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Sunday, May 31, 2015

Putting Together Our Stories: Growing Up LGBT In WELS

            This blog is a mix of informative and getting out personal feelings. And so I want to create a post that mixes the two on a topic that’s been a huge center of my feelings. I was in WELS schools through all of my schooling. And there were a lot of conflicting feelings throughout it that have been difficult to work through. And so, I have an idea to help me and maybe others work through these feelings and experiences. I want to make a cooperative post with as many ex-WELS LGBT people as I can. This is going to be a post to get out our thoughts and feelings that we experienced. I don’t care how good of a writer you are. Simply write your experiences. These are the only guidelines I want to have for it.

1. State either a preferred name or if you are concerned about who will see, then a pseudonym
2. State where in terms of LGBT+ you fit (i.e. I am bisexual and transgender)
3. State your gender and preferred pronouns (Also whether you are cis or trans)
4. Mention how long you were in WELS
5. Tell us anything you’re willing to tell us! What it felt like, your thoughts, your feelings, your experiences, specific stories, how you came to leave WELS, any and all of it! I want this to be a comprehensive effort for us to connect on and work through our feelings together!

If you want to write something just let me know and send it to me when you’re done! I’ll post them as soon as I have them with the handle “LGBT in WELS: Your Name”

And thank you so much in advance for anyone that helps!

My Response To Dr. Gagnon: Don't Call Yourself An Expert Unless You Know What You're Talking About

[CONTENT WARNING: Ignorance and Transphobia]

            The other day, my oldest sister sent me a message on facebook with a video, asking if I had heard of Dr. Gagnon. Given the nature of my discussions with her, I immediately knew that the video would be about transgenderism. I wasn’t sure how positive or negative it would be but I’m always open to listening to people talk about the topic, even if I disagree. So, I clicked the video hoping it might be something interesting, like someone that researched the topic and such. Sadly, I was horribly disappointed, and instead head some back and forth between two people that clearly have done no research and have no clue what they’re talking about. And it’s not even just about opinions, he’s wrong on so many things factually. Like, they say things that are literally objectively wrong. So, I’m going to pull things throughout the video to respond to to give you an idea.

“He[sic] wants to be known as Chelsea Manning even though he’s[sic] a man.”

            First of all, oh no, media daring to respect someone’s identity and use “she?” They say this like it’s some sort of sign of doomsday. And of course they continue to misgender Chelsea as “he.” My only response here is, no dear radio host, Chelsea is a woman. End of story. K? Moving on.

“Confused? Yeah, a lot of us are.”

            Oh shut the hell up. Could you at least try to seem respectful when discussing this? “Something I don’t understand? Must be evil and bad, let’s poke fun at it.” You know what might help you understand? Actually researching and knowing what you’re talking about.

“What are we to think of transgenderism, these new forms of aberrant sexuality…”

            Whoa whoa whoa, no one mentioned sexuality here. If you had even a fraction of understanding of what transgenderism is, you would understand it’s not sexuality. Who I see myself as has nothing to do with who I’m attracted to. It’s not that hard to understand. I know people who are trans that like women, some that like men, some that are bisexual, it has nothing to do with sexuality, who we’re attracted to. I’m not even a minute in and I know you don’t know what you’re talking about.

They say we’re not in a good place because the media respects Chelsea Manning’s wish to be called “she”

            Oh no, respecting people’s wishes and identities, we must be in a horrible place! Eyeroll

“Society sees sex and gender differences as inconsequential”

            Absolutely not. Of course they’re consequential! They shape how our society views people! You know what makes them consequential? The huge suicide and murder rates. A consequence of me being trans is that I have a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered. Pretty big consequence there. I know, that’s not what you meant by consequential, but the point being no, we don’t view it as inconsequential, that would be impossible in a society that labels us freaks.

“Transgenderism is essentially an extreme form of homosexuality.”

            Seriously, an expert? You think of yourself as an expert? This sentence is so wrong, I’m not even sure where to begin. Repeat after me Dr. Gagnon.
            It’s seriously not hard to understand. How you see yourself as and who you’re attracted to are different. Different. Diiiiiffferrrreeeeeent. SERIOUSLY, I CAN’T EMPHASIZE ENOUGH TIMES HOW WRONG THIS SENTENCE IS.

“It’s a complaint towards the creator for making one as male or female.”

            Now this one is more complicated and I can’t speak for all trans people. However, I don’t “blame God” for how he made me or anything like that. I see it as being something that went wrong at birth, just like any other birth problem. Unless you’re gonna say fixing a birth deformity is “complaining against the creator for how he created you.” Oh, also, people that are gay don’t necessarily have any problem with the gender they were assigned at birth. Unless they’re trans and gay. Also this entirely leaves out the possibility of bisexuals. This is so oversimplified you can’t have any rational discussion based on it.

“[Transgenderism] is a complete denial of the integrity of one’s sex or gender.”

            More ways I can tell he doesn’t know what he’s talking about. See, gender and sex are different things. And this isn’t some opinion, this is a well-established scientific fact. See, sex is referring to your genitals, your chromosomes, the sexually dimorphic parts of your body. Gender, however, is a socially constructed issue. It is in how we identify with each other and groups and our sex. This manifests in ways such as gender roles, gender expression, and gender identity, the extent to which we identify with male or female. Most people identify with their birth sex, but this isn’t always the case. And we end up with many mixes with feminine guys, masculine girls, etc. Gender is a very complicated social construction that shapes how we relate, where as sex is the biology. Sex is a very complicated thing that isn’t a neat “male/female” dichotomy. Even in people that we would very easily say “male” or “female” their biological sex may not be that simple. This discussion oversimplifies it all.

They actually mention intersex individuals!
            So I mean, they have that going for them.

The refer to Chelsea Manning receiving hormone therapy as “It’s turning into bizzaro world.”

            Really? Really? You’re gonna be that ridiculous about it? Hey, hostess, us learning about things and adjusting our approach and thoughts on them, just cause they disagree with you, doesn’t make it “bizzaro world.” We have a TON of research on this topic to back up our views. It’s not like this is a sudden IGNORE EVERYTHING approach. This may be shocking to you but people that hold views different than yours probably have just as much of a nuanced view and approach as you do.

They claim someone may be trans because of social influence, child rearing or peer relations.
            Yeah, here’s the thing… you need to back that up with evidence. You can’t just say it like it’s some objective truth. In fact, we studied this and looked at possible influences. Boys that were born with a rare defect were once given surgery to be female and raised as female… and they still identified as male and insister they were boys. So, just saying this probably isn’t related to things like that. Since apparently even when they have LITERALLY NO REASON TO BELIEVE THEY ARE MALE, they still realize they’re male. Also, we have a ton of research that says it’s simply a part of who we are.

