Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Monday, May 21, 2012

IDAHO and the Invisible Queer

This past Thursday was IDAHO: International Day Against HOmophobia and Transphobia. The Transphobia part was kind of just stuck on there as an after thought, as it so often seems to be. It doesn't *quite* fit into the nice acronym, does it?

As I dressed for work that morning, I got thinking: What can I wear today to show my queer support and queerness? I've recently started a new position at work, and dress and deportment calls for business casual, and I'm already dressing quite androgynous. I have a few blatantly queer t-shirts, but t-shirts are inappropriate for work, so they're hidden under buttoned-up collared shirts. BORING!!! So I wore what I always wore, and left for work hoping to see some spark in the day of Queer Support.

I spent all day watching, and saw nothing. At which time I realized, I am the Invisible Queer. While I may not be specifically closeted, I'm also not out. How did this happen? I used to be quite militant about my orientation, but now that I accept my gender as queer, I've once again become invisible. I've spent the past few days considering this, and it turns out I'm a big chicken.

I'll fully own my priviledges for this one: I'm white, which gives me a definite advantage in Canada (despite what the "officials" say), and I'm relatively well off. It's taken me a long time to accept I'm fairly well off, but after buying a house and realizing all the bills can be covered off of one income, and my spouse's income simply provides food and pays for the renovations, well- we're doing pretty well. I've come a long way in the past 10 years, financially speaking. And lastly, my relationship is hetero-conforming. I'm FAAB, and my spouse is male. He's one of those rare CIS men who actually cares about social issues. I still have a difficult time accepting him for how awesome he is, but he reassures me he accepts and loves me for how flawed I am.

And so, I'm a big giant chicken. I know I've got life pretty easy. I've recently read a GREAT blog post about how to explain priviledge to those who have it: All in terms of Video Game settings, and realized that while I may not be at the TOP of the Easy Settings, I'm pretty damn close. So at this stage of the game, why rock the boat? Why try to make life for myself (and now my Husband, since he's partnered in to my crazy life) more difficult? Is it wrong of me to get wrapped up in our home renovations and projects at work and this great book I'm reading and simply live my life without needing to constantly defend or explain my queer status, because I'm too afraid to make any sort of issue out of it?

But then the guilt kicks in. I read blogs such as Tranarchism by Asher which this past month has shared post after post after post showing just how priviledged I am. And for no other reason than a fluke of my birth and a bit of invisibility. And Theirs is not the only blog which reminds me of this (although it is the most unapologetic and militant of the ones I read).

So I live with this guilt feeling not queer enough. I'm not prepared to embark on surgery or hormone treatment, because after researching and considering it, at this time I know it's not a part of my identity. I don't want/need it. Ok: Top surgery would be kinda cool, but I'm content with binding. While I feel dysphoric in my own body, I can't justify drastic measures such as surgery or hormones at this time. And so I feel not Trans enough to try to claim this little section of community. I'm FAAB, married to a MAAB CIS man, so I'm not "queer" enough to claim the Gay/Lesbian/Queer section of the community. I feel an outcast looking in, as I don't have the courage to make such drastic changes to this body that doesn't quite fit me, nor do I have the courage to try explaining my gender and coming out at work.

I'm the Invisible Queer, perhaps better fit in the "Ally" category, but knowing that's not quite right either.

Saturday, May 5, 2012

Repost- Some thoughts from Eli

Life has been busy lately, and my blog has suffered because of it. This blog where I vent my thoughts on my identity. Gender issues, sexuality issues, tattoo ideas and thoughts (got a post brewing about tattoos... we'll get to that...) somehow just haven't been the top of my brain lately.
While neglecting my own blog, I've been reading the thoughts of others. One of my favourites has become My Life With Tits by Eli; nd the most recent blog post is one which has shaken me out of my bloggy laziness in that I feel it needs to be shared. In fact, I think everyone needs to read it, and truly consider what it means.
And so, I'm stealing that post. Ok, it's not stealing because I asked permission first, and fully give credit to Eli for the following words. Read and consider wisely my friends:


Where Did This Soapbox Come From?
Everyday I come out to more people and it gets easier. I talk about top surgery at work openly and have little fear of anyone’s response. This is mostly due to the fact that upper management has made it clear they have my back. This confidence also comes from the overwhelming support I have gotten from my friends.
I’m really fucking excited for the surgery, and appreciate the fortunate spot I find myself in: not only can I afford it, but also I have had great help from my therapist and loved ones learning how to accept my trans identity. Lots of people don’t have this. Most of you know the stats, but I am going to repeat them here for those of you who don’t. According to “Injustice at Every Turn: A Report of the National Transgender Discrimination Survey,” by the National Center for Transgender Equality:
“Ninety percent of transgender and gender nonconforming people report harassment, discrimination and mistreatment on the job, and the injustices they face have devastating economic and personal consequences.”
“A staggering 41 percent of the more than 6,400 respondents said they had attempted suicide, compared to a rate of 1.6 percent for the general population.”
“One in five transgender people in the U.S. have been refused a home or apartment, and more than one in ten have been evicted, because of their gender identity.”
“78% of respondents who were out as trans while in K-12 school indicated that they had been harassed on the basis of their gender identity, with over one-third (35%) reporting that the harassment escalated to physical assault. The abuse could be so severe that it resulted in almost one-sixth (15%) leaving school to escape. Those who are able to persevere had significantly lower GPAs, were more likely to miss school out of concern for their safety, and were less likely to plan on continuing their education, according to data from GLSEN2. Perhaps most alarmingly, 51% of NCTE survey respondents who had been bullied reported attempting suicide.”
This study is comprehensive and respected and the first to have such a large pool of respondents in the trans community. And it’s ugly and we all have to take responsibility for changing the lives of transgendered individuals. This isn’t about tolerance anymore, it’s a matter of acceptance, because, of course, when one claims to be “tolerating” another, it is really intolerance that is occurring. Could you ever look another person in the eye and say to them sweetly, “Oh darling, of course you are welcome here. I am tolerating you.” We tolerate things we dislike but can’t change. We don’t tolerate those whose essential humanity we recognize as the same as our own.
Martin Luther King Jr. said, “Never, never be afraid to do what’s right, especially if the well-being of a person or animal is at stake. Society’s punishments are small compared to the wounds we inflict on our soul when we look the other way.” And that is the bottom line here: what we do to the least of each other we do to ourselves. When we don’t take up the plights of the minority even those of us in the majority are injured. And if we cannot be moved to action to save ourselves, then we are no race worth saving.
Ok. I’m done preaching. Let me get back to speaking for myself. I’m fucking angry that these stats reflect reality for a population I consider my people. I’m fucking angry that this shit is common. I am mad our stories usually end with a murder.
I am with them in Rockland.
I am reading new stories everyday. Ones like this, and this, and this.
What can I do? I can tell everyone I know I’m a trans dude, and that’s a start.