My girlfriend, a cisgender woman, has become my champion over the years. And, though I hate to admit it was even necessary, she has taught me to be more accepting of some things. Yes [for those of you new to this board], despite being trans, despite being a part of the TGLB community, I have at times in the past expressed a few intolerances. I'm not perfect by any means...but I believe she's successfully changed (for the better) my view on some things.
Anywhoooooo... quite often she runs across articles online that touch her deeply, or that she believes I need to read, or that she thinks I may want to post here at TGG. A few days ago, she gave me a link to an article about a trans man that had been shot and killed in Atlanta, GA. I'm sure that there were several reasons:
1) There's never much out there about trans men
2) It's not often we hear about a trans man being killed - this is exacerbated by the fact that too often trans people are misgendered by law enforcement, media, unaccepting family, etc.
3) And of course... her boyfriend - your's truly - is a trans man 😎
I read the article with the usual sadness. I guess we are all either way too familiar with that sadness, or have become hardened to it because there are just so many trans people killed throughout the world. Unfortunately, the US ranks third, behind only Brazil and Mexico in the murders of transgender people. Not exactly something to brag about, and is most certainly contradictory of a country that likes to boast of such great civil and human rights, and goes about condemning other countries with poor civil and human rights. Talk about the pot calling the kettles black! But I digress...
Though I don't often do it, after I read the article, I scrolled down to the comments section. There was, and still is as of the writing of this blog entry, only one comment, "I've often wondered why humans, both (male and female), feel so morally charged when It comes to MTF transgenders, but not FTM transgenders. This is sad what did happen to this person." -- Leois Stellar
It's not often that people see, realize or admit how the vast disparity between what society thinks of males/females, men/women, and the high importance placed on being male, seemingly dismisses trans men altogther. To the point that there are many cisgender people do not even know or think we exist, and transgender women who believe that those labelled female at birth cannot really be transsexual, and so dismiss our existence. The only thing that matters is that society believes a person who was labelled at birth as male, to be somehow sadly and desperately broken inside for [him] to "want to be <GASP!!> a woman." And if they do recogize that trans men exist, it's almost as if they do not care - afterall, we were not born male and so, nothing was lost. And that there is still only one comment on that article, speaks loud and clear to society's dispassion towards trans men.
The disparity and dispassion, though from a different angle, exists even in the community...
So, I've been here at my Mum's house long enough now that the time came to get my vehicle's license plate replaced. I've got a new plate and now I blend in with the locals. I've also been here long enough that my old driver's license was about to expire and I had to prepare for a new one. Being that I was going to end up getting a license in a new state, I figured I'd go online and see what all would be required... what paperwork/documentation, or whatever, to prove I'm a legal citizen of the good ol' U.S of A. While doing my homework, I discovered that I could actually start the process for getting a license - online. Okay...that was cool.
For getting a license for the first time in this state, you have to fill out an application and then go thru the list of required documentation and pick out the ones you are able to provide, or must find a way to obtain. While filling out the application, the Devil crawled up on one shoulder, and David Michael crawled up on the other shoulder. Being that most humans have only two shoulders, naturally, there was no place for that little Angel that likes to be across from the Devil to counteract any of his shenanigans... LOL. The Devil and I were gonna get along juuuuuuuuuuuuuuuust fine.
Anywho... I came upon two boxes - one for male and one for female. There have been many a story about people who's driver's license had the wrong sex marker on them. And of course, anyone can make a mistake... so, I accidentally on purpose hit the box for male, 'cause, well, the idea of having to check female yet again, was distressful. It's becoming more so, more and more. I figured the hell with it - if anyone asks, I'll simply tell them I was in a hurry at the time, only half paying attention, an' obviously hit the wrong box. <shrugs>
The days were dwindling. I had only about seven days left on the current license. Reluctantly, I hauled my sorry butt to the DMV to get a new driver's license. Armed with BC, marriage license, application number and current DL, I stood in line waiting for the next available agent. Finally, a free agent. I walked over and sat down, layed all my stuff on the counter, said "hello," and gave the lady my application number. She pulled up my application and went to work.
Now... this woman had three documents in front of her that clearly stated my birth sex. I assumed she either didn't see the "M" on my application since she didn't question me, or she just took it upon herself to make the "correction." I sat quietly while she got everything filled out and entered into the system. She pulled a sheet of paper from her printer and advised me it was a temporary license and that I should keep it on me until I get the permanent one. I forked over my money, she collected everything I had given her, the temporary license, and handed it all to me saying that my permanent license would arrive in the mail within 15 days. I thanked her, we wished each other a good day, and I left.
A couple days later, I pulled my wallet out to get that temporary license - I had folded it up before I had even left the DMV parking lot, not wanting to see the information on it. But then, I had to see what sex was on it - if it was on there at all since it was, after all, only a temporary license. I slowly unfolded the paper, and then tried to hone in on where I thought the sex marker might be.
MY GOD, SHE DIDN'T SEE IT! And yeah - - it looked THAT glorious! I thought my heart was gonna pound it's way straight thru my sternum. I allowed myself a minute or two of sheer, unadulterated, child-like giddy excitement, then stifled it, and came back down to reality, believing there could be the possibility that between then and whenever the permanent license was created, someone might spot and "correct" that "M." I re-folded the temporary license and put it back in my wallet.
Just a few days later, the permanent license arrived in the mail. I slowly opened it, bracing for the worst. I fully expected to find a "corrected" license and a letter to announce/explain such. Instead, an "M" nearly jumped off the card at me. I was very happy. Right or wrong, correct or incorrect, I was happy. I didn't even care that the name and the sex marker contradicted each other. I sat at the desk for a moment just looking at the license. And then I spotted it. That twit had entered my entire name... not just full first name, but full first name AND middle name - SPELLED OUT. If there's anything I hate worse than my first [given] name, it's my middle [given] name. And the bad part is... the application indicated that entry of a middle name or initial was optional, and all that was on the old license was an initial. I surely wasn't expecting that!
Karma. Freakin'. SUCKS!
The day didn't start out all that great to begin with... so I guess there was no reason to expect that it would end on a good note. So why not just vent, get it out of my system, and start fresh tomorrow? So, after reading this article someone sent me ....
I guess it's good that ANY exposure will bode better for us... but are poorly written articles, no matter how well-intentioned, any better than those that sensationalize news and other stories when there just happens to be a transgender person involved?
I. This article, while informative to cisgender people about the health issues of trans people (has to be for them 'cause we already knew this), does nothing to help dispell the beliefs and misconceptions too many cisgender people have about transgender people. I think the reporter, Karen Kaplan, should learn a bit more before trying to take on a topic she obviously knows little about. Even though most of her article is simply passing on information from a study, her opening lines nearly kept me from even ready the rest of the article. Makes me sorta think she's meerly jumping on a bandwagon that she believes is suddenly popular and therefore a potentially better payday.*
II. The reporter defines to her readers, most of whom I am sure are cisgender, what being transgender means, "their gender identity is not the same as their gender at birth." Hmmmm. This statement indicates that she clearly does not understand that that sex and gender are seperate, and that sex does NOT always guarantee a particular gender. And how can anyone determine/dictate what a child's GENDER is at birth since that child cannot communicate that to anyone yet? Of course the same applies to the reverse statement that followed.
III. "Gender-majority?" WTH is that?? I think we have a good cross-cut of people who come to this board - I've not seen the mention of anything called "gender-majority." I see this [new?] term as nothing more than something else to further marginalize trans people. To emphasize that we are no more than a minority. That is what America did to the variety of peoples in this country - made smaller, especially non-white groups, "minorities." And where does that term come from? "Minor." And what does "minor" mean? Inferior. Not serious. Not up to par. Secondary. Less than. And then what did I find further down in the article? "Gender minority." God, I hope this doesn't catch on!
So who coined this new term? Surely it wasn't a transgender person. I hope. Was it the researchers from Brigham & Women’s Hospital and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center? I would think that such entities and the people who staff those places would own a good grasp of terminology. Or was this a brain-fart of Kaplan's, thinking she'd come up with something that she could go down in the books for, or perhaps a term she thought her cisgender readers might better understand or relate to? Or maybe to allow those who think that way, to continue to believe they are better than we are?
Okay. Sorry for the rant.
I thought about emailing Ms. Kaplan... I mean, since her email addy was right there at the bottom of the article, and all. But I decided against it. I'm not sure I am capable of a diplomatic butt-chewing. And I wasn't in the mood to educate... least ways, not right now...
* Of 25+ pages of so-called "recent articles" by Kaplan - all the way back to May 2015 - the article on the healthcare of trans people appears to be the first article she's ever written about trans people, despite the fact that she has many articles with topics for which she has reported on multiple times for one reason or another. Even in an article about bullying, there was no mention of transgender people, or even LGBT people. Why suddenly now?
Somewhere around here, I've shared the fact that my mother is NOT accepting of my transgender being. She was. At first. But then something changed, and she wanted to hear no more about it. She let me know she bore only ONE son [and that wasn't me]. She's also gone so far as to say that there is "nothing 'wrong'" with me, I was just adversely influenced and affected by my work environment and the people I worked around and with - all men. She refuses to accept that I wanted to be in job where I felt comfortable, and felt more myself - that being, with other men.
I already knew that my mother was a "girly girl." She was the kind of girl growing up that laid across her bed, looking at fashion mags and dreaming of a big wedding, a husband, children and a family. In fact, my mother did not leave home until she was married. My mother also used to draw and water colour. What did she draw? Women in all the top fashions of the day. She could have been one of those people that illustrates the envelopes that women's sewing patterns come in.
A few years ago, I learned that my mother is perhaps (I hate to admit it), a bit on the vain side. In a rant one day, the rant that pretty much shut down all future conversation about me being a transgender man (and despite that the topic really was irrelavent to a degree about me being trans), she talked about how any man she had ever dated had to be physically fit (no pot bellies, for example), had to be a good dresser (that didn't include jeans, or as they were most often called back then - dungarees), had to have neat [appropriately short] hair, and be the quintessentially perfect gentleman. She went on to let me know that my father was a very nice dresser and a gentleman.
Now, yeah, nothing wrong in dressing nice when the occasion calls for it. And nothing wrong in a man being a gentleman. But my mother was the type of woman that expected and demanded those qualities to the Nth degree. Of course on the flip side of that coin, she expected that women should dress a certain way with strict attention to whatever the occasion was, AND there were things she felt that only [bio]men should do, be able to do, know how to do, and that unless you are a [bio]man, you don't know jack about those things. In those things, she would and still does defer to men and take only the word of a [bio]man.
Example: cars. Doesn't matter what I know... if I try to tell her something, suggest something, advise her of a problem, give an opinion, offer to repair something...she will invariably ask me what do I know about it, how do I know it, who told me or how did I learn it. If it's something very minor, she may accept what I suggest or recommend. But anything more than minor, she will wave me off saying, "I don't know." Later, she will make it a point to ask a man about it whether that man is a mechanic, burger flipper, surgeon or pencil pusher.
In fact, I have learned since my dad died that there are things my mother does not know how to do. Doesn't have a clue. Things that, if she'll let me, I do for her 'cause... she doesn't have a clue. She will let me know, "you father always took care of that - I didn't have to do those kinds of things." It's not that my father didn't let her do these things, it's that in my mother's world, those things were his job to do, and she expected him to do them. My father, being the quintessentially perfect gentleman, acquiesced.
And so now, we come to the present. Over breakfast the other day, mother was telling me that she had stayed up a little too late the night before - she had been watching a movie that "had Madea in it." She couldn't remember the title of the movie and was describing some of the characters. When it came to Madea, she stumbled over what to call the character choosing instead to say "Tyler Perry." I said, "Madea." She said [paraphrasing], "he, Tyler Perry, he plays Madea." Then she went on trying to describe a scene, referring to Madea as "he." I retorted with, "she. Madea is a woman." My mother came back with, "but Madea is played by a man." This was supposed to justify her referring to Madea as "he" and "him."
My mother is so steeped in a strict male/female society, that she can't even refer to Madea as a woman, like most people apparently seem able to do, though I'm sure for many it's only because it's entertainment. It hit me then -- how will I ever expect that my mother will see and accept me as a man, when she can't even use the proper pronouns for a fictional character in a movie?
In the thread, The Ladder, Monica expressed her desire to read the entire poem from which I took four lines to use in a post in that thread.
The poem doesn't flow very well - I just hammered out enough words at the time in an attempt to rid myself of the hurt I was feeling at the time. I might have been trying to write thru tears in the middle third of the poem. It wasn't until the last four lines that I was able to bring it all into some kind of statement --
A couple or three months ago, I discovered a new channel in my cable channel line-up, and in doing so, spotted "Starsky and Hutch" in the primetime programming. I hadn't seen it since it went off the air, though I did see the 2004 movie. I've been watching the 1975-79 show since then, enjoying the action, and seeing things I never saw before.
I watched "S&H" religiously. I even remembered that the show, at least for a while, came on on Wednesdays. So why wasn't I able to sit back and watch the show and think to myself on occasion, "oh yeahhhh... I remember this episode!" It was like I was seeing each episode for the first time night after night. After about two weeks, I started googling stuff about the show - something you couldn't do back in 1975.
How can someone who was such a fan, remember only the characters? Oh, and the opening theme song. I also liked that big cannon of a .357 Magnum that Hutch used. And I remember that brown and white cardigan that Starsky wore on occasion. I even had a similar cardigan. I loved that cardigan. However, show after show, I failed to recognize any of the episodes. Every so often, it seemed like a memory was about to be triggered. And eventually, there was a scene in one episode that I thought I remembered. Or maybe I just convinced myself that I remembered because it got to the point that I felt like I had to remember. I should remember. I didn't even remember the touchy-feely-makes-you-wonder-if-they're-gay-lovers-but-they're-always-after-the-girls kinda characters.
After a couple more weeks of watching "S&H" reruns, and still not recognizing any of the episodes, I started wondering why. Yes, I liked Hutch's gun - I had a toy gun similar to his when I was a kid. And I liked Starsky's cardigan. Did I mention that I really like that cardigan? And that sweater I had made me sorta feel like Starsky. Then it hit me - I couldn't remember the show itself because of Starsky - I wished I was Detective David Starsky. With that .357 Magnum (instead of Hutch). That's why I can't really remember any of the episodes. When I watched the show each week, I apparently "stepped into the TV," pretending to be Starksy. I was the cop that got into shoot-outs, wild chases in that slick lookin' Torino, always lost out on the pretty girls to my partner. Hutch was annoying like that.
Now that I'm older, and have found different ways to be me...I can sit back and watch "S&H" for the first time. But I guess somewhere deep down, I still sorta wish I was Starsky...
Now that the great MichFest has seen another year come and gone, it's femi-nazi leader has come forward to make a few demands of her own.
Vogel has repeatedly played word games with people as if everyone is so stupid as to not be able to read between her lines, insisting that she/the festival does not bar transwomen from MichFest, it's just that the MichFest is intended only for "womyn born womyn." Now, unless I really am just as stupid as she thinks many of us are, I fail to see the difference between 'this space is for only those born female,' and 'sorry, Charlie, we don't let your kind in.' Yeah, the pun was intended.
Vogel has now turned to arguing that transwomen did not grow up under the oppression of a patriarchal and misogynist society as females. What she apparently prefers not to realize is that transwomen are treated the same as cisgender women...and in many (if not all) cases - WORSE. Right here in these forums are posts by women relating their experiences with having lost male priveledge (whether they enjoyed it or not), and became "just another oppressed female," so-to-speak, in this society. So it's not like transwomen are competely ignorant of the experience of being female - doesn't matter if they learned it at 7 or if they learned it at 37. Experience can be gained at any point in one's life. Learning is a lifelong process. You stop learning, you stop living.
However, personally, I couldn't give a good flip who the MichFest allows or doesn't allow through their almighty gates. The only heartburn I've ever had with that festival is that, while they wouldn't allow transwomen, they did* allow transmen, though I fail to understand why any transman would have wanted to attend. In my mind, this drove home the point that people like Vogel just don't believe in transpeople.
MichFest is just a festival. It's not an employer. It's not a hospital or insurance company. It's not a business that caters to the public. No one needs MichFest for their living, so it's not like anyone will get turned down for employment because s/he is trans, or get fired when it's disclosed or discovered. It's not a hospital where a transperson might or might not get treated, or his/her treatment might not be covered by insurance. It's not a restaurant or store, where a transperson has to worry about whether or not someone will be monitoring which restroom s/he goes in, and then worry if they'll get the mud stomped out of them once in the restroom. Attending that festival is not a right nor a right denied. There are private clubs and organizations everywhere that require certain criteria for one to become a member or in order to participate.
Therefore, I don't quite understand why transwomen should want to get into the festival so badly, knowing they are no longer wanted by so many. I think it's a waste of time for the various organization who've jumped on the bandwagon this year, to try to convince Vogel and her bunch to change their attitudes. Don't get me totally wrong however, I think it's funnier than a giggling drunk on a merry-go-round that these entities are taking on the festival's policy (that "policy" that Vogel insists doesn't exist), and causing the public in general to see the bigotry and hatred harboured by Vogel and those who stand by her and her views.
Perhaps some women should get together and create a National WOMEN'S Festival... welcoming of ALL women, regardless of cis-/trans status, sexual orientation, political affiliation, religious beliefs, race, colour, national origin, social status, etc., etc., etc.
*I recently read a comment below an article or op-ed that MichFest no longer allows transmen in the festival, but I have found nothing yet to corroborate this. Maybe it's another one of those "non-existent policies."
Michfest Has a Few Demands Of Its Own
I was reading the comments under an article that indicated [trans]men were no longer welcome at the Michigan Womyn's Music Festival (MichFest) - that is the first time I've ever heard of this. Many are well aware of the fact that [trans]men were welcome at the Fest (though I fail to understand why any guy would wanna go) because, bluntly, we aren't considered men by too many of the women who attend that festival. Pretty much like [trans]women aren't considered women by that same bunch.
So I went a-googlin', trying to find out when [trans]men became undesirable guests of the almighty cisgender (keep that term in mind ) femi-nazi Fest. I ran across a blog by a [trans?]woman who pointed out why no guy should ever wanna be a part of/attend the MichFest. Then I read a wiki article about the Fest, but there was nothing in it about [trans]men no longer being welcome.
In continuing to try to find something that clearly indicated the MichFest now bars [trans]men too, I was sidetracked when I ran across an article (about the Fest) that indicated how many gay people dislike the non-word, "cisgender," in part because it "bears an uncomfortable resemblance to the anti-gay slur "sissy."1 I couldn't help but snort out an unsympathetic grunt-like chuckle.
