June 9, 2008

Gender Development

As transfolk, I believe it's important for us to allow ourselves to recreate another childhood and adolescence in which we are our true genders. I believe that by allowing ourselves to grow up all over again, we come out the other end as more balanced individuals.

I don't mean getting into infantilism (but hey, if that works for you, do it). I mean allowing ourselves time to explore without judging ourselves, and I mean allowing ourselves to make mistakes and be rebellious, and forgive ourselves later.

Because that's what transition can be like. We have to stop being scared, we have to let ourselves have a childhood where we explore ourselves and get to know ourselves. It's good to have a parent (who can come in many forms; a friend, a mentor, etc) who will hold our hand and make sure that when we skin our knees we get a kiss and a bandaid.

Our gender childhood can go a lot of ways. Some of us have great childhoods with great parents - I had a wonderful "parent" who encouraged me to explore myself, never judged me no matter what I came up with, and was patient with me while I figured out who I was. She was everything a good parent should be, and she parented my gender childhood perfectly.

Of course, I was the other parent of this gender childhood, and I believe I was a good one. I let myself make mistakes. I let myself get excited about things when I knew they might change. I let myself be overconfident and I let myself cry a little when I fell from that overconfidence and skinned my knees. But I never stopped exploring, even when I thought I had the answers.

I moved into gender adolescence, where I continued to be overconfident (and continued to fall over), I rebelled against everything I could (so girls wear dresses? I won't wear them then! Oh wait, ftms are really manly and butch? OH YEAH? WELL I WEAR DRESSES!) I explored my new sexuality with some glee (I can call myself a gay boy! teehee!) and I thought I knew everything when of course I didn't know much at all. I discovered who I was.

I think I was a good parent to my gender adolescent. He was never given a curfew or scolded for drinking too much. He was cared for and I waited patiently for him to grow up.

As I moved into gender adulthood, I began to finally understand things. Now that I knew who I was, I could examine it further and develop it. I stopped worrying so much about what people thought, I did what was right for me. I started to "eat right" and "exercise".

The strange thing I suppose that comes out of being a gender adult is that you start to slowly become a gender parent, even if you don't intent to. I don't go looking for transfolks who need help or advice or anything like that... but I make it clear that I'm always here to listen if people need a sympathetic ear.

The result of doing that is that people DO want a sympathetic ear, and gender children need gender parents. So I try to do the right thing by them, as any parent should - I listen and I don't judge them, I help them when I can, and I make sure they know that when they skin their knees it's okay, I'll give them a hug and a bandaid.

But while all of this is fantastic and has let me become a healthy man with a healthy gender, there's someone who has been forgotten in all of this.

Her name was Erin, and she died when I turned around sixteen years old. Because that's when my gender childhood began (although obviously not the first signs of being transgendered), and it was the end of her life.

I think as transfolks we often forget to grieve over the girls or boys who we were before. We come to hate them, we treat them as weak or evil creatures that we're so glad are dead. But is that really fair on those children?

As transfolk we spend so much of our lives hating ourselves and rejecting parts of ourselves. Is it really healthy to reject another part of ourselves and hate them just as much? Is it really good to replace one rejection with another?

I rejected my girlhood and the girl I was. I rejected her damn good. But now I regret it, because it wasn't her fault. She was a good girl, and she did her best at life. She didn't give up, she didn't given into depression or suicide or self-hatred, when she could have easily ended my life before it began.

I shouldn't hate her so much - and I don't anymore - because if it wasn't for her, I wouldn't be here.

I'm still in the process of greiving over that girl. She deserves to be remembered lovingly, and she deserves to be a part of me forever. Her gender does not have to be a part of me forever, but it's not fair that I should reject my entire childhood and early teen years just because of a gender. That girl was still very brave and she lived really well consider all she was up against.

I'm not that girl anymore. But I still remember her and honour her, and she is still a part of me. She has her place, next to my boyhood and my adolescences.

I am a man, yes. But I am more than that. I am a man who has lived in so many ways and has experienced life from so many angles. That does not make me less of a man. It makes me a man who is complete, and who accepts himself. It makes me a man at peace, and it makes me a man who can be a father to those who need one.

I'm still growing and I'm still learning and figuring myself out. But who isn't?

May 3, 2008

A Public Apology

Hi everyone;

Recently I received an email from a woman of intersex birth who asked to be added to the TransReSext mailing list. She explained why she wanted to join and why she was interested in coming along to TransReSext.

