Sex And Gender Are Actually The Same Thing (but bear with me…)

This is the good shit right here.

Androgyneity

As you read the title, you may be overcome with indignation that this article is going to be a gender-essentialist rant. You’ll be relieved to know that it’s quite the opposite. My intent in writing this is to point out some serious misconceptions perpetuated in ‘trans 101’ and cisgender allyship resources, which end up doing much more harm than good for transgender people.

Anyone with an entry-level understanding of trans issues is probably familiar with the phrase “gender and sex are different things.”

While the idea of treating sex and gender as unrelated factors may result from an attempt to validate and support transgender identities, it actually perpetuates harmful cultural beliefs about the validity of sex assignment and the static nature of biological sex, which remove agency from trans and intersex people to define their own bodies and experiences. This way of thinking does nothing to combat (and in fact…

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Ain’t A Damn Thing Changed: TDoR Still Fails Trans Women of Color

I don’t often reblog posts, but this one is important.

fake cis girl

Content warning: Discussion of suicide and ostracism of trans women, significant fatphobic hatespew is involved on the part of Andrea James. Proceed with appropriate caution if this might cause you pain.

It’s with a heavy heart that once again I address all of you before yet another Transgender Day of Remembrance that still  fails trans women of color, fails trans victims of suicide, and directly refuses to count trans people killed by police and in custody. TDoR remains a day dedicated to dividing our community, an already divided and fractious community, rather than bringing us together. Yes, this is directly related to the insular and panicked community we have, but it’s also connected to the problem behind TDoR itself: its “ownership” by Gwen Smith, whose refusal to discuss race on the official TDoR site along with her somewhat narrow choices as to what deaths do and don’t matter, strangles the…

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Winter Update

Holy crap has it been four months?

Well. I suppose I have catching up to do.

The day after my last post, I was fired. My manager will swear up and down that he fired one of his best agents because I wasn’t living up to standards, but that’s bullshit. I was fired because I was trans. I’ve been limping along ever since. Had a few scary episodes, but my sister helped me through them. I’d rather put it all behind me, so I’m not going into much detail. Suffice to say, there were some very black moments where I thought it was all going to happen again.

But it won’t. I’m stronger than I was before. And, if worst truly comes to worst, my sister owns a house now. I don’t really have to worry about having nowhere to go. But I don’t want to leave Portland, if I can avoid it. I don’t want to admit defeat.

There’s an amazing program offered by Oregon State University to do a 1-year program that comes with a BS in Computer Science at the end. It’s for people, like me, who have a Bachelor’s that’s not doing anything for them. It’s pricey, though. I’m doing a scholarship trawl to try and defray the cost before I resort to loans.

Learned helplessness is a horrid, toxic thing. It’s something I fight every day. The first time I tried to sit down and look at scholarships–this happened about a month ago–I got sick to my stomach. The nausea disappeared the moment I closed the scholarship book. I’d become scared to take responsibility for my life, to make big plans and big decisions. Historically, my big decisions haven’t worked out well for me. One can only hope I’ve taken enough lumps and learned enough hard lessons that I’ll do better this time.

I investigated the possibility of doing a similar program at PSU rather than the one through OSU. It’s not looking like it will be an option, though. A bright note, however: for some reason, I’m no longer feeling ill when I look at a scholarship book. I’ve been searching through this book all night, and have seen several interesting opportunities. My goal–to apply for $100,000 worth of scholarships in hope of getting the $30,000 I need to pay for school–is wildly ambitious, but it’s not like I’ve got a huge list of things demanding my time these days.

I just finished up a temp job, which I suppose means I must find another job soon. I hate job hunting. All the more reason to return to school, at least for a year, I suppose.

I am officially estranged from my father now. Good riddance.

I finished my book. I don’t know if I said that before. Yes, I finished it. Finally. I’ve shopped it around to some agents. One seemed interested until a senior agent at his agency stepped on it, and said it was too dark to sell. Another agent requested the full manuscript, but I haven’t heard from her in six weeks. That’s not hugely worrisome or unheard of in the publishing industry, though. Angry Robot Books is doing an open call for submissions until the end of the year. If I’ve not heard back from the second agent by mid-December, I’m going to submit it on my own to Angry Robot.

