The Right to Exist, May 2018

 

I wince when I realize that many millions of cisgender people think that Caitlyn Jenner is a spokesperson for my community.

If anyone doubts that having a celebrity-dominated society results in an appalling dumbing-down of how we treat important matters, I might offer that as exhibit B, exhibit A being the current resident of the White House.

However, I am chilled to my core when I realize that millions of cisgender people think they have the right to question whether I should be permitted to exist.

I am not a sample of the smallpox virus in a lab freezer somewhere. I am an utterly harmless older woman who likes music and art museums.

This piece by Jenny Boylan, as usual, is excellent.  This is the sort of spokesperson that I want!

“I don’t know whether I have ever spoken or written a word about my identity that has had half the effect of simply living my life publicly and without shame. At long last, I have landed on a new strategy for refuting the ideas of people who think I don’t exist.

I refute them by existing.”

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Both Sides Journalism Often Enables Anti-Transgender Bigots

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https://www.thedailybeast.com/how-both-sides-journalism-is-failing-transgender-people

Bigots want to be told that the hateful nonsense they believe about us is intellectually respectable, and these giant corporate news organizations don’t want to lose viewers or readers by exposing them to facts, such as that we are a remarkably harmless minority group and that people who regret transition are very, very rare.

What the press often does when a piece is about transgender issues is about as responsible as treating Holocaust denial as if it were a morally respectable and intellectually plausible perspective and not a dog pile of vile idiocy created to justify brutality and hatred.

 

Jenny Boylan on NASA

“You can see how someone without any science experience could be tapped to run NASA, as long as they could make up for it by demeaning gay and trans Americans, a group that of course included the first American woman in space, the unsinkable Sally Ride. Not to mention a transgender pioneer, Dr. Christine McGinn, who was flight surgeon for two shuttle missions.”

Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender: One of These Things Is Not Like the Others.

https://www.buzzfeed.com/dominicholden/new-york-times-stop-calling-trans-gay?utm_term=.kl2GwJlwP#.jodbElpEL

 

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The first three categories are defined in term of whom the folks in that category want to go to bed with. The final category is about who the folks there want to go to bed as even when they go to bed alone.

First of all, I have been in many support group meetings and only rarely, believe it or not, does the subject of bedroom sex come up. It is simply so far off topic that we rarely venture there.

And I have never seen it hold the attention of the group more than briefly.

Questions of identity, of acceptance or rejection, the practical problems of transition or of dealing with prejudice and discrimination, yes, those come up all the time. But rarely does erotic sex emerge as a topic.

It is impossible to predict from knowing that someone is trans the sort of person they will prefer as a sexual partner, if, indeed, they even want a sexual partner.

(Many of us aren’t much interested in sex. I’m not very interested myself, although I wouldn’t mind a good cuddle and lots of affection!)

I know trans women who strongly prefer women, cis or trans, as partners. I know trans women who strongly prefer men, cis or trans, as partners. I know trans women who could be happy with either. We are all over the map.

So to define us in terms of whom we would like to have in bed with us the way one defines lesbians, gay men, and bisexuals makes no sense at all.

To recap, being lesbian, gay, or bisexual is about what you do during those brief intervals on a given day when you are having sex. Being transgender is about who you are are the rest of the day.

I Am A Binary Trans Woman Who Wants It Made Clear That Nonbinary People Are Trans!

There has been some nasty discourse lately about how nonbinary people aren’t trans. The “logic” behind that has been mainly that nonbinary people don’t transition – and when it’s pointed out that many nonbinary people do, in fact, socially and/or medically transition, the argument then becomes that nonbinary people aren’t “really” transitioning because they are […]

via Reflections — Almost, Almost

Answering the Phone, April 2018

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I happened to be the person to answer the phone  at the transgender center on a call from a trans man in his fifties. I could hear the tension in his voice, and it was obvious that making that call had been very difficult for him. He told me that he had driven past the center a number of times, but had never quite worked up the courage to come inside.

I was the first trans person he had ever been able to have a conversation with.

He wants to come out, but is scared to death. He goes to the Metropolitan Community Church, but when he started hinting about possibly being trans to other church members, a couple of the lesbians—he previously presented as lesbian– ridiculed him in a pretty nasty way, so he stopped talking about it. He told me that his dysphoria in being forced to live in an inauthentic way has gotten so bad that he  has been thinking of killing himself.

I probably spent an hour talking to him. I urged him to come to the trans masculine support group. He didn’t want to because he says he looks feminine. I think this is someone who has been ridiculed a lot. I told him that no one in the group would care what he looks like and that everyone there would want to help him. I told him that he is family and should come and meet us. I told him we care about him. I told him that coming out and living as trans is very hard, but that it is easier than living as someone you are not.

By the end of the call he said he felt much better. There are aspects of his experience that I, as a trans woman, do not understand, which is why I worked to hard to get him to his peers. He said he would come in.

Hope.  We all need a little hope.

It was a good day!

 

 

Friday Night At the Bar, April 2018

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Friday after work at the transgender center, I went out with a friend for a drink at a gay bar here in town. I’ve been in there before. It’s a nice bar, but I don’t see much point in frequenting the establishment because (a) I am a mostly special-occasion consumer of alcohol (Friday I had ginger ale) and (b) most of the patrons are cisgender gay men with a sprinkling of cisgender lesbians with no other trans people in sight.
I don’t find being the token trans woman (see? we’re broad minded and progressive!) in an LGB group all that appealing. Been there, done that.
(I have actually heard drag queens (who are almost exclusively cisgender gay men, by the way) brag about how open minded they were because they had a trans woman (gasp!) as part of the lineup for the evening’s entertainment.
Anyway, my friend wanted to sit and drink and talk, but she was nervous about doing it in a straight bar, so off we went. They already knew my friend, who is a frequent patron, was trans and associated with the trans center. Being with her outed me by association, although my purse-carrying would probably have done it as well since that makes it unlikely that I’m lesbian and narrows the possibilities.
(A few years into living full time as me and marinating in the feminizing hormone cocktail, I have on several occasions gotten read as a lipstick lesbian when I was with someone noticeably less femme than I am.)
The bar employees were very nice. They addressed us as “ladies” and could not have been more accommodating. Within living memory, trans people were not allowed in many gay bars, and I think they were making a point that it was OK for us to be there.
I had a couple of interesting exchanges with cisgender gay men at the bar. LGB folks can be as clueless about us as straight people. I think those guys saw the two of us as really, really, really gay men (wrong! so very wrong!) who live in perpetual drag, even though many of us prefer cisgender female partners.
Oh, for the record, I was wearing women’s jeans, a tunic, and ballet flats, not an evening gown, a bouffant wig, and six-inch heels! And I have the same reasons for needing the bra I was wearing as does a cisgender woman.
But it was fun. I might even go back. But I’m ordering soft drinks!