You are receiving Ellie Krug's Monthly Newsletter, The Ripple 
Protecting Our Kids
Sioux Falls
Dear Friends:  " I want our young people to know that they matter.”  

Michelle Obama said those words just last week as part of her final speech as First Lady. The words were directed at America’s youth; hearing them was bittersweet because I immediately thought about the hundreds of thousands of LGBTQ youth—particularly the trans youth—who soon will receive an exact opposite message from the  federal government and a number of states.  

My goal with this newsletter is not to be political—rather, I seek to be human, focusing on our commonalities as humans and offering ideas and hope toward greater inclusivity and compassion for all . However, political events often have very real human-related impacts. In those instances, I must speak up.  

In the next several weeks, the Trump-Pence team will roll back an Obama administration guidance protecting trans youth in public schools relative to restroom and locker room usage. Additionally, repealing the Affordable Care Act will remove a prohibition on discriminating against LGBTQ patients. On top of that, many states will go forward with “bathroom bills” making it illegal for transgender persons to use bathrooms that conform to their gender identity rather than their birth gender.  

The messages to our kids (all kids are our kids , but particularly those who are LGBTQ because of the risk of rampant marginalization)—with the force of the government behind those messages, no less—will be “you don’t matter”, that “we don’t care about you”, and that “you better conform to a straight, binary society.”  

I fear that we’ll see a spike in bad things as a result: suicide attempts and successes, clinical depression, and substance abuse. Most of all, I fear that we will lose humans.  

Please, be aware of the LGBTQ youth in your life. Take the time to talk to them and reassure that yes, they do matter. Let them know that millions of Americans think the same way. Tell them that what the government is doing isn’t at all right. Be there for these kids. Thank you.


It’s Official—H.E.R. (Hidden Edges Radio with Ellen Krug)!

I’m thrilled to announce the launch of my very own weekly radio show, “Hidden Edges Radio with Ellen Krug” (H.E.R.—I didn’t even do that intentionally, but hey, it really works!), on KTNF, AM950 on the dial in the Twin Cities.  I will be one of the few transgender radio hosts in the world. (That, along with $3.43, will get you a cup of hot chocolate at Caribou…)  

My first show aired on January 8 and covered my perspective-changing experiences in transitioning from male to female. Future shows will cover our human commonalities and the various disparities (race, class, etc.) that exist in Minnesota. Some will be  talking head shows and on others, I’ll have guests and focused commentary.  

The show’s official mission is to “take on the human condition and our internal limitations. The show explores how all of us are hard-wired for certain things, like bias and empathy, and the ways in which we draw lines between “us” and “them” and even within ourselves.” Sounds like a piece of cake, right?  

I’ll admit that I was quite apprehensive about starting a radio broadcasting career—it requires much time to do it right; will I bore listeners?; will I even have listeners? However, on the morning of November 9, I was darn happy about having a radio gig, for sure!   No doubt it will take several weeks for me to get my “radio legs.”

If you have an interest, the show is broadcast every Sunday at 1:00 CST; the show will also immediately be available by podcast. You can download the January 8th and future shows by clicking here. Please tell others!   It’ll be interesting to see how the audience deals with my darn man-voice. Stay tuned!    
Have You Heard of Indivisible?

I recently became aware of an online political/social and progressive grassroots organizing toolset called “Indivisible”, which seeks to replicate the success of the Tea Party, only this time as a way to oppose oppressive policies of the Trump-Pence administration.  

The 26 page toolset offers very practical tips on how to influence your members of Congress relative to voting for Trump-Pence agenda items. This is about old-fashioned American activism, not some radical agenda.

Importantly, for me and my work, Indivisible is also about inclusivity. Here’s an excerpt from their handbook:   Trump’s agenda explicitly targets immigrants, Muslims, people of color, LGBTQ people, the poor and working class, and women. It is critical that our resistance reflect and center the voices of those who are most directly threatened…If you are forming a group, we urge you to make a conscious effort to pursue diversity and solidarity at every stage in the process.  

I urge you to investigate Indivisible and consider forming an Indivisible group within your neighborhood. Make your voices heard. You can find the Indivisible toolset here.  

