A journey to San Francisco to become no less than Me. (BLOG REBOOT: Former site of Hairy Legs.)

Archive for November, 2009

Boys Don’t Cry

So I’m a little late on the uptake for this one.  I tried my damnedest to find some way to watch it on the TGDoR, but nothing really wanted to work out for me on that day, period, and I wound up stranded at my trans-non-sympathetic friend’s house.  He accepts me well enough, but he doesn’t really see that there’s a tragedy going on with these people, thinks the surgery is “cosmetic” and didn’t do more than shrug when I told him what day it was, or the Statistics.  I started thinking, sometimes the ones that don’t care are worse than the ones who damn us.

But then I watched Boys Don’t Cry.

Don’t get me wrong, I know the story front to back, watched the documentary on Youtube, read the blogs and news journals, but they don’t take you into the experience of the story like the movie does.  And I tend to relate very heavily to a given character when I watch a movie, whether I’ve got much in common with him or not.  Brandon was Me in too many ways for me to even feel comfortable with, before we even got to the bad part of the movie.  (Well, except in the juvenile delinquent sort of way.)

Anyway, I got to sit down properly with my boyfriend last night and watch it (until his mom got home, at which point I got to sit down awkwardly and stiffly and watch it.  I don’t think she likes me and she’d like me even less if she knew I was a guy.)  But as awful as it was, it was worth watching.  He gripped my hand tight through the worst of it.  The rape scene WAS the hardest part to watch, but I think most of the horror of it all washed over my head until the end of the movie.  I think I sat there staring blankly at the screen for about five minutes.  And then his mom told us dinner was on the stove and she left the room, and then I got my plate and sat with it and I couldn’t eat, and then I noticed there were tears dripping onto my plate, and I just sat there like a statue until reality snapped back and I had to go to the bathroom to blow my nose.

I’m trying to think of the only other movie that made me cry.  I can’t remember.

(Might have been Wrath of Khan.)

So on one hand it kinda left me feeling scarred for life, and on the other hand it brought home how dangerous it is out there, really sort of made the danger and hurt mine to own and internalize, really sparked a spirit to do something about this in me.  I’m not sure what yet, but it’s brewing.  After all, I’m only 20.

And that brings home another point.  Last night I stared at my boyfriend’s calendar and started shaking when I realized I have no more than three weeks to come out to my dad if I want him to know about this before my 21st birthday.

I don’t know how to cope.

I’m just scared of how things are going to change around here when he knows.  We’re really tight these days; he’s slowly been turning me into a Trekkie by ordering the first season of Star Trek through Netflix.  Whenever we go out to do yardwork or something together, I call him Captain and he calls me Mr. Spock.  It’s really dorky but it’s something we share, and I think he’s somehow slowly coming to understand me by it.  I don’t want it to end, but in that same way, I don’t want our relationship, as good as it is, to be fake in any way.  I don’t want to be whatever he wants me to be just to preserve our friendship.  I have more respect for him than that.

On a happier note, I came up with a name for my… upper region that’s better than “tumors” or even “moobs”.  They are my chestnuts.

wOOt

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TG Day of Remembrance.

I’m feeling baffled and lonesome today.  Not only did my car break down so I couldn’t go to any trans sympathetic events today, but all of my friends seem to be busy.  But if I have to light a candle all by myself today in remembrance, I’ll do it.  This day is weighing heavier on me than I thought it would.

I couldn’t sleep this morning.  I got up before 6 and started writing my coming out letter to my dad.  It’s now probably around five or six pages, and from here it’s just paring it down into something he can process.  I needed to start working on it today, even though I’m planning on not coming out until shortly before my 21st birthday next month.  I want to have time to let it sit and ruminate, decide what to share and what to keep.  Even now I feel I’ve left a ridiculous amount out, but I don’t think it’s the kind of thing he can take in one sitting, anyway.  I want to provide him with so much so that he can understand it- I just don’t know how much he can get his head around in one letter, and if he can’t, what the most important thing is to include on his first experience with this, just in case he won’t want to listen to any more of it.  I may post my rough draft next time I post.

I’m on a quest to find other trans people in the county, because I’ve heard rumors through a friend of a friend about a friend or two they may have.  I don’t really have enough information to go on, but I’m pretty good at internet sleuthing, so I feel that if I dig around with just the right nugget of information, I may uncover something.  I just feel like I’m on the coattails of finding someone around here who’s like me.  I don’t find much support in the queer community, that’s for sure- I’m tired of hanging around with people who either need to be educated, or don’t want to hear it.  I need to get to know someone who already knows.

