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Tuesday, March 1, 2011

My Voice is a Tool for Others

There have been so many times in my life that I wish I would have spoken up and didn't. When I was younger I remember that I always wanted to play with toys that girls played with, but never had the guts to ask for. Every time I have ever been misgendered and stay silent because I think it is not worth it to correct people and because I become to sad because of all the memories of my early life when that was very normal. I don't feel like I can use my voice in some situations because all my voice does is complicate things. Before I can tell my story, I have to start with lots and lots of definitions in order for people to understand what I am talking about in certain areas.

Words like cisgender most people don't know or don't understand what it means, so before I tell people that cisprivilege exists, I must first go back and explain what it means to be cisgender. Cisgender means that your identity as a man or a woman matches up with what your were a assigned at birth. Cisprivilege is the unfair, and I would argue undeserved, privilege that people have simply because they are born that way. When I am trying to get my raw anger or any other kind of emotion out there about being silenced in this word, having to stop and define that stuff takes away the impact. Even the emotion of what I have written above can get lost with people wondering about the definitions that I have just mentioned. My voice is limited to the role of educator in most situations, but to go a long with that my voice is controversial, because of who I am.

When I get up and speak about my issues and needs as someone who is a trans a lot of people I am speaking to view me as having an agenda in the worst sense of the word. Doesn't matter what I say about trans issues, it is pretty much automatic that people assume that I have some agenda. Maybe I do have an agenda, but the truth is EVERYONE does. There isn't a single person in our society that doesn't have an agenda typically around topics that are personal to them, but no, when a trans person or a LGB person or any other marginalized group gets up there and starts talking we are automatically seen as having an agenda. My voice is limited and seems to be something I have no control over.

I am accepted to talk and bring up the issues when called upon, but not when no one asks I am expected to remain silent. If I speak up when not asked to, I am seen as trying to polarize or “transjack” a movement because I am not going along with what they are saying and arguing for. I am accused of alienating “allies” that want to help and get me my equal rights, when I call them on not being inclusive and ignore trans issues all together. My voice is used against me when all I am trying to do is get them to do what they claim they are doing. Heaven for bid I want to be able to see myself in a movement I am expected to fight for. My voice is never fully considered at all.

My voice is not a tool that I can effectively utilize. My voice is a tool that other people use when they want me to bring stuff up. My voice is used for others and not for myself. Yes, I try to break that trend, but sometimes after many people tell me to shut up, tell me I am polarizing or transjacking THEIR movement, sometime its just easier to stop because I shouldn't have to be the one educating people about my issues all the time. I am a person. I have a voice. My voice is mine and I will use it as I damn well please.

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

New blog, last night, and fighting for trans rights.

Today, I was made aware of a wonderful new blog called "Keeping It Pink". The blog is written by someone on the trans spectrum and is all about how great it is to be trans. Winter, the writer, talks about how there are lots of negative blogs out there about how hard it is sometimes to be trans, I would say mine is one of them, and thats needed and understandable, because sometimes being trans just sucks and is hard, but being trans is also wonderful a lot of times and we have fun and good lives too. The blog is absolutely wonderful, here is a link to the blog for those of you that would like to read it: I agree with Winter. There is something that is pretty fucking amazing about being trans. We have such an unique perspective on the world in terms of gender. We notice things, think about things, talk about things that cisgender people just don't talk about and just don't do. Also, as Winter points out, being cisgender seems pretty boring to me at times.

Overall I do enjoy being a transwoman. I think there are things that extremely empowering about being trans. For starters, for those of us who transition, we get to choose our own names. Seriously, how fucking awesome is it to be able to name yourself? Granted, lots of us go by what our parents would have named us had we been assigned correctly the first time, I did, but not all of us do. In the end it is our choice and there is something amazing about that. Since a lot of us know what it is like to be perceived, and even live, as the opposite gender, in our crap binary system, we are able to view sexism, the binary and other things in a totally different light than most, that is pretty fucking cool in my opinion at least. Lastly, I think most of us agree that our lives as transwomen, transmen, genderqueer, genderfluid, and everyone else on the trans spectrum, would agree that our lives are better as trans than they were when pretending to be something we weren't.

