The Politics of Confrontation

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Lately, I have had some things on my mind.  Often, when I talk to people either in person, over the phone or (most often) on the internet, I find myself accused of being “too negative,” “so aggressive,” or “oversensitive” whenever a subject is broached which is too controversial for polite conversation.  Folks like to tell me not to be “so angry,” and that, instead of focusing on the problems, I should focus on solutions – this gets into that same “It Gets Better,” and “Build don’t Burn” rhetoric that I find, personally, has a bad habit of missing the point.

What is troublesome about this logic is its failure to acknowledge that one cannot focus on solutions to problems if one does not first recognize the problem.  When I am accused to being too negative, it is rarely because I am a hopeless misanthrope who sees no end to human suffering, but most typically because my accuser doesn’t like the harsh realities which they are being made to confront within the context of the conversation. The fact is, folks don’t really like confronting systematic oppression – especially people of privilege (I know, dirty word) – because to confront would mean to acknowledge its existence and the ways in which we may or may not benefit from these systems. I say this as a white person who has worked (and is still working) to unpack my privilege and preconceived notions about race. Also, as a thin, able-bodied AFAB genderqueer person who, despite not really “passing,” gets to move through life with relative ease due to my perceived masculinity. I know how it feels to come to the realization that my being treated like a human being with rights and dignity comes at the expense of others who maybe don’t look like or get around as well as I do. It sucks and of course nobody would want to accept that, but the fact of the matter is your unwillingness to accept reality doesn’t actually change reality.

The reality is that cops can shoot unarmed black boys and girls on public streets in the daylight with impunity. Women can’t walk down the street without being harassed, or worse, and then blamed for it. “Trans panic” is an actual defense that people can actually use in court to get away with murdering trans women. Intersex folks are all but invisible at best and at worst, mutilated and often sterilized by doctors at birth as a means of “correcting” their genitals to make them appear “normal.” I could go on. For days. But let some of these things sink in – this is reality. And if I seem angry about it, it’s because I am. Because I should be. Everyone should be.

The mentality that “we should be focusing on solutions, not problems”; that we need to be “more positive”; is counter-productive and backwards. You can’t focus on the solution to a problem you won’t acknowledge. Solutions come from confronting the issue, head on, accepting that it is an issue and then finding where that issue comes from. We need to find the root – where it begins and how far it reaches. Then we need to attack that root. Like a weed, if we do not get it at the root, it only grows back. This is what I mean when I refer to the White Supremacist Cisheteropatriarchy – the most entrenched systems of oppression, the ones that have infected our minds like disease – this is the root. It runs deep, in our society, in our everyday interactions, in our selves and it’s so big and so far-reaching that when we do acknowledge its existence and power over us, it seems overwhelming – impossible to defeat. I think this is why it is so difficult to confront. I think this is why I get accused of being “too negative,” because when I make the claim that we are all infected with this insidious, seemingly-unstoppable social disease, I am declaring war on something intangible that exists within the individual as well as outside and it seems hopeless.

I think of humanity as one big organism, each individual person is a cell. The social disease causes some cells to attack others, and the organism is essentially killing itself from the inside out. We need medicine. Something to strengthen the cells being attacked so they can defend themselves and survive the onslaught and to weaken those attacking until they give up and eventually stop and something else to immunize new cells as they are created against the disease so that this can be prevented in the future. This cannot happen overnight – it will take a while.

Mind, this is not a perfect metaphor. This is essentially the best I can come up with while drowsy and a little dizzy from antibiotics. Essentially, what I am saying is that we need to confront the power dynamics which create the systems of oppression that have society so jacked up that folks can’t even see the problem when it’s right in front of their eyes. Or worse, they refuse to see the problems because they’re too big and scary to take on alone. The fact is, it’s okay to be overwhelmed and even to feel hopeless when first confronting horrible realities – really, it is. It’s okay because it’s perfectly reasonable; this shit is too big to take on alone, which is why we can’t. One person cannot take down centuries-old systems of oppression, but what about hundreds? Thousands? Millions? There are seven billion human beings on the planet, how many of them benefit from these systems versus those who are oppressed by them?

