So we go back down to the “not trans enough”

I haven’t mentioned this before, but ever since I have began to interact with “real life queer people”, I have become friends with people like P, who I have already talked about, P’s girlfriend and L. L and I have become good friends because we are the same age and we are going through the same circumstances and situations at school and in life in general. The other day, though, L told me that P isn’t trans because he doesn’t want to be a boy, referring to the fact that he is non-binary, has no preference for pronouns and hasn’t undergone surgery.

P was telling me a while ago how he had bought a binder and how he was planning to have top surgery as soon as he could pay for it and convince his parents. I also know that he has been through a lot of difficult experiences because of his identity, so I didn’t really like L’s comment. But it isn’t the first time I hear people saying that non-binary people aren’t really trans, or completely ignoring or invalidating their existence.

I am also non-binary, but I can tell you that I very well am trans. I have somewhat found a way to feel comfortable with my body and have accepted the way society may perceive me and my gender instead of letting myself succumb to dysphoria. Who says I am not trans because I sometimes use the girls’ toilets? Shall I tell them about how hard it is to not be able to listen to Korean music regardless of how much I love it because of the amount of jealousy I feel towards the singers? Do I have to mention that just the other day I was insulted while walking down my very own school because of my gender expression? Do I have to give explanations as to why I like wearing pink, why I giggle sometimes or how I cry when watching “Bridge to Terabithia” for the fifth time even though I identify as a boy? Do they not understand that I don’t want to undergo surgery, that I love my body, that my fear of injections is much bigger than my fear of being misgendered by a stranger? Did they know that I say I’m comfortable with my body but still spend half an hour in front of the mirror deciding which clothes to wear because I don’t want my breasts to show or my hips to be noticed?

Does the way how somebody feels uncomfortable about themselves determine their transliness? Of course it doesn’t. Neither does the way they love their bodies or how they act or the way they express their gender. Surgery, hormones, clothes and experiences are completely irrelevant when it comes to determine a person’s identity. P is trans, I am trans and so is L. And so is anyone else who says they are. We are all just different types of trans.

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Liebster Award

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Thank you, doubleinvert, for nominating me for the Liebster Award! Basically these are the rules of the game:

The Liebster Award is awarded to bloggers with under 200 followers to try to promote their blog a little and also bring together a community of bloggers. The rules of the competition are as follows:

  • The nominated user must provide a link back to the person who nominated them.
  • Provide 11 facts about yourself.
  • Answer 11 questions set by the person who nominated you.
  • Choose 11 more people and ask them 11 questions.

So here goes:

11 FACTS ABOUT MYSELF

1. I bite my nails too much.

2. I started reading manga when I was about 11 years old because I became obsessed with Inuyasha on TV. Seven years later, I have 333 manga comics in my own personal collection, which includes 73 different series, and at least twenty-five anime series.

3. I love girls with short hair. I will literally stop whatever I am doing to stare at them as they walk past (without being rude or them noticing?).

4. My favourite movies are The Lord of the Rings trilogy, but I couldn’t get past the second chapter of the book.

5. I am scared of emptiness, therefore I am also scared of anything that includes emptiness, such as the universe, the sea, the desert… I’m afraid of fire too, but I have to confront it almost every day when I cook.

6. I listen to Julian Perreta’s “Wonder why” whenever I am sad, angry, confused, dysphoric, happy, excited or nervous. All of my emotions are accumulated in that song and it always manages to make me calm down or put a smile on my face.

7. I can’t sing. At all. But I try to only to annoy my sister.

8. I am also bad at saving money, since I will spend it as soon as I get my hands on some.

9. I love Peter Pan, whether it be the Disney movie, the human version film or the real story in which Peter is a somewhat twisted character.

10. I don’t have a TV.

11. I speak English, Catalan and Spanish fluently, I can read and understand French though only kind of speak it and I’m learning Japanese. Before I die, I want to learn seven languages (don’t ask me why, I have no idea).

 

11 QUESTIONS

1. If a movie were to be made of your life, who would you cast to play yourself at the age you’re currently at?

I’d try and get Emma Watson (with short hair) to star me, mostly because of the huge squish I have on her. If not, I would cast Anna Sophia Robb (Bridge to Terabithia, anyone? Soul surfer? Jumper?) or Haley Joel Osment.

