Saturday, March 31, 2012


I find it incredibly strange how much emphasis our society puts on gender. Specifically on which of the two gender boxes you fit in. Even when shopping, there are "men's clothing," and "women's clothing," but never just clothes. Does the cotton t-shirt self combust if worn on the wrong person? Do the pants suddenly disintegrate if the crotch they conceal is "wrong"?

Sure, some could argue that men and women are shaped differently. Women have boobs, men have pecs, etc; but is that always true? I know a few women who have absolutely no breasts, and a few men who do.  Really, this goes back to my earlier discussion an meat shapes. Everyone's meat shape is different.

Even our language is structured to reflect two and only two gender options (I found learning French to be even worse, as they blatantly gender-ize all objects into masculine and feminine for no good reason I can see). If you're worth discussing in English as a person, the pronoun options are he, she, and it. I personally don't find any of those options appealing. He and she just plain don't fit, and it is so demeaning and de-humanizing. And so the dilemma: do I stick with she (as the one I've heard all of my life) or do I try to find/create something more suitable.

Years of reading on the internet (thank god for technology), and I found myself learning that I am not alone. There are others like me who don't like the two accepted gender options. And they have a secret code of gender neutral pronouns. The problem is, they truly are a secret code: Xe, Xir, and an assortment of others which need constant explanation and defense in the real world. Sure, most genderqueer communities recognize them, but my day to day life isn't in a genderqueer community, and I really do not feel like trying to educate everyone at work. I just want to be treated equal, with no fuss made about my neutrois identity. I feel no need to explain myself to everyone I interact with.

I've always been drawn to the "singular they," but the language nerd in me rebels at that idea. They is not singular, and I am not multiple people. I need singular pronouns which reflect my gender neutral identity.

And then I found them. It was like a shockwave to the system. There is a movement to take they/their/them, and re-conjugate to make them singular. In walks ey, eir, and em into my life. And I was blown away. Finally I have found pronouns which I can identify with both in the gendered sense, and in. The fact that I'm an individual.

While I still feel no urge to explain myself to everyone I interact with, I would appreciate if here, on my little corner of the web, my identity is respected and proper pronouns used. If you know me in real life, and you choose to carry this into the real world as well, you will probably become one of my favourite people.

Taking this small step of publicly announcing it makes me giddy with excitement and nervous energy.

Saturday, March 17, 2012

Survey Time

One of the awesome blogs I follow, Neutrois Nonsense, is asking for non-binary folks to fill out a brief survey on their experiences so that the blog master extraordinaire may build a site to help build the community, specifically with resources for those who wish to transition. Its difficult enough for trans folks to access the resources required for transition, even more so for non-binary trans* folks.

That blog has been pivotal in my own self acceptance and realization (along with learning that there is indeed a vocabulary for all the non gendered thoughts and concepts in my brain), so I encourage you to go check out eir blog.

And if you happen to also be non binary identified, I encourage you to fill out eir Survey.

Remember, community can only happen if we ourselves build and maintain it. So lets help build this so that we all may benefit from it.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Follow up

I read an op/ed piece which sums up what I was trying to say in my previous post much more eloquently than I could ever say it.

Monday, March 12, 2012

I just can't stay quiet: Kony 2012

Last week "Kony 2012" took over my Facebook account. I'm not on Twitter, but I've heard it also took over that as well. Everyone was posting up and watching a half hour documentary made by Invisible Children. Like everyone else, I spent a half hour of my life watching this polished little video. I've been passionate about the putting a stop to the use of children as soldiers for years now, and have been involved with Romeo Dallaire's Child Soldiers Initiative for about a year now.

Of course, there was a huge backlash against the Kony 2012 film. After all, it asks people to actually pay attention to global events and care, and put that compassion into action and pressure on their government. I will admit, the film did shine a spotlight on an issue which has been ignored for years, and to that I am grateful. But it felt.... MTV generation. It felt like the issue was dumbed down into sensationalized morsels designed to spark quick emotion and hope for the best. No lasting real information was passed on.

I've read conflicting reports on the film- some say Kony is no longer in Uganda, but in the Democratic Republic of the Congo. If this is the case (I have no evidence to support or deny it), then sending US troops to help the Ugandan military won't do much good. Ugandan soldiers have no jurisdiction in the DRC.

I also find the reports of Invisible Children's funds going to prop up the Ugandan military as a way to stop Kony. While I can't say that I have the solution to stopping Kony's use of child soldiers, I can't say that I want my money supporting the Ugandan military. My taxes pay for my (Canadian) military, and that's really the only army I care to financially contribute to. Because what happens if a Canadian soldier ever comes face to face with a Ugandan soldier on opposite sides of the battle? I would never be able to forgive myself if I knew my money was supporting an army that was attacking my own.