I try to give the benefit of the doubt. I try not to lump people all in one big pot. But if this is true, I wondered, are some [cisgender] gay/lesbian people really worse than what I thought? They dislike the word "cisgender," a term that was simply coined to distinguish trans from non-trans and never intended to be demeaning, yet there are those like Ru Paul who will sling around the word "tranny," and others who use the term "shemale," all under their entitled attitudes that it is their right to use those terms whether they hurt us or not? REALLY?
Are some gay/lesbian people incapable of looking at how "cisgender" was derived, and why? When is the last time you've heard someone call a non-trans person (gay or straight), a "cissy?" Understandable why gays wouldn't like that word, but, it's not intended for just gays. And when it is abreviated, it's always as "cis," not "cissy." Sounds to me like they are trying to drum up the use of "cissy" so they can have something to throw in our faces.
It seems to me, that if gays/lesbians dislike the term "cisgender" so much, they would stop and think how a real/realized and true* slur feels to us. Slurs that people use with intention...intention that is rarely, if ever, good.
*"Tranny" is in the dictionary. Unfortunately, the definition does not speak to the desparaging connotation that is intended when one is referring to another's gender identity2. "Cisgender" is not in the dictionary (yet), but it's creation was born simply as a way to distinguish - not demean - coined by science.3 "Shemale" is also not in the dictionary, but has historically been used to degrade, demean, and to shame.
Seems to me that CISgender gays/lesbians, like their straight counter-parts, need to get over themselves, their entitement, their whining and their hating. The combo... Is. Not. Pretty.
1 John Aravosis
2 Merriam-Webster online
I recently created a new thread, a "re-posting," if you will, of a commentary from advocate.com on air travel and being transgender. As usual, when I'm not sure what all has already been posted here, I did a search on the subject first. I knew we had a few threads on the topic...I didn't realize how many, though. And really, I think there are probably more than what I found, and there are probably a few brief discussions in threads that don't even have anything to do with air travel and the TSA.
After I posted the it occurred to me that, while I've gotten a few questionable looks from TSA agents, and even a few looks that appeared to be out-and-out disapproval or disgust, I've suffered only one pat-down. That pat-down was a result of one of those random things carried out while standing in line waiting to go through the metal detectors and having your bags run through the x-ray machines. It was shortly after "9-11" and at that time - I was dressing somewhat androgynous-leaning-toward-male, but I bent over backwards to act female. The disconnect between body and soul made any unwanted attention very uncomfortable.
Prior to more and more airports rolling out the body scanners and after I dispensed with all female attire, I used to go to the airport packing - I didn't want a TSA agent pulling my packy out of my carry-on for everyone to see, and in their usual disrepectful and insensative manner, manhandle it, and pass it back and forth, and discuss it, and then question me about it. At the time, I had no reason to be concerned about my binder.
After hearing about body scanners being installed in more and more airports, I began to get concerned that if my packy was spotted in a scan, I'd get pulled outta line and questioned, and possibly even asked to show it to them. I definitely was not ready for that and began stowing Frankenstein in my checked luggage, neatly packaged and with an accompanying note asking that if he was found that he be handled with a little respect. My days of flying were dwindling - the thought of having to go through a body scanner was very distressing, and no doubt became the main reason for the anxiety attacks I would suffer the closer it came to time to fly. It got to the point that the fear of being herded through a scanner over-shadowed my great dislike for flying. Still, I had not given any thought to my binder.
Finally, I ended up making a trip with my mother. I would have driven, but the woman tricked me and I ended up having to fly. On the return trip, I found myself having to go through a body scanner for the first time - I had dodged them up to now, but my luck had finally run out. I was not a happy camper, but I felt I had no choice but to go into that damn legal Peeping Tom. I knew if I refused, I'd have my Mother on my heels demanding to know why I couldn't just do like everyone else, and telling me to stop acting silly and go on. I knew between her yammering at me, and TSA possibly dragging me out of line, it would not have been a good scene. This, I knew, would only worsen my anxiety and bring more unwanted attention. So I stepped in, and unceremoniously spread my feet and raised my hands in the air (as if I were about to get felt up by a cop, and then cuffed) so I could be scanned. Meanwhile, I'm looking the agent doing the scanning dead in the eye. What happened to the agent can't see you and you can't see the agent??
After I got home, I realized that they could have pulled me out of line if they had wanted to. Personally, I don't know why they didn't. No, I wasn't packing - Frankie was in my checked bag. But I sew two panels into my binders that enable me to have even more control over my chest (to avoid the notorious "uniboob" experienced in some binders). I'm fairly sure that these squares of material could probably be seen even if as nothing more than shadows.
So, once again, despite having finally been caught by a body scanner (sounds like a movie, eh? "Invasion of the Body Scanners"), Lady Luck was still with me. Maybe not right by my side...but she was there. Perhaps I should offer up some kinda blood sacrafice, or promise my 1st born to a monestary somewhere in the far east to guarantee she stays with me.
That is...just in case I ever have to fly again.
I know this is nothing to laugh about, but I really get a kick out of it. I just hope my luck doesn't ever run out, and some woman (or girl) goes screaming to someone that there's a man in the women's bathroom. Despite the occasional amusement, though, I try to avoid public rest rooms - especially when they are divided by the sexes. The aversion began a few years ago after I retired, when several factors all came into play in a short amount of time.
When I was still working, I didn't pay it too much attention. Though I was dressed just like my co-workers (all male), I dismissed the occasional "mis"identification by girls and women in the bathrooms. It would make me inwardly grin that I scared the crap outta some girl thinking she had walked into the wrong bathroom, or startled a woman thinking a man had just walked into the women's room. But I knew that if anyone ever made a fuss...everything could and would be easily settled.
But by the time I retired, I had pretty much weaned off everything that came out of the women's department - men's attire was no longer just something I wore for work. I began binding daily - even outside of the house. So by then, even though I wasn't wearing a ballcap everyday, the flat chest and men's clothing was enough for many to dismiss me as male. I also began packing regularly - even outside of the house. But that was for my own comfort. I don't wear my shirts tucked in, so no one sees the package. I'm sure that would definitely get me in trouble.
Anyway, today...I had to go to the bathroom. This cold has me blowing my nose every so often, and I don't like blowing my nose sitting at a table in a restaurant. So, reluctantly, I headed to the restroom.
