbursement for victims who want to attend trials. I’m late to the party on this front but I will be catching up shortly. Reimbursement couldn’t hurt. I was running-the-numbers on how much it might cost to stay in Ventura or Orange County and it wasn’t looking good. It’s just more expensive to live down there – whether that’s an AirBnB or hotel. But in Sacramento, most folks won’t need housing and for those of us that do, it won’t be awful. If I can get my relatives to start building now, I should have a min-house to live in by the time the trial rolls around (I’m kidding – they all live up by Rescue, gorgeous but too far). But I have been threatening to buy a Vanagon (mind drifts off into land where no one can find me and I can sleep and work anywhere). Maybe I can find a Burning Man cast-off next month – could have spoilers and fire!

 Sacramento Has Excellent Journalistic Reporting

I could name drop here – I actually started to but realized I was leaving people out – so I won’t. But damn, there has been good reporting coming out of Sacramento. I have met reporters who are conscientious, connected and genuinely interested in us (the people featured in their stories) and how this criminal has changed the community. Sure, half of these reporters weren’t even born when the crimes started, but that doesn’t matter. They are covering all aspects of the story with respect, thoughtfulness and clarity. And it is appreciated. (Just busted myself up laughing thinking about how to write a warning to LA reporters who drive-up and find out tomato trucks throw tomatoes at you on Interstate 5 – what is wrong with me!?)

Sacramento Extended Law Enforcement Deserves It

Not to take anything away from my Southern California crime solvers, but clearly, based on quantity alone, Sacramento has earned the right to host this case. I realize everyone will be involved in actually trying the case but this means local law enforcement can drop in, get scoop and otherwise participate in this trial. This is bittersweet because we won’t be able to include many of the statute of limitations-expired cases (rapes). But, as I understand it, the District Attorneys want as many folks to participate as possible, so now this will be easier to have impact reports from victims that will round out the murders. That was a weird sentence to write.

Many Survivors Can Attend

Even if just for a day, having the trial in Northern California means more of us can attend and support one another – even if that’s some seven years from now – when the trial actually starts. DeAngelo has already been in jail nearly four months (see the count-up clock at the top of this blog). This thing is going to go on forever and many of us remain in the area. Being able to participate doesn’t bring closure (at least not for me), but it does mean justice and accountability. Every time I see him in that orange jumpsuit and handcuffs, I get a small measure of satisfaction.

This Case Belongs to Sacramento

I’ve long considered myself a Sacramentan. My family has always been in Sac, I went to Davis and then got my master’s at CSU Sacramento. My cousin actually chased after DeAngelo at one point as a reserve police officer. When I initially learned about the rapes in Northern California, I felt connected to everyone up north. Beyond my personal ties, there was nothing that demonstrated  the strength of this community more than what happened at Barnes and Noble. So many people with personal stories of their fear, break-ins, brushes with terror and more. When I say Sacramento, know that I widely stretch my arms to include Visalia and the larger Bay Area. I trust we will not get better support anywhere on the planet than the support we will get in Sacramento.

 

For everyone and anyone who is feeling like they won’t get justice because their rape kit was lost or expired and you still believe this is your guy – we will represent for you. I’ll have more after court on Thursday. And then I know, I know, I need to get back to blogging. I have a small surgery on Friday and then I’ll be on the mend. Finally!

Court Date July 12 | Another Hearing and Meeting New Survivors

Sometimes we get so good at our jobs we can do them almost on autopilot. We don’t realize everyone else has no idea what we are doing or why we are going so fast. This was how Thursday went down. Fast, sloppy and almost chaotic. The slap-dash of serial rapist-murder hearings. 

I’m pretty sure the Sacramento heat is going to kill me. I know, I’m a damn broken record. It’s gotta be my age. I used to live there! Yet I remain a delicate flower. At least the hearing was set for 1:30 instead of 8:30am. I get it, it meant more heat but sleep was also a good thing. This time I had Katie in tow – my daughter – and I bored her to death preparing her for what was going to happen and who she was going to meet.