Sometimes, like a lot of us do, I wish I was a ciswoman, but I'll take being a transwoman over living as a cismale any day of the week! I hated being seen as cismale it wasn't me. At my core I am female there is just no getting around that. If that means that people hate me for me than so be it. I would rather be hated for who I am than loved for who I am not. So my trans sisters and brothers and everyone else in between be proud. Love being trans, because really it is a beautiful being trans and I wouldn't change it for the world.

Now you might be asking "Madwomyn? What has changed in your life that makes you feel this way?" I'll tell you, its because I finally feel like I have a sense of community. Last night I went out to a transwoman's meeting in my home town and it was so wonderful! The meeting started at 6:30 and ended at like 11, 5 hours of transwomen, 6 of us in total, just talking about things. Sometimes the conversation were random and not about trans issues per se, but was just everyday conversation that friends have. It was nice to not feel like I was the only one in the room going through the bullshit that trans people have to put up with on a daily bases and not have to explain the basics about being trans. It was a night where I didn't feel so alone like I do when I go to most places. A sense of community is something I have been searching for a long time and I am finally starting to feel like I have it.

Meeting more transwomen and really connecting with them was just awesome. Don't get me wrong, I love my cis friends to death, but its nice to go some place where I don't have to explain things and don't have to educate. I felt like a person for the first time in a long time, oh how I have missed that feeling. Just awesome. I got the number of one them so we could stay in contact outside of the meeting. Slowly, but surely, I am making a community for myself and that is awesome and exciting and just amazing. I am very happy right now.

Now, I am going to end on a decision that I have made in light of recent events. So, as I have talked about before on this blog, it upsets me greatly that trans rights are often shoved aside in favor of fighting for LGB rights and recently this happened yet again. Saturday DADT, Don't Ask Don't Tell, was repealed which I am very happy for, but I am rather upset with how my supposed LGB allies seemed to give up on fighting for trans rights too.

All summer every LGB group was saying how we have to pass a Trans-Inclusive ENDA NOW and then when the going got tough, in part because of the elections, they just seemed to give up on it in favor of repealing DADT something that would only affect cisgender LGB, really LG, people without putting any pressure to make it so that trans people can also serve openly in the army. Trans people are once again left behind and I am told "Now, on to trans rights!" well quite frankly, I am sick of it!I am tired of being left behind and expected to fight for LGB rights when they don't do the same for me. Tired of getting treated like a "lesser" woman by my LGB "allies" because I am trans.

This relationship has got to end the way it is, because honestly I am sick of it and so are lots of other trans people. I have come to the conclusion that I need to stop fighting for people who continually do this. I'm talking about groups and people like the HRC, Barney the fuck head Frank, and people who fought so hard to repeal DADT at the expense of passing a Trans-Inclusive ENDA, because it was "easier" to do. Getting equality for LGB people at the expense of their trans sisters and brothers and everyone else, is progress of a few while stepping on others. If that is progressing, I'll pass thanks. Once again Trans people get the shaft when the going gets tough. Well, I'm done. I am going to fight for transgender rights and not for a LGB community that doesn't want to fight for me. I am more than willing to fight along side people and groups in the LGB community that are pissed about it too and want to fight for trans rights, but the rest wont get my support anymore.

Sorry, to end on a downer, but this has been something that has been on my mind for awhile and I wanted to get it out. The picture below shows how I feel about this in a nutshell.

Bye for now!

Friday, December 10, 2010

I am not yours to claim.

(Two blogs that inspired me to write this. Also some of the same ideas come from there.)

Cis people make the rules.

Cis people decide what definitions we use to call ourselves. Take for example the metaphor of someone being "trapped in the wrong body" that metaphor was used in order for us to explain to our cis brothers and sisters in a way that THEY would understand. I'm equally guilty of using this when I first came out to my dad and my friends. The problem is that that metaphor makes it seem like there is something fundamentally wrong with our bodies and/or that it is someone else's completely. While it maybe true that for a lot of transwomyn and transmen that their bodies don't fit who they, that does not mean that they are "wrong" in anyway. We change them in order to feel more comfortable with who we are, we are not FIXING them, changing them yes, but that isn't the same thing as fixing them. The definitions that cis society puts on our bodies are wrong.

