Thursday, December 31, 2009

The 00's: a big step, but miles to go

gay rights Pictures, Images and Photos

In '99, gay rights were not big news. Middle schoolers and high schoolers were saying "that's gay" to refer to something stupid; GSAs were few and far between. Transgender awareness was unheard of.

gay rights Pictures, Images and Photos

Over the past decade, gay marriage has become a regular headline, The L Word and The Logo Network came into being, transgender awareness has begun budding, GSAs are everywhere, celebrities have been coming out left and right, The Matthew Shepherd Act has finally passed, and churches have divided over gay rights (apparently Jesus wanted people to discriminate). Advances have been made . . . and taken away. Promises have been made . . . and broken. The queer movement has gotten so big that it's actually begun dividing. Many queer people, especially younger generations, are not going to sit down and politely ask for teeny tiny rights anymore: the time has come to demand full equality.

gay rights Pictures, Images and Photos

Illinois, thank goodness, has made it illegal to discriminate in employment on sexual orientation and gender identity. And, come on, it's CHICAGO. Unfortunately, some of my coworkers - who are generally friendly and sociable with me and who are my age - say "that's gay" both at work and online. Online, I've spoken up and my statement has been deleted. And here I thought that being adults in one of the biggest and most diverse cities meant that this part of me wouldn't be an analogy for stupidity anymore.

transgender Pictures, Images and Photos

Obviously, there is a long way to go before full equality and respect. I don't care what political parties and churches people attend, but I can't tolerate being treated as a second-class citizen.

pride Pictures, Images and Photos

May the 2010's be a decade of FULL EQUALITY AND RESPECT

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Needing a father, not a borderline personality

I posted a few months ago about my dad and my gender ( he raised me androgynously until I hit puberty, the masculinities I managed to learn from him, etc.

He's returned to emailing my half-sister. The two emails so far are pleasant, friendly rambles, the most recent of which he asks for the contact information of others - including me. He has my email address, but probably won't use it until this current attempt at manipulation fails.

October '08, he contacted my half-sister that he was dying and, after eight years of no contact, I emailed him that I would forgive him when he dies. I made it clear that I wrote this for MY OWN CLOSURE; he rampaged for a while until he realized that I wasn't going to reply anymore. After writing that email (and learning how to weld. Nothing works out anger like getting metal hot and hitting it with a hammer), I finally was able to reflect on our relationship from a healthy place.

When I came out as a lesbian to my mom, she claimed it was because I didn't have enough male role models. My dad replied to my closure-email, in which I came out as gay to him, that I'm confusing my sexuality with my gender. Well, they both had seeds of truth that neither of them could have foreseen. Now that I'm going through a gender transition, I wish that I had more male role models, particularly a father. The masculinities I learned from him were so valuable and, now that I'm an adult, there are more to learn but I'm cut off from them. I was so angry at him throughout high school and college that I honestly thought that I would never need a father figure. And now I do.

Learning about borderline personality disorder, though, has helped me to see that nothing he says/writes is real: it's all just to cover up his fear.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Goodbye '00's!

Holy crap, the '00's are ending! Ten years ago, I started keeping a diary, I was leaving middle school/starting high school, I left Christianity, I was coming out to myself, I left pop culture, I was in the middle of puberty. 2000 was quite a time to start high school, 2010 is quite a time to begin post-school life XP

Over the past decade:
- I've come out just as queer rights became more outspoken, successful (it's sad that what we're in right now can be called "successful" compared to the past)
- the internet became global, at least one computer with high-speed hookup in every home. Some memes are more well-known than hit tv shows.
- everything is wireless! Landlines are rare amongst my generation...I don't think any of my friends have landlines (or at least I don't have them in my phone)
- most of the decade has been defined by the hatred of Bush
- the first mainstream all-CGI movie, Toy Story, came out in the mid 90's. Now it's a genre unto itself. Excellent design programs (Adobe Illustrator & Photoshop, iMovie, Flash, etc.) are available to everyone now. Combine this with the internet and you have albinoblacksheep
- 9/11 combined with globalization, mistrust of government, and the internet has formed an unprecedented global identity. And then there was the "socialism scare" which occurred just as I became an active socialist.
- geocities and AOL came and went. MySpace came and now it's "ghetto." Now facebook and twitter are the most popular. YouTube has been...everything
- New fears: school shootings, identity theft, the economy, lack of medical insurance, emo, Kanye West

Put these all together and what you have is the ability to access anything from anywhere and to put your creations/expressions anywhere from anything, but you never know when your life will take a turn for the worse. Identity politics galore!

