Tag Archives: Trans*

Post the Sixty-Eighth or Forced Silence/Forced Speech

My body is like the land

Lush and wild

Untamed and beautiful

The hairy expanse of my thighs

Mirroring the long rolling hills of forest

The smooth perkiness of my breasts

Reflecting the heartbreaking heights of mountains

The soft brownness of my skin

Matching the fecund loam of the earth.

My body was once untouched by the white man’s Rapaciousness

And then

They came with their guns

And their ships

And their Pox

They came with their Great White God

And their Great White Book

They came with their promise of “civilization” in one hand

The lash in the other

Civilization always seems just out of reach

The lash is always too close

 400 hundred years

And 1600 seasons later

She says

I don’t see race!

He replies

Will someone please think of the white Man!

And my head is pounding

 ‘Cause My body is still colonized

The land of my foremothers is still being desecrated

And I am still struggling to survive in a world

That hates all things

Trans*/Brown/Queer/Woman

Pushing my way against the swiftly-moving river

Of violence and lack of resources

That somehow has managed to make itself invisible

They say that we’ve come a long way

That so many things have changed

That hope has come at last

But now I’m fighting for recognition of my oppression

On top of the oppression itself

And it’s like trying to scream

When your attacker is already at your throat

Like trying to escape a thousand tiny pinpricks

While your whole body chained to the ground

Like having rocks tied to your feet

Being thrown into the sea to drown

And never dying

Say something in Spanish for me

He demanded

As if the language of my people was a

Circus trick

  That I was required to perform at his request

As if my vocal chords were his to command

How’s this

Come mierda y muérete

Colonization is the stuff

Forced Silence/Forced Speech

Is made of.

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Post the Thirty-Fifth or Beauty

My people are beautiful

They are strong (Trans)women

And powerful (Trans)men

They are wise crones

And rambunctious young bucks

They are sex workers

And artists

They are bearded

And flat chested

They are awkward

And graceful

They are petite

And massive

They are able-bodied

And differently abled

They are Black

And Brown

And white

They are poor

And they are rich

And each one of them holds a Mystery

The secret of a world between and beyond gender

My people are sacred

And yet we live in a world

Where we are not seen as holy

We live in a world where our experiences

Our wisdom

Our identities

Are invalidated

We live in a world that sees us

As sick

Deranged

Delusional

From the Medical-Industrial Complex

To the LGB community

To so-called radical feminists

To our families of blood

My people are being attacked

In a myriad and sundry subtle fashions

My people are being murdered before my very eyes

Falling in this endless, bitter war

Against bodies and genders that don’t conform

To their Binary

Against those who hold that sacred Mystery

And everyday I wonder if I

Or my partner

Or my friend

Will be the next causality in this struggle

But in spite of all of this

Despite all of the hate and violence

Both from within and without

We. Live. On.

And we remember those that have fallen

Keep them in our hearts

Draw strength from their memories

And know

That we will never give up

We will never surrender

And we will thrive


Post the Twenty-Ninth or On Why You Need to Mind Your Business

I have a profile on OkCupid, which is a free dating website. For not having to pay for it, its pretty good. Their matching system is decent and there are a lot of hot queers who use it. I’ve been on a number of dates from that site and, while none of those dates developed into something more, neither were they horrible. All in all, I’ve had a good experience with the site.

However.

Once or twice a month or so, I will get a message from someone asking me something like, “So, were you born a man or a woman?” or “You should probably change your gender to male so that there isn’t any confusion.” or “For a woman with a penis, you are really pretty!” Despite the fact that I clearly state in my profile to NOT message me with foolishness like that. I don’t know if its because they don’t read past the part where I say I’m a big ole’ tranny or if its because as cisgender people, they feel entitled to ask/tell me whatever they want in regards to my gender because I am so freakish and unnatural.

