No.

Jun. 7th, 2009 10:28 pm
I will not pander to those who see me as a role or purpose in their lives. I am a person. If you can not accept my layers then you have no worth to me. If you act as though your comfort, your reputation is automatically more important then my health, you have no worth to me. If you balk at the idea of me changing, as all people do with time, then you have no worth to me. If you refuse to respect me, my pronouns, my name, my identity and my feelings then you have no worth to me.

I am done making excuses for people to treat me like shit. I am done being made into an object or role so that someone else can be more comfortable. I am done with people selfishly putting their image or comfort above my effing health and then asking me how I could be so "selfish" as to transition. The irony is just sickening.

I will not pander to it. I will not allow it. If you do this to me, I will turn my back on you. I will walk away from you. I won't look back.

And you'll only have yourself to blame.

ID!

May. 30th, 2009 12:16 pm
I haven't changed my name yet because of some email issues and a lack of paperwork but I finally got my new driver's license in the mail with a picture that doesn't look like a male convict.

So I am very very pleased.

It isn't the best of pictures as I look very very startled but it is still a picture that looks undeniably like me at this venture in my hormone therapy.

It's also nice from the standpoint of the eventual name change. A lot of trans folk are stuck carrying around the old ID for stuff as the name change thing gets filtered through everything. What really sucks is that the old picture usually looks entirely like how they did pre transition. So it's a pretty shitty source of dysphoria. But now, my "old" ID will be girl picture/old name instead of old name/omfg bearded guy picture.

...yeah I had a goatee when I was younger. x_x

I'm not quite comfortable yet putting up pictures of myself here so I can't really show you how radically different I look now from how I looked before. I get the comments all the time of "omg, hun that can't possibly be you." But as I get a little more settled in and make sure there isn't any linkages between me irl and here that I don't have at least some control over, you (my faithful readers or figments of my imagination <3) can expect some photos to compare.

This sort of ventures into an interesting topic of stereotypes and misconceptions. To those unexposed to trans folk, many have this sort of clear stereotypical view of what we look like as a whole. This idea that we all look like manly dudes in dresses with big chiseled chins or petite curvy chicks in guy clothing with short hair.

There are folks out there who got really effing screwed by the lifetrain and do (unfortunately) have very strong features of their birthsex and never get rid of them even with tons of surgery and stuff. But assuming that is all that's out there is really kind of ignorant. But to be entirely aware of society, this happens with EVERYONE. Black people are stereotyped, gay folk are stereotyped, women are stereotyped, etc etc. Even people in the majority are stereotyped, it just has a slightly lower impact because they tend to control the resources of a society. The really serious issue is when the community in question absorbs these stereotypes as truth.

When I tell people that I'm trans I get the head cocked to the side and one eyebrow up expression nowadays. Even other trans people sometimes. That's great from a self esteem standpoint, but it really dismays me that people think it is so utterly impossible for a trans woman to look good that they actually have a hard time believing me when I tell them I'm trans. It gets a little mtf specific here, sorry trans guys and nonbinaries. I just don't have much experience with you folks and your image issues coming from these attitudes to reliably shoot my mouth off about them. And sure it's a blog, so no one really expects accuracy but I do my best not to talk about things I know fuckall about. *nodnod*

But if any trans guys or nonbinaries wanna sound off in the comments section about some of the issues you folks face from the misconceptions about trans person appearance, please do. Hell, I might even edit the post and throw some of your comments into it with a name to give credit. <3

But yes, back to the attitudes on trans person appearance. This is especially a negative thing because these attitudes permeate the trans community too. I can't tell you how many girls I've talked to who think they can't possibly look good if they transition pass age 21. I've seen and even met transwomen who transitioned at age 60 and look utterly amazing. To me, allowing these attitudes on appearance to poison us is nothing short of self sabotage and it is utterly unacceptable.