Cisgender individuals decide from the very beginning who we are in terms of gender. We come out of the womb and the doctors declare "Its a boy" or "Its a girl" depending on what we have between our legs. From then on we are expected to act like what cis society has determined for us. For a young girl who is trans (ie a transwoman) she is given to the boys and they are told "do with her what you will/make a MAN out of this/do what you have to do, its only natural if she screams." Any cis girl put in that situation people would freak out and want to throw the bastard in prison, but when the child is trans, that is what is to be expected and even the right thing to do.

Trans people have no agency to combat this. A lot of the time that little girl has no support, even from family, and so she faces these horrors alone with no one to help her. Even if the girl is lucky enough to have supportive parents and families, she still faces a world that may not respect that. A school refuses her access to the girls bathroom, because the cisgirls freak out and they never take into consideration that if that little girl walks into the boys bathroom dressed as she wants to be that she risks getting harassed and even beaten up by the boys in there. Our voices are never taken into consideration about anything.

We are the monsters of society and like any good monster, we aren't the main point of the story, but just a plot point. We are the thing that a "real" person, i.e. a cisgender person, discovers like and an explorer "discovering" some new country. Well, I've go news for ya, I was already here. I am not yours to discover and I am not yours to claim. You have no right to treat me as if I am some knew found discovery because I am not. I was already here damnit! And this is my life, my world, my reality and you have no right to make claims on it!

We are the monsters that stand between the heroes and heroines and glory. No one ever thinks to stop and ask the monster in stories how they were feeling or why they are doing the things that they do, to do so would be taboo. Maybe the monster would was put into a situation in society where they had to do what they did to survive, but no, no one cares about that. Maybe the monster was that way because society treated them so badly that they felt like they had no other choice. Or maybe, just maybe, that supposed monster wasn't actually a monster, but just a misunderstood being who happened to be different. No one stops to ask that question, its only afterwards that that people realize that.

Feminists have often said in defense of Roe V Wade that the government should keep their laws off their bodies. In that same light I think its time for cisgender people keep their labels, their claims, their ideas, OFF our bodies. We are not yours to claim and how about instead of labeling us you have a discussion with us about who we are and how we identify? Take all your cisnormative/ciscentric assumptions and throw them out the window, because you know what? I'm not the one who is wrong your assumptions and labels are.

Until this happens, I will be the thing that goes bump in the night for a lot of people. I will be the angry transwoman who is often called a bitch. I will wear that label with fucking pride because I am not the one in the wrong here. Cause when society backs you into a corner, you have two options either crumble and let society beat you or come out fighting and right now to quote Julia Serano "I'm just desperate enough to come out fighting!"

Monday, November 22, 2010

Body Dysphoria

Bodies suck. I hate them so much. Lately I have had some issues with a certain part of my body, 3 guess (first two don't count) as to which part I am talking about. I have been more acutely aware of it for the last few days. Its like it is taunting me. Laughing at me because there is nothing I can do to get rid of it yet. I can't just remove it myself, because, ironically enough, I need it in order to have the surgery and I don't have the money in order to get the surgery. I don't know what is wrong with me lately. I haven't had a serious moment where I have panicked about it, but it has gotten worse.

Its hard living day in day out with something that you feel isn't yours and shouldn't be on you. Makes sexual things almost impossible, because at any moment you know you will probably have a freak out because of it. And no, it really doesn't matter if the person I am having sex with sees me as 100% woman. The freak out moments aren't their fault. There no ones fault really, just one of the many bullshit things that I, and my trans sisters and brothers, who go through transition, have to put up with. I wish it would just go away. I hate it so much.

It something that makes me want to vomit. When it gets hard I start to feel sick and invaded/violated. Lately its been hard to even use it for the one thing it is good for and that is peeing. It means I have to touch it and acknowledge its exists on me. Its the one thing on my body that makes me feel trapped and feel like this body doesn't belong to me. I haven't felt like a person for a very very long time. Lately it has been because of it and people really don't understand why.

