Tag Archives: Transgender

waiting for top surgery

[TW: body dysphoria]

sometimes i’m so patient about top surgery. i know it’ll happen one day and freaking out won’t make it happen any sooner. right? that’s what i tell myself, anyway.

but, fuck, i need that shit right now. my dysphoria gets worse all the time. sometimes i try to ignore it so i don’t just panic, but it’s getting harder.

i have trouble with mirrors. if i look in the mirror, i won’t see mx. punk and i might cry. i think it’s better when i’m naked cuz then i can see exactly what the problem is; it’s those 2 round things and they need to come off. the rest is just me and i can see where i end and my tits begin. but it’s really hard with clothes on cuz then my whole body just looks wrong.

i can’t bind now cuz it’s summer and i don’t wanna die of heatstroke, so i hunch when i’m in public. i try not to hunch, but i hunch right back over as soon as i stop paying attention. and i wanna fucking stop hunching over before i permanently fuck up my back, but i can’t relax with my e-cup tits sticking out. which sounds fucking silly, but yeah.

when i was in school, i increasingly stayed home from school cuz of body dysphoria. i’d spend all day taking care of myself; i’d have long showers, hang out naked (cuz of the clothes-problem i described above), write, and snuggle my sweetheart. i don’t think i ever skipped school more than once or twice a month, but it was weird cuz i didn’t skip once til last year when my body dysphoria got really bad.

anyway, what i’m saying is that i’m starting to feel like this is really fucking urgent, but i haven’t done much to save money. i haven’t put up a donate button or opened a savings account where i can put money so i won’t spend it by accident. but i will. i’ll start with a bank account and a donate button on my blog.

and i’m ok. i know i’m ok. i know i’ll keep being ok. shit’s going really well, ya know? and i know i’ll get top surgery one day. so i’m ok.

patience is hard. but it’s easier when i draw pictures of me being patient:
Image

transness as a bridge between my “lives”

[TW: emotional and physical violence, suicide, self-harm, dysphoria, sexual abuse]

this post is gonna be heavy. not cuz i’m down (i’m not), but cuz i’ve been thinking about this for a long time and it’s just heavy shit.

so, i don’t feel like pre-transition mx. punk died or is dying. i don’t feel like there’s a pre-transition/coming out mx. punk and a post-transition/coming out mx. punk. lots of trans* people talk about feeling like their old life is divided from their new life by their transness, but it’s not like that for me. actually, i often feel like my transness holds my 2 lives together and makes them almost whole.

this is how i feel.

in my old life, i was little. my family was always yelling and throwing things. if i didn’t want to get shat on, i had to yell and throw things, too. the most any of us could hope for was that we’d leave each other alone for a little while. we never solved anything by talking about it; emotional and physical violence were law. we were always hitting and grabbing each other. someone sexually abused me throughout my childhood (and i don’t really wanna elaborate on that right now). we didn’t take care of each other and we didn’t know how to take care of ourselves.

it probably wasn’t so bad;i know lotsa people have it worse than i ever did. but, fuck, it feels good to write about it, so i’m gonna keep writing. i feel like i might learn something if i keep writing.

when i was very young, i started cutting myself and fantasizing about death. in elementary school, i went through a phase where all the stories i told ended in death cuz i thought that was a happy ending (for real). i was unable to envision my future; i believed i was going to die soon. at one point, grieving, i tried to kill myself.

i should probably talk about that in greater detail. k.

so my family had a farm; we’d been there a long time. we had cattle, sheep, chickens, and vegetable gardens. a lot of the land was forested and one side of the farm ended on the lip of a river. well, we called it a river, but i think it was more of a deep creek than a river. anyway, the river was narrow and fast in most places. it cut through dense forests of thick red cedars, salmonberries, alders, and maples.

every summer, i lived in the riverbed. i prayed to the river and the sun and the water and the trees and the sky between the trees. i believed the land owned me and that i would die there one day. in retrospect, i think the land was the only reliable source of kindness and safety in my childhood.

they sold the land when i was 19.

i have trouble talking about this cuz i feel like no one knows what i mean. i say, “i grieve cuz they sold my home,” and people say, “so what? everybody moves. why grieve?” and i wanna say, “i grieve cuz i feel motherless. i wanted to die to stay there. if i’d died in the river, the salmon fry and the caddis larvae would’ve eaten my meat and then no one would’ve been able to make me leave. but i didn’t die and that’s why i grieve.” i never say that, though (except to my sweetheart). i rarely even admit to ever having grieved, let alone about something as seemingly trivial as moving. maybe i won’t even post this article. we’ll see.

anyway, we moved to the suburbs and i stopped writing poetry, playing music, and telling stories. i tried to die a few weeks before we left, but i did a shitty job of it. [eta: in case you’re wondering, i’m reallyreally super glad i suck at killing myself. life is awesome and i could go on for years about all the love, kindness, respect, and hope in my life right now. k? <3 so don’t get all worried about me.] before moving, i believed i would die. i would kill myself or i would die of grief. everybody always talks about dying of grief; surely i would die of it if it were possible. and somehow, moving felt like dying.

i’m sorry. i’m really not trying to be a drama king/queen/unicorn/thing, but i don’t know how else to write this. i feel like i died. i feel incapable of reconciling my two lives, divided as they were by leaving my home and grieving. the chasm between my lives is so wide, it feels like death.

my new life is different from my old life.

i’d been grieving for over a year and i was sick of it. i left the suburbs to go to school in the city. my sister told me to get the fuck outta the house and go to school or get a job or something, so i did (yay for my sister!). i met my sweetheart at school and i started playing music again. i started writing poetry and telling stories again. i don’t wanna make it sound like my sweetheart fixed me, but falling in love with him and going to school helped me feel hopeful about the future.

