"I'm trying to find the truth
in words, in rhymes, in notes,
in all the things I wish I wrote."
Lover of grammar, poetry, literature, hiking, camping, horses, and Latin

 

Why have I seen so many stories about two women kissing on Rookie Blue, but nothing about a decently handled trans* storyline?

knowhomo:

KNOWhomo Moderator Personal Post:

Cael’s First (Performance in a) Drag King Show

Something I have always wanted to do got crossed off my list not long ago: participating in a drag show. I mean, who doesn’t want to be a Warbler for a night? Being rather shy with a dislike of stages (until I get on them at least) had led me away from this particular goal, but when my best friend said, “Hey, we should do this,” I jumped at the chance. We asked another friend to help us out and spent a Sunday evening entertaining our significant others while coming up with choreography basic enough even I could get it.

After missing the Wednesday dress rehearsal, I ended up outside the venue with some of the kings as they smoked before leaving, still made up from practicing their performances. They had Tupperware containers of hair and hairspray in hand, hair still on their cheeks and chins. I sat on the steps and listened to their conversations as they talked to my friends and significant other. I heard a random snippet about being excited about a packer coming in the mail, and then the focus turned to binding. One remarked on how much it hurt, another how their nipples were so close to their armpits, one more how they were so thankful they wouldn’t have to be made up much longer and could get out of that discomfort. The conversation curved again, and I stopped paying attention until my best friend turned to me before going inside and tossed back a reminder, “Is it still cool if I borrow that binder Friday?” something we had previously agreed upon. One of the kings, someone I have met and hung out with several times walked up quickly and asked, “Could I borrow one too?”

This whole situation struck me strangely, and still in a way I don’t quite fully understand. Listening to the kings talk about binding and how painful and uncomfortable it is when that is my everyday life was bizarre. I don’t have the luxury of not binding. It just is. It is an integral part of my life which I hate but can’t avoid. And to hear that conversation when I don’t have that same freedom brought up a bitterness in me which I don’t normally possess—or at least, acknowledge. I tend to live my life on the brink of not knowing what is going to happen and enjoying that sensation. I do not often look past the now, and I am very good at ignoring the things which break into my bubble of exploration and art and beauty and literature. I have never before in a group of cis women felt so displaced and dysphoric. My jealousy and bitterness (when I do acknowledge it) centers around cis men, specifically in any setting where they can go shirtless.

I don’t quite know how to put into words the entirety of my feelings around this conversation, but having someone I only vaguely know ask to borrow a binder from me made me even more uncomfortable. It felt like a disrespect of my identity, another almost-slap after the binding talk. Do you know how much binders cost? Do you know what it feels like in the summer to have to wear layers of compression shirts so you can move around without having your binder rub you raw? Do you know what it’s like never to be able to wear a tank top to escape the heat? Never to be able just to get out of bed in the morning and get dressed but to always be anchored to this one article of clothing simply so you can be? This one restrictive device which holds your nipples up by your armpits and constricts your ribcage so you can have the presentation of a male chest?

I just—I am not a person easily offended. I talk openly about everything regarding my own transition, my feelings, all generally trans* knowledge which people may or may not know, but in this, I am always aware of the people around me. I am always aware of dynamics and feelings and privacy. Binding is such a constant thing in my life, something I want to go away. I want to be able to take off the binder and be, but I can’t. It is necessary to complete this person, and I felt like for those few minutes my incompleteness was this flippant thing everyone could talk about while enjoying their cigarettes. I’m not a doll who gets dressed up everyday. I’m a man who needs this one thing to have the world look at me and see me as such. It’s one thing for a person I see as a sister to borrow a binder, someone who still sometimes looks at me after a long night and asks me how long I have had my binder on, a simple reminder for my own safety (my own safety, think about that). But it’s a completely different thing for someone I don’t know well, in front of a group of people, to ask the same. 

-Cael

Exploring Gender: This Journey

Exploring Gender has been a large part of my life for over two years. My first post on November 17, 2010 ended with: “This is my personal search for identity, for a place, for courage. These are my thoughts, my feelings, and I hope that through sharing myself I might help others to find the courage to ask themselves those tough questions: Who am I? Who do I feel like I should be?” My personal search is on-going, but Exploring Gender has been there through every step of discovery: coming out as trans*, learning more about the community, going to my first big pride event, changing my name. It’s been a long journey.