But, of course, there’s the whole problem of said possibly-existant person being the sort who loves their stealth and doesn’t want it uncovered by anyone, even other trans people.  I don’t know how to broach that line.  All I know is, I don’t want to be alone in this anymore.

One of my old friends from high school- one of the first friends I made, in fact, in Math- I just came out to him.  He sort of figured it out on his own.  I was never actually too incredibly close with him, he was just more of a fun guy to be around but not listed among my top friends.  But the funny thing is, he’s taking this trans thing like a regular pro, treating me just like one of the guys- just the way he’s always treated me, really- and trying harder than anyone to get my name right.  It’s great, he’s like a brother.  We got in an arm punching contest yesterday- I think he stopped pulling his punches when I punched his arm with such force that he stumbled back into his porch door.  It was awesome.  Now I have some bruises that feel just great.  No, I mean that.  I’ve never actually been in a fight before, and I don’t count slugging contests either.  I don’t think I have nearly enough battle scars.  It feels good to get some aggression out once in a while and I’m thinking about getting into some kind of combat class, maybe a martial art, maybe boxing.  I know for a FACT I want to start working out at a gym of some sort- I wish I could afford a membership, but I think the community college equipment is available with permission.  But I’m really getting off track here.

It’s just awesome to have a guy friend who I can joke around with and be a guy with- a straight guy friend, no sexual tension, I’d like to emphasize- and one who really knows what I’m about.  I think this is a major uplift in my life right now.

I’d like to do only one thing for sure before the day is over.  I’d like to rent and watch “Boys Don’t Cry.”  I think one of my other friends is coming over to pick me up today, so I was hoping we could stop and grab it at the video rental.  It’s important to be able to watch it today, on this day, if nothing else.  I wish I could spread the word to as many of my friends as possible about the dangers of being trans, but for now all I can do is keep writing, light my candles and watch a movie.

I feel a little… useless today.

More on coming out.

This has been on my mind almost 24-7 lately (when I’m not thinking about what to do about my car, which broke down a day or two ago, and when I’m not trying to figure out how to get to Anime L.A. in January.)  I know that I want this video by one of my favorite trans vloggers on Youtube, Heather, to be part of my coming out presentation, and I encourage any of my fellow transpeople to spread it around:

“Life in a Shreddies Box”

(Though hell if I know what “Muslix” are.  I think it’s a Canadian thing.)
This channel deserves a lot more visibility than it gets.  Heather’s videos are very informative, well worded, to the point, and very powerful in getting to the core of a lot of trans-related issues; I think there’s good for all of us in it to spread the word about the TransInsight youtube channel.

I think my car breaking down is actually doing me a little good.  I was in an area where I was running, running, constantly running around with friends, filling my schedule with almost more than I could take, trying to escape my reality, I guess.  I didn’t give myself any time to sit down and think.  Now that I’m being forced to, I realize how soon I’m going to be an adult and that my identity is slowly escaping me and everyone else.  I remember I had a goal last year, to be on T before I turned 21.  I don’t see that happening, the way I’ve been ignoring my problems, waiting for them to sneak up and bite me in the ass, I guess.  The truth is that the longer I wait, the harder it’s going to be for the hormones to take hold in my body, and I can’t sit around and wait for it to be okay with my family anymore.  I have to do something about this, or I’m going to be waiting around forever.

I think I’d like to be talking to a gender therapist before I’m 21, at least.  I’d like to be on the road to transition, medically, by next month.  I’d like to at least be able to tell my dad that I’ve hashed it over with a gender therapist in more than a consulting session.  I’ve been putting it off, you see, because in this county there’s only one person to go to for gender issues and I met her once, back when I was still having a lot of trouble with my dissociation.  I don’t think she took me seriously- maybe she was in a bad mood, maybe I rubbed her the wrong way, I don’t know, but she seemed so cynical that it was really hard to open up to her about ANYTHING.  The experience left a bad taste in my mouth, and I just feel like the chemistry is all wrong.

But damned if I don’t, cause if she’s the only way for me to get to what I want, then I’ll give her another shot.  I just hope she doesn’t remember me.  All I really remember about how I presented that day was how foggy and burnt out I was, on the ass end of living on the streets for four weeks, and how much effort it took to run through the grocery list again of things that were wrong with me, like someone who has to explain for the forty-fifth time the story of how they wound up with a broken leg in a cast.  It was not my best day, to be sure.  I don’t even think I brushed my hair that day.  But it’s time.  It’s time to go back down that road, and I hope I bring a better presentation this time.

Thinking about coming out.

Once again, I only have a couple moments to post, but this is important.