I am not “negative.” I believe in collective power and grassroots, horizontal self-organization. I have more faith in humanity than humanity has been proven to deserve, given my own personal experiences and what I have learned about the world in my short time here. I truly hate the state of things and I say so, often and loudly, because I can and I must. Don’t tell me “it gets better” unless you’re willing to put your boots on the ground and make it get better. Don’t tell me to “focus on solutions” if you’re not willing to be a part of the solution yourself. Don’t tell me to be “more positive,” you’re naive if you think my hopes for the world are anything but.

About the Whole Duck Dynasty Shenanigans…

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Until very recently, I have been happy to know as little about Duck Dynasty as humanly possible. I still could not care less about this show, but recently it has come to my attention that, not only is this one of the most popular shows on television at the moment, but that apparently people are surprised one of the characters would say something racist and homophobic in an interview.

 

 

Here’s why I don’t care what this guy has to say about gay rights or what Jim Crow was like for people of color:

 

 

Alright, well first, he is not a person of color so his opinions on the POC experience during Jim Crow are moot (albeit, still dangerous). He is also not gay – he can disapprove of Queerness all he wants and, as it happens, nobody will stop being Queer because of it. Mostly though, and I’d like to emphasize this, the Phil Robertson in this picture is not real. No, seriously, this is a character created for the soul purpose of boosting A&E’s ratings and for perpetuating the stereotypes associated with “backwoods rednecks.” In reality, Robertson holds a master’s degree in education from Louisiana Tech. This man is a multi-millionaire who can do whatever he wants and, what he wants to do is build his empire by marketing to an audience that can relate to this image right here.

 

 

Does this make his comments less dangerous and offensive?

 

 

Absolutely not, don’t be ridiculous. Robertson very well may even believe the ignorance that he has been spouting during and since the original GQ interview. And to his credit, his argument was just as eloquent as can be – just read this and tell me it doesn’t forever change your mind about “the gays”:

 

 

“It seems like, to me, a vagina — as a man — would be more desirable than a man’s anus,” Robertson told GQ. “That’s just me. I’m just thinking: There’s more there! She’s got more to offer. I mean, come on, dudes! You know what I’m saying? But hey, sin: It’s not logical, my man. It’s just not logical.”

 

 

It’s like poetry, that. I mean, obviously, “there’s more there” just says it all. Really, why would a man want to be with another man when women have more holes? That’s just basic math, right there. Notice, by the way, that he doesn’t seem to care so much about lesbians. I suppose they never really do. Robertson has gone beyond that, however, apparently vowing to not shut up until this publicity stunt has reached its full potential.

 

These comments are dangerous and they are offensive, but frankly, I just wish people would stop giving Robertson so much attention for them. I took pride in knowing nothing about Duck Dynasty and still do not care enough to work harder than I must to understand the situation. Basically, a stereotype said some stereotypical things for attention and the media has obliged. Good job, media.

 

Stop Catcalling Me

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A good article explaining why catcalling is not and never was appropriate.

She doesn’t really address other related intersections, so let me just say as a genderqueer person, catcalling affects me in some very serious ways mentally and it is not fucking okay.

Thought Catalog

Sometimes I get catcalled, and when I say sometimes, I mean pretty regularly. Maybe you’re reading that sentence and thinking “Poor girl, it must be soooo hard to be thought of as attractive and have men compliment you. Let me play a song for you on the world’s smallest violin.” That wouldn’t be the first time I’ve gotten that response: I’ve found that my male friends and acquaintances, even the ones I know would never catcall, are generally pretty forgiving toward men who do catcall, cavalierly waving it away as a compliment that’s simply in poor taste and tsk tsking me for being a humblebragger. But as they forgive I also forgive them, because if they truly understood what it feels like to be catcalled, they would not be so cavalier.

