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Ever just have one of those weeks where tiny thing after tiny thing piles up; microaggression after microaggression hits you?

That was my week.

Don’t get me wrong, there were a lot of positive things that happened this week as well. I dyed my hair black (and it didn’t look horrible!), I had my 27th birthday on Wednesday, and I just continued to take care of name change issues (court order for name change: check; updated drivers license: check; filed for revisions to my Social Security card: in process).

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What made the week a bit of a challenge were the repeated instances of being misgendered or misnamed. This happened at work and with my family.

I was given an assignment at work that I just didn’t quite understand. I asked for assistance from a coworker. In trying to help me, this person seemed to get more and more irritated that I didn’t understand what it was I was being asked to do. At one point, she referred to me as “him” (to another coworker: “can you send him that file?”). I said, “I know you probably didn’t mean it, but can you please not call me ‘him?'” She only responded by mumbling something under her breath.

Today, I met my parents and sister for lunch (they were taking me out for my birthday). At one point, I felt like my parents were treating me like a child (this is a different story for a different day). I said, “please stop talking down to me…” My mom jumped in and called me my birth name. I corrected her. She said, “when you act like this (frustrated, I guess), you remind me of him and that’s why I did that.” Later, my dad used masculine pronouns to refer to me.

Here is a quick tip for cis folks who consider themselves trans allies: treating me with the basic courtesy of using my name and my actual pronouns is not something you can just throw out the window if you’re not entirely pleased with me at that moment. This makes it appear as though you are only using my correct (and now legal) name and pronouns as a way to humor me, and not that you actually view me as who I am.

Thanks.

An Introduction

April 22, 2013

Here’s a video blog I did recently, just talking about transitioning at work and changing my information on my legal documents.

Don’t out me, bro

April 17, 2013

Coming out as transgender, no matter how many times you do it, is emotionally trying. At this point, I’ve come out to upwards of 200 people I knew in person pre-transition. The mechanics of it are simple enough: say to someone, “so, there’s something I’d like to share with you. I’m transgender.”

Easy enough, right?

Here’s where it gets emotionally difficult. I can deal with someone being a jerk about this and choosing to not associate with me. In those cases, I’m more than happy to say, “good riddance.” No, what’s worse are the people who take this information with full knowledge of its personal value, and use it as a form of entertainment for themselves or others.

I recently found out that one of the first people I ever told I was trans, a former co-worker of mine, decided to take this information, and use it to embarrass me, turn me into a joke.

Apparently, this individual ignored the “hey, I don’t speak with too many people at that job anymore. Can you not tell them?” aspect of my coming out, and instead decided to post photos of me as his desktop background, in full view of the rest of his office.

Hearing about this, I attempted to reach out to him via Facebook to see if maybe there was some sort of explanation. He read the message, ignored it, then removed me as a Facebook friend. (These are not exactly actions that scream, “this was just misunderstanding.”)

This was by far the meanest, most hurtful breach of trust I’ve ever encountered. The level of transmisogyny that goes into doing something like that, the level of bigotry… it’s amazing. I have never been as emotionally bullied as I was through this.

The sad thing is, this guy should know better: he’s a recently out cis gay man. He spent a large portion of his life in the closet.

Just a friendly reminder that sometimes our “friends” and our “allies” are really neither.

The book “What’s the Matter with Kansas” (as well as the documentary of the same name) is based on the odd premise that Kansas, in spite of being made up of individuals who would largely benefit from liberal policies, consistently votes against its own self-interest, electing Republicans that have implemented policies that negatively impact the majority of the state’s electorate. Overall, it’s a good read, diving into some interesting views on the mind, psychology, and perception.

After reading this, though, the same thought process leads me to ask, “What’s the matter with conservative trans people?”

I ask this, specifically, of trans people who support conservative political policies and candidates; trans people who attend churches that donate portions of their Sunday offerings to anti-LGBT groups.

Really. What gives? I am truly curious as to why someone would vote so blatantly against their own self-interest or become part or an organization (namely, the Catholic church) that demonizes them, dehumanizes them and ignores their very existence.

