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F*ggot As Gender Identity, Detransition As A Form Of Suicide.

28 Sep faggot detransition gender dysphoria

“I shall never forget the unspeakable horror that froze the lymph in my glands when the baneful word seared my reeling brain – I was a homosexual. I thought of the painted, simpering female impersonators I had seen in a Baltimore nightclub. Could it be possible I was one of those subhuman things? I walked the streets in a daze, like a man with a light concussion. I would have destroyed myself but a wise old queen; Bobo, we called her, taught me that I had a duty to live and to bear my burden proudly for all to see.” – William Burroughs

detransition gender dysphoria

I’ve brought it up a few times, but I grew up Assemblies Of God and went Southern Baptist at 12 because they were more liberal. I’m not even building up to a joke here. In any case, attending huge tent revivals was a common occurrence throughout my entire childhood and adolescence. You’d be lectured for an hour and then people would stand in line for several more hours to repent, to publicly beat at their chest and renounce all their sins and reaffirm their devotion to God or whatever.

Watch enough of them and you’d see repeat performers… folks that had suddenly hit a brand new rock bottom of fornication and decadence or whatever and would be up front with the others, beating their chest and confessing to increasingly absurd transgressions against their fellow man.

This is relevant probably.

Anyway, you waste enough time on the transgender corner of the internet and eventually you start stumbling across detransition blogs. They’re always anonymous, declaring an unnamed dread of being discovered by this shapeless mob of “trans activists” out to ruin their lives for telling “the truth.” There’s this flair for the dramatic amongst the conspiracies and the increasingly absurd confessions of transgressions; this idea that the curtain is being drawn on “what the trans activists don’t want you to hear.”

detransition gender dysphoria

What they all have in common is an assurance that they know what they are now. Many claim to be gay men, but others actually claim to have discovered with horror that they were autogynephiles the whole time. Seriously. I personally know at least half a dozen funny, sweet and brilliant trans women that have all killed themselves this year before they’d barely started their twenties and yet some pathetic porn-sick creatures can read the documentation on what autogynephilia is, decide “well hot damn that totally describes me” and somehow not feel inspired to stick their head in the oven.

This is why I know there is no God.

I any case, I don’t claim to know shit. I don’t have any answer as to who or what I am and am not really sure there is such an answer. I don’t “identify as a woman”, whatever that means, but have experience a lifelong disassociation and revulsion towards being socially processed through “manhood.” This has meant quite a few different things in my life, mostly because I had no language to describe or understand it.

rani bakerAnd I’ve been dealing with this for decades.

The thing is, I wasn’t really processed through “manhood”, at least not in the sense of being socialized like a heteronormative hegemonic man (as if there was such a thing in a universal sense). From a very young age I was coded by society as a “faggot,” and my socialization was filtered through that coding. I was groomed towards appeasement and subservience to men and coded as deserving of violence and marginalization without resource for complaint. I was groomed to desire approval from and to appeal towards masculine idealizations, while also being held at arms length from any chance of owning them.

I’ve been a eunuch my whole life, regardless of whether I had balls. Faggot was my “gender identity”.

detransition gender dysphoriaReminder that “TERF is a slur” but faggot is a radfem-endorsed social identity.

Anyway, a little over a decade ago, I was coerced into detransition by my radical feminist-devoted boyfriend at the time. He was my second (and second longest) relationship I’ve ever had. I loved him like crazy; hell, I still do. He was brilliant and wordly and passionate, had impeccable music and artistic taste, and he fucked like a goddamn howitzer.

True story: the first time we fucked, it was to the Mindless Self-Indulgence Song “Faggot“.

detransition gender dysphoriaI have no pics of us then, so here’s one from 2006. Yes I’m still friends with him.