happiness snuck up on me, i guess.

we’ve been living together for almost 5 years. we make food together and we eat food together. we’re kind to each other. we don’t yell at each other or hit each other. we get enough sleep. we talk about our feels and we talk about our future. we grow vegetable together. we work together. we love all our plants and we love the birds who visit us. we love the caterpillars who sneak bits of our lettuces and we love each other. we used to live in the city, but now we live in the forest in a rural area. i guess what i’m getting at is that our home is safe and loveful.

i sing and write poetry. i’m friends with real, actual trans* people. i have a job. i’m out as nonbinary. my mom is my friend. i have a blog with a bunch of super-awesome readers/commenters. i feel like i’m part of a community. i love the sunshine and the rain. the maple trees in the forest out back have leaves bigger than my face. the sugar snap peas in the garden are ripe with all the sweetness of the sun.

i want to do things! i want to help trans*/queer people and make the world safer for trans*/queer kids and grow all of my own food. i want to get top surgery and find a way to help other trans* folks afford the surgeries they need/want. i want to build a house out of cob and learn how to bake bread. i want to hug my sweetheart when i get up from writing this post. i want to wake up tomorrow and i want to grow. i feel like i have a future cuz i don’t feel like i’m going to die.

and i can’t fucking fathom it. for the first few years, i believed i was dreaming. i believed i would wake up and be back on the farm (my real home) with people i hated and who hated me. we would abuse each other and everything would be back to normal. or worse, i would wake up in the suburbs.

of course, it’s not a dream (right? right?!), but i still have trouble grasping my situation. i live with someone who loves me. he helps me take care of myself. he helps me when i have trouble with ptsd. he helps me not be too scared to go to the dentist. he is kind to plants and animals. he plays music with me. we play fun games. we have dreams. we have plasmic sex. i love him. i save him from spiders (i put the spiders outside; nobody gets killed). sometimes we argue, but then we talk about our feels and we grow more. we hold hands all the time.

and i feel like all this is impossible. my life today is so different from my old life, i must’ve died. i must be somebody else. what the actual fuck.

but i’ve always been trans*. there were times when i didn’t know it, but i’ve always been trans*. i’ve always been nonbinary. and weirdly, my transness seems to hold my 2 lives together. i think it’s the one constant.

i know there’re other things that must tie my lives together cuz, really, they’re only 1 life and i’m only 1 person, but it doesn’t feel that way. and feels don’t have to make sense.

like, there’s this thing i do that i’ve done ever since puberty. every time i do it, i feel myself doing it in my old life, too. i feel all the other times i’ve done it. it’s like all the mx. punks of all the times and all the places always do this thing together. i did this thing before i knew trans* people existed or that there might be more than 2 genders. i still do it sometimes; it feels like some sort of body dysphoria ritual.

this is what i do. i squint at myself in the mirror, trying to find someone who looks like me.  i squish my chest down and glance at my reflection outta the corners of my eyes ―like i can see myself if i’m sneaky about it. if i see myself, even if i’m all blurry from squinting, i cry with relief. if i don’t see myself, my body dysphoria gets really bad.

somehow, the feeling that all the mx. punks of all the times in all the places do this thing together makes me feel like my life is almost whole. i feel connected with the 12-year old mx. punk who couldn’t believe how wrong their body was growing. i feel connected with the 14-year old mx. punk who wrapped their tits with ace bandages and duct tape. i feel connected with the 16-year old mx. punk who practiced loving their tits and thought they succeeded. i feel connected with the 25-year old mx. punk who is going to fucking get top surgery one day.

more than that, i feel that coming out as trans* is part of some inevitable arc that began with my childhood or my birth. like how i got oyster shell slivers embedded in my feet and they came out years later. just pushed their way to the surface and my skin bubbled over them like blisters and the skin died and the shells came out all on their own. i think my transness is like that. there is nothing i could’ve done to keep this shit buried. nothing. it would’ve unburied itself one day. i feel like my transness was always in me, even before i knew who i was.

and that inevitable arc feels like a bridge between my lives.

so in spite of every asshat who’ve ever called me a freak or a pervert, in spite of all the friends and family members i’ve lost when i’ve come out, transness holds my lives together. i’m proud to be trans* and i’m proud to be nonbinary. i’m not so proud of being unable to write this without sounding grossly dramatic (i’m reallyreally sorry), but that’s something else. when i say i’m proud of being a nonbinary trans* person, i mean “i’m glad to be me and fuck anybody who thinks i shouldn’t.”

*   *   *

holy fucking long. i dunno if i’ll post this, but if i do i’ll keep this note at the bottom just in case anyone thinks i think this is worth posting. cuz i don’t. not really. but it was worth writing. i feel totes better for having written it.

 

reclaiming my femininity

i’ve worn clothes from the “boys’” and “men’s” sections** for most of my life. those are just the clothes i like and they make me feel comfy.

sometimes i wonder, though, if maybe i like those clothes cuz society tells me they’re for “not-girls/women.” like, how much of my gender expression is mediated/informed by society? i occur in this societal framework and it’s not like i can just fuck off and live in a vacuum. i definitely need to examine the ways i construct my gender expression.

i spent a long time trying to live as a tomboy/butch-y woman. i experienced very little backlash (no bullying, no parental pressure, etc.), but it wasn’t right for me cuz reasons. old gender things i’d forgotten/buried started to unbury themselves, so i went looking for something.

i went through a phase where i presented as a femme-y woman. it was weird. i mean, i wore whatever clothes i wanted to wearyou look so goood, just like i always had, but it turned out that i just wanted to wear femme-y clothes for a while. and people kept telling me i looked pretty, that they much preferred my new look, that i looked funky and fun (i’m always fucking fun, k? i’m fucking fun even when i’m wearing plannel*** and work boots.), and that they were glad i’d finally “found myself.”

