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The "It's Just a Cartoon" Fallacy
fatedendeavor
In discussing shows like The Family Guy, I do have to say that I've gotten pretty tired of the "I find it silly to get offended by a cartoon" argument. It does bother me when transness is used as a cheap joke, where the mere fact that somebody is trans is supposed to produce laughs on national TV in any format. If you think that a constant barrage of images showing that trans people are a joke and not to be taken seriously and that our "thinking" we're a woman is pure self-delusion doesn't affect people because some of them are in the form of cartoons, you're kidding yourself. The "it's just a cartoon" argument doesn't fly with me.

Now, let's imagine that in a TV show a character gets hit on by a gay guy and throws up for half an hour. Are you chuckling? Let's say a black character comes on the screen. Would this cause you to bust out laughing? "The show insults everyone", isn't comparable to making a joke out of our mere existence. They don't make a joke out of the fact that there are gay people, or that people of different races exist. Our mere existence is often the joke. They don't know enough about us to pick on just our stereotypes, so instead the joke is us.

The fact that these shows bother me is not because I'm uptight or take myself too seriously.  I don't stay up nights thinking about this. I'm not so offended that I freak when I see one of these shows. I'm just pointing out that "it's just a cartoon (or whatever)" or "the point is that they're offensive to everyone" are bullshit arguments. It's not the same and it does affect the way we are viewed in society. If you don't understand how people could find it offensive, then I guess it shouldn't bother you if somebody clocks you in public and starts ridiculing you, as these shows that "aren't a problem" are a big reason that's thought of as acceptable behavior by these morons. Oh, and hey, if some trans woman is beaten or killed over their gender identity, it's no big deal, because it's just a cartoon that dehumanized them in the abusers eyes...right? 


No! I'm Not Fucking Brave.
fatedendeavor
When I came out at work, one of the first things I heard was, "That was so brave.  I could never do what you just did."  It's kind of, sort of a compliment...right?  I mean, they said I'm brave...isn't that a good thing?  And yet, something always rubbed me wrong.  I've heard it since and my mind always did a flip-flop of feeling proud at the "compliment", but, following that, there was always this dissatisfaction.  I mean, that "compliment" that they gave, means they don't fucking get it at all...not really.

I mean seriously, think about this "compliment".  You are so brave to be yourself and to actually let people know the real you.  Granted, every time anyone opens up a portion of who they really are, there's a risk that is taken that what they show the world will be scorned or rejected, but that's not what they're saying and we all know it.  No, they're saying that it takes a bravery beyond that to share this dark and dirty secret of being trans.

The part that really bugs me the most, though, is the "I could never do that" part.  This is born of the ignorant notion that this is a choice.  "I could never choose to be trans," is the real thought behind this.  I have told people, "If you were trans, then you wouldn't have the choice," but they don't get it.  They just reiterate, "no, really...I couldn't."  Yeah, that's such a great compliment.  I'm so fucked up that you couldn't admit to being the same as me if your life depended on it.  But that's another part of it...they don't get that my life depended on it.  They can't wrap their heads around it, can they?

In the end, they may be right.  They've never had to face up to being trans...to being different in a way that many find morally offensive or even illegal in some places...in a way that makes some think that beating or killing you is acceptable and even deserved.  Maybe they wouldn't be "brave enough".  Lord knows that some aren't.  Why is the suicide rate of trans people so much higher than the national average after all?  This shit is hard.  Maybe they'd be in the statistic of suicides and people wouldn't even know why they'd taken their own life.

Is any of that really a compliment though?  When they say, "You're so brave," or " I could never tell people what you just did," it just makes me think that it's exactly that opinion that makes it so hard to come out.  It shouldn't be a brave thing to do, and nobody should feel that they couldn't tell people that they're trans, or gay, or whatever they happen to be and it's the fact that some think it's a terribly embarrassing thing to disclose to people that make it so difficult. 

