kennedy-a transman in the world of cis thoughts

usually on sunday mornings, we drag our butts outta bed and go and get coffee at this locally owned coffeeshop.  it’s usually quiet, it’s local, the coffee is good, and the owners are pretty cool.  so there is usually a group of us weirdos that meet there.  from our household it is usually amy, sam, sometimes jeff, and myself, but we always go and get kennedy, he is a part of our family too.

i met kennedy last march.  he and a group of friends came to the pride group i had founded.  kennedy jumped into the group head first, attending all the social events, the youth group, and doing any community service that we had set up.  it was impressive to say the least.  so it was pretty easy getting to know him.  and it wasn’t too long before i heard his story.

see kennedy is trans.  he was born female but identifies and feels male.   he lives as a male.  he struggled with self-identity for many years, which is common, especially when you have never met another trans person.  he went through the gambit of well i am just a really intense lesbian, also normal.  but that wasn’t the end.  the search went on and on for the answer to the question most of us never have to ask “what am i?”  he came across an article about a trans person and he saw that was the exact same thing he had been going through his entire life.

i personally was extremely confused about trans identity for a very long time.  like many others i thought that gender was wrapped in sexual identity and therefore a transguy was a really wicked butch lesbian who it would be easier to identify as a man, and a transwoman was a over the top flamboyant gay man who it would just be easier to be a female.  i don’t think this varies much from the mainstream ideology of what is and isn’t trans.  but i was lucky enough to have someone teach me.

just before i started dating amy, when i first met her, i was in a relationship w chris, a ftm transperson.  i thought it was extremely strange when i first had a crush on him bc he would have been the first male i was attracted to in decades.  it left me w an odd feeling bc for so long inside of myself i had identified as at least bi and leaned more towards lesbian.  the relationship with chris taught me alot about gender v sexuality.

it was also an inside view into the reactions to a trans person, not only in the hetero world but in the lgb culture too.  in the hetero world there is an ever rising fear you will be “found out” and that leaves you open to extreme violence, emotionally and physically.  in the gay culture, it’s usually not so abrasive.  trans ppl are left out of events, they aren’t really taken into consideration when those of us on this side of the rainbow are fighting for equal rights, there is extreme prejudice and not alot of support-look at where the lgbt orgs were concerning cece mcdonald.  i saw that trans ppl had really nowhere to turn, very little acceptance and not a huge group of ppl who were advocating for their rights to be who they are.  there wasn’t a huge movement of public acceptance or education.

later on i met several other trans or gender queer ppl, who really really taught me alot!  i was lucky enough to have friends who would come into my home, drink coffee and just discuss issues of gender identity, what it means to be female, what it means to be male, etc.  these conversations fueled me to learn more.  i am sure everyone got pretty sick of hearing my wow gender is weird and awesome and not at all black and white epiphanies, but luckily noone told me to shut the hell up!

when we moved from maine to oklahoma, i started a pride group in the town that i live in now.  i started it mostly for the youth to have a place to be, a mentoring program, and an outlet for all those others in bouncing around in the world trying to figure things out.  i also was extremely insistent that trans ppl were not just welcomed but i actively searched them out.  i knew from before the bigotry of the gay community and i was not about to participate in that sort of hatred.  the youth was always my primary focus.  they needed the most support, and for the most part their parents, if they knew their kid was queer, were usually not so accepting.  our youth group did alot in the community, we held a rainbow ball an all ages prom open to the public where you could dress how you wanted and bring who you wanted if anyone as a date (we don’t have that luxury here in the school systems) and it was free, we went bowling, we cleaned the parks, we went on walks against sexual violence, and we talked alot.  the pride group overall started moving in a direction that i could not participate in with inside politics and popularity contests rumors and hatefulness.  i pulled myself out of the entanglement with the intention of staying to lead the youth, but there were ppl who for one reason or another decided that i shouldn’t do that, and started rumors making it impossible for me to continue my work.  the rumors became so bad and so wide spread i will not leave my house alone, and when i do leave it is pretty rare, but i see kennedy almost every week.