When I walked through the door, there was a woman who was just finishing drying her hands. She looked at me and smiled. But then I could see it in her eyes, and that sudden, almost imperceptible tensing of her body. Nearly simultaneously, her eyes darted up to the symbol on the door before I let it go. Was she trying to telepathically tell me, "you're in the wrong bathroom." Or had she been suddenly beset with a fear that it was she who was in the wrong bathroom?
I stepped into one of the stalls to blow my nose. While in there, I heard a couple of women come in. One went in a stall, the other was obviously just the tag-along. They were chattering about some kind of eye make-up. I came out of the stall and went to reach for some paper towels. The tag-along smiled and spoke, I spoke, and then said, "excuse me," as she was standing in front of the towel dispenser. The smile disappeared, and in that short space of time, the tag-along's demeanor seemed to change.
I tucked the towels under my chin, got a squirt of soap, flicked the faucet on and began to wash my hands. The woman in the stall came out and over to the sink. The tag-along took that opportunity to cross to the other side of the counter and she said something to the other woman. The woman glanced first at the mirror, not at herself, but at me. And then she quickly turned her head to look directly at me, but only for a second.
I never looked at her, however, I could tell I seemed to be the subject of whatever was going on, or rather, whatever had been said.
I left the bathroom rather pleased with myself for having freaked out three women in the space of five minutes. But the funny thing is...they had no clue that I was perhaps more freaked out than they were, for the simple reason that I had to even be in that room to begin with.
Once again, Thomas Beatie, is in the media. The issue this time is that an Arizona judge refuses to grant the Beatie's a divorce because the judge is not sure if Thomas is a man. Same-sex marriage, is of course, not legal in Arizona. But the Beatie's were married in Hawaii, where he is considered a man, and why they were allowed to marry. It's all a sticky situation.
But here's the kicker...rather than concentrating only on the issue at hand, and the ripple affects this judge's actions (or non-action) can cause, Beatie continues to allow himself to be billed as the [world's first*] pregnant man, and everytime he appears on any show, pictures of him with his "baby bump" are flashed across the screen.
Today, on Anderson Live, Anderson Cooper's new daytime talk show, pictures of a pregnant Beatie were continually flashed on the screen -one which shows him sitting on a bed, naked and "embracing" his pregnant belly - along with one pre-transition photo, and even a couple of photos of him at the doorway of men's restrooms.
At one point, Cooper asked Beatie about all the publicity over his divorce and the controversary surrounding it. Beatie's answer was that part of the reason is that the tabloids have their way of getting information. While the tabloids might have been able to dig up court records and perhaps jimmie information out of family and friends, I'm sure most of the intimate images and video we have seen of Beatie could only have come from him - like the video he made allegedly to document his wife's domestic violence. It's just my opinion, but the vid appeared staged to me.
So once again, we have a transperson in the media, and once again, the issue and we as a group, are devalued because of the circus-like handling of a story, and what seems to be a transperson media-prostituting himself. I think the Anderson Live segment would have served transpeople, and society in general, much better had the discussion revolved only around the Beatie's divorce, how it affects transpeople, their families, possible legal precedents and current laws. Not whether he intends to give birth to more children in a future relationship, and looking at pictures of what he looked like before transitioning, or what he looks like butt naked and pregnant with pit hair, body hair and beard!
*Beatie is not the first transman to have a child after transitioning - he's just the first one to go public.
4:15pm, 24 Oct
This has been one of those rough days. I didn't wanna get up to begin with. I stayed in bed, in that half-sleep state where dreams are strange yet preferrable, and even enjoyable in their sometimes disturbing surrealness, compared to being awake and conscious of real life. But, I finally got up.
Then, I signed in to the forums and started reading. One article after another seemed to only high-light and underscore the bigotry and indifference in this world. Some of that bigotry eminates from those that are from the gay side of our [alleged] family. Their just-below-the-surface contempt for their trans cousins is enough to make one sick. Then, there are the transpeople that are forced to end their lives because of intolerance. There's too much indifference about that from the cisgender world, and seemingly from the homosexual world, too.
Already feeling disgusted and angry from one article, my heart was left vulnerable to the sadness of suicide stats. So I sat here, stewing in anger and frustration, but also on the verge of crying. But the tears wouldn't come. Instead, there was just this painful lump in my throat that wouldn't go away. It just sat there, and in it's persistence, eventually gave me a headache.
Feeling aggitated, pissed, twisted up inside, I went in the kitchen and made a pot of coffee - a bad move considering I slept half the day away, and Mr. Coffee and the Sandman no longer work together. So, chances are, I won't sleep much tonite. I'll lay in bed and think of all the "if-I-had-onlys," the "if-I-could-go-back-in-times," the "why-did-it-have-to-be-this-ways," and the "why-are-people-such-#*!@s?" By morning, I'll be wondering how much longer I'll let cowardice keep it's choke-hold on me...slowly strangling the life out of me. I'll think about my age...and wonder how much longer I have. How well will things go? How much will I lose?
1:20 am, 25 Oct
I had buried myself in drawing earlier in the evening. My artwork is often a haven where I can lose myself in my imagination. I finally gave up around midnite or shortly there after. By 1:20 in the morning, I was feeling a little better and hit the forums for what I figured would be the last time before I went to bed...but before doing so, I found myself listening to Lana Wachowski, and laughing at her wicked wit and sense of humour. Maybe I'll be ready to go to sleep soon. Maybe tomorrow will be better...
Fear and unacceptance: ingredients for a poisonous coctail.
As some here know, I came out to three people some time back: my girlfriend, my brother and my mother. My girlfriend was in shock, and things were a little rocky for a while. Not because she discovered that I was TG/TS, but that I had been lying to her (our relationship began online). Prior to coming out to anyone, I "lived my online life" as a man. No one knew that I was trans, no one knew that I wasn't just another guy - including her. My brother had no problem with what I had to tell him. I could have told him years ago. I wish I had known. My mother took it well at first. Unfortunately, a few short months later, something changed. And it wasn't in my favour.
Today, my brother works at avoiding referring to me as a female when he's talking to other people. When we're together, he doesn't call me "David," but he also doesn't call me by my birth name - which he never has anyway - only my nickname. But now, instead, he will on occasion call me by a shortened version of my nickname which is [usually considered] a boy's name. My girlfriend continues to treat me like she would treat any man...like she has treated me from day one And though she was royally pissed with me for lying to her, her love for me has never changed. But that I lied to her, it compromised her trust in me for a long time. I cannot blame her for this. As for my mum, she has let me know that I will never be her son, but despite the fact that she is not overly happy with the way I dress, she no longer questions me about it... though the last time I visited, she slyly tried to figure out my chest. Or the seeming lack of what's considered a "female" presentation.
