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Monday, June 29, 2015

"Why are you so obsessed about being trans?"

I've had people ask me all the time why I put so much into my being trans. Why do you talk about it so much? Why do we need to know about your genitals? And on one hand, I totally understand why you might ask that. So, allow me to explain exactly why it's so important to me, and it starts with one key principle.

The whole world won't let me forget

I am not just trans because I identify as that, society has forced me into that category.
Because tampon commercials have to remind me that periods are specifically a "female problem" that I'll never have and many trans men do
Because I am the butt of hundreds of "jokes" in popular media everywhere
Because the guy in women's clothes is a joke and a trope
Because there are people trying to criminalize me peeing in the right bathroom
Because I am afraid when I go to pee in public
Because I get told to kill myself every week
Because I have family still calling me "he"
Because I lost friends just for being myself
Because people need to clarify that they mean a "real" woman as though I'm apparently fake
Because I've heard people snicker and talk and seen them look when I go by
Because I'm not even allowed to change my birth certificate without changing my genitals first
Because I have to worry what people will think when they ask for an ID and see "M" and look at me
Because my mail and my paychecks and legal documents still dead name me

Because even supportive people force me to remember
Because friends have to make a show of being supportive or accepting my gender. "Hey, ladies." You don't get brownie points for acknowledging my identity
Because as much as I and my friends don't want it to happen, friends will still accidentally say "he"
Because I get a "knowing look" whenever something about gender comes up
Because I hear "when you were a boy" as if I ever was one

Because family can't get past it
Because one sibling just has to mention that I was "born this way for a reason"
Because another unfollowed me on facebook because I'm unashamed of what I believe
Because if I try to bring up transition related things I get told "I don't want to talk about it"
Because I'll be told "Well you'll always be *deadname* to me"
Because in terms of not only my identity, but my beliefs, I am in the extreme minority of my family
Because, no offense to my parents who I know wanted the best for me, but regardless of intentions, my upbringing has prevented me from ever having  a normal life

Because even my own history will never let me forget
Because every pictures for the first 21 years of my life looks like a boy
Because all of my school memorabilia has my dead name
Because old church and school acquaintances will surely be whispering "So did you hear about the Birner kid?"

I will always be reminded of it
I will always be classified into my own category
And while I may hate that I have to face it every day
I will never be ashamed of it

Friday, June 19, 2015

Listen Up Transphobes (And Cis Allies)

Warning: This post has a lot of language cause I'm fucking angry

Okay, listen up transphobic assholes and supportive people alike. Yes, even a bunch of "pro-trans" people (What the fuck does that even mean? Wow, you're pro allowing me to exist, thanks, have some goddamn brownie points) are pissing me off, so let's go ahead and talk about why. I'm going to tell you the things that need to stop. Right. Now.

Don't fucking say to just "ignore it"

Oh if I had a dollar for every time someone tells me that I just need to "ignore the comments" or "just don't pay attention to the headlines." Seriously, there are people that tell me  to just not look at the headlines. People are telling me to just keep quiet about constant fucking murders. Hey, so, I'm gonna tell you something shocking.
IGNORING A PROBLEM AND KEEPING QUIET ABOUT IT DOESN'T FUCKING MAKE IT DISAPPEAR. Do you really fucking think racism declined because we just ignored it and didn't talk about it? Does anyone really think that's how it works? Hey, I know you're literally DYING but just pretend it's not happening. Thanks, you fucking ass.

Stop saying that it's "not your problem" or "not your place to talk about"

This one is golden. Cis people saying they don't talk about it or speak out against it cause it's "not their place." I'm sorry,l I didn't realize speaking out against hate and discrimination and murder was only the place of certain people. But hey guess what.
Trans people have been speaking out against this shit for a long time. And ya know what? IT'S STILL FUCKING HAPPENING! Did you ever think that maybe we want other people to talk about cause we need some FUCKING help? We ARE being proactive, but we're not enough, we need others to speak out.
If you say this, just be honest about what you mean. What you really mean is "I'm a lazy piece of shit that doesn't give enough fucks about your literal life to try to help me." So just admit it, you're an apathetic fuckface.

Don't tone police me (Or any trans people)

"Ya know," you're saying in your head, "maybe people would listen more if you spoke more calmly and didn't use so many cuss words." You then sat back smugly, feeling superior for your well reasoned comment. Dear all those people, FUCK OFF!
Yeah, sorry that I don't particularly care about your sensitive ears. Ya know what's going on? 13 TRANS PEOPLE HAVE BEEN STRAIGHT UP FUCKING MURDERED THIS YEAR! But please, tell me more about how I shouldn't use such language while I literally fear for my goddamn life. I think I have the right to have a bit of FUCKING rage.

Stop fucking saying that I'll "be ok"

I know you're trying to be supportive and comfort me, but shut your mouth. You don't know that I'll be ok. I have extreme possibilities of being assaulted, raped, and murdered. I fear for my safety most of my life. And a generic unhelpful comment that you can't know isn't going to do jack shit for me. You know what you should do instead?

Tell me you'll help me (And actually help me)

You know what happened when I told my boyfriend about my fears? He told me he would protect me. He told me that he would be the one to keep me safe. And that is infinitely better than just a generic "you'll be ok" comment.
And you know what else helps? When people fucking mean it. I have a friend that told me anytime she's available she'll be there for me. And guess what? When I was suicidal, she let me come over spontaneously just to talk and cry. People have helped me pay to continue transitioning. Coworkers (And even my team lead) has said they will openly defend me if someone is an asshole.
What I'm saying is I want more than words. I want you to actually help and to say you will. Saying "things will get better" is bullshit. Saying "I will make sure things are better" is love.