But he was also a verbally abusive alcoholic that used to tell me shit like “you’re not a woman; you’re a guy that I fuck in the ass and I wish you’d just accept that.” I wrote about it in my comic, but have never until now included the last page online because it was too painful:

detransition gender dysphoria

detransition gender dysphoria

Where was the Trans Cabal during all this? The one that is supposedly out there pressuring all the gender non-conforming people to transition? Oh right, they were too busy not existing.

detransition gender dysphoriawell, besides existing in the imaginations of transphobic gaybros

But how did I get to that point anyway? Well, nobody gives a shit about tired old stories of pre-teen crossdressing and childhood dreams of being able to break my dick off like a pencil so I could stop fretting about it or whatever. Stories of shoplifting lipstick and a hollowed out teddy bear full of stockings and skirts. Boring shit that folks always trot out their own variation of. Nobody cares.

I feel it’s worth repeating however that literally the first thing I bought with my own money (earned from my job in the dorm cafeteria) when I’d moved away from family to go to college was a (truly hideous) dress and some (appallingly cheap) makeup.

detransition gender dysphoriaNo pic of that either, so here’s me at legendary punk club Einsteins in 1995.

I didn’t really have the language to understand what the hell was going on tho. “Transgender” wasn’t really a word I had back then, and I don’t recall whether I’d used “transsexual” either. In college I’d read “Transsexual Empire” and it’s spiritual sister book “The Pink Swastika” and similar anti-gay books, seemingly most from the 80s. This was literally the only literature on the subject available in a college library in the 1990s. So I became one of those late-90s internet-addicted transsexuals one reads about. Still have my copy of Creating A Feminine Carriage and Melanie Speaks circa-1999 to prove it.

detransition gender dysphoriaSays a lot that I held onto both through a decade of detransition, really.

Back then I still had no idea how to, like, be trans tho. I was a semi-professional drag queen, which gave me a place to explore presentation and also offered me a place to meet men that could potentially find me desirable. I ordered crap fake hormones from crossdresser magazines to bolster the hardcore hormones I was buying from drag queens that smuggled them up from Mexico.

detransition gender dysphoriaMe at infamous Killeen drag bar Krossover, circa 2000-ish

But, like, I knew I was something different than a drag queen, but what? I attended transsexual support meetings full of sneering old ladies sitting bolt upright with their purses in their laps. Women that wrinkled their noses at my leather jacket and Walgreens lipstick, called me “drag queen” and “misguided faggot” behind my back. Hell I didn’t even know if I “wanted to be a woman,” whatever that meant. For the majority of my transition, I only knew one other trans woman that didn’t despise me. And because my life is a fucking disaster, I wound up dating her after detransition.

detransition gender dysphoriaEven more awkward, now she’s a guy again and thinks I’m disgusting.

To add further insult to injury, I had met an actual relatively famous trans activist (Ann Tagonist) shortly before my detransition, and she couldn’t help me. She actually recognized me from my tattoos related to my gender-angst comic Why I’m Not An Artist, which she’d read at a zine library in Portland. We were pen pals for about a year then lost contact anti-climatically. The universe loves to fuck with me.

I remember someone asking me, after hearing about my detransition, “So you pursued a sex change and gave up; what does that make you now?”. Honestly, I had no clue.

After detransition I figured if I had to be a guy, I might as well have some fun with it. I embraced absurd, flamboyant male dressings; arrow collars and exotic suit jackets and such. My gender identity was Nikki Sixx from Motley Crue.

detransition gender dysphoria

I figured folks that had known me for so long would have gotten the joke; this over-the-top expression of rock star masculine swagger I’d suddenly adopted. Nobody got the joke. Hell, after long enough, I’d lost the plot so much I wasn’t getting it either.

A funny thing about being a dude when you don’t want to be; you can deliberately kill yourself slowly in front of everyone and get cheered on for it. You can drink to the point where your skin is flushed from puking and pick up another drink while sobbing about your childhood and everyone just pats you on the back and is like “wow that dude is a party animal.”

If you’re charming and funny enough, nobody questions your judgement.

I’ve had dudes tell me how “dramatic” I became post-transition, and it’s like “wait, you fucking saw me smash a whiskey bottle and cut myself in public once because I was sad when I was a guy”.

faggot detransition gender dysphoriayeah this dude had it all together and wasn’t literally imploding in on himself

Detransition was the worst fucking thing that ever happened to me. I regret it every day; dwelling on how I already knew things about myself and worked on them and then gave up. I was a coward and a failure and pathetic for doing it.