If you had seen my face as I read this email, my expression dropped like a rock off a cliff. Because I realized that in everything I have written about TransReSext, whenever I talked about it, whenever I thought about what I was organizing... I had not been thinking about intersexed people.

I am very ashamed of this; it's not like I am unaware of the existence of intersexuality. It's not even like I don't know anyone who is intersexed. I have no excuse other than blind privilege. I didn't think about it. And that's exactly the kind of thinking that made me feel so frustrated as to create TransReSext in the first place.

The transgender + genderqueer community and the intersex community often have different goals and needs. However, I believe that when it comes to feeling sexually safe and desired, and free to express one's sexuality without judgement, these needs intersect. I am not throwing all transfolk, genderqueer folk and intersexed folk into one big barrel here. We're all different, we have different experiences and different struggles.

But I think we all need a space like TransReSext, and I think we all need it to be as welcoming to everyone who is not cisgendered as possible.

So this is my public apology; I'm sending it to the mailing list, posting it on the LJ community (and in both my personal blogs), and posting it on the main page of the TransReSext blogspot for a couple of weeks.

I am sorry, to any and all intersexed folk who looked at TransReSext and felt unsure whether they would be welcome. I am sorry to any and all intersexed folk who may have felt ignored by me, by the event, or by the language I have used to talk about it.

If you look at the main blogspot, I have changed the language. I have included "intersex people" where I have written "transgender people". I have briefly explained, as above, why I welcome intersex folk without believing that we're all just a part of the LGBTIQ alphabet soup.

Once again, I am sorry.

I look forward to welcoming all people of intersexed birth who wish to attend TransReSext, and I certainly hope that they feel safe to do so.

April 17, 2008

Big Fat Stupid Doctors.

This is an important post. I am very angry in it.

I am transgendered. To transition from female to male in my city I need to go through a gender clinic. I have no choice. There is only one clinic. I cannot go anywhere else.

This clinic is bigoted in ways that would astound you.

I have been told (to my face) that I need to lose weight before I will be allowed to transition - and when I explained that I cannot exercise I was told that I can "take pills for it nowadays". I have been told (to my face) that I should wait until my chronic illness that I have had for ten years gets better before I transition.

I've also been scowled at, looked down upon and scoffed at for being bisexual, polyamorous, and unemployed (even though, you know, I AM DISABLED.)

All this is coming from medical professionals, ladies gents and others. These people control my health. These people get to decide whether or not I get to have medical treatments that will save my life (in this case by stopping me comitting suicide).

I am being denied medical treatment.

Let me repeat that, in case you missed it: I AM BEING DENIED MEDICAL TREATMENT.

So I cried, I got angry, and I realized that complaining won't help with this particular lot (people have gone that route before and not gotten anywhere). I will have to jump through their hoops.

So I go to the doctor. I tell him what the problem is. I tell him that I need to lose weight in order to receive medical treatment. I tell him why I cannot lose weight the "normal" way - I already eat well and I cannot exercise due to that whole disability thing.

He spends 20 minutes telling me that I am disgustingly overweight and it's all my fault. Oh, and by the way, I'm not really disabled - I'm just fat. And that whole thing where I can't walk? The cure for that is to walk, apparently!

After many tears we finally get to the point where he might be able to help me. He prescribes me a drug. I am the first patient in his career he has ever prescribed it to.

It is Duromine. A legal version of speed. An amphetamine.

It is not a safe drug to take. It does awful things to my body, and it can be addictive and easy to abuse. I don't want to take the drug. But I have to. What are my other choices? I have none.

I have to do this if I want medical treatment. You see, as it stands, I am not a real human being. I do not have human rights. I do not have the right to medical treatment right now. Because I am fat, mostly. But also because I am transgendered, and because I am disabled.

I do not have human rights.

Let's recap this little tale of joy:

* Cannot transition until I lose weight.
* Potentially cannot transition until my disability is "better", whatever that means.
* Cannot lose weight due to disability.
* Told to lose weight regardless of disabiliity.
* Given a potentially harmful drug to make me lose weight.

* If I cannot transition, I may be a danger to myself.
* Denial of treatment for transgenderedism may lead to my death.

In short, these people are okay with their poor or lack of treatment leading to my death.

Because I am not human. I do not have human rights.

I am a fat, transgendered, disabled person. No, not a person. I am not a person. I do not have rights like people do. I do not have the right to quality of life, to good and caring medical treatment.