This lack of understanding seems to be a function of the simple reality that historically, humankind has not looked…

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Why Macklemore Needs to Stop

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By now, I’m sure we all know who Macklemore is, and I’m also pretty sure that everyone has seen the new ACLU ad featuring Macklemore, but for those who haven’t, here is a link – https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3u2kSgpD0Y

I don’t want to attack the ACLU, but if they funded this promotion, they need to be held accountable. I had so much respect for this organization, but now…how are the marginalized and oppressed groups the ACLU purports to represent; People of Color, women, Queer folks; how are any of us supposed to trust them this blatant and public failure to properly represent any of us? Literally any person who is not a white man would have been a more appropriate spokesperson than Macklemore. I mean, really, you couldn’t find a single Queer person to represent the organization? What, was Margaret Cho busy that day? Shit, even Katy Perry would have been better representation.

I mean, come on. The last thing I needed to see when I first clicked that link was Macklemore’s ugly, smirking face talking about how, as a rapper, it would be inconvenient for him to be tazed, beaten or pepper-sprayed for speaking his mind. Let me be perfectly clear, until I see a video (preferably on loop) of Macklemore being tazed, beaten and pepper-sprayed, I’m gonna go ahead and assume he has experienced zero of those things. I’m also gonna go ahead and assume that his lack of experience in that arena may or may not be related to the fact that he is a straight, cis, rich, white, dude. Now, I’m not saying he deserves to have any of these things happen to him because of his political beliefs, but this transparent attempt at relating to Occupy folks, Queer folks, poor people and people of color who have been singled out as the targets of police (or general) violence is not impressive. Even less impressive is his stupid ass attempt to appeal to Queer youth and vagina-owners with his official straight male approval. It’s good to know that you approve of your “gay friends” marrying “the hell out of each other” and that I can do whatever I want with this vagina that I own. Before you came along, I was afraid I’d have to wear that chastity belt forever. Also, the tagline is “The only card that can buy freedom,” really? Look, this is not an exchange of goods and services. I do not need to “buy” my freedom, it’s already mine. Nobody is going to give me my freedom and nobody can sell it to me, it’s mine and I will take it for myself. This ad is literally just some straight white guy with a stupid fucking haircut showing off his new ally card as if to say “you can’t hold me accountable for appropriating and profiting off of other peoples’ struggles, I’m an ally. IT’S PROOF.”

Well, Mack, that’s where you’re wrong. The first time I even heard of Macklemore was on the Colbert Report and I think I can honestly say, I hated him instantly. He seriously makes me want to puke. I mean, really, who the fuck does he think he is? In his interview with Colbert, he stated that he’d noticed there was a lot of misogyny and homophobia in mainstream rap music and he felt that it was his responsibility to change that. How very good of him. Now he can bank on stealing the spotlight from Queer artists of color who have a much better understanding of the struggles faced by those who suffer in a racist and patriarchal society. In fact, if you are interested in actually good music by real Queer artists from diverse backgrounds, here are a few you might consider checking out instead of giving your money and attention to some obnoxious trendy cis/het self-proclaimed ally – Angel Haze, Azealia Banks, Brooke Candy, Big Dipper, Big Freedia, Tori Fixx, Cakes Da Killa, Deadlee, House of Ladosha, Deep Dickollective, JbDubs, Le1f, Mykki Blanco, Zebra Katz, God-Des and She, Johnny Makeup, Juba Kalamka, Katastrophe, the list goes on and on and every single one of these artists is better than Macklemore on top of being more qualified to speak on Queer issues.

For those who have not heard his music, either because you’re just lucky to not have run into it or because you actively and deliberately have avoided it, let me just break down the messaging in his latest hit single.

By now, we have all heard (or heard of, at least) the song “Same Love” which won “Best Video with a Social Message” at the MTV Video Music Awards this past year. According to MSNBC reporter, Sarah Muller, “the hit single by the Seattle rappers overtly embraces marriage equality at a time when recent polling suggests the nation appears to be shifting its mood in favor of same-sex marriage.” In other words, it’s an awfully convenient moment in time for an opportunistic straight white guy to jump in the spotlight in support of an issue of debatable importance compared to literally every other Queer struggle.