holy fuck, right? i was experimenting with my gender expression and all these people came outta nowhere to “reward” me for finally expressing my gender in a way that made them comfortable. so i ended up deciding to wear my old clothes again (stuff “for” boys/men). sure, i often wear fishnets under my torn-up jeans, but that’s nothing. not much, anyway.

i do love my fishnets, though. just sayin’.

maybe i should go to school wearing a tutu over some skinny jeans. or something. just to fuck with people and to show them (and myself) that i can wear whatever the fuck i want. that i’m not a dfab trans* stereotype, ya know? cuz i’m starting to feel a little trapped by people’s expectations.

thing is, i’m also trapped by my tits. that probably sounds totes weird, but it’s true. i can’t wear shit that emphasizes my tits; the dysphoria is crippling. as it is, when i get dressed, i’m always searching for the magic shirt that’ll make my tits look flatter. as though i can hide triple d tits even with binders. (spoiler: nope.) so i don’t really know i’d go about reclaiming my femininity even if i decided i definitely wanted to.

i mean, how do we go about reclaiming our femininity or masculinity? how do we reclaim our stories? the way society is set up, we have to “prove” the validity of our gender(s)/genderlessness; when we don’t dress “right,” that gets used against us. how the fuck do we navigate this toxicity? i don’t have the answers, lovelies; i think this is one of those things that needs some serious conversation. so, thoughts?

**i don’t think clothes should be gendered at all. there is nothing inherently masculine about dinosaurs and dark colors. there is nothing inherently feminine about flowers and pink. this is the paradigm i’m living in, though, and just ignoring it won’t solve anything.

***plannel = plaid + flannel

biological sex as a social contruct

i know, i know. i already wrote about this, but the post was a bit incoherent and i didn’t really know what i was trying to say. this time ’round, i know what i’m trying to say, but fuck knows if i’ll be able to explain it coherently.

anyway.

i think enforced biological sex is a tool of the kyriarchy. it serves those who would oppress us. supposedly, biological sex is about:

  • reproduction
  • medicine
  • science! facts!

but i declare shenanigans. why, you ask? k. i’ll start with reproduction.

if you think biological sex is about reproduction and “what goes where,” forget it. we (society) don’t declassify as female (dyadic**) cis women who get hysterectomies. we don’t declassify as male (dyadic) cis men who get their phalluses blown up by landmines. we don’t declassify as male or female (dyadic) binary cis people who choose not to have children (or can’t).

as for the whole medicine/science thing, i’m just gonna quote myself (with some revision for the sake of clarity):

of course, people have biological needs and functions that shouldn’t be ignored. i certainly don’t advocate pretending that our bodies are all the same– because they aren’t. people with breasts need regular mammograms in the same way that people with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin.

something to bear in mind, though, is that doctors don’t typically treat all women the same way and all men the same way– they treat them as individuals (eta: or they should, anyway). doctors ask me about my period, for example, not assuming that i even have one and not assuming what it’s like. doctors don’t drop people into a “sex” category and walk away; there’s too much variation for that to be valid medical practice.

furthermore, trans people don’t need to have their bodies referred to as belonging to someone else. if, say, a trans* man has a period, he doesn’t need some doctor telling him that his “womanly” body needs more iron (eta: unless he feels that his body is womanly. in which case, yay.). the trans* man just needs his doctor to tell him to take more iron because he has a period. referring to trans* people as “born female/male” or “female/male-bodied” reinforces the idea that they aren’t “really” women/men/others and that they don’t own their bodies. it also forcibly attaches gender to bodies.

when speaking of humans, sex isn’t simply about biology; we don’t think of it as simple medical classification. if we did, words like “male” and “female” wouldn’t come equipped with gendered connotations. if we thought of sex as being purely medical, it wouldn’t come up very often in casual confabulation. parents wouldn’t talk about their newborn being a boy or a girl– because they can’t know their baby’s gender right away and other people don’t need to know what the baby’s genitals look like.

also, i think it’s really telling that we (as a society) don’t really acknowledge the existence of intersex people. sure, sometimes cats try to be inclusive, but society certainly doesn’t want to mess with the holy sex binary (all hail). if sex were really about biological facts, we wouldn’t have any trouble respecting the existence of intersex people. ya know? like, the amount of pressure we put on intersex people to quietly squeeze into “m” or “f” is fucked up. (“pressure” includes genital surgeries on infants incapable of consent, bullying, shaming, societal insistence on the holiness of the sex binary.) i argue that such pressure wouldn’t exist if biological sex were about fucking facts; we’d accept the fact that bodies don’t come in a tidy binary.

as a society, we’re pretty fucking vague about what we mean by “biological sex.” i’m not talking doctors, mind you. i’m not a fucking doctor and i don’t hang out with any doctors, but the people i meet (on the internet/in meatspace) don’t seem to know or give a fuck about having set parameters for biological sex.

it’s magical, actually, the way we (as a society) shift the goalposts in order sneakily control other people’s bodies through naming them. you’re a trans* person whose body makes lots of estrogen and you haven’t gone on t? “naturally, your sex is female cuz holy shit estrogen is the girl stuff.” you’re a trans* person who still has the pussy you were born with? “clearly, your sex is ‘female’ cuz pussies are female.” you’re a trans* person who was born with a pussy but has since had bottom surgery and is on hrt? “still female! cuz chromosomes!” which is fucked, cuz if we’re going by chromosomes, why don’t doctors test babies’ chromosomes at birth? if biological sex is such a fucking solid fact, why the fuck do we need to move the goalposts at all?

so when we talk about biological sex as an immutable fact, what we’re really saying isn’t that reproductive potential or anatomical configuration count. what we’re saying is that sex designation at birth counts for everything, even in cases where it’s clearly meaningless. we’re imposing the will of the kyriarchy on each other for the sake of keeping each other in neat boxes, regardless of whether we actually fit those boxes.

when people tell me that sex is “biological” and immutable, that sex has nothing to do with how this society constructs gender, i’m not fucking impressed. imo, the real problem isn’t that sex and gender are being conflated and we need to tease them apart. i think the real problem is when people look at someone else’s body (or assume things about someone else’s body), forcibly gender them, and perpetuate oppression. cuz that’s the fucked up shit at the root.

i don’t think the solution is to insist that gender and sex are separate for ever and ever, cross our hearts and hope to die. i think the solution is to stop fucking naming other people’s bodies, stop assigning genders to babies, and keep working on oppressive bullshit.

