A Conversation

I had a different post planned. In fact it is written and waiting in my Draft folder, but I’m not going to share it just yet… maybe later… we’ll see.

I know there are those of you out there who have thought I am being too careful of what I tell my children in regards to who and what I really am, that I’ve been over protective and maybe not trusting enough they can be open and accepting. After all, how many times have we read stories of how children seem to be more open minded than adults when it comes LGBT issues?

Well, I began to think maybe all of you were right. I needed to get a sense of what my children really think, maybe as been said, they would be totally accepting and my hiding from them was causing more harm than good…

So when I had the chance to speak with my oldest today alone, I brought the subject up in regards to how I am planning to dress for Halloween, just as I did last year. I asked him what he thought, how it made him feel and as is often the case with children, even teenagers, he was honest with me.

Brutally honest.

Me: I’m going to dress up for Halloween again this year

Him: Ok.

Me: Do you remember what I wore last year?

Him: Yeah, it was creepy.

Me: What was creepy about it?

Him: You were dressed as a woman.

Me: What was creepy about it?

Him: I don’t know. it just was.

Me: What would happen if I dressed like that all the time?

Him: It would strange and unnatural.

Me: Unnatural? Why?

Him: Because you should dress that way.

There was more. I spoke of how how there are people in the world who feel as if they are the opposite of how they were born. I spoke of how people are different and there is nothing wrong with that, but he again said it was wrong and unnatural.

I asked why he thought that and he said just because it is.

Explanation

Before you read any further, please let the video play as background music…

I suppose I should try to explain my last post…

As I said, I had written a longer post which I have since decided not to post. It is about Saturdays therapy session with Jodi; as I was writing it I realized all I have been doing is making one excuse after another for why I can’t move further in transition beyond the point I have now reached, which truthfully isn’t very far at all.

The conversation is rather broken in my head, there are points of clarity but I cannot remember the sequence in which they took place, so if the following seems disjointed this is the reason…

Jodi asked if I was planning on going out again this Halloween, which I have been, sans the boots… it would be flats from now on… We got somewhat sidetracked talking about costumes for our kids which somehow brought us to what happened last year when A and I took the boys to see her parents… She had told her mother I was going to be out fully dressed, so she had a heads up… we didn’t just spring it on her. Still, I’m sure she was expecting something over the top, a silly, obvious spoof, a goofy drag queen… what she got was something infinitely different and she was surprised to say the least… it was her response which I haven’t forgotten…

“Your not going to dress like that all the time are you?” 

The rest of the evening went fairly well, but I couldn’t shake that one question. Her disapproval was clear and I felt like a liar for laughing it off… I just couldn’t see a way to have a conversation with her which would end well.

This lead to us talking about last year and what I felt being out. About what I thought I would feel if I went out again this year. Which in turn lead to what has come to bother me so much now…

She asked me if I had thought of going about my normal day as Kira… being out in town… I can’t fully express the slow, creeping terror I felt as I pictured myself out, surrounded by people… We spoke of different things including the bathroom issues, which ended with us trying to remember all the places we know that have gender neutral bathrooms. This in turn brought her to ask if I had thought about going to a different city where no one would know me… a thought which almost made me physically ill… being somewhere unfamiliar where I had nothing and no one for support.. All of this lead to a discussion about what I feared could go wrong, of issues with store staff, strangers, the possibility of getting into a confrontation… an endless series of ever more unlikely situations… at some point I knew I was just making excuses… letting the fear drive me beyond a common sense caution. I think it was pretty clear to her as well, though she was polite enough to not push me too much.

She then asked about going with A and I admit it has crossed my mind more than once, but I haven’t asked her. I’m not sure which would be worse, being rebuffed or acceptance and it was at this point I had to stop writing because it was clear as glass all I was dong was making excuses for myself… all the countless reasons why I can’t take the next step. Why I could never hope to make the dream a reality… because I know damn good and well I could if I put my mind to it.

All my life I have been ruled by my fears. Time and time again I have not followed my dreams because I talked myself out of doing so… excuses, excuses… excuses. I have gotten so good at convincing myself of all the reasons I couldn’t do something, reasons to give up, give in, to run away and hide… it is second nature to me now… You see, it is true, when you have given up once, it become easier each time after until you don’t know how to do anything else…

And so I was forced to finally be honest with myself… I am a coward. It is easier to give up than fight for what I want. To keep my head down and just do what is expected of me. 