Now, we all know the song and we’ve all heard criticisms of it, but here is what I hear when this song plays. I hear some straight white wannabe savior complaining about homophobia in the church and in hip-hop and rap music while comparing the liberal mainstream gay rights movement to Civil Rights, claiming that “there is no difference.” So, uh, let’s start with the church and move through this, shall we?

In the very first verse, once it has been established that this song was clearly written by and for straight white people (and then all throughout the rest of the song), he calls out the church for homophobia, but who the fuck hasn’t? That is practically a requirement at this point. Actually, the problem that I have with this is less about calling out the church and more about using the “born this way” argument combined with biblical morality to do it. I mean, for shit sake, the accompanying music sounds like it came right out of a hymnal, because that’s what we need: some straight ally asshole preaching at us about our own issues that he knows nothing about (haven’t heard that one before). This is an all too common, useless and overall insulting strategy. “Born this way” or not, it doesn’t matter. The “born this way” argument uses made-up, bad science to support itself while negating and trivializing the entire concept that one’s sexuality might be subject to change and fluidity. It also treats heterosexuality as the biological default, making alternative sexualities some sort of genetic mutation. It’s bad enough when cis gay folks use this nonsense combined with Bible quotes to defend their precious marriage rights against the church, but when this presumptuous straight white savior did it in a rap song, my blood just began to boil.

Macklemore’s next big focus is mainstream hip-hop and rap music, which he accuses of misogyny and homophobia. First of all, he starts the second verse with “if I was gay, I’d think hip-hop hated me” – lemme explain a thing. There is no “if I was gay,” alright? You can’t say “oh, if I was [insert marginalized group here]” and then go on to make a claim about how you would handle that experience because you don’t fucking know. The fact is, you are not gay, you don’t know what it’s like to be gay or lesbian or bi or trans* or Queer in any other sense so shut the fuck up. You know, “if I was Queer,” I’d think all of society hated me, and I would probably want stupid ass straight boys to stop capitalizing on Queer struggles, you know, “if”. Now, I’m not saying that there isn’t a lot of heterosexism and cissexism in mainstream rap music, but it is not this straight white boy’s place to call it out. Especially when there are numerous gay and Queer-identified artists (see above) doing just that. Macklemore, by taking it upon himself to use his privilege as a means of speaking for the Queer community distracts from, trivializes and erases the attempts of Queer artists everywhere who have been working and struggling for years to challenge these issues in the hip-hop industry. Macklemore’s message is not an informed criticism of the issues challenging Queer folks in the hip-hop industry, nor does it attempt to inspire a change in attitude within the industry itself, but rather encourages cis gay folks to distrust Black media. The implication is that all other hip-hop artists are homophobes and the entire industry is saturated with hatred for the gays, but now that the White Savior is here to call out the hateful hip-hop industry, everything is better and you don’t have to be afraid anymore. Seriously, motherfucker, get over yourself. The hip-hop world is more Queer than you know.

