Tag Archive: women


So, a lot has happened since writing last. The 12 of you who read this blog probably know most of it. My daughter had surgery to remove the last of the big bits of tumour from her spinal cord. She passed through that with flying colours, and is now in dance class. My primary client for the first 6 months of 2012 took a break from my services to attend to other matters, and I squeaked by while helping another person, whom I can now call a friend, close her business and attend to another chapter in her adventurous life. I now work out of 2 studios, or at least that’s the idea, now I have to get to the getting of work to carry on there. To that end, I’m re-launching my business, Artemisian Studios, soon. More in another post about that.

On to the meat of this post: Several incidents over the past year have challenged both my daughter and I, and reinforced the necessity of raising this girl to be self-reliant and both emotionally resilient and physically capable of defending herself at the very least. She’s petite, a quality which is an advantage in clothes-shopping, but a huge disadvantage in dealing with predators and bullies, the latter two having cropped up more frequently than the former. Another challenge is that she is naturally “cautious” in her physicality. She’d march across a street without looking, but jumping off the curb is reason to pause and consider the potentially painful ramifications in their infinite entirety. She learned early that gravity is a tough mistress. Increasingly, she is afraid of creepy-crawlies, an acquired phobia (among many behaviours and ideas) from some of the other girls on the playground who react to a common centipede like I do to the cinematic human variety (shudders). I understand the desire to fit in, the adoption of social norms that are at odds with my nature for the sake of blending where difference is met with disapproval and ridicule. I get that. But secretly, though I guess not anymore, it pisses me the fuck off that other parents observe and condone these burgeoning weaknesses in their own children. I said weaknesses, because being paralysed by fear of a bug or slug or the stigma of not being afraid of them is a weakness. “Sugar and spice, and all that’s nice – that’s what little girls are made of.”

But I’m not raising a little girl; I’m raising a future woman. Most of my female identified friends were socialised to be the girlie-girls with bows in their hair, and dreaming of their dream wedding, flowing gown, the dashing man they would walk down that isle to, and their eventual 2.5 children. We’ve all spent hours listening to the dashed hopes and dreams of friends from Jr high to this day as they try to reconcile the supposedly ideal world they were sold as reality in youth from peers and society, with the often swarthier truth of bugs in the house, abuse, complex relationship issues, interpersonal power politics, conflicting desires, and the need for economic stability. Why? Because those “shoulds” of our forgotten pasts get in the way of our acceptance of the is that we eventually experience. The shoulds of girlhood (and boyhood, but I’m addressing my daughter’s development) become the foundation of our expectations as women. I want to change that for her. I want her to build upon the backs of her fore-mothers’ hard-learned truths. What’s the adage? “The smart man learns from his mistakes; the wise man learns from others’.” But we’re just repeating the same ones over and over.

“Girls will be girls” is another one of those old sayings, but this one is untrue. Girls will be women. Well, most of them. But they get the start that our patriarchal (aww, shit! I just busted the “P” word out) culture wants them to: namely, they are trained to accept their infantilisation from an early age. Please excuse my generalising, I realise this is not every girl’s experience, but there are trends and norms within groups that define the culture. So the value of a woman is still primarily revolves around youthful attractiveness, whereas intellect, athletic development, political involvement, personal ambition, and opinionated outspokenness are negative traits in girls and women while being the positive characteristics for boys and men. Those latter traits, the ones that rise from the developing mind (even the athleticism, as it a discipline) of all people are sold as undesirable and dangerous to the programmed goals of finding Mr. Right and becoming his dependent inferior. “Guys don’t like smart/strong/dominant/ugly/mannish girls.” How many times have you heard that? Have you said that? Do you still believe that? Boys are trained in that thinking, too. “She’s too much like a dude.” “What a dyke/bitch/cunt.” “You just got beat by a girl!” And this shit perpetuates itself.

