I’m not even trying to be funny with the title for this article–more is the pity, really, because it means this has to be discussed en sincera, which is a black stain on the intellectual rigor of our entire species. However, in the last week or so–since the Navy pilot drew a penis in the sky with the conntrails of his jet–the word “immoral” has been thrown around a lot. To be clear, the word “immoral” generally gets thrown around a lot anyway, usually at things that have nothing at all to do with morality (like homosexuality, transsexuality, etc.), but seeing it tossed with reckless abandon at someone having drawn a part of the human anatomy in the sky is among the most bizarre things I’ve ever seen, and seems most likely to be a remnant of a culture that once viewed sex as unclean.
#RiseOfTheMillennials, I like to say, because it’s true. That’s the kind of thing a millennial would do. The better question, at least for me, isn’t “Why is that immoral?” but “Why would someone do that?”
The answer should be obvious–to subversively attack the old school mentality that sex is unclean and that genitalia must be hidden at all costs. This is a mindset that millennials, for the most part, simply don’t have. Yet it is one shared by our grandparents and parents, usually. Without overly romanticizing what has happened (because there was indisputably an element of “Let’s troll people” involved), this was done primarily a gesture to say exactly that: “This is our world–or it will be soon.”
Honestly, there probably aren’t too many better symbols that represent the rise of the millennials than the penis. People thought the hippies were sexually liberated? The hippies wish they could be this sexually liberated. We’re talking about a generation for whom “gay” almost has no meaning–a generation that sees absolutely nothing gay about giving your friend a blowjob. This isn’t to say that every millennial would engage in that, but it is to say that even something like that would not make a person “gay” in the millennial paradigm. It’s hard to explain. “Gay” is just this word… Do you have relationships with men? Then you’re gay. Do you have sex, but not relationships, with men? You can still be straight. I’m neither condoning nor rejecting these definitions; I’m just pointing them out. These hard delineations of past generations are received by millennials with eye-rolling scoffs.
So what is the penis, in this context? Because it’s so much more than the male anatomy–but it is the male anatomy, too. The cartoon-ish, simplistic genital–the two circles attached to a rounded-end cylinder–caused people to flip out. Most millennials are not nudists–in this sense, future generations will be vastly more liberated than the average millennial, and make no mistake, widespread nudism is coming within a few generations–but also are not bothered in the least by depictions of penises. The millennial mindset is that having a penis is nothing to be ashamed of, and neither are penises things that must be hidden, whispered about, and mentioned only in quiet darkness. Say it with me now: Penis.
Our parents were notoriously uncomfortable talking about sex. My own “sex talk” with my father consisted of twelve seconds of conversation, with my father making the classic “index finger going into the other hand’s ring” gesture, and that was it. We’re a generation that was raised on porn and Cosmopolitan. Where our parents failed horrifically to provide any useful information about sex, the Internet and magazines picked up the slack, and, as a result, the average millennial probably knows more about sex than the preceding generations combined. Compare the porn of today to the porn of the 1960s, when our own parents would have been gleaning what information they could from porn because their own parents had taken them to watch cows have sex to give them “the talk.” To say the least, porn today is “liberated” compared to porn fifty years ago. You couldn’t find Japanese women doing bukkake fifty years ago. Today it’s just a 0.003 second search away. Past generations may have gotten a naked woman tastefully posed so as not to be too revealing.
Of course, porn should not be a primary source of sex education, but it has worked out that it is. I’d wager that, for 95% of people, their first encounter with sex was through pornography. It may even be 100%. I was in the fifth grade the first time I saw a woman spread eagle in a magazine. I didn’t know why it was so great, but I knew that I liked it. It wasn’t until the eighth grade that my father said a word to me about it–long after the stirrings of puberty had raised my interest in sex, and long after my initial exposures to sex. But porn is about masturbation–“Wam, Bam, Thank you, ma’am,” as they say. Porn is kinda contrary to the whole principle of sex education, because it’s not about showing boys and girls–and there’s no need to be coy, because let’s not pretend like it’s not 11 year olds and twelve year olds watching porn as their introductions to sex–how to properly have sex, how to seduce, how to be romantic, and, above all, how to give the female sexual pleasure. These are topics not typically covered in Lord of the G-Strings and Bang Brothers’ shorts.
Sex is not an uncomfortable subject for us. In fact, we rather like it. Many millennials have “fuck buddies,” not even of the opposite sex. It’s just natural to us. And one’s older sensibilities may say it is or isn’t natural (but I think we can reject such a claim as being unfounded and taking liberties with the definition of “natural” and “unnatural”), but most millennials just don’t see what the big deal is. People like fucking. In fact, people need to fuck. We’re biologically programmed to want to fuck. Fucking is critical to our existence. Look at your family tree. At every single one of those branches? There was fucking.
Apparently, previous generations treated this like it was some great secret, and sometimes like it isn’t even true. But oh yeah. Nanna got the “old in-out, in-out.” If she hadn’t, ol’ dad wouldn’t be here. And if mom hadn’t laid on her back once or twice, I wouldn’t be here.
Does this seem crass? Crude?
Not to most millennials. It’s just a fact of life, dude.
And that’s why the penis was drawn in the sky. And, for the most part, on the pillows shown above, although it does have to be pointed out once again that there is also a heavy trolling element to it. But it’s not just trolling. Trolling for the sake of trolling is just being an asshole.
But the penis is a symbol of that liberation. So asking “Why would someone draw a penis in the sky or on pillows?” is kinda a stupid question. “Why would someone get upset about a penis?” is a more intelligent question. Your existence required a penis. The reader would literally not exist if not for the penis*. That is what people are getting worked up over, it’s worth mentioning–a natural part of the human body that nearly half the world’s population has.
But the Children!
No one has ever demonstrated how seeing a penis or a vagina harms anyone’s “innocence” or sensibilities. In fact, the problem here is the prohibition of nudity. If you take someone and start clothing them since before they’re even able to talk, and you constantly beat into their heads that nudity is wicked, wrong, sinful, and shameful, then of course they’re going to freak the hell out the first time they encounter nudity. If you told a child from the time they were born that chocolate is a deadly poison, then they’d freak the hell out the first time they saw someone eating a bar of Hershey’s Chocolate, too.
It’s not the nudity or the genitalia that is the problem there–in those instances, the person is creating the very circumstances to cause the child to be freaked out. And there is no telling what effects it really has on normal human behavior to be popped out of the womb and immediately put into clothing–clothing that is worn at all times, unless one is totally alone. Yeah, someone raised like that would probably freak out and “have their innocence ruined” by seeing someone without clothes–because, to them, clothes have become normal, and seeing someone without clothes is the least normal thing they’ll have encountered at that point in their lives. But what made clothing normal and nudity abnormal?
Clothing did. Nudity, in and of itself, isn’t normal or abnormal. We made it abnormal. And I’m not even a nudist, because I was conditioned through all of my formative years to believe that wearing clothing was normal and natural, and that one should never, ever be naked, unless one was about to bathe (or, later, have sex–hint, hint). I could get past that, if I really cared to, but I don’t particularly care to.
As a point of reference, ask yourself why men are so much more likely to be shirtless around the house than women. It’s the same answer: conditioning. We’ve been conditioned that men being shirtless is mostly okay, but it isn’t for women. This applies to all clothing–we’ve been conditioned to think that wearing clothing is okay, and not wearing clothing isn’t. So yeah, seeing the other sex’s genitals for the first time could freak someone the hell out, by violently coming into conflict with years and years of psychological programming. Stop programming human beings to be freaked out by nudity, and they’ll stop being freaked out by nudity.
If any part of this discussion deals with morality, then it would be at this juncture–the morality of programming human beings to believe things before they are able to think, speak, reason, or walk. I would contend that this is probably immoral, but not enough to actually care to defend that position. But if something has to be justified, that would be it: programming humans (because it is programming) and brainwashing humans into believing that nudity is in some way shameful or disgraceful, from practically the moment of their birth.