Now for that cocktail I nurse everyday. It's not much different than an actual alcoholic drink is to an alcoholic - I know it's bad for me, but I drink it anyway, knowing what it will do to me, or what it could do to me.
Ingredient #1: Fear
I fear what people I know will think of me.
I fear what people will say about me.
I fear that people I know, or have worked with will call me names and laugh at me. I never did well with stuff like that
I fear there will come a time when my girlfriend will not be able to endure the stress of having a transman for a friend, a lover, a mate.
I fear that when I transition, my girlfriend will see a different person.
I fear that like so many guys do, after transition, I will lose the woman I love.
The fear of so many things, has me rooted in one place. If I don't conquer the fear, and move to where I want to be, I might lose her anyway (long distance relationship).
I fear that when I do transition, I will lose parts of my family.
Ingredient #2: Unacceptance
If the unacceptance came from any other place, from any other person than my own mother...I could perhaps shrug it off. I could accept it and go on about my merry way. I believe if the unacceptance was from any source but my mum, I could probably dilute the fear enough to start my journey. In fact, I'm sure I could. The power of a parent standing beside you in support of you is unparalleled. Doesn't matter how old you get, a parent's approval is more valuable than anything else in a person's life. A parent's approval is like a super-heroes power protecting you from everything and everyone around you.
So here I am, still, sitting at the "Pity-Party Bar"...swilling on that noxious cocktail of eight parts fear with a generous splash of unacceptance, knowing damn well it's killing me...but like some alcoholics, unable to climb down off the barstool and turn my life around so that I can start living...
I have often heard of people who say they can remember little of their childhoods. Usually, the lack of such memories is associated with some sort of adversity. Or, at least that seems to be the case.
I was an army brat. I enjoyed moving around and seeing new places. The draw-back to that is always leaving friends. I used to believe that my brother and I compenstated for that by being each other's best friend. In the past few weeks, new thoughts have come to mind about my childhood. I'm beginning to think that I didn't really have any friends. I don't think moving around had anything to do with it.
I don't really remember any so-called "best [girl] friend" until junior high. I do remember being made fun of (by girls), or being left out (by everyone). I remember a few occasions where flat out mean things were done to me. I didn't know why. I'm now wondering if perhaps by junior high I had figured out how I needed to act (like any other girl) in order to fit in. I'm wondering if that is perhaps, at least where I was concerned, why my brother and I were so close. I wonder now, considering my brother has told me that I was more like a brother to him, if I was close with my brother because I didn't have to pretend to be something else, and/or because he accepted me the way I was.
It was 9th grade, before I had a "best friend." Until then, I really remember only one girl from when I was in 5th grade, and she wasn't so much a 'best friend' as she was just a good school mate. She was a slight girl, very nervous and flighty. I used to wonder if she was treated right at home. Back then, I didn't know anything about abuse, so I had no words for it. But still I wondered if there was something at home that made her always seem scared. We always rode together on the bus. Somehow, I felt like her protector. I liked her. I think perhaps she was my first crush. However, I did know at that age (or by that age) that I could never tell her I liked her like other boys could tell a girl when they liked them.
It occurred to me that I cannot remember any but one birthday [celebration]. Oddly, if my memory is serving me well, it was a birthday party from when I was very little - under six years old. In contrast, I can remember a few of my brother's birthday celebrations. So I know we celebrated birthdays. Was I not happy with how my birthday was being celebrated? Was I unhappy because it was not the birthday of a little boy, and so that unhappiness has caused me to bury those memories?
Halloween has been a favourite topic - at least among many here at TGG. The ladies especially enjoy/ed halloween because more often than not, it was the one time that people didn't get all bunched up over a male dressed up as Cinderella or a Go-Go Girl. But, despite the fun of halloween, I can only remember three of them from when I was a kid and one as an adult: 1. one year as Casper the Friendly Ghost, very young; 2. two years as the headless horseman, once in elementary school and again years later; 3. one year as an Indian brave. I was 19 or 20 at the time, but I think I was still at home.
Perhaps I remember going out as Casper because, well...he's a boy, though I guess there were girls who dressed up as Casper also - I don't remember. When I went out as the headless horseman, that was an era when people still staunchly applied gender to certain things - it was pretty much assumed that a kid that went trick-or-treating as such a character surely had to be a boy. A girl would not like something so gruesome. Back then, my brother and I were still of an age that my parents would not let us go trick-or-treating alone - my dad always went with us. Because I was the headless horseman, my dad would pretty much have to "steer" me this way and that. It was fun though, because throughout the evening, I constantly heard little girls squealing and shrieks of, "he doesn't have a head!" I dressed again as the headless horseman a few years later because I knew I was more likely to be thought a boy than a girl. The year I dressed as an Indian, my brother and I had gone out for halloween together (I was old enough by then that my parents didn't worry about us being out). No one realized that the Indian brave wasn't really a boy.
I do remember a few more Christmases. And while I played the part of the excited child over the gifts I got, I remember a few occasions where I was jealous of what my brother got, but that jealousy never lasted too long because more often than not, my he and I spent more time playing with his toys than mine. But there were times when he and I played with all the stuffed animals and dolls together. Many of the dolls I had, I changed them into boys.
I remember when I was very little, I had a cowboy hat, and a gun and holster. I also have an electric train set that I got before age five. I have to believe that I had those things because I wanted them since most parents don't voluntarily go out and by girls cowboy hats and guns and trains. What I don't know is when the time came that either I stopped asking for what would usually be considered boys toys because I thought I shouldn't, or my request for such toys were being denied. Or maybe it was a combination of both. Whatever the case, I remember wishing that I had gotten the same kinds of things like my brother... like skateboards and banana bikes, matchbox cars and jeans.
So, I think a person didn't have to suffer physical or mental abuse, or a parent trying to beat the boy (or girl) out of a child. I think unhappiness over not being able to express our true gender can blot out chunks of our memories. But then...what fondness can be had for those memories, so what's the sense in remembering...