People have told me all the time, all cis people, that I need to get over it. They say that they have stuff about their bodies that they hate and that they don't let it control lives. What they don't get is that those body issues don't define them in terms of gender. If you are not as skinny as you would like to be, you are still a womyn according to society. You are maybe a bigger womyn, but you are still a womyn. Whatever other thing about your body that you hate, as a cis person, doesn't change your gender in the eyes of society.

However, somebody sees that I have a dick, all of sudden my gender changes in their eyes. I am no longer a womyn if I passed to them before and the begin to notice all my "male" qualities, its as if all my female body traits, like having breasts for instance, go away and are ignored.. Also, I am not letting it control my life. If I was letting it control my life I wouldn't leave my apartment. I would huddled in the corner crying all day. I step out into the world and try to live as normally as possible without being to sad. Maybe it doesn't work, but I fucking try. I face the world, go to all my classes, and general function.

People have also told me that they can tell it bothers me. They say that it is like some invisible thing hanging over me and that I am always thinking about. Most of the time this is not true I am not always thinking about it. However, it does hang over me daily. It hangs over me as a constant reminder that I have to always be on my guard. That at any moment, even if I pass around people, my identity as a womyn can be challenged and even belittled if I am unlucky enough to meet someone who is an asshole. All it takes is for one person to "realize" that I have a dick and all of sudden people start looking at me funny and calling me sir.

People say call them out on it and assert yourself. Assert the fact that I am female. Its not as easy as it sounds, cause when people misgender me or challenge my identity as a womyn, its against a back drop of people doing that all my life and all these memories of people doing that come flooding back. All the memories of how I felt like I was the only one in the world growing up and felt that no one would understand me, come back and in that moment, I loose whatever chance I would have had to assert myself, cause no matter how many times it happens it hurts just the same as the first time some called me he instead of she. Also, in certain situations like going to the bathroom for example, I really don't want to educate people and, shocking I know, I SHOULDN'T have to educate every asshole I meet that does this shit to me.

I fucking hate being trans right now. *sigh*

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

The Question of Male Privilege and Transwomyn

I would like to start this blog by saying that I enjoy and support most of the things that Emi Koyama discusses and says in The Transfeminist Manifesto. I agree with her that it is extremely important for transwomyn to take a place in feminism and that all to often we are denied access. I agree with her that everyone has a right to be who they are and that we shouldn't have a “purity test” in order to actually be feminists. That being said, I do have an issue with how she talks about the idea of male privilege and how that works for transwomyn, the rest of this blog will be about that issue in the manifesto.

On page 247 into 248, she writes “They have been trained to be assertive and confident. and some trans women manage to maintain these "masculine" traits, often to their advantage, after transitioning" this passage seems to suggest that “some” transwomyn never fully shake off their “male socialization” and thus never shake off their male privilege. Now, I am not going to make the argument that transwomyn never have male privilege because of course we do. I lived my life 16 years “passing” as male and thus have experienced male privilege. That being said, this statement is problematic because it suggests that transwomyn we will always have some sort of male privilege and thus, in some small way, always be male. Also, it fails to take into account the fact that once we, tranwomyn, do transition and live our lives fully as womyn those “masculine” traits like aggressiveness, assertiveness and confidence are seen very differently in the eyes of society. Finally, that statement suggests that those traits are only for men and that women can't be assertive.

Transwomyn who are assertive and confident are often seen by society as being bitches just as cisgender womyn who are assertive and confident are seen as bitches. The fact that we were “socialized” to be that way is irrelevant because they are seen very differently in the eyes of society if we do it as male or if we don't it as female and its not just cis people enforcing these rules. Transwomyn every often attack other transwomyn if they are being assertive or confident because it isn't the way women are “suppose” to be. Also, that our socialization is key to whether or not we have male privilege is nonsense in my opinion.

Despite the fact that we, transwoym, are treated as male in society before we transition, most of us feel like we are female very early. Thus, we see all the things society says about how to be a women and how women are suppose to be, and internalize it just like ciswomyn. Also, we are very often forced into being that way as we start transitioning. We take a lot of the images that society uses about what it means to female and do them because we live in a society where we have to constantly prove that we are female. Further, a lot of transwomyn who aren't out or can't transition get eating disorders in order to make our bodies more feminine, just as cisgender girls do. The point is we absorb what our society and culture says about what is meant to be a girls and women just like cisgirls who are socialization female. Transwomyn are often caught in a “damn if you do or damn if you don't” situation with regards to how feminine we are.