Last, but most certainly not least, Macklemore’s song “Same Love” has the fucking audacity to compare the current liberal mainstream gay rights movement to the civil rights movement. Let’s get one thing straight right the fuck now – people need to stop comparing “gay rights” to the Civil Rights movement, okay? First of all, the current mainstream gay rights movement is afraid of doing anything even half as badass or radical as the shit Civil Rights activists did. And, furthermore, the gay rights movement, for all its talk about how much like Civil Rights it is, is awfully White, cis and middle class. They like to use the LGBT acronym, but we all know that the “T” is just an afterthought and for all the focus on “equality,” nobody seems to bat an eyelash when a Queer woman of color is raped, beaten, murdered or imprisoned because of her identity, her race or both. Above all, the Civil Rights movement was not single-issue. Actually, it was dynamically intersectional, tackling inequalities on a number of fronts including race, gender, sexuality and class among several others. By contrast, the gay rights movement has focused primarily on the “right” of cis, white, middle-class gays and lesbians to achieve a privileged status in society through assimilation and marriage at the expense of other, much more vital Queer issues. LGBTQ issues are also intersectional, hugely so – there are Queer folks from all ethnic, racial, religious, and economic backgrounds and their struggles fucking matter. But this movement, this liberal gay rights movement is for the cis white middle class gay, lesbian and ally club and to compare that to the Civil Rights movement is downright insulting, especially when the comparison is made by a rich cishet white rapper. Since when did MLK Jr. care more about interracial marriage than equal rights to services, employment and housing? And on that note, since when was gay marriage in any way, shape or form, the same as interracial marriage? Do these trendy fucks even realize the implications in that argument? Or the uselessness of it? Lemme explain a bit about the actual weight of the interracial marriage issue back in the day: anti-miscegenation laws enforced racial segregation on a personal level by criminalizing interracial marriage, and sometimes even sex between people of different races. Let me say that word again – criminalizing. This means that interracial marriage wasn’t just illegal, it was a crime for which [the Person of Color in the relationship] could be arrested and, as often happened, hanged. Of course, I know that there are sodomy laws still in a number of places, but those are rarely, if ever, enforced. And while there are definitely Queer hate murders which go unmentioned in the mainstream media or get trivialized/erased due to apathy and intolerance, to compare the current gay rights struggle to the Civil Rights struggle is not only presumptuous and inappropriate, it is appropriative and it trivializes the importance of that struggle as its own fight. And even if these comparisons were correct, there is really no point in making them – it offers no tactical benefit. But if we must find one similarity between the two struggles, here ya go: gay marriage will not end homophobia any more than interracial marriage ended racism. So, just because straight white people and cis white gays still think it’s appropriate to compare these two very different struggles, doesn’t make it okay or useful.

Aside from all of these things, it’s just…not even a good song. Like, who did he kill to get this shit so popular? The lyricism is awful and lazy, and any mildly clever wordplay is completely drowned out by the “meh”ness of the subject matter. He’s not saying anything new or special and his music is not interesting or unique. Basically, Macklemore is just a lame-ass motivational speaker with a rap gimmick. If it’s not inspiration porn, it’s guilt-driven exploitation. “This is a total train-wreck, but I’m not allowed to not like it.” – entire straight white liberal fanbase.

All of the above reasons and more attest to the fact that Macklemore is completely undeserving of any of the praise that he has been given by the other straight white pioneers of the Shitty Ally Club. The fact that his video with its flimsy and ill-informed “social message” won two VMAs and critical acclaim at the expense of so many other, much better Queer artists who truly deserved that spotlight, acknowledgment and respect makes me physically ill. And to pour salt on the wound, the ACLU had to fucking use this asshole in their ad.

I know that allies are important, but this is not allyship. An ally does not presume to speak on behalf of the marginalized groups they claim to support. An ally does not horde the spotlight, but rather turns the public attention toward the folks who are working to liberate themselves. An ally does not appropriate and capitalize on the struggles of marginalized and oppressed folks. And, perhaps most importantly, an ally does not decide their status as an ally, nor is that status by any means permanent or universal. You wanna help Queer folks in their struggle against cisheteropatriarchy? Awesome, then listen to what we say and help the way we want you to help, not the way you think we need your help. Macklemore does not represent the Queer community, but all of the above listed artists do. Everything he has done since he’s been in the spotlight has been to appropriate and capitalize Queer peoples’ struggles, except for those that he has erased (what does that “T” stand for again?). Queer folks do not need the approval of straight white men to be proud of who we are and challenge the oppression of the cisheteronormative social structure and we sure as hell don’t need the straight people we have to deal with daily trying to show how open-minded and supportive they are by buying into Macklemore’s whole shtick. Seriously, the next straight person who brings up Macklemore to me because they heard I’m Queer or plays “Macklemore Radio” on Pandora when I come over, is getting shanked.