*   *   *

thoughts? ideas? is this post coherent? did i miss something? (probably.) share your brains, lovelies! also, any suggestions for further reading would be rad. i know i read some recent articles about this, but i can’t fucking find them. (which means that the ideas presented here aren’t entirely my own. seriously, take note of that.)

tl;dr you get to name your own body. you don’t get to name other people’s bodies. let’s be friends.

**”dyadic” means “non-intersex.”

*   *   *

related reading:

layers of dysphoria

lately, i’ve been thinking about the ways i experience dysphoria.  my dysphoria seems to occur in layers like a rainbow jar cake, only shitty instead of awesome.

also, i’m gonna try to keep this organized cuz dysphoria is a big, messy topic.  yeah.

*   *   *

the top layer: social dysphoria

for a while, social dysphoria was the worst thing ever for me, but body dysphoria wasn’t a problem.  i was all like, i love my tits!  yay for my tits!  but i’m gonna die next time i get misgendered, zomg!

then i came out to a shit ton of people.  i started insisting on non-gendered pronouns, i legally changed my name, i started wearing a gender tag, and i calmed down about my social dysphoria.

i mean, it’s still a big deal for me cuz i get read as a binary person 100% of the time, but i feel like i can fucking respond to misgendering.  like, you fucking misgender me and i will correct you.  i know where all the gender-inclusive bathrooms are in my town and i refuse to use gendered bathrooms.  my teachers know i’m a nonbinary trans* person, my family knows, my buddies know– and most of them are supportive.  basically, i’m transitioning socially and i’m fucking handling my social dysphoria like a boss.

i think my social dysphoria will always be an issue cuz, like, i don’t know what to do even do in order to consistently be read as nonbinary.  i think i’d settle for confusing some people for a split second, ya know?  like, “what are you?!!  oh, you look like a woman/man.  ok, then.”  that’d be good enough, i think.  so social dysphoria forever, though it’s somewhat alleviated.

*   *   *

the next layer: body dysphoria

body dysphoria wasn’t an issue for me for a long time, though i struggled with it during puberty.  like, shit sucked for a while, but i guess i buried my body dysphoria or something cuz there were long years when it didn’t even come up.  now that i’m not obsessing over my social dysphoria, though, it turns out there’s a gross mess of body dysphoria underneath the social dysphoria.  oog.

(note: for me, body dysphoria is about my tits and my…”inside-junk.”  i’m not going to do anything about my inside-junk for a while, if ever, but my tits are GOING.  and i can’t talk about my inside-junk cuz dysphoria.  so let’s not go there, lovelies.)

so i’ve been binding more and more often, having meltdowns when i can’t get flat enough (or can’t bind cuz i have to sing at school), and fantasizing about killing a rich person and stealing their money to fund top surgery.

i do this thing where i put on 2 binders, put on my magical binding clothes (they’re encrusted with faery dust and they make me look flatter), look in the mirror, and try to see myself in there.  now that i have 2 binders that work well together, it’s usually not hard to see mx. punk in the mirror.  usually, i just glance in the mirror and start crying in relief.

before i had 2 binders, though, i couldn’t get very flat at ALL.  i’d struggle with the velcro and the flesh, get all leaky and upset, give up on getting flatter, and squint at my reflection to try to find mx. punk.

the first time i did that was in spring 2012.  except, it wasn’t really the first time.  it was the first time in fucking YEARS, but when i started trying to find the mx. punk in the mirror, i remembered doing it before.  i did it constantly in middle school.  like, go to the bathroom– squish tits down and squint at the mirror.  try on clothes– squish tits down and squint at the mirror.  etc.

i think i seriously buried that shit.

so, yeah.  top surgery asap.  it’ll probably take years, but i’ll save the money somehow.  it’s funny how quickly i went from “i love my tits” to “get them off get them OFF!  GETTHEMTHEFUCKOFFME!!!!”  i guess that’s what happens when you peel back one layer of dysphoria and find another layer of dysphoria.

*   *   *

i don’t know where i’m going with this ramble-y post, but i think i’ll stop now.  i should be doing homework anyway.  any thoughts, cats?  has anyone else experienced this weird layering of dysphoria?  and what if there’re more layers?!!  talk to me, peoples!  <3

reader questions about attraction

edit: i bet you’re wondering why i called this post “pansexual attraction.”  yeah, me too.  i think i was working on another post at the same time that was actually about pansexual attraction, but i got mixed up and misnamed this post.  really, this post is about attraction in general.  sorry about that, cats!

*   *   *

one of my totally wicked readers sent me some really good questions and i answered them as best i could.  i figured i’d better share our conversation with you neon cats just in case other people have similar questions and/or folks have stuff to add to the conversation.