The articles have developed from my own personal reflections to the sharing of news and things you should know about the community and transitioning. I have shared great victories and great tragedies, but my favorite thing about this experience has always been you, the readers, the people who have contacted me from around the world to share their experiences or simply to say hello. I have learned about political climates where trans* people have a hard time smuggling in books about the trans* experience. I have listened to allies who are just as passionate about change as I. I have made new friends and seen my old friends share my work with the people around them, trying to spread knowledge and awareness. And each day, I am amazed by this community we have built.

But as my life continues to move forward, I find myself with different challenges and opportunities, and Exploring Gender will no longer be a weekly constant for me, though it may continue on.

So I wanted to say thank you. Thank you for coming on this journey and for making it one of the most influential I have ever experienced. I hope all of you find your place and your courage. May you be surrounded with loud music, long discussions, and friends who will dance with you in the kitchen at 2 am (or something along those lines).

This is not goodbye. I will continue to work on other projects. And as always, you can leave a comment, email me, or contact me on tumblr if you have any questions for me, would like to know about where you can see more of my writing, or just want to share you story or say hello.

For those of you who follow Exploring Gender, my last post on Lezbelib will be going up today. It has been quite the few years writing for them and learning more about myself and the community. It was my passion project for a long time, but on to bigger and better things, including working with my beautiful friends Rebecca, Ruth Elizabeth, and Riley at KNOWhomo. Thank you for all of the support.

Exploring Gender: A Letter to President Obama

President Obama’s inauguration speech was beautiful: “We, the people, declare today that the most evident of truths—that all of us are created equal—is the star that guides us still; just as it guided our forebears through Seneca Falls, and Selma, and Stonewall; just as it guided all those men and women, sung and unsung, who left footprints along this great Mall, to hear a preacher say that we cannot walk along; to hear a King proclaim that our individual freedom is inextricably bound to the freedom of every soul on Earth.”

He is a brilliant speaker, and his willingness to bring Stonewall into the spotlight—the first time a president has acknowledged this uprising—was a validation of all of the hard work of groups such as the HRC. But one eleven-year-old girl, Sadie, questioned President Obama’s exception of trans* individuals in his speech. Thank you, Sophie, for this elegant letter.

http://i.huffpost.com/gen/954427/original.jpg

Now, President Obama has done a lot for the trans* community, but Sophie is right. The main thing the community needs right now is visibility and support. The President’s choice to mention Stonewall was a major victory, and hopefully in the future his vocal support for the trans* community will stretch into the public arena so visibility will help promote good works, such as this story out of Oregon, which I hope reaches Sophie and makes her smile.

Trans* kids do not have the same access to healthcare as many other individuals, but Oregon is becoming the first state to cover treatments for gender dysphoria in children and teens under Medicaid. Beginning in October 2014, coverage will extend to cover counseling, medication to suppress puberty, and other procedures and care to help trans* kids to handle dysphoria or to transition. Medication to suppress puberty can cost in excess of $1000 a month. Oregon’s steps to help trans* children and their parents will hopefully be followed by other states.

Virginia Transgender Resource and Referral List

Compiled by the Virginia Department of Health, this list supplies information on trans* friendly healthcare providers, therapists and counselors, and support services. Updated in late 2012, check it out if you need help finding providers in your area.

Exploring Gender: Beautiful Music for Ugly Children

"A few days ago, I found this article, describing a young adult novel written from the first-person perspective of a transman: Beautiful Music for Ugly Children by Kirstin Cronn-Mills. After reading the article, a defense by Cronn-Mills of her decision to write from the perspective of a trans* individual despite being cis, I decided to read the book myself and see how I felt about it. Where does the line between trying to represent the community and appropriation and misrepresentation lie?”

Read More

lezbelib:

2012 has been a year of great news for the community. Four states voted for marriage equality in November. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled gender identity is covered under Title VII protections. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) announced their new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders will list gender dysphoria instead of gender identity disorder and also put out a release in support of the trans* community. But what were your favorite Exploring Gender articles of this year? (via Exploring Gender: 2012 in Review)

lezbelib:

2012 has been a year of great news for the community. Four states voted for marriage equality in November. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled gender identity is covered under Title VII protections. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) announced their new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders will list gender dysphoria instead of gender identity disorder and also put out a release in support of the trans* community. But what were your favorite Exploring Gender articles of this year? (via Exploring Gender: 2012 in Review)

Exploring Gender: 2012 in Review

"2012 has been a year of great news for the community. Four states voted for marriage equality in November. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) ruled gender identity is covered under Title VII protections. The American Psychiatric Association (APA) announced their new Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders will list gender dysphoria instead of gender identity disorder and also put out a release in support of the trans* community. But what were your favorite Exploring Gender articles of this year?"

Read More