I’m Sick Of Debating My Humanity As A Trans Person — My latest on Medium

I wrote this a couple of months ago so some things are a little out-of-date. The overall message, however, remains the same.

When I came out as a non-binary trans person in 2014, I knew I had a lot of explaining to do. I didn’t mind, though; in fact, I immediately started speaking out about the subject as soon as I finally embraced my gender identity. Since then I’ve had a lot of great opportunities to explain what it means to be non-binary and trans in such outlets as Everyday FeminismSplice TodayRewire.News, and the 2017 American Humanist Association conference. Other than the occasional troll sliding into my Twitter mentions just to say, “You’re a dude in a dress,” I’ve had a lot of positive feedback from both cis people who have since come to understand more about trans and non-binary issues, and fellow trans and non-binary people who appreciate me saying the things they’re too afraid to say.

Lately, however, I’m beginning to wonder if it’s all worth it. No matter how many articles I write or talks that I do or podcasts I’ve been on, transphobia is still the best seller in the marketplace of ideas. On the right are traditional conservatives like Ben Shapiro who argue that trans women are still men because of chromosomes. On the left are radical feminists (or radfems for short) like Meghan Murphy who not only echo Shapiro’s talking point, but also think trans women are men trying to infiltrate women-only spaces in order to assault women. In the center are members of the so-called Intellectual Dark Web — the Popular Kids’ Lunch Table of public intellectuals — who are more concerned about Murphy’s recent Twitter ban than her hateful rhetoric, who think trans activism is inherently homophobic (which doesn’t make any sense), and who spread lies and misinformation about gender-affirming therapy. If there’s one thing that unites people from all four corners of the political compass, it’s hatred of trans people.

Read the rest here.

We Can’t Separate Identity From Politics — My Latest on Medium

Countless moderate liberals have called upon the Democratic party to ditch “identity politics” in the wake of Trump. “We need a post-identity liberalism,” Columbia University professor Mark Lilla wrote back in 2016. “Such a liberalism would concentrate on widening its base by appealing to Americans as Americans and emphasizing the issues that affect a vast majority of them.” According to Lilla, Audre Lorde’s message of recognizing and celebrating our differences is detrimental to American politics, so instead of focusing on issues that uniquely affect different groups of people, liberals need to unite on issues that affect all Americans.

Unfortunately, to quote Lorde again, “There is no thing as a single-issue struggle because we do not live single-issue lives.” In other words, there is no way to separate identity from politics. Every political issue affects different groups in different ways, so in a way all politics are identity politics.

Read the rest here.

I’m Not Ready to Reach Across the Aisle — My Latest for Splice Today

Former Twitter rivals Eve Peyser of Vice and center-right New York Times columnist Bari Weiss have officially ended their feud, and they recently wrote an op-ed to tell the story. The two writers met at a conference, Peyser asked Weiss if she wanted to hang out, and the two quickly bonded over the things they had in common. They report that they’re open to befriending people with different political views (with the exception of neo-Nazis, of course), and hope others can do the same to escape toxic social media culture.

I’m still hesitant about reaching across the aisle. I know I’m supposed to step out of my echo chamber of fellow SJWs and break bread with the classical liberal/center-right pundits of the Intellectual Dark Web in order to make American civil again, but all my past attempts have failed miserably.

Read the rest here.

Will Non-Binary Gender Markers Go Nationwide? — My Latest for INTO

Jessica Porten of Rewire recently wrote: “The future is not female; it’s non-binary.” Perhaps she’s right, given the recent news about non-binary gender markers in Colorado and DC schools adding non-binary gender options on enrollment forms. Non-binary people — people who do not identify as either men or women — are getting more recognition and acknowledgment, both within and outside of the LGBTQ community.

Legal recognition of non-binary and intersex people has surprisingly come a long way since Jamie Shupe became the first legally recognized non-binary person in the U.S. in June 2016. Now there are five states — Arkansas, Oregon, California, Maine, and Minnesota — that offer non-binary gender markers on driver’s licenses and state IDs, along with the District of Columbia.

But there are questions about the future. Will non-binary gender markers go nationwide? What are the legal barriers preventing that from happening? What about people who think there shouldn’t be any gender markers at all?

Read the rest here.

Two new articles for the price of one!

Today was another twofer day for me where two of my articles got published at the same time.

The first is an op-ed for HuffPost called “Self-Care Is An Act Of Political Warfare.” Here’s an excerpt:

Famed writer and activist Audre Lorde once said, “Caring for myself is not self-indulgence, it is self-preservation, and that is an act of political warfare.” And in a time like this, when one of the most powerful leaders in the world is trying to erase the humanity of so many of our diverse citizens, self-care may be one of the most powerful tools we can use to defeat the problematic powers that be.

“Self-care” is one of those buzzwords that everyone loves to talk about, but it’s been divorced from its original radical roots thanks to capitalism. When we think of self-care, we automatically think of bath bombs, manicures, pedicures and gorging on pizza. While these things are not bad in and of themselves (I definitely ordered an emergency pizza after Kavanaugh was confirmed), consuming makeup and high calories isn’t self-care; it’s self-indulgence.