I read your article about pansexualism and I had some questions. You said that if you say you’re sexually attracted to ‘men, women and trans’ that’s cissexist. But what if you’re a heterosexual man who is just not attracted to any kind of genitals other than a vulva, and any other kind of person than somebody that identifies as a woman? Or what if you are bisexual, but you only are attracted to people with penises that identify as men or people with vulvas that identify as women? Can you really help what kind of genitals you are attracted to, and what you like your ideal person to look like? I think saying that you’re attracted to transpeople makes it sound like you don’t consider them to be male/female, especially if they are binary identifying trans people, I just wonder about bisexuals and heterosexuals and homosexuals that only are attracted to people whose genitals match their identified gender. I guess, can you be attracted to a certain sex of person and a certain gender? I don’t really know.

Also I read your post about the tits and the pumpkins and I totally always buy the last thing in the discount bin because I don’t want it to feel lonely. Just thinking about it kinda makes me teary eyes.

I’m also very sorry if I was offensive, I’m just learning. That’s no excuse, but it’s the truth, and I’ve combed through it trying to get rid of offensive language.

–anonymous

hi!  i love questions!

the problem with saying you’re attracted to “men, women, and trans* people” is that you’re placing all trans* people outside “men” and “women.”  this sucks because some trans* people ARE men or women; they don’t need any well-meaning pansexuals to erase their existence.  society already tells trans* men and trans* women they aren’t “real” men/women and that they’re “really” the gender they were designated at birth; and they don’t need any more of that kind of thing.  i think you already know this, but i want to make sure we’re on the same page.

moving on.  by definition, a heterosexual guy is a (cis or trans*) guy who only experiences attraction to women.  he may experience attraction to some bodies/genitals but not to others, but that doesn’t impact his heterosexuality.  so a straight guy who only likes vulvae is no more straight than a straight guy who likes all sorts of genitals.  as long as he’s only really attracted to (cis and/or trans*) women, he’s heterosexual.

same thing goes for the bisexual person you describe; they’re no more or less bi than a bisexual person who’s attracted to people with all sorts of genitals.

the other thing to remember is that lots of trans* people get bottom surgery and, in many cases, are thereafter indistinguishable from cis folks.  that means that a straight guy, for instance, who only likes women with vulvae may experience attraction to trans* women with vulvae as well as to cis women with vulvae.  if the mere fact of transness is a problem for this hypothetical guy, he’s kinda cissexist/transmisogynist.  however, if he really just likes (cis/trans*) women with vulvae– cool.

so, yes, it’s totally ok to only be attracted to certain genital configurations; it’s a healthy part of some people’s sexuality.  i’m going to include some relevant reading: the “ethical” imperative of disclosure and the question of fetishization.  they’re both natalie reed articles that discuss trans* bodies, attraction, and all sorts of interesting stuff.  you may have already read them, but i thought you might like them.  also, attraction down the privilege gradient by lisa millbank is kinda relevant.  it discusses how our attractions don’t develop in a vacuum, but are informed by our social/political climate.  anyway.  just in case you love reading.  <3

your message isn’t offensive at all!  i’m really not very uptight about stuff like that (though i think i know why so many people think i am).  we all mess up (me, too!) and i think it’s important to call each other out so we can learn from our mistakes.  that’s all.  no public shaming or stoning or anything like that.  :)

thanks for asking and please lemme know if you have any more questions or if i didn’t answer these questions well enough.  stay splendid!

splendidly,
mx. punk <3

*   *   *

any thoughts, readers?  how’d i do?  any further advice for the asker?

i sent this letter to my teachers last night:

hi, everyone!

it’s the start of a new semester and i’d like to get something important out of the way; my pronouns are “they/them/their.”  this means that instead of to referring to me with gendered pronouns (“she/her/hers”, “he/him/his”), i’d like you to refer to me with “they/them/their” (non-gendered pronouns).  this is because i’m a nonbinary trans* person; my gender is nonbinary.

you might already know what nonbinary gender is, but i want to make sure we share a basic understanding of it.  a nonbinary gender is a gender that falls outside the woman OR man gender binary our culture commonly recognizes.  a nonbinary person may be a man and a women, they may be neither a man nor a woman, they may experience different genders at different times, or they may not experience gender at all.

to be clear, i’m writing about gender/gender identity—not gender expression.  gender is your understanding of yourself as a woman/man/nonbinary person, gender identity is how you name that understanding (ex. saying “i’m a woman/man/nonbinary person”), and gender expression is how you communicate your understanding with nonverbal cues (clothing, mannerisms, etc.)  to reiterate, i’m writing about gender/gender identity.

the salient point is this: please don’t misgender me.  please do what you can to get my pronouns right (i’m asking for effort, NOT for perfection) and please don’t refer to me as “a young lady/man/etc.”

if you do misgender me, i’ll correct you quickly and politely.  please don’t make a big deal out of it and please don’t apologize profusely.  please correct yourself and move on; i don’t want to disrupt conversations or class time.  most people have a very difficult time getting my pronouns right and i don’t expect instant success.  effort and good intentions will be more than enough.

when i tell people my pronouns are non-gendered (“they/them/their”), many people assume i’m offended by gendered pronouns when applied to other people.  this is not the case.  trying to get someone’s pronouns right is a sign of basic respect; it would be very rude of me to ask you to disrespect other people’s (gendered) pronouns.  feel free to apply gendered pronouns to other people.  just don’t apply them to me; they’re incorrect because i’m not a “she” or a “he”.

i know my personal pronouns and my gender may never come up in class, but i wanted to get this out of the way just in case.  thank you for reading my letter.  if you have any questions or concerns, we can discuss them via email, over the phone, or in person.  see you in class!

sincerely,

mx. punk

*   *   *

and now i’m all freaked out and stuff.  i was so fucking nervous while writing the letter, i actually had trouble typing.  and my partner had to help me click “send” rather than “delete.”

only one teacher has replied so far; they said they’d do their best ‘n stuff– so that’s good.  i’m still freaking out, though.