kennedy is amazing!  not only is he well articulated he is patient.  he doesn’t usually lose his cool when referred to as the wrong pronoun on accident, he will take a step back then explain what it means to be trans as long as the person he is talking to is willing to be respectful and listen.  it is such a wonderful thing to watch!  today on his facebook page he wrote:

ive come across a lot of people who say ‘well its not /that/ big of a deal when i misgender you’ or make jokes about how i’m trans because that’s /totally/ something to joke about anyways (if you can’t tell that is sarcasm then you might need to learn context clues) and i just want everyone to understand the fact that i wake up everyday having to deal with feeling out of place and disgusted in my own skin and i hate myself so much because of my body and the fact that it isnt who i am and you reminding me of it does not in any way make me want to keep talking to you whether you are family or not
please be considerate when talking to me or about me because it is a huge part of who i am and how i see things and just dismissing it as a phase or something to laugh and joke about is not okay and im not going to associate with people who make me feel like shit

i think he says it best!

defense attorney says victim of murder was just a transgender prostitute so his client shouldn’t get as much time

defense attorney says victim of murder was just a transgender prostitute so his client shouldn’t get as much time

the words criminal justice is, in my opinion, generally an oxymoronic contradiction in terms.  rarely is a crime punished in a way that is accurate.  if the victim is a “good” person the sentence is usually higher than if a victim is a “bad”person, same with the criminal, if the criminal is a “good” person most of the time they get less time than a “bad”person.  it’s weird and rarely blind, but i don’t think the courts like to have that blatantly thrown in their faces.

when defense attorney john scarpa told the court “A sentence of 25 years to life is an incredibly long period of time judge.  Shouldn’t that be reserved for people who are guilty of killing certain classes of individuals?” he took it a bit too far.

the idea that one person is a better quality person based on things like gender, economic status, sexuality, skin color, nationality is such a strange concept to me, but it seems to be the rampant theory on which the basis of value is distributed.  it’s not by the actions of a person that our society bases their judgments on, but what the person’s situations are.  

i am glad that in this case the judge did what was right.  

no home base-a transpoem

is this baby a boy or a girl

is this baby a boy or a girl

sugar and spice and everything nice

what little girls are made of

rusty nails and puppy dog tails

what little boys are made of

pink taffeta and sequence

high heels with a matching handbag

blue jeans and flannel

sporting high tops and big belt buckle

we think we know

girls and boys

men and women

we think it’s up to us

to decide what belongs

between the legs of all

we think we know

parts make the person

when the genitals

don’t belong there

when  a girl has a penis

and a boy a uterus

we think we know

the masculine and feminine

to dictate the dichotomy

of gender roles

“you don’t go in there!’

“this is the female dressing room!”

“that is the boy’s locker room!”

we cannot measure or decipher

the shame

the confusion

the doubt

the trouble

the pain

the anger

the desperation

the need

what we don’t know

is self hate

the internal battles

loathing the reflection

danger from all

never knowing

in fear they will find out

and show you

“you are not a man!”

“i will make you a bitch!”

having your parts

you don’t want to know

you don’t want to think

your deformity

invaded by a “real man”

legislation on your gender

determining the bathroom

YOU MAY WALK IN

violent shaking vomiting

when confronted

pronouns used as razors

to debase to disgrace

to alienate

your gender a joke

a mockery

an ever reminder

you have no place

you don’t belong here

the look in the eyes

of the ppl you love

who have said you are their light

but when you tell them

“i am a girl

i know i have  birth defects

yes birth defects

that make you call me paul

but please call me dinah”

the confusion in their eyes

the anger in the brow

muscles under the eye spasm

teeth clinched and grinding

“take that makeup off!”

“what is in your pants?”

“why would you do this to me?”