Real self-care involves taking care of our bodies, our minds and our spirits … especially for those of us who face intersecting forms of oppression.

The second is something Rewire.News asked me to write for them. It’s called “Why ‘Genetic Testing’ for Gender Is Dangerous Pseudoscience.” Excerpt:

On Sunday, the New York Times reported on a leaked memo from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that outlines a plan to define gender with regard to the Title IX civil rights law as, the Times summarized, “a biological, immutable condition determined by genitalia at birth.”

“The sex listed on a person’s birth certificate,” the memo reportedly read, “as originally issued, shall constitute definitive proof of a person’s sex unless rebutted by reliable genetic evidence.”

The New York Times didn’t explain what exactly the memo meant by “genetic evidence,” but it likely refers to a common argument from anti-trans conservatives: that chromosomes negate trans people’s identities. For example, in a debate on the talk show Dr. Drew on Call in 2015, Ben Shapiro of the conservative news site Daily Wire said, “It turns out that every chromosome, every cell in Caitlyn Jenner’s body, is male, with the exception of some of [her] sperm cells …. How [she] feels on the inside is irrelevant to the question of [her] biological self.” But this theory—and that is what’s suggested by the HHS memo—is wrong about the science behind gender on two counts: Gender identity likely has some kind of neurological basis, and biological sex is not a strict binary.

I should have a new for Arc Digital coming out soon.

 

 

Bi Any Means Podcast #171: Trump Attacks Trans People…Again

This is another episode I did live on Facebook this past Sunday, not just because I was too lazy to book a guest, but also because the New York Times recently published an article about President Trump’s latest planned attack on trans people. Needless to say, I’ve got some shit to say about this!

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #171: Trump Attacks Trans People…Again” on Spreaker.

What Fuels Suicidality Among Trans Men? — My First Article for INTO

CW: Suicide, Sexual Assault, Racism, Transphobia

According to the 2015 U.S. Transgender Survey, 40 percent of trans people have attempted suicide at some point during their lives, and 48 percent have seriously considered it. A more recent report from the American Academy of Pediatrics confirms this high risk even among transgender adolescents. Nearly half of adolescent trans guys reported having at least one suicide attempt in their lives, with more than 40 percent of non-binary adolescents and about 30 percent of trans girls reporting the same thing.

What’s interesting to note is how much trans boys are at a great risk of suicide — higher than trans girls and non-binary adolescents — but the study doesn’t explain why. Are there unique obstacles young trans men face that other trans-identified people don’t?

Perhaps surprisingly the answer is yes. “I think one of the obvious risk factors that trans men experience is sexual assault and violence,” says trans blogger Sam Dylan Finch of Let’s Queer Things Up. “Not that we don’t see this happening to folks of other genders, but people perceived as girls and women have a categorical risk for sexual violence that makes them vulnerable early on in life.”

Read the rest here.

Bi Any Means Podcast #165: The Truth about Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria with Julia Serano

My guest for today is Julia Serano. She’s a trans-bi activist, the author of the books “Whipping Girl” and “Excluded,” a musician, a spoken-word artist, and a biologist. Today I got her on the show to talk about the controversy surrounding Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria, and why the science behind it is pretty sketchy.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #165: The Truth about Rapid-Onset Gender Dysphoria with Julia Serano” on Spreaker.

Bi Any Means Podcast #164: Transitioning as Non-Binary with Ollie and William

Today’s episode is a panel discussion with two of my friends about what it means to transition when you’re non-binary. As people who don’t fit into the male-female dichotomy, I feel like we’re often left on our own to figure out what to do with our bodies, our presentations, and our lives. Joining me to talk about this are my friends and fellow NBs Ollie and William, and together we hope to figure all this shit out.

Listen to “Bi Any Means Podcast #164: Transitioning as Non-Binary with Ollie and William” on Spreaker.

Gender Dysphoria at an Alt-Country Show — My Latest for Splice Today

It’s Friday night and I’m at a coffee shop waiting for a local alt-country band to go onstage in an attempt to be more social. So far the social part isn’t working; I’m still the awkward wallflower sitting alone at a table, just like I was in my 20s. The only difference is now I’m trying to look more like the girl in the band than the four male members.

The guys in the band all have stereotypical hipster beards, glasses, and tattoos. Except for the tats, I used to look the same back when I was trying to make myself believe I was one of the boys. Masculinity was like a pair of shoes that didn’t quite fit, but I wore them despite all the blisters because I didn’t know there were other options. It wasn’t until I was 30 that I discovered there was a word that described how I always felt: genderqueer. Since then it’s been a process of trying on different clothes, hairstyles, pronouns, and makeup that were way more comfortable than my beard and men’s department jeans. Yet now as I look back and forth between the boys in the band and the sole female member, that old feeling of discomfort whacks me upside the head with a baseball. I can’t help but look at the woman the whole time. It’s not that I want to be with her; more like I want to be her.

The band goes on stage and launches into their set: it’s a mixture of the Old 97’s, Whiskeytown, and Uncle Tupelo with a touch of Jack White sprinkled in. The music is great, but I can’t enjoy it. All I think is, “I’ll never be who I want to be.”

Read the rest here.