Yes. There a number if very real reasons why I need to move forward slowly, to think very carefully about the risks caused by what I do, but this implies I am still moving forward when in truth I am at a standstill, unable to move in any direction at all… I have lost count of how many times I have been in this place before… as a child looking at her reflection in a mirror, as a teen applying makeup until I suddenly became terrified and quickly cleaned it all off, as a twenty something sitting in a motel room making a list of all the things I would need to go out the door as female… time and again wondering if I could pass… to simply be accepted as just another woman out and about her day… the countless times I passed the cosmetics counter and trying to find an excuse to get a makeover… passing the perfumes and wishing I could try something… to walking through the clothing and seeing something I really liked and wishing I could simply buy it for myself… to seeing women out in the world every day and wishing I could be just like them, just out and about being myself… 

Every time to let the moment pass, the thoughts to slip beneath the surface once more, buried by more and more excuses and rationalizations until they were forgotten… at least for a little while.

Police Search for Missing Transgender Teen

Police Search for Missing Transgender Teen

Nathaniel+Martin Malone+090813

Montgomery County police are looking for a teenager last seen just before 6 p.m. Saturday night.

Nathaniel Martin-Malone, 15, was last seen on Norbeck Road not far from the Intercounty Connector in Silver Spring, Md.

Family members say Nathaniel is transgender and may be wearing women’s clothing.

Police and the family are concerned because Nathaniel has a medical condition that requires medication.

Nathaniel is black with brown eyes and short, black, curly hair and standing about 5-feet-3-inches tall and 160 pounds and was last seen wearing black pants and a black sweater over a leopard print shirt.

Anyone with information about Nathaniel’s whereabouts should call police at 301-279-8000.


A Good Day

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It’s been a long day… in a good way. As in I have been on the run the majority of the daylight hours. It might have started out better though, as my alarm went off at 5:30AM and I then turned it off instead of hitting snooze like I meant to…

In any case, I did manage to get up and going in time to go to an early therapy appointment, at 7:00AM. Seriously… who does business so early? Just kidding, I understood why J needed to schedule me so early and I was fine with it.

Our sessions have been interesting lately because we have been mixing in a lot of general talk with more therapy related things with the subjects ranging all over the place from current events to religion.It certainly keeps me on my toes. Some interesting things came up this time; for one was the question of it is possible for me to find a way to buffer myself when I am reading something which has the effect of setting off my depression to one degree or another, such as the topic of my last big post. In talking about this I realize there aren’t any quick fixes to these situations and maybe there shouldn’t be. Sometimes I need time to process something and find the right answer for me. There are more times than not doing so is going to take a few days, as it did in this last case, but I am in a better place when I finally find an answer. Also, it gives me a better perspective of my own thoughts and feelings and I am better able to discuss things with others.

Speaking of my post and the original by Ali which lead to me writing what I did… We talked about it and I let J read what I had written after talking about what I had read. The discussion lead to what I thought and felt reading that post and the conclusions I had worked out for myself, mainly about being myself, being Kira, 24/7 regardless of what I wear; with or without makeup or a wig. As I told her, my outward appearance, while important for various reasons, has nothing to do with who I am inside my own head.

This lead to some interesting discussions, about how ones outter appearance can often be confusing and lead to someone being mis-gendered regardless of if they are male or female, gay or straight. That lead to something I didn’t expect which was finding out one of J’s daughters, who I have met several times, once asked if I was a boy or a girl. She wasn’t sure of which was correct and she didn’t want offend me by asking. This was without me really doing anything to change my appearance…  All of which lead to another observation which was I cannot know how I am being read by anyone else, nor just what their thoughts might be. Because I cannot judge such things, I tend to be much harder on myself and the way I present than I should be. As A pointed out, we are always harder on ourselves than others are and this is magnified by my situation and insecurities.

I have to remind myself it seems I am presenting as more feminine than I realize. This is an interesting thought as I have been working to undo many of the habits I picked up while in the Navy, to return to more of the way I was before that point in my life. If I have succeeded to any degree, and people are seeing me now in much the same way they did back then, it explains a great many things which happened, and which I heard or was told by others regarding how I was seen by those around me. If this is really the case, then I truly have come a lot further than I ever imagined, which is a pleasant surprise indeed.