And yet going back to that misery is constantly advocated to me and folks like me.

detransition gender dysphoria“you’re not a woman; you’re a guy that I fuck in the ass…”

Let’s not fucking pretend what people really mean when the push for this is “hurry the fuck up and die and get out of my way”. Because that is what detransitioning again would do to me. And I guess the universe isn’t done fucking with me yet.

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This Post Brought To You From The Emergency Room.

18 Sep

So, about two and a half weeks ago, I sprinted to catch the bus on a Monday night and my leg just went NOPE. Just this stab of extremely sharp pain and then it was extraordinarily hard to put weight on it. It wasn’t traumatic or anything, but definitely an embarrassing reminder that I’m getting kinda, well, old. It was hard to walk on for a few days but the pain went away after a week…

and then a week after that, this happened-

hospital2A map of Norway, Sweden and Iceland miraculously appeared on my leg.

That’s not good. Not good at all. See, one of the fun parts about being a trans woman is this thing called Deep Vein Thrombosis. Usually you don’t have to worry about it if you don’t smoke, which I don’t, (lol triple negative) but as an estrogenated trans lady of a certain advanced age that spends the vast majority of her day sitting down, I’m still a contender.

So I went to a nearby clinic, hoping beyond hope to be called a silly drama queen scared of a yoga injury or something. Except the nurse took a few looks at it, poked around and handed me this-

hospital3WELL THIS IS… UM… WHAT IS THIS

That’s an imaging request for an ultrasound of my leg. One of those nice humbling times that it sucks to be proven right, having a doctor pretty much say YEAH GURL THAT DOES LOOK EXACTLY LIKE THE KIND OF THING THAT COULD FUCK YOU UP BETTER CHECK FOR SURE. The rest of the weekend was dominated with stories and stress about things like strokes and pulmonary embolisms and, even worse, possibly having my HRT halted. To be honest, I’d rather spontaneously choke to death on my own blood than quit HRT (because we know how that turned out last time). I even considered seriously how well I could pull off a sort of Phantom Of The Opera/Vanilla Sky look if my face wound up paralyzed. I was going kind of bonkers because I was literally scared half to death at this point.

Funny thing about trying to book an ultrasound on a weekend, tho:

hospital4hospital5

After calling dozens of places, I finally just went to the emergency room because I was going to completely lose it if I had to wait any longer.

hospital6And here’s the part where I pretend I watched anything but Spongebob.

hospital8Emergency Room Selfies: Probably a thing I guess.

Because I’m so brilliant and much observant, I wound up in the ER of a Christian hospital. They even had a little disapproving Jesus fellow to watch me in disappointment as I “disrobed from the waist down” per doctor instructions.

hospital7

The staff was actually hella cool about everything, all things considered. I mean, thank Jesus (so to speak) for gender identity protection legislation, but they seemed to be genuinely eager to get chosen name/pronouns right and acted as though making someone comfortable whose life is at stake and literally in their hands was part of their job or something. A really pleasant surprise, to be honest.

hospital1Look how thrilled I am.

The thing about deep vein thrombosis tho is that if you haven’t died on the way to the hospital, once you’re there it’s fairly easy to treat. It was almost anticlimactic. They brought in the ultrasound (which they wouldn’t let me take a pic of, spoilsports) and they spread some goop around my leg and waved a wand on it while the machine made Darth Vader noises. Half an hour later it was clear that what I had was a bloodclot in the deep muscle, not in the deep vein. But of course, there was no way to find that out without the ultrasound. So the ER visit was necessary, but ultimately I turned out ok.

So, like I’m not gonna die or whatever. Not like whatever spiritual force that is keeping here isn’t doing it out of spite anyway.

hospital1Seriously, look how thrilled I am.