I was just reading another FtM blog about someone who just came out, and it struck me- I’m turning 21 in a month, and my dad doesn’t know who I am.  I don’t want to pass into my adulthood without coming out to my dad, because- and this barely makes sense, but- because I’d feel sort of “done”, in the cooking sense, as a human being, and I wouldn’t want anybody I respected as a fellow adult to partake of me without knowing what I was.  Did that make sense?  I don’t think so.  Nevermind.

The point here is, I need to come up with some way to come out to my dad- the traditional letter, or should I just have a talk with him, or should I make a big production of it, with videos I found online that I feel make it all make sense of the trans experience, or should I just keep it small, like it’s really no big deal, or what?  I feel like this is going to take a lot more explaining than just “I’m a guy.”  But I also feel like he might not listen to too much of it, and that I should cram some really core concepts into just a few lines to make sure he has something to think about before he makes me stop talking.  Or something.  I don’t know how to make him understand this without breaking his heart first.

The truth is, I know that this is going to hurt, because in his eyes, I’ll be taking his little girl away.  But in the long run, he’ll really just be getting to know the son he’s always had-

-the one who went fishing with him every Saturday when the other women in the family opted to stay home

-the one who went rock climbing and hiking and always wanted more when it was too much for sis

-the one who always wanted to shoot a game of one-on-one hoops with him

-the one who always wanted to go to the ballpark and watch the neighborhood baseball teams with him

-the one who rooted for watching football with him when all the other women in the house groaned

-the one who wanted to learn to shave, just like him, almost when I was too little to remember, and I cut my face

-the one who was determined to tough it out like a man for him when I fell and scraped my knee, even when I was just tiny.

There’s so much childhood there that I realize isn’t a traditional father-daughter relationship.  I was always there to be the son he didn’t have, and he just didn’t know it.  So I can’t see how hard it would be for him to accept it, really.  I just want to show him.

More on the trans movement.

 

Today, I feel like connecting with someone.

I know I just posted about ten minutes ago, but I don’t feel done yet.  It’d be nice to just be in the company of someone who understands, someone else trans, maybe someone old and wise who’s been through it all.  Like Kate Bornstein.

I just checked out the only book of hers that our local library carries, “Hello, Cruel World.”  I know it’s a suicide prevention guide, and my gender dysphoria hasn’t been nearly bad enough lately to make death an option, but I just wanted someone who understood me to talk to me.  She didn’t fall short of that at all.

Even my boyfriend, who is supposed to get it more than anyone else, and who really does, isn’t THERE- he isn’t from this place, and I can’t expect him to automatically understand, even when he tries.  I don’t know any trans people in real life and I have a few remote blogging buddies, but I don’t know a single flesh-and-blood person who can relate and talk to me about this, past me educating them about something they’re clearly clueless on.  When I want guidance, and our conversations mainly consist of “How is this any different from cosmetic surgery?  Why don’t you get liposuction while you’re at it?  You’re fine the way you are,” it gets a little wearying.  When you’re talking about the sobering suicide statistics of trans people, roughly one in three, and the only way the guy can respond is “Well, they must be weak/stupid, anything is better than death,” when you’re stating that one in 12 trans people world wide will be murdered violently and you’re standing up to possibly be counted in that slaughter, and they only way they can respond is to say that it must be easier to change the inside than the outside…

You just know you’re talking to people who have no idea.

It’s a little like being from a different country entirely.  It IS being from a different culture.  Imagine being born part of a race that is physically branded by the color of their skin or the rituals of their culture to be ridiculed, spat on, torn down, made fun of and be one of the last politically “safe” punching bags the bullies can use.  Welcome to our lives.  We are the New Roma.

And guess what?  It’s only getting worse.  In a world where the circle of those who are accepted under the umbrella of protection is expanding, where the fringe of people it’s still safe to beat up on is rapidly shrinking, and where those who love to hate can’t find their fix and are told to focus their hatred and ugliness only on those who REALLY deserve it, there are only the sickos, perverts and inexcusible freaks of nature left.  And sadly enough, in the current world view, transsexuals are still under those categories.

We’re the only people left trapped in a burning apartment that the firemen won’t dare enter for fear of getting burned themselves, and we’re running out of time- if we don’t save ourselves, nobody will.

And this brings me to another topic that really burns my gills.  One of the only ways we CAN save ourselves in the world view is to stop being sideshow events and porno subjects and Jerry Springer fodder and try to make our way up in the world as respectable, upstanding, contributing citizens of society.  And yet…

It is SO hard to give back to a culture that has taken so much from us.  When you go your whole life beaten by the system and expected to be nothing more than punchlines and punching bags, you DO tend to live on the fringe, the only place that will accept you, and it’s hard to really clean up, duck your head, give nod to the Man and go back to living a white bread, vanilla life.  How can you even do that when you’ve seen so much cruelty, how far the all-powerful System falls from grace where we really slip through the gaps, when you’ve seen the really ugly side of life?  And it’s a double sided push, too.