SPOILER ALERT - I chose to post this here in the blogs rather on the forums where it might be more visible in case the reader has not yet seen the Nat Geo documentary, "American Transgender." If reading or hearing about something before you see it doesn't bother you, then read on. If you don't like to hear about something before hand, you should skip this blog entry.
A one hour documentary that aired 01 May 2012 on the Nat Geo channel.
I first heard about the program here on the TGG forums. Shortly afterward, I created a calendar event for members who regularly check the calendar. I think I might have made a shout-out the day of the program's airing - don't remember now (damn sleeping brain cells!). Then, I finally caught a commercial advertising the program. I was happy with what I saw, as it's rare that these documentaries feature more men than women. Wait, lemme be a little more precise - it's rare that in such shows featuring both men and women, that there are more men featured than woman...but A.T. would be doing just that. WTG, Nat Geo!
The show went well. I have to admit, though, that that opinion is probably a little biased because of the fact that the guys outnumbered the women. Hee-hee. Felt good to know that for once, we were getting more air time than the ladies. Sorry ladies, nothing against you all...but contrary to popular belief, men like to be noticed once in a while, too.
.......Clair is one of identical twins, and was preparing for her wedding after never believing she would ever be looking for a wedding dress. Clair's brother, by the way, is gay.
...,...Eli came from a religious, Italian, Alabama family...the second of four children. He's married, and wants children, but is worried about having a son.
.......Jim grew up in a military family. As with many of us, he felt alone. And then he met Clair, whom he thought was the most beautiful woman in the world.
Of course all three related some of the issues we've all read about, heard about or have experienced: the lonliness, the frustration, the self-hatred, the fear, the unacceptance, etc., etc., etc.
I guess a person could say the highlight of the program was Clair and Jim getting married. And while the program was well-done, I guess there was little control over the wedding, or the people officiating over the wedding. And that is what eventually prompted me to write about A.T.
Toward the end of the ceremony, the woman marrying Clair and Jim announced, "I now pronounce you (she looked at Clair) husband and (then she looked at Jim) wife." It blew me away. Perhaps I am again being too sensative about the whole society-in-general-doesn't-accept-us thing...but a week later, that one spot in the program still bothers me. Funny how something so small can bring a good thing to a screeching halt (or at least come close)...sorta like a turd being discovered in a crowded pool - everyone is having fun, enjoying themselves, and then everyone is screaming and scrambling to get out and now wondering if they might get sick - just sorta ruins a fun day.
I wondered how often something like this happens - whether the couple getting married are trans or not. How do you look at the woman, and say "husband," and then look at the man, and say "wife?" And never skip a beat, to boot. I wondered how accepting and tolerant this woman is. That one gesture made it difficult at best for me to believe that she viewed Clair to be the woman she is, and Jim to be the man he is.
I think had the program not been done as well as it had, perhaps I would not have noticed this one thing. I also wonder if the woman officiating has watched the program, and if so has she realized what she had done, and how does she feel about what she did.
Later, I wondered if there was any chance that the producers left that part in intentionally...
A [very] few here know that I was sweating bullets when I decided to tell the three most important people in my life about my trueself - my mum, my girlfriend and my brother. I was worried that I would lose their love. I didn't, but things didn't remain all that smooth. While I lost the support of my mother a few short months later, my g/f and brother seemed to stay the course.
Now, I have to question just where my brother's feelings are on all this. He has been understanding and supportive. But today, he sorta shook my faith in him. Maybe it's unfounded. I dunno.
I took him to take care of something. I stayed in my truck. When he came back to the truck, he said he had seen an MTF, but sorta bragged that it wasn't the first time he had seen one. Well, I had seen a woman earlier pass by, and no, she didn't have much of the classic "hourglass" shape and wasn't graceful as some ballet dancer...but come on, geez...not all women are. Doesn't mean right off that it's got to be a man in drag or a transwoman. But for some reason, when he said what he did, I asked, "a woman in a brown t-shirt?" He said, "yes."
Then he went on to point out that the area is cool with stuff like that. I told him I never said anything about the area he lived in being intolerant or anything like that. We had had a discussion a few days prior and I had made comments about in general... society is not quite as accepting of transexual people as society might like some to believe.
So he went on to say that it was no big deal in his town, and that no one had even paid him any attention. I commented that, "yes, I had seen her, but I didn't see her and think to myself, there's a transwoman."
That my brother called the woman "him" had not escaped me, and I asked him, "why did you refer to her as "him" then?" He got a little indignant, as if I was implying that he had a problem with transexual people. So I said to him, she identifies as female, I don't think she would like someone referring to her as a man.
He actually went through an explaination that even though she is MTF, if she looks like a man, and after all she is genetically a man, that's why he referred to her as a man. I was astonished. I didn't even know what to say. He said it was no big deal, that it shouldn't matter what anyone is or what they are called. Then shortly after, he asked me if I would have questioned our mother if she had said the same thing. I told him that I would, not that she would bring the subject up anyway...but that yes, I would have asked her the same question.
He got a bit ticked and didn't talk to me for the rest of the afternoon... not because he was wrong (he doesn't feel he was), but because I challenged his tolerance. I dunno how to take this from him. I mean...he has told his friends that his "sibling" is transgender. Unless absolutely necessary...he no longer refers to me as his sister, but he doesn't refer to me as his brother either, which I can sort of accept 'cause after all...I'm not transitioned yet. He knows I bind and pack. I really thought it was all cool with him. Until today.
I now have one solid ally left... my girlfriend. She's the only one now (of the three I've come out to) who hasn't let me down. Dunno what I'll do if she snatches my faith in her out from under me....
It seems that with the increased amount of information we read and hear today about trangenderism, and people being told that transexuals are born as such, and are aware of it at a very young age...it seems they tend to leave out the part that not all of us state our positions starting in those tender years, that not all children will insist that they are something contrary to their physical sex/assigned gender. Because of this...my mother is convinced that I am not what I say I am, because I never said anything as a child. I've told her that not all children do, but she doesn't buy it.
A few weeks ago...I began to wonder if I am truly transexual simply because everyone keeps saying that a transexual child will begin to make a stand early in life. I've mentioned in a few posts that I learned at an early age that this was NOT something you told anyone, it wasn't something that was discussed. but I wondered... WHY did I not say anything? What was it that taught me that I shouldn't say anything?