  1. “I’m not a single-issue voter.” – okay, well, unless you’re a white upper-middle-to-upper-class cis male, I don’t see how the other policies of the Republican party benefit you, either.
  2. “By being on the inside of these groups, I can help change things” – yes, by voting for policies you’re against, putting people in power who want to oppress you, you’re able to “change things from the inside.” Uh, no. The way politicians will change: the bigoted ones need to start losing some elections, then maybe they’d realize that their particular brand of conservatism wasn’t the widely-loved version they dreamed up.
  3. “There’s a lot more to my religious beliefs. I agree with most of it.” – again, though, religion, (speaking of Catholicism, specifically) requires you to buy into their whole bag of beliefs, not just a few of them. If you honestly believe in everything the church teaches, then you honestly believe you’re doomed to an eternity of suffering. It’s at this point that you should either find a religion that actively supports trans people, or, simply stop going/donating (seriously, if you believe yourself doomed to an eternity of torture, why not reclaim some weekend hours?).

The Catholic church’s official view is that trans people don’t actually exist. Beyond that, last Christmas, the Pope went on a transphobic rant where he denounced “people manipulating their God-given gender to suit their sexual choices — and destroying the very ‘essence of the human creature’ in the process.” Why on earth would anyone identify as a trans Catholic? The organization hates your existence. They’re ridiculous. Why would you continue to give them your donation money week after week (which, despite your hopes that they go to, you know, do things Jesus actually promoted like clothing the naked and feeding the hungry, your donations go to support anti-LGBT smear campaigns). All this, and looks like some folks at the Vatican still have time to illegally download trans porn… Hypocrites.

The Republican party believes it should be absolutely legal to fire someone just for being trans. The Republican party has repeatedly fought to defeat the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), which has the neat feature of barring insurance companies from discriminating against transgender individuals. Every Republican’s favorite conservative news outlet, Fox News, frequently make jokes about trans people (yes, those are 6 separate links).

With all this, I just have to ask, why and how? I don’t understand.

What’s the matter?

I’m now approaching the 6 month mark of starting hormone replacement therapy. I’ve just passed the 1 month mark of transitioning at work. The 1 year mark of coming out to my partner about being trans is coming up next month. Two weeks from now, I’ll have my name & gender updated on my drivers license.

Those are a lot of dates, a lot of items to keep straight in my head (“do I have therapy on Tuesday, or was that a psychiatrist appointment on Thursday?,” for example), and also a lot of small anniversaries (see list above).

I suppose that makes sense, though. Coming out as trans is quite the experience, and every step along the way is a reason to celebrate. Sure, scheduling an appointment with a therapist doesn’t seem like a big deal, but it is when every day for the first quarter decade of you life, you’ve avoided doing that.

I was looking through old photos from the past 2 or 3 years. I struggled to find any where I’m smiling. Life just wasn’t something I was able to smile about. I didn’t think much of it, as I was convinced that “life is just like this, for everyone.” I posted on Twitter about this, and it seems that this was a common feeling among many trans women pre-transition. Finally, able to be me, it’s nice to be able to smile, and to mean it; even if it’s not every second of every day, at least it’s genuine when it is here.

Here’s a little collage I made, outlining the changes I’ve gone through over the past 6 months.

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Exactly one month ago, I spent the morning obsessively digging through my clothes and my makeup. I wanted everything to be perfect. I wanted that day to be as normal of a day as possible. At the same time, I really just wanted to call in sick, and crawl back in bed.

That was my first day as me, at work.

A month has passed. Did that day go as seamlessly as I would have liked? No! Of course not. Nothing ever does. I was nauseous. Walking into work that day, it was clear that my co-workers were going to do their best to not draw attention to the fact that [birth name] didn’t work here anymore, replaced with this new person: Parker. No one said a word of encouragement. No one asked if I was doing okay.

Then again, no one said anything negative, either. That’s all I had really hoped for.

In the past month, I’ve gone from trying to be a bathroom ninja – getting in and out without anyone seeing me – to just going in whenever I needed to, just like the other women in the office. Why? Because I am a woman. This is my office. That is my bathroom. Deal with it.

I feel there are people here who are still a little uneasy about me, but oh, well, there’s nothing I can really do about that. I’ve tried being friendlier, a little more outgoing, but I think people are still walking on egg shells in an attempt to avoid saying something offensive.

I did hear one thing yesterday, that really hurt my feelings: I was in one of the bathroom stalls, when I overheard two other women in the bathroom talking:

I still think it’s weird that we have to share a bathroom with a tranny.

Ouch.

Obviously, these women didn’t know I was in there at the time, but the question, “is this really how people talk about me when I’m not around?” started playing through my head on repeat. I didn’t recognize these voices, so I don’t think it was anyone I work with, but still, ouch.

Anyway, here’s to 1 month down. Hopefully a year from now, I’ll be able to look back at this situation and laugh.

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