Deploy the frozen peaches!

Commentator whitelists were reset for the blogs, or so I’ve been told, as a side effect of our server migration.

On the other hand: No nasty ads! Hurray!

Post some gobbledegook here to get re-whitelisted. I’ll check the moderation queue throughout the day.

-Shiv

24 hours in the life of a trans writer

05:30 — I’m an early riser, and sometimes I even beat my alarm clock. How much of that is just heightened anxiety and existential dread, I’ll probably never know. The sun hasn’t even risen, but it’s when I do my best work.

05:41 — I’ve brewed my coffee and opened my email. The first message says I should be “interned” at an asylum. I write back, saying I’m flattered he has such confidence in my abilities that I’d qualify for an internship at a psychiatric hospital. It’s a facetious response. The content of his email clearly indicates he meant “interred.” He doesn’t seem to know that interrogating my own sanity has become a daily ritual thanks to a culture of persistent, sustained, and uncoordinated gaslighting directed at people like me. I consider sending him the history of psychiatry’s abuses with trans people and how none of that torture stopped us from being trans. He doesn’t care. He’ll unknowingly comment on another piece of my work under a handle similar to his email, saying the exact same thing.

He isn’t wishing for my health. He’s wishing for my disappearance.

06:24 — I see the Daily Mail has accused me of being a “gender fascist.” Well, not me specifically, but if the Daily Mail was in the habit of dealing in specifics it wouldn’t be in business at all. Whatever. It’s a fact-free hit piece, not that the consumers care. They’re just paying for another pundit to foam at the mouth over some nebulous spectre of slavering trans fuckbeasts.

[Read more…]

My heart breaks

My childhood experience with gender dysphoria was almost exclusively defined by a problem of omission. I had no vocabulary for my feelings. “Sad” and “angry” and “confused” were woefully inadequate. At no point in my public education was the idea of gender variance even mentioned. I drifted through most of my adolescence never hearing the word “transgender,” operating from all the usual chains that unquestioned cissexism attaches to a person’s view of the world, miserable with no way out.

It was difficult, but largely blameless. I am in the minority of trans people who have the support of their parents. And I don’t mean scare-quotes “support,” I mean my parents did their homework and show a genuine effort to respect this aspect of who I am. And as a consequence, their support, both financial and emotional, has enabled me to become a considerably healthier and more resilient adult, one who has avoided homelessness and the worst that often happens to trans folk.

My research has me stumbling upon a child who has no such fortune, whose situation angers me so deeply it sinks like an anchor into the deep. It shakes me to my core. And it hurts. Fuck, does it ever hurt, in a way that only a perfect storm of transphobia could.

I hope that I can finish this article, but in brief: A gender questioning child’s parents divorced. The child’s questioning grew to be a major factor in their life. The mother, having primary custody, followed the doctor’s orders and allowed the child to explore their gender.

The father claimed this was child abuse and disputed custody. Not only did this work, stripping the mother of her custodial rights, but the judge mandated that the child could no longer be permitted to question their gender and would be forced to live as a boy.

This, in the United Kingdom. This isn’t even some far away country with no legal or social influence over my home. It’s right here.

The system has failed them, in one of the most visceral ways I can imagine. This child’s journey is not blameless. They don’t have the benefit of acknowledging the unfortunate consequences of mere ignorance. They have been directly wounded, pierced through the heart, by prejudice. Will they know who gave them their scars?

Knowing the single strongest predictor for a healthy and resilient trans person is supportive parents, my heart just breaks knowing what this court sentenced this child to.

I am lucky. Stupidly lucky. I get to escape the worst transphobia has to offer, and the biggest support to that end is my parents.

I just. There is no way I can imagine what it would be like to know the love a parent has to offer, only for the courts to decide it was pathological. To know the relief of my truth, only for the courts to sentence me to subordination at one who would smother it. To know that my health and happiness is so unconscionable that the courts would rather sentence me to hate and pain. I would join the statistics, I don’t doubt.

And fuck, does it hurt.

-Shiv

Happy Chanakwamasolstidealia

Death to the world! Cthulhu’s come:

Let Earth abhor this thing.

Let every mind prepare for doom,

As anguish and woe he’ll bring.

 

Up from the sea, R’lyeh did rise:

The cultists awestruck dumb.

With ancient rites so wretched and perverse,

Cthulhu’s time has come.

 

Death to the world! Cthulhu reigns.

The Great Old Ones Destroy

With wrath and doom, so cruel and foul,

Replete with obscene joy.

 

He rules the Earth with dreadful might,

And through our ghastly dreams

His twisting turning tentacles

Elicit from us maddened screams.

Cthulhu’s time has come.

 

Party safely n’ shit.

-Shiv

Almost freeee

Last week I was commissioned to write an article about Bill C-16, and I submitted the rough draft on Thursday. Hopefully I’ll have a Real News™ article to cross-post later this week! More details once it’s confirmed that my rough draft isn’t so awful that the entire venture is tossed. If it is, I’ll see if I can find a Real News™ home for it elsewhere before just throwing it up here.

