Tag: transgender

How Privilege Makes White People Immature and Helpless

We often talk about “white privilege” and it tends to be discussed in terms of having stuff. “That person has white privilege,” we say. “That other person has male privilege.” But what does that mean?

To me, privilege is not a positive but a negative, or a lack of something. When one has white privilege they have freedom from something. They have freedom from trauma, pain, hardship, toil, etc. When one is protected from the mandatory hardships of life for which one has evolved to deal with, they become puerile and childlike. Their skin becomes thin. They cannot handle the smallest slight. They are weak and become dependent on protection from the necessary traumas of life. This is why those white men carry those rifles around, because they are weak and terrified of having to deal with life naked and undefended.

But what is the converse of privilege? I would assert that it is a surplus of hardship and challenge. It is a excess of the onslaught of reality with its slings and arrows of outrageous fortune. This tends to make one’s skin thicker and makes one tougher.

And so, if you want to be honest, whiteness has become synonymous with weakness, and thus the entire apparatus of the state becomes necessary to maintain protection from the normal, average trials which befall any person living on this planet.

White culture and the western nation-state steals the defenses and padding of the brown people of this world and wraps it around the light-skinned people it protects. If you start to think of white people as immature and childlike, you can quickly see and hear it when you look at and listen to them.

As I’ve transitioned from being a white male to a white transwoman, I’ve had to experience a rude awakening of what it’s really like to live without that stolen armor. This rude awakening, that I sought to put off for as long as possible by posing as a straight white male, hit my weak, thin-skinned ass with a vengeance, and I was paralyzed at first.

But my skin grew. My toughness increased. Now, I can’t say that I know what it’s like to be black, but I know what it’s like to be targeted for who I am from as soon as I entered elementary school. I know what it’s like for others to hate things in you that you are not even aware of yet. And I know what it’s like to lose a significant amount of privilege.

And yet, don’t be afraid of losing privilege. Living in the false world of stolen armor is not real, and it stunts development in many ways. The transition to a normal amount of privilege can be shocking at first, but then you realize your inner strength, and you begin to realize that life is not about hiding behind wealth and privilege. Life is about meeting life on life’s bare terms.

To quote a brown-skinned Judean named Jesus, “if you want to be perfect, go, sell your possessions and give to the poor.” I interpret this as if you want to really grow, you need to cast your privilege aside.

And also, Krishna of the Hindu pantheon said to privileged Arjuna in the Baghavad Gita: “yield not to weakness; it does not suit you. Throw away this faint-heartedness.” Meaning that one must meet life without fear and without protection and cowardice.

Only through letting go of privilege can one really be alive. Words will not make one alive. One cannot say “I understand that I am privileged,” and expect the situation to resolve itself. One should give up one’s privilege. This is the only path of truth. Change the system from within by giving up your pilfered wealth that was likely funneled through the generations from slave-created surplus. You will survive, and you will be a real human, not a child in a shell.

The problem we face today is not a black problem. The problem is a white problem. Until we recognize our theft, our appropriation of defenses, our heinous usage of black bodies as human shields against the hurricane of nature, we will not grow, and we will not be mature. We will be on average, pathetic sprouts, unable to grow into the trees we were born to be.

Personally, my life is so much richer after I gave up most of my male privilege. It is immeasurably harder, but it is more vital and real. And I ask that you do the same. I can’t change my skin color. I am stuck being white. So the only way for me to reduce my so-called white privilege is to dismantle the institutions that value whiteness over blackness. This takes work. This takes sacrifice. But I assure you that it will be worth it both for black people and for white people.

If you like my content, contribute to my Patreon and/or hit the follow button!

masks

the masks we wear, they wear us out

from when I was a straightish man
to yes, a “sportsman,” I once deigned
and then the mask at once became
a gayish, 19 years of age
sweet Jupiter was wooed I’m sure
the cleverest boy, with boyfriends too
to married father, divorced rage
and this transgender thing they say
I’ve always been quicksilver
darting Mercury through the haze
and so a traveler wearing masks
becomes the masks he at once gazed

and then the deepness tackled out
to bring the truth with Hades’ clout
I’m won because I’m just so sure
Masks are all and nothing more

Thoughts on the Cult of White Supremacy in the United States

The Cult of White Supremacy in the US
My realization that I was what society calls transgender was really a self-rediscovery. People like to say that things about ourselves can be hidden or buried, but often, they can be right in front of our noses, and we just get very, very good at self-denial and self-delusion because the acknowledgment of the thing is too painful or scary.

I discovered that I was born a feminine boy and then around age 5, I learned to be something that I was not, and it slowly killed me until my 30s when I gave up the false notion of myself. My mind was blown by the fact that I had completely forgotten something about myself out of fear of being ostracized.