Bringing A Trans Woman To A Men In Dresses Party…

9 May

That stereotype about transsexuals being all wild and criminal and bold and outside the norm and, like, engendering in the townsfolk the courage to break free from the smothering constraints of conformity? That stereotype is about drag queens. Maria is a transsexual and she is so meek she might disappear.” – NEVADA, Imogen Binnie

So, about a month ago I signed a thing about a thing. A couple weeks later it turned into this entirely other thing. I’ll have more to say about that in another blog. In any case, I had a lot on my mind about crossdressing and drag performance and how it relates to myself as a trans woman (who’s had a previous history with crossdressing and drag performance). With this in mind, I found myself heading to a “red dress”-themed party.

I’m familiar with the concept; they’ve had them in Austin as well:

reddress2Except in Texas, it’s too hot to wear a full dress.

In this case, I was invited out by my lovely friend Miranda:

reddress3Who is hilarious and wonderful and an absolute treasure to be around.

This of course meant shopping on my part, of course of the day of because I am literally the worst person ever. Which of course means I should take a moment to do another gratuitous dressing room post in the middle of this meditation, with my sad stringy rain-soaked hair.

reddress5 reddress6 reddress4

So I show up at this party well past fashionably-late, more like to-the-point-where-my-date-was-sending-me-wtf-texts-late, and yeah we still managed to have a reasonably good time. We ate a *lot* of tiny sandwiches, that’s for sure. Thankfully I made up for being hella late by being hella cute.

reddress7

So, like, I promise I had a serious point in here somewhere so I might as well get to it. Anyway, so here are this couple of trans chicks in this party that’s mostly cis gay dudes in dresses, and to say we stuck out would have been an understatement. Like, not even stuck out in the way you would expect a heavily tattooed and pierced transsexual and her date to stick out. Not even stick out in the way you would expect someone who refers to themselves as transsexual at a party full of mostly cis crossdressers to insist they stick out. Wait, what, you seriously thought I was gonna go that direction rhetorically? Even for a second?

You disappoint me, dear reader. Anyway, lets talk about costumes.

So, like, there are all sorts of busted theories and assumptions out there about why people like me (or maybe nothing like me) wear what we do. And, it’s like, I don’t get it. I’ve never gotten a boner from wearing panties or whatever. So, you know, let’s get that out of the way. There isn’t any escapism or anything to it, frankly I’d say it’s almost the opposite. I mean, in a lot of ways I dress *waaaaaaaaaaaaaay* less flamboyant now presenting feminine full time than I did when most people thought of me as a guy.

reddress8someone had to fuckin say it

But like, I don’t know, I’ve never been one that was up for using costumes, at least not in a sense that everyone else seemed to. It’s like, I spend so much of my life feeling like my body as the world saw it was just something I piloted, not inhabited. So I guess I’ve never seen the appeal of trying to take on a different personality or something for myself, because so little of my personality even felt like my own most of my life.

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I faked my way through so much of my existence as a “man”, that I never really saw the appeal in dressing that “man” up as someone else to circumvent my inhibitions. For old me, dressing colorfully made me feel more authentic in a way because dressing as a “guy” made me feel like I’d disappear into thin air. In a ratty tshirt and jeans I wasn’t even a person, just a vehicle. An animatronic doll I controlled via a viewscreen buried so deep inside my skull noone could ever find me.

So like I’m at this party in my cute yet conservative Goodwill dress and Miranda is wearing the dress I met her in at the Against Me show a month before, and everyone around us is trashed and partying wearing these amazing outfits and stuff. And we’re just hiding in the back because people are literally stepping on us and we’re eating tiny sandwiches and wondering what we’re even doing here. *That* kind of sticking out like a sore thumb.

And like at one point some cute but very drunk guy with a spaghetti straps laying limp across his biceps and just sort of falling out of his sequined top leans into me to take a selfie kissing me on the cheek, which made me blush. He then tried to do the same to Miranda, and I thought she was gonna stab him in the kidney with her house keys.

And at that point we were just like fuck this lets get a cab.

She Should Have Been A Son.

6 Apr

So like, I was pretty sure I was gonna come out as gay when I was around 13…

beenason1TOTAL. FUCKIN. HOMO.

The clues were all there… I guess.