Transgender vs. Crossdressing: A Response

500px Transgender yin yang

 

I follow a number of blogs by other trans people, it helps to read the thoughts of others who are in different places in becoming there true selves. Of course, as with anything so personal, there are things said which I understand and some I do not, there are opinions spoken I agree with or not, but in all things, it makes me think.

Ali Finds Herself is one such blog. She is thoughtful, insightful, and often funny and I find her posts to be interesting and often thought provoking. She recently wrote a post called Transgender vs. Crossdresser which I have been thinking about ever since I first read it a few days ago. I’m not going to recap the whole thing, you really should read it for yourself, but I will paste the last paragraph here because it so important to what I want to say;

“The answer I gave Nancy was this: “I think the line between crossdressing and transgender is when it stops being an event and just starts being normal.” And if I’m being honest with myself, I’m just not there yet. And cue the depressed sigh …”

 

I was bothered quite deeply by this post. It is thoughtful and thought provoking and in many ways spoke to my own struggles in defining myself… it carried the ring of truth on several levels, yet there was something about it and Ali’s conclusion which bothered me for another reason. 

Transitioning is a multifaceted aspect of being Transgender, yet it alone cannot define what it is to be Transgender. It goes beyond Gender Expression, (though it is part of it). It is not just a physical but mental as well. It must, and does include all of the ways a person changes in how they see themselves and the world about them.

Being Transgender is as shallow as your skin and as deep as your heart. 

In many ways I understand the confusion and doubts created when you cannot be yourself full time, when you must parcel out yourself in different packages for different occasions. Just as Ali does, I must maintain a male presence at work and for my children. I must think about everything I do and how it is being seen by those around me and sometimes it gets to be too much. Just as she wishes to be Ali all the time, I too wish I could let the world see Kira all the time, yet I know this just isn’t workable at the moment. The difference between us is how we view ourselves irrespective of outer appearance.

I am Kira full time now. Maybe not in how I walk down the street, but where it real matters in my day to day life… Inside. There isn’t a “him mode” and a “Kira mode”… there is only me behind my eyes. In my thoughts and dreams, in my emotions and opinions, in every way which truly matters to me as a person, I am Kira.

Don’t get me wrong, I would love to be seen as I truly am all of the time, but you know what? In the end it is the same; the world will only ever see the outside, not what’s inside. Not what makes me a human being and not just a body taking up space.

I guess what bothered me so deeply about what I read was the impression I require an external measure of who and what I am… That by making a big deal out of getting dressed up, putting on makeup and a wig; by seeing doing so as a personal adventure to be savored and enjoyed, I am then making a production out of it, turning what should be a normal, everyday event, not requiring any serious thought, into something separate and special, that I am in someway not being true to the “Transgender Ideal.” 

I simply cannot agree with this. Not for myself. Maybe getting “fancied up” is something special for when I have the time and energy, but I am at all times Kira. 

To me, this is what separates me from Crossdressers, they put on a persona. An almost separate identity from themselves, becoming something else while presenting as the opposite gender, yet inside, in their heart of hearts, they are the same person in a different costume. 

For them it as much about the presentation as anything. For myself it is only a outward expression of my inner truth. I do not “become” Kira; I am Kira, and this is just one of the ways I express myself.

Violence Against Transgender People

This is a subject I have wanted to address for awhile now, but was unsure how to approach it. Now, having seen this post from 2010, I have a better idea of what I want to say.

Before I begin let me give a Trigger Warning. Both for this post and the one I linked to.

In recent weeks there has been a number of news stories from California and Washington D.C. reporting numerous assaults of Trans people.

The latest is from the Washington Post as well as this story.

There is also this story from Metroweekly.

From Los Angeles, we have heard about the attack of Vivian Diego which is still being investigated.

(I know there was at least one other story regarding violence against Trans people in California, but at the moment I can’t locate it as it seems the stories from D.C. has dominated the news.)

There are other stories out there from other cities and states and of course the stories from all over the world often highlighted during the Transgender Day of Remembrance.

