This was one of the most difficult shots to line up that I've ever taken. And yes, I know you can totally see my remote, but at this point I don't give a damn! I also had plans to zip up my sweater so you couldn't see my rib cage, but that didn't happen either. Ah the joys of a 365 project!
A few weeks back, I received a letter from the Federal Liberal Party asking me to participate in one of their political conventions. If you follow Canadian politics at all, you'll know that over the past 5 years or so, the Liberals have lost a LOT. Every federal election sees them losing more and more support, and therefore more seats in the House. They went from a majority government, to a minority, to the official opposition in a minority Conservative government, to their current status of... well... barely having seats. The Conservatives have a majority, the NDP is the rising star with the official opposition.
So the Liberals are scrambling. Why have they lost so much support? They need new leadership (as the last leader stepped down after the election). And so, they decided to hold a convention. An Extraordinary Convention. A way to allow members to speak up, speak out, and try to get to the root of this problem. So they mailed out registration forms for the convention inviting members from every riding to become Delegates.
And yet... the registration form COMPLETELY rubbed me the wrong way. I'm offended by it in ways I can't even begin to explain.
In order to register I must certify that I am ONE of the following (transposed exactly as it appears on the form):
I am a SENIOR FEMALE; I am 65 years of age or older (as defined in the 2009 LPC Constitution)
I am a SENIOR MALE; I am 65 years of age or older (as defined in the 2009 LPC Constitution)
I am a YOUTH FEMALE; I am 25 years of age or under (as defined in the 2009 LPC Constitution)
I am a YOUTH MALE; I am 25 years of age or under (as defined in the 2009 LPC Constitution)
I am a FEMALE; I am between the ages of 26 and 64.
I am a MALE; I am between the ages of 26 and 64.
I am an ABORIGINAL (as defined in the Constitution of the LPC's Aboriginal Peoples' Commission)
Now, I'm pretty sure this is ageist, sexist, and just downright racist. Why do we need to be divided up this way? Why are these the only categories that matter? Why do these categories matter at all? What if I don't fit into any of the above?
Now, I've been a proud Liberal for years. They're not the perfect party, but they are the closest party to my political beliefs. I recognize that I don't always agree with them, but in politics and leadership, you can't please all of the people all of the time. I truly believe they are aimed as closely to what they want for Canada as what I want as a Canadian. And yet this registration form... well, since I obviously don't fall into any of their neatly divided categories, perhaps I don't fit into their party after all.
By mid week, I'm exhausted. Seriously. 5:45am alarm sucks pretty bad in the winter when you don't see much sun, but it sucks just as much in the summer when the sun is up late and it keeps you up. I haven't seen darkness in WEEKS!!! It's GREAT!!!
So this is after a party with some co-workers to suprise our COO for his 1 year anniversary. We were told to "dress to impress." Well, here I am, with my chest binder peeking out after the evening, getting un-dressed to impress.
Ok, I'll be honest, I didn't dress to impress, I dressed to be comfortable.
Ok, this is a bit of a lie. I no longer bind with tensor bandages. They hurt like hell after a full day, and are horribly bad for your spine and ribs. But they are much more visually interesting than the Compression Shirt style I currently use.
I have a leather sexy binder on order being custom made by a Crafty Friend, however until that shows up I make do.
This whole being on a tight budget to save for a house kinda blows. I was really hoping to have the background colour on my sleeve tattoo finished by now. Sadly, with our spending money cut to next to nothing and a wedding in Alberta we need to attend in a month- it'll be months before I can afford any more colour.
Sorry James, I'm trying to come back for more, but it's just not happening quickly.
I've always loved my tummy. I think it's one of my best features. Always has, hopefully always will be. But I'm scared of the future. On my dad's side- all of the women look like they're 6 months pregnant. Slender women with this little basket ball of a tummy. Not what I'm hoping for.
I've been having a problem lately. And I'm not sure how to approach it.
It's no secret that I question gender roles. Or that I'd actually prefer greatly to do without them. And yet I know that society only accepts the two. I live in an "either/or" world, and what I'd prefer is an "either, or, both, neither, all of the above, and none of the above," all on the same day. And yet this "either/or" mentality seems to be shoved into my face more and more frequently, in completely innocent ways.
My brother and his wife had a baby close to a year ago. Do you know how difficult it is to find gender-neutral wrapping paper for a baby gift? Everything screams "It's a Boy," or "It's a Girl," and for some reason I'm completely offended by that.
Friends of ours are about to have a baby. We went to buy them baby socks before the baby was born, and were looking at socks for the first few years of Baby's life. Again- do you know how difficult it is to find gender-neutral multi-packs of baby socks? And it wasn't that we were specifically trying to avoid gender-fying the baby, it's that it hadn't been born yet and so we just don't know.
When asked if they knew yet if it was a boy or a girl, their response is "No, but it's a 50/50 chance, right?"
Wrong. Intersex children happen far more frequently than society likes to admit. And do you know what happens? Most often Dr's will decide the baby needs cosmetic surgery to "normalize" the baby's genetalia because the appearance is offensive. But that's an entirely different rant, and not my life. This isn't some big confession that I'm intersexed, although those brave enough to have shared their stories publicly have inspired me with their courage, while at the same time I'm angered and saddened by what they endured as children.
Besides the biology, there are also those of us who don't fit into the body we were born with. Some are lucky enough that they can switch sides and feel more comfortable after surgery and hormone treatment. I say lucky, but I in no way shape or form wish to diminish their struggle. This, again, is not my life. While I know with 100% certainty that I do not fit with the biology I was born with, I also know that a complete switch to the other accepted gender wouldn't fit me any better.
So what do I do? I stay as I am, with my queerness invisible. There are no accepted pronouns for the inbetween and others (sure, there is a movement to adopt some, but quite frankly I don't feel up to constantly explaining to those around me what the hell "ze/zir" means). Medical science accepts a shift from one to the other- in support of continuing the "either/or" world, and yet I would love to change some aspects of my body while leaving others in tact. Unfortunately medical professions think if you don't want to take a Gender Transition all the way, don't start it at all.
I live with frustration, feeling betrayed by my body daily. I live feeling uncomfortable with being invited to things such as "girl's nights" and baby showers and using public washrooms, as I feel a fraud, as though I'm accepting that I'm actually a girl. And yet, if I wasn't invited, I'd feel hurt and betrayed, as though my friends are pulling away from me, because let's face it, I'm a girl SOMETIMES. Really I'd just prefer if everything were inclusive events, instead of exclusive.
THIS BLOG ENTRY is one of the best I've ever come across. It's inspiring for me to read more from others who feel the way I do. His other articles, particularly this one are also quite thought provoking.
There is also Genderfork, with it's regularly encouraging tid-bits and thoughts, reminding me I'm not the only one to feel this way.
There is no solution. There is no magic quick fix. There simply is learning and living daily.
I began this blog as an outlet for my 365 project, as a way to explore aspects of my personality as well as document my life with a photo a day for a year. When I began, I had all of these ideas for gender questioning photos. And yet as I continue with the project, I find I don't question my gender. I'm not confused by it. Sure, I'm frustrated by being pigeon holed into it, but I know who I am. And so my photos are simply me, being me, doing what I do and trying to make interesting pictures out of the random thoughts in my brain. I'm continuing with the project, and I don't expect any solutions from this one rant- this was simply a way to get a few things off of my binder-encased chest.