Honestly, I don’t know what the fuck I was except I seemed to be completely unlike “other boys”, and everyone seemed to be able to tell. I couldn’t seem to connect to boys my age on any level and instead found myself socializing around girls which found me this nonthreatening asexual presence. Yet I was also being palpably groomed towards appeasement and subservience to men and coded as a “faggot” deserving of violence and marginalization without resource for complaint. I was groomed to desire approval from and to appeal towards masculine idealizations. I remember the first time I’d watched Velvet Goldmine, and in that opening scene where child Jack Fairy is beat up and spreads the blood across his lips I remember actually thinking HOLY SHIT WHERE DID THEY FIND THIS FOOTAGE OF MY CHILDHOOD.

beenason2A pretty reasonable summary of my childhood.

All I knew, honestly, was that shit that “doesn’t happen to boys” happened to me on a pretty frequent basis.

I found no analogous “shared boyhood” experience to cling to when I was 10 and my male friend broke my nose when I told him he was cute and “reassured” me that he did so “for my own good” to remind me “I’m not allowed” to say such things. Was it just typical “male socialization” when I was 13 and it became a running gag/twisted bonding experience between members of the football team to grope my ass and whistle at me and then threaten to beat me up if I complained? When I spent a night at a friend’s house, 30 miles from my home, and he goaded me into drinking vodka and casually got naked in front of me suggesting we “wrestle”, I’d had no preparation or warning or understanding to work off of.

I learned pretty quick that the same boys in the schoolyard breaking my face open and the boys in the back of the bus goading me to give them handjobs were usually the same. And that somehow that made them heterosexual, and me not. My pre-teen years were spent getting a first-hand custom education that what most people understand about gender and sexuality is 100% bullshit, but not in the way everyone tells you it’s bullshit. More like in the straight women creating gay porn way that everything most people understand about gender and sexuality is bullshit.

…and this is aside of my well-trod-out stories of hundreds of pre-teen nights staying up after my family went to bed to play with makeup, calling myself “Rachel” in the mirror. Mornings after when my dad would yell at me for any detected trace of glitter or color on my face, speculating out loud (and loudly) how many cocks his “son” must be already sucking before “he’d” even made it into high school…

So anyway I was a big old homo and I was pretty sure I was just gonna start admitting it to myself and others and then my parents had to up and divorce. I mean, the divorce was needed and an excellent idea, but it put a serious kibosh on my plans to come out. My parents relationship had been rapidly disintegrating for a while, but had accelerated after the suicide of my uncle Jim, an event that fucked pretty much all of us up, including myself.

beenason3One of entirely too few photos I have of my uncle and I.

So anyway my parents split up and it was traumatic and whatever, you know, the typical child of the 90s story. That legendary divorce is such a bore. What it meant to me was that we were relocating from Briggs, Texas to Copperas Cove, Texas, a place where there were people my age that I could feasibly, you know, hang out with and potentially have a normal childhood friendship with. I was 14 at the time and had no idea what that was like and, honestly, I was terrified. I couldn’t imagine anyone wanting to be my friend if I was gay, so that got buried. Between repressing that and my socialized fear of masculinity, I found myself drawn to and embracing bonehead white trash heavy metal music and lifestyle (of which, thankfully, no photos survive).

placesivecalledhome5The duplex we lived in when we first moved to Copperas Cove in 1991.

Amongst all the knuckle-dragging meathead metal I’d immersed myself in at the time, something else had broken through that fall of 1991. One evening after school I’d caught the near-inescapable video for Smells Like Teen Spirit and I was enthralled. I just didn’t even know how to comprehend what I’d seen except that I’d suddenly become obsessed. I wound up scraping the cash together for the single on cassette, and then a few weeks later the album, and studied the artwork and scrutinized the lyrics and just tried to absorb everything I could out of it. For years afterwards I hunted down interviews and tracked down bootlegs to gain a more cohesive understanding of Kurt’s oeuvre.

beenason4

But I’m getting ahead of myself. Let’s get down to brass tacks: here was a scrawny cat with a big nose and a cleft chin with a feminine gender expression, an obsession with anatomical models and other weird antiques, and an obvious chip on his shoulder about toxic masculinity. It was like looking in a mirror or running into the future version of myself or something. I was 15 or so when I first read that legendary statement tucked away in the liner notes to Incesticide:

At this point I have a request for our fans.  If any of you in any way hate homosexuals, people of different color, or women, please do this one favor for us — leave us the fuck alone!  Don’t come to our shows and don’t buy our records.