What I find most disturbing isn’t just the continued violence our community faces but in how, over the years, we have not seen a change in people’s thoughts and opinions regarding it. As we see a growing awareness of Trans people and issues, there still seems to be an unwillingness to admit someone never deserves to assaulted or killed. Instead we see, time after time, the attitude a Trans person somehow asked for or deserved to be attacked because of who and what they are. That by stepping out into the world as ourselves we are inviting violence and discrimination because we are not willing to hide behind closed doors. In refusing to be ashamed of ourselves we are then willing targets. How many times have we heard such arguments directed at gay and lesbian people? What I want to ask is this; how can it be that such actions, violence and discrimination are no longer seen as acceptable in the eyes of the cisgender world, yet it is not seen in the same light when it becomes known the victim is Transgender?

It is a sad commentary on a society when there are still groups who are ignored, belittled, disenfranchised and dismissed because they are seen as different or “other.” When any person, any group of people, can be viewed as less than human, less deserving of the rights and dignity afforded another human being because they do not meet the expectations of others.

(Note: I do not personally agree with being referred to as “A Transgender” I am a woman who is Transgender. I used this image because it most closely matched my thoughts as expressed in this post.)

I Am A Human Being Before Anything Else And That Should Be Enough.

I read a post today titled: “The Transgender Realm“. The point of this was to ask that we as Trans* people not be offended or defensive when cisgender people ask us questions. After all, people are naturally curious about things they don’t understand and so they will ask questions. 

I can understand the sentiment behind this thought and I agree we should at least try to answer some basic questions. What I don’t understand is why some people think this gives them the right to ask ever more invasive questions and to have them answered when, if it were them being asked, they would be offended.

I don’t have a problem with talking about how I see myself or what feelings I have, but I don’t think you need to know if I am on hormones or have had / are going to have, any surgery. A simple rule of thumb, stop and think for a moment about if you would be offended if someone asked you the question your about to ask me. If the answer is “yes” or “maybe”, then don’t ask or else don’t be surprised if I am.

Now, since we are speaking of questions, I have something I would like to know…

Why is it any cisgendered person or straight person feels they have a right to demand to know why I am the way I am? Do I ask you why you are the way you are? Should I feel free to make assumptions about you, what you wear, who you sleep with? 

This argument of it being my or anyone else’s responsibility to help you understand who and what we are doesn’t wash. It isn’t my responsibility to provide your education, it is yours to take the time and make an effort to learn for yourself just as we have done. 

And one last thing…

My desire to enjoy the same rights and privileges as everyone else shouldn’t depend on my willingness to be a poster girl for Trans people or the LGBT community. 

I am a human being before anything else and that should be enough.

Morons With Broadband

Most of the time I think the internet is a good thing. It allows people from all over the world to share thoughts and ideas, it makes information available to the masses but sometimes I think it is a pestilence on human existence.

Now I am not going to link to the article which prompted this post because I found not only it, but the comment section to be so offensive I am still grinding my teeth and I refuse to afford these people even the smallest of soap boxes for their hatred.

The basic gist of the story is that a mother in Milwaukee decided to raise a stink over her son’s school deciding to have a “Mix It Up Day” in which the children could come dressed as the opposite sex. Now I don’t know about any of you, but my school had this when I was a kid, we called it “Opposite Day.” We also had “50s Day” where everyone dressed like we were on the set of “Happy Days” or “Grease.” The funny thing is, no one had a problem with it back then, in fact most everyone had fun with it, children and parents alike. No one thought it was part of some “Gay Agenda” or “Homosexual Indoctrination.” It wasn’t responded to with vicious, hateful rants from people hiding behind a computer screen. Yet thanks to the internet that is exactly what is happing every time there is a story with even a whiff of talking about the most innocent activity someone can twist into some form of hatred and bigotry. Really people? A stupid, fun day children have enjoyed for decades without a second thought has suddenly become another satanic holiday like Halloween or Thanksgiving… (you know, ’cause turkeys are the chicken of the devil!)

I have nothing against religions nor those who choose to participate in them, what I am against are those who use it as a veil to hide behind while they spew hatred and intolerance toward anyone who doesn’t live their lives just like they do, doesn’t do what they do, doesn’t look like they do, who doesn’t like the same dessert they do.

I have news for these morons: You don’t turn someone gay by watching “Will & Grace” and little Johnny isn’t going to become a Transvestite because he wore a dress to school for one day.

