You know what I like, and feel is so important? That he doesn’t say “Men thinks those are THEIR positions”. He says “We think those are OUR positions.”
As a male feminist, he still doesn’t exclude himself from the group of men.
Here’s What’s Okay (And Not Okay) to Say to a Trans Person – Once and For All — Everyday Feminism. Dear Constance, this article will be good review for some, and a great beginning for those who are interested but don’t know protocol.
The one that is most crucial to me? The one that says my story is mine and not yours…and you have no right to out me to anyone…even though people have done this to me. It’s sorta weird to meet someone I knew then and hear that there is all kinds of gossip about me happening…that means that the paragons of virtue who told me I was beyond a river they refused to cross and that I was demonized?
They started the rumors and passed them along…and likely think they served Jesus in doing it. The trouble they caused me…I weep still at times over things that I could have shared in my own way and time that got shared and soo distorted… …but that’s the way it goes when you deal with the privileged…whatever they say is God’s will becomes God’s will…
Constance…you are all so kind to me, supportive and for me. And sometimes, you just put your feet right in it, and not even know it!
Because your comments are not intended to harm or other or police me, I nearly always do not give a clue as to how they have hurt me…but they do.
Like when you say “Oh wow, you’re looking so great today girl, and you’re gonna look even better when you get that 5 o’clock shadow” lasered off”
*OOooffff!* That hurts…especially because there are many cis-females that have more naturally occurring facial hair than I do!
Or this one was particularly cutting: “Why don’t you consider getting your Adam’s Apple shaved? It will make you look more feminine”…
…so I went home and cried after that one…cus lots of reasons, but one of the biggest is that there are many drag queens and transvestites who look 100% feminine and completely identify as gay males and in no way consider themselves female…while here I am, female thru and thru and yet told that I need a shave of my Adam’s Apple to look (read “be”) more feminine.
Or “you sound like a boy so you are a boy”…wow, don’t know where to go with that one because here is the fact: any human being whose vocal cords are exposed to testosterone is going to have those cords damaged by that exposure and it will be permanent, irreversible damage. The result is that person’s voice will then deepen, coarsen, and sound like what we have been socialized to believe that men sound like and not women.
I would add one that the author leaves out: we trans-folk are not your personal research assistants! “Why Charissa, whatever do you mean?” Here is what I mean: many of you have taken baby steps out into the jungle, and trans-misogynist tigers have roared loud at you, eyes glaring…and you scurry to me and say “CHARISSA!!! There’s beasties out there! Give me some bullets PDQ!!! What do I say???!!”
Umm…so here is what I want you to know: we are not born the “Golden Child of all knowledge trans!” We were born inside these skins, as tabula rasa as you…what we learned was from hard work, investment of time, research, learning Google-Fu and using it, and then more of the same! The information is out there…the same things I found and tested and tried and learned.
I cannot be an ally for you! You either are or you aren’t.
You can’t just show up when it’s convenient, and expect me to carry the ball the rest of the time, give you your lines, take all the arrows so you won’t be harmed…I am already taking arrows and dealing with that.
It’s the nature of being an ally…get some skin in the game.
It makes me heartsick when “allies” come around because they need something, but they aren’t around when I am under assault and feel like I am fighting the Battle of Bastogne all by myself.
Oh…and please, PLEASE: don’t get all hurt and go away pouty when you ask me to give you all the answers and I reply with “It’s out there…go dig!”
Allies…by now, you could be eating meat…why do you content yourself with milk?
Awwright…lecture over…go read the article if you still are here LOL!!
When we talk about biological sex being “what’s between your legs,” we’re forgetting that sex is actually much more complicated than that. Genitalia, chromosomes, hormones, and secondary sex characteristics all contribute to our assigned sex at birth, but ultimately, sex is just that: assigned.
Biological sex is a social construction, meaning it’s something we as a culture have created. That’s not to say it isn’t relevant to our health or that it doesn’t influence our personal realities, but the categories of “female” and “male” must be recognized for what they really are.
One year later,
in this year of grace
I sit in stillness
ringside once again
but only with dead ashes,
I know it has to happen, yes
this death of me, this death
of who I was, no…
what I was, or rather
what you thought I was
and what I wasn’t too.
You thought me as a god,
and just a little lower than a god.
Your “glorious glorious father”
shining strong and tall,
quick and certain, no one knew
that was but wooly curtains drawn
over a stage making the ready
for a play to become real-life…
But…what’s a child to do when god betrays?
When god is thus unfaithful and capricious…
that god must become monster,
and vicious harsh taskmaster,
when god must be revealed as sick pretender
(your words, love, not mine, those are your words)
as just the “other”, empty, just a mask?
Well, Nietzsche showed the way, now dint he?
He sussed the death of God and birth of crisis…
He understood the very underpinnings
of everything are quivering like liquid,
all foundations kicked asunder
and this hollow edifice
left floating in the shell-pink air.
Nietzsche called for total transformation,
he demanded blood, the death of God,
and also everything He stood for.
I get it…I do…the death of god
No really, I know it’s me, not you…
Problematic in my breathing
and offensive in my joy, well
this aggression will not stand, man!
And so it is that I must die…well,
he must die and be defamed
for every single gripe,
complaint or wound or sling
he must be destroyed
because he wasn’t He
and now it’s clear
that he would never be…
but I will be…me.
Go ahead, beloveds,
it’s true that I must die
so you can be set free
and God at last can finally BE
that God of Wonder
far beyond the Galaxy,
high above and right beside us
bringing life again to you and me.
Use what silver knives you have
(I placed them in your hands so long ago,
carefully planned, bequeathed to you your
weapons of words, of music and of comprehension).
Use the ropes you find inside your packs,
laid lovingly from Lorien in wonder
and in sober long anticipation yes,
that someday your blood be required
of me and on my head as well
(but it’s in my heart forever).No crucifix for me, how gauche,
how gothic and old fashioned!
No…a shiny scaffold glittery
erected stainless steel there, gleaming
austere, so implacable
and one thin razor wire noose
with my neck’s name writ there
(except it’s not so plain as all that)
no…the old name that speaks of
I have confidence in you
(this is not stupid or myopic,
this is love, Lovelies).
I see this execution
is but you living out
what I have taught you
that there is no god but God
(not even glorious father)
and all things that you love
descend from His Great Goodness
and Mama’s bag of riches
I wish you all good always
and hope that someday your mouth won’t be cursed
with this burnt aftertaste of death,
and me just acrid curse to you…
if my death expiate your soul
and bring release and freedom to you all
then quick, oh Hangman, let the black bell toll
and pull your lever that I may hard fall
and on you live, free
building brave new worlds
but I will still be like those flickering fires
that linger in my mind while I sit here
beside this ring of ashes never warm
and those seats empty in this quiet storm
“The madman jumped into their midst and pierced them with his eyes. ‘Whither is God,’ he cried; ‘I will tell you. We have killed him—you and I! All of us are his murderers…Do we not feel the breath of empty space? Has it not become colder?…Do we smell nothing as yet of the divine decomposition? Gods, too, decompose. God is dead. God remains dead. And we have killed him.'”
This…everyday. This is the life we walk.
As the recent Human Rights Commission’s ‘Resilient Individuals: Sexual Orientation, Gender Identity & Intersex Rights’ report shows, transgender people are at a highly elevated risk of being physically and verbally harassed, made unemployed, homeless, denied healthcare or access to other services, than most other demographics within Australia. Having experienced every one of the aforementioned situations at one time or another during my transition, I wish being transgender was unremarkable enough that I didn’t have to ‘pass’ and that I could safely participate in activities like sport and work without my identity being constantly under scrutiny.
Constance…please read thru the sections I am sharing below. Read it slow and let it sink in.
This is my life. I am living these sentences (word chosen to echo and double back on itself, those with eyes let them see).
Consider the way that my sentences being served also impact you…and the way that yours can set me free, if you will but begin to speak them.
Just read up on the Bell Hooks-Laverne Cox talk, thought it was really uncool (and unfemininist) of Hooks to chide Cox for her presentation.
I mean yeah, I get that for (feminist) cis women, femininity can start to feel constricting after a while, but trans women have a very different relationship with it. Patriarchy wants AFAB (Assigned Female At Birth) people to be feminine, it does not want AMAB (Assigned Male At Birth) people to be feminine.
For a person that was assigned male at birth, it absolutely can be revolutionary to embrace femininity. It is anathema to patriarchy for AMAB people to embrace femininity, why else do you think trans women get any and all femininity beaten out of them for the first part of their lives?
Besides, cis women had all their lives to try it out and grow tired of it. How many cis women haven’t smeared their mum’s lipstick all over their face as a little girl? At least have a heart and give us some time to experiment with femininity, you were given that time while you were growing up and I don’t see you high-n-mighty feminists going after teenage cis girls for it.
I would like to expand on this, and say that the patriarchy derides and punishes femininity in general. That’s why men who like female-coded activities are mocked. that’s why “girly-girls” are derided as shallow or high-maintenance.