what would you think if you got a letter like this?  any suggestions for how you’d change it?  suggestions would help; i’ll have to send this to other people in the future and i want to make it better, if possible.  thanks, peoples.

i need to go hug my sick tummy, now.

coming out as trans* at school

school will be starting soon; i’ll be returning to university on september 4th.  i’m really fucking nervous.  like, i’m losing sleep and not really taking care of myself (not spending enough time outside, mainly).  i keep promising myself that i’ll be fine once school actually starts and i’ll start taking care of myself at that point, but i’m feeling pretty shitty.

so i’ve decided to start taking care of myself NOW by going outside more often, writing scary fairy tales, and telling you cats about my silly nervous tummy.

i totally didn’t mean for that to sound so cute.  sorry, folks.

anyway, i’ll be wearing my gender tag to school and insisting on non-gendered pronouns.  last year, i was out to everybody i managed to bring it up with and i used the non-gendered bathrooms exclusively, but this is gonna be different.  and that freaks me the fuck out, folks.  like, i’m having nightmares about it already.

last night, i had this nightmare where this teacher who i really look up to went all radscum on me cuz his partner is a radfem and my dream-brain thinks he must be total radscum.  even though i have no idea how he feels about trans* people and it’s never even come up.  but it WILL come up on the first day of school.  i’ll be sitting right in front of him wearing my gender tag and i won’t let him misgender me without protesting loudly.

i’ll have to be loud about my nonbinary gender around the other students, too.  most of them don’t know me at all cuz i tend to keep to myself.  i USED to be all social at school, but my increasing social dysphoria really shut me up last year, so i’m gonna be that weird, withdrawn person who only comes out to correct misgendering.

cuz the thing is, once somebody knows i’m nonbinary, THEY WILL NEVER GET AWAY WITH MISGENDERING ME AGAIN.  EVER.  that’s like, part of my self-respect policy, paragraph 11.  so i’m intimidated right now.  i’m intimidated by all the standing up for myself i’m going to do at school.

also, i need to plan out what i’m going to say to people.  i think just telling people my pronouns are “they/them/their” should be good enough.  cuz i already have trouble when i try to explain nonbinary gender to peoples unless they’re specifically interested in it.  thoughts on this?

i don’t know what i’m scared of specifically, but i just wanted to talk about it in the open with you lovely peoples.  thanks for reading, cats!

how do you deal with dysphoria/misgendering at school?

we need the word “cisgender”

i’ve been noticing that lots of writers avoid the word “cisgender,” opting instead for “non-trans*” or “not-trans*” or “genetic *” or “bio*.”

matt kailey does it (i love matt kailey!), the government does it when it decides to differentiate between trans* people and cis people, most of the pieces in the (totally awesome) gender outlaws: the next generation do it, and people trying to be inclusive do it (etc.).

i have trouble with this.  i don’t fucking get it.  “cisgender” is a specific, value-neutral term for a group of people who are typically centered as the default.  i think we need to decentralize cis-ness by naming it in an accurate and value-neutral way– such as with the word “cisgender.”

so why are some people so squeamish about the word?  i mean, grues are squeamish about being called “cis” cuz they’re fucking grues and they don’t want the icky trans* folks to talk about them in value-neutral ways– but what about everybody else?  in particular, why are some trans* people reluctant to use the word “cisgender?”

i mean, imagine if matt kailey (i’m picking on him cuz i read his blog voraciously and i’m ultra used to his usage of “non-trans”), a relatively high-profile trans* writer, activist, and educator actually used the word “cisgender.”  i imagine that a shit-ton of cis folks would be introduced to the concept of cis-ness in a rather clear, reaspectful way.  matt seems clever, articulate, and respectful; i think he could do a lot to decentralize cis-ness through naming it.

same thing with gender outlaws: the next generation.  awesome book– i reallyreally love it, but very few of the pieces in it actually call cis people “cis” rather than “non-trans*,” “bio *,” or even “genetic *.”  i think the alternatives to “cis” further centralize cis-ness– so why spread them around?

the main reason i’ve run into is in regards to comprehension.  apparently, people don’t want to introduce other people to new words because they want people to know what they’re talking about.  that seems reasonable, but why not write “cisgender (non-transgender)?”  that’s what some people do and it seems to work awesomely.

i realize that we don’t always have time to educate cis people; if we’re coming out to someone on the fly, we may not want to include new words.  i also realize that we get exhausted with educating people and that the burden of education lies with the oppressors rather than with the oppressed.  taking care of ourselves is more important than going out of our way to educate our oppressors, even though those 2 things often intersect.

that said, when so many trans* folks seem downright squeamish about the word “cisgender–” doesn’t that tell cis people it’s a dirty word (if they ever hear of it)?  and if we’re writing and we have time/space to breathe and to think about our words, why not just call a cis person a cis person?  (i realize that it may be unsafe to use the word “cisgender” in some situations.)

also, if you try to include trans* people in your surveys, your official government form-thingies, your medical intake forms etc. and some trans* person tells you about “cis” and how it’s less problematic than “bio *” or just “woman/man–” please don’t just tell me you don’t want to confuse people.  cuz “cisgender (non-transgender)” is pretty clear to me.

i’m honestly struggling with this; feel free to offer up some wisdom-nuggets of awesome.  seriously, let’s confabulate!

resources: cis is not a slur, grues and “cisgender” is not a slur, john aravosis.

top surgery: some questions to consider

i found some questions to consider before undergoing any sort of trans*-related surgeries (thank you, internet); i decided to answer them and make a really fucking long post outta them.  if you don’t have the patience to read the whole thing, i understand.  if you DO have the patience to read the whole thing, though– advice, stuff for me to think about, etc. are all most welcome.

also, i  don’t think this post is as coherent as i usually think my posts are.  actually, i think this post is a total mess.  beware.