Over and over again I get random strangers asking me, after I come out to them, if I am going to get “the surgery” or “how far along I am” or “are those breasts real”. But that isn’t the only instance where people ask me about “myself”. I can’t tell you how many times someone who, having found out that my family is from South America, has asked me to say something in Spanish. As if I were some parrot who learned a new trick. As if because I’m brown or because I can speak another language, I need to perform that “trick” on command for some white English speaking asshat. Or my favorite, “Oh, you speak Spanish? I’ve never heard you speak it.” Yeah, because you don’t speak Spanish and what reason would I have to speak it with you? Just because I’m brown or speak another language doesn’t mean that I go around speaking Spanish at people who don’t understand it. Just like white English speaking folk don’t go around speaking gibberish at people, there is no point because there is no communication. Moreover, its this feeling of entitlement that white English speaking folks have to demand that folks like me “perform” for them.

Notice a trend here?

Good, because it’s a trend we all need to be aware of. Don’t get me wrong; if we are friends and we’ve gotten to know each other and you are curious about my experience, then by all means ask. However, we need to be constantly checking ourselves to make sure that we aren’t putting folks with oppressed identities and backgrounds on the spot and forcing them to “educate” us. We need to make sure that oppressed folks aren’t doing it horizontally either. If we are going to foster safe spaces and supportive communities, we need to make sure that we are responsible for educating ourselves about other folks. Because by asking strangers to “educate” us about their oppressed experience, we are focusing on that experience alone and we are reducing their personhood to that experience. We don’t see their hopes and their fears and their dreams. We don’t see what makes them fundamentally human. All we see is the baggage that our oppressive society has heaped on them. Not only that, but we are forcing them to relive that whole experience again for us. And when we force folks with oppressed identities to “educate” us, we are claiming their experience as ours. We are recolonizing and objectifying them, on top of the colonization and objectification that they have already experienced. This is the most infinitesimal and yet most profound way that we oppress each other.

So before you ask that question, Google it.


Post the Seventh or On the Politics of Dating

Dating is a complicated and emotionally dangerous activity. It’s rife with uncertainty, vulnerability and anxiety. Its also a lot of fucking fun. The complicated mixture of anxiety and excitement, wonder and arousal can at times become addicting. And I love it.

Recently, I went on this date with this boy and it was rather lovely. We flirted, we talked and we drank coffee after which we than retired to a more intimate setting. It was good.  My favorite part of the date, however, was when he wanted to emphasize to me that he was interested in me not just because I was a woman with a penis but rather also because he was attracted to me as a person. He wanted to emphasize that my body was the least of it and that my personality was the most of it. My heart melted.

Because more often then not, guys who are interested in me are not interested in the fact that I’m first generation American. They are not interested in the fact that I go to school for Psychology and Philosophy. They aren’t interested in the fact that I live and breathe activism. All they are interested is in the fact that I’m a “chick with a dick”. All they want to know is how long my cock is and how big my tits are. They only care to make sure that I don’t tell a soul that they slept with someone as perverted and dirty as a tranny.

And quite frankly, I am sick and tired of being fetishized without my consent! Its one thing if we are in a scene and I have agreed to be objectified and you have agreed to objectify me. In fact, there are many situations in which that turns me on. But its frustrating when I can’t even tell someone I’m interested in them without them instantly being fixated on my cock. And do you know what the worst part is?

They don’t even know any better.

Because the society that we live in teaches us, practically since exiting the womb, that bodies that are not white, heterosexual or cisgender are strange, forgien and forbidden. We have been taught in myriad and sundry ways that those sorts of bodies are OTHER and that people who possess those bodies amount to only their bodies. In other words, those who possess OTHER bodies are not people. They are just things to be had and thrown away.

And people don’t even know that they are doing this because it seems normal. It doesn’t occur to them that they are OTHERING me or anyone else because that is what the status quo is. When oppression is normalized those who oppress can not see it. Not only did I not consent to being objectified but neither have they consented to objectify me. They just don’t know that they are doing it.