I remember thinking wow this is like the opposite of what it’s ok to say these days and filed it away in a place in my brain similar to the place under my bed where I stashed my gay porn. Someplace personal and private until I worked up the courage to address and admit to myself. I find myself periodically reminded of the role Nirvana played in sparing me from white trash induced mediocrity and self-repression. By the time I was 17 and in colllege away from small-town and family pressure I’d moved well past being that weird kid that was painting his nails coral and writing sharpie slogans and had come out as bisexual and began to cross-dress and wear makeup publicly in increasing frequency…

18yearoldmeMe at Lubbock punk rock club Einstein’s in 1995.

…but then we’re starting to get into a whole other story.

So What Is Up With The Upside Down Crosses?

28 Mar

This is the most common question I get that doesn’t involve my genitals, so I figure I should finally take a shot at answering it.

satanluvsmeYour humble narrator: Rani “No, I Don’t Literally Worship Satan” Baker.

So let’s just get this out of the way: spiritually, I consider myself a pantheist. What I mean by that is that I believe everything that exists is an aspect of the divine. I also reject the idea of a physical manifestation of the divine outside of the realm of metaphor. That said, I don’t have a functioning definition of divinity that I consider satisfactory. I also consider myself amoral in the sense that I don’t externalize the source of my empathy, desire to to do as little harm as possible, and basic social decorum. I also reject appeals to some sort of universality of said “moral” behavior, mainly because most appeal to some sort of chauvinism. Philosophically, I attempt to remain open to a dynamic situational universe and respond thusly. A lot of my positions are influenced by Robert Anton Wilson’s ideas about Model Agnosticism.

So I’m kind of like an atheist, except I kinda believe in everything, except for the concept of a god or morality. Simple, right?

And I’m no fan of Laveyan Satanism either. Too rooted in Objectivist thought for my taste. In reality, what I believe and practice is closer to Luciferianism than Satanism, but most people don’t know the difference and “HAIL SATAN” is more fun to say and gets more people’s undies in a twist. I also appreciate that thanks to my hometown, “Hail Satan” has turned into an informal pro-choice mantra. I swear to Satan I had nothing to do with that… but friends of mine might have. :3

I’ve also always been fascinated by religions that choose to include Lucifer into their rituals, like the Process Church Of The Final Judgement for instance. But long before I dared wear or utilize an inverted cross (which tbh always used to make me uneasy), I’d been drawn to the image of Baphomet (for probably a ton of blatantly obvious subconscious reasons).

ranibaphomet

In any case, for a while I associated both my gender identity (and my attempts to repress it) with black magic, demons, things like that. It terrified me, and the more my body and mind made it clear I needed to confront and do something about it, the more terrified I got.

So anyway, I don’t worship Satan, and I don’t hate Christians either. Because I guess that also needs to be clarified.

That said, I make no secret of the fact that I’m pretty church-damaged. I’m the first-born daughter of a preacher’s first-born daughter, and was raised Assemblies Of God, an extremely strict charismatic Presbyterian sect (that apparently Sarah Palin belongs to, lol). I remember church services being terrifying spectacles of histrionic performance, people slain in the spirit and speaking in tongues and dramatic faith-healings being a weekly occurrence. When I was 13, I voluntarily converted to Southern Baptist because it was more “liberal” if you can believe that.

The thing that really began to erode my Christian faith, however, was the suicide of my uncle Jim, a gay Christian pop singer. I couldn’t (and still can’t) come to terms with a God that wouldn’t want him in heaven, much less reconcile my own sexual orientation and gender identity issues with same. His death shook the faith of a lot of my family members. My mom (the aforementioned preacher’s daughter and one of my favorite people in the world), while still retaining a reverence for the teachings of Christ, currently follows a spiritual path influenced by the medicine of the Lakota Indians. My uncle, a Mennonite pastor, is now actively working to make his denomination more welcoming and inclusive of LGBT people. So, you know, this part isn’t entirely an unhappy ending.

