Sorry to be making too many posts this week??
But I realized today (March 31st) is International Transgender Day of Visibility (I like Visibility Day better, but hey. I didn’t name the holiday.) So….!
[WIP but it fit for today ^^ Click to see the subtleties. It's pretty cool actually.... Can you hear my mom's voice? 'Those look like girls, but they're BOYS, aren't they?!?!' For this picture, it really truly does not matter....]
Why have such a day? Because the only other day dedicated to trans people before was the Day of Remembrance, to remember those who had died for being trans (mainly trans women of color). And I guess someone thought, hey, trans people DO smile now and then. Maybe we should have a day about smiling and celebrating, not only mourning.
So I’m here to smile and to be visible ^____^ And you know I’ve gone on a lot of gender rambles on my blog, but rarely do I talk about MY OWN stuff. I’m trans, but maybe not visible?
[Side note: the word 'trans' is actually pretty problematic, as it groups together a shitload of people who have nothing to do with each other other than being not-cis, but for the sake of this day and this argument, I accept the word trans and I sit under it.]
So why visibility? Why does it even matter?
Because while I’m no gender-abolitionist and I’ve made some (not all) peace with whoever I am, I see people who haven’t yet made peace, or people who are putting it together, and kids who are being taught who they are before they can decide if that’s who they even want to be.
I say ‘decide’, but it’s a Hobson’s Choice: Take the first horse, the cis horse (cis, ie, not trans) or nothing at all. Reluctantly, trans kids take that horse until they see that being who they are (trans) is actually an option. Hence the importance of visibility. If you don’t see it, you suffer in silence. And for non-binary (not clearly male/female) people especially, it can take much longer to find people they can relate to.
And people are being taught that being trans or being non-binary makes your life into an inhospitable environment. And that is sad, because it’s all too often TRUE. [Or has the potential to be true many many times.] Not because there is something inherently wrong with trans or non-binary people, of course. But because there is much distrust that trans people can lead a life like anyone else or be happy. Parents say ‘It’s not that I don’t want to accept you, but this will make your life so hard!’
Nobody says it’s the inherent and already accepted social pressure to CLEARLY and ALWAYS be the one and only sex you were assigned as at birth that’s the problem. ‘Transness’ is the problem.
Fuck Gender Rolls, Gimme a Gender Baguette
Are you trying to turn your son into a girl? Is that why you grow his hair long?
Nope, I just think it looks pretty. He’s not a girl, he’s a boy with long hair.
Or a pretty boy.
But while we’re on the subject of girls, I’d like to live in a world where people are not so threatened by femininity or even the SYMBOL of femininity in an otherwise male being. I can’t talk about transness without rapping about misogyny and transmisoginy. Please bear with me.
99% of trans problems and actually much of homophobia, I would say, is based heavily on people fearing femininity cropping up in people not ‘forced’ by the circumstances of their birth to be feminine. So, a person assigned female at birth (in common nomenclature, a ‘girl’) is allowed to be feminine, because she can’t help it or something?! But a person assigned male at birth, a man who is feminine, or a pre-transitioned trans woman, is pressured away from such behavior. The pressure can range from teasing, all the way to beating, sexual abuse–and death.
And since sexual orientation is also all based on how people perceive your gender, and sexual attraction on how you perceive your own gender and that of your potential partner, you can see how the whole thing is very tangled and complicated and affecting of the rest of your life.
‘Just be who you want to be, man! Just be that person! Like, what’s with all these labels? Be whoever!’
Yeah cool, except be who you want to be only works as long as who you want to be corresponds with who everyone else thinks you are/wants you to be.
You are born, a doc glanced down and looked to see if you had a little piece of meat between your legs or didn’t (nothing else could give any indication to your ‘sex’, as children until four-five are totally androgynous and many remain so until 2ndary sex characteristics kick in) and yet, based on that information, the grooming starts immediately.
The clothes you wear, how people treat you, what you are allowed to do and say, who you are allowed to express attraction for and socialize with–who you will kill fuck or marry–every day, a thousand tiny influences channel your behavior as a child to correspond to how society at large believes someone with a one cm (or lack of) meat between their legs spotted by the doctor the day they were born behaves as. I don’t know about you–I find that pretty scary.
But what’s the alternative? The system is already there.
I can’t put my little boy into a tutu and a ‘fuck your gender rolls’ shirt and a long glorious side ponytail the first day of elementary school and tell him to give ‘em hell. As much as I would love to. By the time he reaches junior high, he’ll have more issues than Vogue. So, raise him definitively as a ‘boy’ to make sure he never gets teased or confused for the ‘inferior’ sex?