A Note to Trump voters: I understand that reading about Indivisible may make your believe that  The Ripple is just another one of “those” newsletters.  Actually, this newsletter if for all humans. I ask that you step back from your fears/reactions and instead, respectfully engage. Email me with your respectful thoughts or concerns. We are ONE country, and if we’re going to make it to a better place for all people in all parts of the U.S., we have to do it together by communicating with each other. Running away—by either the pro or con sides—is simply self-defeating.      

Hidden Figures—My First Feel Good Movie in a Long Time

Last weekend I had the chance to see Hidden Figures, starring Taraji P. Henson, Octavia Spencer and Janelle Monáe and based on the book by Margot Lee Shetterly. I laughed. I cried. I applauded. Most of all, I got a big booster shot of hope.

Hidden Figures is set in the early 1960s at NASAs Langley Research Center in Hampton, Virginia as America was struggling to put a man in space. The movie centers on three black American women who aided with solving the space programs computing and engineering problems. (In fact, this was before IBM computers were widespread; humans themselves were called computers.)  

The movie follows the lead character, Katherine Johnson (Taraji P. Henson) as she struggles against systemic racism and segration (separate bathrooms, water fountains and even a coffee pot) and blanket sexism. The other two primary characters, Dorothy Vaughn (Octavia Spencer) and Mary Jackson (Janelle Monáe) similarly battle a system that works to beat down the human spirit. Fortunately for us, none of those three women will allow any result except total vindication and respect for their minds and gender.  

This is an absolute feel good movie that reminds us of just how far we, as a country, have come. The audience broke into spontaneous applause at multiple points in the movie. I found myself crying at several points because of just how poignant both the acting and the scripts are. I highly recommend this movie. I also suggest bringing your kids (eight and above)particularly your daughters, nieces or female menteesso they get an idea of the oppressive nature of Jim Crow society for black American women. Click here to see a trailer of the movie

Human to Human Impact: Michele Obama—Wonderment and Inspiration

In my commentary above, I reference Michelle Obama’s final speech as First Lady, which she gave to a group of school counselors from across the nation who had gathered at the White House on January 6th to honor the 2017 School Counselor of the Year. The speech highlighted the work of Reach Higher, an initiative to make attending higher education “cool.” Among other things, Michelle highlighted how the Obama administration had doubled investments in Pell Grants and college tax credits and expanded income-base loan repayment options. At the same time, high school graduation rates are at an all-time high.  

In her speech, Michelle spoke directly to America’s students and reminded that with hard work, anything is possible, even being President. Here is an excerpt:  

So for all the young people in this room and who are watching, know that this country belongs to you—to all of you, from every background and walk of life....I want our young people to know that they matter, that they belong. So don’t be afraid—you hear me, young people? Don’t be afraid. Be focused. Be determined. Be hopeful. Be empowered. Empower yourselves with a good education, then get out there and use that education to build a country worthy of your boundless promise. Lead by example with hope, never fear. And know that I will be with you, rooting for you and working to support you for the rest of my life.  

Apart from telling young people that they matter, the most important takeaway from the speech is to not lead out of fear, but rather out of hope. Hope is in short supply for many of us, but it’s there if only we look for it and work towards it. As I go forward, I’ll be remembering Michelle’s words. They will nourish me in tight times.    

Rays of Sunshine: Barack and Meryl 

I can’t end this issue without acknowledging two people: President Obama and Meryl Streep  

This week President Obama said farewell to the country. I remember the night of his election in 2008 and his inauguration—my youngest daughter and I travelled to DC to attend. I recall the hope and promise of that time; how things have changed. Yet, as President Obama said in his speech, the answer to our political and social divisions lies not with politicians but rather, with us. He reminded that we are all in this together; that we must solve our problems together.  

I will miss that man and what he stands for. He inspired me to do better; certainly, he inspired my daughter (she volunteered for him in 2007 in Cedar Rapids when he was just a candidate with an odd name) to make political organizing her career.  

Good luck Mr. President! Thank you for your service to our country!  

Our other Ray of Sunshine must be Meryl Streep for her eloquent acceptance speech at the Golden Globe Awards. Most no doubt are now familiar with her speech; for me, the biggest takeaway was her call to protect the press. As she said:  

This brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That's why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the Committee to Protect Journalists. Because we're going to need them going forward. And they'll need us to safeguard the truth.  