Things like this can make all sorts of awful shit happen. People dosing themselves on way higher amounts of hormones then they should because they feel like they'll never look like their target sex if they don't rush it. Does anyone else realize that natal girl/guy puberty can take between 4~7 years to finish? We move fast in comparison! Or people delaying and giving up on transition until they can't take it anymore and either finally jump in or kill themselves, because they think it isn't worth it if they can't look like their target sex and automatically believe that they never will. There's other issues there of course (seriously you don't need to be an effing supermodel to be happy, folks) but this assumption that everyone is equally fucked by the lifetrain is an awful horrible assumption.

It's incredibly destructive to our self esteem as well, to the point that we may actually develop complexes that make us negate compliments and positive affirmation from people with excuses, rationalizations and outright disbelief.

"Oh he's just hitting on me because he's bi"

"I'm only getting sir'd because they're respectful of trans people"

"She's only telling me I look good because she cares about me and she's biased"

I'm not immune, I have these issues too. It took a lot of self affirmation to start believing people when they complimented me and to get over my own negativity about how I look.

I don't think there's much we can do to change the widespread stereotypes quickly. It'll be a long and arduous process. But there is something we can do now and that's educate our fellow trans people about the actual realistic effects of hormones and the actual realistic way to view yourself and your possible results. You don't have to look perfect to be happy. You aren't guaranteed to look like your birth sex forever. You aren't utterly fucked if you transition after a certain age. These are things we need to internalize in our community so we stop letting society's misconceptions and idiocy drag us all down.

And folks? I started hormones at 24 and I look great. You do not need to transition as a teenager to reach your goals. Stop the self sabotage.

Love,
RP

Passing.

May. 6th, 2009 04:13 pm
I'm going to have to say, I don't really understand some of the attitudes around passing.

For those not in the know, passing is a measurement of the capacity to either be recognized as a member of your target sex or alternately as a measurement of how unlikely it is for a person to know if you're trans. The former can be affected by the attitudes of others, as they can know you're trans and still see you as being a member of your target sex. The latter is more dependent on voice, body shape, facial structure, certain physical traits and in some viewpoints your behaviors.

To me, even the word itself feels off. Perhaps I'm reading too much into but it comes off like the pass/fail tests and passing as regards testing in schools. You either pass or fail at looking like a woman/man/agendered/mixture. Which is so pressuring. Like we're literally being graded by someone and that our bodies are a source of failure or something. Sometimes it feels a little sneaky too. Like passing implies dishonesty, but that comes more from the attitudes than the word.

I can understand wanting to look good. I can't think of any girls that want visible facial hair. I can't think of any guys that want boobs. I can understand wanting to beat the dysphoria too. That foreign nasty feeling of those parts of the body not fitting, it's unpleasant. And being accepted by other people as my target sex is very validating and it removes reminders of what my sex is, which helps me cope with dysphoria.

So overall the concept works. Until someone starts changing their personality, putting on fronts, changing entire behaviors and purposefully lying about their past.

I don't do this and I am by no means suggesting that a majority does this. But some do. Some trans people refer to themselves as their target sex (not gender) before anything is changed, reinvent their past, look to specifically change their behaviors so that they're accepted more. I can't understand changing how you act and do things for other people. I just can't.

My whole life beforehand was living for other people and what they wanted. I looked a certain way and dressed a certain way because other people wanted me to. I did things for my family, for my friends and for random people. And now I'm finally fulfilling my needs. I've grown up enough to take my life into my hands and improve it. Why would I start catering to other people again? I've heard some trans women talk about how they can't transition because they won't pass and all I can think is, "well who are transitioning for? Other people?"

If it was a safety issue for all of them, then that makes more sense. We do what we can to avoid dying or being hurt. But when people see passing as a contest? When they're in a perfectly safe place are fabricating their first prom dress experience, their first period, etc etc, I can't get that either. Why would someone wrap themselves in lies for day to day regular life? Doesn't that dump an unbelievable level of pressure on a person? It seems like it would negate many of the benefits received from transitioning, by dumping that extra stress on yourself. And it really kills your ability to trust people.

I dunno, passing itself isn't the bad thing. It really is just some of the attitudes. I've had it explained to me ten billion times and I still don't get them.
Update: While I feel entirely justified in venting about this when comparing my letter to this email, a few people on WiG did raise a worry in me that my dad could find this blog. While I doubt it would change his supportiveness (I am effectively disowned right now), they pointed out that it could certainly motivate him to take an actively antagonistic role in my situation. Which would cause a lot of problems. So I've toned down the annotations and removed most of the worst venting itself.

So, I sent a letter to my dad a while back. That letter worked very hard to soften the blow of my transsexuality while explaining it from a technical, medical, scientific and general standpoint. My father, in his infinite fucking wisdom, decided to take a few chugs out of the big jar of distilled essence of "stupid douchefuck" that we keep in the garage (no idea why, must be a holdover from the 70s)

His response (edited for identity stuff) and with annotated responses added by yours truly:

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I cannot get my mind to work through your letter. (This indicates to me that he didn't really read the entire thing. Further indication comes later)

However, since I am your father I feel obligated to provide this feed back for your use and your doctor’s use.
(This feed back is mostly uninformed and ignorant garbage. It's pretty apparent he didn't read the letter or research.)


1. How can your treatment work? (He ignores me describing exactly how it works in the letter)

a. You already realize that your medical problem is irrational. (Probably the only part he actually read and internalized in the letter. x_x)

b. You do an irrational treatment program. (A treatment program is irrational if it does not make the symptoms cease or if it causes the disorder to progress. GID does not progress in dysphoria sources even without treatment, it just continues to wear away at you till you kill yourself or castrate yourself. And transition causes the dysphoria to cease. Ergo transition is not an irrational treatment program. Basically, he's using buzzwords that he doesn't fully comprehend in an irrational and emotional reaction. Yes, I'm aware of the irony.)

c. How can an irrational treatment program work to solve irrational thoughts? Two wrongs never make a right. (Thank you for showing us your capacity to use buzzwords that you don't fully comprehend to make a completely nonsensical argument designed to appeal entirely to irrational emotional states. Thanks too for giving a darn good example of irony. You'd make a brilliant politician, dad.)



2. Second opinion. (How about a third opinion? You know, like what I got. The assumptions are pretty thick here. Notice how he never asks if I've done so and so, he assumes I haven't because the treatment isn't acceptable to him personally.)

a. This treatment is so radical that a second opinion is warranted. (I recall specifically talking about it being risky and high social impact and that I was taking every precaution. At the very least, he could have used that info to ask, not assume that I wasn't.)

b. Why hasn’t your so-called Doctor recommended a second opinion? (Um. He did. And I got one. Even if he hadn't recommended one, I still would have gotten one. I never just trust one doctor. That's silly.)

c. Does your Doctor even have a medical degree? (Yes. He does. So do the other three doctors I saw and am seeing. PhDs in each of their fields, psychology for two of them, psychiatry/psychology and standard medical/endocrinology for the other two. Why in the fuck does he think I would go to a doctor without a fucking degree? I regularly posit my disdain for getting medical advice or treatment from individuals without medical doctorate degrees because of the complexity of biology. Alt treatments aside, HRT and surgery are major medical procedures and treatments. I would never get advice to do them from a person without the appropriate degrees. At least this one he actually asked, although the question implies he's already assumed the answer. )



3. Alternate more common sense treatment. (You need to
actually make sense first before you can call what you say "common sense.")

a. Why not work on the irrational thoughts in the first place with a doctor? (This one was verbatim dealt with in my letter. 100% bonified proof that he did not read. I got sort of pissed here and originally caps locked in my annotation, because of how obvious his lack of reading was here. To let you all know, I went to therapy for two years to deal with my dysphoria.)

b. Why not work on your IBS? IBS provides a lot of pain. With pain come irrational thoughts. (There isn't even an iota of evidence that IBS causes such an extreme reaction as GID. I didn't explicitly give the order in the letter but he knows that the IBS symptoms started late teens and the letter told him that the dysphoria started far earlier, pre puberty. This is where it becomes even more apparent that he either didn't read or didn't think at all while writing this.)