At the same time I was doing my homework for that article I also had to cobble together my half-finished examination of Alberta’s dog-awful sex ed curriculum, because I was asked by ASPECC to give a trans sex ed presentation. It went really well and I even got some great feedback, which excites me because it’ll be clearer and better moving forward. It’s already looking like I might have to do surgery and split it into two presentations.

And now, for the first time in about three weeks, I’ll have no homework. Freedom! But only as long as I unplug for a couple days, because reading the news will get my writing muscles twitchy again.

-Shiv

On carrying the weight of the world

I’m tired, of a lot of different things.

I’m tired of repeating myself when it comes to people expressing suspicion and denigration of trans identities. I’m tired of educating my “allies.” I’m tired of being told to hold their ignorance despite the pain it causes me, yet lamenting about their lack of initiative is met with “not all cis!” I’m tired of having weird emotional reactions to a private thing I won’t get into, because I thought I had a grip on this adulting thing but, you know, curve-balls happen and suddenly you feel infantile again because your brain doesn’t know how to process it.

I’m tired of navigating people’s prejudices in my dating life.

I’m tired of fighting. For myself, for my community, for sense and reason and human decency in general.

I need to take some time to decompress. There have been a few stressful developments in my life and I need to ration my time carefully lest I burn out. So, for the short term, the blogging is what’s on the chopping block.

Not permanently. Every time I rally I am re-possessed by the burning need to squash bullshit, so I anticipate a return. I don’t know exactly when, but I most likely will. But I need to take care of myself, and I hope you take care of yourselves too.

-Shiv

Dear McCrory: You have a gender identity too

Perhaps one of the more common manifestations of cissexism is the belief that cisgender people don’t have a gender identity–as in, gender identity is a strictly trans concept. If the person pushing this opinion is a man, I can often get the point across when I suggest they next enter their work place or class room wearing a frilly pink dress, gel nails, and twelve-inch stilettos, at which point the response is often some variety of repulsion. (This tactic doesn’t work so well with women, since our patriarchal cultural system can and does, albeit inconsistently, reward women for adopting masculine norms).

Clearly our identities as they relate to gender matter to many of us. Clearly they matter enough to Governor McCrory that he felt compelled to Legislate on the issue despite admitting he had no prior knowledge of the concept. The thing about your identity is that you don’t have to question it or conscientiously test it to understand, at least intuitively, what hierarchies exist within that identity. That’s why you might not be repulsed by the idea of being “mistaken” for a woman if you don’t identify particularly strongly with masculinity or manhood to begin with, or conversely that you are repulsed by the idea because those things do matter to you.

Cue my utter shock when McCrory says gender identity is a “radical concept.

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Seasonably Miserable

“Get the attention you deserve.”

Despite the protestations of Edmontonians, autumn continues apace. The temperature dropped below freezing, and with precipitation, brought the season’s first snow. It would bring with it a cutting wind that at least had the courtesy to make me feel what I had felt for some months: a sense of cold, numb, a stinging pain made distant, but never entirely gone.

Several hours after her words flashed across my screen, I made my way to a busy downtown street. I wawhytented the histories to tower over me. On either side of the avenue stood scowling sentinels, snow-peppered witnesses to drunken revelry and crime of desperation. So too did they bear witness to hapless little me, waltzing straight into the black widow’s web. I traced my steps past her apartment, the grocery store we’d walk to, the drug store where she’d buy her stupid “all natural” this and that, the corner where she first called me girlfriend, the pizza parlour we had our first date at, the restaurant of our second date, the pub where we celebrated with friends, the place where we celebrated Valentines, the bus stop where we’d await our public chariot to the local dungeon.

“Get the attention you deserve,” or so sayeth the dating profile from the app that had the indifferent cruelty to tell me my rapist was, evidently, a “great match.” Her piercing blue eyes filled my screen, her hair flowing behind her as if she posed for a shampoo commercial. Knowing her, she did. Of course it would be her profile picture. She was beautiful, stunning, statuesque. Every bit as alluring as when we first met. The app, in its ignorant calculus, specifically recommends her.

“Get the attention you deserve.” What a way to introduce yourself. She is an escort, I suppose. Perhaps that was the logic in her mind when she humiliated me while I was at her mercy. You couldn’t convince her she did anything wrong that night–certainly a select few of our mutual friends tried. Seeing the first line of her profile, the profile so graciously specially recommended so we’ll send it straight to your phone! by the dating app, brought to the surface the flood of our peers. Their indifferent scoffs and eyerolls and “I don’t do dramas,” composing a tangle of silk all leading back to her hands. After so many months stumbling through the “why” of it all, the answer delivered itself to my phone: She thought I “deserved it.” She says so herself at the start of her profile. The attention I deserve. 

In a sense, it is clarity. I stare at the street ahead of me, knowing the web I am about to traverse. The wind has the common decency to make my plunge into ice literal. I thank it. I trace these good memories not as a testament to the good person I think she can be, but as a reminder of how skilled her act is.

She may spin her web. I will burn it down.

-Shiv