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Play Nicely, Now

There’s a lot of haterade in the trans community. I’ve heard it’s not really a community at all, and there’s some truth to that. Really, it’s not. Plenty of transsexuals have no interest in being grouped with crossdressers. So it goes. Beyond that, the whole thing really is just generally acrimonious. For the record, I don’t have any problem being grouped with CDs. I don’t have any problem being grouped with the LGB, the Q, the other Q, or the A. Really, just pair me with the alphabet entire. I don’t buy into the idea that our strength comes from some deconstruction into smaller and smaller groups.

The idea that we sacrifice others for our own community or personal struggle really bothers me. I just don’t buy into it on any level, at all. Not do I make any apology for it.

In class I was recently asked whether I thought socio-economic, feminist, and related concerns should all be subsumed under the common umbrella of “place.” Really, that’s an experiantialist term that you can Google, because this is already boring. I gave a pretty stock reply. No, ya know, because feminists pointed out problems with their concerns being subsumed under marxism, and the LGBT community was no more stoked about being grouped within at least pre-queer theory feminism. Meaning, let’s not make the same mistake with another concept. The larger problem, though, is trading one concern for another. Identity issues are huge, they affect many of us daily. Many issues are important, all at once, and acknowledging others’ struggles but expecting priority for one’s own has gotten us nowhere. Nothing is more important than choosing not to divide, deciding it’s more important to stand together. People who’re worried about our earth, social justice, women’s issues, LGBT equality, and so on? There’s a time and a place to work together. It’s time to get on board.

Oh heavy. Next?

I don’t have any trans friends. That’s sad. I mean, I literally have none. How is that even possible? All of my real, close friends are all cis. From time to time I’ll get in contact with a cool trans person I know, but never for long. Alas.

Also, this. I use LGBT rather than LGBTQQA because, well, (1) I’m lazy and (2) I don’t think anyone will know what I mean. But, I’m feeling me some QUILTBAG, lemme tell ya that.

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Law School and E3000

This year I’m applying to law school. The good news is I’m not in horrible shape for where I want to go. Let’s mentally review where I’m at.

The good:

GPA– With their special, “magical” law school calculator, I have a 3.8ish GPA. I say “ish” because my last class may change it. Overall, I’m pretty happy with that.

Learnin’– My alma matter is pretty highly ranked and my program has an even higher national ranking. Plus, it’s a BS, and I hear that helps.

Writin’– This is one of the few things I do well. This journal probably isn’t the best indication of that, but yeah, I’m actually published and I’ve won some writing awards. This means my personal statement should be quality.

Workin’– There’s good work experience, here, having been the youngest person ever promoted to my mystery position in California. And, I’ve worked as a supervisor. Then again, I’ve also schlepped wholesale furniture. There’s something I won’t be listing.

Neuroticin’– I have no life, so I’m willing to write optional essays and eager to apply early.

The bad:

LSAT–  I’ve not yet taken the LSAT, but I’m scoring around 169 on practice tests. If I could finally nail games I could raise that up to 173; I’ve heard for most that’s the easiest section of the test on which to improve, but it ain’t workin’ for me.

Recommendations– Have I built solid relationships with professors for awesome rec’s? No, professors are scary.

Extra curricular stuff– I haven’t cured cancer. Gimme a break, I’m working on it. Volunteer work, in a couple clubs for a semester here or there. That’s it. Sad panda.

Where I’m going?

Hopefully UMich law with some kind of scholarship that acknowledges the unique, beautiful butterfly that is my soul. Why UMich? Because it’s got a great program for public interest work, there’s some sweet medical care, and their outlaws program looks “rad.”

If not there, hopefully NYU. That’s a pretty dumb second choice, though, since NYU doesn’t admit a gaggle of applicants nixed at UMich.

I called E3000 and left a message. It made me nervous, for some reason. We got back in touch and Denise quizzed me, nicely, about the extent of my hair growth and what I wanted. Zap my face, yo, and ish be around medium to light. I guess. I think the “I guess” really made her stop and pause about the number of days to book. So, now I’m supposed to grow out my facial hair and send pics to them. They’ll assess it. The moral of the story is, women, know your limits. Or, the amount of growth you have, anyway. Or, don’t talk like you’re a transsexual rapper.

I read up on others’ experiences with E3000. I might post my own, too, I don’t know. It seems a bit passe.

Time to call my father. At least I won’t sound like a dummy on the phone, yah?

 
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Posted by on March 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Bionic Woman vs. Inspector Gadget

*Warning, again, that trans violence appears

I’m getting ma’am more often in boy mode. That’s cool. I’m also receiving negative comments more frequently in boy mode, now. That’s not cool. What’cha gonna do, though? I’m unwilling to be scared into a closet; I’m not about to make the same mistakes I did in high school. Fun fact #37– no one says anything derogatory with my partner around. Maybe that validates I might be straight. More likely, I think people like to pick on people alone. There’s strength in numbers.