Brawaeys, A. & Gijs, L. (2007). Surgical Treatment of Gender Dysphoria in Adults and
Adolescents: Recent Developments, Effectiveness, and Challenges. Annual Review of Sex Research 18 (178–224).

Chung, W. C., De Vries, G. J., & Swaab, D. F. (2002). Sexual differentiation of the bed nucleus

of the stria terminalis in humans may extend into adulthood [Abstract]. The journal of neuroscience, 22(3), 1027-1033. Retrieved from

Coolidge, F., Thede, L., & Young, S. (2002). The Heritability of Gender Identity
Disorder in a Child and Adolescent Twin Sample [Abstract]. Behavior Genetics 32(4): 251–257 Retrieved from

Garcia-Falgueras, A., & Swaab, D. F. (2008). A sex difference in the hypothalamic uncinate

nucleus: relationship to gender identity [Abstract]. Brain: A journal of neurology, 131(12), 3132-3146. Retrieved from

Gaser, C., Hamilton, L. S., Luders, E., Narr, K. L., Sanchez, F. J., Toga, A. W., & Vilain, E.

(2009). Regional gray matter variation in male-to-female transsexualism [Abstract]. Neuroimage, 46(4), 904-907. Retrieved from

Gooren, L. (2006). The biology of human psychosexual differentiation [Abstract]. Hormones
and behavior, 50(4), 589-601. Retrieved from

Gooren, L. J., Hofman, M. A., Kruijver, F. P., Pool, C. W., Swaab, D. F., & Zhou, J. N. (2000).

Male-to-female transsexuals have female neuron numbers in a limbic nucleus [Abstract]. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 85(5), 2034-2041. Retrieved from

Gooren, L. J., Hofman, M. A.,  Swaab, D. F., & Zhou, J. N. (1995). A sex difference in the
human brain and its relation to transsexuality [Abstract]. Nature, 378(6552), 68-70. Retrieved from
Grant, J. M., Mottet, L. A., & Tanis J. (2011). Injustice at every turn: A report of the
national transgender discrimination survey.
Greist, J. H., Jefferson, J. W., & Spitzer, R. L. (Eds.). (1982). Treatment of mental disorders.
Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press.
Solomon, A. (2012). Far from the tree: Parents, children, and the search for identity. New York,
NY: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

They claim we don’t think hormones, bodies, or brain structure matter.

            Fun fact, they do matter, and we definitely think that. If I didn’t think hormones mattered, I wouldn’t be on hormone replacement therapy. If I didn’t think the body mattered, I wouldn’t hate my body being male so much. Oh, and you point to sexually dimorphic parts of the brain? Uhhhhh

Brawaeys, A. & Gijs, L. (2007). Surgical Treatment of Gender Dysphoria in Adults and
Adolescents: Recent Developments, Effectiveness, and Challenges. Annual Review of Sex Research 18 (178–224).

Chung, W. C., De Vries, G. J., & Swaab, D. F. (2002). Sexual differentiation of the bed nucleus

of the stria terminalis in humans may extend into adulthood [Abstract]. The journal of neuroscience, 22(3), 1027-1033. Retrieved from

Coolidge, F., Thede, L., & Young, S. (2002). The Heritability of Gender Identity
Disorder in a Child and Adolescent Twin Sample [Abstract]. Behavior Genetics 32(4): 251–257 Retrieved from

Garcia-Falgueras, A., & Swaab, D. F. (2008). A sex difference in the hypothalamic uncinate

nucleus: relationship to gender identity [Abstract]. Brain: A journal of neurology, 131(12), 3132-3146. Retrieved from

Gaser, C., Hamilton, L. S., Luders, E., Narr, K. L., Sanchez, F. J., Toga, A. W., & Vilain, E.

(2009). Regional gray matter variation in male-to-female transsexualism [Abstract]. Neuroimage, 46(4), 904-907. Retrieved from

Gooren, L. (2006). The biology of human psychosexual differentiation [Abstract]. Hormones
and behavior, 50(4), 589-601. Retrieved from

Gooren, L. J., Hofman, M. A., Kruijver, F. P., Pool, C. W., Swaab, D. F., & Zhou, J. N. (2000).

Male-to-female transsexuals have female neuron numbers in a limbic nucleus [Abstract]. The Journal of clinical endocrinology and metabolism, 85(5), 2034-2041. Retrieved from

Gooren, L. J., Hofman, M. A.,  Swaab, D. F., & Zhou, J. N. (1995). A sex difference in the
human brain and its relation to transsexuality [Abstract]. Nature, 378(6552), 68-70. Retrieved from
Grant, J. M., Mottet, L. A., & Tanis J. (2011). Injustice at every turn: A report of the
national transgender discrimination survey.
Greist, J. H., Jefferson, J. W., & Spitzer, R. L. (Eds.). (1982). Treatment of mental disorders.
Oxford, NY: Oxford University Press.
Solomon, A. (2012). Far from the tree: Parents, children, and the search for identity. New York,
NY: Simon & Schuster, Inc.

            Huh, well whaddya know, trans people’s brains match their gender identity rather than their birth sex so uhh… WE REALIZE IT MATTERS.


            No, this is nothing to do with Gnosticism. And as mentioned above, we’re not “anti-body” or ignoring the body or saying it’s no consequence.

“Studies have been done on male-to-female transsexuals and their views of casual sex.”

            Aside from the citation needed, that has way more to do with what we’re taught as a society and how society views male and female sexuality. That’s not a hard ingrained biological truth. And you would agree I hope that men aren’t just “hardwired to like casual sex.” (Afterall, then you’d need to blame God for doing that.) That’s a social issue that has nothing to do with someone’s biological sex.

“To transgenders”

            Transgender is an adjective, not a noun. Learn grammar.

“Malakoi, Greek term for ‘soft male’”

            Well for one, good thing I’m not male J Also this leaves out people that are female-to-male. But even ignoring that, this word is more complicated than he makes it sound. This word and “arsenokoitai” are debated because… Paul’s writings are literally the only place we see them. So it’s hard to determine what exactly is meant by them. A common understanding is that these two words pair to mean the “active” and “passive” partners in homosexual intercourse. But even ignoring that, it’s what he says after that gets me.
            “Men who actively feminize themselves to become partners for other men.” Well for one, gay people don’t necessarily feminize themselves. They don’t even need to necessarily be feminine at all. Also, trans people aren’t necessarily going to have those attraction patterns. There are people that are male-to-female that are attracted to women. Are you going to say they’re feminizing themselves to become partners with women?
            IT’S NOT ABOUT WHO WE’RE ATTRACTED TO, IT’S ABOUT HOW WE SEE OURSELVES. WHY DO YOU NOT GET THIS? Who I’m attracted to has nothing Nothing NOTHING to do with me being trans. Got it? Got it.