But the penis?
It hardly gets more natural and normal than that.
* Obviously, if penises hadn’t evolved, some other mechanism of procreation would have, but it would be facing the same absurd scrutiny.
Everyone is suddenly a gender and sexuality expert when it comes to transgenderism and transsexualism, just as everyone is suddenly an economist when it comes to “price gouging.” Obviously, one doesn’t have to be transgender or transsexual to understand gender and sexuality, but one does have to evaluate things rationally and scientifically, and, in my experience, it’s less likely that this has happened among the cisgender. Nor does it help the situation that even trans people are muddying terminology and making the whole thing more confusing than it has to be. So, one more time, let’s have a thorough analysis of this topic.
Gender & Sex
First, it must be observed that there is a difference between sex and gender. Gender is a matter of culture, while sex is a matter of biology. Gender is sort of an extension of sex, but there is not a perfect correlation; there is even plenty to be said that biological sexual characteristics predispose one sex toward certain gender behaviors. For example, that women wear makeup is a statement regarding gender–it is a behavioral and appearance norm–yet it stems from biology, ultimately, as it is traditionally the female who attracts the male, and the male who is the hunter (or “seeker” if you prefer). This is not unusual among humans; many animals have the responsibility of attracting a mate falling to one sex or the other. Men engage in grooming to help their chances of being approved when they approach a mate, primarily. These biological tendencies that stem ultimately from some genetic hard-wiring that leads men to predominantly be hunters and women to primarily be “the hunted” ultimately morphs into women wearing makeup and men not.
The brassier is another example. That women wear bras and men do not is a gender norm, but it quite obviously stems from biological sex characteristics. One of the two sexes has something there that benefits* from the additional support. It is like the jock strap and athletic cup in a way–that male athletes wear cups is a gender norm, extending from the fact that men have something there to be supported and protected. It is still arbitrary, though–if nature had decreed that men have breasts, then men would wear bras; that they don’t is essentially a fluke of nature.
I’m not going to attempt to define what the male sex is, or what the female sex is. It would be a good idea, and it would be helpful, but I’m not convinced that such a definition exists. As I wrote in my upcoming book Beyond Words & Labels, a set definition must include all members of that set while excluding all members not in that set. If we could produce a definition of “the male sex” that included every single person we consider male and excluded every single person that we don’t consider male, then I suspect the definition would take 4,000 pages of legalese texts, 3900 pages of which would be exceptions and exclusions. I think it’s a futile task, and that every person will ultimately come to their own understanding of what the male sex is and what the female sex is.
That’s fine, as long as they recognize that their definition is their definition, and that they have no authority or right to force other people to recognize their definition as valid. Just this week, I had someone tell me that I would never be a real woman because I cannot have children (not true–I cannot carry and give birth to a child, but I am most certainly capable of impregnating a woman). I naturally pointed out that there are plenty of women who similarly cannot have children, some of whom were born barren. He stated, “That’s a different reason, though.” So his definition of woman isn’t just “can have children.” In fact it is, “A person is a woman if she can have children, except those women who can’t have children, and who can’t have children because this particular reason and that particular reason, but not this other particular reason.” It’s asinine and arbitrary, isn’t it? He’s just using his gut to tell him who is and isn’t a woman, and, now that he believes this distinction is real, he scrambles to find some way of clearly defining it–a task that cannot be done.
So sex is a matter of biology, though I’ll not attempt to define what parameters distinguish one sex from the other. For every example we find who fits within our definitions, we’ll find one who doesn’t, and this will require the sort of exceptions I just mentioned. In the end, the definition will be enormous, and still incomplete. Sexually, whatever you think a woman or man is is what a woman or man is. Sure. There’s really no other way to handle it, unless someone out there wants to produce that gargantuan definition. It’s no problem if you believe a woman is “someone who can get pregnant,” as long as you don’t attempt to turn that definition into law through the state, by forcing me to have “male” on my identification because your definition is the one that the state uses, when the state has no business weighing in on the matter at all. As long as you don’t do that, what definition you use is of no importance to me.
