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

Archive for the ‘The Trans Movement’ Category

“Genderless Freaks-” another rant.

Photo credit to Andrej Pejic,Source of photo: http://lexiecannes.wordpress.com

Photo credit to Andrej Pejic,
Source of photo: http://lexiecannes.wordpress.com

 

I’m not big on fashion, but I’m celebrating someone who dares to do what he wants- beauty standards, acceptance of gender expression, misogyny in the industry, and all other points be damned.  Andrej Pejic is on the cover of Elle Magazine, Serbia, and he defies traditionally accepted gender norms by posing for men’s AND women’s lines of clothing (beautifully, I might add.)

read about it here>>>:

 

It’s all over the web, and opinions on what his exposure to the press is doing for the non-normative acceptance movements are varied and heated.  But once again, someone posted a response to all this that hit my rage button just right.  It’s the source that shocked me this time.

Posted by some freaked out trans girl:

I suppose this can be thought of as positive if you want people to see us as genderless freaks inhabiting some midway point as third genders. Personally I dont want anyone to think I am anything like this person who is a cartoon. Publicity is only good if it portrays us in an accurate fasion. I dont like being lampooned.

In four short sentences, I was floored.  It hit me, hard.  There are people out there, people in the trans community, who think like this.  If you see nothing wrong with the above statement, maybe my response below will clear things up a bit.

I love how, in this hypothetical situation you’ve dreamed up, you draw this circle (I’m assuming people you consider to be “respectably transgender”) and call it [Us], put Pejic on this representative pedestal, and posit that his gender expression is going to be responsible for casting a bad image on yourself and everyone else [in your trans circle].

I love how you then go on to:

– make a specific point of letting us know how NOT like him you are (which I would have assumed anyway based on your stifling binary presentation),
– belittle and marginalize his gender expression to [Cartoon] when there are plenty of cis-hetero-normative folk who wouldn’t think twice about saying the same thing of you,
– assume that he’s out there, looking for publicity specifically to highlight what it’s like to be [You and/or Anyone Else in your Trans Circle],
– and finally, assume that he’s out there with the intention of representing or “lampooning ANYONE.

He’s not there to represent anyone but himself, and/or those who might consider themselves like him (which I would assume are few and far between; Pejic is one of a kind.) Just like I’m not here to represent you, or trans men, or genderqueer folk, or any other number of marginalized, generally considered “distasteful” folk. I’m here to be myself, live my life, follow my dreams, not be invisible, and represent MYSELF, genderflawed though I may be. If you decide to make me your representative, that’s fine with me, but it’s not my responsibility, I don’t want, and I assume Pejic doesn’t, either. He just wants to do what he likes, and why should he stifle his dream because ….someone he doesn’t know might get embarrassed?

You have a lot of self-education to do on the broadness of the gender spectrum and the basic human right to represent oneself as one sees fit. There ARE some people who consider themselves genderless, as inhabiting a midway point, AND as a third (or other) gender, and what gives you the unmitigated gall to say that those gender expressions are less valid than yours when yours isn’t even orthodox?

You can’t just take one or two steps outside of the binary, make your own cute little parody box mimicking the limitations you you and so many others have worked so hard to escape, draw a line that says “I’ve gone far enough! Anyone past this point is a FREEAK!”, and assume that ANYONE, cis, trans, or otherwise, will take YOUR gender expression seriously, or even pay you a shred of respect.

I didn’t want to get mean, but I have to say it- trans people like you, trying to hold back the tides of change in acceptance of gender expression variance, are more dangerous to the movement than the bigoted cispeople we’re struggling against, OR the Pejics of the world that you fear, and you know why? Because your cowardice is infectious. It’s coming from a source on the “inside” of the gender-non-normative community, and young/new GQ people just shaping their worldviews might be looking up to you for guidance, and what you have to say, as ignorant as it may be, just might sound okay and trustworthy to an impressionable mind.