Deuteronomy 22

            Ok, apparently you actually even suck at teaching the Bible. Because you should know full well that the Deuteronomic law was given specifically to the Israelites at a time in which it was essential to separate themselves from pagan cultures. It is not something given to the people of today. But that’s just the beginning of the problem.
            Another problem is that cross-dressing has nothing to do with transgenderism. There are guys that like to cross-dress that are completely heterosexual. I view myself as female and I like cargo pants. What someone wears has nothing to do with their gender identity. Wearing a dress doesn’t make someone a woman, just like me wearing cargo pants doesn’t make me a man.
            Also, what “cross-dressing” is is totally socially arbitrary. What we view as “male” and “female” clothes is socially made up. It doesn’t actually mean anything. And cross-dressing then would be different than cross-dressing now cause… they’re clothes. They don’t have an objective gender, it’s fabric. But please, do go on you supposed “expert”

“Jesus’s statement on eunuchs”

            Do you uhhh… not remember what that statement is? Jesus praises eunuchs. He says there are those born that way, those who were made eunuchs by others, and those who make themselves that way for the kingdom of God. The one who can accept it SHOULD accept it. So umm… if anything, this would support trans people. I personally, however, don’t think this is talking about trans people at all and is talking about literally people that are asexual or castrated for slavery or servitude in general.

He recommends people that already have surgery detransition and have more surgery

            THIS IS A BAD IDEA, A HORRIBLE IDEA. These surgeries are complicated for one, but also doing this could be literally dangerous for the persons well-being, including their psychological well-being. THIS IS A BAD IDEA, DON’T LISTEN TO HIM, THIS IS A HORRIBLE IDEA THAT WOULD DAMAGE MANY PEOPLE.

“The person has denied the way that God has made them.”

            “If you have surgery to fix a congenital defect or abnormality, you are denying the way God has made you. Now shut up and deal with that clubbed foot.”

She mentions bigender and pangender and such and then says “How can we have a conversation about sexuality”

            Well first of all, ya don’t. Because this has nothing to do with sexuality. I don’t get how you don’t understand that. As for non-binary gender identities, that’s a whole other ball game that I don’t have the time to go into right now. But uhhh, it’s not sexuality. Get that through your thick skull.

He admits that birth abnormalities exist but denies fixing them?

“These laws are going to be used to persecute Christians”

            This is going to be shocking to you, I know but… who I am, my identity and my gender, they have nothing to do with you. Me being allowed to be who I am is not going to “persecute” you. Me living my life is not “persecuting you.” It has absolutely nothing to even do with you. Are you such a narcissist that nothing you don’t agree with can happen without you crying persecution?

It’s going to harm children.

            He points to a trans boy (female to male) using the boy’s locker room in California as “hurting children.” (Cause… reasons? I dunno.) But I’m going to get very very serious here. I’ve been responding in somewhat sarcastic ways, but if I were speaking this it would be in a very serious tone with a serious face.
            Do you know what’s harming children, Dr. Gagnon? What’s harming children is being denied by their families. What’s harming children is the 41% suicide attempt rate among trans people. What’s harming children is that almost have of homless people are some form of LGBT because people reject them. What’s harming children is bullying so merciless they feel they have no choice but to end their own life than to try to live through it another day. What’s harming children is the father that stabbed his own child for coming out as transgender. What’s harming children is that once you come out as trans, you have a 1 in 12 chance of being murdered. And that number jumps to 1 in 8 if you’re not white.
            And you have the audacity to say that to help children we need to be rejected more? Here’s a news flash, society isn’t as accepting of us as you think. It’s not sunshine and rainbows for us. We are literally dying because of who we are. If you think the problem with society is that it’s too accepting of us, you’re not just ignorant, you’re a bad person.

“Concerns about the restroom facilities people use”

            You know what the concerns are, really? People play it off as “Well I’m scared a man is going to come into the woman’s restroom and assault me” or something like that. For one, that’s not a measure of whether or not trans people should be allowed to use certain bathrooms. Two, if a man is going to assault a woman, he’s not gonna care about the laws. And three, I can guarantee you that I am infinitely more terrified of using a public restroom than you are of letting me do that. You know how many times trans people have gone into public bathrooms and assaulted someone?.... none. We literally have no record of it happening. It’s not a rational fear. You know how many times trans people are the ones being assaulted in the bathroom? All the time. ALL. THE. TIME. It is a very real constant fear for me. I HAVE WAY MORE TO BE AFRAID OF THAN YOU DO.

He talks about incest and lowering the age of consent

            What the actual fuck does this have to do with my gender identity? What does who I see myself as have to do with incest and raping children? It’s not a logical leap, it’s ridiculous. It’s totally unrelated. Guess what? I don’t support lowering the age of consent. This may seem difficult to understand but SEEING MYSELF AS A WOMAN DOESN’T MEAN I’M OK WITH CHILDREN BEING RAPED, WHAT THE FUCK IS WRONG WITH YOU? THIS ISN’T ABOUT THROWING AWAY SEXUAL ETHICS. HOW ARE YOU THIS STUPID?

And finally, in your last part, this isn’t about denying God. Trans people have varying ideas of God. It is nothing to do with how we view God.

After the message, my sister said he’s an “expert in the field.” My response to that is to be an expert, you need to know what you’re talking about. This guy has no damn clue what he’s talking about. He’s not an “expert” he’s a biased idiot that has no understanding of the topic at hand, has done no research, and can’t even look at topics in the Bible correctly. He’s not an expert, I wouldn’t even call him knowledgeable. He’s just plain wrong. In other words, unless you want your brain to hurt from the ignorance, don’t watch that video.

Friday, May 29, 2015

My Rapist Followed Me On Twitter

            Nothing quite ruins a mood like finding out your rapist followed you on Twitter. So, I’m not going to delete you, not just yet. I’m going to post this post on twitter to make sure you see if first. I want you to read it before I prevent you from talking to me ever again. So, this is my message to you.

            First of all, I’m not going to say your name or username. Why? For one, I’d have nothing to prosecute you on besides me words. That wouldn’t do anything. The legal system won’t help me now, it’s too late. But also, what would letting people know it do? Get you more attention? I mean sure, people might send you nasty messages but that’s not going to do anything. It’s not going to make you pay for it and it’s not going to give me any solace. No, you don’t deserve to have people know your name or who you are. I don’t want people to know who you are. I want you to disappear into obscurity. I want you to be so far removed from my life no one even bothers to know your name. You’re not even worth knowing a name.