We drove up Wednesday from Santa Cruz. It’s about a three hour drive unless you leave later than you planned because your teenager doesn’t really understand the time-space continuum. Then, it’s a five hour drive. With pit stops and food and drink. We were going to see some people I hadn’t met before. Three folks in particular who’d spent much more time being active on the case than I. Jane Carson-Sandler was in town to do a book signing at Barnes and Noble in Citrus Heights. That happened on Monday and Debbie Domingo-McMullan was in town to support her. Carol Daly showed up as well. I didn’t make it up there that early, but they said they enjoyed it immensely and I think it got them fired up for the week ahead.

 First timers were everywhere.

We knew we’d have a big squad this time. And we did. We typically gather about 15 minutes before court and greet one another and catch up. That’s where I got to meet Jane, Debbie and, surprise for me, Margaret Wardlow! She was just 13 when that beast attacked her. They all looked amazing; vibrant, healthy, engaged. But while they managed their outward appearance in that moment, later we learned they were also wrestling with their demons. As I describe how this arrest has sent me back to my 18-year-old self bringing back memories that aren’t very pleasant, they too found themselves back at their early ages in that moment.

I don’t want to share their stories without permission, so let me share it in the aggregate. Making this arrest has taken us back. It’s made forty year old memories more vivid and brings up some of the vulnerability that goes with being younger. There’s something to be said for being a 50 year old woman. There is an ease at 50 that women talk about and it’s true. Being pulled back to a time when our innocence was ended by violence is pretty jarring. For me it means nightmares and fucked-up memories (yeah, just wait, I’ll be sharing them).

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This whole town is freaking under construction. The sidewalk was closed but we didn’t care. Move that Ditch Witch boys! We’re coming through!

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The media skillfully beats the heat and waits inside for us. Other folks were freaking out about all the cameras, “Why are they here!?” one woman cried out in a slight panic. It’s gotta feel weird to see all this when you’re there for a case that has nothing to do with our freak show.This hallway gave many pause. Especially the survivors who came who want to remain anonymous. Victim Services is good about getting us into the courtroom once everyone is through security. We hustled down the hallway and entered the courtroom. This time things moved very fast. We were seated quickly and then the press was allowed in. 60 Minutes Australia was there to film (I really need to see their version of Andy Rooney – “You know when you get those shrimp off the barbie and one doesn’t really look like a shrimp? What is that?” Please write your own joke here – or better yet, add to comments below!).

Don’t blink or you’ll miss it.

Normally, court has a process that helps us all understand what will happen next. With new folks with us, we had explained what would happen and I’ll be damned if the court didn’t make us liars this time. Debbie said she timed it: the whole thing lasted two and a half minutes. It was a cluster. They didn’t ask us to be quiet. They didn’t tell us to turn off our phones. Both are signals we are getting ready to start. No one announced the judge was in the room – he was in and started talking before I even got settled! DeAngelo appeared without warning. And that is rough when you are seeing him for the first time. A little warning is appreciated.

I was extremely disappointed to see he was handcuffed in front this time. I’ve been taking great satisfaction with his hands being cuffed behind his back. It’s like everyone was in a rush on Thursday. He seemed more at ease and a lot slimmer. I’m guessing the alcohol bloat is gone but there’s also less body. If he was a natural slim, it appears he’s getting back to his old self. I’m not even sure he knew what was happening it went so fast. His attorneys were there including Diane Howard.

Essentially the procedure (what is this part called?) was continued because the prosecution is still in the process of providing the defense evidence from discovery. We’ve had several folks confirm there was nothing recovered from the house, so what they heck is all this “deep” discovery about? One potential explanation is new jurisdictions with new cases and current jurisdictions with new cases. I just need to say one thing about all this: let’s not boil the ocean. Let’s do one and get it done and then we can prosecute more. Time is ticking people! This man has literally nothing to live for (except his family and that is really their journey, not his).

The defense also continues to object to press coverage. The judge continues to assert the public has a right to know. I continue to laugh thinking if you hurt over 100 people, you get what you deserve.

Walking out of the courtroom, we were greeted by a sea of cameras. This time it was for Debbie, Jane and Margaret. Katie was shocked by the momentum and frenzy. “Yup,” I told her, “every time.” We were asked to go over to the District Attorney’s office afterward so Katie and I broke away from the pack.

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I lagged behind to talk to a reporter-friend and missed some of the swarm.
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Because I was behind, these photos aren’t that great. Sorry!

District Attorney offices got dogs!