But with trans women, expressing femininity is particularly revolutionary because it isn’t just about social conditioning–it’s a complete rejection of masculinity as the “valuable option.”
Many women–trans and cis–find value in femininity, but when cis women embrace it, everyone assumes it’s because it is expected and because that’s how they were trained. It isn’t considered unusual, because society insists that’s the punishment you get for being a woman, and if you’re very good you’ll reject that and try to act more like your “betters.”
But trans women are offered masculinity on a platter–it’s assumed to be our birthright–and we reject it. More accurately, like most people we reject parts of it. We’re proof that masculinity isn’t inherently valuable or precious–it’s just another thing.
And of course, patriarchal ideals double down on us for that. Our punishment for embracing the feminine and not being “rightly” ashamed of it is to be chained by it, and punished for any infraction. Male-coded interests are “proof” that we’re faking it.
Not appearing feminine enough is grounds for firing or banning us from homes (or from the lives of our own relatives). Expressing anger or standing up for ourselves is interpreted–even by self-proclaimed feminists–as our being aggressive and “really” men.
And revealing anything about our genitals is literally grounds for execution.
People hunt down the tiniest nuances–our shoulders, our voices, or hobbies, or age–and use the smallest infraction against gender norms to completely invalidate our statement that masculinity isn’t precious at all. This despite the fact that trans women, like everyone, aren’t inherantly “pure women” or “pure men” any more than any cis person–we’re mixes of social messages and biological impulses, some accepted some rejected, that go into forming a complex human being.
Trans women highlight that there’s no superior gender or gendered form of expression, and that pisses people off.
I have a friend that I call ‘Becca. She has simply clicked with me…and of course she is a Scorpio! Giggle…Heather, Dani, Jane, there are reinforcements! ❤
Anyway, I just decided to adopt myself into her family, and so I am her sister, and she mine.
She spoke for me today…in my absence, in ways of towering significance and true strength…to a person that I have not spoken to or even been in touch with for like 15 or 20 years!
This person apparently repeatedly used my birth name in derogatory ways in the attempt to demean me? (By the way, this is what is known as ‘policing’) And ‘Becca not only spoke up for me, she left the situation before losing her temper, thus showing her grasp of the true nature and intent of my own heart and vision.
That is being an ally…being a sister. She didn’t call me up and demand an explanation. She didn’t tell me that my transition was causing her issues so she needed to distance herself. She called to tell me so I would know and to be sure that she had handled it appropriately…even went so far as to infer that she would give this person “what for” if they came at her again.
Because I am no more ashamed of my birth name and who I was than a butterfly is ashamed of its stage as a caterpillar, I volunteered to share back story with her.
She simply said: “Ya know, I just love my Charissa, and want to know Charissa Grace”.
*she called me “her Charissa”…*
Thank you, ‘Becca…you epitomize family and what being an ally is.
Oh…and trouble maker? You who think you are fuller of the Holy Spirit than anyone else? You who have not spoken to me or seen me in ages and ages and have no idea anything of my heart and soul? I will simply sing of my liberty while you are chained to your small, tight heart and your ignorant judgements.
Constance…you will be blessed by this.
Constance, another article that helps explain the reality of transgender brain formation and how this determines gender orientation.
This will be preaching to the choir, but likely might be helpful to those still uneducated that this is something quite different than “living my truth” or any other characterization that seeks to make my gender orientation some version of a choice.
Perhaps you all could pass it on in your own attempts to be allies.
Reader, it’s up to you…you are proud of judging non-christians for ignoring the evidence for Christ…pot meet kettle, if you continue to characterize gender variance as anything other than what it is: a reality that is as legitimate as your own “owned internal sense of gender”.
It’s a bit like being proud you are not a cleft palate born person, and then trying to deny treatment to anyone who was born that way.
I am struggling to deal with the ways that people tend to gravitate to ideas and appealing causes, tend to be drawn to words that are spoken with passion and purpose…
…but when the Incarnation time comes, they turtle…back into the shell of comfort, or familiarity, or least resistance, or something that they falsely call peace when it is actually the mere absence of conflict.
You did realise that, didn’t you? Your destiny? To become an Incarnate word? To take that core passion, meaning, burning intention, determination, whatever it is, and actually become a living, breathing, triumphing, failing, enduring persevering example of it!
But oh the cost…and pain…confusion and sorrow (But One has gone before and blazed the trail).
There is a paradigm in our culture (that stems from a greater problem, but that is another post another time) and it holds us ALL captive…except some of us are captive in barbwire bonds, and some are just captive by walls inescapable…and can move about, partake of comforts that make it more bearable being a prisoner.
That latter quality is called privilege. When you have it, words that wound and destroy are seen as not such a bad thing and meant only as jokes or slang.
When you don’t have it and protest words that wound and destroy, you become the object of the privileged speaker’s ire and irritation at being called out…and finding yourself alone in this sort of battle is sobering and difficult.
When you have privilege a raid on your personhood is like going to the beach and taking a bucketful of sand…when you don’t have it, a raid on your personhood is like a flood that washes away precious topsoil and leaves a devastating wasteland in its place.
This week I encountered a man on social media who used diminishing and objectifying vocabulary to describe how he became aroused as a teen-ager regardless of what the women were wearing. He purported to be a supporter of women, an opponent of Rape Culture and an advocate for women as subjects and not just objects of the lusts of men. He seemed to value being somewhat flip and “hep”, because he used this term to describe lusting after a woman: “Bone Out”.
Constance, if you are reading this as a human being who has spent time in male spaces where they believe themselves to be alone with themselves and no female people present, you will recognize this term as slang for masturbation accompanied by fantasizing over whatever poor unfortunate woman has the burden of being his fantasy object, and in this fantasy she will do, be, say, or act out whatever it is he wants (or thinks he does). You will also know that after you are finished “boning out”, you will have unconsciously internalized (in varying degrees) some of this fantasy as “how women really are” and “what women really want”.
Constance, if you are female…how do you feel inside when someone who purports to be an advocate advocates for you while talking about “Boning Out” and blatantly says that it doesn’t matter what you wear, it is going to happen?
Well, I called him out on it…first with a somewhat rhetorical “Wait, whaaaa? What did I just read?” (or words to that effect, I cannot quote them because I blocked this person after our next exchanges).
Aaaannnnddd, what do you think this advocate did? Check himself, and say “Oh wow, sorry ladies, I apologize for my slang, and I really do see how in trying to make a point that dress codes are irrelevant I inadvertently revealed that I was gonna lust after you whenever I wanted to”…hmm? Seems a gracious response, yes? Or do you think he got huffy, aggrieved and touchy, blame shifting any objection to what he said over to the objector?
Now keep in mind that this thread was vitally active with intelligent women who were making informed and insightful thoughtful comments and expressing their hearts over how these dress codes are designed to oppress and other women and keep them in places of exclusion in the paradigm.
So I commented further and sought to point out that his vocabulary was coarse at best and lowered the level of discourse and destructive at worst because of the way it objectified and sexualized women. I tried to point out that he had obviated his support of abolishing dress codes by flat out stating that he would lust after a woman regardless of what she is wearing!
Let that sink in.
He then went on to defend his position that school attire should be like work attire: “business appropriate”…and that is not a bad idea, by the way (the fact that many people do not want to go into business not withstanding)…and yet still couldn’t see that the problem was not the dress code!
The problem is in the attitude of males who believe it their right OR their inescapable biological destiny to lust after women for the sake of their own satiation sexually. So we know that this person would “bone out” over a woman in business attire, or snowsuits, or bikinis, or the latest chic shade of grey.
Scattered throughout his man-splainin’ were jabs at me, turning it back on me and basically claiming to be intention-wise such a champion of women…and he doubled down on his slang with scatological vocabulary and a tone of anger in his words that I took as his clear intention to intimidate me into silence…
and he also doubled down on his blindness and tone-deafness, by making comments about his propensity to get aroused over whatever women were around. He did not own this as his own issue! He said that women give him a chubby!
So Constance, you women out there…be it known that you now have a new role: to be a Giver! YAAAYYY…um no yay, because you are now a giver of chubbies.
Oh, and “chubbie” is a cute word which is used to cutify the male erection…I suppose calling it a chubbie was supposed to make me coo like it was his mischievous unruly puppy that makes messes here and there but will be oh so loveable if I just pet it and feed it.
No matter what you are doing, whether you realize it or not, you are a giver of chubbies to men. And what are these poor fellows to do, being such a downtrodden oppressed group, except to take this gift and…yeah.
Well, I appealed to my sisters who had been speaking so lively and true…was I wrong? Was I out of line? Was everyone just so impressed with his wit, his scatological riffs more reminiscent of Richard Pryor than Dice Clay? Would they let me know? Or, if I was right, would they come to my side and help me try to educate this man?
