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Rated: 18+ · Documentary · Biographical · #2316166
So does the life of a Native American hermaphrodite woman count less than yours?

         L'aura del campo           

SUMMER: 16 Kamal (16 August)

'é a lua,  é a lua,  na quintana dos mortos'
♣    Federico García Lorca   ♣

████          Passing of a New Moon

Jeannie Marie New Moon died on the railroad tracks on the northside of town on Saturday, August 12th. She was unidentified for over a day and a half, in spite of having lived here 25 years, her numerous contacts with the local police and her well-known presence (when she was present, you knew it!).

She had been ill for a long time, had heart problems and was on medication. The streets report that she went to the hospital earlier in the week and left against medical advice, that folks had tried to convince her to go back and that when the police were called, they took her back (they had an outstanding warrant). So why was she on the railroad tracks? Was she retrieving something as reported? Was she so ill she couldn't get out of the way? Was it due to medications or self-medication? The local news article doesn't say. But the on-line comments pose these questions.

She was tall, liked dressing in camouflage, carried a bad-ass knife. Had went to jail once years ago because she used a roofing hatchet on someone. No one in their right mind messed with Jeannie. And yet, those in their wrong mind did. Her van was damaged a couple months back in an altercation and some people just wouldn't let her be.

Of course, if she had a bottle, there were those who wanted to be her friend. She was in this town for 25 years, sometimes homeless, sometimes homed, but the paper got it wrong calling her a transient. Jeannie was never a transient.

Recent failing health and the loss of her dog, Natasha, really got to her. She wasn't well. Rumors state she may have been seriously ill. She didn't look herself. Suicide? Maybe, but more likely a tragic accident.

The streets have reacted. Mark K. was beside himself when he heard. Sandy lost it and they had to call the police and have her taken to the regional psych ward. Jeannie was known by many people struggling with their own demons. Many are seriously ill themselves and understand that "there but for the grace of God ..." it could've been them.

She was hit by a 129 car train. So much becomes irrelevant.

She will be cremated and taken to Gila River, Arizona.

Link to the article: http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/aug/16/family_shocked_transients_death_train_c...

                   ████████ Sizzling? Think cool *Cool*! *Snow1* *Snow2* *Snow3*
                   ████████ Weather where I am: 80', may thunder.
                   ████████ Weather in Ponca City, Oklahoma: 84'.
                   ████████ Weather in Oranjestad, Aruba: 90', feels like 102'.

████          CURRENT ISSUES

Race, gender, status

Does race matter in how a person is treated? Here in Kansas, that is an ignorant question. This town had segregated restaurants well into the 60s. Minorities, no matter how defined are still under-represented.

Does gender matter? In spite of the university priding itself on being progressive, it has never had a female chancellor. There have been female mayors, and women are prominent but once again ... what a question!

Does whether you have money, whether you have a permanent home matter? Spend a month on the streets of any city and I dare you to ask that question ...

Jeannie NewMoon was Ponca. This town has Haskell I. N. University. It is still looked down upon. There has been a Native American presence in this town since Day 1. It was part of Indian Territory, until people were moved to Oklahoma. I believe it was owned by the Delaware, but it could've been Muncie, Shawnee or Wyandotte.

Still, on the streets, and among the poor the numbers are disproportionately high for Native Americans (African-Americans, too).

Does gender matter? Well ... in Jeannie's case she was raised as female. Those who knew her well state she was hermaphroditic. This has raised a stir because the newspaper has identified her as male. At the shelter where she sometimes stayed, she stayed on the women's side. No one ever called her a man to her face or behind her back. She was Jeannie!

So does the life of a Native American hermaphrodite woman count less than yours? I would like to know! Would the fact that she carried a knife convince you? The fact that she drank ... a lot ... enter into the equation? At what point does she become less in your eyes?

████          IMAGES

Memories of Jeannie Marie NewMoon:

Slurred speech, sharp wit, gruff smile, loud laugh; camouphlage in green, brown and khaki, combat boots; conversion van in tan and orange; helping Bruce, helping me!; arguing, threatening, black-eyed and bruised; laying in pain after surgery; stomping across the street, stumbling.

████          MY LIFE

Still a bit unnerved about Jeannie's death. She was 53, my age, so maybe that is weighing on my mind too.

Slept well on two mattresses. That whole situation isn't resolved yet, but I can toss and turn without knocking my knees.

Was out until 11 last night. The bar above the coffeehouse was loud. Saw Alex, Zack and Ben. Students start class this week. I'm jealous.

And my therapist wants me to focus on that this week, observe the students, grovel in it ... I can do that, but it makes me feel sad.

Other than that ... same-o, same-o ... picked tomatoes, weeded, ate chicken fettucine.


This is a quick sketch that will have to do for now. I've written other poems about Jeannie, but can't find them! May need it by tomorrow ... it won't be ready.

Beyond her grasp

Jeannie strides in khaki camouflage,
proud and tall in her combat boots.
Her anger lays at the end of a knife
when eyes are blinded, blurred by night
or alcohol. With tears she rages,
aware there's something beyond her grasp.

And her love's her mother's conversion van,
the bottle that's passed from friend to friend
and her dog, Natasha, white and brown,
in Ponca feathers, her metal art.
For there is something therein she seeks,
knowing it lays beyond.

And the full moon wanes,
and the new moon dawns
when the UP diesel runs through town,
as Jeannie bends over railroad tracks
and her life's expended, reaching
for something beyond her grasp. [163.286]

████          BLOGVILLE

Have been visiting folks: kireimusume, BeautyFromAshes , J. Mallone , Tess , Amanda Sanz , curiousm , rjoym,
wisdomsearch, dizzyduck, bazilbob, Blue-Inspired , Tammy~Catchin Up~ .

It is a thrill to be the first person to leave comment on someone's blog. So many newbies! Was number 2 on another. I try to always leave some kind of comment. And I invite them to stop by and read this.

Which is probably why I finally got over 100 unique WDC viewers (over the last month) according to the stats. Yep. 102. It is hard work to visit folks and encourage them to return the favor.

████          QUOTE OF THE DAY

** Image ID #1129489 Unavailable **

A poll:

Based on an article. this is the link:
http://www2.ljworld.com/news/2006/au g/16/family_shocked_transients_death_tra in_collision/?city_local

This is my blog response: "Death of Jeannie New Moon

Does someone's gender, sexual identity, sexual preference, or birth sex belong in an article when someone dies? Does it matter if someone is hermaphroditic, trans-gendered, genetically XXX, XXY, X or in any way deviant from the 'norm' of heterosexual XX, XY?

My friend Jeannie Marie New Moon died after being hit by a train. The newspaper, Lawrence Journal World, commented on her sexuality in this manner:

"Jeannie NewMoon was, physically, a male, according to the Douglas County coroner and Kansas Department of Corrections records. But she identified herself as a woman and was known by all her friends and family as a female."


Is this appropriate for the newspaper to comment on something that was very personal and irrelevant to her death?
      Her sexuality should not have been mentioned. The paper should apologize.
      Her sexuality should not have been mentioned, but it was okay that they did.
      Her sexuality is irrelevant but newsworthy.
      Her sexuality is news and should be commented upon.
      The comment by the coroner and newspaper is fine.
      This is an example of good journalism.
      I have mixed emotions, but it was unfair.
      I have mixed emotions, but it's okay.
      None of the above fits my opinon (please e-mail)

Original was posted as a blog entry: "Death of Jeannie New Moon on August 17, 2006.
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