Thursday, 18 December 2008


Y'know, the off-white stuff that sticks to the tip of your dilator - greasy, slightly acidic smelling paste composed of dead skin cells, lubricant and probably some bacteria, too.

Actually, I was slightly worried when bindel appeared for the first time - I thought it was due to some sort of vaginitis, but since it doesn't really smell foul, I figured it isn't dangerous. A visit to the ob/gyn confirmed this, as did a call to the surgeon. Just a byproduct of my slightly variant biology. ;)

Wednesday, 26 November 2008

Bugger all cis people

The heading says it all, really. I'm just sick and tired of cissexual storytelling. Sick and tired of sensationalistic press, telly, radio, the lot. Even if the terms have become slightly less insulting, the basic, underlying attitude hasn't. We're still the exotic, weird, freaky. We're still not quite human.

Oh, and the endless, wonderful, cissexual fascination with our genitalia, as if we were animals in a zoo. Which we are, it seems. Animals in a cissexual zoo, monsters that have to be locked up in a cage built from cissexual privilege and oppositional sexism. Some of us are let out occasionally, if we promise to behave ourselves and not upset anyone and promise to tell anyone who wants to know everything about our bodies, lives and especially genitalia, and promise to keep it to ourselves unless asked, too.

Because, really, what would happen if cissexuals couldn't be absolutely certain the border between cis and trans is impermeable? They might have to accept that cis privilege is built on our backs. They might have to accept some uncertainty about themselves. The whole damn sexist project might just collapse if it were generally known that the cissexual emperor really doesn't have any clothes on. The whole patriarchy would be shaken if it were admitted that yes, femininity is despised and hypersexualised, and it is wrong. That femininity is perfectly ok, and not in any way of lesser value than masculinity. Hey, heterosexual men might start wearing dresses!

Tuesday, 18 November 2008

Taking an exception to separating sexes and genders and whatnot

I've become less and less satisfied with the way trans sexes and genders are talked about even in "progressive" circles: my main point of objection being the separation of a person's sex and gender into several unconnected, or very loosely connected, entities. Biological this. Chromosomal that. Psychological whatever. And it doesn't happen to non-trans people: it's trans people who are singled out for this treatment.

For the record, I have one sex and one gender and they are one and the same: I'm a woman. There's no meaningful way to "multigender", or "multisex" me: the concept of me having more than one sex or gender doesn't make any sense to me.

Nor have I ever messed about with my gender, or my sex. They are what they are. I've messed about with my body, but my sex? No way, no how.

My perception has changed, however, and so has other people's: what has changed is the way people, myself included, think about my sex. Somewhat. My thinking has changed a great deal, other people's, much less: and this is where the divvying up of sexes and genders comes into play.

There's of course the "classical" sex-change speak: it's so silly it doesn't need further comment.

The one that needs some commenting is the newer form of "i-want-to-cling-to-my-cissexual-privilege" that talks about biological sexes and chosen genders and all that. Now I'm not against the concept of being able to choose your gender. But I also think that the reality of most, if not all, transsexual people is that we cannot choose our gender, or sex. We are what we are, and it's not our sexes or genders that have to change, but the thinking of other people, and we might want to do a thing or two to our bodies, too. Precisely because we cannot change our sexes. We really need to make ourselves intelligible to other people. We really need to make our bodies match our sexes and genders. To coin a phrase, it's not a man in a dress, it really is a woman with a penis.

Why is this multi-sex talk needed? Why are the acronyms MTF and FTM so very much in use even today?

It's about cissexual privilege, I'm afraid. It's about clinging to the concept of birth-assigned genders trumping anything else, even reality. It's about desperately calling a woman a man against all evidence to the contrary - it's about holding up the cissexual power structure where people who dare raise their voices against cissexual oppression are branded as untermensch.

Sunday, 9 November 2008

Forced masculinisation

Or, what happens to many, if not all, trans girls.

Basically, it's the experience of being treated as a boy instead of the girl you are. Repeatedly. Over and over. From birth. You're given the wrong clothes, the wrong haircut, a wrong name. And when you can't be a boy, when you behave in non-boyish ways, you're punished for it. You're ostracised (if you're lucky, it ends here), bullied, beaten. You get bruises for not behaving like a boy. No-one wants to be your friend because you're considered too weird, too odd, too fucked-up.

You can't be the girl you are, either. Crossing over is not allowed, and if you're brave (or foolish, take your pick) enough to try, you will be told in plain terms that you're a weirdo, a freak, and not able to anyway so just go back to trying to be a boy, m'kay?

That's the reality of forced masculinisation. That's the reality of good many trans girlhoods, including mine.

Friday, 7 November 2008

Coming to terms with pain

I guess I'm slowly, slowly inching towards my pain. Towards the things that have been done to me. Towards the pain those things caused me. Towards a realisation that many of the oppressing structures are still intact, still capable of causing pain. Towards an unflinching gaze at the horrible reality that is humans.

But it is, too, a reality through which some people really love me. It's also a reality in which I have found happiness and ecstasy: it is the reality in which I cry for joy. Because of the wild joy that is being me. Because of the rich pleasure of having someone love me. Because of my children.