On one side, you’ve got Society, the people who expect you to be unable to hold down a decent job and life and expect you to be ugly, incompatible with propriety and generally wrong- and yet, paradoxically, expect you to be able to overcome all of that, and sneer when you can’t.  It’s a direct challenge.

On the other side, you’ve got the trans community, which, as it evolves with the times and defines itself, can be almost as bad of an enemy as anyone else, in spite of itself.  I feel much more tremendous pressure from THAT side of things to be successful, respectable, and morally upright, and never ever let any cisgendered people catch me doing anything that might cast a shadow on the rest of the community.  In that way, I carry the burden of every other trans person on my shoulders every time I step out my doors, every time I make a decision, every time the public eye is on me.  We all do.  We all, individually, carry the weight of every other trans person out there.

And let me tell you something.  I hate it.

I hate being under such scrutiny that, if I decide to do something a little naughty, suddenly my whole people is paying for it, not just me.  I’m sure that anyone of a scrutinized minority understands that feeling.

The truth is, I do feel a responsiblity to my community, more patriotism than I do for my country or even my blood family.  I want to change the world and make it a better place for those like me.  But suddenly I’m a part of this fraternity just for being born this way, and I realize that things are turning around again for me, only on a grander scale.

I’m not part of the trans movement primarily for the sake of making the world a better place, to make a political statement, or because I believe in something greater than myself.  I didn’t “join” this to be part of a club or to take the banner of something that I believed would make me morally purer.  I’m not here because of some crusade, and I don’t support it because I want to give myself to a cause.

I’ve become trans to become myself, and I feel that if I reform myself because the trans community expects I owe them something on the sole virtue of being trans, then I’ve defeated the purpose we’re all here for.  If I become something I’m not for one side or the other, then I haven’t made any progress at all- just switched sides.

So I apologize if anything I ever do or say seems retrogressive to the trans movement, or if I ever seem selfish.  But I believe that, to change the world, we must first change ourselves, and if I change myself into something that I don’t necessarily believe in, then what do I expect of the world?

I will always try to honor my community the best I can, because I do love them, and I do want to change the world beyond myself, and I would like to make an effort to keep from tarnishing an already almost ruined people.  But I will not be fake to do it.  I will not censor myself, and I will not go quietly into the cage that the establishment has cut out for me.

I am me, nothing else.

Flying too close to the sun.

I think things in my life were getting too good.  I was getting too nervous about being on top of things.  Nothing bad’s happened yet, but with some trepidation I stepped away from my gay little friend with the delicious cock and all the other contraband I’ve been enjoying too much.  I’ve been away from him for three days for the first time in two weeks and I’m just waiting in my storm shelter for the world to collapse around me.  I’ve spent well enough time with my boyfriend in a sort of repentence about making him jealous that I don’t feel so guilty anymore.  But still, I don’t think I can dance away from this fire so easily without getting burned.  Nothing in this life ever works out so easily.  Nothing.  Whether he wants to admit it or not, I’ve hurt him, at least as much as he hurt me, maybe more.  I know I enjoyed it more than he did.  I waited longer.  How can you fall in love with someone and wait for five years to see it come to fruition, and not feel like you’ve cheated the devil somewhere along the line?  There’s an equivalent exchange and a consequence for everything, so I must be paying for what I’ve taken somewhere.  I’m just not seeing it yet.

On other things, there’s this amazing webcomic my bf sent me that is a huge artistic statement for the LGBT movement in my opinion: Khaos Komix.  It takes a while getting to the point (at least for us), but by about part four or five, everything explodes and you’re glad you read it.

What else is there?  Oh yes, the Trans Day of Remembrance on the 20th.  I live 109 miles from the nearest event sympathetic to the holiday and I’d like to be in San Francisco (165 miles) for the big protest event, but I can hardly afford to drive to the store these days, let alone take a road trip.  I’d like to make an effort to bring my friends together and light a couple of candles, but I’m afraid their attitude is less than accommodating.  The general consensus (not spoken, but just inferred by their blase attitude) seems to be…

“Not my fight.”

I’d like to bring my friends together and try to watch “Boys Don’t Cry,” (which I haven’t seen yet, just watched the Brandon Teena documentary in 12 parts on youtube), and I hope to change that attitude.

I know that I need to spread awareness of the trans battle beyond those of us it applies to if I hope to make the world a safer place for the oppressed.