            Second of all, what happened is not my fault. When I tell you to stop, you’re supposed to stop. I don’t know what’s so hard about that concept. I didn’t “owe” you anything. I don’t care what you said, I didn’t “owe” it to you. I wasn’t in some sort of sexual debt. Know, you didn’t deserve anything. And even if I didn’t fight back hard enough because at the time I thought I did “owe” it to you doesn’t make it right or ok. What you did was wrong, and that can never go away. You were the first person I ever truly had sex with, and you can never give that back to me. You will live with this forever.

            I hope, with all my heart, it haunts you. I hope you feel horrible for what you did. I hope you wish you could give me that back. I hope that feeling doesn’t leave. Because I want you to know to never do that to anyone ever again. And I hope the very idea of doing it again gives you nightmares.

            And most importantly, I forgive you. I’m letting go of it. What you did was horrible. It will live with me forever. I hope it lives with you forever. But I won’t let that hold my life. I won’t let it rule me. I hope it haunts you not out of revenge, but to prevent it from ever happening. And I hope you seek some sort of redemption. And I hope it never ever happens to you. I won’t and can’t forget what happened. It will always be wrong. And I will always have that memory of you. But I won’t let it rule my life. This is not me saying that it’s ok or you are ok now. This is me saying that I cannot let it rule my life, and I hope that forgiveness changes your life. Because if not, you are far more damned than I.

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

Things I Learned Being The Only Out Trans Person At Work

            In early April of this year, after only about a week and a half or so in my temp job I took the plunge and came out at work. Now, I’m on a computer all day, so it’s not like I’m dealing with customers so there were no worried there. But as far as I know, I’m also the only transgender person at this work (Unless someone is not out or just passes really well.) Hell, I don’t even know if there are any other LGBT people besides me and my boyfriend. And while my experience is probably not typical (As unfortunately many people don’t have such a happy ending) but there is a lot I learned from all of it in the very least in my situation.

Managers are ridiculously professional about it
            You know what happened when I told my trainer? She said “Alright, wear what you want, use whichever bathroom you’re comfortable with.” And that was… pretty much it. Nothing major I had to do or say just… simple as that. And when I told my actual manager when I asked which locker room to use (My work has an on site gym) he told me I could use the women’s locker room… and then asked if I wanted to update my name in the system. I didn’t even plan on asking that! But sure enough, he got my e-mail and everything updated. Oh, and by the time training was done and I got my actual desk, the name tag never said “Samuel” on it. I don’t know if they’ve had this before, but they were super professional about it. And anytime a manager has talked to me, it has been totally normal. Well, mostly.

The people that aren’t professional about it are unprofessionally supportive
            In my job I have a “work director” who is just below my manager. She is a very nice lady that talked to me when I first came out at work and said I’m her first transgender employee but she will be understanding and help me. She then one day told me that if anyone has a problem with me or “bitches” to her about me, she will and I quote “Tell them to mind their own fucking business because if they have a problem with you, they need to find a different place to work.” Not the most professionally worded support, but I’ll take it dang it!

Nothing grand happens afterwards
            I’m not entirely sure what I expected from coming out. I thought there might be a sensitivity training or something maybe or some sort of announcement. But after I came out… there was nothing. I came to work in a dress and it was… normal. No one said anything. I’m sure some people looked curiously (Some coworkers admitted later to wondering about it) but no one glared. I didn’t get any comments or have anything bad happen. It was… totally normal. The work day was exactly like any other work day. It was like I was just a human being. And related to this

No one gives a shit (in a good way)
            I began talking to coworkers relatively quickly and got to know them and they learned about me. And of course I got occasional questions and curiosities. But overall through talking to them I learned something very important… they didn’t care. It’s just another part of who I am to them. It’s not my only feature, it’s not a talking point, I’m not a gossip piece I’m… just a person who happens to be transgender. And honestly, I’m really thankful for that.

The best thing is not getting attention
            People support me at work, absolutely. But like I said, I’m not a discussion piece. And some people think of this image of being told they’re so brave or inspiring but really… I don’t get a whole lot of attention because of it. I talk to coworkers a lot about normal topics. And not having it brought up all the time is a relief. I like to talk about it, but I’m more than just being transgender. And when the only mentions of it are in passing, it makes me feel just that much more like I’m a normal human like everyone else.

People will help when asked
            My coworkers always respond well when I make requests. I don’t mind being playful and being teased and teasing them back. However, if I say a certain thing is off limits, they immediately back off. And when I began voice therapy I was very nervous about how I would sound. But instead, coworkers encouraged me greatly to talk and practice my voice and refused to make fun of me for it. It became another part of the work environment. And everyone adjusts when asked, and it’s seen as totally normal. They don’t think they have to “cater” to me or that I think I’m special, they’re just understanding.

It’s scary no matter what
            You would think with all this support I’d have nothing to be afraid of. And in all reality… there probably isn’t anything I should be afraid of. But that doesn’t mean I’m not afraid. I still often wonder how I look when I leave my apartment. I wonder if people will stare. I wonder if my outfit looks good. I wonder if I look “female” enough. I wonder how my voice will sound. Whenever I go to the bathroom I hope that I won’t see anyone face to face just in case they read me as “male.”

            Don’t get me wrong, I absolutely love my work environment and my coworkers. But nothing ever truly gets rid of the fear. I just happen to have a better situation than most. And even though the fear is still there, I’m conquering it day by day. And maybe, just maybe, one day I won’t be afraid of anything.

Monday, May 25, 2015

A Message To Former Friends

            This is a different and very personal blog post. This is simply me venting some frustrations. In all reality, if you’re reading this, you’re probably not one of the people I’m thinking of when writing this. I will not mention any names, because that’s not how I am. However, to anyone reading this, if anything in this post is about you, trust me, you’ll know.

“I don’t support what you’re doing, but I’ll always be your friend.”
            Ya know, if you remember, you were the first person I told the first time I made out with a guy. I had so much inner conflict I wasn’t sure what to do with myself so I had to text someone. You would think me coming out wouldn’t have been much of a shock given I told you about that. But then again, that was a good 6 or 7 years before I came out to you.
            At first I was pretty surprised when I told you. You asked questions, did your best to be understanding and see things from my perspective. You even listened to all my talking about the scientific perspective. I thought that just maybe I would have support from a 9 year long friend. And then one day you wanted to talk.
            I was used to going on walks with friends to talk. It was nice really, it got me outside and was a nice chance to connect with friends. But then you told me you couldn’t support it. I was hurt of course, but you reassured me that wasn’t goodbye and that we’d still remain friends.
            I really wish you would’ve thought before you spoke. If you’re going to tell me we can still be friends, at least make an effort to still be friends. When I noticed you had deleted me, I realized it was just lip service to make me feel better. If I had to hazard a guess, you never truly had any intention to stay friends. You just wanted to look good and couldn’t say it to my face. Next time you tell someone you can stay their friend even if you disagree, at least make sure you can actually do that.