Early this summer/late spring, a little boy called my dear daughter a bitch because she wouldn’t let him take something of hers, and he felt entitled to it. Now, I have heard her be imperious, strong-willed, opinionated, and controlling at times to this same child (age 5), mostly in response to his trying to take her things and tell her what to do while screaming over her protests as if to drown her out, to dominate her. I can understand her frustration and unwillingness to deal with this kid, but his older and much less grabby and abusive brother is her friend, and an advocate for her in his younger brother’s presence. But what possessed a 5 year old to call my daughter a bitch – apart from poor examples at home and in the immediate community – is his butt-hurt over not being able to control her or her things. How early this drama begins! I heard the exchange outside the front door, and I was enraged. I was enraged at the kid, his parents, and the whole of Western civilisation back to the Mycenaean invasion of Crete. What my daughter said next gave me pause and quenched my fury, somewhat. Without missing a beat, she told him “Nobody talks to me that way, and I will not accept that language!” This, from a seven year old (nearly seven). This is what I want for all our girls, for all women to feel. There’s a Roseanne quote floating around Facebook, and whatever your opinion of her is, this line is powerful: “The thing women have yet to learn is nobody gives you power. You just take it.” Hell to the yes, this.

Religious, and therefor, legal texts codify inequality. Fathers and mothers, friends and neighbours, and social institutions reinforce the idea of inequality in the minds of the young and old. It’s written into the DNA of our current paradigm. My strong-minded daughter is under attack every day. By her nature, she wants to fit in, and abhors confrontation. Her peers are falling into the traps set out before them like generations before, and we think it’s adorable. Her school seeks to break down that mindfuck, and I appreciate that oasis, and the great examples set by the staff, but the kids go home to their families and places of worship and after-school extra-curriculars. The change has to be on the macro scale. Social re-engineering on a massive scale, much like the digital revolution. Indeed, I was hopeful that the advent of the internet and its ability to transmit and share information would make it easier for this to happen. Maybe it is, slowly. Looking at websites designed for women, though, I see the same content as the 1886 copy of a local mid-western women’s magazine, which was written and edited exclusively by men. Family, home, cooking, entertainment, horoscopes, advice for coping in a man’s world. More reinforcement of acceptable ambitions. Young women eat this shit up, only to realise later in life that it’s all just a pink smokescreen spread to hide our disenfranchisement.

We need to think critically about our world, not mindlessly accept it as it has been presented to us. We need support our assumption of the power that is ours and not give it away to someone else. We need to provide real-life examples of great women, instead of the radically self-absorbed and shallow caricatures portrayed on TV and in music and fiction books and mirrored by their consumers. We need to create a world in which our children assume equality and respect for each-other instead of assuming it must be fought for tooth and nail. We need to pass down our proverbial Wonder Woman Underoos – the gift of wisdom from our experiences and lessons from our mothers – to the generations coming up, and start early.

So how does this change occur? Who even cares? What’s Snookie’s weight at today? I heard that Tasha blew the whole football team – what a slut. Calculus is stupid, I dropped it. I think Shane’s going to pop the question, finally! Mom is really putting on the heat for a grandchild. I’m such a terrible mother. Ooh, watch Chastity dance in the talent show just like Beyonce! We don’t discuss those topics, it’s impolite.

Problems with ‘publicans

It’s only May, and I’m already so sick of the politicians and my country’s devolution, that I want to bury my head in the sand and forget the whole business. But that is something I cannot do, because half of the electorate endorse policies that are antithetical to my existence. This is where I talk to the “conservatives” and those so far-right in their ideologies as to be regressionist in their ambition. Um, this means you Republicans.

Those of you who claim the mantle of conservative, including those in my family, read well this rambling bit, because one of your duties as a citizen is to be of an informed electorate. Please tell me you get that, because it is one of the principles this nation was founded on, and your party of choice is so very fond of waving around the Constitution and Declaration of Independence and referring to it while directly opposing in rhetoric and policy those very shrines of our society’s founding principles. Please read those documents, including all the amendments to the constitution, because those are the basis for the rule of law here, and are to be applied to all citizens, period.

It is an embarrassment that we have a hard time coming to terms with the equality of our people. Former slaves and women had to fight to gain recognition of their humanity and equality. Who did they have to wrest that recognition from, and why? Why are we still locked in struggles against the elevation of all of our citizenry? We are all created equal in value if not ability and form. Anything else is an oppressive mentality, and that oppression is the very thing that is tearing us down. The desire to control, invalidate, and suppress people based on whatever differences that the traditional power-hoarders feel threatened by is the root of all these disruptive “movements” throughout our history. And by assuming that these people who seek to keep a majority of the country from full participation are justified and correct, is akin to serving the abuser who uses the same tactics to dehumanise their co-dependent victim.