-Calvin Jack Thomas

Sometimes things do work out.

I haven’t blogged since the beginning of November.  I was doing NaNoWriMo, which by the way I fully endorse, but so much has been eating up my life that I pretty much gave up on it a few days in.  I’ve been in a happy place for a long time anyway; I figure, when you don’t have time to write because you’ve been spending so much time with your friends and loved ones, doing the things you love, that you must be doing something right, so… c’est la vie.  I’ll try it again next year, if things have settled down by then.

I’ve got a lot of things to hit on in a short time, so I think I’m going to bulletpoint it again.

– The two foster kids my parents took in have been shaking the house up and making it crazy, but it does have its uppers.  This is the biggest one so far, to me at least.  The little one, a year and a half, doesn’t talk that much, but she’s started calling me something. 

Da-da. 

It kind of blew my mind at first because I’d never mentioned anything to do with my gender to anyone in the family, particularly the baby, so I wrote it off as an isolated incident and figured it was a baby’s mistake, something she’d probably never say again.  But she won’t stop calling me Da-da, which does a few things at once; makes me realize that one day, I want to be a Daddy- I always have, to some extent- and it confirms the gender vibrations I give off to people who are too young to be biased on appearance.  So that has been really cool.

– I got to change the way at least one person views trans culture.  I was riding in the car with one of my friends, and he glanced out the window at one of the pedestrians and went, “Whoa, is that a chick or a dick?”  And my immediate response (as per Calpernia Addams’ fabulous video “Bad Questions to Ask a Transsexual“) was:

“If you can’t tell the difference, then you don’t need to know.”

He looked a little shocked at me- “Well, that’s not very nice.” 

I was a little aghast.  “Since when is it our job to tell everyone else the business going on between our legs?  It’s not a matter of  ‘nice’, it’s a matter of the most personal nature.  Transpeople don’t exist to be nice, you know.  We deserve the respect everyone else deserves, too.”

He was really quiet after that, which I took as a personal victory, since he usually has a smart comeback for everything.  I think he really took that to heart and thought about it for a few minutes.  Then he changed the subject, and I chose not to press the issue.  It seemed like a damn good idea to just let it rest.  But if I can get at least one person to view gender on a strictly need-to-know basis and not as everybody else’s business, if I can avert the critical and unblinking eye of one person, and that attitude spreads, then I feel like I’ve done my part.

-And now, the big thing.  You know that gay friend of mine who I thought couldn’t see me as anything but a big, scary walking vagina?

Let’s just say things happened. 

It’s a bit delightful.  We’re kind of on a friend-with-benefits basis, which is wonderful to me.  I prefer to think that he wouldn’t become emotionally intimate with me because we’ve been friends for way too long and it would just feel odd, but he basically came right out and said he always sees me as a guy anyway.  We play video games and mess around and it’s kind of a nice guy-on-guy setup funtime type… thing.  (That sentence completely failed at not being awkward and I won’t even bother to try.) 

I almost feel weak about this, though, because I almost feel like being with a gay guy right now is less about the person and more about personal validation- “If I can be with a person who is only attracted to dicks, PERIOD, then I MUST be a guy!”  I don’t like the idea that, somewhere in my head, that’s what this is all about.  But I can’t help feeling a small amount of personal victory in this issue, either, because it does feel damn great to be with someone who couldn’t possibly see me as anything OTHER than male.

It’s also a little awkward because this is kind of an open thing involving this guy and my boyfriend.  See, at some point this summer, my boyfriend and this guy got together, and I was almost completely left out on sole virtue of having a vagina.  My boyfriend didn’t get why it hurt me so much and basically expected me to suck it up.  But now the tables have turned and this guy is waaay more comfortable with me, and is actually a little freaked out by my boyfriend, who has a lot of trouble respecting personal boundaries.  (Plus I am apparently way better at giving head.)  So now my boyfriend is butthurt, and I’m enjoying shoving it in his face just a little too much.  But it’s the first time in our open relationship that the other person actually preferred me and let my boyfriend tag along, not the other way around, and I just want him to know what the other side of the fence is like before he does it to me again. 

/end soap opera

For once, I’m on top of pretty much everything in my life, and I’m nervous that I’m getting way too happy with the power.  This isn’t me.  I’m not normally a vindictive little bitch.  But for once, the universe has fallen in such a way that I’m holding all the cards, and I want to enjoy it while it lasts.  I KNOW that this won’t last long, that I’m treading very thin ice, and that everything must fall apart sooner or later.

But DAMN it’s nice to be on top. 

(You can read into that all you want.)

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