2. What’s your favorite color? Any particular reason why?

I’ve loved orange ever since I was a kid. Actually, one of my first memories consists in me looking at the outside windowsill at a dead fly; next to it, a spot of orange dried paint. I think that is when I started to love orange. The colour looked so beautiful and full of life and meaning next to the cadaver of the dead fly, I would probably say that I have never loved a colour so profoundly since then.

After some time though, I began to like yellow and kind of left orange aside. I’m back to orange now though. Most of my belongings are orange, yellow or red.

3. When upset, what do you do for yourself? Ride it out, or try to improve your mood?

When somebody I know has upset me, I usually go from sad to angry and get into a really bad mood for the rest of the day. It eventually dies away. If I’m upset for any other reason, I often try to get rid of the feelings quickly.

4. Have you ever travelled abroad?

I have been to seventeen countries during my whole life. My family has always travelled a lot and both my parents are from opposite sides of the world, so nearly every year or so, we go some place different.

5. What’s your ideal career?

I’d love to be a manga tester; I read manga, then I tell you what I think and they pay me! But since that is clearly not going to happen, I’d like to be an artist of some sort. Actually, next year I’ll be going off to University and starting my career in design.

6. Do you enjoy musicals? Why or why not?

I have no strong feelings for or against musicals. It does bother me if the characters suddenly start singing for no apparent reason, but if it’s a musical like Glee, then it’s ok (Have I mentioned I love Glee?)

7. Are you a pet person? Why or Why not?

I am an animalist and think that animals’ lives are just as important as human lives, but I don’t want a pet. I actually am hugely disgusted by bones, muscles, veins, blood and anything that bodies contain, so I don’t really like to touch any living thing that has them. My only comfort when I touch a person is that I am used to it, but I can’t stand to touch animals (especially cats, fish and birds).

8. Sushi?

I love Japan and Japanese food.

9. Do you enjoy sports?

My father signed me up for the soccer club when I was a kid, but when I stood in the middle of the field with my hands in my pockets, it became clear to him that I wasn’t going to show much interest in sports. I do like playing badminton and body boarding though, as I love snowboarding, judo and archery, but I don’t play any of the latter.

10. If you could share a meal with anyone from history, what meal would it be and with whom?

Can I eat mellow-puffs and grapefruit with my seven year old self? Seriously though, I’d love to have met Sadako Sasaki to cheer her up a bit before she died, or Michael Llewelyn Davies and try to convince him not to suicide himself. As for what I’d eat, they can choose.

11. Was there a particular event or book or what-have-you that triggered an A-HA! moment for you?

The last A-HA! moment I remember was when discovering Tobi’s identity (from Naruto) or when I knew who the killer from an Elementary episode was.

 

11 QUESTIONS FOR THOSE WHO I NOMINATE

1. What is your goal in life?

2. If you could only bring one thing to a deserted island, what would it be?

3. Religion?

4. Something embarrassing?

5. Do you like spicy food?

6. What are you most skilful at?

7. What is the favourite April Fools prank you have ever done?

8. If you could choose, where would you love to live?

9. Opinion on tattoos? Do you have any?

10. Do you cry easily?

11. What’s your earliest memory?

 