So maybe we’re getting to the bottom of why the inverted crosses, but why pink? Well first of all because it shouldn’t exist. I’ve been obsessed with that idea for a while. There’s probably yet another trans metaphor in there somewhere. Hell, the name Destroyed For Comfort is probably an unconscious trans metaphor. Anyway, this is the first recorded time the pink inverted cross was a thing, and wouldn’t you know it I’m wearing a fucking dress (I swear to Satan this shit is unintentional)-

flipside2009cross

So yeah this was at Flipside 2009. It’s a pretty safe bet there were drugs involved in this decision to include new iconography in the Destroyed For Comfort performance oeuvre.  It didn’t start to become a prominent image until the months leading up to and especially shortly after I’d begun transition, however.

a12

A sort of symbolic acknowledgement yet rejection of my past while retaining momentum. Confrontational, yet cute. Like me.

Speaking of momentum tho, I think I’m bored with talking about this. Pretty sure I got the point (or as close to one there is) across.

23 Words I’ve Had To Add To My Phone’s Dictionary.

28 Mar

dictboners dictboobs dictbuh dictcuddly dictebay dictestro dictfolx dicthella dicthetero dictkinda dictlabrys dictmeow dictmono dictoof dictorchi  dictphotoshop dictrani dictsexierdicttatts dictransfemdictransitdictphobiadictwelp

Seriously, I’m #NotYourRayon, And You Can’t Recast Me As One.

12 Mar

In contrast to the “decievers,” who wield their feminine wiles with success, the “pathetic transsexual” characters aren’t deluding anyone. Despite her masculine mannerisms and five-o-clock shadow, the “pathetic transsexual” will inevitably insist that she is a woman trapped in a man’s body… Unlike “deceivers” whose ability to “pass” is a serious threat to our culture’s ideas about gender and sexuality, “pathetic transsexuals” -who barely resemble women at all- are generally considered harmless. Perhaps for this reason, some of the most endearing portrayals of trans women fall into the “pathetic” category.  – Julia Serano, Whipping Girl

FULL DISCLOSURE: I still haven’t seen Dallas Buyer’s Club, but I do intend to see it. Truth is, I’ll probably even like it. I have a soft spot in my heart for sad sack “pathetic transsexual” stories. Hell, the Christmas after I began transition my dad made a clumsy shitty joke about a certain character from Priscilla Queen Of The Desert f0r obvious reasons in order to make the most hamfisted shitty jab at me or whatever, so like I know certain stereotypes I may never escape so I might as well sit back and enjoy?

So like in the whole aftermath of Leto winning an Oscar from this whole mess been seeing two common responses that I feel the need to jump in on, and how they curiously intersect in my own experience. The first is the WHARBLGARBL WELL MAYBE RAYON WAS JUST A GAY MALE CROSSDRESSER TRANSVESTITE AND NOT TRANS AT ALL DID YOU THINK OF THAT GOSH THE TRANS UMBRELLA DIDN’T EXIST BACK THEN (The following are assorted responses to Parker Marie Malloy’s recent Advocate articles on the subject)

dallas2Except in the real world:
Heterosexual trans women are heavily impacted by AIDS, frequently due to lack of healthcare and/or discrimination/stigma by healthcare professionals regarding testing and treatment.

dallas3
Except in the real world:
1) Christine Jourgenson, one of the most well known trans women of the past 50 years, frequently referred to herself as “transgender” since the late 1970s.
2) The movie takes place in 1985, the same year Richard Ulster founded the first Transgender Literature Archive at Ulster University. Also at least a year after this 1984 article by sexologist Roger E Peo.
3)Virginia (Charles) Prince didn’t invent the word, but she did help popularize it. The word appears in the psychology reference manual “Sexual Hygiene and Pathology” a full five years before the first issue of Prince’s magazine “Transvestia”.

dallas4
^the above was screencapped from the excellent Trans Hollywood blog, which has been swarmed by persistent assclowns of every flavor over their stance on this issue.