Every negative comment I’ve ever received has been from a guy. The person who got mad when we were dancing and sliced off my finger tips? That was also a guy. PS– them tips got reattached and I’m as good as new. See, people think they’re holding me down, but really they’re just turning me into the bionic woman. I can rebuild. I have the self-confidnece. Gosh, that’s so corny, I should really delete that.

But, anyway, that’s a conundrum when you’re into guys. The only people who’ll screw you over, by and large, will be men. Granted, that population of homophobic and transphobic men is probably pretty small. I’ll go, oh I don’t know, one out of four. Guys who, in the right circumstance, would get violent on a trans woman. I can’t even guess what the stats are for violence against trans men; I wouldn’t be surprised, though, if it were worse. Now imagine you’re attracted to guys. Dating suddenly becomes Minesweeper.

Your dates are squares– hurrr– yet most turn out safe enough. Every once in awhile you choose one with the potential to end badly. To be safe, you try to read the red flags to ensure that you’ll never be in that situation. End metaphor. It’s hard to do that, though. Life is long and with enough dates you’re really playing against the odds. Sooner or later, a situation where violence is possible comes to light. Better hope you chose well. We’re averaging >100 dead per year, and that’s just those who go reported. Most violence is from people we know, too.

The whole thing is enough to make some trans women date women, even if their heart inclines them elsewhere. So many things make me grateful I don’t have to date. So so so grateful. My partner thinks she’s hindering me from dating men. I don’t know if she understands how much I love her. And, who knows, maybe she’s saving my life.

Who knows? I didn’t expect the guy who drew the knife to draw the knife. F–k, we were in public. Maybe another moral to the story is it’s unwise to be underage, dumb, and willing to bump and grind with guys unaware of your status. Things I wish I could redo in my life? Plenty from about age 12 on. Best believe I’m pounding these keys down. I wish I could just forget so many of the stupid things I’ve done.

Go go bionic woman retrograde amnesia. Or maybe that was Inspector Gadget.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Making Friends with “The Other”

I was reading recently on a blog about how it’s easier to make friends with people with whom ya share common ground. You know, you’re both Baptists, or you both loved Legos as a child. She was talking more about socio-economic status, age, and whatever, but you follow. Legos. So, anyway…

I agree with all that. When I was 22 I was dating a really, really cool girl. She was beautiful, sick-smart, and her parents loved me. The only problem was that she was rich. You’d think that’d be an asset, but I kind of disagree.  She laughed– kindly– that I didn’t own anything by fancy Italian designers. But, oh, at least I wore North Face. Don’t laugh, that was in at the time. And, on a different topic, ugh people who wear North Face not because they’re outdoorsy, but because it’s cool… just stop. You look ridiculous; that s–t clashes with your Gucci, mang. So, anyway, she also thought it was quaint that I did my own laundry. Quaint. Well shhheeeeooot, sweet thang, I ain’t nebber been called that before.

Sometime later I was commenting that I felt awkward not being able to take her to the nice places to which she was accustomed. She laughed, reassured me, and said no worries, “I don’t judge you because you’re poor; you can still be a good person.” That’s word for word, ya know, it stuck in my mind. My first thought was, damn girl, are you trying to tell me most good people are rich? That was something directed at her. The second thought was more damning, it pointed the finger back at me. I had an epiphany. I know, me of all people. There was this “moment of clarity.” Me and my quaint self, I realized I’d been judging her because she had money. And, not just her, I’d judged pretty much everyone on campus who was loaded. I was being prejudiced. Ya wouldn’t have thought, what with my quaint ways, huh.

We didn’t end up lasting, although in an unrelated story, she did ask me to marry her. Saying she was forthright would be an understatement. And, just to toss those stereotypes about Asian women being passive prudes, she was Korean-American.

All this to say, yeah, it’s hard to get close when there’s little common ground. We rarely even approach people when we feel we’ve little in common. What a mistake. Those are probably the people with whom we most need to connect. Even if it’s harder, and especially if it’s harder.

But hey, that doesn’t mean ya need to date them to do it.

And from all this, I don’t know a lot of people who share more than one or two things in common with me. I feel torn between two worlds in two ways. There’s my past living as a man and future as a woman. Then there’s my past with poverty and future with plenty. I can find people who can relate to one transition or the other, but I don’t know anyone who’s dealing with both. Believe it or not, the latter transition is even more rare, if the people I know are any guide. Not a lot of us from the ghetto went to college, or a so-called elite college at that.

Our financial aid motto is, “Elite, not Elitist.” If you ever try to squeeze a dime from them, you’ll know why that’s funny. I have felon parents, was raised on food stamps, and still have plenty of loans. Some private, because public loans wouldn’t cover it. Yeah, not at all elitist. Take mercy on me, I’m quaint.

So, to wrap this all up, to pretend it has continuity, let’s review. It’s easier to be friendly with people with whom we share a lot in common. It’s also important to be friendly with people with whom we don’t share anything in common, even if it’s more difficult. Sometimes, when our struggles seem unique, it’s hard to find people who can relate to more than a piece of what we’re going through. Last, Ivy League finaid sucks the big one.

To end on a positive note, I’m about to go to church. Bet ya didn’t see that one coming.