At least you accept that part of me (But why are you still bitter?)
            You’re an interesting case. You didn’t say anything negative or even a “disagree” sort of thing when you found out I was transitioning. I was impressed with that at least. I imagine my last time messaging you will be my last attempt. I tried to mend bridges far too many times. I hate losing people.
            You wouldn’t be the first ex I still talk to as a friend. In fact, there’s a couple of them. It’s not impossible. I know our break up was pretty bitter, but that was 6 or 7 years ago. I made my mistakes, and I know I made things hard for you. I’ll accept that, I was far from perfect and I messed up a lot. And I even made my apologies.
            But the last time I messaged you you still hold the grudge. I’m impressed you’ve held it for so long. You accept who I am, but you can’t accept that the past is the past? I wanted to be friends again, I really did. That’s why I tried, what, 4 times over the past 6 years to reconnect? But every time you can’t get past your bitterness. And that makes me feel bad. It was the most explosive break up I ever had. But I can’t be the only one that tries to pick up the pieces. I hope you find peace and happiness. And I hope you can let go of that bitterness like I have. And I’m still open to talking if you ever want to try to reconnect beyond a “hi how are you?”

You need to learn to listen (And accept you might not understand)
            It was very mixed when I came out to you. On one hand, you said the whole thing of always loving me and being my friend and you also said the whole you’ll never support it. And I gotta hand it to you, at least unlike the first person you didn’t delete me when I came out.
            But you really really reallllllly need to learn to listen. For one, you kept saying stuff about homosexuality, which this isn’t, and any time I tried to explain that or any sort of scientific point, you totally pushed it aside saying you already knew your position. And that is one of the most obnoxious things anyone can do. At least person one had the gall to admit to not knowing everything and listening and trying to understand. But no, you couldn’t even afford me the chance to at least explain anything.
            Now I know, you still hold your conservative feelings, and we both were in WELS schools for almost the same length of time. So that should at least say something when I’m saying “Hey, there’s something you don’t understand.” I don’t know if listening would actually change anything or change your mind. But when you refuse to listen to, you’re saying that I wasn’t a good enough friend to listen to in the first place.

I don’t like using the word hate… but I just plain hate you
            Congrats, you’re the only person on this list that I deleted myself! But I want to say anyway that you are absolutely one of the worst people I’ve dealt with. I didn’t mind talking to you at first, and we were even friends. But then I saw what you were like. I deleted you even before I came out. You know why? Because I was sick and tired of your ass-backwards racist islamophobic misleading neo-confederate BS posts. If you manage to someday have kids, I fear for what will happen if one of them is LGBT.

You need to learn empathy, badly
            You’re a curious case on this list because you have actually always been fully supportive of me transitioning. But you just don’t show the objective caring. Sure, I could rant about stupid arguments to you, but it was the one quote that got me. I need people to speak out about the murders and such of trans people. And you said “I don’t need to drop my problems to cater to yours.”
            At first that may seem sensible. But look at what you’re saying. You’re telling me because you’re not the one being killed, it’s not worth you talking about. You apparently don’t consider my fearing for my life enough of a priority to consider it a problem worth talking about. I’m sorry that asking you to care about my fear for my life and my huge chance of being murdered is asking you too much to “cater to me.” But if you’re going to be someone’s friend, don’t tell them their life or fear for their life is “not your problem.” Cause I dunno about you, but I absolutely consider the literal lives of all of my friends to be “my problem.” And I’ll do anything I can to help.

A lot of people say “We can still be friends, even if we disagree.” So far, that just doesn’t seem true.

Saturday, May 23, 2015

Things Pro-LGBT Folk Need To Stop Saying

Obviously as stated multiple times in this blog I am very pro-GSM (Gender and Sexual Minorities) or as most people know it, LGBT. So this obviously is not meant to be anti-LGBT in any way. However, having grown up going to Christian schools and learning Christian doctrine heavily and having had very conservative views most of my life, there are a lot of things I hear as arguments from the LGBT community that well... need to stop, for a lot of reasons. Especially since many times when something is said that is wrong, it makes us look bad and like we don’t know what we’re talking about. For instance.

Stop saying “Well, do you eat shellfish or wear clothing of two fabrics?”
Now don’t get me wrong. Christians reallllly need to stop using Leviticus to defend their position. Unless you plan on killing gay people, shut the hell up and stop using Leviticus. But that also isn’t the only thing used to defend the position. See, when someone says they believe homosexuality is a sin because of the Bible, if they know what they’re talking about they don’t mean Leviticus.
Leviticus was a set of codes that were given specifically to the Israelites. And don’t pull the whole “If Christians don’t like something they use the ‘context’ argument!” Cause guess what? Context is, in fact, important. And the context is that is literally says it is being given to the Israelites. There are, in fact, New Testament passages that are purported to address homosexuality. I won’t get into all the arguments about it, but the point is there is more than Leviticus, which was for the Israelites, and Jesus is said to have fulfilled the law, so everyone stop using it.

Stop saying that Christians condemn you for who you are (But that doesn’t mean they don’t condemn you)
This one is another one that comes up a lot. Christians condemning gay people for who they are. And in some cases that is in fact true. However, the views on it are much more different than most people think. Many Christians do not view being homosexual itself as a sin or something that will send you to hell. Instead they view that doing sexual acts with the same sex is the sin.
Now don’t misunderstand me. That view is still wrong and harmful. However, it’s an important nuance when we try to open people’s minds. Because if we are saying one thing and they are thinking another, we reach an impasse. We may be condemned for loving, but it is not the same sex attraction itself that is believed to be sinful. Instead, I would say we are being condemned for living out who we are.

Please stop using the “born this way” argument
Now, I’m obviously not questioning whether or not we can help the feelings. We obviously can’t help it, it’s just a part of who we are. However, for one, the science isn’t totally well understood on this subject. But also… who cares? Why does it matter whether or not we’re born this way? If it turns out that it wasn’t a part of how we’re born… would you suddenly declare that we were wrong? Hell, even if we could choose it, that wouldn’t make it wrong! When we use this argument, we give the leverage that if the root of it is something else, it could be wrong. Whether or not we were born this way is irrelevant, cause it’s us regardless.

Also please stop using the “animals do it too” argument
This really is the same thing. Animals do a lot of things. Some animals eat their own poop. Animals also don’t drive cars or develop video games. What animals do has nothing to do with what we do. And whether or not animals do it is irrelevant. And I get it, it’s the whole “natural” argument. Driving a car is not natural. That doesn’t make it wrong. Whether or not something is natural is irrelevant.