The sequel is proving to be very difficult. I’ve decided to put off work on it until I get an actual bite from someone in publishing. In the meantime, I’ve begun work on a YA book about a transgender superhero. The idea is to write the book I wish I’d been able to read when I was 15.

I think I’m going to try to keep this blog more up to date going forward. It’s really soothing, and helps keep the black despair at bay.

Summer Update

I suppose I should start blogging again.

Let’s see, where did I leave off…

Ah.

Well. For a brief bit of time there, I had heard of a career opportunity that sounded perfect for me. I learned everything I could about it, and more and more it was the right choice. Then I learned that being on antidepressants disqualifies me for it. For the six weeks or so where I thought I had a plan for the rest of my life, a strange feeling came over me. One of calm, and happiness. No matter what was going on in my life right now, things were going to be okay. I had a plan. I was moving forward. Then I learned the plan wouldn’t happen and all those six weeks of anxiety and fear caught up with me at once. I was rigid in bed, cold with terror. Not a recommended experience.

I’ve got a new plan now. It’s harder, and riskier, and with less sense of purpose and meaning, but if all goes well I should be able to buy a house in a few years. I’m going to become a coder or a database administrator. Something along those lines. Hopefully that will be enough to buy me a house and stock away some money for retirement. My sister just bought a house down in the Bay that she’s agreed to let me stay at for a little while, so that helps immensely.

A few weeks ago, I was awarded a scholarship to the Cascade Writer’s conference, and I’m really looking forward to that. The conference, and my mother’s visit in early August, are the only things keeping me here. Once those are done, I’ll be packing up to move fairly quickly. It’s been a long time coming. It took me 2 years to recover enough to be able to make decisions on the basis of what I wanted rather than what I needed to do to survive, and I’m excited to be able to make that kind of choice again.

Anesthetic

The anesthetic didn’t work. I rubbed the cream on my face, but the timing was wrong and it didn’t have a chance to work before we began electrolysis.

On the way to the appointment, I’d seen my reflection in a window.

So as the needle burned hot under my skin, and the sharp, crystallized bases of the hairs sliced skin as they were pulled out, I thought to myself:

You are gross and disgusting and you deserve this.

‘#’

I’m at the Taco Bell, and at my local Taco Bell they’ve got a gimmick where they write down your name as they take your order so they can call you up by your name as if they know and care about you. It’s silly and contrived, but also a little sweet, and that’s pretty much how you could describe Beaverton in general.

So I give my order and I pay my money, and the assistant manager taking my order is this middle aged fellow who asks me my name and I say I’m April. He hesitates for a moment, and then instead of writing down my name he writes ‘#’ and tells me they’ll call my number soon.

He looks at my face. At my boobs. Thinks about my name, and how it doesn’t match my voice. And writes ‘#’.

That’s when I realized he was scared of me. Anywhere else, any time else, he’d have told me to jump off bridge, or shaken his head disapprovingly, or something like that. He’s scared of my gender, and that fear, in another climate, would translate to poor treatment. But he can’t do that now because he’s at work, and he works in the service industry, which means his job sucks and is held at the pleasure of people who come in to drop five bucks and then never come by again.

So he writes down ‘#’ instead of my name because he can’t bring himself to say my name aloud and validate my femininity, but he can’t be too much of an asshole, either. Middle aged guys are terrified of trannies. They’re scared we’ll make penises less important. (And we will.) They’re scared we’ll recruit their children. (We don’t recruit; we liberate.) They’re scared we’ll make them gay. (That hot chick you see? Her dick’s bigger than yours, and that turns you on, doesn’t it?)

I’m glad he’s scared. He should be scared. That’s a healthy fear.

We’re not shutting up.

We’re not going away.

We’re part of your life for the rest of your life.

I am your goddamn future.

Be terrified.