Fuck, I had a man tell me once it was wrong of me to let him wear an orange shirt. Not pink. ORANGE.
“It’s orange,” he said, like it was matter of fact. “That’s a ‘girl’ color. You trying to turn your son into a girl? You’re going to confuse him.”
Are you trying to turn your son into a girl?
Wait a minute, wait a minute, COLORS turn people into something? o_o
And please stop saying ‘girl’ like it’s a bad word. But NO, I’m not trying to turn him into anything.
He has a male name. I call him ‘him.’ Yes, his hair is long… But it looks pretty long. He wears red and pink and yellow and blue.
He likes cupcakes and Hello Kitty and Pixar Cars and sparkles, and police cars and tractors. He likes boy shit and girl shit, and people shit and no other kid he’s played with so far has cared. Kids will care only when people teach them that there is something ‘wrong’ with being at all like a girl when you were not diagnosed as having two cm’s of babywang between your legs the day you were born.
Sorry. ::sighs:: I’m ranting. But you see, it upsets me. It upsets me when I think of all the little boys out there who LIKE to be boys, but simply sometimes would want to play with a doll or try on makeup for fun without it MEANING something deep, demeaning, disgusting, ‘be a man, stop being such a fucking girl, stop being so fucking gay–all starting with, don’t wear pink or play with dolls or have long hair, because that’s what girls do (or kids who grow up gay). [Undertone: femininity is inferior and to be stamped out when it is not 'necessary'.]
I want my kid to be able to have long hair and still call himself a boy if he wants to. Omfg.
It upsets me when I think of all the little girls who will grow up hearing that who they are and what they like is second choice!! Steeped in this not-so-concretely SAID but palpably felt inferior feeling. And that no matter how much lipservice and sparkles and girl power, deep down, everyone still feels it and knows it.
A friend I respect deeply said to me once: “I know this is wrong to say, but between you and me, I think of women as inferior beings. Second class. You feel that too, right? It’s not that there aren’t individually strong women–but as a whole, you know?”
Because I am male, that was okay to say to me. The feminine parts in me screamed out though. No, no, no, no, no. Fuck you, Fuck you, for every girl, fuck you.
And as much as I hate the idea of ‘forcing’ my kid to be anything (especially since if he turns out gay or trans, its going to be like, oh yeah, because YOU”RE GAY AND TRANS AND YOU FORCED HIM INTO YOUR AGENDA!) , still, am I not obligated to raise him in the way I think is most right?
Teaching boys that little girls are shit and teaching little girls that they are second choice, actively or passively, is NOT RIGHT. To me, and I hope to many others as well.
And I’m like… hey, wait! If it’s okay to actively raise a kid in the straight and binary agenda, it is equally okay for me to raise a kid mindful of the following things:
There is nothing wrong with being a girl. There is nothing wrong with being a boy. There is nothing wrong with choosing to be a gender, or gender combination, you were not assigned to at birth, but all that about what one is or isn’t is pretty arbitrary and as often as not, serves as a tool to make people feel like shit about themselves. As if there weren’t enough reasons. So! I’ll try to wrap this horrible ramble up and just say:
If you are a trans girl or lady, you are the strongest and the most beautiful. (◡‿◡✿) You fight the double fight.
If you are a trans guy or masculine aspiring person, you’re all the fox princes and mermen, and I hope you don’t ever forget what it felt like to be thought of as an ‘inferior’ being.
If you are in the middle, both, neither, switching around, genderqueer, what have you–non-binary fist pound!! (That’s me too ^^. Well, I’m a guy. And I’m trans. But I am probably not who you’d think of if I said ‘trans guy’.)
To all trans people, in and out of the binary, I hope you have a great spring, and rest of the year and to all the kids growing up, trans or not-trans, while I don’t know what to DO with all this gender shit, or how to combat it, I figure I can try to raise someone to be a respectful, open person, and keep my own eyes open and learn and be mindful of trans people who are having a rough time, and I can wave my hands and say on this one day, hey, I have a nice life and I have a kid, and I have people who care about me–and I’m trans. And I’m happy when I see children and teenagers who are so much more informed of this stuff than I was when I was a kid and teenager–they inspire me and they make me hope. So for them, I want to say, please fight, because I’m too fucking old to make any change, but hey I’m an adult and I (kind of) made it out okay? I see you today and you see me.
We’re visible. Po-to-weet!!
[Shit, now it's April 1st here, but hey. You get it. :D]
If you’re really into gender baguettes, here’s some more reading.