As a survivor, but no longer victim, of both parental and spousal abusers, no desire is left in me to be the victim of my country’s leaders’ inhumane treatment. The politicisation of my body, whether it be because I am an intersex/transsexual or a woman is indefensible except by the tenets of some religion. Rather the religious basis is thrown up as support for personal prejudices. Enslavement and dehumanisation of women and slaves had the same books thrown up in defence of their oppression as is now happening in the opposition of equality for GLBT people from marriage rights to the right to use appropriate public facilities to discrimination in hiring and housing. It’s nothing new, it’s the same argument, the same props, the same vitriol and propaganda, and the same injustice as it has always been, only with another group to focus on.

I’m going to preface this next section by saying that I know a good number of Christians who try to live the words of Jesus and live in Love. But they are not as loud as nor as organised as the people who through fear, live in hate, and attempt to impose their beliefs by denying the rights they enjoy from others.

So let me address Christianity’s role in the oppression narrative. In it’s inception, the Jewish sect suffered persecution as all emergent social groups do. a culture of persecution persists to this day in the popular evangelical groups, and this underlying perpetual victimisation as perceived as coming from Satan (“the adversary”) surfaces as fear of the eternal “Other.” Any threat to the understandings of followers, however shallow or mistaken those understandings or blind beliefs are, constitute an attack upon their reality by the great Adversary, the antithesis of God. The Other is thereby literally “demonised,” and as such, it cannot be reasoned away. It is evil, destructive, unnatural, corruptive, insidious, unholy, and thus deserves extermination. This took the form of the Crusades, the Inquisition, the continuing Witch Hunts (Europe to America and Africa, the genocide of the Americas, the enslavement of non-white people and the white poor, women’s chattel status, lynching in the 19th and 20th centuries, and the aforementioned denial of the full humanity of non-whites and women that persists today. The persecuted became the persecutor, or, rather the destructive cultures adopted Christianity and used it as a tool of oppression. Christianity, itself is not a problem, outside it’s hyper-misogynistic foundations, it’s the anti-social sociopaths who use its book as fictional “basis” for their personal, self-serving agendas.

As Christians, one is required to follow the words of the Christ, after all, He’s kind of the main character in the story. So, conservative, Christian Americans out there who rail against openly available healthcare, “entitlements” for the poor, homosexuality, transgender people, the freedom of a woman to make decisions about her own body, and we’ll throw in slavery because it never ended.

What exactly does Jesus say about the poor?

And what of the sick? He healed them without reservation,

About women Jesus mentioned nothing about their equality or inequality explicitly (nor anything about abortion), but treated them as individuals, no different than the men he met, ultimately proclaiming in Galatians (3:28): “There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither bond nor free, there is neither male nor female: for ye are all one in Christ Jesus.”

About slavery? Matthew (20:26-28) “If you want to be great, you must be the servant of all the others. And if you want to be first, you must be the slave of the rest. The Son of Man did not come to be a slave master, but a slave who will give his life to rescue many people.” or, more succinctly: Mark (10:44) “Whoever wants to be first among you must be the slave of everyone else.” “But wait, that’s spiritual and metaphorical slavery,” you say. Yes it is.

And what about the GLBTI folk out there? Matthew (19:12-13): “Jesus replied, ‘Not everyone can accept this word, but only those to whom it has been given. For some are eunuchs because they were born that way; others were made that way by men; and others have renounced marriage because of the kingdom of heaven. The one who can accept this should accept it’. Born that way is the thing, here. There is some speculation as to who these passages cove, or if they mean much at all, but for most people around the world, outside of the modern Western world, the births of intersexed people and animals (sometimes mistakenly called hermaphrodites), and as our understanding of just what influences who and what we are expands, we find that there are physical and genetic differences in those attracted to the same sex as compared to those who are heterosexually oriented, so this passage would also seem to apply to those who didn’t follow the “normal” social path of pairing up with a member of the opposite sex and having babies.