Gay Marriage: Let’s Get This Over With

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I have always had pretty strong feels about the gay marriage issue, ever since I was in high school and they have changed pretty drastically over the years. Back in the days of my high school GSA, it seemed incredibly simple – totally black and white. I thought “of course gay marriage should be legal! That would end homophobia and gay and lesbian folks would be totally equal.” I was so passionate about the issue and I used to get angry at my passively homophobic dad for not understanding why it mattered so much to me. Fast forward to a couple of years later, before I came out as Queer, when I first heard the argument against gay marriage from a radical lesbian’s point of view. She argued against marriage in general as a patriarchal institution and against gay marriage as an assimilationist tactic that would do nothing more than work homosexuality into the status quo. This drove me to do some more research and get to know the issue from a perspective I hadn’t really considered before – the radical Queer perspective. Once I finally did come out, I had a more thorough understanding of the issue and a hundred reasons why it was not okay. As a genderqueer person, I felt (and still feel) that gay marriage is exclusionary – it is specifically for and about cis gay and lesbian folks and completely ignores the fact that the fight for gay marriage effects the trans* community. The gay marriage movement also fails to address any of the more vital issues within the Queer community, including but not limited to Queer teen homelessness, sexual assault, suicide and murder, employment and housing discrimination, AIDS, lack of access to proper medical care (especially for trans* folks), and much, much more. Compared to all of these issues, gay marriage is not at all worth fighting for. I mean, how do Queer folks have the time or energy to even think about such an unimportant thing in the face of all this? The answer? Privilege.

 

Gay marriage is about meeting the wants and needs of cis white gay men and cis white lesbians of the middle class who may not have had to deal with most of those greater problems, perhaps because they have the class privilege or the white privilege or the cis privilege which keeps them safe. After all, if you are Queer, it is safer to also be white and middle class. All of the issues listed above certainly effect white folks, but the suffering of Queer People of Color is hugely disproportionate, especially in the case of trans* folks and this is another thing that the gay marriage movement is happy to ignore. Gay marriage is just not even important; it is literally the very least that can be done and it can really only appease some of the Queer community while ignoring the rest. But all the same, it is getting done.

 

The other day, I was talking to my dad about a documentary I recently watched called Celluloid Closet. I brought it up to him because it talked about the coded gay characters in a bunch of his favorite movies and I wanted to know if he had ever caught that. Our conversation turned into a discussion of the changes in the general attitude toward homosexuality and my dad said something that made me think – when he was growing up, the general belief was that if you were gay, something was wrong with you because being gay was just simply not normal. He grew up with the idea that homosexuality was not just wrong or abnormal, but totally uncommon. Nowadays, he said, it seems clear that being gay is at least just as common as being straight. Being Queer is not so abnormal after all, and it is therefore ridiculous to consider it a problem. Of course, I know the trouble with this idea – it’s only okay if it’s “normal” kind of bullshit, but it was actually quite a leap for my dad to make. The point is, his attitude toward homosexuality changed drastically from when he was growing up just based on the fact that he was more aware of it being a thing. Not a “normal” thing, just a thing that is common, that people do as part of their identities and their lives and who they are. All this brought about because there is more representation of gay folks in the media and more push for gay marriage. I’m not saying he isn’t still homophobic and he certainly doesn’t know how to process gender identity, but his new awareness of gay identities has helped him accept Lucky’s and my respective Queer identities despite not really understanding much about that. I guess my point is that while the gay marriage fight leaves us behind, the fact is, at this point, it is inevitable and, despite the fact that it does very little (if anything) to change the existing conditions of folks who suffer every day from patriarchal oppression, it has at least had the effect of bringing awareness to the issues where there previously was none.

 

Don’t take this as me condoning gay marriage. If anything, I just want this stupid ass movement over with. It really is the very least that can be done and, quite honestly, it is one of the few things that can be achieved by going through the legal system (of course, I’ve never been one to care much for the legal system). The gay marriage fight is all but over now and I say let’s just please get it the fuck over with already so we can focus on bigger, better things, like getting ENDA through the House, creating shelters and protection for our homeless youth, spreading awareness about the disproportionate suffering of our QPOC brothers, sisters and others. Let’s lose this distraction and get to the real issues at hand.

Shit you shouldn’t say when I tell you I’m trans*

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So, by now, we all know that I am Queer and, by now, so do all of my close friends and family.  I only recently came out and since I’ve come out, I have been as open as I can be to basically anybody who will listen.  This is because my identity is important to me and awareness of Queer issues and the general existence and welfare of trans* people is important to me.  This is also because I have known of too many people who have identified as Queer in some form or another who have felt isolated, frightened and confused and who have not had access to the same kinds of resources and information I have or who didn’t know anybody who could help to point them in the right direction.  When I came out first to my family and close friends as genderqueer, I got a lot of responses that, quite frankly, upset me in no particular order.

  • “Why would you go on male hormones, you’re so pretty” – This is not comforting or supportive.  I’m glad you think I’m pretty and thanks but no thanks.  That is not the response I needed or asked for.  Don’t tell me what you think is acceptable to do based upon your standards of beauty as if your opinion would somehow differ if I were not considered attractive.
  • “Do you want a beard and body hair?” – I’ve been asked this a number of times and I still don’t have an answer.  I already have body hair; it comes from not shaving.  But seriously, I don’t know if I want facial hair because, frankly, I don’t know how I would look with it (I’m blonde and I think blonde facial hair usually looks a little funky).  Anyway, my hair is so fine and light-colored, I don’t know if I could really achieve an effective beard if I did want one.  But as it is, this question only serves to put me on the spot and I really can’t formulate a solid answer to it.
  • “You’re not getting surgery, are you?” – Fuck off, it’s none of your business.  This is private information and it requires a lot of thinking-through.  Beyond that, SRS is wicked expensive and requires a whole shitload of hoop-jumping; it is more complicated than a simple “yes” or “no” and, once again, it’s nobody’s business.
  • *upon being told that I’m taking testosterone* “…you’re beautiful” – …thanks?  This is just something I don’t know how to respond to, just like the first comment.  It’s like a poorly concealed attempt to say “oh, don’t do that, you’ll ruin your pretty little face.”  And, for that, you can fuck off.
  • “You seem pretty feminine to me”/”You’re not really that masculine” – What does that have to do with it?  You don’t have to be masculine to be a man, nor do you have to be feminine to be a woman and since I don’t identify as either, why should I have to be more like one than the other in order to express my identity?
  • “So, you want to be a man?” – No, goddammit.  No, I don’t want to be a man.  I just also don’t want to be a woman.  Gender is a spectrum, not a binary.
  • “Why can’t you just pick between man and woman?”/”why do you have to make it so complicated?” – Again, fuck off.  I’m not making it complicated, it just already is and it wouldn’t be if there weren’t patriarchal gender roles dictating a strict binary that many people, myself included, can’t navigate.

In short, when a trans* person comes out to you, don’t barrage them with stupid questions or ignorant assumptions.  If you don’t know much about it, there are more respectful ways to ask about what you want to know, or better yet, go on the internet and look it up!  There is so much information on Queer identities of all kinds and a huge online community dedicated to raising awareness on all fronts.  Not to say that I won’t answer any respectful questions, but, quite honestly, educating people about Queer issues is not my responsibility as a Queer person – I am not here to speak for the entire community and, beyond that, I don’t like wasting time trying to explain my identity to people whose interest is probably fleeting at best.  Anybody who is genuinely interested in learning about Queer issues should prove their interest by doing their own research and learning what is and is not appropriate to say/do/ask around Queer friends and family.

There are a bunch of other responses I’ve heard, but I can’t think of them off the top of my head so I’ll probably being going back to edit this post and add more.  Feel free to contribute your own inappropriate responses.

I guess I need to vent a little.

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I haven’t been updating this blog as frequently as I would like to largely because I feel like I have run out of things to say.  That’s obviously not true, there are always infinite things to say, but it was an excuse to hole up and hide away because that is just what I do sometimes.