I also decided to draw the interaction to a conclusion so far as my end was concerned because in social media an artificial connection exists that does not lend itself well to “Iron sharpening Iron”…you have all been there I am sure…emotions rise up and swamp intellect and good will is washed away and insult and invective become the implements of war in Sarcasm’s hand, until blood and entrails are the media for the pictograms that death carves into the scene. And all that carnage between two Image Bearers who have never met, never knew each other even existed 10 minutes before, and have no idea who and what the other person is…
…the wrong that is inside us just gushes out like a geyser…
…why does it almost never happen otherwise when there is a sharp difference of opinion or misunderstanding? No, better to just end it, after all the beginning of a quarrel is soo much like starting to relieve one’s self: once it is going, it is nearly impossible to stop until you have voided your bladder, and then it’s too late, you have defiled everything in the stream of your waste.
And also, I blocked this person, because I have stepped in it before with men just like this guy who then become relentless in hunting me down and virtually assaulting me online, and rest assured they make sure that I know that I am transgender and what they think of it…as if I had not ever known or heard. And when you are told that you will be ambushed and killed by people that others think is a great guy, well it messes with your heart.
And no, this guy did not say that to me…at least not that I know. Because I blocked him preemptively.
This all happened on someone else’s domain, and I did not feel the freedom to deconstruct his arguments and address them one by one…and I truly believe that he was so angry and defensive it would have made it worse. I also did not think to copy them all before I blocked him so that I had a record, and I do not want to unblock him in order to do that…
…so these are my recollections…but really…these are the things I felt and experienced…
and they left me feeling bruised and insulted…
No one else said anything…what was so obvi to me was either not true, wasn’t visible, or was so scary that no one else would step forward and stand with me. And that is what was the most deeply discouraging, because then I wonder if I had been a cis female would someone have spoken up for me? Was everyone silent because I am transgender, and openly so? Is my courage like trying to put out a volcano by carrying teacups of water to the violence one by one?
If I am silent, it continues. If I speak, it attacks, and continues.
Well, I am speaking. Here…on Grace Notes…and I am saying it is not okay for men to hide behind the notion that their arousal from being around women is something they cannot control…I know about this first hand, and it is indeed possible to not do this! I am saying it is not okay to talk both sides against the middle.
And that way? At least I can live with myself.
In sorrow and tears,
Constance, Judith Butler is a very important voice in the rethinking of gender and gender roles, and as such is worth spending some time exploring.
This article is a good introduction, so I am posting it for your opportunity.
This phrase drives me nuts!! Because it is usually spoken by someone who thinks themself supportive, and they have no idea how it others me, demeans and diminishes me.
Can you imagine, as a cis-gender person if someone else came up to you and said “Hey, if the truth you need to live is that you are a (fill in the blank), then I am all for it!”
You would just laugh, and think “what an idiot”. Right?
But with me, when they say this, it is as if they think that they have somehow conferred some legitimacy on me and then posed themself as the paragon of acceptance…
I think next time this happens, Ima just do this:
OMG Constance!! Did you hear about the massive protests and riots going on in Philadelphia because of the death of a woman of color???
Yeah…neither did I.
After all…she was only a woman.
A woman of color.
Oh…and she was trans.
Just another piece of trash collected for the patriarchy. http://www.buzzfeed.com/dominicholden/transgender-woman-stabbed-to-death-in-philadelphia?utm_term=.yfzwq8GpK#.pnOnBKk8L
But while I am on the topic of killing transwomen? If you slur me with your words…if you other me with your actions…if you lie to yourself about who I am…if you call me “engenderer”, “mask”, “monster”, “other” (a literal “othering”)…
…you do not get to call yourself a trans-advocate.
Dear Constance…I am blessed with such a plethora of amazing, wonderful followers.
That would be you…Constant Reader…Constance.
One of them is at the link I just posted, and he is a truth teller, more rare than gold dust as an amazing person commented over there.
“But why, Charissa? Why would you share such a topic as the one you chose?”
Because it is eerily reminiscent of the treatment of transgender people at the hands of…well…virtually everyone in our society. The double binds that are illuminated, the abuse, the policing and othering, the way the system protects itself and eliminates any possible threats to itself…
Yeah…this is the life of a transgender human being every single livelong day.
The system is a giant virus, and it has gathered to itself other virulent viruses and they all are completely sold out and committed to the mandate of one thing and one thing alone: survival and self-replication. And we, all of us, are in the belly of this beast.
Some of us are the pilot fish of privilege…circling the jaws, living off the shreds of flesh that trail off those teeth sharp and cruel. Some of us are between those jaws, ever consumed for the survival of the virus, and some live in the bowels, in the rot and excrement of everything that must take place in order for the thing to keep alive.
How are we to live?
The monolithic nature of this thing prohibits mass action, but what about individual action? Will you consider changing the way you interact with every single person you meet? Just think…if we all did that, loved our neighbor as ourselves, loved God (or if you believe you do not believe then loved being kind, being forgiving, being truthful and merciful), and refused to participate in injustice…
…there might be cracks, and then rents, and then in a rush a breaking down of the walls and the death of the virus.
Do Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.
Here’s a thought: how bout each one of you who reads this go to your school board and tell them that if this sort of thing is tolerated in your school district, you will file civil suit against them as culpable for the death?
How bout you simply say to them you personally will not tolerate anything whatsoever except a no bullying stance?
Or is it to you as it is to so many: the equivalent of the Aztec hearts held up to appease the angry god of the patriarchy and preserve your own privilege?
Me and my Cat-Hair go where we want!
Well, my Cat-hair does, anyway.
I just trail frantically, pulled right along
as it wanders and pries and looks into burrows
and lays in the sun and just licks its soft paws
with no care in the world but those mice!
Sometimes it looks really cool, and just perfect!
Purring there, cooing and wanting the touch
of a hand that will smooth its sleek soft furry pelt
and some fingers so friendly with their gentle skritch
skritch skritch and then a flat palm to do obeisance.
But then there are times when my Cat-hair just hisses!
Its eyes glowing green and just brimming with daggers
and it jumps akimbo and arches its back
and it dares me, just dares me to try to address it
with anything less than a rake and a hoe
and better get ready to wrestle a she-devil
scratches for skritches and clawings for pettings!!
My Cat-hair and me are sometimes called names
and sometimes called other and sometimes called mask
and sometimes called liar and sometimes called nothing
and that’s when my Cat-hair sits silent, tail lashing
and eyes focused into the void that is lurking
inside the accusers who say they hate cats
when what they really mean is that they just hate me…
well, Cat-hair is there, and I cannot do anything
to make it dog-hair or human or cow-hair
or sheep-hair or anything else that would walk
off the Ark on that day when the floodwaters drained
and the animals rambled in freedom again.
so I guess I will just go with Cat-hair, just sitting there
being itself, just my Cat-hair and me.
Over 50% of transgender children try to commit suicide by their mid to late teenage years. A large number of them succeed. And the main reason that these children state that they try to harm themselves is the lack of love and support of their family and friends. My wife and I decided that we would much rather have a happy, healthy daughter than a dead son.
You’d have two completely different views of the trans movement if you either read all the recent articles, or just the comments on them.
Articles: Tipping Point! Hollywood trend! Rapid change in public understanding & acceptance! We love you!
Comments: Sick, disgusting, delusional, predatory harbingers of utter doom and destruction! Who are also ugly!
If there is a truth, I suppose it’s somewhere between. Trendy monsters perhaps? Loathsome darlings? Delusional seers?
…says it so well right here! I have thoughts about coins, too…about moments, but for now, feast on her thoughts, her insights…and be filled.
Thanks Nikki…LOVE YOU!!
So I was talking with one of my closest and dearest friends, Indiana. We were talking about our personal hardships we go through being trans.
How it sucks, and how it doesn’t.
I wanted to share a comment I made here for others, because I feel it is a great way of viewing both this life, and its opportunity.
Too many are giving up and killing themselves, and cis people just don’t know or understand. Its just a mess all around.
Its not fair. It sucks. So bad.
But it also doesn’t.
Its a coin. But its not a coin you toss and lands with finality, no…that would be too simple.
Its a coin that has been tossed by powers beyond our understanding that flips in perpetual motion.
Each spin brings something new. A new insight, a new experience, both a beginning and an ending…then there’s those moments that exist when the coin is between its flips, where we find ourselves.
Some times we want to press on to one face of the coin, or go to the other.
It sucks. But you and I…we both are there, flipping on it. Clinging onto it whether we are speaking or not. You’re hanging there too, and yeah…I don’t say nothing, but my eyes look over at you too.
Folks who struggle and straddle that divide…
“Voce sua ad verum”
It means, “To thine own self be true”, and it takes nothing short of pure desperation to reach that inner tipping point where you not only say that you’ve had enough, but that you’re willing to face the shame, humiliation, the ostracism, the name calling and whispers behind your back by those you once called your family, and your friends.
It takes nerves of steel and resolve to hold fast to who you are in a world that would have you be anything but who you are.