However, if we are to communicate, we must have some sort of common definition, however vague and generalized it is. In fact, we do have such a definition, but it is terribly flawed. The common definition is that men have penises, and women have breasts and vaginas. Obviously, this definition has plenty of problems, but in ordinary conversation there isn’t usually a reason to drag a fine-toothed comb through delineations. If I tell you to get out of the way of a car, it wouldn’t really matter that it was a van coming to hit you. I would technically be wrong, but I was still able to communicate to you the gist of what was happening. That’s the best that our definitions of the sexes will do–they’ll generally communicate the gist of what most people consider to be male and female. This is, again, necessary for us to communicate, although we should certainly keep in mind that our definitions are not the End All, Be All of Sexuality.
Gender is also not some neatly-defined set of archetypes and cliches. “A man has a beard, has a favorite beer, and eats his steaks rare!” is one such gender statement, and it’s certainly true for some men–and some men genuinely believe this–but it isn’t the definitive criteria of what a “man” is. Neither is having long hair, wearing makeup, wearing skirts, and playing with Barbie dolls the definitive criteria of what a “woman” is. These are all cultural tendencies of one gender or the other, but they’re certainly not universal. And, one will notice, they’re not all extensions of sexuality.
A preference for beer and having a beard, for example–one is completely arbitrary, and the other is an effect of testosterone that is present in both males and female. My great Aunt May had a mustache. An even better example is the notion that women don’t have hairy legs–this is flagrantly false, as demonstrated by women who don’t shave. Their leg hair is generally as thick as any man’s. That women shave their legs is a gender norm–it could just as easily be men who customarily shave their legs. Even so, not all women shave their legs anyway, and are still considered women by gender.
While many aspects of gender are extensions of sexual characteristics–such as women wearing makeup to attract mates–not all of them are, and some are either totally arbitrary or are actually customs pushed onto them by the other sex. This is the primary feminist complaint regarding bras, in fact: that they were not designed to provide support, as is so often suggested, and were actually designed simply to conceal what men thought had to be hidden. That it remains socially unacceptable, and often outright illegal, for women to be topless while no such restriction is placed on men, suggests that this is the case, especially given that wire bras are a relatively new thing.
Gender Identity Disorder / Gender Dysphoria
This is a condition that afflicts some individuals, and it occurs when a person’s expected gender norms and behaviors do not sit well with the individual, and when the individual has an inclination toward the other sex’s gender norms and behaviors. It is an illness, in effect. It is not equivalent to being transgender or being transsexual.
I find myself having to repeatedly point out that observing the differences between “having GID” and “being transgender” does not in any way demean a person’s Gender Identity Disorder (GID). “Being transgender,” however, is the most common treatment for GID–it is not the only treatment, and it is not universal. Having Gender Identity Disorder does not make a person transgender; being transgender is a choice as a way of coping with Gender Identity Disorder. To be sure, the GID needs to be dealt with one way or another, and a person does not get a choice about having GID, but how one is going to address it is a choice, and not everyone chooses to be transgender.
It is fast becoming a pet peeve of mine to see everyone with GID describing themselves as “transgender.” I recently read an article from someone who stated, “I am transgender and, no, I am not coming out or transitioning.” What this person meant is that they have Gender Identity Disorder, and calling that “transgender” is little more than a way to jump on the bandwagon. It’s like they consider “transgender” to be “like having Gender Identity Disorder Times Ten!” Gender Identity Disorder certainly sucks, but it is not synonymous with “transgender.”
I’ve had Gender Identity Disorder at least since I was three years old, as I described in my book Dancing in Hellfire, which is available as an eBook on Amazon for $2.99 or in paperback for $7.49. However, I have only been transgender for a little over two years, and have only been transsexual for a little over a year.