Because I am fat, transgendered, and disabled, all in one neat package. I am not human.

March 10, 2008

Family Matters

My boyfriend's parents don't approve of me.

In of itself, this is not a problem. My relationship with him is not dependent on his family liking me; he still loves me and is still going to be with me regardless of what they think.

Even personally, it doesn't really bother me. After all, they're not important parts of my life. They are important parts of his, yes, so of course there is some overlap there. But when it comes down to it, the world could continue moving perfectly fine without me ever interacting with them again.

And let's face it, the times when we've all been in the same room have been awkward to say the least. I feel out of place and judged, and they probably feel rather awkward about having to deal with this freak of nature in their space.

My boyfriend's family is very normal, white middle class. Their core values revolve around their careers, they have opinions on privacy and sexuality that are basically the exact opposite of mine, and emotions are not valued at all but rather seem to be viewed as something of a distraction to overcome. Sure, happiness is good and falling in love is probably a good idea if you want to have a family someday, but that's about the extent of it.

Now I'd like to make it very clear that I don't think that these people are "wrong" at all in how they live their lives. They have faults just like any of us, but how they're living seems to be working for them really well. So with that in mind, please don't think that I disapprove of Lee's family - they're good people who are living life the way they want to, and that's pretty much my whole value system right there being utilized.

Now, to the point.

They disapprove of me.

They disapprove of me because I am fat, because I am disabled, because I am transgendered.

They firmly believe that their son could do so much better than me.

They also don't like that we have been together so long; they are of the opinion that Lee should not be settling down and should instead be "having fun" without too much commitment.

But what it essentially boils down to, in my opinion, is they have ideas about what makes a person worthwhile, and those ideas come from the society that they function in. I doubt they have ever much questioned society; I wonder if they've ever researched how or why it was "discovered" that being fat leads to poor health? I susect they haven't; I suspect it's simply "common knowledge" that they have been fed by the world.

In the white, middle-class world, you are defined by how useful you are to society. And how useful to are to society depends on:

* What kind of work you do.
* How much work you do.
* How fertile you are.
* How attractive you are.
* How much money you earn.

As someone who does not work, my value has immediately dropped simply from that. What little I do when I can - my art, my workshops, etc - are "hobbies" in the eyes of Lee's family. Art is almost certainly not a "real job", even if I was working fulltime on my art, it still wouldn't count. And my workshops, well, they're all about SEX and that's just a naughty topic. Normal people don't attend workshops about sex. They do it with the lights out, heterosexually, maybe they'll do one kind of vaguely kinky thing once in a while to spice things up.

Because I do not work, because I am disabled, I am on a pension. This means I am poor. Again, my value has dropped.

Then we get to attractiveness. Their idea of attractiveness is very clearly based in wat is "normally" attractive in society. And what is normally attractive in society? Is basically the opposite of me.

I am fat; fat people are not attractive by societal standard. I am transgendered and that is breaking one of the most important laws about attractiveness in society - men should be (and look like) men and women should be (and look like) women. I am breaking all the rules. I am not attractive by their standards.

I admit this part confuses me. I don't give a twit about looks myself so I can't say it would bother me if my son was dating someone "ugly". But then again I suppose it's one of those things you only understand if you have it yourself.

There is also a slight sexuality issue. Lee's mother has had some trouble accepting his bisexuality and had quite a difficult time dealing with the guy before me. I not only break the rules on this one I'm confusing as well - her son is in a gay relationship with someone she sees as a women. I gotta admit, that would be pretty confusing.

It's not that Lee's family don't try to understand my transgenderedism. They just don't get it. It's very clear through my interacting with them that they see me as a woman. Which of course is worse - dating an ugly man, well, he's dating a man and he's gay and that's all scary and rule-breaking. But dating an ugly woman? It's the end of the world!

Everything about me that makes me who I am; all my rule-breaking, all the reasons WHY Lee loves me, are the exact reasons why his family has trouble approving of me. It's clear that they want him to find some attractive, intelligent (by which of course I mean university educated), able-bodied person (probably a woman) to settle down with. To settle down with a fat tranny cripple who dropped out of school when he was 14 is to settle for something that's just not good enough.

Of course in the end, it doesn't matter. All that matters is that Lee loves me. But it sure makes events where I'm expected to be with and around his family very stressful.

March 6, 2008

Making Your Mark

I know that this blog is supposed to be about sex and bdsm and gender and all that good stuff but I wanted to talk about something else.