4. You should also change your last name. Please include all documentation your SS card, your drivers license and all insurances. In additional include all entities like the federal government, the state, and your school. (This implies, despite the stuff below that he wants to disassociate me from the family. Pretty screwed up, dad.)



a. A simple search (<my last name> && <my school>) on the Internet reveals the following.

Ø <my female name> <my last name>

Ø <One of my online handles>

Ø <my female name and last name>@<an email provider>

Ø Your picture and a caption at <a university news site>(So? Anyone who does that search is going to see a girl and a girl name. GASP. SHOCK. AWE. You only see a guy and a girl name because you know about my history. Others do not. Others have no reason to. And my old name is not associated with my new name. I have also been cautious to avoid trans association that is traceable online.)


b. What do you think future employers are going to do? The Internet is searched. Especially facebook, and google are the first step in the search of an employee’s background. (And? Employers will find a girl, with a girl name. I don't even have a facebook. And when I get one, it'll likely be female based. Besides, employers are about eighty steps ahead of the government in my field and many already have non discrimination policies for trans people. I've called several HR departments about it just to check.)


c. For the 2008 tax year you are still considered a dependent on my taxes. For the 2009 tax year you are not a dependent since you moved out in June of 2008. Make your own arrangements now. (This is actually good news, as it helps me for taxes. This was already planned out when I moved so it isn't like this is an extra indicator of being cut off. He just is treating it like it is, which is pretty disgusting.)


d. You must come off my Health and Auto insurance by your 25th birthday. Make your own arrangements now.
(He's acting like an asshole again in the wording but this one is actually based on my insurance company itself. Age 25 is the cut off point. Although I have my doubts if he would let me stay on the insurance if it didn't have a cut off.)


5. Did you ever think about what your actions will do to your family?
(I got pretty upset here too as I went over this in the letter: "Obviously. I waited years and years to even consider moving forward with this. I grappled with being suicidal, with self harm, alcohol abuse and wanting to castrate myself. I got therapy and basically worked my damnest to make sure that every step I took had a minimum social impact. But after a while it became apparent that it wasn't enough for me to survive. And in the end, I can't live for other people if it will destroy my own life. I realized it was time to do what was necessary for me, instead of taking my life, becoming a hospital ward or a drunk. None of those would have been good for the family either, so really, you guys were fucked from the beginning. But I have a chance at functionality and happiness. How fucking dare you stand on my throat when I finally take my own damn well being into my hands. Did you ever think about what keeping myself in this state for you guys did to me? Do you give a shit about the state I would be in now if I didn't transition? Obviously not. Two way street, asshole. If you want me to care about you, you need to care back." I'm keeping this section because really, even if he finds this blog, this particular statement is the one that upset me the most. He was way out of line saying that when I told him how much I did for the family in my letter.)


6. You need to stay away until further notice. Do not visit. Do not call. Do not e-mail me.
(There's a mild possibility that this has to do with his job but really, I doubt it. I think he just doesn't want contact.)



7. You may contact your mother via e-mail. You may prearrange a call with her when I am not home.
(The previous assessment being because of this statement.)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

So there you have it. This is the man that I used to regard as a parent. Little hard to see him as one now, when he's acting like an insolent child. I haven't contacted him. I don't see the point. Even if he gives me that "further notice"
he alluded to I really don't know if I want to contact someone who treated me like he did. Notice the lack of "love, dad" in there. That's normally in every email from him. So it's readily apparent how I'm viewed now.

I am understandably bitter.

Sometimes the trans community infuriates me.

It isn't the majority of the time and likely not even a majority of the people. But this vocal mid sized minority manages to regularly fuck up quite a few safe spaces I and many others have tried to stay within for quite some time now.

I myself have been lucky in some ways. My city has a brilliantly supportive trans group and when I have the time to go, I get a lot out of going. I'm involved in http://whatisgender.net which is probably the best web orientated trans community I've ever been on (however it is also heavily nonbinary orientated and I am MtF).

