Did Anyone Get The Number Of That Truck?

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The downside to having children is that if there is a bug going around, they are sure to catch it and bring it home to you. 

So, since last Saturday we have had someone home sick and the last two days we had two of the boys home which means what? Yup, I caught it too and the fun part? I get to go into work tonight. 

What’s the saying. no rest for the wicked?

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Reconnecting

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I was able to reconnect with one of the people I came out to before Christmas. It was such a relief to open up and talk with someone who I felt comfortable with. I will admit though, that I talked the poor woman’s ear off. As I told her, my nickname as a child was “Jabber Jaws”, (and if you got the reference, here’s a cookie!) We caught up on a lot of things and just had a wonderful conversation over all.

 

This is one of the things which has really changed in my life. For so long, as I struggled to understand myself, I slowly isolated myself. Allowing friendships and other relationships to slip away. Now I find I have a driving desire to get involved with life again, to interact with others. To share so much which has been shut away for far too long. 

It is true that I often find I have to be careful of what I say and the way I am saying it. That’s the downside of keeping a secret, and I can feel the difference of talking when presenting as male and female, depending on the conversation. I can say this though, no matter what the conversation, I feel more comfortable, more confident in myself when presenting as female. It is then that I feel complete in how I am interacting with the world and those around me. When I am talking with someone I am comfortable with, someone with whom I find I can just be myself without fear, then it doesn’t matter as much how I am presenting, though there is that part of me which is still aware I am not there as I truly know I should be. This was the case yesterday and it was so freeing that thinking on it now brings a smile and yes, even a tear. I so wish every day, every conversation could be this way. 

 

There has been so much talk over why we are the way we are, what forces are at work that shape us. Yet, I think in the end, none of that matters. To simply treat one another with respect, to be willing to accept someone for who they are… Isn’t that what is truly important?

Understanding Gender: A Quest For Information (Updated)

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think it is fair to say gender is a very complicated aspect of what it means to be human. The very fact there is now so much heated discussion on the issue should be as proof of that. Any dialogue which can be started must be approached with an open mind and a willingness to learn. Attempting to engage in talks with a predetermined assumption as to a correctness of view, with no room for compromise, accomplishes nothing.

One of the ways in which we can approach these discussions and especially the arguments which arise from them is to seek to educate ourselves. I don’t mean simply reading Wikipedia, but taking the time to do in depth research. The problem, if you want to see it as such, is that even with the power of the internet at your disposal, it takes time and patience to find usable and (most important), reliable, information which you can then refer people in support of your position. This is what I am trying to deal with at the moment. I am doing research online in an effort to better educate myself, to be able to write competently and convincingly about the issues which face Trans* people and to refute the claims by those who seek to invalidate us.

I have found one site which I I am currently reading and so far it seems as good of a starting point as any;

Understanding Gender: http://www.genderspectrum.org/understanding-gender

If anyone has other useful resources, links, books, videos, whatever, please feel free to share them. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is seeking to understand this issue.

 

Thanks to (e)m for pointing me to this article from Natalie Reed: http://freethoughtblogs.com/nataliereed/2012/07/16/signifying-gender/

Questioning: Gender & Privilege

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I’ve been thinking all day about what I would write about and I kept coming back to one word; Gender. Earlier this week I became involved in a discussion about the use of the prefix, cis and how some find it offensive. This lead to questioning the meaning of “privilege” and “gender” as they are being used in the discussions about Trans* rights and transphobia. I don’t think those last two were intended to be part of it, but they did come to my mind as I read not only the article which started the exchange but another article as well.

I am not going to link to the second article though I am going to talk about some of the things the author brought up. Normally I wouldn’t do this, but something occurred in the comments which for me invalidated anything useful which might have found its way into the original post. to not be too cryptic I am going to share the comment and response and let you make up your own mind.

Please note, I am not including the names of anyone involved in this discussion, I am providing the following only to share something I found personally objectionable. 

 

I entirely disagree with the premise of this article. I see this perspective as transphobic and has very little understanding of trans and gender theory. I wish I had more time to articulate all of my points, but perhaps I will have to come back later.
1. The underlying argument that trans/cis is a mutually exclusive binary is false. There is a whole spectrum of gender queer identities in between these two labels. These terms are used to describe the difference between those who, upon being referred to as their assigned gender, do not feel an uncomfortable and uneasy sense of identity and those who do. That is to put it very simply. Of course many people feel feel themselves all over the gender spectrum when it comes to presentation (many people identified in the comments here as butch dykes) but the underlying difference that makes one cis is that they still feel comfortable with their perceived genitalia defining their pronouns. If anyone reading this article and agreeing with it has ever had a conversation with a trans* person, you might have a less fucked up perception of these terms.
2. This article seems to believe that by acknowledging cis-privilege, this is erasing male privilege. Once again, THESE ARE NOT MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE. The idea of intersectionality understands that there can be different types and levels of oppression that overlap. It’s complicated! That’s okay! Yes, women in this society are at a disadvantage to men. But this fact does not negate the struggles that trans* people face every day as well. To not be recognized as being the gender they identify with, and have to read fucked up articles like this, is a constant struggle. So even though cis-women don’t have the same privileges as cis-men, being cis is still a huge advantage over being trans*, where people are constantly telling you that your identity DOES NOT EXIST. Transwomen still face disadvantages in terms of privilege as opposed to transmen.
3. That whole tangent about sexual violence is completely missing the point. Do you realize how much sexual violence trans people endure? From strangers asking about what’s in their pants to rape. Don’t assume that sexual violence is a “woman” thing.
3. Don’t even get me started on the fucked up comment “Jacqueline S. Homan” made above. Really? You’re going to hate on transwomen because they have the wrong biology to you? Can you even understand what it’s like to be told the way you want to be referred to and how you want to present isn’t a valid identity?
I am a queer cis-female. I don’t have the same background as someone who is trans* to properly articulate that experience, but I’m not about to read shit like this and let it slide. Who the fuck are you to police other people’s identities?