Damn it, be proud of yourselves. No one will ever know what we go through, just to go to a store or to even use the damned bathroom somewhere, never mind the complications of having special needs kids, dealing with “the system” and all of that.
So, that coin will keep flipping, and we’re along for the ride. Some of us weren’t so lucky to land firmly on one side of it or the other.
Chin up, and eyes to the future. We all have our crosses to carry, and if you aren’t a Christian, just interpret that as a unique burden that you deal with in life.
Constance…I am sobbing deeply right now. Another transgender person dead, dysphoria eats another one of us, and what’s worse but not at all unusual is the way that the cis-world egged her on.
I cannot imagine the cruel hearts of the people who said such horrible things to her.
But I will be blunt: everyday, you need to remember that most transgender people are treated with staggering othering and policing.
I myself am shunned, and my history is distorted and fabricated. My narrative is hijacked in service of a myth that allows people to feel good about the indifferent uncaring way they choose to live.
It weighs on a person, it does.
Constance, everywhere around you someone is suffering, someone is laboring. How about just be kind?
Someday you will wish you had been, if you’re lucky.
Trans woman, 23, kills herself after being attacked online
A young trans woman has killed herself after being attacked online.
Rachel Bryk, 23, jumped off the George Washington Bridge, the bridge between New York and New Jersey, on Thursday night (23 April)
An eyewitness is believed to have seen the young woman leave her purse on the bridge and jump off into the Hudson River.
Bryk’s body has still not been recovered. A funeral will be planned when her body is found.
Her shocked mother Lisa Bryk, from New Jersey, found out on Friday morning.
‘She was super smart, really good with computers,’ she told Gay Star News. ‘We’ll miss her.’
Bryk was diagnosed with rheumatoid arthritis at a young age and lived with chronic pain. This meant she was unable to get a job or keep to a regular schedule.
She found her life in anime, nerd culture and computing. She helped develop an emulator that allows you to play Gamecube and Wii games on your PC.
But because Bryk was talented, and hard-working, and open about being trans, it meant she left herself open to online attacks.
When she said on 4chan that she was considering killing herself, she did not receive support.
‘DO IT, if you’re such a weak willed thin skinned dipshit then fucking do it,’ one anonymous commenter told her.
Even in her death, some on 4chan have described it as a ‘victory’. On news of her death, some commented that she was the ‘whiniest fucking faggot’ and ‘any tranny death is good riddance’.
Such comments clearly left Bryk severely depressed, who would often call herself ‘worthless trash’ on her Ask.fm page. Her Twitter bio page read: ‘[Trigger Warning]: suicide on everything i say.’
At Friday midnight, this was posted on her Twitter.
The people Bryk worked with mourned her.
‘She will be missed greatly by everyone. We are stronger, better people thanks to knowing her,’ one said.
And another: ‘Rachel was more than just a great programmer. She was a great programmer who always managed to put a smile on my face. I don’t think that there ever will be anyone else quite like her. Rest in peace.’
When we asked Bryk’s mom how the family dealt with her daughter’s transition, she said: ‘It caused a lot of worry, because the world is not a kind place for people who are different.’
If you are considering suicide, please call the US National Suicide Prevention Lifeline on 1-800-273-8255. The LGBT National Helpline is on 888-843-4564, with the Youth line on 800-246-7743.
Umm…okay, so this was unbelievably difficult/wonderful for me to read.
Just soo relate to many things, and so impressed by this amazing woman’s compassion for Jenner.
May they both be blessed with compassionate days.
Constance, this is a pretty dang good analysis of the Jenner interview.
*I am calling this person Jenner for now…while Jenner has given request for male pronouns to be used for the interview and identification currently, Jenner has also unequivocally declared as female. I remember those early days myself, and my mindset that I could/would accommodate everyone else, whom I mistakenly assumed were acting in good faith that matched my own…I was wrong to assume this, and wish now that I had just asserted myself*
*Just in case this is true for Jenner too…I will simply use Jenner’s surname until it becomes clear where on the spectrum Jenner connects in*
Constance, here is a post from a Facebook friend concerning Bruce Jenner. While the opinions about Jenner as a person are hers, the concerns/facts about that vast majority of transgender people are quite real, and she so articulately expressed them.
Thanks, Nikki! Your words RAWK!
So, Bruce Jenner.
I am so tired of hearing this person’s name. So sick and tired of it…
There’s been this stuff swirling around across what I’ve dubbed, the “Transphere” concerning idols, and all of that…what a crock…
Let me first state that being trans is NOT who you are. It is a PART of who you are like having brown eyes, or green skin (I dunno, maybe you do?). A lot of people choose to make it central to who they are as people, and that’s fine…you know what? Those people can do whatever they want to do, but it STOPS there, with them. I’m not in that box.
When someone sees me, I don’t want the light bulb to go off, “Trans.” in the same way someone else you might see triggers something else. When this happens, we surrender our person hood, in exchange for an issue. We are no longer people, but instead representatives of an issue. Try doing that, and having a meaningful existence…I dare you.
I am me. My life experience has taught me that while being trans may be a permanent part of who I am, and always was, it does NOT define me, and even if it did, that definition it yields for me is vastly different from that of another person who is trans.
When most lay people hear the term, “Transgender” they tend to think it means someone like me, for example, someone just like me.
“Oh, I knew someone who became a guy. That’s cool!”
“Yeah I have a friend who became a girl, he’s still my best friend!” (Obvious gender pronoun errors, because who their friend is, and identifies as isn’t important to you, only what they mean (or meant) to you. Grats on being selfish, and inconsiderate or someone’s inherent self-worth and dignity.
In both of these examples, what’s happened is that people think that transgender means one thing, and my oh my, that couldn’t be further from the truth.
I will say this now, and I seldom ever just post it on my wall, but I was diagnosed with transsexualism, and that was treated under the care of a team of doctors via gender transition everything ranging from Hormones to Surgeries. My lived experiences are absolutely NOTHING like this person’s.
My personal feelings on this “Bruce Jenner” crap comes from a place of protectiveness. I am sick of this story getting air time, and these well-to-do 1%’s feeding their lusts for attention. This isn’t a game!!! People get hurt because of the attitudes propagated by this garbage….and that is EXACTLY what this is.
My protectiveness comes from the suffering of people who are trans. The people who deal with the shit from ground zero EVERY. SINGLE. DAY. We have the highest suicide attempt rate IN THE WORLD with almost ONE in every TWO people attempting. Then you have this person creating a circus of non-sense giving Cis people and others who have no idea what Trans is, so much ammo to continue the abuses, the bullying, the murders, the legally oppressive laws for us to go about our daily lives.
I AM SICK of it.
What’s more important to mention here, and I did hit on this on a previous post on a friend’s wall, is that as a “community” there really is no “trans” community, but more of a loose grouping of people defending human rights, specifically gender identity and expression. We can not agree on anything at all concerning who or what is trans, what that means or doesn’t mean…possibly because there is no categorical way to classify the breadth and scope of the human experience.
Fact is: We are all people, and gender identity and expression, while an innate part of who we are, is not the defining characteristic of who we are…but a smaller component of a much larger entity.
Get this crap out of the media already. There’s no doubt going to be a negative impact because of it, and I can see it all over our local news station’s Facebook pages.
I do not like this person being in the news, and I think it serves to do more harm than good. Most of my posts are usually much more supportive than this, but we’ve seen too many train wrecks with public figures, and I just don’t want, nor do I care to see social attitudes decline and make life more difficult for every day people like those on my friend’s list.
I feel the same way about this, that I do when someone with Autism commits a murder, and they try to lump all people who are autistic into the murderer categories.
Bruce Jenner is NOT an idol, and needs to go away. ASAP.
Now, I’m going tend to my garden. Have a blessed day heart emoticon
Constance, I likely will not post an awful lot about the Jenner Transition Announcement until she gets further underway.
I totally, utterly get where she is at right now. She is thinking things about how she is not that worried about pronouns, and how she is willing to overlook the othering and policing that is going on right now, yadda yadda yadda…she feels a responsibility to other transgender people to effect a graceful transition with dignity.
But deep down inside…all those things are hurting her, affecting her, wounding her. She doesn’t need me adding to the cacophony of noise surrounding her (and all of that exacerbated because of the family dynamics she married into). Eventually, she will begin to find her bearings and her voice, or if she already has, she will begin to express it in her own unique ways.
But I will be commenting on things that orbit her transition, things that are revealed and illuminated as a result of her decision, and here is one of them:
On my Facebook page, a friend linked to an article about her transition. That article is here:
What was telling was in the comments on the Facebook post, all generally very supportive, but one stood out to me. It simply said “Who are we to judge…”
“Who are we to judge…”
Constance, do you see why that comment jumped out at me? Yes? Jot down your thoughts about it…or No? No you do not see anything odd about that comment in relation to gender identity?