I want to state, before going further, that there is an enormous difference between Gender Identity Disorder and cancer, and that I do not in any sense stack the suffering of GID against the suffering of a cancer patient. I’m using it only as a quantitative analogy, and not a qualitative one. To be sure, I’ve seen trans people suggest that having GID is as bad as cancer, but we can’t take such “Oh, poor me!” people seriously.
Gender Identity Disorder is akin to cancer, and being transgender or transsexual are akin to chemotherapy. One is the disease, and the other is the treatment. It’s readily apparent that they cannot be synonymous. Having cancer doesn’t make one a chemo patient, and undergoing chemo doesn’t mean that one is a cancer patient. Having Gender Identity Disorder doesn’t mean that one is transgender, and being transgender honestly doesn’t mean that a person has Gender Identity Disorder–see the transtrender people out there who are doing it “for the fun of it” on college campuses. Or play World of Warcraft, and you’ll quickly learn that 25% of the people you know as females are actually males, and many of them simply state that they’re females (we’re not talking simply playing as female characters)–that’s transtrending. They don’t have Gender Identity Disorder, but when they throw hearts in chat all the time, they’re adopting the gender chat standards of the other sex as their own. It’s a minor thing, and not an irritant, but it’s crucial to observe: one can be transgender without having Gender Identity Disorder, and one can have Gender Identity Disorder without being transgender.
Transgender or Transsexual?
Now that we’ve pointed out, and demonstrated logically, that having Gender Identity Disorder is not equivalent to being transgender, there’s one area left to dissect: transgenderism and transsexualism. They are also not synonymous, just as gender and sex are not synonymous.
Being transgender involves adopting the other sex’s cultural norms as one’s own. A male who acts like a female, wears makeup and dresses, listens to Beyonce or whatever–that is an example of transgenderism. It is rather like a drag queen, except that it is done perpetually, not occasionally. It is limited to behavioral and cosmetic changes, such as crossing one’s legs like a woman, wearing makeup, or growing one’s hair long. It includes no biological or physiological changes.
Being transsexual is a bit more nuanced, and there are three varieties of it: pre-op, post-op, and non-op, and these divisions depend upon Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS). A pre-op transsexual is someone who intends to have SRS, and is, to some degree, in the process of doing so, perhaps by starting with Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT). A post-op transsexual is someone who has had SRS. A pre-op intends to have their penis cut off and replaced with a vagina, or have a penis added to them; a post-op has done this already. A non-op transsexual is someone who undergoes physiological changes excluding SRS. I’m a non-op transsexual, and I do not intend to ever have SRS. People are right to observe, then, that I will not ever sexually be a woman, and this is a point that I gladly acquiesce, hence my use of “S” for my sex–“Shemale.” I have the biological characteristics of both sexes (what many would call “Intersex,” but I won’t, because “transsexual” already covers it).
Besides which, “Intersex” raises more questions than it answers, and the terminology is sloppy, awkward, and clumsy. When I tell you that I’m a shemale, you immediately understand what that means, and no further questions are necessary. If, however, I said, “I am intersex,” then that raises a ton of questions. Did I start as a male or female? Do I have a penis or vagina? Which direction am I going? Even someone steeped in LGBTQIAAAP+ALPHABETSOUP culture is going to have to pause and think about what “I’m a male-to-female non-op transsexual transgender lesbian” means. When a friend of mine said that they were transgender, it confused me–me!–because this person appears to be an ordinary male, and is doing absolutely nothing to transition toward female. So… is this person F2M? Does this person have a penis? Did this person have breast reduction surgery? In actuality, the person has gender dysphoria, but is not transgender or transsexual–confusion that should never have risen in the first place.
This tendency of people with GID to call themselves transgender is conflating the issue and confusing people, even other transgender and transsexual people, and it needs to stop. It’s happening because of transtrending. They think it makes them more special, more unique, more snowflakey to call themselves trans rather than accurately calling themselves sufferers of GID. These words mean things. Being transgender isn’t a statement. It’s not a label. It’s a series of actions, a bold choice, a way of life.