It horrifies me that there are so many people who still say “I may be ___ but at least I’m not one of those despicable ____’s”, because somehow you fail to see that people right now at this very moment saying that about YOU, and it’s making you squirm in your skin, you just can’t STAND it, but you’re doing it to someone else just to feel better about yourself, and it DISGUSTS me. It’s people drawing circles of exclusion like THAT who are enforcing hatred, bigotry, and ignorance. You’re leading the way for people to take three big steps back, and I say, for SHAME.

It’s official.  The kid gloves are off.  Maybe I’m mean, but I can’t hold back anymore.  I’ve been trying to sit back and watch people give their opinions peacefully and with respect, knowing for the most part it doesn’t do any good to to yell back at people, but you know what?  I’m entitled to my opinion too, I have a keyboard, and that’s what the comment section is for.   It may be ugly and it may be pointless, but god knows it’s therapeutic.  So these are the sorts of things I’m shooting all over the internet, and if you don’t want to end up on the wrong end of my raging wall’o’texts, educate yourself before opening your mouth.

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“Ignorant censorship.”

You know, I just can’t seem to stop spilling venom at the people who are treating us trans folks like shit.

I used to be nice.  I used to carefully and sympathetically educate when it was clear that the person didn’t know what the hell they were talking about.  I don’t get mad at people very much.  I’m a rational person.

But I’ve been running into a whole rash of people who are just plain inexcusably ugly to us, and I get so enraged I just can’t help but wield my pen as my sword.  I can’t hold back any more.  I don’t care.  Why should I continue letting people think we’re meek little lambs?

Recently, Veronika Fimbres, the incredible trans activist who fought MUMC to get the Trans flag on the Castro flagpole for the Transgender Day of Remembrance, wrote a beautiful article about the significance of flags (linked).  You should go read it, it’s beautiful.  I’ll be here when you get back.

And then, who should arrive in the comments section but Gilbert Baker, the man who created the Rainbow Flag in 1978!  You’d think he’d have something awesome to say about the social progress of trans folks being able to honor our dead once a year with a flag.  Instead, he had this to say.

GB:

Patrotism is the last refuge of scoundrels. This is Ignorant censorship, never bothering to mention that the rainbow flag was removed so the trans flag could squat on the pole which I put there as a work of art to specifically fly the rainbow flag.

At first, I wasn’t sure what I was reading.  I thought maybe some delusional schizophrenic had gotten into someone’s facebook account and was posting word salad about some totally unrelated paranoid fantasy.  But when I clicked into his profile, sure enough, it said this.

Gilbert Baker created the Rainbow Flag, symbol of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender movement in June 1978. His work as a vexillographer (flag maker) spans 30 years and includes two world records…

My mind was blown.

I clicked blindly back to the comment section, and faster than I could tell my fingers what to do, this poured out of me like someone had pierced my jugular. I don’t know if I was too mean to be readable, too toxic to be related to, sympathized with or educating in any way, but all I could do was post it.  It was just the truth.

Me:

Your profile says that you created the flag as a “symbol of the gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender movement”. How easily can you forget that last word tacked on as a afterthought, that you can call it ignorant censorship when the trans community requests a single day a year to highlight the tragedy of our hundreds upon hundreds of yearly deaths due to senseless hate crimes, poverty, denial of simple health care and unbelievable suicide rates due to societal harassment and torment? Have you looked at the numbers? Have you been listening to us all, or just your favorites?

We didn’t even ask for it to fly on a day of celebration of our community (like the gay community does so freely every day of the year), but on a day of sorrow and mourning, to raise awareness, get people talking, asking questions, instead of just ignoring us or using us as the butts of their jokes the rest of the year.

You consider yourself a champion of the LGBT community, and yet you seem so uneducated on the tragedy of your estranged cousins, so why include the T at all? Have you any idea how comparable our media portrayal in recent years is to the indignity of blackface and sheer parody? Don’t you realize we are one of those last few groups that, for the majority of folks, it’s still okay and PC to say, “I may be this, but at least I’m not one of those dirty transsexuals”? I’ve heard this personally. Did you know last year, a trans woman was dragged out of a public restroom, beaten into a seizure while onlookers jeered, the whole thing was recorded, nobody did a damn thing, and worst of all, when that video made it online to major news sites, a majority of the commenters supported the criminals, posting filth like “That THING deserved it.”