Oh, and one last little thought for all those bible thumpers…

From the New International Version:

Matthew 7:22 Many will say to me in that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in your name? and in your name have cast out devils? and in your name done many wonderful works?

And the answer?

Matthew 7:23 And then will I profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, you that work iniquity.

New Favorite Song

Jillette Johnson

 

I spent too much time today trying to understand how to embed video into a post using MarsEdit and I still couldn’t get it to work correctly. Instead I am going to simply include a link below.

My new favorite song is ‘Cameron’ by Jillette Johnson. You can watch one of the videos here.

I can’t really express the ways in which this song touched me, but it was stirring and emotional and I couldn’t help but want to share.

Here are the lyrics: (You can find them here

 

Cameron’s in drag, makes his father mad
Since he was a little boy, he always felt more comfortable in lipstick
People call him fag, teachers turn their backs
Off the bus he runs and runs
To get home before anymore can catch him

These days the world is full of aliens
The world is full of aliens
But you are a real, live human
Aren’t you Cameron?

Powder and a brush can cover any cuts
And quickly running cotton under cold water
Rinses out the blood marks
Cameron you’re a star, a light with there is dark
And you’re a hundred times a woman,
A hundred times the men that they are

These days the world is full of aliens
The world is full of aliens, but you are a human
A real, live human
Aren’t you Cameron?

You’re not an alien, you’re not an alien
You’re not an alien, Cameron
You’re not an alien, you’re not an alien
You’re not an alien, Cameron

Cameron’s in drag, makes his father mad
Since he was a little boy, he always felt more comfortable in lipstick

These days the world is full of aliens
The world is full of aliens, but you are a human
You’re not an alien
You are a real, live human
Aren’t you Cameron?

Aren’t you Cameron?

A Note To The Small Minded

Honestly, willful ignorance if not down right stupidity offends me. Let me share a prime example from the York Daily Record…

Gender identity is not legal identity

 

Here is a cut and paste for those who don’t want to give this nonsense any page views…

 

Gender identity is not legal identity

Letter to the Editor
Updated: 05/10/2013 04:38:29 PM EDT

My morning routine just got a lot more complicated. Used to be juice or coffee or eggs or cereal. Now I have the burden of deciding what sex I choose to be. A young lady from Red Lion has decided she is now a he. And expects you to call her by a male name and be allowed to bring a female date to the prom. Naturally, the ACLU jumps in as this is the kind of nonsense that ups their memberships and donations.
Transgender individuals are a real phenomenon. But one fraught with complications. The teenage years are ones of maturing sexuality and hormone turmoil. And simply living as the opposite sex does not confer on you any new legal sexual status.
Apparently, in the liberal alternate universe, sex organs are no longer the deciding factor as to your sex. And woe to any group that tries to instill “normal” standards of conduct in a given situation.
Now, do I wear the business suit or that cute mini dress?
KENNETH E. IMAN
SPRINGETTSBURY TOWNSHIP

 

I’m not sure I can even begin to address this. It’s obvious this person has never spoken to a Trans* person let alone make any attempt to actually learn about the people and issues he so flippantly disparages, and so just makes assumptions and you know what they say about assuming? That’s right, it makes an “Ass of You and Me” and after reading this drivel, calling this guy and ass would be unkind to asses everywhere.

I understand not all people jump to conclusions, but sadly, it seems the majority of gender normative people just can’t get their brains around the fact, not everyone is just like them. They seem to want to insist being gender variant must be a choice, after all, it’s just about what clothes you wear, right? All anyone need do is look in the mirror to know what they are suppose to be, right? Penis equals male, vagina equals female, right? What could be more simple than that? I suppose as long as you live in a world, surrounded by like minded people, such a black and white, either / or makes sense. After all, everyone they know is basically just like themselves and they have no reason to think otherwise. Even if they happen to know someone who is gay and thus that human sexuality isn’t so simple, they can still point out that such people tend to fall neatly into the gender binary they are living in, so they must be correct.

I suppose I can understand, after all, the simpler they can make the world, the less they have o think for themselves.

The sad thing is, I could talk until I was blue in the face and it wouldn’t make an ounce of difference to someone like this. They are so arrogant and small minded there is no room to learn the world is more complicated than they care to admit. What’s more, there is room for all of us, no matter what differences there may be.