I can't be too mad at them though.  They mean well, and cis people just don't understand how powerful the need to be ourselves is, because they've never had to deny who they really are.  Besides, I used to think that way.  I was so embarrassed and afraid to let anyone know how I felt inside.  Sure it was outside forces that instilled that shame and fear, but I bought into it and hid away for half of my expected life-span.  I thought about telling my parents and my family and friends and going to school as myself and I'd be mixed with happiness, shame, and tons of suffocating fear and quickly tell myself, "You can't do that.  Are you fucking INSANE."  So, I guess I get it.

The thing is...I'm not brave...I'm trans.  You couldn't come out to people because you've never felt a need powerful enough to take away the choice.  It's not a compliment, it just shows how little you understand what I'm going through.  I take it as it's offered and smile and accept it as a sign of support, because they're trying to be nice and I get that.  And then I sigh and shake my head...if only they knew.


How does your appendix feel?
fatedendeavor
I love getting asked questions by people.  It shows that they're interested in what I'm going through and hope to understand.  If I tell them I'm trans, and they avoid the subject, it doesn't bode well for our relationship.  "I was afraid of offending you," is a common refrain among the people that don't ask questions, but usually, in reality, they're more afraid of their own discomfort with the topic than about how I feel.  Especially, when I know these people who are so afraid of being offensive, are making jokes behind my back.

There are those questions that are frustrating to me, though.  My frustration doesn't come from the person asking the question, but, instead, stems from my own inability to answer it in a way that will make them understand.  Things like, "how did you know you were trans?" or "Why couldn't you just be an effeminate/emotional man, instead of having to become a woman?" or variations thereof.  I can answer, but not in any foolproof way.  Usually when I try to answer in a way that I think the cisgender person will understand, it leaves itself open to more questions that prove even more that I can't adequately explain it to them and in trying and failing, some seem to think that they've stumped me and my reasons for doing this aren't well thought out, or not valid and are open to debate.

Here's the problem with trying to explain it in a way that they will understand, and why it always turns into "I'm a woman trapped in man's body" for most trans people, or some other such crap.  There's no common frame of reference.  Cisgender people don't even know that the part of me that was hurting exists.  If you ask a normal man how they know that they're gender identity is male, they'll say because they have a penis.  The problem is that their corresponding sense of identity to their genitals gives them the false belief that they are inseparable.  I have a penis too, but my gender identity is definitely not male.  It confuses them and is easy for them to write the whole thing off, as mentally ill.

I give up.  I'm done trying to answer that question.  Instead, I answer their question with another question.  How does your appendix feel?  To me that is the equivalent of what they're asking me to tell them.  You don't even realize that your appendix is there unless you have appendicitis, and then all of a sudden it becomes the center of your world.  You either don't know it's there or it cripples you.  That's how gender identity is.  If you're cisgender, you don't even recognize that your gender identity even exists, whereas, if your transgender, you have the equivalent of appendicitis in your gender identity.  You can't even pretend your gender identity doesn't exist, because it's been crippling you your whole life. 

Not to be flippant to people asking questions, but some just can't be answered to people who haven't experienced it themselves.  So next time somebody asks me, what it felt like to be trans, what made me realize I was trans, why couldn't I just stay male and be however I felt like being...How does your appendix feel?

A Bathroom's a Bathroom, But...
fatedendeavor
I went to Disneyland yesterday...the first trip there since going full-time.  A full day away from home...and away from my home's bathroom.  I realized this on the way with a sense of dread, but tested my wife's feelings on the matter, to make sure she was on board, and set myself to go into the little girl's room for the first time.

I went to the restroom about 3 times...maybe 4, can't remember for sure.  After the first time, my wife jokingly asked, "Was it everything you expected?"  To be honest, it was exactly what I expected...a restroom with no urinals and with a place for tampons and sanitary napkins.  I did feel more comfortable than in the men's room...I didn't get strange looks, like what's she doing in here, like I had been in the men's room recently.  I had no problems, so it went well.