I cannot dismiss the pain. I cannot dismiss the joy. Somehow I'm trying to come to terms with both.

This is probably why I'm reading trans feminist writings - I'm trying to make sense of my experiences, I'm looking for a frame of reference that would give my experiences a space in which they're intelligible: and of course I'm forming that space myself, too.

Serano's Whipping Girl was, obviously, one big influence on this road to intelligibility, as was Wilchins' Read My Lips, and I'm very glad to say Troost's Beyond Inclusion makes good sense, too.

When examining my pain, there's this huge grief enmeshed with it: a grief born of not having had the normal girlhood which would have no doubt been a lot less debilitating than what I got.

It's such a two-edged project: on one hand, it's very empowering to realise what has happened to me, and on the other, it's very painful to realise the simple amount of crap I've had to wade through. There's just so much of it. There's the bullying. There's the forced masculinisation. There's the homophobia, biphobia, transphobia, trans misogyny, plain misogyny and simple hate directed at anyone who's visibly, palpably different. There's the silence of medicine: the withheld information, the power imbalance which I dare see now that I'm past it. There's the feeling of utter powerlessness against the cissexist, plain sexist, homophobic world. Hell, at least I know (I hope, anyway) the crap I've been through. I hope it defuses the effects of a bad things in my past a bit. I hope I'm no longer driven by the shit done to me.

What am I looking for and can I ever hope to find it?

This pertains to one search I seem to be on, namely, a search for a road to feminism that chucked me by the wayside. The feminism that wouldn't recognise me for a woman. The feminism that simply beat me with a stick called cissexual privilege, and wouldn't let me in.

The feminism I need.

It is very unsettling to realise one really is dependent on the world that has really trampled you down. Dependent on a world that doesn't admit I exist. Dependent on a world that's bent on erasing my experiences.

And by God, I need that world. I am human, I need the companionship of other humans. I desperately need to renegotiate the conditions of that contact... and that's what I am doing.

Can I ever hope to get there? Can I ever get to the promised land? I'm not sure. I don't know. Perhaps I'll only live to see it from afar, but I know thence must I go, or perish going. I must push towards a better world. I think I owe it to myself, too. I'm worth it.

Thursday, 6 November 2008

Exercise, endorphines and love

For some or other funny reason, opiates, both laboratory- and body-produced, make me absolutely love my spouse and my kids. Or rather, perhaps endorphines (the opiates I encounter outside a hospital) just sorta strip away some pretense, and leave me "bare" as it were. Anyway, to make a long story short, every time I exercise with any intensity, I feel the love I have for my family ever more intensely. Yet another reason to exercise. God, I feel so blessed.

Friday, 31 October 2008

Friday, end of week, exercise

My body's slowly recovering from persistent flu and I had my first chance of a decent workout today - boy did it feel good!
I found out just a little after recovering from my body probs that I really really like, nay, make that love, exercise. It feels good, it makes my step bounce, it makes my heart sing and my brain fire up in all kinds of wonderful ways.
Which brings up an old point - if you're ill and your body's borked, get it fixed if you can. Pronto. It really is worth it.

Sunday, 26 October 2008

Council elections and storm

Election day today - council elections. I'm hoping, as ever, for a more progressive, more leftist council, but I'm also worried (as ever) that people just will not vote. They'll stay at home instead. What this means, of course, is that righties will gain as they sure seem to hold onto their privileges. Results later today - here's hoping it'll turn out ok. I did vote.

Thursday, 23 October 2008

Cissexism and erasure and am I trans or what?

Goodness what the world's going to - I hope all this clamoring around Bindel et al is a new beginning for the end of cissexist privilege: I have a hard time fitting my trans past with my cis-passing present. I don't feel like either. I sure am not cisgender, but I dunno if I'm trans in any meaningful way, either. My body and my brain and my mind and my soul match. Now. But I sure don't have the cis privilege of having had it always so, nor do I have the privilege of taking my sex/gender for granted. Or rather, I do: I can do it and actually do it every single day, but to my mind it sends all the wrong messages: it reinscribes the cissexist assumption that one's sex/gender is a solid, immutable whole which cis people assing on each other, no exceptions offered except for poor trannies and intersexed, who are then either normalised forcibly or put to the stocks for trying to live as themselves. Unless, of course, they "pass" (oh fuck what a word) and are nice and don't start yelling any nasty things about cissexism.

Am I trans? As in now? No, not really. Sure, my body's pretty weird biochemically speaking, but there's no mismatch anywhere, and my body is mine, and I'm pretty damn happy with it. There aren't any places in my life that I know of where I would have to pretend I'm someone I'm not. But I'm not cis. I know, for an experienced fact, that sex/gender does NOT in fact work the way it's told to. It's not that difficult to be in the wrong about someone's sex/gender, including youself's. And it's entirely possible to correct those mistakes, and admit they were mistakes, too. But no-one seems to want to admit it. Majority of people want to take sex/gender very seriously, and even if they can see they've made a mistake, they don't want to admit just how deep the mistakes go - thus the provisional nature of trans sexes/genders: the bad old "but she's really a man", of someone who was assigned male.