 
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Posted by on March 20, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

You’re a Poop-head, Sir

For the first time ever I got angry in class. It didn’t amount to much; I gritted my teeth and smiled. There’s a guy in the class I don’t much like. He comes off as a bit of a know-it-all and I don’t much feeling attacked. Beyond that, know-it-alls are just kind of annoying, especially when they don’t know all that much. I’m with Iris Murdoch on the virtues of humility. Maybe it’s not enough on its own, but it sure does count for a lot. People who argue about Christianity without having read the Bible, evolution without having read On the Origin, and so on, annoy me. Actually, they do more than annoy me. Apparently they make me angry.

Where does grit the teeth anger fall on the anger scale? For me, it’s pretty high up there. I don’t get mad very often, and that’s about the extent to which I express it. Maybe this makes me sound like I live life with little emotional nuance. Maybe that’s true.

Ever since my father yelled and yelled I made a covenant to myself to not raise my voice. I’ve broken it all of three times, and each time with the same person. Honestly, it didn’t make me feel any better. I’m not violent, either, having not laid a hand on a woman. Or child. Or assorted pets or general livestock.

So, I don’t express anger much, but that doesn’t necessarily mean I don’t feel it. I do, I just do my best to not allow it to control me. So far, so good. So far, so boring.

 
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Posted by on March 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Hodgepodge Ethnicity

My ethnicity is “hodgepodge.” I look like it, too. Tomorrow is St. Paddy’s Day, and my mom being my mom, forwarded me a bunch of information about our Irish heritage. Then again, she does the same thing on Bastille Day (French). And Independence Day (here from the Mayflower forward). From the perspective of ethnicity, what am I, really? Well… French, Scandinavian, Native American, German, and Irish. In that order. What does that mean?

My partner is German and Scottish. That’s a shorter list.

My shih tsu is Tibetan and Chinese. That’s also a short list.

Do I look like the mix I am? I don’t know. I’m tall, fair skinned and freckled, and I have dark red hair and green/brown eyes. So, maybe I look like that.

 
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Posted by on March 16, 2011 in Uncategorized

 

Glee on Trans Persons

*Includes transphobic slurs, as mentioned in Glee, read at your own risk…

Apparently Glee is transphobic, or at least I’ve heard that on the blogosphere. Is it? Well, at the least, it’s more direct than other shows. Trans people are presented as the butt of a joke (see SNL) or a joke unto themselves (see Maury). Here, though, at least we hear what’s real. Shemale and tranny. The terms are derogatory, but in a way, I’m glad they’re brought up at all. People use the terms; I’d wager more people know the term shemale than transgender. Shemale is a porn term, and to a lesser extent, so is tranny. And, after all, half the Interwebs’ bandwidth is spent on porn. Or so I hear. Not that I’d know. Obviously. So, at least the show is cashing in on social perceptions of what being transgender is, and good or bad, calling it what it is. The real problem is that those problem words are never explored. They have the guts to mention, but not examine them.

The biggest defense against explaining the difference between transgender and tranny, or why shemale is offensive, is that doing so would come off as a PSA. It’d be preachy. I’d buy that, except that’s more or less Glee currency. I love the show; my partner and I watch it religiously. But, since they did our community the favor of being direct, let’s reciprocate and call it what it is. The show uses inflated stereotypes to be funny, to clunkily move a plot, and because it makes for good television.

The problem with s–ting on trans people is that it’s a habit. When the LGB community was willing to throw the T under the bus for political expediency for employment non-discrimination for the rest? Yeah, that, and a dozen examples like it. For the HRC and co., the T is an afterthought. And, hey, that rubs some of us the wrong way. To some degree, we’re not helping matters; the discrimination is in many ways worst for the T in the community (highest murder rate, say, and also the highest unemployment rate), but trans people simply don’t often advocate for themselves in numbers. We’re largely silent, and the LGB drags and drops the T. At least until there’s a large enough outcry. Glee is more or less the same.

There won’t be a positive depiction of a trans character on Glee, not in a regular role, not without a huge outcry. Coach Beiste, with her awesome name, is the closest thing we have. She’s transgressive of gender lines. She’s a ciswoman, but again with our experiment in being direct, they make her look like a guy. So, my Judith Butler tingly senses go off and I’m pleased Glee is at least challenging essentialism and any sex/gender/sexuality matrix that implicitly assumes a continuity in terms. It’s okay to be a more masculine woman, and *gasp*, it may not mean she’s necessarily gay. So, hear hear. But, trans people, that’s about as good as it gets.

So, again, let’s just call it what it is. Glee has a positive depiction of a gay male character. Occasionally there’s a shout out to the L and B. Nuthin’ for the T beyond some gender blurring from Beiste. Cheers, it’s nice to see positive (if from Kurk, stereotypical) portrayals of gay male characters. The characters are presented at least as fairly as their straight counterparts, and that’s all we can really ask for. Let’s just not pretend it’s a LGBT positive show. It’s not. GLAAD needs to stop being so effusive with its awards.

 
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Posted by on March 15, 2011 in Uncategorized