And, like fucking seriously y’all? Gay men don’t get sexual reassignment surgery. That’s like the shittiest laziest most homophobic stereotype out there, and it’s suddenly a better alternative than just saying the character is a sad inaccurate stereotype of a trans woman? The difference between gay men and trans women was already a well-known enough phenomenon in the real world half a decade before this movie takes place that, when the late-70s/early-80s tv show Soap suggested that the gay character would desire a sex change it faced protests from both gay and trans activists for trying to conflate the two. How easy motherfuckers forget history.

I mean, this isn’t 1975, and this isn’t Dog Day Afternoon, even though the scriptwriters (and anti-trans bloggers/commenters) apparently can’t tell the difference.

And it’s like, Rayon was a 100% fictional character unbound by any sort of narrative convention; why exactly does the character seem more and more like one that wouldn’t even fly in the 1990s?

In any case, it’s a game of semantics to pretend that people aren’t going to associate this character with the lived experience of trans women. It straight up says multiple times in the movie (as well as the book) Silence Of The Lambs that Buffalo Bill doesn’t exhibit any of the traits of trans identity, yet he’s a consistent go-to trope, a cognitive bias horror reflection of the insistence that the lived experience of trans women are a figurative/symbolic theft of women’s flesh somehow. Body autonomy? What the fuck is that? And it’s just one of dozens of similar movies pushing the same image.

leatherfaceindragOh hey look, another movie with a timely, sensitive transfeminine portrayal starring Matthew McConaughey

Anyway, enough of that.

The other point being made I take contention with (perhaps even more so) is this assertion Calpernia Adams makes in her recent Advocate piece regarding the controversy.

But I have known people like Rayon. She is not a made-up grab bag of random hateful attributes. She’s a portrayal of an uncomfortable segment of the trans experience that a few TLGB folks would rather be erased rather than discussed. I think many of the haters hate Rayon because she isn’t beautiful, she isn’t passable, she isn’t gender-binary, she isn’t 2014-political. And when I see that elitist hypocrisy, I’m inclined to push back.

It’s hard being trans, even more so in the era and circumstances of Dallas Buyers Club. I’ve known plenty of trans sex workers, self-medicators, wise teachers, hilarious weirdos, and people taken before their time due to violence and lack of health care. I’ve known trans people very much like Rayon, and maybe if some people got up from their remote activism -devices (computer screens and smartphones) and left their ivory towers and privilege bubbles, they’d meet a few people like Rayon face-to-face too.

Excuse the fuck out of me? Where in the actual fuck do you get the gall to recast all concerns about this character into some tired gross archaic “transsexual vs transgender” elitism?

I’m *from* Texas. I’ve self-medicated. I’ve done drugs. Like, a *lot* of drugs. I haven’t done sex work, but I can’t say I haven’t considered it. I’m not HIV+, but I’ve dated people who were. I spent the latter part of the 1990s getting sneered at by older transsexuals in “support” groups during a time when I was young and lost and really could have used some guidance. I frequented gay bars, and often slept with gay men (slept with an awful lot of straight guys too, for the record).

krossover1Me, literally standing in the doorway of the infamous, frequently cop-raided, Harker Heights,Tx gay/drag bar Krossover, in 1999(?).

And being concerned about passability? Christ. I’m the tallest, gangliest, most shittily-tattooed, donkey-faced thing out there. And apparently I dress like a Hot Topic threw up. So lets just say it isn’t high on my concerns.

bangs

So like, when Leto talks about “the Rayons of the world” or whatever, he’s talking about people like me. Except fuck you no he isn’t.

And it’s like, maybe I don’t really want to be spoken for in this gross pandering “No Homo” way and romanticized as some sort of “impossible creature” and yet again have my narrative, a path and experience I’ve fought for and struggled with for a lifetime, repackaged in a cynical fashion by people with no understanding of it.

Not sure what I really expected from a movie that repackages it’s protagonist as a uber-heterosexual and homophobic (yay bisexual erasure) in order to learn some sort of hamfisted lesson, tho.

That said, I still intend to check the movie out. No homo.