Now, as I ponder the American problem, I see something right in front of my face that I now can’t unsee. White America tends to tell fairy tales about how happy and fulfilled they are, but if you are sensitive enough, you can see behind the masks of the average American to see how contrived and false this happy facade really is.

In cults, there is a strong tendency in the members to project a vision of perfection. I once read Kate Bornstein’s biography about being a member of the Scientology Sea Org as a repressed transwoman, and she said that everyone always let everyone else know how perfect and happy they were because anything less would be a personal failure. When a cult has stripped you of all of your other attachments in life, humans find themselves lying to not lose favor with the only attachment they have left, the cult itself.

I see this in American white culture. It’s true that some brown people have been integrated into the white power structure, but caucasian and Christian people are the primary administrators of American culture and standards of behavior to this day. And whiteness appears to be a cult.

Most white people are obsessed with projecting an image of perfect self-satisfaction and competence. But this is a passively aggressive lie meant to denigrate whomever you are talking to. White culture is the cult of dominating others. When your God is money and power, showering another person with all of your “successes” is a dominating act of aggression. The fact that no member of this cult wants to admit is that these “successes” are arbitrarily chosen. They work very hard creating models and theories to “prove” that the values of the cult of white supremacy are necessary and essential. When someone totally ignores these values and lives their life in a way counter to these values, a strong feeling of resentment builds up in the white cult member.

Now, for example, when a black man or woman doesn’t do this contrived activity of smiling and projecting utterly saccharine chipperness, they are labeled as angry. This is because the white cult member is threatened by this lack of participation. The black person is subliminally saying to the white cult member, in the cult member’s head, that the cult member is full of shit. Just by having a neutral facial expression, the black person is a threat to the white cult member. Denial needs to be fed constantly to overcome the everpresent thing trying to be denied, and anyone who challenges the basic tenets of the cult of white supremacy needs to either be silenced or explained away as insane.

What do you think?

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.

Why Transitioning Genders has Reinforced my Belief in Gender Differences

Having transitioned genders and lived under two hormonal paradigms (testosterone dominant and estrogen dominant), I actually am a stronger believer in the inherent differences between biological men and women than I was before I transitioned. Testosterone made me much more aggressive and assertive. I was much more interested in sports, and I was more sexually dominant. Estrogen has made me much more passive and congenial, and I am more sexually submissive. I can see the difference very starkly when I switch up my hormonal medications now as well.
 
I suppose that most people think that trans people are here to demolish gender and create this sexless environment, but that has been far from my personal experience. I think that hormonal differences can program people to be more effective in certain jobs, and so it is unlikely that certain jobs will ever have perfect gender parity. Honestly, I see the sexes as an evolutionary adaptation that allowed for specialization of labor in order to maximize survivability in early humans. We needed certain people to specialize in being nurturers and others to specialize in being explorers and hunters.
 
But now technological advances have dramatically decreased the value of those specializations and normalized the difference between maleness and femaleness. We don’t need men to go out and survive the jungle to get some venison. We don’t even need men to construct things with their physical size anymore. Robots do those jobs for us now, and they will continue to take up more market share. I don’t know about the statistics, but mechanization might be replacing typically male jobs at a faster rate than typically female jobs, and this dramatic drop in the social value of maleness might be contributing to our current social freak-out.
 
This being said, there is still value, in my opinion, in gender specialization. I don’t foresee a totally androgynous future because certain specializations based on inherent biological/hormonal differences will provide a competitive advantage on the margins in certain situations. We need some people to be the strident, rule-breaking, transgressors and others to be nurturing, Venusian caretakers.
 
However, we must allow for the cross-socialization of genders for those of us who exist on the fringes of typical maleness and femaleness. Although 90% of people will probably not have issues socializing with their biological peers, others of us are very damaged by being socially deprived of our peers who might not share our genitalia but ultimately are the people we need to socialize with. This kind of social deprivation happens with minorities outside of gender minorities, and this kind of social permeability is necessary for people like myself. We need to find the balance between a certain rigidity and permeability of structures in order to allow for the greatest possible socio-psychological flourishing.
 
So, I’m somewhat conservative and somewhat skeptical about the coming “evaporation of gender,” so I can identify with some of the “right wing” rhetoric. And yet, technology moves forward and disrupts our value structures unabatedly.
 
Any thoughts?

My struggle as a beat up and sick trans woman with few answers in America. I just want to learn something better

I carry so much weight. I pay child support for two children I haven’t seen in six years. It takes up half of my meager salary. I have PTSD from years of alienation. I have social anxiety and sensitivity to noises that can be debilitating. I am transgender, and, well, I have to be a woman in America. I have debt. I have fibromyalgia and fatigue that stab me all day long with weird pains in my neck and back. I have pain in my heart so deep that I lock it up so no one can see it because I’m terrified that if I show my hurt and vulnerability I won’t be able to just keep crawling forward. I’m terrified that if I open my heart, I will fall apart. If I feel, I will fall and never get up. I can’t do this on my own, and I can’t just dump it on other people too. I don’t know how to manage my life. I stagger around in life in a repeating cycle of trying to be this strong woman so this system will give me scraps. I use drugs, alcohol, and medications to propel myself forward in a stupor, carefully managing a cadre of pills upon pills that works for a while and then ultimately ends in total defeat.