Right here, in San Francisco, where we’re supposed to be the safest in the world, just a few short months ago, I was picked up by an ambulance due to a severe asthmatic episode. The paramedics were so ignorant and uneducated in their sensitivity and diversity training that they treated me with the highest disrespect and verbal harassment, just because I couldn’t talk and they couldn’t immediately tell by looking which gender I was.

My friend, THAT is where we’re at right now. White gay men have had their revolution, they can’t be touched, they have positive portrayal in media, rights, leaders, respect, and unless a person wishes to be totally estranged by their civil PC community, he’d better not voice a negative opinion on them out loud.

We’ve not had our revolution yet, we’re still stuck in the sixties, and nobody but our own cares enough to do a thing about it. So we work tirelessly to educate even those who pretend to ally with us.

And then, people like you come along and have the
unmitigated
GALL
to call flying the trans flag…
Ignorant censorship.

I have nothing more to say to this, other than you have so, so much research to do on the community you pretend to be a part of before you can shamelessly appropriate the usage of that “T” for the approval of others without feeling like an utter slimeball, and to the disgust of people like myself. If you feel like that’s too much effort, then by all means, just stop including the T, and it’ll be no skin off my back- at least you’ll be making an honest man of yourself. But I invite you to let yourself in to the circle you’ve made. Your move.

I haven’t prayed in years.  But please god, please help me to be compassionate and educate in a way that doesn’t turn people off before they get to the second paragraph.  I want to reach people, not turn them into enemies.  But how can I take the words of the truth and make them nice when the truth is so FUCKING ugly?  I can only do so much, I only have so much strength, only so much charisma.

What can we do?  What can we really do but just get blindly enraged anymore?

God give me endless tolerance.

I fight for the dignity of the countless who have died.  May their memory give me grace and love.

I fight for the dignity of the countless who have died. May their memory give my words the grace to express unconditional love.

Little 3am bathroom rant.

Because the next five year old little transgender girl will be SOOO safe in the men's room.

Because the next five year old little transgender girl will be SOOO safe in the men’s room.

 

It’s all been heard before by anyone on this blog, so I’m preaching to the choir.  But sometimes someone posts something so profoundly stupid that it’s time to use logic, sympathy, and common sense to tear them a new asshole.

In this news story, a boy won the right to use the proper bathroom at his school, small victory for the home team, big victory for mankind.  And then this …ahem.  Individual.  Comes along and posts this ignorant tripe in the comments.

Captain Humanitarian:

Here we go again! Let’s have 99% of the population throe their rights out the window and bend over backwards for 1%! I guess if I feel uncomfortable with a trans using a men’s washroom I am a bigot! What a joke! If someone threw a petition in my face, I would likely bow to social pressure and sign it – even though I disagree!

I don’t make a habit of responding to internet comments because it’s a lost cause on the whole, but I thought maybe someone could learn something, so here we go.

Me:

Some people will never understand just how for granted they take being able to use the bathroom with dignity. When every single day of your existence outside of your home is planned around trying to decide whether you’re going into a restroom where you:

a) could get arrested or kicked out versus
b) a restroom where you could get beaten and raped,

just for looking a certain way, you will then have room to speak on this matter. Till then you don’t have a leg to stand on.

And on the subject of violence, I’d like you to name a SINGLE transgendered rapist or murderer in history you didn’t see on a fictional movie. I’ll wait here while you go and look. Oh yes, the news would have a field day with that too, so don’t you dare say that it was just ignored.

And if you’re “uncomfortable” with someone with slightly different anatomy using your facilities, then just take a second to consider the discomfort of all the trans folks with chronic bladder problems because they refuse to use public facilities due to the terror of the bathroom problem- often learned by personal experience with violence.