Where I have a problem is with the response.


 

you significantly failed to engage with my critique.

 

Identity. A subjectively claimed and constructed IDENTITY is not an entitlement. This is the fatal error in the framework of your presumed “political correctness.”

 

I am not ENTITLED to be treated according to my IDENTITY as Miss Piggy. Otherkin are not entitled to a space at the animal shelter; males in dresses are not entitled to enter sex-segregated space for females. White people who love fried chicken, watermelon, and rap music are not ENTITLED to have their “trans black” narratives privileged by the NAACP or to airtime at Black Panther meetings. Do you get it yet? Association with stereotypes DOES NOT EQUAL authenticity.

 

No individual is ENTITLED to membership in a group that society does not coercively place them in.

 

As I carefully explain in the post, oppression is a function of EXTERNAL (not internal) PERCEPTION. Plenty of transwomen PASS AS STEALTH. Many more butch dykes and gender non-conforming females get treated NO BETTER than non-passing (as “target sex”) “trans” people. CIS is a useless concept for describing social dynamics.

 

Transwomen still face disadvantages in terms of privilege as opposed to transmen.

 

Yeah. I agree! Again, another place you are missing the big picture. The “disadvantage,” as you call you it, is created BECAUSE the sex-roles of “man” and “woman” are NOT EQUAL. Transwomen are LOSING social status by moving from the male TO the female social class. Transmen GAIN social status by escaping the female caste and moving to the male social class. This is basic: “gender” is a HIERARCHY.

 

No one is forced to read this article.

 

I put the offending part into bold. 

Now maybe I’m bing over sensitive here, but I found this not only personally offensive, but bigoted and transphobic as well. As I said, with this single paragraph she completely invalidated anything else she may have said, right or wrong.

The general premise of the post was that using the prefix “cis” was offensive because it implied privilege which doesn’t exist. That indeed, women cannot be thought of as being privileged within the context of a male dominated society. That gender is not a social contract as much as it is a “socially constructed power hierarchy” designed to enslave women. Since men and women cannot exist within the gender binary equally, then they cannot be seen as the same in regards to “cis” privilege.

Now I admit this is an over simplification of the argument made, but this is a very lengthy post and I could spend weeks just going over what was said and picking it apart, but for me this really wasn’t the point. I found it a motivator to do my own research, to learn for myself just what forces are at play within the context of society and the gender binary.

There was a lot of time and effort put into thinking all of this out, but there is something about it which just doesn’t feel right. I agree one can make the argument for hierarchy within the gender binary, but to say that those who stand in the mainstream of what is considered “normal” as defined by the majority don’t benefit from that is a little naive, even if the case can be made that such benefits are less than those enjoyed by males. i also feel that the author has made an effort to not understand the discussion from the other, “Trans*” side and has instead sought to frame the discussion from a point where she and like minded people can seek to make themselves into victims not just of a society which punishes women for not being men, but also of so called “Transgender wrath.” 

Starting A Conversation

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There is an ongoing conversation I am having in regards to a post I read yesterday. It can be found here: Don’t Call Me “Cisgirl”. 

I think this is a very good opportunity to open a dialogue in the hopes of furthering understanding between Trans* and non trans people. From this conversation, though still in it’s initial stages, I can see where there is a very real difference in the way people are viewing what is being said. Indeed, it has become obvious to me that we are not just coming at this from different directions, but from worlds of experience and understanding.

I think for myself, when I first responded to this post, I did so from certain assumptions which have caused some misunderstanding. It is quite possible this is just a fault of my own, that I simply am not a very good spokeswoman in these matters, but I can’t help but feel that much of this arises from what we think others should know in regards to own viewpoints and this is true for both sides.

I hope there will be those who will take the time to read the exchange in the comments and let me know what mistakes I may have made and how I can explain things better. 

 

I hope that if nothing else is accomplished, then I can gain a better understanding of the issues that concern all women and through that understanding, become a better advocate for women, Trans” and non Trans alike.