The thing is, my wife's question did make me think, though...was it exactly the same?  I'm not an expert, after just a few visits, but it seemed that it was almost the same, but there were some small differences.  One interesting thing, was the hustle and bustle in there.  Now, this was Disneyland, but the number of kids far exceeds the number of kids in the men's room.  For every dad taking his son into the men's room, there's 5 women taking daughters, sons, and babies into the ladies room.  Because of this bustle and mothers taking care of their kids in there after using the restroom there were far more people in the women's room.  Men go, wash (sometimes), and leave...women go, wash, look in the mirror, fix makeup and hair, help their kids wash up...it's no wonder men are always lined up outside the ladies' room waiting.

Men's rooms are usual pretty quiet.  A little talking if you know go with a friend, but usually not even then, or to their kids, but that's about it.  This doesn't mean there's a ton of chit-chatting in the ladies' rooms I went in though, but there was a lot more noise and talking in general.  Partly due to the kids and such.

One welcome relief (and a quite obvious one) was no urinals.  I despise urinals.  Standing elbow to elbow with a peeing stranger has never been comfortable to me.  Also, standing uncomfortably close without saying a word.  Also, making sure nobody thinks you have roving eyes.  You can either act as if the tile on the wall less than a foot from your face is fascinating for some reason, pretend that the ceiling holds the answer to some mystery, or look into your urinal to see how your aim is.  The last you can only do if there are dividers between urinals, or the guy next to you may be worried about what you're looking at or think you're sneaking peeks.  Personally, I always stuck with the stalls anyway, but there's always very few stalls in a men's room.

The only down side to going in the women's room, is you have to sit.  Normally, I'm fairly adverse to sitting on a public toilet.  Also, I had to use those paper thingies, which, I have to say, are kind of annoying.  I do have to get used to these things anyway though, as what I need to do, will preclude me from standing and peeing ever again when I'm done.

Any other differences were mainly individual to me.  It just felt way more comfortable to be in there.  I haven't felt like I belonged in a restroom for a long time.  It was nice to feel like I was where I was supposed to be again and I didn't feel like I had to run into a stall, and face looks when washing my hands at the sink and slink out and hope nobody said anything...or, if there was a wait for a stall, to run out and wait to go in another restroom.  This was way, way better than that.

Don't get me wrong.  these aren't huge differences and it's obviously still just a restroom.  Just felt like making a small note of the little differences I noticed in going from one to the other.  I hope it's always such a non-event.

My Gender Identity Is Not A Practical Joke.
fatedendeavor
There's something about being trans in this society that makes people act rude.  I started to notice that it's kind of akin to when people think you're trying to trick them or fool them in some way.  No matter how accepting people are, they still have a problem acknowledging me as a woman, and if they do, they have to make sure that you know that you didn't really fool them.

Here's some examples for illustration:

* From loved ones:  I finally get my mom to use my correct name. She ends up giggling after every instance as if to share that it's a joke that she's in on.

* From acquaintances:  Somebody at work calls me "she", "her", "ma'am", or "Misty" and then feels the need to point out that they called me by the correct term, as if to make sure that I realize that it wasn't that they actually mistook me for a girl and that they made a concerted effort to do so to make me happy.

* And the worst, the Stranger Phenomenon:  You're walking past somebody, minding your own business, and hear "excuse me SIR," with extreme emphasis on the "sir" or some other similar mis-gendered remark.  As if the whole point in you walking from one place to the other was an attempt to fool them and they have to let you know that it didn't work.  They saw through your little attempt at a joke.

I'm not talking about violence against trans people, as that's a special kind of sick that makes people think that that's alright.  I'm talking more about everyone else who's not trans, but especially the stranger phenomenon.  It's as if they see our wearing a dress or wearing makeup or talking, walking, moving, "acting" like a woman as an attempt to fool the world.  If they don't say anything, then we win, and if we win, then they must have lost.  In order for them to not lose, they must make a point that we didn't trick them.