I HIGHLY recommend even just skimming The Rolling Stones' 00 issue. Until I read it, I hadn't been able to articulate the schism between what they call "internet music" and "radio music." Kelly and I had a really interesting conversation about why there is a lot of country music under "radio music" and none under "internet music" - I'll blog about that later. And it wasn't until I saw all the mentions of anti-Bush that I realized how much anti-Bush defined the decade. Now we're entering a new decade with a president whose very existence changes EVERYTHING, but who hasn't kept a lot of his promises. Could this mean that more people will believe that they, too, can succeed, nevertheless solidifying their mistrust of authority?

As the year itself comes to a close, I'm feeling grateful. Grateful that:
- I'm in a much better place (living where I want to live, a great apartment, a kitty, in a great relationship, my own spirituality, a better idea of what I want my relationships of all kinds to be and how to work towards that)
- I went through some painful friend-breakups that, really, needed to happen. I'm now able to realize that, whether friend or family, holding on to the good memories in hope that they will continue is not a good reason to keep a relationship. I appreciate my friends even more now.
- cheese, pastries, olives, mushrooms, pomegranates, artichokes, hummus, peanut butter, bacon and chocolate exist
- sanitation, indoor plumbing, electricity, indoor heating, public transportation, indoor cooking, good music, the internet, comfortable clothing, libraries, books, good movies, the Bill of Rights, U-Haul, thrift stores, records, record players (especially Petunia), VCRs, VHS tapes, Peter Gabriel and elevators exist
- I have a better idea of where I've been and where I am gender-wise, more secure in discovering where I'm going
- my family is AMAZING

Thursday, December 24, 2009

No maiden here

Transgender Pictures, Images and Photos

I had a really hard time falling asleep last night, so I began thinking about my family and who'll get married next. Weddings are HUGE for us - I came out at as a lesbian at a cousin's wedding in '05. I was thinking that I would probably wear a suit to the next and, should I ever be asked to be in the wedding party again (I was a flower girl when I was 8), I may request to be in the groomsmen rather than the bridesmaids. One cousin's best man was a butch dyke, so it wouldn't be new for us.

I'm definitely well on my way to...wherever I'm going. I'd like to take more tangible steps (different wardrobe, lower voice, etc.) but can't afford it. It's good, though, that I'm forced to process more before actually doing anything - especially anything irreversible. Masculinity is definitely getting more comfortable and less foreign.

AAC: UnBinaryBot: Restroom-FTM by ~againstallcheshires on deviantART

Cool sites to check out: <- inaccurate

Al smoking by ~kaelTblock on deviantART

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bloodties =/= Obligations

It was first in high school when I realized that being related to someone doesn't necessarily mean anything. I was dealing with my father's absence and this view worried some peers and instructors, but they understood when what was going on became clear.

As time went by and I went off to college and, now, I graduated, my view shifted slightly. There's a difference between disconnecting from someone who's left and disconnecting from someone who's clinging to you. I don't have to put up with someone who wants me to be miserable, wants me to serve her, and who doesn't take responsibility for her 50% of the relationship. I shouldn't have to be miserable in order to placate her (although I doubt even that would be enough for her).

Being blood-tied with my wonderful family does strengthen our bonds, but it doesn't obligate anyone to do something I don't want to do. I prioritize my family when they respect me; someone who disrespects me can't expect blood-ties to be enough for me to overlook it.

