TDOR thoughts.

Today is Transgender Day Of Remembrance (TDOR) where we stop to think about all of the people in the last year that were killed for being who they are.  There are at least 238 people in the US that were killed in the last year.  For being trans*.  In the last year.  238 people are dead.  There are more, but it’s hard to say for sure how many there are. But there are at least 238.  I can’t imagine what it would be like for their families and friends.  Last spring when I started a women and gender studies course (I had to drop out due to having another tumour and having another surgery) we watched this documentary called Middle Sexes:  Re-definining She and He.  If you haven’t seen it, I strongly recommend it.  I’ve seen it a few times.

My class knew I was one of the only trans* people on campus.  I started there last fall, and then last spring, there were three of us.  Now there are two.  I was the only trans* person in the class.  I had never seen the documentary before, but it started with a murder, and the mother of that child crying because someone killed her daughter because of who she was.  It said that 50% of trans* people don’t live.  Half of us don’t make it.  We either commit suicide or we are murdered.

My parents biggest fear is that someone is going to hurt me.  I’ve had a gun pointed at me before.  It was scary.  I had been out for about two weeks.  Some drunk guy outside the gay bar pointed a gun at me and a few others and called me a tranny.  Thankfully, the police came.  Police circled the bar for a while.  And I thought, I could die for being myself.  I knew that in high school.  I’ve always known that.  Odds are against us.  But I know that the alternative equals my death as well.  I could be murdered.  I could be.  I hope like heck I’m not.  I don’t have a death wish.  But I know that if I had continued down the road I was on, if I had continued living the way I was, as a woman, I would have certainly died.  Maybe not physically, but emotionally and spiritually.

I was chain smoking.  I was drunk weekly.  I was failing out of school.  I was so numb and when I wasn’t, I was doing anything I could to feel something other than emotional pain.  I had someone that I thought was a friend take advantage of me when I wasn’t sober.  Because he was curious. Because I wasn’t in a position to say no.

I attempted suicide five times in high school and once more in college. I haven’t in nearly two years.  But I remember the times I was trying to be feminine and trying to fit in and trying so hard to not be who I was, and I’m amazed I did make it this far.  I tried drinking myself to death right before I came out.  All I did was black out and wake up with a hangover.  But the intentions were there.  I remember thinking that I was so terrified that I would be killed for it.  I remember watching Boys Don’t Cry in high school.  I remember going to my old college’s TDOR vigil in the few months before coming out.

But then I thought I’m already so close to dying and I’d rather live my life as a man and try to live it as me, on my own terms, even if that meant that I didn’t make it out.  Because say I did live the rest of my life as a woman.  It wouldn’t be a life at all.

Yes, I’ve come a long way.  I think that a lot of it has been coming to terms with things, and finding people that accept me.  I’ve been getting involved with trans* people in NC and it has helped. I stay in contact with my queer friends in Minnesota.  I see a gender therapist weekly.  My mother has become one of my biggest allies.  I don’t feel like I’m suffocating anymore.  I’ve been on testosterone for 8 months.

Yet I’m at one of the most dangerous places in my transition: the noticeably middle part.  I’m also not in a safe area.  All of my doctors and everyone that works with me has told me to hold on until September when I can move.  Things are getting better, but we still have such a long way to go.  I shouldn’t be forced to leave a town out of fear for my life.  Don’t get me wrong, I’ve never really felt an attachment for where I’m living, but something is very wrong when everyone says lay low and leave town when you can.  Because I’m trans*.  There is something very wrong that we have 238+ dead.  That next year we will meet up again and remember those that didn’t make it.  Because 1 in 1000 murders in the US is a trans* person and 50% of us don’t make it.

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Cis is not a dirty word.

It’s not a secret that I spend a lot of time on tumblr.  It’s a fantastic site a majority of the time.  I have met so many people on there I consider dear friends of mine.  It’s a place I can go and talk about the things I enjoy in my life.  It’s also a place where I can help a lot of transguys that are just starting out on their transition, and give them a place to vent about all the problems they have.  One of my favourite blogs is called Dear Cis People.  I have spent a lot of time on that blog, especially when I was in that thirteenth month stage of living as a man but not being on male hormones. It helped me to feel less alone, less frustrated.  Just like FTM Problems, the blog I run with one other admin, but I’m the main admin/creator of that blog, it’s a place for trans* people to come and say okay cis people, you might not know these things, but please do not do these things.

It is not usually a place where we villify cis people. I  have never had someone submit a post like that to me.  If someone had, I would not have published it, because just like I won’t publish one attacking trans* people, I won’t publish someone hating on cis people.  I have seen posts from people begging to be taken seriously, respected, and to feel less frustrated.  But I have never seen one where someone said DIE CIS SCUM, or anything close to a remark like that.