The act of "not passing" wouldn't be such a stressful and embarrassing thing if people would take our gender cues differently.  It makes us feel more at ease in our own skin...these things just feel right to us.  Why can't people just take these things as us letting them know how we identify?  Why can't we simply be letting them know how we think of ourselves, how we relate to the world, how we want to be treated?  Along the same lines, why can't me wearing a dress and makeup be me celebrating my trans identity, instead of trying to "pass"?  No...instead we're trying to fool them and if they don't make it clear that we didn't do so...if they let it slide by without comment, then we tricked them and we won and they lost.

It seems like they feel they must say something or do something whether it be laughing, a mean comment, or, even if they're accepting, an unnecessary statement (i.e.  "See, I called you ma'am," from a coworker).  It all seems to come from the same place.  "You didn't fool me.  I know that you're not really a girl."

***Btw, to be fair to her, I should point out that my mom has since stopped giggling when she calls me by my preferred name.***


Separation Anxiety...Eventually.
fatedendeavor
Well, it's been decided, not that there was ever much doubt.  My wife and I will be separating...eventually.  She doesn't preclude the possibility of a friendship sometime in the future, but she just doesn't know.  Sadly, now is when her friendship would be most valuable to me, but at least there's hope for the future.

She still doesn't want the kids to be around me as my true self.  Unfortunately (for her, that is), that can't be helped.  I want my children to know the real me and delaying on that would only cause them more confusion.  She did voice a valid concern about what if I got attacked in the park when the children were with me.  All I can say in response is that I plan on being very careful.  I don't plan on taking them anywhere as the real me until I pass pretty seamlessly anyway.  Not that it'll ever be impossible to get read every now and then, but going to places with people around should be safe enough. 

I'll just have to use the same common sense as I will when not with the kids.  Don't go out too late at night alone and avoid bad neighborhoods when possible.  All the things genetic women should do anyway.  It'll be a change from the go anywhere, anytime type of life I've led in the past, but that's one of the trade-offs.  Unfortunately, work precludes me from following that all of the time, as I work in a bad neighborhood, but at least there are a lot of police where I work, so should be safe enough.

So, why is the separation "eventually"?  We have to ask some questions to our bankruptcy attorney, but we're probably going to have to give up the house.  The chances of it regaining it's value anywhere soon enough are slim to none, so we're going to let them foreclose.  The good news with that, is we can live here for quite awhile before they can legally evict us.  That means, even with the bankruptcy and not having extra money, we'll be saving $2,000 of which our creditors won't be aware. 

My wife and I will stay together until we have to move out and then getting separate apartments.  That extra money will come in handy.  I need to save a good portion of it to move out and obtain my own place, but I should be able to afford to spend some of it on necessities.  Get laser hair removal, get an endo, get some makeup, and clothes.  The makeup and clothes will be after we separate completely though, but the hair removal I can start on right away and I can't wait to get my HRT legitimized and monitored.  I'll be so happy when I can get going on that, but in a years time, I'll be on my own.  Scary and depressing to think about.  Still, I can then move forward with what I have to do in earnest, without worrying about it bothering my wife.

That's it for now.  Love, and stay safe everyone.

P.S.  I'm going to need some help...I really need to make some real world friends.  :(




Getting Torn Up.
fatedendeavor
I went to my therapist today and my wife aquiesced to my request to come with me.  it was interesting, but emotionally trying for both of us.  After my wife went to bed, she started text messaging me and wouldn't allow me to go up to her.  It was heart wrenching.  She asked me to respond in an e-mail.  I won't reproduce her texts, but I below is my response.

                   ------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

I truly am sorry that you feel you were strung along.  It wasn't stringing you along in my eyes at the time.  If, somehow, I could go back in time and have a good long talk to myself and force myself to face the truth, for you, I would.  I thought I could get by.  Maybe I had the same hopes you did.  That these impulses would abate.  I realized that wasn't the case and should've told you, but I love you and didn't want to hurt you, so I tried other things.  It was only recently that I realized I was never going to be okay as a man.  It didn't matter what I did, I wasn't alright.