Oh, what did Jesus say about marriage? Well, in no uncertain terms, his problems were with divorce, and he absolutely ruled out remarriage after after one. Read it: Mark (10:2-12) And Pharisees came up and in order to test him asked, “Is it lawful for a man to divorce his wife?” He answered them, “What did Moses command you?” They said, “Moses allowed a man to write a certificate of divorce, and to put her away.” But Jesus said to them, “For your hardness of heart he wrote you this commandment. But from the beginning of creation, ‘God made them male and female.’ ‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.’ So they are no longer two but one flesh. What therefore God has joined together, let not man put asunder.” And in the house the disciples asked him again about this matter. And he said to them, “Whoever divorces his wife and marries another, commits adultery against her; and if she divorces her husband and marries another, she commits adultery.”

So what is my point? that those who wield the Bible and spout biblically inspired claptrap as the foundations for restrictive and punitive laws for any segment of the population are your anti-Christs, your false prophets, and they are preying on your ignorance on the matters to get you to support their denial of the equality this country is supposed to guarantee for every citizen regardless of religion or any other ideological or physical reason. “But Leviticus and Deuteronomy?” you shout, “surely those condemn homosexuality and cross-dressing.” How about this, go back and read those books of the Torah, Mosaic laws governing how the ancient Hebrews were to live. Now, after you’ve done that, enumerate how many of those commandments you break every day. Now shut up about it, because you’ve probably violated five within the past week without even having to try. “But Jesus died for our sins, thus negating some of those.” Yeah, which ones, specifically? Are you insinuating that Jesus died so that you can eat bacon and shrimp while wearing a cotton/poly blend top? I smell bull, here, and it’s not coming from your altar-fire.

But what about Judaism and Islam? They condemn the same stuff in their books, right? After all, the Old Testament is the Torah, and Islam recognises the Pentateuch (five books of Moses) as the word of God, too. Yes, true, and I’ve read translations of both the TaNaKH and the Qur’an, and they describe in bloody detail how not cool they are with women, foreigners, and homosexuals. Here is a difference, though. In the United States, despite the spurious evidence ejaculated by white supremacy groups, the direct influence exerted by these faiths’ traditional laws on the modern political arena is minimal.

It seems that I would be attacking straight, white, cis-gendered, Christian men, here, wouldn’t it? While it is true that those are characteristics shared by the majority of the people who deny equality for the rest, they are not required. Fear of losing privilege and the resultant need for absolute control of those you feel threatened by through institutionalised denial of their equality is the only criteria entry into that club.

Now, that club is predominantly represented by the Republican platform of strict social conservatism. Fiscal responsibility is obviously not either of the main parties’ actual goal, despite the rhetoric, so I will not address it. Far from the ideas represented in the Constitution, Republican efforts have been centred on repression, denial of rights, discrimination, and oppression. So-called “right to work” laws and their public servant kin that strip rights to collective bargaining lower wages and allow for a slackening of requirements of safe working environments as well as take away health care options for millions. Bullying laws support hostile conditions in schools by protecting the free-speech of bullies and stifling the same rights for the victims. Money is stripped from school budgets, inaccurate and simplistic assessment methods are mandated for inflexible and arbitrary performance requirements while the same people who took the funding and instituted the indefensible expectations proclaim the schools to be failing the children. Women are demonised for being sexual, rape and incest is defended, and the right to the sanctity of a woman’s own body is being stripped away. Transgender access to appropriate bathrooms is coming under fire. Homosexual people and couples are denied equality in marriage and adoption options in most states. People of colour still face institutionalised discrimination, and modern voting access restriction laws disenfranchise them and the poor and the aged. The poor in this country, roughly half of us, suffer from the deregulation, outsourcing, and flight of jobs supported by the policies pushed by Republicans. And who can claim to be all about Christian “values,” and deny access to health care to a quarter of the population? Arrogant, self-serving, sanctimonious, sociopathic, control freaks, that’s who. And you, you help them.