Saturday, June 13, 2015

Sometimes I Don't Trust ANY Cis People

I can guarantee if i said "Sometimes I'm legitimately unsure of if I can true any cis people (people that aren't trans)" someone in my friends list would say "BUT WE'RE NOT ALL BAD" or something along those lines. This post is to explain to you why, in fact, it can be difficult to trust ANY cis people at all.

Cis people are the ones killing us and otherwise discriminating against us.
We have a 41% rate of suicide, and 1 in 12 of us will be murdered (1 in 8 if you are a trans woman of color.) 75% of us are homeless. We face overwhelming discrimination. And no, these aren't monsters living in the dark parts of our closet. They live in houses with families in perfectly well lit areas everywhere around. They're in our families, and sometimes in our friends. When the statistics are that against us, forgive us for being a little scared sometimes. Oh, and since I know someone is going to say it...

Even our friends will say "not all cis people" before they say that the statistics are fucked up.
Be honest, when you read that first one, what was your first thought? Was it "those are fucked up statistics" or was it "But it's not all cis people doing it!"? Because I'm going to tell you something if you were in the second camp. NO SHIT SHERLOCK, NO ONE SAID THAT! Did I say "All cis people are killing trans people?" No? Then shut the fuck up. Because guess what? When we get murdered, it's by cis people. When we get fired, it's by cis bosses. When we get yelled at, it's by cis people. Now you might say "Well it's transphobes that are the problem." Yes, you're correct, and cis people are being the transphobes! Is it all cis people? Of course not, and I didn't say that, and no one thinks that. But it's still cis people that are doing it, just like it was Germans invading Poland. No one thinks every single German got up to go invade, but it was still the Germans. So shut up, because instead of being more concerned about the poor reputation of cis people, be concerned about OUR FUCKING LIVES!

Even doing basic tasks are terrifying (Even in supportive environments)
I have never run into people being assholes to me at work because I'm trans. I can use the women's bathroom and the women's locker room. All the coworkers I talk to regularly fully support me. Guess what? I still get an adrenaline rush just going to the bathroom to pee. I'm still terrified half the time. And I know I'm unlikely to run into any problems. But when your whole life is conditioned a certain way, you don't get rid of the feelings easily. And if you think it's bad I'm scared when I pee at work, just imagine what happens when I'm in a public place where I don't know anyone! And if I friend goes with me I'm less scared, sure, but I'm still super scared. I'm still afraid of getting weird looks while picking up women's clothes! Everything is so scary! And it doesn't help that...

Even our friends mess up (In the worst ways)
Supportive friends, I love you dearly, and I love having your support... but I can guarantee you that you've fucked up before... probably multiple times. Here are just a few examples. The first time I went out in a skirt in public, my friend Zak made a comment about me "being a dude in a skirt." At the time I laughed despite how much the comment really hurt, cause I didn't want to seem stuck up to my friends. Zak is one of my most supportive friends. Zak if you read this, ya fucked up, but that doesn't mean you're an asshole, and you're still an awesome friend.
But the point I'm making is that even the most supportive people can say stupid things. You are probably saying "Well yeah, but I wouldn't say anything that bad!" The thing is, it's not about severity. It's that comments can hurt, even if they seem light. And that can make you reluctant to trust people and make you withdraw a bit. Here are just a few common phrases I hear that can honestly suck to hear (even ones that people think are supportive!)
"I could never do that [transition]" Thanks for pointing out that you don't like the idea of being like me...
"If you really want to be seen as a woman you should..." Why can't you just see me as a woman? Right now, as I am, why do I need conditions for you to see me as myself?
"You look good as [birth gender]" Oh, great, so I look good being miserable with myself, thanks.
"Wow, you pass so well I can't even tell!" Tell what? That I still have a dick?
"You look just like a woman like that!" I AM a woman, every way I look is like a woman. Basically when you say this you're saying "You look LIKE a woman, but you're still a man, sorry."
"You look so good for being trans!" What does that even mean? That trans people are normally ugly? That being trans is bad? WHAT DOES THAT MEAN?

Our cis friends don't (And necessarily can't) understand
The biggest thing I'm going to say to my cis friends is... you don't understand. And you never will. You can never relate. And that's not a bad thing. But it's just not possible. Unless you're trans, you don't know what it's like to be trans. Youre discomfort with how fat you are is not the same. You're being masculine but being a girl is not the same. You cannot understand. And the best thing you can do as an ally instead of trying to make up a way you can relate is to just admit you can't.

Cis people expect us to explain EVERYTHING to them
Don't get me wrong, I love educating people on trans topics! I love teaching people and helping people understand. But also understand... you can research yourselves! Trans people don't need to tell you everything! When you dont do any research on your own, I'm always at a loss as to where to start. I don't know what you do or don't know. And sometimes what you don't know can make talking or interacting very difficult. Do some research on your own! It's not our jobs to explain every damn thing to you!

Lastly, because at the end of the day, we can barely trust ourselves.
One time my boyfriend actually had to hide the knives in our apartment so I wouldn't hurt myself. I forget things a lot. Some days I can't be trusted to do anything cause I'm too depressed to get out of bed. When we have all of the above stuff going on and we can't even deal with ourselves, forgive us for sometimes being hesitant to trust any of you.