Well, Cis-Constance, imagine yourself being introduced to someone, and them very kindly and sagely assessing you and then saying to you and everyone “Who are we to judge…” and then shrugging as if to say “to each their own”…
as if your gender identity is something that is up for judgement in the first place!
as if your gender identity is an article of clothing that you simply decided to wear that day.
as if your gender identity was a moral choice you made or make.
Gender orientation is put into the same classification as sexual orientation and then judged as a moral choice, and this is simply incorrect and unfair.
There is orientation that is a given…and then there are behaviors that descend from choices that we make as creatures who are moral creatures and subject to moral constraints as determined by God and current cultural climate (and those are rarely congruent, btw)…the behaviors themselves are what I choose to do…but the orientation is who I was born to be.
Orientation is not moral behavior. It is simply the given baseline.
You as a cis-gender person are never subjected to the statement “Oh…you say you are a (fill in your biological chromosomal state). I see. Well, who am I to judge?”
And that, Constance, is the very epitome of cis-gender privilege!
Don’t get me wrong…I love the compassion that is at root behind the commenter’s post…but gender orientation is not a matter subject to judgement any more than race is, or that there is a brain in a skull, or that there are arms and legs on a human.
The deep underlying ignorance that is being exposed in the light of gender-education right now is the notion that gender-variance is a moral issue! The deep presupposition fostered in our binary is that any person who is cross-gendered is by definition subject to moral assessment should they decide to authentically live out who they are in spite of the external casing they are housed in!!
Do you see this?
The commenter is correct: we are not the judge of one another and should not judge one another. But the issue that she applied this moral principle speaks volumes of how far we have to go yet as a culture, and why we transgender people are subject to such tremendous othering.
Even the way we are supported is often times OTHERING!
I have the same internal response when people say to me “Hey, whatever makes you happy makes me happy”…and they are sincerely “for” me in terms of their willingness to accept me.
But they have no idea just how deeply they sentenced me to more time in the gender penitentiary.
…I want to invite you to look back thru the months to dip into prior posts. There is a plethora of plenty there! Poetry, posts about a wide range of the issues faced in life that are poignantly illustrated by gender orientation, theological musings and spiritual experiences recounted.
You can discover who “Constance” is…and you are invited to join her if you wish.
You can definitely see growth and development in me, as I live and breathe in transition from a not-out but self-aware very dysphoric transgender woman who is perceived as a white male of power, position, and privilege to a more congruent and out transgender woman who is now regularly othered, policed, and yes occasionally even perceived as who I actually am and received in joy.
You will see the journey of nearly every transgender person who endures the loss of so many things, so many people, in the desperate quest to gain themselves. You will witness how this quest is defined by the defenders of the paradigm as selfish and self-centered…when it is far more about finding a fort of safety from suicidal ideation and death.
But above all…hopefully…you will find a person who is making the transition that every single human being must find a way to make: that transition from death to life…from works to grace…from self-centered ego-oriented pursuits to other-oriented sacrificial service.
And maybe, just maybe? That life motto of mine can at the end of it all be found true:
Do Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.
PS: The best way to investigate the archives of Grace Notes is to use the calendar at the bottom of the blog page…or utilize the search function in the right hand margin.
Constance, I often run across the statement “This has to stop” in connection with accounts of the bullying and suicide epidemics that transgender people face. And that is good, that people are beginning to get it, the monstrous othering and policing that we face every single G Dam day of our lives simply because we were “guilty” of being born into this life with the knowledge that our gender orientation and our assigned birth biology are at odds.
But I am restive with the ease with which in this internet age we can flourish our fingers over a keyboard and then move on from post with the feeling that we have actually “done something”, when all we have actually done is in effect restate the problem without attempting resolution. It is sorta like having a math test and re-writing the problem
6 + 11 = x as
x = 11 + 6 (and we be sure to draw attention to our use of different colored font and italics).
Compassion is a bicameral quality. It has two lobes. It has the feeling, heart lobe…that throbbing, dripping, bleeding tender outpouring of sympathetic alignment if we have not experienced something for ourselves (and just so you know: if you are not transgender, it is impossible for you to empathize with a dysphoric person, just as if you are white you cannot empathize with a person of color…you can sympathize, but don’t deceive yourself into thinking you empathize)…
…but for it to be true compassion, it must have the action side as well. What will you do with your sympathy?
Lori Duron has again posted a truly moving recounting of a tragic tale of bullying and othering and policing that ended in another transgender life lost…and I will recite yet again the litany of 2015: a lost transgender life approximately every 30 hours since 2015 began!
As if it is not enough of a burden to face: the nearly overwhelming unendurable constant achy angst of dysphoria. Oh no…to that is added the onslaught of ignorance, fear, and hatred as expressed in the evil of bullying which drives so many to self-destructive action in addition to having to bear gender dysphoria!
But Lori goes one better: She posts people you can email, places you can step up and actually take action that extends beyond the hypothetical feel good phrase “This has to stop” and manifests in real, measurable action…and takes baby steps as a compassionate act.
And then I myself will go you one better: there are marches coming up in major cities…in June. They have various names, monikers…but at heart they are the same, in that they are opportunities for you to express–directly–your support with your body side by side with other bodies, facing gawkers and haters, the curious and disinterested, and others who have walked in solitary confinement in their skins…
Transgender Pride Marches.
Yes, there will be people there who look different than you…who walk or talk different than you…and who want/feel/think/need/deserve exactly the same things you do as human beings! Your presence there as an ally will mean more to them than any of them can say…in addition to the emails you write or the lawmakers you contact, or the PTA meetings you attend to make your cis-gender privileged voice heard that it is not going to be tolerated, this epidemic of transgender suicide and murder…and your other actions that you are thinking of and planning to take.
You are thinking of them? Actions to take? Plans to do something? Someone you can maybe even smile at? Befriend?
In the Portland Area, I believe Transgender Pride March Day is June 13th. I hope to be there and intend to be, God willing. I intend to walk, with a sense of presence and dignity (a word I use very reluctantly right now as it has been wielded against me like a sharp phallic sword to rape my heart and spirit, but I use it none the less to mean a sense of presence that contains worth and significance simply because I am a human being)…I intend to hold my head high and not angled down, and my eyes moving from face to face and eye to eye rather than always staring at the space in between…
I hope to see you there, beside me…cis, trans. But if I don’t? It would mean the world to see you standing at the curb, a smile on your face and a nod in your eyes.
This has to stop…this expression of emotion that lacks the manifestation of action.
Originally published on Robot Hugs
(Trigger Warning: Sexual assault and rape culture)
When you’re dating, you may get lots of advice on keeping yourself safe. At the same time, you can get pressure to be carefree. And if something bad happens, you’re blamed for not properly calculating the risks! So what gives?
You shouldn’t have to carry the demand to be both available and super capable of preventing your own assault. This comic says it all.
The Editors at Everyday Feminism
How do you feel about Redmayne playing a trans woman?
1) I don’t know that we really need any more opinions, but since you asked..
2) Straight men hurt trans women because they’re afraid other men will think they’re gay for liking them. They think they’ll look gay because society, largely thanks to media, portrays trans women as men, and gay as less masculine and valuable. Having cis men play trans women contributes to this and puts trans women at risk. Plain and simple.
3) This is happening and nothing is going to stop it from happening, so my hope is that the producers will recognize the issue and do everything they can to mitigate the damage they’ll inevitably cause. I have friends that know Redmayne and assure me that he’s taking all these issues seriously. Obviously it would have been best if he had refused the part, but he’s no Jared Leto either.
Tangentially related, and perhaps selfishly, I’m less concerned with cis actors playing trans roles as I am with the near total lack of trans writers. I believe we’ll have a far greater impact when we are telling our own stories.
via (3) Tumblr.
Constance, I want to tell you about a friend of mine, and here is the amazing thing to me: she is a friend because she simply chose to be and began treating me like I was her friend! That is a very very different experience for me, and has happened to me precisely once before (you know who you are, Tortoise).
Oh, Alli and I are not “super duper besties” or anything like that…we live several miles apart, our lives and schedules do not really overlap…but they intersect at the crucial point of history and that is the Incarnation of God and all that entails.
They also intersect at the place of her total and complete commitment to live out her convictions in truth and with skin on…or to gussy it up with theology, Alli seeks to become a “little incarnation”, a true christian. And in that sense, we are truly related, truly sisters for this is my aspiration as well.
I really am touched by her offerings of simple and open faced acceptance, because my usual experience is that people cross paths with me and find some outward thing about me to become fascinated with or interested in, one of the many facets of the being I have been created with…but then they get a little deeper and they are chilled by the gaping wounds, the flaws, the fears and uncertainties…and there is sort of a veering away.
That is not Alli…I love that her understanding of the Incarnation is inclusive! All my flaws and failures and fallings-short are in her eyes the very qualifiers that give her hope and courage and a sense of kindredness, and that leaves me utterly hopeful and amazed…and very very glad. Oh…and I hope you are okay with my giving you a lil pet name, Alli…if you aren’t please tell me? It delights me to give heart names to people that I love.