Democrats are not without blame, by any stretch, but they are less anti-Constitutional values, at least on the surface, than the Republicans. I would argue that their platform positions are also more in tune with the teachings of the very One that the Republican “base” purportedly believes in. Like my parents, I aspire to the designation of “independent” when it comes to politics and voting. I would have no problem supporting a Republican for office if that person embodied any of the traditional values of that party. Unfortunately, the party of Lincoln is now the party of Fallwell, limited government is a joke except to those crushed under the regulation of everyday life, and fiscal responsibility no longer applies when there are wars to wage against drugs, terror, and women. Ignorance and hate wrapped in the Shroud of Turin appear to be the values of the modern Republican party. If I’m wrong, somebody please show me how.

P.S.:
“… with Liberty and Justice for All.” (The “under God” was not originally in there. Revisionists!)

Tranny Trolling

While I’m working on other projects, I’m going to share a story this morning. So, occasionally, I troll the craigslist forums looking for troglodytic brilliance only created by its regular denizens. I love me some “rants and raves” for the sheer butt-hurtedness of those who cannot accept some mundane thing like Pedestrians or wish to offer suggestions for better Restroom Conduct. Thanks, people! Also, I’ve come to look at ads posted by mens who are seeking the company of women of a similar stripe as myself. Only rarely is there any long-term relationship sought, which is fine, but the language used by posters seeking more immediate and decidedly temporary contact is telling of the lack of understanding that plagues many interactions between men and women.

I’ve come to notice that men and women seem to have a very limited understanding of each-other, often supported by (and/or influenced by) the prevailing culture. In general, women still have the fairy-tale dreams of prince charming and royal weddings and finding a man who knows how to navigate her like a riverboat captain on the Mississippi. Men, on the other hand have an understanding that these things are expected of them, but find little by way of training in these fields. Porn apparently has a huge influence on some men’s idea about how sex is supposed to work, which is just sad.

Personal confession: human sexuality fascinates me. The degree to which it permeates our culture is at once understandable considering its biological and psychological importance and surprising in its myriad expressions and outlets. Porn is one of those things that I don’t understand very well, yet, though it is all around us. It is a form of entertainment, a way to develop and fulfil fantasies (vicariously), and in some ways an instructional guide. I know men who have primarily had porn as their basis for understanding adult relations between the sexes. These relationships are not surprisingly shallow and contain an undercurrent of misogyny and inappropriate sexuality, as most porn that I have seen demonstrates. Now this is all based on personal observation, and so is anecdotal and skewed given my history, and the socioeconomic strata I have/do occupy. Also, this is a blog, and not a peer-reviewed journal, so I can say whatever comes to mind. Yay for me!

Being a transwoman, I am interested in how trans people are represented in media and how that is expressed in society. Scanning the posts listed under “m4t” in the craigslist personal ads (meaning man for trans, there is no w4t, interestingly enough), one is struck by the language used to call out for a hook-up: “tranny,” “ladyboy,” “sissy bottom,” “shemale,” and the like are in the titles. Type any of those things into google, and you get a LOT of porn links. Much like straight porn, tranny porn typically paints women as sex-crazed nymphos who either deceive straight men or dominate them forcing their ambiguity and maleness on guys who lose all inhibitions after a few feeble protests. To be fair, there are examples of men seeking the affections of a transwoman, specifically. But the titles and language of the porn and on associated websites use negative epithets like those previously mentioned, and others more specific to trans people in other countries and cultures. These terms also show up in popular media from online forums to magazines and TV. Jerry Springer comes to mind for his exploitation of our “otherness” on his sensationalistic and loosely scripted talkshow. More recently, popular shows like Jersey Shore have let the “t-word” slip. Last year, Susan Sarandon and RuPaul among many others spoke up for the use of the word “tranny” because they saw no harm in it. Drag queens and the GLBT community do use the word with some impunity much as the “n-word” is used in the African American community. The trouble is, that these words are also used by the people who do us harm, and I would argue that the porn industry is doing us harm, likewise.

So here is the point of my rant: the seeking of sex on craigslist is what it is, but those looking for a good time with transwomen are fairly obviously influenced by misleading and mischaracterisation of the object of their desire, and therefore, ill-prepared for such an interaction. To be sure this also happens with men seeking women for some no strings attached gymnastics in general. But just as trawling for women is not likely to get any responses if the words: bitch, ho, tramp, slut, and all those other little pet names are used in a plea, using derogatory language associated with transwomen will likewise produce few answers.

So, I offered my own, very informative and helpful ad, which didn’t last 12 hours before being flagged “inappropriate” in a section that openly solicits “some one who wants to be fucked.” Maybe I was too snarky. Maybe it was because I was not offering my glory holes up for their personal pleasure. Maybe it was a weinie-shrinker for guys looking to bring their unrealistic fantasies to fruition. I’ll post it here for your judgement.

This ad is aimed at all of you trannychasers and bisexual men out here cruising for a: “ladyboy,” “shemale,” “tranny,” or whatever word you use to describe a transgender woman, crossdresser, or transvestite.

That’s some weak sh!t, probably coming from watching too much porn. Here’s a hint for you: transwomen (and transmen) are people, not fleshlights, cum-dumpsters, or inflatable toys. We are real, and not all of us come from Brazil and have huge silicone-injected booties, and live only to give you a hard time *ahem*.

If you’re looking for a sex worker to help you with a fantasy, be a little more clear on that. Due to the staggering rates of unemployment and few legal protections from discrimination in the workplace (except in Bloomington proper and Indy), there are transwomen who work in the sex trades to make ends meet and for the medical costs of transition. They would probably love to help you out, as long as you are respectful and generous.

If you are honestly looking for a long-term relationship with someone who is navigating transition, get a f^cking clue, please. By putting into the body of your ad any of the aforementioned words, you are showing your ignorance of your target audience. So, heregoes:

Transwomen are women. For whatever biological reason, here we are with female-wired brains and male bodies that many are seeking to fit our identities. This is true for the group known as transsexuals. Intersex people are also born in-between sexes, but this term refers to those with other physical conditions and could be chromosomal, developmental, or metabolic in nature. It is possible to be both intersex and transgender, it’s not twice the fun, however.
Crossdressers and transvestites are different groups, they are men who dress in traditionally female clothes for various reasons of their own. I cannot speak of their experience because it is not my own. Gay men are men, if you want a gay man, you are probably bisexual or gay, and can stop reading this now and just go to the M4M section. Still here? Good, let’s proceed…

Calling us by the epithets we most often hear before someone is going to attack or belittle us doesn’t make transwomen get all hot and bothered for you, just like calling us b!tch or ho or stupid or garbage would be a huge turn off. Who knew? All those porn movies would suggest otherwise. I would posit that a person who uses such language is too immature to enter into a relationship with anyone, let alone a member of a marginalised and often victimised subset of the population. But maybe all of you are scary creepers who just want to pick on a vulnerable population.

It’s 2012, do your homework before it’s too late! There is this thing out there called Google, it’s big, and can be really misleading, but after some time spent navigating it, you will come to realise that Google is a modern day Library of Alexandria. Pretty cool. Now, once you’ve found it, type in “transgender,” and don’t go to the photo section, that way be monsters. Then, look for anything that looks boring (like this) and may lead you to form new appreciation for people. That’s what you’re looking for. Read. Lots of these sites have pictures, too.

Really, guys, I know you’ve fallen to cruising CraigsList for some action, but you still need game if you want to succeed here, otherwise it’s back to the booths in the “bookstore” for ya. Get off of 4chan and redtube and hottrannies4u or whatever and join the real world. Your hands will thank you for the rest, and you might actually learn to form fulfilling relationships with some decent people.

BTW, as an added bonus for sticking with this so long, I just want you to know that most transsexual women who are on hormone therapy have a MUCH reduced sex drive, and probably are unable to get or maintain an erection. Also, blocking the testosterone usually means that there is little to no ejaculate should you be suave enough to elicit an orgasm in her. You will not be bathing in trannybatter, most likely.

I did get a couple of “right on”s from men before it was taken down, and I was also solicited for two rim-jobs, oral sex, and a right good fucking. I’m so flattered! And people ask why I am not into dating or hooking-up. This is the festering, weed-choked pool from which to select a frog, and interested women haven’t been much better. Meh, I have a child, and I do not want her to be exposed to that kind of person and I’m not interested in that kind of relationship.