In a nutshell? Bathrooms should be available to all. If you’re uncomfortable with diversity, then you should be the one to hold it all day and use your own toilet where you can decide exactly who gets to use it and who doesn’t. Public facility means PUBLIC, end of story.

If you agree, or have that once special friend who seems to think we’re inhuman enough to require a separate facility, or just want to spread awareness, feel free to share this.

Almost a month, and no post?

Sorry I’ve disappeared from the internets so long.  Celtic Faire was a blast, and I’ll probably update on a lot more of that later on, but let’s just say by the end of the third night, a group of the guys had officially initiated me into their group as a dude, and I was feeling pretty damn good about things.

For Faire, I dyed my hair orangey to get back to my celtic roots (pun actually not intended), made a kilt, and did my traditional application of theatrical facial hair.  Unfortunately, I only got one picture, and a bad one, and it was on a cellphone camera, but if I can get ahold of the person who took it and get them to send it to me, I’ll try and post it.

I got my hair back to a normal color today, and I’m feeling generally more creative and happy about things, so much so that I’m thinking about finally starting my youtube vlog.  As to why I haven’t gotten back on top of things since Faire, one of the things that happened during faire was that for five nights in a row, I was sleeping in a tent out back of the fairgrounds, which is normally fine, but we got a cold snap this year, with it snowing the first night and pissing down freezing rain the third night, so badly to the point that for the first time in faire history, they had to do a forced evac of the tents and relocate us to some of the more dry tents under the barn.  On top of all that, I worked my ass off every day from the second I got up until the workforce was turned in for the night, and all that combined gave me the worst case of bronchitis I’ve had in three years.  I was bed-sick for about a week and a half since I went home, with a fever for the first week above 100 the whole time.  I’m just getting my lungs back, the coughing is slowing down and I feel good enough to get up and move around somewhat.

I’m sick and tired of being stuck in a bed and not doing anything, so my creative juices are just bursting and I’m ready to start doing something really creative in the trans community.  I had a couple ideas for a music video, and my best friend and I want to record a dialogue on the internal warfare in the LGBT community and how we all just have to wake up, grow up and start trying to live in harmony again- or how can we expect the straight community to ever accept us?

In other news, I might be making it down to the Bay again some time in the next few weeks, which is always revitalizing.  So things are looking pretty up.

Testimonial of a life reformed.

To anybody who thinks that going through transition is a bad idea: think again.  I wouldn’t be getting my life on track this way otherwise.

Now that my life is worth living, I’m finally sprucing it up a little.  Now that I’m slowly starting to inhabit an identity that I actually like, rather than one that’s foisted on me, I’m taking care of it, owning it, and learning to like myself.  I’m exercising more and eating less; I’m giving a considerably bigger crap about personal hygiene and such, now that I’ve realized I don’t have to drown myself in florals and strawberries every time I step in the shower.  I care about my appearance when I step out the door, and actually probably pay more attention to the way my hair looks now that it’s cut short than I did when it was hanging long (rather like a dead rat- I couldn’t do anything with it, so I barely even bothered brushing it).  I know the clothes that I like, and thereby don’t just throw on any random thing I find lying on the floor anymore (and believe me, my room was full of hand-me-downs that even the biggest fashion pariah would look at and go, “You’re wearing that?  Really?”)

It’s spreading into other areas.  Now that I like my life and intend to live in it for a lot longer than I originally planned, I’m taking care of my things and spaces.  For the last four days, I’ve done a super-powered bedroom cleanse where I threw out about 66% of my belongings, 75% of my clothes and 100% of the trash that was lying around from six years of living in the same house and not giving a shit where anything landed.  I’ve done away with the ancient bedframe with hearts that I never liked but used anyway because it was there; I can sleep on a mattress on the floor and be four times as happy.  In fact, I have three twin mattresses in there as my main furniture.  Now my room has the look and feel of a totally modular bachelor pad, and I actually enjoy spending time in there- it’s no longer a drop-off dump for my junk.  I’ve cleaned out my dresser drawers, washed all my clothes, folded it, and put it in there.  You’d think that becoming a guy would give me sloppier housecleaning and hygiene ethics, but I’m not sure it was possible: the only direction to go from where I was at was UP!  I’m no longer the disgusting guy who doesn’t shower and has a room full of empty cheetos bags and other questionable items.  I’m the guy who is getting his life together.