Basically what I’m getting at with this quick post is… don’t give into their views. They’re the ones saying it’s “unnatural” or a “choice” and so many things like that. And when we say “Well it’s totally natural and not a choice!” we’re giving in to their premise. We’re saying if it is, then it would be wrong. No, instead, say “Even if it is a choice, it’s my choice to make, not yours.” Don’t accept their premise, and don’t talk where you don’t have enough knowledge. Then maybe we can reach out to them.

The Problem With WELS Churches

This post is going to be different than it sounds from the title. We’ve already established I disagree with a lot of WELS (Wisconsin Evangelical Lutheran Synod) teachings and doctrine. That much is obvious, and I don’t want to address that, cause WELS doctrine ain’t gonna change I’m sure. However, there are non-doctrine related things that I saw happen in WELS throughout my life that I want to address. These are those things that I think WELS severely needs to change.

Stop treating women like they don’t think for themselves
Look, I get it. Doctrine states that women are suppose to serve under the husband and they stay silent in the church and all that, that’s doctrine. That’s why women in the church aren’t allowed to vote. But seriously, women do have opinions you know. They can state them. In a lot of WELS churches, women aren’t allowed to even show up to a voting meeting to voice their opinions.
There was one church where women were allowed to show up, but if they wanted to say something they had to write it on a piece of paper and give it to a man to read. Why? Because they need to interpret it? Does it only have weight if a man says it? “Well sure that’s a good point but I mean… you have a vagina.” (And I say this because WELS doesn’t believe trans women are women, so you need a vagina to be a woman.) Women have opinions and thoughts and can contribute to conversation.

Stop treating the church like a business
When I was in WELS, offerings were very seldomly made out to be a part of living out our faith (As the doctrine stated.) Instead, offerings were a chore, or even worse, a command. “We need money for this so… give it to us.” Some churches saw people as a source of profit. Hell, some churches used to (And some still might) publish each week in the bulletins how much each person gave in offerings… why would that be ok? It’s like keeping track of profit margins! And then we get Northwestern Publishing House which basically bankrupts WELS’s own churches and schools to give them materials. The whole climate often screams of a business rather than a church. It’s so much about money and numbers than it is people.

For the love of everything, talk about suicide
In my experiences and in all of my friends’ experiences, we never had any of our schools talk about suicide. We couldn’t even be sure the teachers knew the signs of planning suicide. And there was no comfort for it. Sure there was a generic “Come talk to us if there’s something on your mind.” But there was nothing that specifically talked about it. There was no support made (Seriously, support group would be a hugely good idea.) There was no awareness, there was nothing. People that are suicidal are scared. And simply saying “Come talk if there’s something on your mind” often isn’t good enough. And also, look at the roots of suicide.

I’m going to tell the WELS people reading this something very shocking… WELS schools aren’t full of good little Christian angels. They’re full of kids and teenagers. Kids and teenagers can be nasty to each other. Bullying isn’t just some passing things in WELS schools. It is everywhere. A strong majority of my friends that went to a WELS high school were bullied in that high school. I was bullied immensely. There were students cutting and contemplating suicide because of bullying. And there was never anything about it, ever. No one ever talked about bullying. No one ever encouraged addressing bullying. No one made any awareness whatsoever. It was like the staff just pretended that bullying didn’t happen in WELS schools. “Bullying doesn’t happen in Christ-centered schools.” Oh BS, it is everywhere. And the less you talk about it, the worse it is.

When you teach what evolution and the big bang are… actually teach what they are
Why are WELS schools so afraid of telling the truth? If they’re so confident that evolution and the big bang are wrong… why can’t they actually teach what they are? All of the things I learned about evolution and the big bang in WELS schools was laughably incorrect. I literally got laughed at trying to talk about it. And no, it wasn’t because of “persecution” for me not believing in it. It was cause it was extremely clear that I had absolutely no clue what I was talking about. Evolution isn’t “monkey giving birth to man.” It cannot be disproved by the second law of thermodynamics. The big bang is not a “chaotic explosion that magically rearranged itself.” If you are so confident it’s wrong, then actually know what you’re talking about!

Finally, make sure you know what other churches and even other religions say

Again, 90% of what I was taught about other churches and other religions was flat out wrong. Man, when I became friends with Catholics, I learned so much of what I was taught wasn’t just misleading, it was flat out wrong. Again, it is the same principle, if you are so confident it’s wrong… why are you afraid of saying what it actually is? WELS, know what the hell you’re talking about. Otherwise you’re just breeding a bunch of ignorant people that can’t hold a conversation with anyone outside of WELS because of how horrifically wrong they are.

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Stop Thinking Of Rape As A Stranger With A Knife

            Rape is a horrible thing. Almost no one disagrees with this statement, and if you do, go get some help immediately. Rape is not “unconsensual sex.” Sex is consensual. Rape is rape, and it is not ok. But there is something a lot of people don’t think about that is what rape exactly is. Now I know, you’re thinking “Well it’s forcing sex upon someone that is unwilling.” And you’re not wrong per se, but I think the way we word it gives us a wrong impression of how rape works.
            When most people picture rape, they picture a seen in which a guy sneaks into a house or jumps out of the bushes and holding a knife or a gun to the girl while sexually assaulting her. And this is obviously rape and horrible! But the reality is that most commonly, that’s not how rape happens. And to discuss why, I would like to set forth a different definition of what rape even is. So for the duration of this post, consider this definition of rape. Rape is committing any sexual action without the consent of all parties involved.
            Now there is something key about consent that most people don’t think of. Consent is not just something that can be given, consent is something that can be revoked. When you consent to something, you have the absolute right to withdraw that consent at any time. And I would like to illustrate this with a personal and very emotional story.
TRIGGER WARNING: Rape, Rape Apologia, Sexually explicit content

            My story does not involve a person jumping out of the bushes or sneaking into my house. In fact, I had known the guy for several months already. We had talked online extensively and even met in person to hang out. And as one night got particularly heated when we were together, we had ended up in the bedroom. He wanted to do anal, which I had never done before (I was still entirely a virgin at this point at my freshman year of college.) And so I agreed, and I “topped” him first, and then we switched and it was my turn to be the “bottom.”
I was very hesitant at first. Verrrrry verrrrrrrrry hesitant. But I had thought in my head that I came, so therefor I essentially owed it to him to have him cum. And I had, afterall, consented to the activity so far. As soon as he began I immediately felt uncomfortable and stated so. He said simply to relax and so I did. As he continued, it only got more uncomfortable and eventually painful. I stated this and that I wanted to stop. I had revoked my consent, I no longer consented to what was happening. However, he continued to insist that I just need to relax and let it happen. In addition to him being taller and stronger than me, I still felt that sexual “debt.” And so he continued despite my pain and discomfort. I continued to be in pain well into the next day.
“Well it’s your fault for consenting in the first place.” “Why didn’t you try harder to fight back?” “Maybe you should’ve been more insistent.” These weren’t things that people told me afterwards. These were things I told myself afterwards. And because of my very religious upbringing, admitting to having sex with a man was a social death sentence. I couldn’t tell anyone. And so I hid and hid in my shame, continuing to blame myself.