Why am I highlighting her right now?
Because I want to use her example as a concrete way to be a trans-ally, as a blue-print for how you, Constance, can emulate her as she emulates Jesus and touch the hearts of those around you, trans, cis, whomever.
Now: below, you will find the Facebook Posting that Alli made on Trans-Visibility Day, and the resultant conversation, which I will comment on a bit. I am going to go ahead and let the links stand…I figure if you are out enough to be on Facebook, you won’t have a problem being here on Grace Notes, and if you are on Alli’s page, then the content here at Grace Notes should be quite consonant with your own tastes in media.
Please let me know ASAP if you do not want to be up in this post! I will edit it immediately upon seeing your note (unless I am away from my computer and need to get to it).
Okay…there are several things that are said below. Alli’s words appear first, and I want to state for the record that though she says “cis” means Comfortable In Skin when it is actually a Latin prefix of some obscure and awkward usage (I mean, really Constance…doesn’t it feel sorta alien to be referred to as “cis”? Sorta like how awkward it feels to be called “trans”, yeah?), even though she got the technical denotation “wrong”…
…she absolutely totally nailed the heart of it! That’s just sorta how my friend rolls…she gets to the heart, and then she brings it medicine!
Comfortable In Skin: wow. That is such a great way of putting it, and I am henceforth going to think of that each time I use that old dry Latin prefix that is used because in the binary, we still lack the language to express the realities that have been excluded.
Next, I want to talk a bit about the concerns that come up and the struggle that all of us (including transgender people and trans-allies too) have in the binary, in figuring out how to broaden our tents and walk out the words of Isaiah 61. Specifically, in the area of trying to go to the bathroom.
*sigh* *Charissa feels old, tired, and teary*
First of all, let me say I perceive that behind a lot of the concerns are hearts that are true, generous, and truly care. Okay? That’s a given, for love and compassion wreathes those words and is indeed fragrant.
But I do want to address what I think is nearly always the underlying factor in these sorts of matters, when we are encountering other human beings who seem so different from us initially and then emerge as beings exactly like us on the inside.
That operative factor is simple ignorance. And do not feel demeaned by being called ignorant. All of us are ignorant over some things and in some ways. Ignorance is simply this: lack of knowledge. Lack of education. Lack of common identity and connection.
Ignorance is the most volatile state any person can be in, because when we are ignorant we are in our most impressionable place and at the mercy of whatever passions or persons seek to exploit that state! Ignorance is the beginning of wisdom for those in the hands of true shepherds of the soul (like Alli)…and it is the beginning of national genocide in other rougher, bloody hands.
I shall proceed: starting with more abstract principles and working to the concrete.
Neutrally gendered bathrooms are the ideal. Period. Will there still be some freaks and perverts who seek to exploit those areas for their own evil, sick and twisted purposes? Yeah…but as a function of their broken, fallen, sick and twisted souls…not as a function of gender orientation!
With just a little bit of thought and planning bathrooms could be made in such a way that the whole issue becomes moot: someone uses the bathroom because their bodies are designed to eliminate waste products, and that is the simple and gentle truth.
But: in our world, bathrooms are indeed gendered, reflections of our binary view of gender, which defines what you are and who you are gender-wise by what you are and who you are DNA wise!
Thus, the concern of a person being in a bathroom who is “physically” a man/woman is actually not a very meaningful term. Because walking around inside a male body, I see the world with a woman’s eyes, a woman’s heart, a woman’s soul! And it is horror to me!
Every. Single. Agonizing. Second. To have gentle eyes and see my rough hands. To have fine, delicate heart and see my rough, crudely drawn face. To be neat and put together inside myself as smaller, quick and agile and yet see this oversized battering ram of a body.
It is a non-sequitur to fear the presence of a “physical man” in a female gendered bathroom if the person who inhabits that body is a woman! No man is present on the scene. Period. Further, it is cruel and unusual punishment to make that woman use the bathroom with men…and hear the things they do and say in those spaces (although the truth is there is not a lot of talk in bathrooms anyway, it is more locker rooms that can be a real nightmare).
“Cis”-woman: imagine if you were forced to use the “Men’s Bathroom”. You had to disrobe enough to go, you constantly were in agony that someone would recognize you when you were there and perhaps do you harm…not sexually, but violently, for invading their space! They do not smell very nice. They are not in the least adorned with anything pretty or elegant. They very often have crude and horrid graffiti on the stall walls.
Oh, and the real winner: you have to stand up side by side with some other person and go that way! With it all just right out there!! Ohh. Myy. GAWD.
“Cis”-man: I am giggling right now because I know you!! I have grown up with you and you are scratching your head and looking puzzled…what is the BFD you are thinking? You go in, whip it out, let it fly, give a big contented sigh, try to paint the entire urinal, try to dissolve the urine cake, splash off to the sides and think “Oh shit I missed”, feel a momentary flash of guilt as you recall the “We aim to please! You aim too, please!” signs, remind yourself that there are janitors who clean, console yourself with the notion that you are keeping them employed, give it a few shakes, and then maybe wash your hands, or not if you are of the school “my mama taught me not to piss on my hands” school…and then in either case swagger out without a backwards glance or a care in the world.
I won’t even talk about when you do the other number.
My point is this: Even though I present female full time, 100%, I am still a natal XY DNA’d person, and thus defined in our culture as biologically male…but my dear sisters, you literally never ever have to worry about me thinking any of those thoughts you fear! Because I am not like them! I am like you! I am not “physically a man”, but rather truly and in all ways but biology a woman, just like you. No, you have far more to fear from a sharp tongued critical woman who has her claws out to rip your appearance to shreds with faux-compliments than you have to fear from me!
When I go to the bathroom? I am thinking “Oh God, please let it be empty, please let it be empty!” I walk in quick, eyes averted and a small gentle smile that says “yeah I gotta go, so sorry for being human”, and I scurry to the stall that seems most unobtrusive. I immediately shut the door, and lock it and then give a small sigh of relief that I am “safe”. Then I take care of what my body must do…all the while listening, trying to feel the atmosphere of the room…can I safely wash without getting hurt or freaking anyone out? Can I maybe even brush my hair and give a close inspection of my makeup without getting mocked or attacked verbally (which is a lot like a flock of robins attacking a perceived threat! The wings hurt my eyes and the beaks draw blood). If yes, YAY! If not, then I get out fast the way I came in and use hand sanitizer short term and look for a place to properly wash up ASAP.
See why you have nothing to fear?
And that is not just me, by the way! Most all trans-people are just like me…just like most cis people are not freaks either. Trans people fall significantly outside the range of percentages of sexual predators compared to cis people. You have a far greater risk in the women’s bathroom of getting preyed on by another cis woman than you do a trans woman, and we both bear the same risk of there being a natal male freak in there to harm someone. He is in there because he is a freak.
And yes…it is indeed possible for a transgender person to be a freak…but the likelihood percentage wise is less than that of a cis-gender person being a freak…and get this:
the deviant state descends from being a broken fallen human creature, not from their gender orientation! Just as cis-gender people by far exist in greater percentages who are not sexual predators, so too do transgender people.
Secondly, the whole notion of the bathroom lurker is grossly over inflated compared to the actual incidences of occurrance. Oh yes, it happens…even once is far too much! But it is an easy boogey man to drag out when ignorance is being preyed on by the passion of fear and the pack wants to be safe from the unknown and thus uses whatever it can find in service of that goal…and that includes painting the picture of the “evil perverted sex maniac monster” who “dresses female to sneak in and lurk” etc etc.
I cannot tell you how deeply wounding it is to be told this to my face.
I cannot express my inner agony at being called a monster, a pervert, a deviant.
Yes, even the supportive statement that a “male person” presenting as a woman is there to use the restroom misses the true reality of who I am, because it still sees me as fundamentally male and denies that who I really am even exists!
I am not a male person. I am a female person…and I have been sent into this male body…and that is the crux of the way the Incarnation plays out thru my being, right there on the bloody rivet that nails me to this body…and I must take it in faith that it is for the Glory of God.
And the huge contradiction: how sneaky can I really be? If you have ever met me, you know my biology betrays me! I am not sneaking around about anything…that is NOT how I roll. I am open in who I am, how I am. In fact, I have been told that this open heartedness is both my greatest strength and my greatest weakness…because I assume that everyone else is like me and searching intently always for a way to bless the ones around me!
So really…what you need to do if you find yourself worried about a transwoman in the restroom is this: admit that you likely do not know a transwoman, and resolve to get to know one. Befriend one, or if you are uncomfortable with that, ask some people you know who do know a transwoman, and get introduced.
Hey…I am available. I do not have many friends, and almost no female ones, and I have a lifetime of loneliness to lose! And also years of imagining fun things to do! But even more than that, if you just want to know what it is like to be transgender, I am open and willing to talk and share.