I’m applying for jobs again.  I’m saving up my money to get a new car.  I’m getting my insurance papers in order so I can get my teeth fixed.  I’m making new friends left and right instead of losing the old ones.  And I’m doing it all because I’m transitioning into the person who I want to be.  None of this would be possible if I had so little hope as I did last year.  I was beaten down, confused, and certain that I was so screwed up that I’d never fit in.  At that point, I figured my life was over, I was never going to be happy, so why not just give up?

And then, I figured out that there was a way out.  I wasn’t trapped.  Sure, I wasn’t going to get the body that I wanted (everyone wants a Ferrari), but there was a way to get into one that I could at least be comfortable with (my ’92 Chevy AstroVan).  With this, I know I can go on and make a good life for myself.

This is the testimonial of a life reformed.

To anyone who says that transition isn’t a good idea for those who feel they are stuck in the wrong body:

You can suck my cock.

Very quickly, while I’m still thinking about it:

This seemed very important to share with my fellow FTM’s, if to think about, to spread around, to make aware, or even just to correct one person before they hurt someone else.

http://www.fortunecity.com/village/maupin/133/MilesFromHome.htm

In this post, this woman is bringing a single point to light, one I was almost entirely unaware of:

“The misogyny in the FTM community is rampant. It seems to be more openly and frequently displayed than in any heterosexual milieu I have ever experienced. It is pure hate…and has been exhibited in many forms…some of which I have personally experienced…others I have only been told about…but I believe the womyn who tell me these things. They have no reason to lie at this point. From mockery to death threats, the hatred for womyn cannot be easily explained away or excused on the pretext that these guys are overcompensating for having been born to a female body when that is not what fits them best. No…this kind of hatred is usually reserved for the “other”…the hatred exhibited by KKK members for African-Americans…the hatred shown to transsexuals by ignorant bigots…the murderous rage that all too often is in the news as a homicide case. That is the quality of hostility that is apparent in many of the posts to the mailing lists frequented by FTMs online.”

In the FTM’s I’ve met online and in real life, I’ve never once seen anything out there that would give me reason to believe these ways of thinking are propagated, and have in fact met and read several feminist transmen. But hearing it from someone who’s been around, experienced way more than I have, and seen it first hand gives me reason to believe it’s out there, and I also believe it’s our job as brothers to correct one another before it gets out of hand in our personal lives and put it to a stop.

I can see how it would develop, personally.  Having had femininity forced on us all our lives, having faced it as an enemy that was overtaking our bodies and minds, and, ultimately, having had to put it in the category of pure evil to overcome it, I can see how anything “pink” (feminine) will be something we would want to shun, put down, or run screaming from into the night.  Currently in a place of social transition, I couldn’t even be in the same room as a chick flick at a party and feel comfortable- I felt required to make several depreciating remarks to distance myself from the film and earn my place with the guys.  I can see the misogyny creeping into the corners of my life, and it frightens me a little- I’m turning into an asshole.

But the result is putting others in our former places, people who don’t even deserve it.  Don’t you remember what it was like to have people look at you “that way,” or tell you that you couldn’t do something because you were a girl, or dismiss you based on the business between your legs?  Why do we perpetrate a world that wasn’t fair in the first place and almost broke us down before we overcame?

Do unto others as you would have them do unto you.  Bring someone up for a change, make their day the way that being called “sir” the first time made you feel like a king for a week.  Just treat others as humans. This world is screwed up; give it some compassion.  For christ’s sake, put your manhood on the line if it means that it might save someone’s life.

Make a change.

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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