Which is why my heart burst open with joy when this boy said to me that he gets it. That he doesn’t want to objectify me. He wants to see me for me. He wants me to know it.

And that gives me hope.


Post the Fifth or On how some Words are still Offensive

I was at Epoch last night playing chess with a very good friend of mine. He was beating my ass soundly and I was thoroughly enjoying myself. However, as he was positioning his queen to put me in checkmate our game was intruded by two people, who I read as white gay men, bray “I saw a lazy tranny on the bike trail today!”. This was a start of a 15 minute conversation about “lazy trannys” and with each passing word I was getting angrier and angrier.

I felt unsafe and unwelcome. I felt angry. This is not only because they used an offensive word flippantly but also because of the erroneous assumption that transpeople need to put “proper” effort into their appearance in order to have their identities respected. Lets unpack these issues one at a time.

First, the use of a word with a history of being used to oppress others. Some of these words have been reclaimed by the community that they were first used to harm, for example queer. Queer used to be, and is sometimes still is, used to oppress and hurt those in the LGBTQQISA community. Many in that said community have reclaimed the word queer and use it to empower themselves and safely use it to refer to one another. However, that’s not to say that people outside of the community don’t use that word to harm anymore. Far from the opposite, it is often times used to harm.

The word tranny, however, has not yet been reclaimed by all of those who the word refers to. Some transpeople like it, some don’t. I happen to like it because like queer I feel that if we reclaim a word and refuse to let it harm us than we are taking that negative power out of the word and putting into it the power of pride.

I use the word tranny to refer to myself sometimes and I would feel comfortable with those in my community to refer to me as such. However, that doesn’t give permission for other people outside the community to use it and it never gives anyone permission to use it derogatorily. So when those gay boys were throwing around the word tranny they were being offensive not only because they were using it derogatorily (which already disqualifies them) but also because, as far as I could tell, they are not a part of the community.

This issue about whether one is in the community brings up another issue. For all I know they could be the staunchest trans* allies and were there planning a grassroots campaign to further trans* equality. The fact of the matter is that I don’t know. So when using words that can be derogatory its critical that you ask all individuals present whether or not it bothers them and refrain from saying it if it bothers even one person. This is especially true if one isn’t trans*. Obviously this is impractical in a public setting like Epoch so my final recommendation would be this.

DON’T FUCKING SAY IT.

Now if you are gonna whine at me and say, “But Mooorgan! If you can use it, why can’t I? Why are you restricting my free speech? Its not fair!”, then you better stop right there. You, in the theoretical cisgender individual sense, are a person with privilege because you are cisgender. You don’t have to worry about being beaten because you are wearing clothes that don’t match up with what society says is your gender. You don’t have to worry about not being hired because you are a “man in a dress”. You don’t have the “responsibility” to educate every person you meet about being trans. You don’t have to worry about romantic partners rejecting you because you have the “wrong” genitalia or have it be “expected” that you reveal your trans status to everyone you meet. So don’t come at me with this bullshit that its so hard to not say a word. Just don’t say it.Do I sound pissed? Its because I am.

The second thing to unpack here is this assumption that trans* identities should only be respected if they “pass” as the gender that they are perceived to be aiming towards. Passing in and of itself is a long complicated discussion but suffice to say that the assumption is that if you don’t pass than you are lazy and ugly and that you aren’t who you say you are. That if you don’t pass than you are just a “man in a dress” or just a “butch dyke”. That if you don’t pass, or even if you do pass, you aren’t a “real” man or a “real” woman.

I’m not saying that there is anything wrong with passing. If you can pass and want to pass than I encourage you to do so. However, don’t invalidate trans* identities if they don’t look the way they “should”.

Trans* don’t have an responsibility to look like what cissexist society tells them. They can look like whatever they want and they can transition however they want. And regardless of anything, they must be respected.

Your identity is real, regardless of what anyone or any society says.