To see my loving family grieve over a departed cousin and then to be told by a senseless relative that she "grieves as though my daughter as died" is too much.

Thursday, December 17, 2009


When I'm in boy drag, I do want to pass. When I'm in girl drag, I don't. Usually, I want to just be seen as an ungendered individual. I fluctuate between androgyny, masculinity, and brief periods of light femininity and go by how I feel each day.

I have very vivid dreams, in which sometimes I'm watching myself - in these, I have no control over what happens - and sometimes I'm myself and I have some control over my words and actions. In some of the dreams in which I'm myself, there is a man who's like the me I watch. He's always a dream person, but not like the ordinary dream people who fulfill a role and then disappear, he helps me fulfill a task or something along those lines.

I don't think that this dream man is someone I'm becoming, I think he's the masculinity I'm finally developing. I still have dreams in which I have long hair and feminine clothes, which I change to fit my current, androgynous self.

I suppose I still have femininities; I giggle, I like decorating for the holidays, I love Disney, etc. I don't do these to be feminine, they just are classified as such. Because masculinity has been out of my grasp for so long, I try on masculinities like I try on shoes: keep the ones that fit you.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Since when is personal spirituality a bad thing?

I'm very fortunate to have friends and family who have strong, personal spirituality; we've all come from very different backgrounds - Catholic, Jewish, atheist, Buddhist, Neo-Pagan - and come to similar places. There is the fable of the blind monks examining an elephant, each one claiming to have discovered a tree, a hose, a fan, a rock, etc. We're all monks, but have admitted that we are blind and that our interpretations cover only a portion of what there is - indeed, only a portion is really what humans can hope to achieve.

After graduating in May, the only fundamentalist, evangelical, super-conservative religious folk I saw/heard were the ones online and easily shut off. Their utter rejection of science, compassion, acceptance, and secular society disgusts me. Instead I bit my tongue as some atheists wrote/said that people who believe in God/whatever might as well believe in the Tooth Fairy. After all, these people understand that science is necessary and that theocracies are A BAD IDEA so what does it matter that my timid spiritual statements get brushed aside?

And now I have coworkers who believe that, without ever having read it, the Bible is 100% factual. These fundamentalists have as much influence over me as the evangelizing atheists: however much I allow them to influence me. Because we live in a very diverse, secular society, nobody will ever get all that we spiritually want but we will get what we need: the ability to practice in private. Which is as it should be: PRIVATE.

I't just so strange to me that the two extremes who hate each other so much would act so similarly towards someone in the middle...but I'd still take science and secular living over theocratic insanity.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


Going to a strict Catholic school is precisely what prevented me from understanding what forgiveness means for many years. Forgiveness, to that parish, was to be given as stingily as possible and with many reminders for years, "I was able to forgive you, so you should do X for me." The concept of forgiveness was associated with Christianity, which I thought was that school, so I rejected the entire concept up until my senior year of high school. Then I has a Jesuit priest as a teacher and he showed me that it is possible to be religious and even a clergyman as well as compassionate, understanding, and open. He and a close friend of mine taught me about forgiveness:

You've probably gotten a wound on your hand or something at some point and had to change the way you did things while it healed. It scabs over eventually and your new patterns become habit. Then you realize, maybe even weeks later, that the wound is completely healed and you can go back to doing what you used to do (which seems foreign, now). There may or may not be a scar, which may or may not fade. That's what forgiveness is and it can take any amount of time or it might never come about at all. It can also be chosen and scheduled like a surgical procedure or physical therapy. And it doesn't come easily and may require an additional healing period.

The final piece these two wise people let me know was that you don't have to actually let the person know you've forgiven z, though it may show through in your behavior if you're still in contact. It's entirely possible to say to someone, "I've forgiven you for what you did, but I still want no contact with you."

There are some people I'll never be able to forgive and some people I won't be able to forgive until they die. There's the whole thing about this time of year being the forgiving season and other such garble...enough holidays have been ruined by these people and now that I'm away from them, I don't want another holiday brought down by thinking about them.