But my personal criticisms have nothing to do with where Kony may or may not actually be, or how Invisible Children spend their money.

One of my issues is with inconsistencies within the film itself. Maybe the producers were hoping we simply wouldn't be smart enough to notice. There are images of a document claiming that the Lord's Resistance Army (LRA- led by Joseph Kony) has no goal other than to perpetuate it's own power. Where did this document come from? Who stated this? Is this an LRA manifesto, or is it something the International Criminal Court said about Joseph Kony? If this is someone else's interpretation of LRA actions, it isn't fair to include it in this "documentary." We cannot put words into Joseph Kony's mouth as a way to condemn him. Let him do that on his own.

My other major problem with this film is that the filmaker claims that if anyone in the US were to do what Joseph Kony does- kidnap children and force them into combat- obviously has never seriously looked into gang mentality in poverty stricken areas across North America. Children are regularly being drugged, brainwashed, and used by adults as a way to increase and hold the adult's power. I highly HIGHLY recommend reading They Fight like Soldiers, They Die like Children by Romeo Dallaire for more information on this. Actually it gives you a broader view of Child Soldiers everywhere.

And the crux of it is, this DOES happen elsewhere. It's NOT isolated to Uganda and Joseph Kony. But funny enough, it tends to correlate with areas of poverty. People just don't care about poor people, they only care about the wealthy and the famous.

And that's my biggest issue: this problem won't go away just by arresting Joseph Kony. Sure, he's the ICC's most wanted, but he has SO MANY generals under him willing to step into his place. His method of kidnapping, drugging, brainwashing, torturing, and all around destroying children is an entire system, and it won't go away if you pull him out. If you want to stop Joseph Kony, you have to take away his resources. Protect and empower the locals to protect their children. And that involves helping them dig their way out of the extreme poverty that plagues the area, providing education, providing medical training and aid, and about a billion other small things that we take for granted here in Canada. This film took an EXTREMELY complex issue and oversimplified it as though it solved everything.

I will admit to some positives of the film: more people now know who Joseph Kony is and what he's doing than ever before (although he's been doing this for 26 years, so why did it take so long for everyone to start caring? Oh right, it needs to be in a flashy video first!). More people are starting to actually look into the issue, and many are smart enough to do their research before giving any organization any of their money. I've even had one friend admit that the Kony 2012 film was the kick in the pants that she needed to sponser a child in Africa. So the film wasn't all bad. It just wasn't all good either.

Monday, March 5, 2012

Thoughts on a Meat Shape

What comes to mind when you hear the term "meat shape?"
I recently came across it in a blog post, and I must admit I found the post incredibly entertaining (note: if you're transphobic, homophobic, or uncomfortable with discussing genitalia, don't bother following that link, and navigate away from this page right now. And don't come back).
The term got lodged in my brain, and I haven't been able to shake it. It's crude enough to shock someone into paying attention, while being generic enough to not assign either biological sex, or gender to a person. I particularly like the phrase:
a lovely term to refer to genitals–”meat-shape.” As it turns out, I’ve found this word incredibly useful for talking about meat-shapes without having to differentiate their colonizations.
Which brings me to my not so surprising public revelation: My meat shape and my brain are at odds with one another. Ok, this isn't exactly new to me- I've known for a while that I have gender issues. And lately I've been thinking of how to go about altering my meat shape to a more pleasing for my brain. Now, I should clarify; I am NOT a man trapped in a woman's body. I fall outside the binary somewhere, which means accessing resources for transgender folks is a bit different. The non-binary is not recognized by what little government resources are out there, and few surgeons are willing to recognize it either. I feel no desire to start taking hormones, or to jump through a bunch of hoops with a psychiatrist or psychologist in order to get the government to shove me into a different- just as ill fitting- gender box.
My brain prefers to be hidden by superhero themed underpants. My brain prefers to look like a Ken doll: no definition to the lower or upper bits, and a perfect smile to charm the world! Which is more important to listen to, my brain, or my meat shape?

Not my own drawing. Found online at

Barbie vs. Ken

We live in an unrealistic society which tells me I'm supposed to want this:

There is just so much wrong with this that I can't even begin, and yet this is what is considered "normal" for someone born into a female body to wish for. Since it's completely unnatural, we are encouraged to surgically enhance ourselves in an attempt to attain this unreachable goal.

So tell me, why is it considered "strange" and "unnatural" for me to consider surgical alterations to change my body into this: