Tag Archive | Politics

Rigid Memes to Justify a Personal Story: Our Inability to Acknowledge the Elephant in the Room

I had a friend I knew from junior high school, when we were both 12.  We did our homework together and were really close, and we were really heavily into video games.

Elephant in the Room

Elephant in the Room

By the time I finally transitioned in 2011, we had been friends for 20 years.

He didn’t take it well, but concealed it well at first.

But I caught on…

When I finally had to see him in person last year, when my computer crashed, he was very sneaky about what he said.

While we waited for my computer as we reinstalled Windows, we put in the old Street Fighter 2 cartridge on Super Nintendo, and played the game just like old times.

I picked the same character and fought the same way.  I was still the same person, after all, except I was presenting as myself, as a woman.

He muttered distinctly: “You’re still the same, nothing has changed.”

He said it in a way that affirmed for him that I was still the same, and that gender transition didn’t do anything for me.  To him, crossing and breaking the gender binary was too much to handle.

I had known Kevin for 20 years by last year, and I knew his political and personal views quite well.  I knew that being a very conservative person, it was hard for him to acknowledge that his best friend had done this, had changed her gender.

His ego would not let him let go of the image and categorization he had put me in, and so he seized the first opportunity he saw to confirm his erroneous suspicions, to uphold his old memes: that gender transition, in his mind, was something foolish that I did, and I wasn’t fooling anyone, and that most of all, I wasn’t fooling him.

He could see the emperor had clothes on…

Or so he thought.

So the question is, how do we go about informing people that gender isn’t a strict binary?  How do we go from convincing people we are who we are, rather than fooling them into thinking we are who we are?  Where’s the balance?

How do we convince people that who we really are isn’t about if we keep our old habits or not?  How do we affirm who we are in a world that doesn’t give us any leeway in finding our new identity?

How do we own our new truth and present it proudly, even if it associates us immediately with our past?

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From Princess to Queen: No Sir, I’m Not Pregnant

I’ve been trying to choose differently lately, looking at the positive side of things, working hard to remind myself that I hold the power between stimulus and response, the power to see the silver lining in all situations where I am a participant.pregnant

So I’m currently in the process of finding a good hip surgeon to fix my cartilage so I can function somewhat normally again.  It’s been an ongoing injury that has taken a toll on my ability to live a somewhat active lifestyle, in addition to affecting my ability to wear those precious and sexy heels that I adore so much.  But on the other hand, where I’m at right now is a place where I have been forced to face my hip issue, and deal with it, and I think it will go well, and at least I have a chance to get back on my feet and be healthy, in less pain again.

Instead of going into old patterns of the whiny princess, I’m trying to own up to being the queen I know I can be: take responsibility for where I am and meet myself where I’m at in life right now.  Be empathetic and compassionate towards myself for the choices I’ve made in the past; you know, the choices where I overcompensated while living as a male through rough sports and abuse of my body, which is what got me here, to my current predicament today.  And trust me, despite being born and raised here in Los Angeles, the Chinese American upbringing didn’t help me, culturally speaking, in terms of being forgiving towards myself.  But I am trying.

I found myself in a good mood today despite seeing my orthopedic surgeon in Santa Monica.  I sat in the waiting room for over an hour, and finally got called inside to one of the rooms.  When the doctor finally came inside, we discussed the my biology, the geometry of my hip, and my options.  I was reassured with some of the things he said, and felt confident we can pull through this together successfully.

But the golden nugget of the day was still waiting for me, still waiting to happen.

The doctor requested X-rays and upon entering the examination room, the technician, Serge, asked me:

“Before you get on the table, I need to know: Are you pregnant?”

I chuckled, and said “No.”

I couldn’t help but giggle, as his question was so multi-layered, for obvious reasons as I do come from a background where I am a woman of transgender history.

He asked me a few other questions that were non-medical related, and I went back to the waiting room.

That made my day, and I have been giggly since this morning.

Even though my hip is hurting like hell, and I have imminent surgery lurking around the corner, at least I was asked if I was pregnant today…..maybe that’s what I will choose to focus on, I think that will be much more productive and healthy for me.

And it has been…..

……priceless ^_^

Fabulous George

I was on the swim team in high school, and our coach was gay.

I was on the 4×400 relay team, and our anchor, and fastest swimmer, was George.  He was gay also.

They were bullied often, but George always got a hero’s welcome when he swam well and got a victory for our team.

One day, we were at the poolside, hanging out, and George brought a folder out with him.

The rest of the team was there, and he set the folder down.  Everyone began to murmur and gather around him, so I went over to see why there was so much commotion.

Inside the folder were photos…..of George…….in drag…looking stunning.

I looked in admiration, jealousy, and in fear.

I was so amazed that he had the courage to do this, let alone SHOW people on our swim team!

I was jealous because I was dying to reveal myself too, but too scared.

And I was afraid I’d get bullied, so I tried not to show too much interest, and casually disguised it by being nonchalant.

****************************

Many years later, I was the best man at Ryan’s wedding.  We recalled our old high school days at his bachelor party, and I asked him what happened to George, because he went to the same high school as George, and I went to a different district.

“He died of AIDS,” Ryan said.

I was shocked and saddened.

There were so many things I wanted to say to him, and I never got the chance.

But what would I have said, if I had the opportunity today?

I’d probably give him kudos for having the courage to do what he did.

I’d tell him what I’ve gone through, and we’d swap stories.  We would reminisce about high school, and how we got so many victories with a gay and trans person on the team.

Then I wondered what would I have said to him in 1994, at the poolside?

I would have told him I had a secret.  I knew he would have been supportive.

I would have told him how beautiful he was in drag, and I would have felt so free, and seen for the first time.

I would have also asked him what I should do in case the other teammates found out about me?

And most importantly, I would have asked him how he coped so well with the stigma, the stress, of being out.

I would have asked him where he found his power, his potency.

And I would have told him what I would have wanted to hear from him:

That he looked fabulous.

Usain Bolt on Hormones

When Jenna Talackova ran for the Miss Universe pageant, public outcry poured out due to Jenna being a MtF transsexual woman.

Usain Bolt winning the 100m by daylight at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Usain Bolt winning the 100m by daylight at the 2008 Beijing Olympics.

Many articles covering the news had comment sections available, and there were more than enough vicious, ignorant, and hate filled comments.

The standard ignorant comments were all there.  She’s not really a girl, she’s still a dude.  Just because she looks like a woman doesn’t mean she is one.  I can get plastic surgery to look like a dolphin but it doesn’t make me a dolphin.  Absolutely ridiculous comments.

But one in particular stood out.

“So does that mean if Mike Tyson or Usain Bolt got a sex change, that they could then win in their sport easily by beating up on women?  Can you imagine Usain Bolt running 100M in 9.59 against women?  That record would never be broken.”

I laughed at his comment.  Particularly since there were so many layers to his comment that clearly indicated he obviously did not understand what transgender people are about.

Transgender people do not transition to go undercover to rob banks, or to win at sports easier.  They do so because their core gender identity does not match what was assigned to them at birth.

Simply looking at a newborn and seeing a penis, and then proceeding to label the infant as a boy is the same as looking at an African American newborn and immediately saying he or she will play basketball for a living.  It sounds like a stretch to compare the two, but it’s truly an outdated notion to assume a newborn is going to be straight or the gender in which they were assigned.  Just as assuming a Chinese American newborn is automatically going to be a doctor or Nobel Prize physicist or an African American newborn is automatically going to be a professional athlete is equally ludicrous.

It is time we update ourselves to present day knowledge and hold off on labeling and confining our children, and letting their true natures and identities shine through.  Then, and only then, shall we encourage their innate selves and natural tendencies to blossom and strengthen.

I can assure you Mike Tyson and Usain Bolt do not want to transition their genders, and even if they were suppressing their gender identities and came out as transgender, I can assure you that they wouldn’t do so to “win in their sport.”  Mike Tyson putting on a dress and being allowed to box other women would truly be a scenario where a man is allowed to put on a dress to beat up on another woman.

There would be nothing genuinely feminine about Mike except his clothing.

When transgender people transition their gender, even if they aren’t “passable” by current societal standards, they are still women.  They may face struggles in regendering their behavior, mannerisms, and other expressions in their daily lives, but it doesn’t diminish or negate who they are inside and the gender in which they identify.

And even if Usain Bolt truly was a woman and identified as such, and finally chose to come out publicly and transition, Usain should be allowed to compete with other women if transition truly was something Usain wanted to do.

Why?  Because even though he would have tremendous height when lined up against all the other women (not to mention having a penis too), he would still be a woman in terms of identity.  And being physically different doesn’t preclude or eliminate his status from being female.  It would just mean he had natural advantages in the physical arena (height, muscle mass, etc) which isn’t something that is regulated in sports…because last I checked, they didn’t divide the NBA by height and make Steve Nash a center against shorter NBA players, and Shaquille O’Neal a point guard against all the other 7 footers.

The key here is not to look at people who were “gendered” by society as one way and then vehemently and rigidly stick to that gendering when regendering someone does and can happen all the time to transgender people.

But I highly doubt either Mike Tyson or Usain Bolt would want to do that anyway.

Finally, just to note what would happen if Usain Bolt or any other athlete did transition and start hormones: their muscle mass would decrease drastically.

And even though Usain Bolt might still run a fast time, I can assure you he wouldn’t be able to run a 9.58 if he were on hormones and legitimately identified as transgender.  He would let out his feminine self, the self he suppressed his whole life, and embrace who he was and the hormones would help him align with his true self.

And 9.58 would be a thing of the past.

Sadie, 11-Year-Old Transgender Girl, Writes Essay In Response To Obama’s Inauguration Speech

sadie_pic

Picture of Sadie

By now we all have (or should have) read about Sadie, the 11-year-old transgender girl who wrote an essay to President Barack Obama after his inaugural speech a few weeks ago.  She was happy to hear Obama mention gays, but felt transgender people were left out.  Her letter to the president can be seen at the end of this article, but I felt I had to address what happened here as a sign the times are changing.

These are the tidbits we try to remember and cherish, the memories that generate fuel for us to fight harder and reflect on our accomplishments each year as the push for equal rights and recognition moves a bit closer to reflecting the moral arc of the universe.

It is so encouraging to see transgender youth everywhere in the world coming out at an earlier age each year.  It seems the stories are piling up, and awareness is in the atmosphere.  Resources are being distributed and made available, and parents are less ashamed of finding out their child is transgender.

We still have a long way to go in terms of civil rights, but this article gives me hope.    ^_^

Here’s Sadie’s letter:

Sadie's Original Letter

Sadie’s Original Letter

The world would be a better place if everyone had the right to be themselves, including people who have a creative gender identity and expression. Transgender people are not allowed the freedom to do things everyone else does, like go to the doctor, go to school, get a job, and even make friends.

Transgender kids like me are not allowed to go to most schools because the teachers think we are different from everyone else. The schools get afraid of how they will talk with the other kids’ parents, and transgender kids are kept secret or told not to come there anymore. Kids are told not to be friends with transgender kids, which makes us very lonely and sad.

When they grow up, transgender adults have a hard time getting a job because the boss thinks the customers will be scared away. Doctors are afraid of treating transgender patients because they don’t know how to take care of them, and some doctors don’t really want to help them. Transgender patients like me travel to other states to see a good doctor.

It would be a better world if everyone knew that transgender people have the same hopes and dreams as everyone else. We like to make friends and want to go to school. Transgender people want to get good jobs and go to doctors like they are exactly the same. It really isn’t that hard to like transgender people because we are like everyone else.