Where does this leave me? I know other people are wrong in assuming sex/gender is easy to assign more-or-less permanently. When I live my daily life, the way they assume my sex/gender produces correct results - but the method of producing the meanings is all wrong. It's like a broken clock: it's right on time twice a day, and my sex/gender happens to be one of those times. Yet that it happens to be right is not dependent on the mechanism of understanding sex/gender , but a mechanism of me being "normal" in the eyes of the [cis] majority. This feels highly weird.

Wednesday, 22 October 2008

Protecting heterosexism

Egads - found the time to talk with the teacher, and with my daughter, too - turns out the situation is a lot less worrying (good, that), but also a good deal more complicated (ehh..).

Basically, the heterosexism bit still stands. The teacher was trying to warn my daughter against stupidly getting herself into trouble, which is, I suppose, a good intention. But I'm still uneasy as I really really don't like the implications of a) that my daughter shouldn't provoke the frilly brigade by being herself, and b) that can't we all just get along, but queerish people please give way and be the smarter types. It's all very practical and that, I can see the point, but I'm afraid I'm getting more and more irritated at being accommodating to other people's prejudices.

It's really a double bind: if you accommodate, you're erasing yourself, and if you don't, you're provoking trouble and are labeled with a pejorative label of their choice. Bugger that.

Tuesday, 21 October 2008

Heterosexism and school

Oh joy. My younger daughter got a chewing at school because her class has supposedly been name-calling some other pupils. Now, I don't like calling people names, except their own, of course. But I resent that the teacher took apart my kid and tried to pressure her into dishing out dirt on the other kids. She didn't, but the whole concept of trying to make kids rat out on each other is just nasty and vindictive - adolescents are highly dependent on each other, and trying to pry them apart is not a wise move - they'll just close ranks even tighter. I'm obviously very happy that my daughter confided in me about this, and will try and help her find her way through this mess.
What I'm not at all happy about is the issue that the supposed name-calling was about. I'm given to understand my daughter's class got into trouble for expressing their unhappiness about the adolescent miniskirt-and-lippy-ooh-i'm-so-sexy -culture. They're 12-year olds. If they're being critical of hyperfeminity being force-fed to them, frankly, more power to them. If, as I'm wont to guess, they're dishing it out to the kids taunting them for being not feminine enough, I'm all for the kids doing the resistance. Adolescents should have the peace to grow into themselves without too much pressure from the outside to grow up as soon as possible, as vapid as possible. Even if it's peer-pressure (and by God if it's the teachers pressurising the kids...). If this is the case, and the school indeed is allowing gender expression -based harassment, the school's gonna get some serious grief. If my daughter has been stupid enough to participate in said harassment, I'll chew her out all right. But I wanna know first, and I'm not gonna make her squeal on her friends. Nor am I gonna start in an incriminatory spiral of blame and counterblame. But heterosexism must not be the only game in town, or school.

Monday, 20 October 2008

I'm at it again

Writing e-mails on lists, that is. Julie Bindel -affair sorta woke me up from slumber and made me realise bigotry is alive and kicking, and not just someplace like Hicksville, but in the liberal circles I frequent. Sometimes I even wonder if it's more common in liberal, educated circles as that kind of people are far more skilled in hiding the nasty repercussions of their attitudes. Hope I'll find out a way to go and bugger the people supporting that kind of crap.

Monday, 28 April 2008

My aggressions, parte secunda

I'm not quite as certain as I was about my aggressions - I've come to feel my aggression is almost like an animal inside me, a beast rather untamed. I'm not sure what to do about it, should I try to tame it or perhaps use it for other things - who knows?
My inner beast, so to speak, feels restless: the feelings I buried, oh, I guess several decades ago, seem to be awakening. I'd much rather not have them awaken. I'd much rather just let the sleeping dogs, or beasts as may be, lie. It seems I don't have much choice.

Monday, 17 March 2008


My own, specifically. How come aggressions are so hard for me to handle? How come I fly off the handle so easily? It's not like I go mental or do anything stupid - I don't, but I still feel uneasy about my aggressions. Meh. Maybe I shouldn't: after all, it's not like I'm the only woman in the world who gets occasionally angry.

Wednesday, 23 January 2008

I'm wondering about dignity. Why is it so hard to keep a level head around people who keep on demanding this or that from you? Why do we so often give in to people's demands and start letting them live our lives?
I don't know.
Or maybe I do know.
Maybe it's about self-love. Maybe it's about self-respect. If I think I'm worthy of respectful treatment and love, despite my very real faults and problems, maybe I can keep my head level.
Actually, that's the way it seems to work. Whenever I believe I'm worthy of good treatment, I don't feel obliged to give in to just any silly demand: I can stay my ground.

Wednesday, 16 January 2008

Quite what it is I'm trying to achieve is not clear: all I know is that I have a need to document my thoughts - inane, deep, whatever - somewhere. Thus this blog.