FINALLY, THE 11 PEOPLE I NOMINATE

1. 3kids2cats1divorce

2. alesbianspeaks

3. Next Step: Cake

4. This Time, It’s Transpersonal

5. My Migraine Family

6. On the Science of Changing Sex

7. Buzz Cuts and Bustiers

8. Dykehype

9. Asexual feminist

10. The Asexual Story Project

11. A Life Unexamined

Thank you, beautiful

I usually only post on weekends, but yesterday I didn’t really write much. Plus, today I am very angry. My day was going fine until 1:30, then one thing after another kept coming up as if trying purposely to make me bothered. It started off with a comment from a girl in my class. She was reading the newspaper and then suddenly started laughing. She had found a headline called “Ku Klux Klan paid a black transvestite for sexual service”. Then everyone started laughing. I don’t understand why in the world the newspaper would think it is appropriate or even necessary to say that Ku Klux Klan was having sex when he was arrested, let alone that it was with a transvestite person –though I have my doubts whether or not the person was really transvestite or preferred some other term that better represents their identity and gender. The only reason to say that the person he was having sex with was black is because Ku Klux Klan worked for a racist organization, otherwise that information would also be absolutely irrelevant.
Right after this, somebody shouted “¡Hija de p***!” outside our classroom window (literally means daughter of prostitute in Spanish). It’s actually the most used insult here in Spain, but after having my gender discrimination sensitivity mode turned on, the swearword really got to me. It is incredibly sexist. First of all, the fact that you are calling somebody else’s mother a prostitute is not nice to the mother, but also offensive to the prostitute. Prostitution is not a thing to laugh about. Women who work in this business usually have no other option but to do so and I can bet that they probably do not enjoy selling their bodies to older men who are most likely to have sexual desires that they could not put into action with women who they don’t pay. If one of these women happens to get pregnant, they will have to abort (though they can’t anymore thanks to Gallardón’s new abortion law) or keep the baby and, most likely, bring it up on her own. This means she cannot continue to work in the sex industry while she is pregnant –or after, really- and has to somehow find another job. If there were other jobs available to her she wouldn’t have become a prostitute in the first place. Now, calling somebody a son/daughter of a prostitute is underestimating and ignoring the incredible work that the mother must have gone through to bring up a child in that situation.
Hey, but my class wasn’t over yet. My history of art teacher goes around asking everyone whether they knew the answer to her question, and of course nobody did (how are we supposed to know which artist made a statue she barely mentioned two months ago?). When my turn to say I didn’t know came up, she said “you have no idea, do you, beautiful?”. This comment offended me. Mainly because I am not a girl and I dislike being so noticeably gendered like this, but also because she would have never said “you have no idea, do you, handsome?” if I was male. It’s as if it was ok to state that my looks are acceptable even though I am clueless and ignorant about art history, because it is important for girls to be pretty. It doesn’t matter if a boy isn’t good looking because he is expected to have the brains, while it is preferred that girls have the looks instead of the capability of thinking for themselves. Not only that, but it also seems fine if somebody comments my appearance for no apparent reason whatsoever; I’ve had bus-drivers, cinema ticket sellers, shop keepers, even old men I help up the stairs say something about how nice I look when saying thank you or goodbye. These comments are not welcome and always make me feel insecure and inferior to the other person; clearly my appearance is the most important factor about me. Couldn’t the old man who I helped have said “thank you, you strong girl”?
I finally left the class and thought I could go back home and crawl into a corner of my room and hate the world, but then I saw a shirt in a shop as I was walking down the school slope that had the phrase “Who needs Google? My wife knows everything” on it. This actually links to what I said before; girls have the looks, boys have the brains (non-binary genders are totally ignored, of course). When a girl gets “too smart”, smarter than her male companion, that is, she will be named “know-it-all”, “impertinent” or even “bossy”. You probably wouldn’t find a shirt that said the inverse.
My sister then convinced me to go shopping with her because she needed to buy summer clothes, which was a big mistake, but I might get into the male and female sections in shops another day.
What are your thoughts about these aspects of gender discrimination (or other aspects)? I will say goodbye now because I have an exam tomorrow about a book written by the only Catalan female author you might ever hear of, Mercè Rodoreda.

Look at Mercè's lovely laugh!

Look at Mercè’s lovely laugh!

Asexuality, video games and the future

For the first time, I will be participating in the Carnival of aces, which theme this month is “Analogies to an Asexual Experience”. I had a hard time understanding the topic, mainly because of the word analogy; it isn’t a word I usually come across, let alone use, and had to read and re-read the explanatory post many times. But I think I finally managed to understand. In situations like these, I often tend to blame my lack of comprehension on the fact that I don’t live, and haven’t lived since I was a kid, in an English-speaking country, instead of just accepting the fact that I don’t have a vast knowledge of difficult English words – not that the word analogy is that difficult though.

Luvtheheaven, this month’s host, suggested writing about something else we don’t experience other than sexual attraction, such as not understanding why all of the other people in my peer group enjoy playing video games, while I don’t. I thought this was curious because I frequent many manganime spaces where all we talk about is drawing, dressing-up, watching anime and playing video games. I hardly watch anime anymore and, though I will not admit this in real life, have only played one videogame before (at a friend’s house). I love to read manga, however, and hardly understand why people fuss so much over an anime or game when the manga equivalent is so much better – it’s like saying the Harry Potter movies are better than the books (don’t get me wrong, the films are great, but J.K. Rowling’s words are incomparable)-, which could also be compared to how I feel about sexual attraction. But I won’t get into manga because, if I properly start, I will not finish any time soon.