*   *   *

do you have a clear mental picture of what you want to look like after top surgery?

not really.  i know i want to look, um, familiar(?) to myself.  i guess i want to look “right”—i want to see what i expect to see when i look at myself.  i don’t have a clear picture of what i expect to see when i look at myself, but i know my current appearance isn’t it.  i need to change that.

i don’t expect to magically look all buff or anything; i’m chubby and not-buff pre-op—of course i’d be chubby and not-buff post-op unless i started working out serious-time.  i’m definitely not considering top surgery because i have body image problems.  cuz really, these are some hot tits and i feel bad for considering dismembering them.  (except when i feel  excited and all “mwahaha”-y about dismembering them.)

if so, how do you think you might feel if the results don’t match that mental picture?

i think i would feel much more dysphoric than i do now.  i mean, i guess i’m feeling dysphoric about my chest and i’m wondering if top surgery would make my chest feel more like it belongs to me.  so, you know, if top surgery ended up making me look LESS like me, i’d be kinda fucked.

i would probably deal with that by wearing clothes CONSTANTLY; i think i’d be stoked about being titless while clothed.  i’m always comfy and confident while binding, so…  still, i definitely hope to rid myself of some dysphoria.

are you hoping top surgery would fix anything?  if so, what?

“fix” is the wrong word; i’m not hoping top surgery would “fix” anything.  i do hope top surgery would allow me to look/feel like me, thereby alleviating some of my dysphoria.  i hope my chest would look more familiar to me if i got top surgery (my tits shock me, sometimes).  i know top surgery wouldn’t solve any of my issues, it wouldn’t change my personality, it wouldn’t turn me into a sex god (i’m already a sex god)–  and i’m cool with that.

what parts of your life might change after top surgery?  what do you hope might change and what do you fear might change?

i wouldn’t have to bind or wear bras!  fuck yeah!  no more dysphoric days when i can’t bind cuz i have to sing!  no more awkwardly pawing through bins of bras in fucking bra stores while my partner pretends to be looking with me so i won’t feel so outta place!  no more hard searches for bras that have neither lace nor bows!  yay!!!  no more tears of frustration cuz i can’t bind my tits flat enough and i need them to be on someone else’s body!

obviously, my body would be different; hopefully, it would look/feel right to me.  if my body looked/felt right to me, i might trust it more; currently, when i come out as non-binary, people usually point at my fucking tits as proof of my perceived womanhood.  this makes me feel like my own body has betrayed me.  like, this part of my body that may or may not really belong to me gets used against me by grues.

i know people would still misgender me and that top surgery probably wouldn’t have much effect on how frequently i get misgendered, but i think top surgery might make me feel more confident in the face of misgendering.  like, “just try using my non-binary clit against me.  just try.  my non-binary clit is on my fucking side and it will fucking destroy you if you misgender me.  and my treasonous tits won’t help you cuz they’ll be in a trash can—so there.”  (i would illustrate this for you, but i don’t think i can draw a clit destroying somebody.  i just don’t know how.  but feel free to submit such a pic!)

also, when i get misgendered while binding and wearing my gender tag, i feel like i’ve done my part to communicate with other people, i’ve expressed myself honestly, and other people just didn’t get it.  i feel like i haven’t failed myself.  (am i making any sense?)

i do hope i’d be read as a woman a little less often, though.  currently, i’m read as a woman exactly 100% of the time; a single double-take would be plasmic, at this point.  like, really fucking satisfying.  maybe i could hang out shirtless and people would think i were a chubby guy from afar, get confused in the middle distance, and then decide i’m a titless woman up close.  maybe?  cuz then there’d be that moment in the middle where i’d be read as non-binary and i would love that.  i think that moment would be enough.

i’m scared of losing nipple sensation; nipple sensation is important to me.  i know loss of sensation is quite common; if get top surgery, i will have to be prepared to lose all nipple sensation.  (i’m not currently prepared.)

i’m scared my partner wouldn’t be attracted to my titless chest.  i mean, i’m sure he wouldn’t be repulsed but he probably wouldn’t love it wildly anymore, either.  he says he would, but i don’t quite believe him.  and i need my partner to love my body; to be excited about my body .  i don’t know if that makes me vain or what, but it’s totally true.  i’m scared that all my physical attractiveness/beauty is in my tits.

i’m scared i wouldn’t find my body attractive anymore; what if my new chest felt right to me, but i couldn’t learn to love it the way i’ve learned to love the chest i have now?  (i love my tits even though they might not belong to me.  cuz shit’s complicated.)

i’m scared of having a super lumpy chest.  cuz no thanks.  scars?  hells yes; scars are  sexy.  lumpy?  no, please.  i know this is a risk of top surgery; if i get top surgery, i will pick my surgeon carefully in order to minimize the possibility of me having to spend the rest of my life with a lumpy chest.  i’m ok with taking this risk, provided i do my best to pick a decent surgeon.

do you think your hopes for top surgery are realistic?  why or why not?

i think my body would look/feel more right to me while i’m clothed as i’m always pretty dysphoric about my tits while clothed.  even when i know my shirt makes my tits look hot, i still feel like they don’t belong on ME.  when i bind, i’m always desperate to get as flat as possible—and then i feel different and confident.  i feel like my tits aren’t in the way and i can just do ME.

naked, however, might be a different story.  currently, i think my naked tits are fucking hot and i think they make me hot by association.  that makes shit difficult.  see, i’m not sure if i’m confusing “my naked tits are hot and i’m not attractive without them” with “my naked tits belong on me.”  cuz i might be.  (how can i tell?!  this is what’s confusing me the most; thoughts?)