I don’t really know what it is that has been eating at me these past couple of months.  I miss IDA, I guess, and I wish I had stayed longer.  I have been working as a freelance writer, which is good for a little money here and there, but it is not very fulfilling.  I haven’t gotten out much and, despite fall being my favorite time of year and Halloween being my absolute favorite day of the year, I can’t seem to even get excited about that.  I have not been as consistent as I should be with my hormone regimen and that shit isn’t even hard – I just haven’t been doing it and I don’t know why.  I started my period yesterday, which makes me hella dysphoric and I’m sure that my inability to keep a consistent hormone regimen doesn’t help my mood swings and anger issues.  I have been snapping at Lucky over everything and nothing and I had a bit of an anxiety fit over all the clutter in our room today.  Whenever I have money, I’m tempted to immediately spend it on alcohol so I can start drinking first thing when I wake up in the afternoon and get through the day with a nice buzz and a comfortable numbness.  These things are not big problems.  I am not an alcoholic or an addict of any kind and most of the things that make me anxious or upset really shouldn’t – what I am is an escapist with a huge family history of substance abuse and addiction.

In short – I don’t really think there is anything wrong with me, but I feel like there is and I don’t know why.  I am constantly upset about something, or everything and I can’t express it to others either because I can’t articulate it or I know I am being unreasonable.  I’ve been driving myself crazy inside my head for the past few weeks.

This really started a while ago – I had started feeling a little stir-crazy because I work at home and live at home and really don’t get much social interaction.  Lucky and I decided to trip shrooms together one night and wander around the neighborhood and it made me happy for a while because I pushed all the scary bad thoughts back (as I am wont to do regardless of drug use).  But as we went to bed, I was still tripping and I lied there for about an hour just thinking about life and death and all that deep shit you think about on entheogens.  Before I actually got to sleep, I came to the conclusion that one day I would kill myself.  That’s not a threat, I’m not even sure if it’s true, but I thought it just as casually as you might think about your favorite fruit.  The thought doesn’t frighten me or disturb me, really – I just don’t know where it came from or why.

That night wasn’t very long after I heard about Josh’s death.  I remember because I cried for him finally.  But I also cried for somebody new, somebody I hardly knew if ever at all.  A good friend of my family – my older cousins new him best, really, but I’ve known his mother all my life and I know I’d met him a number of times before.  His name was Matt and I had learned that he killed himself the week before.  I had also learned that he was in the closet – another Queer suicide, another Queer murder.  I didn’t know him very well at all.  I know he had a baby and, with the exception of his mother, a very conservative, unwelcoming family, and I know he used to fool around with one of his male friends.  I know he had tried to come out once, but was not accepted and was pushed right back into the closet.  He died because he couldn’t express himself and he couldn’t live with that.  Who could?  This has been on my mind for a long time…I didn’t even know Matt, really.  He was a person who lived somewhere on the outskirts of my ever-expanding world and until he died, I never knew much about him at all except that he existed.

It is an interesting habit I have – when people die, I take shrooms and trip on it.  I did it while my grandmother was dying from cancer and after she was gone.  I tripped for Josh and for Matt.  I tripped for my second cousin, even, when she died.  Someone I know somewhere I’ve been always dies and I commemorate them with a ritual shroom trip.  I don’t really know what it means and, quite honestly, I don’t know why I do most things and I don’t know what has been going on with me lately.  Perhaps I should trip on it.  Or perhaps I should be sober for a while.

I think I just don’t want to be where I am.  I’m not comfortable here – I’m anxious and angsty and tired, tired all the time.  My surrounding environment is just clutter and complacency and it makes me feel lazy and distracted.  I can’t think straight here and I hate it.  I want to go back to IDA and stay there as long as I’m welcome.  I want to make IDA happen where I am.  I wanna live in the woods and bathe in waterfalls and grow food and be a fairy with all of my beautiful Queer fairy friends who want the same.  I’m tired of television and this shitty town in this shitty state, I’m tired of concrete, cars, drama and the fucking fascist fucks who exist everywhere around here.

I have been fighting the impulse to just break shit everywhere I go (though, honestly, I don’t know why).  I think it’s time to start doing things again.  I think I have been holed up for a little too long.