Truth be told, even though I identify as a grey-demiromantic gynosensual asexual, I don’t often frequent ace spaces. Precisely because I basically lack any kind of sexual or romantic attraction, I don’t really think about it much. I found a label I feel comfortable with and proceeded to file it in my mental drawer for self-identification terms, under the big packages and pieces of paper that correspond to my gender, which for some reason keep popping up again and again.

I actually couldn’t care less about my (lack of) sexuality; I might fall in love someday and later on feel some sort of sexual attraction to a special specific person, which is great. What is also great is that I might never find anybody hug-worthy or feel that I will want to sleep with anyone. What would be the greatest of all is that I might fall in love and start an asexual (sensual) relationship with a gorgeous lady with short hair who likes manga and doesn’t question my gender identity, who happens to find sexual satisfaction with another lovely partner who prefers the Harry Potter books to the movies, therefore creating a gay (as in happy) polyamorous relationship. It would also be great if one of them was rich and shares their money with me.

I am young and my future is unknown to me; I don’t know who I will meet or who I will like or dislike. I am not going to fret over my sexuality as long as it isn’t important to do so.

I would usually end my post here, but since I think I failed at writing something about this month’s theme (analogy!), I guess I will bring up the topic from before. I really don’t understand why people enjoy video games so much. Nor do I understand why people like sex so much. Nor do I understand why I bite my ring fingers’ nails more than any other fingers’ nails.

Transphobia in the trans* community

I have joined numerous trans* groups on facebook where we often discuss gender, sexuality and similar topics. This particular post caught my attention:

“So I’d like to bring up something I feel is extremely important and a problem in our community.

We demand tolerance and acceptance from the cis world, and yet most of us RARELY tolerate and accept cis people as people who have legitimate reason for initially being a bit ignorant to trans and gender issues and variants. Just because some stranger misgenders you or someone you know personally is scared and uncomfortable about your issues does not give us the right to be angry, impatient, and rude to them. We have an opportunity to educate the majority of this world, because that’s what they are, the majority, about something very important that could actually do them a lot of good as well even if they still identify as cis. By coming at them with anger, impatience, and rudeness we are ruining any opportunity for us to properly communicate these issues to them, educate them, and in effect, ruining opportunities for ourselves to be treated with more respect. The way you treat people plays a MUCH bigger role in how open they are to changing their views than just facts. A lot of us have been treated poorly in our lives and have grown up with insecurities and defences as a result. We need to be aware of this and NOT act out of these insecurities and defences. We need to show love and humility to those who don’t understand. If someone is abusing us, and acting transphobically and hurtfully, that is different, but just someone who is ignorant and doesn’t understand? Give them a break.”

Clearly this person and I have opposite opinions, so I decided to give them an equally long post refuting what they said.

“I know most of the people around me don’t even know what the word transgender means. I do expect tolerance and acceptance for who I am, as I do tolerate and accept cis people for being cis. But their ignorance isn’t justified.

First of all, I’d like to know which reasons people have to be ignorant to trans and gender issues and variants. They are being rude to us when they misgender us, even if they don’t know it or mean it. Just because they are “uncomfortable about my issues”, it doesn’t mean they then have an excuse for making me sink into a hell of dysphoria with their pronouns. Sure we should try and be polite, and it might look like one stranger has just misgendered us once (for whichever reason), but when EVERY stranger misgenders you, all the time, wherever, whenever, then that’s when I get angry. Most of us don’t go at them with anger; we start out kindly, but things start to weigh on our backs after some time.

We are not walking dictionaries of trans* issues. We don’t have to answer people’s questions, especially if they are impertinent ones, if we don’t want to. It’s great if one of us decides to inform our family and friends and such, but we are never obliged to. As you said, we have an opportunity to educate the majority of this world, but not an obligation. Nobody can get angry at me if I don’t want to talk to them about how somebody gets a sex change or what the word ‘allosexual’ means.

Nobody answered my questions for me. I went and looked for the answers myself. Others should not expect me to do so for them. Their ignorance should not be rewarded with our patience.