I’m afraid to share. Inside I hate my vulnerability. It is the enemy. I hate it in others too because of this. I go to war against myself, and scream at myself inside to get it together or else. I tried killing myself, and death terrified me even more than living. I want to succeed. I want to live. I want to be open. But I don’t know how. My muscles and soul is tired. How do you live when you’ve been whipped and are still whipped daily? I alternate between hating that system and realizing that I’m just internalizing the system’s poison by doing so. The balance is so tight.

I know I’ve done good things with my life, but I’m tired. I’m most likely going to go back into residential treatment because I just don’t know how I’m going to manage my life. If I get a new job am I going to be able to do that without slowly collapsing from the weight? I know I have to succeed and survive. But I’m terrified of being fooled by my brain into more toxic behavior patterns. Depression upon anxiety upon pain upon manipulation upon fear upon doubt upon loss.

I made the decision seven years ago to be more honest with my gender, and that helped, but I’m very poor at certain things. I’ll last for a while and then explode. It was exactly two years ago that I decided to go into residential treatment the last time, and here I am again. Oh well, if that’s what I have to do, then that’s what I have to do. I’m not really super good at sharing my feelings. I’m good at talking, and I usually just talk over my feelings. But insightful people see through that.

I have fear and pain so deep that I’m locked up. So I just leech off of loved ones until they grow resentful. I have to escape this cycle, but right now I don’t know how I can do it. Right now, all I know is that I’m hurting people around me and hurting myself. Addiction is a scourge. I don’t even want to admit I’m an addict because I fear that everyone will run away screaming. How do I do this? I suppose just by getting through today.

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. 🌞

Identity Politics in the Real World

I have a very complicated perspective on identity politics. As a queer and transgender person, I am constantly surrounded by intense debates that center on buzzwords like privilege, race, and intersectionality. I came out as trans six years ago into the tumbler of Tumblr style politics, and I picked up the flag of radical identity politics like a good liberal and ran with it. I spent thousands of hours writing outrageous polemic after polemic that snarled at the white, male oppressor because I was, unsurprisingly, very damaged by said oppressor. I grew up being bullied by 99% male peers starting before I really had any idea what gay, queer, trans, or any of those concepts meant. I just knew I was the target. This instilled a deep resentment in me that I’m still to this day (I’m 37) trying to dig out from under and probably will be until I pass.

However, resentment is not all roses and candyland. As Mark Twain once quipped “anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” I became a festering pit of toxic resentment, which was really just a hyper-defensive state of extreme paranoia. I became increasingly suicidal until after years of living on the edge of death, I finally woke up and realized that this line of thinking was doing far more damage to me than to the “enemy.”

It’s not as simple and binary as saying that “now I’m better because I realize that identity politics is terrible!” Our system pits us against each other like terrified Pit Bulls in a dog-fighting pit with screaming Plutocrats on the sidelines urging us to bloody our fellow citizens. By the time you wake up to the fact that the other dog across from you is not the real enemy, you have become hyper sensitized to react to those dogs because they do pose an existential threat. In my estimation, this is how we are controlled from the aristocracy, and it doesn’t have to be a conscious top down phenomenon. The rich know that when people are too busy fighting with people who should be their allies, they are too distracted and damaged to band together to effect real, substantive change.

Honestly, I believe that one of the core reasons for this nascent tribalism is that our intellectuals eschewed grand unifying theories a century or two ago and devolved into Balkanized camps where each group’s minutia was equally important to the others. We lack an intellectual cohesion and vision, or this kind of vision is kept from becoming ascendant. I’m not really sure what the cause is, but yeah, I don’t know a lot of things. I’ve found more grand unifying theories in esoteric writers like Aleister Crowley and Robert Anton Wilson among others than from the official ivory towers wherein I started my search. I studied Economics and Philosophy in university, and then I realized that there was little novel creative thinking going on in those institutions. But I suppose I’m a bit of an esotericist by nature, so I needed something more avant-garde anyway.

I have seen the best queer minds of my generation destroyed by the pursuit of that elusive victim status that is going to take all of their problems away. But life is rough. Everybody has pain, even your so-called enemies of privilege. Even though I have been decimated by injustice, I now know that trying to victimize myself is a trap that I don’t want to go back into. But it’s a balance. It’s not as reductive as we’d like. Middle path, middle pillar, golden mean…

Be well fellow pitbulls.

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.