Others have not been so lucky. I know one particularly nice guy who has been trying to get support on a certain unnamed website (I don't know if the crazy bitch who runs it would be willing to sue me frivolously or not, but I can't afford court costs so: unnamed) and getting screwed regularly.

People tear each other apart there. There's all these "trannier than thou" hierarchies that drive me fucking batshit. If you're an MtF who's tomboyish or you're an ftm who's a little bit femmy or even worse, if you're a nonbinary, kiss your ass goodbye in places like this.

Suddenly everything you say is suspect. Suddenly everyone will be telling you just how not trans you are. I had one rancid bitch tell me that I was just a genital mutilator who was probably abused as a child and not really trans. All because of how I regard the abstract concept of social gender. For those who worry, I can assure you, my childhood contains absolutely no abuse.

The hierarchies aren't the only problem. A bit of the straight trans folk and a bit of the gay trans folk get into little spats over whether we ought to be even allied with GLB of the GLBT community. Some of the complaints are valid. The GLB have fucked us over in a lot of unpleasant ironic ways.

Dropping GENDA to pass SONDA anyone? Dropping the ball for us on the national level with the ENDA legislature too? I can bet you five bucks that if Marriage Equality legislature in NY State passes and GENDA doesn't, the next Equality and Justice Day will have a shit ton less people at it in Albany next year. (Bet not made to all of you, just you as an audience, split it evenly if I lose *wink*)

There's a chunk of GLB's who regard trans folk as weird freaks who drag them down or as gays just trying to "cure" ourselves (Neverfuckingmind that some of us end up gay, bi or lesbian after transition). It's a little disgusting. And then you've got straight trans folk who don't want to be associated with sexuality in any way or form and don't want to be associated with nonbinaries either because they regard themselves as totally normal.

Unfortunately for us, going from your birth sex to another sex isn't common and we really ought to operate our activism with that in mind, instead of ignoring it to make ourselves feel better. In the end, the guy that stabs you because he found out you had a penis a long while ago is still going to stab you because he thinks he just fucked a dude, no matter how female you think you are. Might be wise to work on activism orientated around that sort of shit instead of plugging our ears and going "LA LA LA I'M A CHICK IT DOESN'T APPLY TO ME". Yeah. Sure it doesn't apply.

Then we have the (thankfully less common) nonbinaries who love to run around going "gender doesn't exist! We should all be genderless! Don't get surgery! You're only encouraging the binary!"

Yeah, asshole, that's totally going to reduce my dysphoria and make my male body acceptable to my brain. Fucking idiot. I'm all for removing social roles as an enforced characteristic and I'm all for reducing the excessive gender labeling that has such a toxic influence on our society. But I'm still going to change my body from male to female, and those social things being adjusted isn't going to change that need.

We fight over whether GID should be labeled as a disorder or an identity (forgetting that we won't get that medical care if it isn't a disorder) and we fight over what transgender and transsexual means.

Its... discouraging. And irritating. And I don't have a great solution. Mostly because I'm not sure what causes the problem. Why do we fight amongst ourselves so much? Why are the disagreements so polarized? Why are the reactions so violent and belligerent?

It drives me just a little bit nuts.

Genderbitch: In ur gender, revealing ur privilege

Hi.

This is a blog. About transsexuality, feminism, misogyny, transphobia, homophobia, GLBT stuff and etcetera (check my tags for more on that). This is also an angry blog.

You might see me as slightly antagonistic. Oh well. I incite because I am trying to push people into thinking, discussing and breaking out of the stagnant bullshit of privilege. Which needs a nice firm kick quite a bit. Sometimes to the head. If I need a nice firm kick too, make sure to distribute it because well, I'm not immune to privilege either. XD

Anonymous (account-less) commenting is allowed but please sign it with an alias or name. I reserve the right to delete useless trolling, hate language and attempts to out my name or out anyone else here.

Welcome to my space. Take your shoes off, stay a while. Use the fucking coasters.

~R.P.

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