The obvious has a lot to do with the era in which I was raised, and of course that was dictated by the era in which my parents were raised. When I was a kid, you did what you were told, you did NOT talk back, you certainly never contradicted anything an adult said or told you. My parents were fairly strict. My dad was in the army. Back then, if the kids got in trouble...so did dad. And if dad got in trouble...boy!! were you in for it. Also, society still had a hand in things when I was growing up. It was nothing for a neighbor, teacher, priest, shopkeeper, or any other adult/authority/parent figure to set you straight if you were doing something wrong. And you obeyed. It was fairly uncommon for the most part to even mouth off to these non-familial individuals - chances are, if you did, your parents would soon find out. So it didn't really matter if you misbehaved in their presence or not. Consequently...I believe these factors are what pretty much kept my brother and me walking a fairly straight and narrow path.
Okay...but, that might not completely explain why I didn't say anything. Then it dawned on me just yesterday. No, I didn't say anything. I did however take on certain postures and body language (emulated from the boys around me), and I had a liking for boys toys, or toys that were deemed appropriate for both boys and girls. I do remember a cowboy hat and gun and holster that I had at about age 4... so I apparently liked that kinda stuff even then. But perhaps at that age, my parents had no heartburn about buying those things for me. I'm sure they figured there was plenty of time to teach me what I was supposed to like and want.
Anyway...I remember several specific occasions where I was sat down by one parent or the other and told that girls don't do this, girls don't do that... or sometimes it was worded "only boys do this," or "only boys want that." And I wish I had $5 for everytime my mum spat out, "are you a girl or a boy?!" Still to this day I don't know what she ever thought about me having never answered her. I only know that since coming out to her, and despite that she does not accept it...she has never asked me that question again.
So I'm thinking that everytime I was chastised for acting or talking a certain way...that just reinforced the idea that I should never tell anyone who/what I was.
I'm thinking that I can't be the only one. I know that today's kids are a lot different, and seem to have a lot more expressive freedom than when I was a kid, but surely even today, some kids remain silent. And this certainly was not the case for all TG/TS people about my age...but I still can't be the only one that stayed silent as a kid. If I am...then, that sorta makes me wonder if i truly am transexual....
Since my "limited coming out" at age 48 in 2005, I've lamented the loss of time more than I ever have. Additionally, it feels like time is flying by, mocking me. I've come to despise "father time" with every fiber of my being. I had big plans back then. Had the beginning of my rightful place in this life all mapped out. Then I discovered that the hellhole I live in doesn't have a gender therapist. There isn't one within a 4 hour drive of me. And my current situation wouldn't exactly support me disappearing a whole day every couple weeks or once a month...whenever appointments would be. Then I lost the support of my mum. After that, it seems like hope took a nose-dive.
Recently, I think I've come to a realization why as an adult I've nostalgically looked back on my younger years. Yes, to some degree I believe...as probably many generations do...life was better "back then." people were more trusting of each other. We didn't live in a dog-eat-dog world. People were more social, and friends and co-workers watched your back almost like family. And in most places, the poor guy on the corner with a sign looking for help (only as a last resort) was truly destitute and needing help...and not some damn scam artist.
I often enjoy watching old cartoons...as it takes me back to my childhood. I like the old shows like the Andy Griffith Show, The Twilight Zone, and westerns like Rawhide, Wagontrain and Laredo. Of course, some of those shows (like the latter ones in that list) I liked because I wished I was the guys in those shows.
I look back both fondly and sadly on those days. Sadly...because of all the things I missed out on. All the things the average boy gets to experience. Back then...while I did play basketball and fast-pitch softball (I prefer to say I played baseball)...I couldn't play them as a boy, I couldn't play on a boys team - that kinda thing just didn't go over back then.
While I had several serious crushes on various girls from late elementary clear through high school, I never acted on those feelings - I knew I wasn't gay and I didn't want to be seen as gay. And of course, I knew they weren't gay...so it wouldn't have mattered either way. Missed out on asking a girl to the prom. And since I couldn't do that, naturally...I didn't get to get all decked out in a tux, and pick her up armed with a corsage for her.
Didn't get to fall in love with the woman of my dreams and ask her to marry me. Mighta been willing to have kids had I been born with all the right body parts. Mighta been willing to adopt kids if I could have let someone in on my big secret back then and had been able to transition when I was young... back then. Yeah...woulda been nice, I think. Now at 51... I sometimes think to myself, it would be nice to hear someone call me "dad."
Now...there is a woman in my life. A woman I want very badly to make my wife. Got a few things in my current life that I need to take care of first, though. But it seems like time is leaving me behind. Sometimes I sit here thinking time is gonna take her away from me before we can even start a life together...or me away from her. Or just not leave me enough time to spend with her once we are together. Sadder yet is the fact that I can't even tell anyone about her since no one knows about the real me.
Despite having a woman I love, and who loves me, I still find myself quite often cursing time and age...because I couldn't enjoy life and a wife as a young man. I couldn't be the fiancé instead of the fiancée. I couldn't enjoy all those firsts and all the memories that remain afterward... as a man, with his wife. No first apartment, then first house. No celebrating anniversaries and job promotions. No kids and playing Santa. No enjoying our golden years together, properly aged with a lifetime of cherished moments. No sharing those memories with grandkids.
We lose all that never was or could have been. We walk through this life as stoically as we can, keeping our pain to ourselves until we can't take it anymore. When the over-whelming need to be ourselves finally forces us to step forward, those around us wanna give us grief for it. Then, after having lost a lifetime of things missed, some of us lose family, friends, jobs. So then, loneliness can be added to the pain. Thankfully...I don't have to worry about losing a job. Unfortunately...I am fairly sure I will lose all family except my brother. Friends...I can't say I care one way or the other. Over time, they've not turned out to be all that great anyway.
I look back nostalgically because it was a time of innocense. There was not the intense pressure yet to play some role. And before puberty...this gender identity thing wasn't quite kickin' my ass the way it did and continued to do afterward. I wish that I could do it all over again. Get another chance to "do it right." I wish I could take what I know now, back in time, do it all over again...and come out as a kid. Or at least much sooner than I finally did, or perhaps not try so hard to fill that damned assigned gender role. I think things might have been a little easier for me if I just had been myself no matter what. And of course, NOT do some of the things I did... like play the part of the "fiancée" and freakin' get married.
If it wasn't for the fact that the woman I love, loves me so much, and it would hurt her so badly, and I DO want to be with her... I'd end it...