“what will they think in church?”

we don’t know the courage

of the conversations

held in consciousness

for years, decades

lifetimes of running

because you don’t belong in that bathroom

transbathroom

for more information on trans issues please visit: http://www.transadvocate.com/

nobody’s business

nobody's business

being a member of the queer community for me is a blessing in many ways. i love my queer culture and history and my comrades. what i am not proud of is outting of any sort. outting is dangerous!!! we have no right to do that. any person has the right to not be open with their sexuality or gender. it is not an obligation of queer ppl to disclose anything about themselves to anyone else and if they chose to never tell anyone they are queer or gender variant they are not turning their backs on other queers, they are not feeling safe and not ready to express that.

words have power

words have power

the dichotomy of gender is a falsehood! there is a wide range of identities between male and female, and it is not always physically apparent how a person identifies. the best thing to do is ask. noone will ever get angry if you ask them what pronoun they prefer when you are speaking to or of them. the most i have ever seen happen is someone who is cis-gendered not understand why you are asking such a question, which is an open opportunity to educate them on gender variations.
working with trans youth showed me alot about how trans ppl are treated and how ppl use pronouns and binary gender identities as weapons. i cannot even count how many times a trans kid or trans-ally would come up to me and tell me there is a kid at their school who refuses to use the chosen pronouns for that person. what do we do? i would talk to them and tell them it is best to take a breath or seven, calm yourself then try to educate that person. it is the best thing to do. most of the time that worked. but there are always assholes out there ready to use words as knives. “what do we do? we talked to him and told him that this person identifies as male and they refuse to call him by male pronouns! it is really mean!” this may not be the best option but it is the only one we could think of….call the person by their opposite pronoun and only use opposite gender names when referring to the person. so if the person who was being an ass was male only use she and her as pronouns and if their name is micheal only use the feminine version of the name micheala. they should know that it is the exact same thing!
the problems become alot bigger when it is adults in the lives of transkids who are disrespecting them. parents, teachers, school staff, ppl at church, etc. this was especially painful for the kid. they were usually powerless bc in that situation the adult usually wields all the power anyway. that is when i would step in. i would sit down w the adult in question and explain to them what being trans or gender queer was, how they are being demoralizing and how painful it was for the person on the receiving end of their ignorance. for the most part, they listened. there were many times they just could not wrap their heads around it but they would use appropriate pronouns, anyway, especially for the transkids.
being gender queer, third gendered is very hard for ppl to accept. how can a person not feel male or female? how can they feel both? how can they not want to identify as either one? what the hell is going on here? i always encourage ppl to talk about this w the person who identifies as gender queer or third gendered. as long as you are being nice and respectful and truly wanting to understand most ppl want to help you! and it is different for every single person out there!
just talk to ppl. just ask questions. just tell them where you are getting confused. it is healthy. and it is so much better than alienating large majority of individuals bc they don’t fit into your misconceptions of what is boy and what is girl.

feminism

feminism

there are many forms of feminists, as many forms as there are women. i have read some feminist literature and felt ashamed to be a woman. i have read some that make me feel like a superhero. but i have my own view on what the word feminism is and how it plays out in my life.
being a feminist does not take away from my relationships with men. as a matter of fact, it has improved my relationships with men. bc i respect myself and believe i have inherent value i will not be involved with anyone who treats me less than. i have 3 sons. they walk through life interacting with women. they have been raised in an environment that is egalitarian. we all make decisions together no voice louder than the next, but i am the one who generally hold the responsibility of making sure everything gets done. they have seen this and understand it.
in my world being a feminist does not mean that i agree with someone simply on the basis of them being a woman. in my world men are feminist. in my world, women of color have as loud of a voice as white women and i love to hear their perspectives. in my world trans women are women and deserve to be treated like women in social arenas. in my world the gender queer are active in feminism. in my world we do not have to take power away from ppl in order to have power-it already exists, we just have to learn how to tap into it. we are power kegs, all of us.
i refuse to follow the prototype of gender that i was taught growing up, to be quiet and demur and whispy. i was taught that a woman with an opinion was a naughty thing, and you are much better off being ignorant. i was taught that women aren’t worth as much as boys. i just refused to live that way. i was always outspoken, loud, brusque and a bit gnarly.
so feminism is not about demeaning men. it is not about being born with a cunt or without a penis. it is about full equality. and that is the bottom line!