Right now there is a post going around tumblr with nearly 4k notes on it. It started from a transgender person asking this very simple thing:  “Can cis people PLEASE stop using phrases like “comfortable w/ my gender” and “ok with the body I was born with” in place of the word ‘cis’.  Trans* people can and ARE comfortable with our gender. And believe it or not, some of us ARE ok with our bodies as is! These ideas that you are applying to cis-ness only further perpetuate the idea that to be trans*, you must be miserable and hate yourself and hate your body, and why the hell would you want ANYONE to feel that? This is disgusting bullshit. Please, fucking stop. Just say ‘cis’.”

The very next comment on it was from a cis person.  I’m assuming heterosexual.  But again, I don’t know, because there are LGB people that are transphobic.  So I don’t know.  But then they had said: I’m cis and I don’t want to be called cis because I’ve seen trans* people villify cis people and I don’t want to label myself as cis.

Then we had this:  “At this point, Cis (to me) has become this manufactured word made by Tumblr, I first heard it on here and I’ve yet to really see it mentioned outside here and like [the person above me] mentioned, it’s become a vulgar word and in my case, I refuse to say it because not only is it another label, it’s a label that’s forced onto you whether like it or not, people call you cisgendered in a derogatory way and we’re meant to just accept that and be ok with it.

Why should we, why should we abide to your fucked up standards just to satisfy what you want. You’re coming up with your own issues and prejudice now, it’s like the audience who start making up their own double entendres, it’s your problem, not mine and you really can’t force me to use a term I’ve only ever heard on here and as a very bad word.”

Emphasis mine.

If you’ve taken organic chemistry, you might be aware that cis exists there.  Cis is used to differentiate between two geometric isomers and actually has its roots in latin as an antonym to trans, it means “on the same side” while trans meas “across” or “on the other side”.  So it’s not just a “made up word.”

You might not be familiar with transgender issues.  That’s fine. What’s not fine is if a trans* person tells you as a cis person to stop doing said thing because it’s transphobic, and you say, well I don’t like the fact that you are forcing your “fucked up standards” on me.  If a trans* person says something to you as a cis person, about how something is problematic, you don’t get to say, well I don’t agree with this wording, I don’t agree with this issue, I just think you’re projecting things onto me.  If you claim to be a trans* ally, you are not BEING an ally, and you need to go home and take a look in the mirror and understand that that is problematic.

I think part of the problem is that the world caters to cisgender, heterosexual people.  I think that a majority of cisgender, heterosexual people, are so used to being considered “normal” and the default and now their thinking is being challenged. The fact that they say “I would rather identify as someone comfortable with the way I was born, stop placing labels on me” shows this. Also these are usually the same people that use transphobic slurs and then yell at you to stop being so offended.  These are usually the same people that have never had a label put onto them, and now are uncomfortable, but are not aware they have placed many labels on people in the LGBT+ community.

We are told from the day we are born that whatever the doctor decided based on your genitals, that was your gender.  So if you were a boy, you got a blue balloon and you were told to be masculine.  If the doctor looked at you and saw a vagina, you were a woman, and that was it, and you don’t change that.  I was told from as long as I can remember, that I was going to put on a white dress someday and marry some boy in a tux.  And that never felt right to me.  But that’s what the world says you do.

I refuse to say it because not only is it another label, it’s a label that’s forced onto you whether like it or not, people call you cisgendered in a derogatory way and we’re meant to just accept that and be ok with it.

It’s a label forced onto you whether you like it or not.  I can’t count how many times I’ve been called a tranny, or a faggot, or a dyke, or gay, when it was used in a derogatory way.  It was used to make me feel alienated, less human, freakish, weird, abnormal.  Cis does not mean normal.  If you are cis, trans* people don’t hate you for being cis.  At least every trans* person I have talked to.  Again, I’ve never seen it, and I spend a lot of time in the trans* community.  We hate you when you tell us that we are messed up, or use slurs, or don’t listen to us.

I also think that when you say, oh, not every cis person does this behaviour (which is true, I have so many cis friends and they are fantastic allies), but some people do this thing that is problematic.  That allows people to continue thinking, well I don’t do that.  When you hear a statement like, cis people do x, you as a cis person stop and think about yourself.  Do I do x? If I do, I should work on changing it.

Cis is not a dirty word.  All it means is that your gender identity aligns with what you were assigned at birth.  But please, stop telling trans* people that what they are saying as a trans* person, about trans* issues, is problematic, because you as a cis person don’t agree with it.  You don’t get to walk into a space for a racial minority as a white person and say I don’t agree with issue x, y, z.  You don’t get to do that for trans* people, or queer people, if you are heterosexual.

If you are in the majority, you don’t get to speak for the minority, or tell the minority to stop being offended when I do something wrong.