I want to talk about "making a mark" in life. I want to talk about "purpose".

I got to thinking about this because of Wake Up Tiger, which does delve into the idea of our purpose in life being to live it, etc. It's an excellent blog and I found it very inspiring, and you should check it out.

It got me thinking about my own philosophies on life. I have a few, they're easily summarized in short, happy motivational ways:

* Never give up.
* If it won't matter in five years, then it doesn't matter.
* Throw everything you have into everything you want.
* Don't live your life forever planning the future; get what you want out of life NOW. Seize the day and all that.
* Bring the good china out for every meal, not just the "special occasions".

It also got me thinking about the need that we have, as people to make our mark on society. We need to feel that should we die, we leave behind some kind of legacy.

I try to live my life so that should I die in the next five minutes, I will be satisfied with how I have lived so far. I will be satisfied with how I have dealt with life, the steps I have taken, the sacrifices I make, the dreams I fulfil and the people whose lives I touch.

In particular I got thinking about that final point; the people whose lives I touch.

I remember the first time someone said to me, "Thank you, you've made such a difference to me. You've had such an impact on my life." She was a teenage girl that I had been talking to for a while, we discussed her problems and I listened to her and comforted her.

I cannot express to you what that felt like to me (but I'll try). I was surprised, first and foremost, because I don't particularly try to live my life in order to affect people's lives. I try to live life so that I am satisfied by it.

But I was deeply honoured. I was so stunned and affected deeply myself, by their words.

I have had people have astounding effects on my life - one in particular comes to mind. He was, at first, merely my karate instructor. But he became so much more than that - he became my father figure, my mentor, he became the one person who has had more impact in my life than any other. I looked up to him, I respected him, and I still mourn his death almost ten years later.

As well as mourning him, I mourned that I never told him how much he meant to me. I never told him that I loved him, I never told him that it was because of him that I became a strong person, I never told him that he had such a powerful effect on me. I still wish, to this day, that I could have done so. I make an effort to do so every time I visit his grave.

Then there was the wonderful woman who rescued me from the influence of society when I began to question it. Instead of being crushed under the weight of what was "normal" and "right", I had a safe harbour to turn to. She talked with me and laughed with me and listened to me cry when it was all too much. She may have saved my life; I do not know where I would be today if wasn't for her.

But I wonder sometimes if she knows what an impact she had on me. I wonder if she knows that it's because of her that I am able to fight back against what is "expected" of me, I wonder if she knows that it is because of her that I am confident in who I am in a way that I wasn't even sure existed previously.

In case she doesn't, Lisa, thank you. You saved me from a cookie-cutter existence filled with fear.

With these two lovely people in mind it came as a shock to me when I became that person to others. The first time I was told this, it was by the previously mentioned teenage girl. I was blown away. Surely I, a small creature like myself, could not have an effect on someone as huge as the effect on me was from Sensei, or from Lisa?

I thanked her, smiled, and put it out of my mind.

A couple of years later, I was told by two people that I had indirectly (and directly, in one case) saved their lives. I had given them hope, I had given them strength. I had made them believe that there was something worth sticking around for, even if all it was was me, yelling at them to tell them that I loved them and I'd kick their asses if they did anything stupid.

Once again I was blown away; surely I could not possibly have saved people's lives? That's the kind of thing heroes do!

But the label stuck - and many people began telling me I was a hero, I was inspiring, I gave them something to look forward to.

It was around that time when I realized how life works.

We are all heroes, and we all save each other's lives, and we all have profoundly deep effects on those we touch. We are all powerful, amazing, beautiful people and every single one of us has someone out there that is grateful to us for existing.

I have my heroes, my wonderful people who changed my life. Why was I under the impression that I couldn't do the same? I can do the same and I have, and I will continue to do so.

Changing lives happens when we touch, speak, breathe into each other and receive love from each other. We are all changing our lives and the lives of those around us all the time; we are leaving emotional brands on each other's mental flesh. We love and we are loved and that makes us heroes, that makes us inspiring, that makes us who we are.

March 3, 2008

Fresh blog, smells like tea tree.

So, here I am in my new bloggy thing. It's been suggested to me several times to start a blog that isn't my livejournal, so I have caved to peer pressure.

You won't find anything here that you won't find in my livejournal as well... this is just going to be reposts of blogs about fat, gender, sex, BDSM, disability, and so many other delicious wonderful things.

Hopefully it will kick me into posting "better" posts more often, as well.