Churning Experience Into the Content Machine

I got a haircut recently. A big change, and I love it. That by itself might not sound particularly out of the ordinary, but there’s a few details that make the announcement remarkable. As a trans woman my relationship to hair is very capital-C Complicated–patterned baldness did a number on my crown before I transitioned, and haircuts were a very visible and visceral way in which my gender was enforced as a child. Even if I hadn’t experienced thinning at the top, the act of getting a haircut would already be one laden with old scars flaring up painfully. When I still had a full head my hairs were, ironically, curly and rebellious, a constant source of remarks about their feminine quality, remarks which unintentionally stung as the most memorable mockery of my upbringing since I knew I was denied permission to actually be feminine. It’s the bitterest regret I have of not transitioning sooner: Now that I don’t need anyone’s permission and want a hair full of locks, I can’t have it, because testosterone took it away. For the longest time, my hair was one of several visible scars I carried as a result of cissexism’s attempts to build a coffin around me and call it a closet.

So when I tell you I managed to find a miracle-worker who made me feel like I finally took charge of my hair’s destiny as an adult, that hopefully helps to make it clearer what a big deal it is.

She didn’t summon more hair from the void, mind. The top is still thinner than the rest, but now I got it styled into something of a French bob. I can tussle it up and make it a messy bob that for the first time in my life looks like intentional chaos as opposed to a cartoon character struck by lightning. I can also slick it back and look like Trinity from the Matrix. I have options, and they’re all distinctly feminine and short and queer. I spent several days agog that it was still my hair at all. I’ve never had that reaction to my hair, or even much of a reaction at all before now. Haircuts were just another episode in which I honed my craft of dissociating, protecting my heart by cutting it loose from my body and hoping it never found its way back home because of how painful it would be when it did. This is genuinely the first time in my life I’ve viewed my hair as an opportunity for fun, for expression, with a cut that I can style to make differing moods visible. An extension of me, a tattoo laid over a scar–still very much there, but part of my tapestry rather than an unwilling wound.

When I woke up with it the day after and had these revelations, I very much wanted to leap to social media and share it with a selfie. I know for a fact that I’m not the only trans woman in this situation, and I wanted to share the excitement that we have options! And we might even like them! But… the trouble is, that’s not really what social media is for. 

[Read more…]

~elevator waiting music~

Apparently I forgot to put a post up for today and didn’t notice until late last night. Oops!

Have some waiting music. At least I make up for it by making tomorrow a full-length post.

[Read more…]

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.


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.


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.