And my story is obviously not the only such story. Consent can be revoked at any time. And not obeying this concept can be very damaging to people as it was to me. But consent still has more factors. Consent should also be enthusiastic. And what do I mean by this?
I once read a story of a guy that brought a girl home and pressured her to have sex. She would often pretend to look at her phone and be distracted but he continued to push her despite her seeming uncomfortable. He even joked about taking her phone away. Eventually, he pressured her enough for her to have sex with him. But was it consensual? At first it seems like yes to some people. From the guys perspective, at some point she agreed, and so it wasn’t rape… but what about her perspective?
She was obviously uncomfortable and trying to look for a way out. When he joked about taking away her phone, could she be sure he was entirely joking? If she was uncomfortable, this obviously pushed her over the edge into being scared. So while she may have said some sort of words that gave the appearance of consent, it is obvious she was coerced into the actions, which is not consent.
Another condition of consent is being of sound mind. Someone who is not in their right mind cannot reasonably consent, as their inhibitions are gone. This is why roofies are rape, because the inhibitions are gone and they remember nothing. Being drunk is a similar situation. A person that is drunk is not of sound mind and has left behind their inhibitions. And so some men may try to take advantage of a woman being drunk. So let me be clear here. If a woman would not consent to having sex with you while sober, being drunk and doing it does not count as consent. It’s really that simple. If she wouldn’t have sex with you before, why would her being drunk and out of her mind make it ok?
I can’t believe I need to say this one, but sadly it needs to be said. In caps of course. HAVING SEX WITH SOMEONE THAT IS UNCONSCIOUS IN ANY WAY IS NOT OK, YOU DO NOT HAVE CONSENT, THAT IS RAPE, DON’T DO THAT. Also, as a side note, I know I say “she” a lot in this post, but remember that men CAN be raped as well. Sexual stimulation can cause sexual response without the persons consent or interest. Women can rape men. Stop shaming them. They need help too.
And finally, as my final point, children and animals cannot consent to sex. They can’t really consent to much of anything. They do not have the capacities to consent. There is a reason you must be human or a certain age to sign documents, you need to be able to think through and process what you are doing in order to consent to it. THERE IS NO SUCH THING AS SEX WITH CHILDREN, ONLY RAPING CHILDREN.

So stop thinking of rape as this thing that happens between strangers with a knife. People are often raped by people they know and trust. Rape is complicated, and if someone comes to you saying that they’ve been raped or thinking they’ve been raped, remember that consent can be a complicated thing. Do not blame them, do not say what they should have done differently. It is not their fault. It is always always ALWAYS the fault of the person who performed the actions without their enthusiastic consent. If you do not have that, don’t do the action. Simple as that.

Misogyny Harms Men Too

            Misogyny is a word that at its root simply means prejudice or discrimination against women. So, the idea that it would affect men in any capacity seems strange at first, and understandably so! The root of the word literally excludes men (Except from being the oppressors.) But my goal in this post is to explain just how, in many capacities, misogyny is not only silly in the first place, but is actually counterproductive for men.
            First of all, it might be good to explain exactly what some examples of misogyny are. Not all misogyny is so blatant and obvious. Often when people think misogyny they think of not hiring women or not allowing women to vote, but it can be much more simple and small than that. Some other common forms of misogyny include viewing women as weak, homemakers, thinking women are overly emotional, or shaming women for how sexually active they are. So how does this effect men negatively? Welllll

Misogyny influences the draft
            Now, I’ve seen some people (Especially Men’s Rights Activists) claim that this is something against men, because men are the only ones that have to register for the draft. And I agree, it’s wrong! (Though, I don’t think equality would be having women register, it would be having no one register.) But it is rooted in misogyny.
            Think of how women were seen at the time of the draft. Women were the homemakers. They were seen as the caretakers, the gentle, nurturing ones that are supposed to be at home. And at first it seems benevolent, but that’s not all. It also paints women as weak and unfit for fighting. It is saying that not only shouldn’t women do this but women can’t do this. And so men are painted as the ones that need to be the protectors, that need to risk their lives. And so our view of women being weak makes it so that only men are affected by the draft and forced into military service.

Misogyny dictates what you can wear
            A woman wears dude clothes and how is she seen? Well, generally either as “like one of the dudes” which is seen as positive among guys, or maybe a lesbian sometimes? Or maybe people think well she’s wearing her boyfriend’s clothes, which means they must be close and have sex! (Because apparently women are some trophy?) But the point is, generally is seen as favorable. And in fact, most “guy” clothes are seen more as, well, androgynous.
            But look at the opposite situation. What is it like when a guy wears a skirt or a dress? He’s a joke, he’s laughed at, he’s shamed. Guys aren’t supposed to do that, that’s shameful. But why? What about wearing women’s clothes could possibly be shameful? The only way we can say that dressing “like a woman” is shameful for a man is because you are saying it is shameful to be a woman. Whereas a woman dressing like a man is good! Because… reasons? It doesn’t actually make sense. And so we end up laughing at and shaming men simply for wearing different clothes. And while it negatively effects man, it is rooted in a view of women as weak and men aren’t supposed to look weak!

Misogyny effects your job options
            Most often we think of this affecting women. We don’t exactly see many women in high positions and offices. Now this is obviously a sign of a misogynist society, but how can it negatively affect men? Well first, let’s look at what a lot of stereotypical jobs women have: Teaching young children, nurse, or secretary. But now men doing those jobs are not viewed the same way.
            In surveys done about teaching, most people said that they would not be comfortable having a man teach younger children, but are more ok with men teaching towards high school and college level than they are women. But why? Men are supposed to be tough and show little emotion, something that obviously doesn’t jive well with young children. And so we have this tendency to think that the weaker more gentle women should take care of teaching the young children! Many people view the idea of men teaching young children as negative because it’s the “women’s job.” And as we get to the older grades, it is seen as the men’s job because, well, women don’t do as much learning and smart stuff as men? I dunno.
            But it’s a similar idea for nurses. Male nurses are made into a joke, literally. There are literally people that use male nurses as a joke. But how does that make sense? Well, women are seen as the gentle caretakers, taking care of the wounded, that is their place. So men being in that capacity is showing them as being gentle caretakers, being like a woman, and that’s bad in society. To be like a woman is to be weak and shameful.
            And secretaries don’t fare much better. Secretaries are the helpers, they are set under the higher more powerful men. So men being secretaries means they’re not good enough to have the helpers, they’re helping men like women do, which is bad! And if you’re a man under a woman, well that’s the worst that could happen because now you are under the weaker sex!