On the one hand, if we follow what society says womyn look and act like, we are seen as “trying to hard” and thus are really men just trying to be womyn. On the other hand, if we don't follow what society and culture says about being womyn or dress/look or act more masculine we are seen as not trying hard enough and are thus men. This plays back into Koyama's implication that transwomyn will never fully get rid of male privilege, because it seems no matter what we do in our society to prove we are womyn or against the gender binary we are seen as male. For Koyama to imply that we will always have male privilege, only helps further this idea and make it seem like it is ok for feminists to question whether or not tranwomyn have male privilege.

The section on male privilege in Koyama is problematic because it implies that tranwomyn will never be free of male privilege and thus aren't really womyn. I will admit freely to having male privilege for the first 16 years of my life. However, since I have been living as a womyn for the last 4 years, I have given up any male privilege. I am treated very differently when I am assertive now than when I was living as a male. My socialization at this point is totally irrelevant because of the way attitudes change about me doing certain acts. My supposedly “masculine” trait of being assertive is no longer an asset to most people in society, but rather something that both men and women a like think I should stop because it isn't the way women are suppose to be.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Transgender people and Sports

One of my good friends gave me a link to an article that talks about the issue of transgender people and sports, specifically male to females and female to males. The article focused on how the NCAA will make it more fair for trans athletes or potential athletes to join teams in colleges. I'm not going to post the whole article, but there will be a link at the end to the entire thing. This article made me happy and extremely annoyed all at the same time. I'm going to pick out what I feel are the biggest problems with how they are approaching things.

"For those undergoing hormone treatments, the report recommends that a male-to-female transgender athlete should be able to participate on men's teams, but should complete one year of hormone treatments before competing on a women's team. The report recommends that a female-to-male transgender athlete, who is taking prescribed testosterone, should be allowed to compete on men's teams, but must seek an exemption to NCAA rules barring the use of testosterone.

For those not undergoing hormone treatments, the report recommends that transgender students should all have the option of competing on the teams consistent with birth gender, that female-to-male students be allowed to participate on either the men's or women's team, but that male-to-female transgender students not be permitted to compete on women's teams.

The report notes the concerns some have expressed about male-to-female athletes having an unfair advantage because of their pre-transition bodies."

First of all the overall theme here is that cisfemales are ALWAYS going to be weaker than males, therefore it doesn't matter if a transman plays on the mens team. However, if a transwomyn wanted to play on the womyns team, it is an unfair advantage for that team. First off all this is essentialism at its worse! Pretty much says all womyn are weaker than all men and doesn't take into account the many variations that happen naturally. I promise you that there are cisgirls out there WAY stronger than cismales, but not according to the NCAA. If I were a cisfemale who played sports I would be rather insulted that they think that I am automatically weaker than my male counter parts.

Secondly, why should transmen have to get permission to use testosterone? Why can't the NCAA just give them permission? Cut out the middle man so to speak. There is absolutely no reason why they should have to seek out special permission. This only serves to make the process more complicated. The NCAA should just make it a rule that transmen are allowed to use testosterone.

Lastly, why is it such a big deal for a transwomyn, who hasn't started transitioning, to be on the womens team? If EVERY college is allowed to do it, is there really an "unfair" advantage for one team or the other? If this means that teams actively recruit transwomyn all the better, because that means that they are actively being trans-inclusive as a opposed to only being so in theory. Also this whole taking hormones for a year thing is ridiculous because hormones effect everyone differently. Some people get "weaker" after like a month others don't get that much "weaker" at all. There is no cookie cutter, one size fits all option! There is no reason for this rule other than to keep the status quo in place. Now lets look at who exactly came up with this report.

"The report was written by Pat Griffin, former director of the It Takes A Team! Education Campaign for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Issues in Sport and professor emeritus of social justice education at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst; and Helen J. Carroll, director of the National Center for Lesbian Rights’ Sports Project. The report was co-sponsored by the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the Women's Sports Foundation and It Takes a Team! The sponsoring organizations held a meeting last year to gather experts -- including NCAA representatives -- to discuss these issues."