Once you get to know a transwoman, you will forget that prefix and just know your woman friend.
Now the next thing that I wanted to touch on is the whole idea of forced presentation and conformity to the “laws” that society is currently steeped in. This one is hard.
This one is G Damned hard.
For me? I love presenting as who I have always been inside…but I hate my body. I hate the awful stubble and hair on my face…my size…the blunt bones of my face, the hulking ones of my arms and legs and feet and hands…and other things best left unsaid that I find just the worst.
But I know many transgender people who are truly and totally themselves as female and yet do not feel compelled to take any particular pains with their presentation for whatever reason…and that includes the clothes they wear, any concern whatsoever about the assigned gender of any clothing, and yes, even facial hair.
I also know many cis-gender women who have real facial hair problems: I met them at the clinic where I get laser treatments for my facial hair! They are there too, for the same reason, and feel the same shame and agony I do.
What if we lived in a world where we were not sized up, assessed, judged, based on these outward things?
See…we have learned to use these visual cues and do so now without thought, and without realizing that they come from a certain point of view regarding gender that is woefully incomplete and a prison to us all. There is another way…to see with the eyes of love and compassion. To trust the Holy Spirit in our hearts to give us discernment and understanding. And yes, to rule our passions in such a way that the whole sexuality imbalance in this culture of ours comes back underneath a proper moral and spiritual harness (but that is a whole ‘nother eleventy-dozen posts!).
Again…I get it. I do, and I try to do my part to blend, to make it easier. We are eating this elephant one bite at a time, and sometimes the more strident of us seek to shove the whole thing down throats. But you simply cannot ascertain the gender of someone with eyes alone. That is a fact.
One last thought to tie these things together: there is a movement afoot right now, where people who “pass” easily and without thought (I will write about that notion, passing…those people would be seen in the binary as the winner of the gene pool lottery for sure…that is so much more about their biology matching our preconceived notions than any great attribute of authenticity). Well what the movement does is has these people go into the bathroom of their assigned biology and take selfies there…with other people around who don’t know! And you can see how uncomfortable the other people are…because of how they have been taught to judge gender. Remember, they are looking at natal females who are transgender and totally truly male in the ladies room, and natal males who are transgender and thus totally female in the mens room.
It really makes the point well…because it is indeed ridiculous, these laws that want to dictate bathroom on the basis of biology (intersex people totally blow this whole thing out of the water.
Okay…Ima publish now…Alli, just thank you so much. Mike, thank you for being there for her, and for us all!
Alli, words cannot express the heart I have, the hope I have because of you in my life.
I am so looking forward to the garden we shall grow, God willing.
You may notice the change of photographs this morning. I was informed by several friends that today, March 31st, is Transgender Day of Visibility. This is different from days that honor trans people who have lost their lives, or people who have gone before us.
This is about honoring and recognizing that trans people exist – right here, and right now. They are not a joke. They are not predators. They are not doing it for attention. They just want to feel comfortable in their own skin (did you know that’s what the word “cis” means? C.I.S = Comfortable In Skin).
As people whose gender (what’s in your head) and sex (what’s in your pants) match up, we can’t begin to imagine what that feels like – to feel like your body isn’t the way it should be. But we CAN have compassion and treat people as we’d like to be treated: as individuals with worth, dignity, and pride.
Everyone deserves to use the bathroom that makes them most comfortable. Everyone deserves to wear clothes that make them feel attractive and confident. Everyone deserves to be counted as someone that matters.
If you need someone to talk to, I’m here to listen. If you need a bathroom buddy, I’ll go with you. If you need to vent about some jerk who said or did something cruel, I’ll rage with you. That’s what an ally does. That’s what a FRIEND does.
I want to be your friend, if you’ll have me. heart emoticon
- Courtney Anne Goodey I don’t really understand the bathroom argument. If a man were using a women’s restroom, I guess I could see some concern for his motives. But a trans woman? Probably just trying to pee. I don’t see any threat there.I appreciate you posting about trans issues. It is something I would like to support but feel very ignorant about. Keep on educating!
- Mike Katsufrakis As for the bathroom thing, I believe Linda was more saying that if you’re not outwardly presenting as a man/woman, things could get awkward fast. If I was a trans woman and walked into the ladies’ room with a giant beard, I’m not sure I’d have an argument I could make.
- Charissa White I have a lot of thoughts about Allison Katsufrakis post, too many to clutter up this space with.But just one thing to say: if other people had even one one thousandth of the heart she has, well the world would be so much better a place!I am humbled and astonished she would even give me the time of day, which she does… But that is nothing. She gives me completely normal, full agency as well. She actually sees ME.. My heart and soul. The joyous love she has for life also oozes her True compassion. This is not bs empty talk. I know.As to the concerns about bathrooms, those are almost instantly alleviated when you really get to know a Transgender person… But I will write more on that laters on my blog.Jus, Thx Alli… Ya did it again , made me feel good, and cry
Today is Transgender Day of Visibility. It is a day to show support for the transgender community. It is a time to help fight transphobia by sharing information. image credit- Trans Student Educational Resources My son, Kris, is transgender. I…
Constance, how is it that others cannot see that these things can be avoided with accessible health care, physical and mental, and the cessation of being called things like demonized and freak, pervert and monster, and then the slurs…
It made me cry so hard, because I often feel like I don’t want to continue beneath the crushing weight of dysphoria and then the added weight of every ignorant creep who thinks they are playing “pile on the transgender person”…and then the thought that I would cause such pain to others when all I want to do is have my own be over and the guilt is huge, for even wanting to, for even thinking about it.
Sometimes I talk about my feelings, and it’s not okay that I feel them about myself, they get corrected or rejected as not true and thus not legitimate that I carry them.
But calling them “not true” doesn’t make them any less real, and it doesn’t make it hurt any less.
I can tell you this: the more I am received as just a regular person the better I feel…and the more I am rejected, the worse I feel, especially when that rejection has the Name of God attached to it. I am fortunate that I know that God loves me and that I am Acceptable in the Beloved…but many people don’t know this and that extra little oomph just might grease the skids and push them over the edge.
“But Charissa…isn’t this all in your mind??? Cus demons and stuff??”
A young man has recently befriended me. He accompanied me out one day, all day…he later reported that he had never been so uncomfortable as he was when he was watching the way that other people stared at me, looked at me…the reactions of disgust, fear, slack-jawed amazement, or derision. He was flabbergasted that they would be that way…because he knows me. We have spent hours talking, and he has had the “benefit” of my counsel regarding his relationships with women. So he knows me to be an astute observer of human nature, a tender hearted intuitive listener, a gentle teller of truth that is at times somewhat hard to swallow, and above all a valuer of his life which is of priceless significance.
So when he saw them looking at me…like that…he knew for real that it was not “all in your mind, Charissa”.
The link is a good read. Please head over and acquaint yourself with the dynamics of how (surprise!) getting help to someone helps them.
Do Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.
Q: Possible confusion
Do you think that it’s possible that everyone involved with gender identity furthers the confusion by focusing on labels? There are valid instances of people being less than admirable about pronouns and names but generalising about something like this could spite someone with sympathy for the cause. (I’m not saying you do these things because I don’t know you and thus wouldn’t have a position of authority to say something like that, I just want a different perspective on things)
A: I think labels are only not necessary to people who haven’t had to fight for their labels before. When you get assigned to be the average label and you agree with it, there are tons of examples of your label everywhere. You get examples of how others act so when you grow you can emulate behavior, you can ask questions about your labels without fear of prejudice or hate, you get to practice and live out the examples of your labels without fear of being hurt.
I had to fight, tooth and god damn nail, to get my label. Being trans is something I’ve been beaten over, lost jobs over, lost friends over, and lost huge parts of my family.
And for the record, if you see everything going on to trans people, if you see the undeserved hatred and the murder rates and the homelessness rates and the suicide rates and the abuse and the genuine fucking torture trans kids go through, and you STILL need to be convinced to be sympathetic, you are a horrible human being and we don’t need your sympathy.
Quite interesting article.
|—||Sri Sri Ravi Shankar|
Sorry, male cis-gendered person…gotta call BS on this one.
The person spouting filth at me in front of kindergarten children? That was not just “in my mind”.
Constance…when you take your outrage for injustice out of your mind, your sense of compassion out of your mind and let it be incarnate in your actions in this world…THEN we will see some transformation!
I wanna see the person who will tell her now that they are enforcing the binary on her that they have sought to enforce on me…and tell her she is not really a woman.
Here is a crude and sad fact: in a large group of minds genitalia and gender are identical.
How ignorant. How blind. How sad.
Constance, I have been fortunate to become FB friends with the person who wrote this. We have never met, but it seemed that we resonated with each other.
I think she is such a genuine person, and a kindred soul in her commitment to be kind and love God.
Please read this, and if you are someone who likes FB, she is worth seeking out!
Taken from a previous post, but it was so long, I felt it necessary to repost here as its own.