Misogyny harms men of all sexualities
            Quick, how do a lot of straight dudes see gay dudes? As a joke of course. “Ha, gayyyy!” Calling each other gay, acting gay as a joke, our culture has made being gay a joke. But how are lesbians viewed by straight guys? “Hell yeah, make out in front of me!” So why is it like this? Well, the answer lies in our heteronormative views.
            We see heterosexuality as the normal for men and women. So therefor, doing things to women is seen as the “man” thing to do, whereas doing things for men (And I say for cause it is often seen that men do something to women whereas women simply do something for men, which is BS) is seen as the “woman” thing to do. So two women making out? Well they’re being like the men! They’re doing the “man” thing to do, which is good and praiseworthy! Whereas two guys making out? Well, ew, they’re doing the “woman” thing to do. That’s effeminate and shameful. Gay people are often called “Faeries.” They’re doing something weak and feminine, which is bad for men to do. We have set that double standard harming gay men. But it doesn’t stop there.
            This misogyny also harms bisexual men (And women!) Now, the same rules generally apply, but it is also seen as slightly different. If a man says he is bisexual the stereotype is that he’s actually just gay and won’t admit it. And if a woman says she is bisexual, the stereotype is she is just trying to seem interesting to men. Notice the problem here? It automatically defaults to “Well they actually like men.” It has standard that no one could truly love a woman. So if they’re going after anyone other than women, well, it must not be the women, because even the straight guys only go for them for pleasure. And so focusing on men here, it is stating that you cannot be attracted to both because men are just so much better you should never love a woman.
            So what about straight men? I did say all sexualities afterall. Well, it can affect heterosexual men as well! For one, we have the culture of women as being a trophy. What do we call women that have a lot of sex? A slut. And so if you have sex with a slut, it’s “less” of an “accomplishment” than if you have sex with a girl that doesn’t have as much sex. So we’ve gone to policing what kind of women are favorable to go towards, because the men are upholding women as some sort of trophy. That it is somehow better if you have sex with a girl that hasn’t had a lot of sex. It is good for a guy to do have a lot of sex, but not for a woman. Because the woman is seen as having been “used.” (Remember, women are for men’s pleasure!)
            But this also goes into experimentation. Men that experiment with other men are seen as shameful or gay because remember, can’t truly love women. If a woman experiments it’s seen as hot (Cause it’s what men do), but if a guy does it, he’s gay.  That’s going into the territory of something that women are supposed to do! So now we are shaming guys for exploring their sexuality and seeing what they like simply because it’s the “woman” thing.

Misogyny dictates what you can be like

            The whole theme here is that being like women is shameful, because that’s seen as being weak. And for my final point, I want to show that it carries into many other facets. Men who talk in higher voices, have feminine mannerisms, take care of feminine chores, grow long hair, may use a “feminine” product like make up, liking a “feminine” game or show or movie, they’re all a joke or looked down upon and made fun of. You can’t even cry or show too much emotion without being too “feminine” and therefor made fun of. It is literally mentally and emotionally harmful to men. Our culture has created two pieces that have set these things to harm men. First, we have declared what is “for women.” They are the clothes, mannerisms, jobs, and everything else in life that are to be associated with women. And then we declare that to be like a woman is weak and therefor shameful. And so, men cannot be like women in any capacity, or they are weak and shameful. And so when I speak out against misogyny, I am not “ignoring” men or “hating” men. In fact, quite the opposite, when we empower and liberate women, we are inherently liberating men as well. Smash gender roles and be free! 

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Name And Identity: Why I'm Going Back To Sammy


            This is probably the most difficult thing to explain is what’s going on with my name. When I was first coming out to people, I kept “Sammy” cause it was nice and neutral. Then I went to Amber cause it was feminine. And now I’m talking about changing back to Sammy sort of but not quite fully or something like that. So, first of all, to help everyone out, I’m gonna just state a few things to know that will help you understand everything.
1.      I am going to continue using Amber as my “professional” name at work and in certain situations but in general I am going to be known as Samantha “Sammy” Lily Birner
2.      I am going to use both female and neutral pronouns. So, she/her/hers is fine and that’s how I hope to be read in public. However, it would be nice to have they/them/their used sometimes too J

Now first I wanna discuss exactly how “Amber” came about to be as an identifier for me. Now it came up from a discussion of potential names, but the main part I’m talking about is why I wanted to change from “Sammy” in the first place. When I was first reconciling being transgender, I wasn’t sure how family would take it. In fact, I was fully prepared for the possibility that I was going to lose family entirely. So “Sam” became associated with that anxiety and being seen as a guy. But now that so many people have been accepting and coming around, it no longer has that association. And Amber did help me stop seeing myself as a guy, but it may have run its course with me.
So why go back to Sammy/Samantha? Well for one, it means a lot to me. So many people have known me as “Sammy” throughout my life. I have a lot of memories with it, and that’s even who Kurt knew me as when we started dating. And now that I’m feeling connection with my family again, I want to have that connection still. And my mom chose that name. While it may have been the wrong gendered version, she still chose it and she’s still my mom. And I don’t want to seem like I’m ashamed of my mom or what she named me, and I don’t want to be ashamed of my past. 

As far as middle name, I chose Lily as it is very personal. It is the name of a very very close friend who has been there from when I came out as bisexual to when I first struggled with gender to now. And so, I chose the name in honor of her.

But there is another part of why I want to use Sammy. Look back up at the pronouns. Remember how I used neutral pronouns as well? Well, I don’t identify as a man but… I don’t fully identify as a woman either. I mean, I like skirts, and being called she by strangers, and looking feminine. But think of it this way. Remember the spectrums? Well, in terms of how I express myself I’m kind of like this
      I mostly express myself in a largely female way, cause that’s what I enjoy. (And notice the lines are separate. People can express both masculine and feminine traits.) But in terms of my self-concept of my gender, it’s more like this

      I don’t identify as male in anyway, but I have a self-concept of my identity that is between neutral and woman. “Demi-girl” or “trans-femme” are terms I’ve heard to describe it. But overall, I’d just say I’m me. And Sammy is a nice neutral name that I can still associate with being seen as largely female. I’m non-binary, I’m neither a man, nor a woman, nor neutral. I am myself, and that is wonderful :)