I know that you think I'm gaining this whole great life...umm...when you're not picturing me forever alone in panties, typing on my computer anyway, but I haven't gained anything here.  One way you look at it, I'm a woman that lost 37 years of my life trying to be something I'm not.  Another way you look at it, I'm a man who has to give up the woman he loves and the life he's built to be true to himself.

Our marriage hasn't been perfect by any means, but I do love you and I don't consider our time together a waste.  I understand if you do and that makes me even more sad.  It definitely wasn't all a lie.  I'm still me.  I'm not a man like you thought, but it's not like the thoughts I shared weren't my own.  It's not like the love I felt was faked.  The lie was that I was a man.  Those little things between my legs and the hormones it created in my body were the lie, and they lied to everyone.  They lied to the doctor in the delivery room, to my parents, to my aunts, uncles, cousins, brother and sister.  They lied to you and they lied to me.

As far as the future goes, I don't have any answers.  I've made it clear how I feel and you've made it clear that you feel you can't be with me like that.  Sex has always been such a small part of our relationship, but, as a man, I wasn't making you happy, so I don't see how I ever could as a woman. 

As far as money, it's not like you're not going to have more than just your income.  Paying two rents for two apartments will definitely hurt though and lord knows where we'll be forced to live.  Hell, with the bankruptcy, who knows if we'll even be able to keep any money we save by living in a slum.  School seems like a pipe-dream to me too.  With the stupid schedule I have, and I can't afford to quit.  Transitioning at my current job would be a nightmare.  I don't know what I'm going to do.

Believe me, this whole thing is not a dream come true for me.  You couldn't think of a more sinister nightmare, but here I am.  I can't change the way I feel.  Staying as a man feels like a death sentence.  The thought of losing you hurts so bad that I can't even think past the moment.  I have no idea how to proceed, but I know that I have to go on.  I have kids to help support and a hope for happiness at some distant time in an indeterminate future.

Breaking Through and Breaking Up
fatedendeavor
Well, I told my wife.  It was...different than expected.  It was more her letting me know that she knew, than me letting her know.  Oh well...it works pretty much the same, without any self-esteem on my part.  Her knowing and my being able to be honest, instead of trying to deny it were actually pretty big steps for me.  She actually decided to confront and corner me on this on our anniversary date.  Right between dinner and a movie she wants to talk about this.  God, that was only 7 days ago.  Feels like months.  Anyway, I know what she was thinking though.  She thought that I'd do my usual, "okay, I'll stop.  I'll throw away the hormones.  Sorry, I love you, please don't leave me."  I didn't though.  I couldn't keep lying to her and this isn't going away and I won't throw away the hormones and I won't stop and go back to being depressed like I was.

What does this mean for us?  I don't know.  She talked about certain divorce and how she can't stand to see me when I start doing more, like dressing and makeup and all of that and won't want to remain friends with me.  I think the optimist in me was hoping for something different, but the reasoning part of my brain pretty much expected this.

Anyway, I'm lazy so I'm just goint to copy and paste a post I just made today, 'cause I really don't feel like writing it out again.  Besides...when you write something and lose it and try to re-write it, it just never comes out quite as well as the first time you wrote it.  Don't you think?

[copy&pasted part]

Kinda Confused.

Postby Misty » Sat Jul 24, 2010 11:37 pm

 
 
Sorry, this is kind of long and rambling, and I'm not looking for answers here. Just posting my thoughts to the digital void that is the internet.

On Friday, I talked to my mom and after she chit-chatted a little, I told her that I don't think it's going to work out with my wife and I and that my wife doesn't know if we can even be friends. Of course, I was crying quite a bit while telling her this news. She offered to come down early August for a weekend and we could just hang out a bit and rent a hotel for the night. Sounds great, so I said "for sure."