OK so back in front of a PC. Now I can elaborate more on my thoughts…
First off, I’m not a man. I know this should be obvious enough, but it still needs saying. I have to make that abundantly clear. In fact, its SO WEIRD, even when speaking to my brother because there are people he’s in contact with that quit talking to me years ago because of my transition and it feels like I’m being time-warped every time I have to hear about them, and how they call me by a former alias, and use the wrong gender pronouns.
Its a very weird thing to go through. Its like listening to someone talk about someone else. Like a past life time or something. Its just not something I go through often, and I’m fortunate for that but when I hear someone call me a guy, I don’t think they realize that if they ever seen me in public, they’d have NO IDEA. If they seen me enter a men’s changing area, I would be asked to leave immediately, not only that, but I would feel so scared and out of place, that I wouldn’t use it. I would react the same way any other woman would.
I don’t think these bigots understand what they’re speaking on, at all. When trans guys start having to use the ladies changing areas, they will see just what I’m talking about. I’m talking about men like Billy up there, and so many others who have transitioned to live authentic to who they are, not who they are told to be by others, or the system.
We fight the system, and some times are killed by it, for wanting to do nothing other than live at peace as ourselves. As I mentioned in a previous post I made, I don’t want special treatment. I just want to be left alone. I want people who are trans to stop being targeted and ridiculed.
What we need is an aggressive information campaign intended to educate, and disseminate information to the masses about just what this is by experts in the fields of psychology, neurology, endocrinology, and other related fields that can import much needed datas and wash away the fear of the unknown, and make this world a more hospitable place for all.
No one, and I mean no one, should ever have to go through what we do. No one should ever have to be targeted for being different. For any reason.
This world is already a cruel enough place without the divisive, self-imposed barriers that we create among ourselves. Its time that we look beyond them, and begin real change.
~ heart emoticon
But we shouldn’t be pressuring people to come out. Instead, we should be challenging the expectation that others are entitled to our identities.
No one should be demanding that people take on the risks of coming out. No one except you can make that decision. Your identity is yours, and no one else owns it.
You don’t owe anyone anything – especially not people who are ignoring your personal autonomy and safety by demanding that you come out.
Constance…I face a lot of challenges in life that are in addition to the ones faced by all people simply as a condition of being in this world. If you have read here for awhile, you are acquainted with the gamut of these, and if you are new, well have a gander at the other posts ;-)…giggle.
My point is that it is the additional ones that kill. They are like the difference between running a marathon, and running one chased by dogs, and running one when you aren’t fast enough to keep from getting nipped numerous times on the run. And it is the nips that bleed, get infected, and drain…of vitality, of energy, and eventually of hope.
Right now the hardest of these challenges for me is that of making myself known to other people that are of utmost importance to me. They are mourning what they perceive as the loss of the person they knew, rather than perceiving it as the loss of the explanatory narrative that stitched together our common history.
For a whole host of reasons, some of them spiritual, some of them developmental, and most of them cultural/paradigm related, the onus and burden falls squarely on me in this process…to be the bigger person…to walk the second mile, or the third or the fourth, or however many miles must be walked…to turn the other cheek again and again and again…
My own identity is in need of justification, of proving, of validating, and the ways I respond either contribute to or detract from my right to be.
Again…I get it. Fairness is not the operative determinant. But I want it to be understood: this is a costly gift, and gift I do think it is. It is not something that I owe…to anyone except myself whom I owe the debt of authenticity inner and outward. I think that my perspective on things is equally valid, is equally valuable and to be treasured. The “things I have lost” or the sense that “what I thought I had never existed” is just as real, as vibrant and legitimate for me as it is for anyone else who feels like they are being robbed.
Let me state it baldly: anything they are “robbed of” wasn’t real in the first place.
How about this: instead of the point of view that “a father I thought I had is now dead and replaced by you”, how about this: “I have a father who just happens to be a woman, and the idea I held that my father was also a male was an incorrect one. I am fortunate to be able to have this inaccurate understanding corrected while there is still time and life remaining to know this person that I valued and treasured as a father!”
Because this is my story…my history. I fathered four people…as a woman who inhabits a body that is biologically male. And as far as I am aware, my children always felt that I was a good dad to them, valuable in the love, acceptance and counsel that I offered them. And I am still here! The same person with the same ideas and same truths (and some newly understood ones too).
Perhaps instead of me saying over and over again I am sorry I am sorry…I am sorry for being…I am sorry for wanting to be, needing to be…maybe it could be thought about that a different sorry could be said…I am sorry that I held onto my own belief and insistence that a father has to be spiritually and biologically male and only that…I am sorry that I invalidated the lives and efforts of the millions of women who “fathered” young boys into men because there was no one else there.
I am posting this link, because it gets to a lot of the reasons why there is so much gravity behind the other narrative, the one that requires me to justify my right to exist, my right to pursue congruency, my right to be free from suicidal ideation, my right to feel okay about the truth that I did the best I could and while not a perfect parent did a pretty adequate job even compared to a cis-male…and as a transgender woman serving in the role of father and not knowing, well maybe I did an admirable job.
and maybe I suck. but I suck based on what I did and didn’t do, not based on whether I identfy as male or female…others who are insisting with actions that the actual measure of my being is in that identification are the ones who must grapple with the suckitude they frolic in!
Read the article…acquaint yourself with the myths…and then divest yourself of them for some clearer, more objective standards that we will all, together, be held accountable to…how we love one another, how we forgive one another, whether we divorce and separate ourselves or remain connected…those are things that will endure long after gender identification falls away as not needed.
looking through them,
at me here inside
rattling my tin cup
back and forth
shouting, raising a ruckus
and raving about the lost key
buried somewhere out there with you
in the snow and sheep dip and shed wool…
and yet you stand, stare, and bleat
about bearing crosses and binary rules
uncrossable rivers and unforgivable sins…
even in frozen air
the smell of sheep
is pervading everything
Gender orientation…once again. In another brain, in another place, in another genetic pool, unrelated to me, unrelated to “demonic possession”, unrelated to “unsubmission and rebellion”, unrelated to “mental illness”…
…related to the gender spectrum and continuum of creation as human, male at one pole and female at the other…related to hormone washes over body and brain and the differences in how they align…related to a world that sometimes spawns cleft palates, holes in hearts, heart murmurs, diabetes, etc. etc. …related to a world where the miracles of modern medicine exist to alleviate suffering and give life fulfilled and joyful…
…pushing against your taboos…pressing against your prejudices…pounding down your judgments…piercing the veils of your ignorance…presenting to you new understandings…
…those with ears, let them hear…
The men became enraged once they discovered that Nettles was transgender, according to prosecutors and a fight broke out.
Dixon punched Nettles in the face, making her to fall to the ground and strike her head on the sidewalk, causing a serious brain injury, said Assistant District Attorney Nicholas Viorst.
Viorst alleges that Dixon brutally beat Nettles and “struck her repeatedly as she lay on the ground” while “driving the side of her head into the pavement.”
The indictment charges that Dixon used the sidewalk as a “dangerous instrument” to cause Nettles’ death.
Constance…why? Driving face into sidewalk…enraged at a gender orientation…punishment of a capital nature for the crime of…what?
Being “a dude in a dress”? Being a “he/she?”
…and I am the one who has been judged as demonized…
…thank God for the director at the center where I volunteer! She knows what the right thing to do and say is!
So…there was this “specimen” who came to the center today. I know him, and he “knew” me…and did not even come close to recognizing who I was. I was dressed in a very nice American Eagle plaid shirt, soft pink, flannel, and a tie-die spink broomstick skirt, with a black t-shirt top and pink jewelry.
I looked nice.
But as I walked by, I felt his eyes, I felt his derision. I was in his vicinity less than 5 seconds, and yet for some reason he was compelled to refer to me to my director as “a dude in a dress”…
…as in “what’s with the dude in the dress”…
My director simply said “She wanted to wear a dress today”. When he sought to contradict that and reiterate his insult, she stopped him, and repeated herself…and then a third time!
I was soo blessed by that, what she did. She did not try to go into any explanation, she did not differentiate me in any way whatsoever. She simply cut him off, and told him that I wanted to wear that pretty dress today.
I don’t know which was stronger…the resignation and sadness over another insult by another privileged boy, or the gladness and genuine admiration for this strong and steady soul who sees something worthy in me and lays it out straight to anyone who comes around.
I think I will go with the latter…
Do Justice. Love Mercy. Walk Humbly.
Constance, I think I have posted about this previously, but I think this layout here is succinct, accessible, and easy to digest. Ya know, I have been thinking about the backflips that some people do, the contortions they knot themselves in so that they can preserve a way of thinking about a topic and not have to deal with changing a point of view…
…sadly, they place that point of view over a person far too often, and end up contributing to a tragedy.
It really is the ultimate in idolatry…a human life slain on the altar of the idol of their point of view.
Thank God there are parents like these, who understand the appropriate reaction to the phenomenon of cognitive dissonance.