Friday, June 17, 2011

Sonora Sage, Part 3

(there is trans content in here, I promise)

The Arizona-Sonora Desert Museum calls itself a museum, but it's much more.  When I think of animals in a museum, I think dead stuffed creatures behind glass.  There is some glass, thankfully (they have way too many rattlesnakes in Arizona) but no dead stuffed creatures.

I didn't see the whole museum.  There's an art museum part.  We skipped that; neither of us was interested in looking at pictures when there are so many living bits there.  Liz said it was an "animal, vegetable, and mineral" museum.

There are coyotes, lizards, javelinas (I never heard of them either), owls, prarie dogs, wolves, bears, reptiles, big cats, longhorn sheep, and more.  Some we saw, some we didn't, but they're animals with their own minds and their own ideas of where they want to be when.

There is also a beautiful walk-in aviary, large enough for the birds to be comfortable but small enough that there were birds everywhere.  And if that wasn't wonderful enough, there's a walk-in hummingbird aviary!

A Typical Museum View
If you go to the map page, you can click on different parts of the image to see what's there.  By the way, even if you can't get to the museum spend a bit of time on the web site.  It's dam good.  The webmistress is an intelligent, creative, lovely woman named Liz.  Or something like that.

And the scenery was magnificent.  I know I touched some of this yesterday but I was truly impressed.  Every time I'd turn my head, I'd say wow

I've been in the southwest before and it's always impressive to see the plants and mountains and scenery, but this is almost an overdose of desert life.  It's the difference between drinking a gallon of water with a teaspoon of honey in it, and drinking a teaspoon of honey.
The only thing I didn't like about the museum has nothing to do with the museum.
It Was Hot.
I was afraid Meg would pass out from the heat, since the summer is not Meg-friendly.  The wig is hot, There Are Undergarments that are made to hold my tummy in, not keep my tummy cool.  Silicone forms pressing against skin can be sweaty in the best of circumstances.  Foundation blocks your pores.  We saw a wolf acting very dog-like, lying down and panting.  I was thinking, "I understand and wish I could join you."
At one point, I could feel moisture dripping down my back under my cinch and I said "I thought it was a d'ry heat.'"  Liz said "it is.  The moisture is coming from you."  She's right, of course.
But it wasn't unbearable, and the experience convinced me that it's OK for Meg to go out in the summer.  Bare legs and strappy shoes helped at lot.  It was worth the extra time needed for shaving.  I remember Stana had a similar epiphany.  Until just a year or two ago, she didn't go out during the summer.  Now she does.
I'm glad Meg went.  I felt comfortable.  Liz helped a lot, but I think every time I go out, I feel more comfortable.  I know it's always possible that something will go wrong, but I don't worry about anything, really, when I'm out.  Everyone has been nice, and it's wonderful being treated as any woman would be.
On a scale of one to ten, I'd give the museum a ten.  With Liz there, I'd rate it a thirty-four.
One more thing....  There is an entry fee.  We kind of went in through her office, and I was her guest and I didn't pay an entry fee. 
So I went to the website.  I could become a member, but I don't want them sending me dead trees, even though I'd get free admission (and free [shade grown] coffee ~ yay).
Then I found their wish list page.  They need stuff.  They can use artificial plants for their fish ($9.00) to lamps for the bat area ($65.00) to camera traps in the wild for a study ($500.00) to a 1,500 gallon holding tabk ($13,000).
Now they need one less item.
If you love wildlife, if you think you'd like to support an organisation that is friendly to girls like us, consider joining the museum.  Or at least buy a plant or three for the little fishies.


  1. --Recently went to a butterfly exhibit. Talk about a transforming experience! There's something about zoos and aquariums and exhibits like these that I find life-confirming. Makes me glad to be alive.

    Now they need one less item.

    And the question is - Which item?

  2. You whole episode in the desert has been really uplifting for me. What a wonderful experience.

  3. Thank you for this series of posts, Meg. It has been illuminating to read about my world through another's eyes.

    Although the museum has yet to add gender identity and gender expression to its official employment policies, I think it's only a matter of time. The group sales staff were very willing to work with the IFGE organizing committee in 2008 to arrange a tour during that year's conference in Tucson. And just a few months ago, an internal memo informing us of the conversion of one of the restrooms to a gender neutral family facility specifically stated that the comfort of "our transgender and genderqueer guests" figured into the decision (although all guests are free to use the restroom they feel most comfortable in, this extra choice helps those who don't feel comfortable using male or female facilities). Finally, a couple of summers ago, one of our teen volunteers was a fifteen year old Two-Spirited person from a Grand Canyon area tribe. Displaying a mixed gender appearance (male name and business suit, with make up, nail polish and earrings) was not a hindrance to performing the job duties of mailing out membership materials!

    Finally, I am very pleased with your choice of how to give back to the museum, Meg. I have to say that although we are trying to move away from the practice of mailing out dead trees by switching to email for half of our quarterly newsletters, the switch has been delayed due to the very low percentage of members who have supplied their email address for us to do so. It seems many of our supporters are rather behind the times when it comes to technology matters!

    I look forward to your next visit to Arizona, Meg. You'll have to think which comfort zone barrier you want to demolish next. ;-)


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