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

Posts tagged ‘anger’

“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.

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Today, I’m hurting.

My gender dyphoria always ramps into hyperdrive when I hang with one of my best friends, a pretty hyper-gay guy.  I’ve spent the last two days with him.  

It’s been an intense period of gender extremes for me, since Halloween is one of those gender-free days where I can dress as a guy character and most people call me by who I’m dressed as rather than my given name; it’s like a little vacation where I can be anyone I want, as long as they’re not a girl, and that’s a vast improvement anyway.  I’d rather be seen as the most mediocre guy than the most attractive female as long as people get the pronouns right.  And dressed as the Graverobber from “REPO! The Genetic Opera”, I was pimpin’.  All the girls in my circle of friends were hanging off of me and treating me like a real man, for at least a couple of hours, and even if it was just a game to them, I didn’t care.  It made things right in my own little universe for a little while, and it was… nice.

That said, there’s nowhere that gender discrepancy is thrown into sharper relief than with a gay guy you’ve wanted to be with for years who will never be able to get past the gaping hole where you’re supposed to have a dick.  It’s funny.  A lot of people new to the trans scene don’t believe how much rejection trans people get from the gay community.  You’d think, of all people, that gays would understand what it’s like to not be accepted for who you are and what you can’t change, but as far as I’ve seen, they reject transmen with such discrimination that we’re better off looking for support among cisgendered people.  And forget it if you’re a gay transman.  Might as well just turn straight.  I haven’t yet met a gay guy who would even consider going out with someone who previously had a vagina.  It’s like just being around them would call into question their gayness or something.

My dysphoria is on the rampage today.  I’m unbelievable horny, with a side dish of angry that makes me want to rape something, sprinkled with the shame and inadequacy knowing I couldn’t without rigging a contraption that makes a mockery of what I don’t have.  I’m crawling out of my skin.  It feels like someone lined the inside of a mascot costume with superglue and put it on me while I was sleeping, and I can’t get it off.  This is a nightmare.

Chest bruising and angry ranting.

I wore binding out for the fourth day in a row today.

What sucks:
– I need a REAL compression shirt of some sort.
– I currently use 6″ ace bandages, which have always worked in a pinch, but obviously not a good idea for every day wear.
– I took them off halfway through the day and noticed a weird purplish coloring, which ironically brought the “tumor” analogy closer to life. Chest bruises = not fun.
– But weirdly enough and even MORE ironically, my friend said that she heard that if you bind enough and cause enough bruises in your chest area, it can cause breast cancer (which kind of has the ring of an urban myth, but you can never be too sure.)

What’s (kind of) awesome:
– My technique has been getting better and it never really has that lumpy look anymore.
– I’m getting better at not noticing the pain until I’ve been in binding for 10+ hours.

Yeah.  It’s pretty obvious the pros are overshadowed by the cons.  Any list that has “but I’m getting better at ignoring the pain” as a positive point is pretty much the sign of a losing battle.

So, I just went to check out the Big Brothers Used Binder program.  I’ve ultimately decided I’m going to have to go on ahead and buy one instead of try to get one through the program.  Let’s face it, I may only make $200 a month, and that may be difficult to try and live on, but I’ve got a place to go at night, I’ve got a somewhat supportive parent, I’ve got food stamps… and to put the icing on the cake, I just blew $100 going to San Francisco a couple weeks ago.  The site said you can actually order a binder for as little as about $20, which I consider far worth it, even if it means I’m going to have to put off getting my car fixed for a little longer.  I’d just feel dirty and awful if I tried to go through Big Brothers.  But they’re an awesome program if you’re really falling on hard times.

Looks like, till I scrounge up the means to get my own, I’m going to be dealing with the Ace Horror for a little while.

In other news, I had my first real fight with someone over my trans issues today.  I was just trying to figure out something for my best friend to call me, because my birth name has been really getting under my skin lately, and I was trying to go easy on her and not make her call me something that would be “hard” for her, or whatever, because it’s so FUCKING hard for everyone else when us transpeople go through this… okay, I’m settling down now.

Anyway, it seemed like one of those rare things she might have a little fun with, something she could join me in and get really excited about- “YOU get to help me pick my new name, I’m trusting YOU with this,” you know?  But just like with anything else I brought up that was trans-related, she got so quiet and distant, offering only the occasional monosyllabic response.  It bothered me.  I had no idea what she was thinking- whether she hated me, whether she had no opinion, whether she thought her opinions were stupid, whether she was completely uninterested, whether she just wanted to change the subject, I had NOTHING to go on.  I’d actually been trying to stifle myself somewhat about it all, only bringing up the things that struck me as positive or funny and not really laying the issue on anyone else, but she finally blew up at me after I questioned why she always got so clammed up whenever I brought up anything.   Apparently, it’s all I’ve been talking about, 24-7, forever… Okay, now I’M exaggerating on HER exaggeration out of bitterness.  But it’s how I feel about that accusation.  Don’t we do other shit together?

I don’t know what to do.  Am I just supposed to shut it away and pretend none of this is happening?  Let her call me a name that feels like a searing hot poker in my skull every time I hear it?  Never bring up any of my current issues, no matter how relevant, awesome, or painfully lonely any of it is to go through?  This is what is going on with me, right now, and if she doesn’t want to hear it, then it’s a choice between not being with her or self-censorship.  I don’t want to make that choice, but apparently it is SO FUCKING HARD for her to see me try and figure out who the fuck I am, as long as it doesn’t comply with what she thought.  I mean, I can’t believe how hard it is for someone to use a different pronoun, or a different name, or just to accept that I can’t be in fucking public and feel like a human being if people can see these… THINGS on my chest!  I’m making myself so vulnerable to her and letting her in on all this, and she can’t see anything but how hard it is for HER to deal with any of this.

God, I can’t believe how angry I am about this.  Sometimes I feel like if I threw myself into a vat of acid and came out an unrecognizable creature, or cut and mutilated my face and chest and anything that can be seen as female on me, or even just killed myself, I’d feel free from this …thing that tortures me.  I’m crawling out of my skin day and night, but it’s SO FUCKING HARD for other people to use a different name, just to relieve a little bit of this hell I’m living in.  My message to the world:  Oblige me for five fucking seconds out of your selfish life, you assholes, and I might not hang myself when I go home tonight.

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