Plus, what do you mean by “give them a break”? They don’t need a break; it’s me who is being kicked out of bathrooms, insulted as I walk down the hallways, laughed at behind my back, forced to wear dresses and skirts by my very own mother, misgendered by those who I have kindly asked they use different pronouns… I wish I could have a break.”

Amazing what a key can do

I commented some weeks ago how I used the boys’ bathroom for the first time. After that, I used them four more times, but then arrived to the conclusion that it was nearly as uncomfortable as using the girls’ toilets. Not because I didn’t like it, but because I wasn’t getting used to it. I had made sure nobody had seen me, but there were limited times in the day when the bathrooms are free to use.

I had been wondering about whether I should ask the school for a key to the teachers’ bathroom so I could do my business in peace, and after a couple of weeks of writing and re-writing an appropriate letter in which I could ask such a request, I finally gained enough courage to hand it in to the director. Between mumbling and stuttering I managed to give the letter to the subdirector, who I have as a teacher, as she promised to redirect it to the director (she didn’t seem to notice my nervousness). I tottled off to my next class while I tried to forget about what I had just done, but only an hour later the subdirector came to get me. I followed her into the meeting room meant for parents with troubled children (this is also the place where you phone your parents to come and take you home after you faint or vomit, so I was familiar with the place).

She dangled a key in front of my face, snapping me right out of my thoughts. She said she had no idea I was going through this and, should I have told them earlier, they would have happily given me the key. She also gave the letter back to me since somebody might read it if they kept it. I asked which bathroom door the key worked with. She said any and all bathrooms I wanted, and proceeded to tell me where all the staff toilets were located – I had already done my research though and, analyzing the situation, knew which ones I should use and when. I said thank you and that was the end of it.

I keep the letter under my cushion and re-read it every night before going to bed just to remind myself how great the world is. I fall asleep with a smile on my face, but am sad I can’t share the news with anyone other than my art teacher (“Hey, you wouldn’t guess what happened!”).

I crossed the director in the hallway the next day and thought that it would be good if I gave her a polite thank you smile in return for what she had done. As I did so, I realised the look on her face. Not a rude look, but an uncomfortable one. She knew my secret. I was a strange being in her eyes and she didn’t know what to do about it. Scared that I might ask for more. She had found herself in an unknown situation of which she had not been warned of. I knew that look. I was now the school transsexual in her eyes.

Thoughts from the balcony

After accidently locking myself out on the balcony, I found that I had plenty of time ahead of me to think, since nobody was coming to save me anytime soon. Basically I was wondering about what in the world I’d make a post about, since this is supposed to be my gender/sexuality ranting blog –not that I have any other blogs anyway- but, believe it or not, I really don’t have that much to say about it. Sure, I have the typical bathroom problems (which I wrote about here), or things like my gender suddenly changing halfway through the day; but other than that my life is pretty normal. And then I realised! My drawing teacher is the only one I have come out to in real life as non-binary (though I really don’t know how others haven’t picked up on my gender or sexuality yet, because I don’t really try hard to hide it) and only because he asked me which pronouns I preferred. As you may have guessed by the way he asked the question, he has some knowledge on the subject and so I didn’t really have to give him the whole “you see, gender and sex aren’t the same thing” talk.

My sister found out I liked girls and was trans* while using my computer (note to self: hide what you don’t want others to see), but she said, and I quote, “all of this stuff doesn’t exist. You’re just making it up”. She was actually my gateway to the rest of the family, being the person most open-minded. If I managed to make her understand, my parents would slide right into acceptance. But I soon gave up on her when I saw that she seriously didn’t care in the least. I told my father I was genderqueer, as well as carefully explaining the term and how I felt, but it soon became clear he didn’t believe me and was convinced I’d grow out of it once I got a boyfriend. I haven’t even mentioned anything to my mother because she insists on buying me female clothing every time she goes out to the shops –which is quite often since she works in one. I wear them once a month to keep her happy. My other sister is totally out of the wave. She has no idea of anything that is going on. Or maybe she is a shadow-lurker that knows all my secrets and I am the real clueless one.

I’ve decided to take baby steps and slowly people will catch on to what’s going on with me. I’m going to go to a lesbian meet-up in a few days (which will be totally awkward) and find myself some LGBT friends that will come in handy if I get into one of my dysphoria tantrums or need a shoulder to cry rainbow tears on. I’ll also be sending a letter to my school asking if I can use the disabled toilet as a neutral one.