These words are important to me because I hold the rather dubious distinction of being one of a relatively few transgender journalists (three media—print, online and radio). I am very concerned about protecting my (and that of others) right to speak what I view as the truth. Collectively, just as Meryl said, we need to protect all journalists across the world. 

                                          Odds and Ends
Here are this month’s Odds and Ends. I wonder if this isn’t the favorite part for some The Ripple readers?  
Darn Wonderful: We sometimes need to nourish our brains with images of cute golden retriever puppies. If you’re in need of such a moment, here are a few seconds of wonderment. (Okay, I’m human and can’t always be serious!)
DQ Does Right: A January 9 The Washington Post article details how a Zion, Illinois Dairy Queen owner lashed out at a black American woman and her young children when the woman asked for her money back after an ice cream order went awry. The store owner’s reaction including multiple uses of the “N” word; in the car, the women’s five year old asked, “Mommy, we n- - - - - ?” After the woman’s Facebook post about the incident went viral, Dairy Queen HQ stepped in and shut down the owner’s store. Please remember this the next time you have an ice cream choice (as if there’s really a choice when it comes to Oreo Blizzards…). You can read the entire story here. Unfortunately, I’ll have more future stories of how the abhorrent is becoming common due to the power of normalization.
Did You Catch National Geographic?: Transgender people all over the world were pleased to see the January issue of National Geographic which focuses on the “Gender Revolution.” This is a wonderful objective examination about how the world treats gender in general, and trans people in particular. At page 67 of the issue, you will see a picture of “Trina”, a Jamaican trans woman who bears the horrific scars of beatings and burnings. It’s a reality check on how for many (particularly black transwomen), living authentically truly is life-risking.
Clare Hollingworth—Heroine Journalist: On January 10,  veteran war correspondent Clare Hollingworth died at the age of 105. While not a household name, this woman was the first to report on the outbreak of WWII. She also reported from other war zones, including Algeria, Lebanon, and Vietnam. If you have a daughter—regardless of age—print off Clare’s biography and share it. Her life is truly inspiring for any woman; she led the way for many of us.
2016 Impact Report: I recently issued my 2016 Impact Report which details my inclusivity and compassion-building work during last year, including that I nearly doubled the number of trainings/talks compared to 2015. The report also details some of my goals for 2017, like doing at least 110 speaking/training events and launching a series of retreats where we can talk to each other human-to-human. You can find the report at my blog here.
Upcoming Talks/Trainings and General Stuff:  I’ll be in San Francisco for a marketing trip when this newsletter comes out. On the horizon will be Gray Area Thinking™ trainings for Designs for Learning in St. Paul, the Orange County Chapter of the Association of Legal Administrators (training in Irvine, CA), and Dakota County, MN employees. Also, beginning on January 16, there will be a series of broadcasts of my appearance (along with Jill Gaulding, co-founder of Gender Justice) on It’s a Woman’s World on the Metro Cable, St. Paul Neighborhood Networks and Town Square Television (the topic was transgender access to health care and overall protection of trans people).  Click here to see the TV show schedule or click here for a schedule of my upcoming events.  
Please Share about The Ripple: Readers who’ve been with me since The Ripple launched last July know that this has been a building process one issue at a time. (We’re currently approaching 900 readers on the mailing list.) If you like what you read here, please share The Ripple with your networks. I respectfully believe that my work is important (we’re all doing important work, for sure) and really, the only way I can build further is through word-of-mouth and social media. Thanks!
Happy New Year! I should have said this first rather than last! I hope that you’ve had a good start to this year. We have many challenges ahead, but perhaps there will be one or two happy surprises as well. I wish you the best as we go forward, collectively as one people, working for a common goal: to have a world where people are valued for their mind, character and spirit rather than their skin color or socioeconomic status.
The Ripple is a work in progress, so please, I welcome your suggestions and comments! Please share this newsletter with others, too!
Thank you for helping to make the world a better place! I'm at your side, cheering you on, I promise! Please have compassion for yourself and for others.
Encouraging Open Hearts and Thriving Human Spirits 
Human Inspiration Works, LLC: We make "inclusion" an action word

Ellen (Ellie) Krug