Tag: trans

We Need to Stop Terrorizing our Trans Kids

The transgender experience is not really about gender. It is about the denial of normal socialization to children by adults with no empathy. These adults laugh and sneer at “queers, faggots, wussies, and girly men” and their children duplicate this behavior in the schoolyard. People born assigned as males who are too effeminate for the modern male society are excluded from community until they learn to leave themselves at the door. The modern male experience mirrors our warrior culture, and so males are taught to police their ranks for any semblance of the feminine. Trans kids become the sacrificial scapegoats for this directive, and they grow up lonely, confused, depressed, traumatized, and disconnected.

Those of us who have transitioned gender and know how much more whole we feel after the change can see through all of the claims that trans people are insane. Our definitions of male and female need to be expanded to include those outliers who exhibit traits contrary to their birth assigned gender. Yes, there are biological differences between males, females, and the rest. It’s not all socially constructed. However, the socially constructed part needs to change.

And the root of this problematic construction is in the church. Abrahamic faiths have been at the forefront of the oppression of LGBT individuals for millennia. I really don’t care if the church survives. We don’t need their help anymore. There is a reason that gay liberation arose alongside women’s liberation. Straight men have been the most antagonistic towards LGBT individuals, and as their power is diminishing, they are unable to stop the rise of others’ rights as they would have done in the past with a simple exercise of intimidation, terror, and denial of rights.

This problem is epidemic. We are surviving against the odds. But many if not most of us have some form of Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). I actually wouldn’t change my path, but I am really tired of the acceptance of the bullying and terrorizing of our helpless children before they know what transgender even means.

Transgender and Gender Atypical People Deserve the Simple Right to be Themselves

I knew that I was different from the boys around me when I was eight years old, and because of this difference, my childhood was filled with tremendous amounts of alienation and secrecy, as I tried mightily to be someone that I was not on the inside. This story is not atypical, and because of this shared struggle, many transgender people are victims of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, and have one of the highest suicide attempt rates of any minority group at levels between 40% to 55% according to a recent in-depth inquiry into transgender peoples’ lives (Haas, Herman, & Rodgers, 2013).

According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual version 5 (DSM-5), transgender people who are not yet being treated for their condition are suffering from Gender Dysphoria. Gender Dysphoria is defined as individuals “having a marked incongruence between the gender they have been assigned to (usually at birth, referred to as natal gender) and their experienced/expressed gender” (American Psychiatric Association, 2013). There are many different expressions of this condition from individuals who were born with a sexual anomaly such as intersexuality to those who merely enjoy acting in accord with the opposite gender’s norms but lack the desire for treatment.

Those that are distressed by their condition to the point of desiring to live full-time as the opposite gender may seek treatment via various means. They might require the use of cross-sexual hormones (testosterone for those assigned female at birth and estrogen for those assigned male at birth). Also, various surgeries are available to assist in these individuals achieving a body that more closely matches their inner perception of gender. When transgender people who wish to transition are treated for their condition, they no longer qualify for a gender dysphoria condition. Whereas the older versions of the DSM labeled transgender people as possessing Gender Identity Disorder (GID) for life, the newer manual sees gender dysphoria as a treatable and therefore suppressible condition.

This topic is highly controversial, and there are numerous opinions and positions related to transgender people. Often, these opinions come from non-transgender people. I can say that my inner life has grown immeasurably better since I transitioned 8 years ago. I have a sense of peace about myself that I never had when I was living as a man. Also, I know that the transgender people that I’ve met on my journey tend to be some of the most authentic and strong people that I know. Hopefully, with continued advocacy, we transgender people can attain the simple status of just being normal people who are allowed to be themselves from birth.

References

American Psychiatric Association. (2013). Diagnostic and statistical manual of mental disorders (5th ed.). Arlington, VA: Author.

Haas, A. P., Ph.D., Rodgers, P. L., Ph.D., & Herman, J. L., Ph.D. (2014). Suicide Attempts among Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming Adults. The Williams Institute.

The Broken Record of Human Rights Violations in Modern Society

Jewish people were oppressed for centuries, kept from education and wealth through laws which forbade their integration into society. Then when they were given rights equal to white society in the 19th century, white people slandered them all as gross, ignorant, lustful, and unable to keep up with the power holders of the society.
 
Black people in the United States were enslaved and oppressed for centuries, kept from education and wealth through laws which forbade their integration into society. Then when they were given rights equal to white society, white people slandered them all as gross, ignorant, lustful, and unable to keep up with the power holders of the society.
 
Gay people were oppressed for centuries, kept from education and wealth through laws which forbade their integration into society. Then when they were given rights equal to straight society, straight people slandered them all as gross, ignorant, lustful, and unable to keep up with the power holders of the society.
 
Trans people were oppressed for centuries, kept from education and wealth through laws which forbade their integration into society. Then when they were given rights equal to cis society, cis people slandered them all as gross, ignorant, lustful, and unable to keep up with the power holders of the society.
 