I just told my wife today and she seemed a little weird about the whole thing. Just kinda quiet and contemplative or something. Then after a bit of time, we were both cooking dinner, she said, "I'm not positive that I want to do this." Let me just explain here, that I'm not sure if she meant the divorce or the not living together. I assumed she meant the not living together, though. "I'm still thinking things over, but if we don't live together, I'd still like to live in the same complex, so it'll be easier with the kids." Umm...okay, but she doesn't want to see me dressed as a girl or in makeup or anything, so how is having me help with the kids and walking around in the same complex going to be easier on her?

After a bit of time I said, "I'm kind of torn too. I mean, I don't want to have to worry about doing the stuff that I need to do and worry about you getting mad at me for it, but I know that if we live together, we can live in a safer neighborhood for the kids and have more room for a lot cheaper than we can if we live separately."

She eventually asked about what "things I need to do" and I told her, like working on my voice and makeup. She repeated that I'd never pass as a girl, and I repeated that I already had. Basically, I pissed her off a bit, but IF, and that's a big if, we're going to live together, she has to know that that's not stopping anything and she can't nitpick every little feminine thing I do anymore.

Anyway, so now I'm just really confused. Does this mean that she wants to be friends. Has hanging around with me and seeing that nothing's really changed yet, except for small things, fooled her into thinking that nothing's going to be happening? After affirming that I will be doing more in the future, does she still feel that she may want to live with me, or did that destroy it for her? Does the fact that I'm doing something with my mom without her, make her feel bad in some way and start this thought process?

I know that these are really questions for her. I'm not looking for answers here at all. I'm just really confused and as I've said, we're not really free to talk here because of her parents living with us (they're finally on a waiting list to get there own place, but who knows when that'll be). Anyway, I'm just a lot more confused than when I woke up this morning.

It's tempting to be all happy that she doesn't want me out of her life completely (even though, with the kids, that'd never happen anyway), but it's tempered by her surprise that I have "things I have to do" and that I'm not settling here, not to mention the "you won't pass" bullshit yet again. *sigh*

Relationships during transition are so effing complicated.
[/copy&pasted part]

Anyway, that sort of catches you up for the most part.  Not that anyone's actually reading this shit...and not that I'm sure I even want anyone reading this shit.


The Beginning.
fatedendeavor
Okay, so decided to start a journal.  What the hell?  I have just as many inane things to talk about as the next person.

I guess I'll start with where I am in my life.

To start with, I'm 37 and married with two kids who are almost 2 years old.  I have a job I dislike, but it pays fairly well.  My kids are the cutest ever (I know, every parent thinks this).  They're twins, a boy and a girl.

First and foremost on my mind right now, is I'm a transgendered MTF.  I long for the day when that's just a side-note...a "by the way", as opposed to a focus, but I think that's the way it is for all transgendered people during discovery and early transition.  Sadly, my wife doesn't know.  I'm seeing a therapist and we're currently discussing how and when to come out to her.  Honestly, I don't really care about coming out to anyone else, although I should note that my mother already knows.  Kind of slipped out in a moment of distress, but that's a story for another day.  I need for my wife to know though, obviously. 

Anyway, despite still being totally closeted, I started hormones in January, and there's definitely been some changes.  Some breast growth, skin softening...things like that.  It's noticeable if you know what you're looking for, but it's not the kind of thing that people look for.

I have been called ma'am a few times though and had somebody call me "she" in front of my wife, but she didn't notice...or didn't want to talk about it, but not wanting to talk about stuff like that isn't exactly like her.

That's pretty much enough for now, but I'll add some random facts.

I'm on 300mg of Spironolactone, as an anti-androgen.
I'm on 10mg per week of Progynon Depot, which is an injectable estradiol valerate (estrogen)
I'm overweight, but recovering from a recent surgery, so will have to work on that when I can.
I'm still more muscular than I want, but I've been noticing some loss of strength...a good thing.

?

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