Anyone else notice that there ISN'T a specific organization that deals exclusively with transgender issues? Not a one! In other words it was a bunch of cisgender people who came together and decided what would be best. So much bullshit! Transgender voices weren't heard in this situation at all and since we are dealing with something that directly affects us, we should have voice in the debate. This is a lot like men sitting around and deciding what is best for women without any input from women. No wonder there are these problems since it is all people who don't fully understand transgender issues. I'm not saying it should only be trans people, but it shouldn't be all cisgender people either. The final thing I want to talk about is towards the end.

"Further, the issue can be important for the way teams are classified. A female on a male team does not change the designation of the team, but a male on a female team classifies the team as "mixed," making it ineligible for NCAA women's championships. Any classification of a team as "mixed" lasts for the rest of the academic year."

How exactly are they defining male? My definition of male is anyone who identifies as a man regardless of there sex assigned at birth. Going based on what other parts of the article have said, I don't think they are defining male in that way. They are probably defining it in terms of what someone has between their legs. So basically even if I were allowed to be on the women's team, since I have been on the hormones for almost 5 years now, it would probably qualify as a "mixed" team simply because I have dick. Gee, thanks so much for invalidating my gender you fuckers!

Despite everything mentioned above I am grateful the NCAA are at least attempting to take this on. Even if they do FAIL for the most part. If you want to read the whole article click the link below.

Friday, October 1, 2010


Yesterday, I got misgendered in my French class. Since the French language genders most things, stupidly in my opinion, this sucked even more than it would otherwise. This got me thinking about all the other transgender people who have gotten misgendered, particularly Brendon Teena. For those that don't know the story of Brendon Teena I'll give you a summary of what happened to him.

In December of 1993 Brendon Teena was rapped and murdered by his supposed friends once they found out that he had a vagina. At the time he was dating a girl and was living as a man in the community. IMPORTANT TO NOTE: BRANDON TEENA WAS/IS A MAN!!! You wouldn't know that from what the police reports/documentaries/movie made about the story say.

I just did a random search on Google and found that the grand majority of the articles about it use female pronouns when referring to him and call him a lesbian. They do this based SOLELY on the fact that he has a vagina and was not on hormones and didn't have any surgery. I also know for a fact that lots of lesbians try to take HIM back as one of their own. This is absolute BULLSHIT!

Brendon Teena was, is and always will be a MAN! He is not, nor has he ever been a lesbian! He was never yours to take! Leave him the fuck alone, he is ours! This is not to say that he was straight either. He could have been bisexual, pansexual, omnisexual, etc, etc but one thing he would NEVER ever be is a lesbian! The lesbians who try to take him "back" need to stop! He was never yours to take, move a long nothing to see here folks! STOP trying to rewrite our history and make it seem like OUR people, ie trans folks, belong to you when it is simply not the case. The media in general fucks this shit up all the time!

Another infamous murder case that the bullshit media has talked about has a transwomyn at the center of it. The story is about a cisman in the army who is dating a transwomyn, who, just to get rid of this argument right away, had gone through everything that most states require to be a "legal" womyn. The cisman was killed by his supposed "buddies" after they found that his girlfriend *gasp* use to have a penis. This story was also made into a film called Soldiers Girl. Once again when the media tells this story they fuck it up!

The documentary I saw kept calling the man, who was dating the transwomyn, Calpernia Addams, a gay man. Lets get something clear here, Calpernia IS a womyn! He was in a relationship with a womyn! Therefore it was a HETEROSEXUAL relationship! He may have been bi, pan, omni, etc, etc but he is NOT a gay man! To give the gay male community credit they have not tried to take him "back" in this instance(lesbian community take fucking note!). Shockingly enough, the documentary didn't referrer to Calperina as a man. Not only is this a GIANT FUCKING contradiction of them calling the solider gay, it is also very invalidating to the transwomyn. You may as well put the word womyn in quotes the entire time, because obviously you have no fucking respect for her, who she is or how she identifies.

I really need to make a big fucking stick that has CISFAIL on it in big black letters, so I can hit fucking morons like those talked about above. Maybe then people will pull their heads out of their asses. Seriously, people STOP IT or I will strike you with my CISFAIL STICK!