The dominant group in our societies seems to always continually trip up small minorities of people and then exclaim “why do you have all of those bruises?! You must be subhuman!” Is the problem outright deception or an incredibly short memory? Or do the powerful elite need someone to point to as they hide all of their Scrooge McDuck gold out of sight? I would wager on a combination of the three.

The Parable of the Exploded Volcano

I struggle a lot with negative self-perception. My life has kind of exploded repeatedly due to my own fiery nature. But to put it more honestly, it was self-protection that created the problem in the first place. I had to live in fear because I didn’t want to get murdered or completely rejected from society. It sounds over the top, but growing up with a strange gender is still pretty much like living under Jim Crow. I’m not a huge fan of comparing states of suffering, but it was a pretty heavy existence. There is a singular difference between racial and gender issues though. You can’t hide skin color, but you can hide gender, and I hid it mightily. I used the magical power of repression®! Stuff it down inside!

But in psychology it’s the opposite of physics: what goes down must come up, and I blew up like Mt. Saint Helens, all of my repressed shit since about the age of 5 rained down on those around me. It was like holding my breath for two decades, and I was literally about to die from it. I really didn’t know how to process being an exploded volcano. A good number of people thought I must be insane and just waited for me to put the top back on the caldera and apologize. But as you can guess that didn’t happen.

Being an exploded volcano has its benefits: you get to see inside yourself more clearly. When you see all of the things you ran away from and suppressed spewing out all around you, as long as you don’t go totally insane, you can learn a lot about yourself. I feel more self-aware than the average person. This isn’t to say I’m alone in this respect. I’ve surrounded myself with more self-aware people in recent years. My exploded volcano peer group.

Now I’m mightily just trying to heal. I know where I need to go. I’ve found a deep power within myself that I couldn’t ignore. The thing that I was trying to suppress all those years just happens to be my divine feminine nature. I used my overactive mind to heap mounds of obfuscating dirt on top of those pesky feminine emotions and intuitions, but the mind is not as powerful as it professes to be at killing the heart. And really I’m no different than everyone born male; all people including all men have a divine feminine sensitivity. They are taught to bury it deeply when young, and some of them keep it buried, while slowly turning into a sad shell of a person. But every now and again that volcano starts to rumble, and they’re filled with an amorphous fear that they don’t really understand but that petrifies them.

Life is more complicated and less complicated since my eruption. I had to relearn a ton of different things from a heart-centered perspective, and now I’m more visible to the haters, so I had to get used to that. But I know now that fear is the real enemy. And I know now that I am enough, blown up bits and all. I can take a deep breath and rest in the goddess knowing that I’m not fighting it anymore.

Happy exploding friends. 🌞

Me Too

I haven’t really felt like posting this meme, because I didn’t grow up being socialized around cisgender women, so I suppose I have felt slightly alienated from it, but my experience with toxic masculinity is probably even more severe than most.

I grew up looking like a “normal” male child, and yet my psychology and emotional makeup were far closer to that of the average young girl. I was sensitive, loved art and music especially, always tried to dress expressively, and had many other qualities that didn’t fit in with the increasingly narrow definitions of masculinity indicative of late-stage patriarchy. And then of course I was attracted to the same gender, but that didn’t come until I started puberty, and by that time  masculinity had scarred my back repeatedly with its whiplashes.

Unlike the girls in the other lines, I was undercover: embedded amongst the enemy. From the first grade, I was bullied for being different. I didn’t really understand why I was bullied and singled out until much later, but now I see it. I was a girl that couldn’t retreat into a group of other girls. I was alone and chained to the boys, and they knew it. Men in America are conditioned to hate and deride femininity wherever they see it. Of course not all men follow these orders, but enough do to create deep scars in anyone who dares to be born with a feminine or yin psychological composition.

I’ve never been sexually assaulted even though there were predators in the gay male community too who took advantage of my fragile state when I was underage and crossed boundaries. But I was psychologically assaulted for my gender, and this did plenty of damage. It took me until I was 30 to finally say enough is enough and throw those bullies and demons out of my consciousness and resurrect that girl that I had hidden deep in the recesses of my consciousness around the age of 6. I still have lots and lots of rehabilitation to do because of the foul aggressions of “modern” American masculinity, but I’m on the track.

The reason that transgender women are targeted and attacked at a sickeningly high level is because men are fighting a proxy battle in the wider war against women in general. People like me have dared to say that transitioning to live as a woman is not a “downgrade” as they would have everyone believe. Soldiers often treat traitors worse than they treat the enemy, and I am proudly both. This primitive charade needs to end, and rest assured that it is ending. Women have made enormous advances economically and politically in the last one hundred years, and the momentum is not slowing. I just pray to the goddess that we can join hands as one peaceful people soon and respect all gender manifestations as beautiful and divine.