i don’t think top surgery would stop most people from assuming i’m a woman.  actually, i’m sure even a double-take would be a rarity.  i’m sure most people would just assume i had really tiny tits—and i’m ok with that.  maybe people would misgender me more slowly than they do now, though.  maybe?  if top surgery confused a single person for a single second, though, it’d be wicked perk and i would squeal.  i’d be surprised, though.  i mean, customers at work still call me “the nice lady” when i’m binding—and i wear men’s clothing.  i’m pretty sure there’s no hope in that regard.

how much do you know about your options for top surgery?

i know a bit about the procedures/techniques; i know i want to keep my nipples attached and if the surgeon said i’d need nipple grafts, i’d go away and try to live with my tits.  i might fail to live with my tits and end up getting surgery eventually, but i would try cuz otherwise i WOULD regret fucking with my nipples so much.  like, they’re cute nipples; they deserve love and kisses and stuff.

i know about some of the risks; tissue death, hypertrophic scarring, asymmetrical/lumpy contour, loss of sensation, risks normally associated with surgery, etc.  also, general anesthetic is scary.  i can face it, but it scares me.  i think i’m more scared of having tits forever than i am of surgery and general anesthetic.

what do you still need to learn to be able to make a fully informed decision about top surgery?

i need to learn more about specific surgeons, how i would go about getting my surgery covered (i may not have a choice of surgeon if i want my surgery covered, so we’ll see), and i need to learn more about the risks of surgery as a type 1 diabetic.  i’ve heard rumors that the main/only (?) chest surgeon in my province doesn’t operate on diabetics; i need to find out more about this, obviously.

i think i need a more firm idea of what my motives behind wanting top surgery are and i totally need to think about how i want to look when i’m naked (see above for my naked chest vs clothed chest confusion).

i also need to think more about the potential impact of top surgery on my sex life.

is your chest part of your sexuality at this time?  if so, what might happen if you lose that part of your sexuality?

yes.  and i don’t really know how i’d feel if i lost that part of my sexuality.  i mean, my partner and i DO have totally wicked sex without acknowledging my tits (we tend to do this when sexy-feelings coincide with tit dysphoria), but what if we never had fun with my chest again?  would that be shitty in the long-term?

what if i lost all sensation in my nipples?  even if i didn’t lose all sensation, would my sweetheart be interested in playing with my nipples?  i know i’d need to be prepared to lose that part of my sexuality if i got top surgery.

i need to think about this some more…

who else in your life would be affected by top surgery?  how do you think they feel about you having top surgery?

my sweet partner would be affected, obviously.  i can’t see how anyone else would be affected, though.

my partner says he’s supportive.  thing is, he truly IS supportive in all ways and i’m worried that now he just identifies as a mx. punk supporter.  i mean, what if getting rid of my tits would be too much for him?  would he be able to admit it if he felt unable to support the violent destruction (mwahahaha) of my tits?  he’s a very honest person and i reallyreally doubt he’s flat-out lying—but what if he’s fooling himself?

my partner also says he’d be attracted to me whether or not i had tits—but what if he missed having tits to play with?  i tell myself to just believe him (if i’m fine with a titless partner, why couldn’t he be fine with a titless partner?), but i’m a tad insecure about these things.

cuz, you know, when we met, he id’d as a straight cis guy—and now he’s with a fucking queer non-binary person who may or may not even have tits in the future.  so i’m insecure.  i hope i get the fuck over it.  i think this is something i’d need to work out before deciding to get top surgery.

cuz my sweetheart loves me and he is honest and kind.  so there, insecurities.

on the up side, we’re pretty sure my potential titless-ness wouldn’t really impact my partner outside of sexy fun-times; when i bind, he doesn’t usually notice.

how might their reactions impact you?

i reallyreally want my sweetheart to be happy.  i reallyreally hope we keep having wild, loving sexy fun-times and i hope our sexy fun-times continue being fun for BOTH of us.  basically, i would forgo top surgery for my partner.  i know i could end up regretting it and eventually getting top surgery anyway, but i would probably decide not to get top surgery if i thought top surgery would be bad for our relationship.  that probably makes me dependent, pathetic, and silly.

things is, i know i couldn’t handle it if i got top surgery and thereby destroyed our little family.  maybe it’s a good thing that i’m just admitting that up front.

what do you think are “wrong reasons” to have top surgery?

i think getting surgery in hope if meeting some specific ideal body would be a pretty bad reason to get top surgery.  also, expecting top surgery to fix my issues would be pretty silly cuz i’d be the same person with the same issues post-op as i am pre-op (minus tit-associated dysphoria, hopefully).

what do you think are “right reasons” to have top surgery?

well, i think trying to get my body to look/feel “right” to me would be a good reason to get surgery.  i used to experience severe tit dysphoria all the time, and i’ve certainly been experiencing tit dysphoria over the past year.  at this point, i think the intervening years might’ve been a fluke.  like maybe i was test-driving tit acceptance.  i often feel like i’m just waiting for my tits to fuck off—and i think i’d like to stop waiting.  like, i want to get it over with and move the fuck on.

i think i might experience less social dysphoria after top surgery (maybe); that might be a good reason to get surgery.  i currently experience a shit-ton of social dysphoria and i feel like my tits basically command people to misgender me– and that sucks.  honestly, though, i’m certain i’d still experience some social dysphoria after top surgery cuz people would still misgender me all the fucking time.  only, maybe my social dysphoria would be reduced.  and that would be killer.

do you have any other thoughts about top surgery?

i think this would be less complicated if i could give my tits away (to bia!  cuz she asked first and is awesome!) rather than destroying them and dumping them in a pile of medical waste.  that just sounds so…mean.

figuring this out is gonna be a long process and i’m gonna need advice, support, even computer smilies.  :)

also, if you actually read all this—i am in awe of your patience.

thoughts?  insight?  computer smiles?