We walked over to the office and suffered poor white trash meltdown. My photo below with Reggie shows it. Katie’s pic is blurred. Clearly it was the heat-stroke (not the operator). We talked about the case and while I pumped them for information about where the trial might happen, they were successful in not giving away any scoops. While we were talking, Reggie, the wonder-poodle, came out to visit. He was super friendly and showed us his tricks. His subpeona delivery is on fleek (please accept my use of on fleek as my feeble attempt to pander to my younger readers).

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I’m so bummed this is out of focus. But that’s Katie!
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Look at that red face. My word!

Off to the after-party.

The big win for this week was the after-party. We met at the home of one of the squad and had a potluck barbecue that allowed us to share stories and meet even more people who’ve been impacted by DeAngelo. I’ve said it before but I never expected this chapter of our crimes and I must say, it’s the best. No judgments and no expectations, everyone is allowed to just be who they are and experience their healing in the way that works for them. Debbie had brought swag for us (see this blog’s cover photo for my new computer bag! thanks Debbie!).

Carol Daly (retired undersherriff) brought homemade ice cream that took me immediately back to my grandmother’s front yard on Palm Drive in Carmichael. Richard Shelby (retired investigator) and Todd Lindsay (producer from Unmasking a Killer) were there. It was a mellow, yummy good time. One of the interesting arguments we had was this stupid thing we (women?) where we compare who had it worse. Not in an effort to be the most harmed but instead, the way it works is to minimize our hurt because someone else’s is worse.

Every woman who has ever done this raise their hand. Men, now your turn. See, just a few men’s hands are raised. But women, I bet we’ve all done it.

The weird, twisted debate? Is it worse to be a rape survivor or a murder survivor? You know you’ve entered the land of weird when this is the debate. The rape survivors feel like we have it worse because our folks are gone – forever. We argue the rape folks have it worse because they had to live in fear their whole lives. I’ve decided we both win. Because if we are able to have this much compassion and empathy for one another, we are the winners.

Next court date is September 5th. Lots of stories to share with you before then.

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Turns out survivors eat good food! yum!
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Carol Daly – I consider her a kick ass feminist who changed the way we help rape victims.
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Richard Shelby, dedicated investigator.
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Todd Lindsay, producer of Unmasking a Killer. I was thoroughly impressed with his investigative work on the special.

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Advocating for Human Rights In Your Own Backyard

Listen2Youth is pleased to support the 15th Annual Queer Youth Leadership Awards in Santa Cruz, California on May 12, 2012.

The Queer Youth Leadership Awards recognizes queer youth and allies across Santa Cruz County for being leaders within their community. Being a leader encompasses many attributes and spans across all disciplines and activities. I have the privilege of knowing one of this year’s nominees, Heidi Koronkowski.

Sometimes leadership chooses you.

Heidi is the mother of a 13-year-old transgender child. In the last few years, I have watched her morph from a private housewife with a rambunctious, sometimes challenging daughter, to an outspoken advocate for human rights as she supported her child’s transition to living as a male. Her unwavering support of her son has taken her down a path she never expected.

Heidi has suffered the loss of several of her friends from church as they concluded they understood God’s plan for her son better than God did. It tested her faith and her trust in what makes a good friendship. And while she and her husband (and amazingly supportive family) did what they needed to do to follow her son’s lead, she redefined her faith and ended up becoming an unassuming role model providing guidance and information for other parents of transgender kids.

Gender doesn’t define us, who we are defines us.

I was a friend of Heidi’s when she had a daughter. I am Heidi’s friend now that she has a son (whom I care about very much). I am thrilled that she, and the Trans Family Support Group, have both been nominated for this year’s Queer Youth Leadership Award. I wish more people could be as open, understanding and adaptive as Heidi has been over the last five years. She’s incredibly down-to-earth and her openness makes her accessible. The fact she’s “regular folk” only adds to her appeal.

At Listen2Youth we have worked with teens of all kinds for years. In fact we named our company Listen2Youth because we were so impressed by their insights and perception. Today, our business has shifted to social media where we talk with our clients’ customers and listen to their insights. We believe everyone has a voice that needs to be heard. Sometimes it means speaking up and taking a stand in your own backyard.

UPDATE: Our dear friend Heid’s group, Trans Family Support Group, has won the 2012 Award. Congratulations to all the winners, nominees and thank you to everyone supporting these amazing folks.