A Few Words

God gave you a left hand and a right hand. On one side there are things that happen to you and you’re the victim or receptive or yin. On the other side, you are the actor, the thinker, the yang. You can’t reduce it to one. It’s both, well at least both. I’m not that smart enough to know how many hands reality has. But you can’t say that you’re a total victim, and you can’t say that you’re a total egotistical controller. We’re all both in varying degrees. So can we please meet in the center? Can we have a mosh pit of love and understanding. I know that some people are “unrelatable” but people change. I used to be a frothing right winger. I grew up. Let’s all stop being total know-it-alls that are completely convinced that the other side is wrong. Certainty is poison. There is no certainty in a complicated system of oppositional actors. Humility, Please?!
By the way, WTF is wrong with you Donald Trump. I’m talking to you as one of those horrible trannies that you want to cleanse out of the military. (BTW, only we can say tranny. Don’t fucking say it if you’re not a tranny.) Grow the fuck up motherfucker! Simmer down my brother. You’re not fucking Christ. Lord. The amount of intellectual certainty in this budding Aquarian Age is just too much. Yeah, we kind of know things because of science, but science is wrong every day.
OK I feel better. It’s such a fucking disaster. Center. Breath. Ground. Know that you’re a dumb ass ape. Life is work.
I’m drunk, but hey, I can write a few words.

Trying to get in shape in sunny Portland while trans can be a workout in itself

I thought about joining a gym yesterday in Portland. I walked into a nice one in the center part of town, and I talked to the gym dude about the rates and the such. Then I asked what their transgender policy is because “I transitioned many years ago, and I identify as a woman.”

“Well, this is a family owned gym, and you would have to use the facilities with which you were born…”

We looked at each other knowingly.

“OK, that’s all I need to know!” And I left with a smirk on my face.

“Family owned” Why do they have to assert this notional ‘family’ as a defense against transgender inclusion? I’m not going to parade around naked while yelling various intersectional feminist slogans. And if I go into the men’s locker room, with my transitioned body, and walk around naked, breasts akimbo while I do my eyeliner, is this going to be the ideal situation?

No, there is no place at the inn I’m afraid. I’ve actually been a member of a world class gym as a trans woman, and there was no issue ever. I’m discrete just like everyone else. Good lord. Can we move on to trans-inclusive society version 6 yet? This version 5 sucks ass. 4 was disgusting. I know we’re getting somewhere.

Upgrade peoples!

Recovery and Rebirth in Interesting Times

America makes you crazy, so you gotta give yourself a break. I’m trying to work on getting over a lot of my instilled fear of groups and friends. I spent so long being incognito, desperately trying to be this “perfect male” so that people wouldn’t know who I really was. It takes a lot of deprogramming to undo that kind of thing, and you have to be careful about it and not just go at your history with a flamethrower. Truly remaking yourself, healing your mental health, is the subtle and daring work of a shaman or artist more than a “good patient” or whatever the authorities advocate to heal. I think that mostly I need to have an unerring devotion to the notion that I am fallible and be ready to cut those wrong assumptions about myself at the root when I find them. I rather enjoy being humble and accepting my own flaws. But it takes a lot of work, and I have to be able to accept when someone else says something true about me that I don’t want to hear. It takes practice, and each time gets easier.

I have a lot of anxiety. It comes and goes, but it has been my most loyal companion of my 37 trips around the sun. The anxiety is rooted in fear, a fear of rejection and loss of security. I’ve had people I thought cared about me suddenly turn and shun me so many times in my life that I’ve developed a serious inferiority and instability complex. Having my kids taken away was the nuclear bomb that severed me from my history. I was so broken that I was forced to start over and try anything to not want to kill myself on the daily. But I haven’t been like that for almost 2 years now because I learned to laugh at the total insanity of my situation and my behaviors. A good laugh can cure just about anything. I have my secret and unorthodox means for arriving at these salvations, and I wish I could be more open, but we live in paranoid times, so the prudential people must follow the ancient Chinese proverb in “hiding their light and biding their time.”

Life is still just as much of a challenge as when I was at my lowest. It might be even harder because I was ignoring so many things back then that I have to address now, but I just have a different perspective. I think something Buddhist or Christian or whatever stuck down in my heart, and I internalized the truth that pain is a constant in life, and yet in spite of pain, we can still have joy. It’s easy to pigeon-hole folks like myself as overly emotional social justice warrior millennial whiners, but I just have to say that some of us have a lot of shit to dig out of. Growing up trans or queer or radically in the minority is heavy, heavy stuff. There are some people who are just addicted to the victim attention for sure, but most of us misfits are just trying to get better, do better, be better, etc.

I do have great news to share though! My cat of 12 years, Snow, is recovering incredibly well from Hepatic Lipidosis which is a fairly common liver disease for house cats. I’ve had to feed her through a tube twice a day for over two weeks now, and it’s been a challenge, but my little Snowbie is doing great and returning to her cranky and loving self. Our vet is also using traditional Chinese herbal medicine to assist in her recovery, and she looks better than she’s been in a long time. My heart is so joyful over it. I am so completely blessed that my partner was able to pay for the expensive surgery too.

It’s such a strange time for America and for transgender people and everybody. There is a funny Chinese aphorism that one tells to someone they don’t particularly like: “may you be born in interesting times.” Well these sure are some interesting times. My life has been nothing if not interesting. I’m not sure exactly what I’m supposed to figure out with this Sisyphean exercise, but I’m gonna figure out whatever I can. I’m gonna play this video game until I see the final credits!