Trans-ism is WORK
…which brings me to what I really wanted to write about today, because I have met many people at the local LGBT club who claim to be transgender, yet who are doing nothing to transition. That’s fine, in a sense. They don’t have to transition to take care of their Gender Identity Disorder. Transitioning isn’t for everyone. It’s arduous, difficult, and, often, painful. However, if they are not transitioning, they cannot seriously expect people to use the other sex’s/gender’s pronouns for them. If they just look like an ordinary dude and even have a 5 o’clock beard, they can’t seriously expect to be called “she,” and neither can they get all offended when I call them “he.”
I know a dude who does this, though I told him about a month ago to stop texting me. The guy has a mustache, doesn’t shave any of his body, has short hair, doesn’t wear makeup, doesn’t wear any female clothes, or anything. Yet he claims to be transgender, and wants to be called “she” and “her.”
I’m just not going to do that.
Being called the other sex’s pronouns is something you earn, not something that you are given. You want to be called a “she” as I am? Put some work into it, sweetie. You’re not entitled to that, not from me. Other people can call you that if they so choose, but as far as I’m concerned, it’s something you have to earn. The dude I’m talking about is named Randy, but wants to be called Rebecca, and wants to have female pronouns used. When anyone points out that he presents himself as an ordinary dude, he cries, “But muh feminism! Women don’t have to shave their faces and wear pretty dresses!”
No, true, they don’t. But you know what else? Women who dress like men, don’t shave, don’t wear makeup, and all that… are going to be called “butch,” and, in a lot of cases, they’ll be referred to with male pronouns.
I couldn’t even guess how much work I’ve put into being transgender and being transsexual. Because it is work, my goodness. I’m wearing a waist trainer right now. I wear it every single day, from 9:00 am to 2:00 am, taking it off only to sleep and putting it on just before I leave for work each day. I shave my body every single day, and shave my face twice a day if need be. I’ve dyed my hair a more feminine color, and am growing it out. The one area I’ve lapsed is in voice training, and I’ve only lapsed there in the last two months, and resumed it earlier this week. Want to see an example of how much work I’ve done?
This shit doesn’t happen by itself, man. The “trans” people who demand to be called by the other sex’s pronouns who haven’t put in the work–you know what they remind me of? They remind me of the socialists who want the Minimum Wage increased because they want to make more money. They want to earn $15 an hour, but they don’t want to put in all the work, the training, the learning, the research, the effort to actually earn what I busted my ass to earn. They just want it given to them. You want to have what I earned? Then start earning it. Start shaving. Grow your hair out. Do pilates. Get a waist trainer. Soften your voice. Put one some makeup. Put on a dress. These stereotypes are the basis that we use to distinguish the genders and sexes. It’s true that you don’t have to submit to them, but perhaps being a M2F trans person while fighting the 60s feminist battles is a poor combination, you think?
I don’t care how passable you are or aren’t. God knows I’m not as passable as I’d like, and still have more work to do. What I care about is effort. You put in the effort, and I will happily encourage you and respect your pronoun preferences. But if you don’t want to put in the effort…? If you don’t want to put in the effort to be a “she” or “her,” then why in the hell should I put in the effort to call you a “she” or “her?” Demanding other people call you “she” and “her” when you’re putting in no work to be a “she” is like demanding that other people do your work for you. No, cupcake, it doesn’t work that way.
I have my own ideas of what “he/him” is, and what “she/her” is. So do you, and so does everyone else. However, as stated before, there is some commonality among our understanding–enough that we can communicate. I’m not going to put aside my understanding of “she” and “her” to call you that, and neither do you have any right to demand that I do so. And I can tell you this: neither will most people willingly put aside their own understanding of what “she” means to accommodate your mustache and call you a “she.” I’m not evil, wicked, or bad because I have my own (already far more versatile than the average person’s) understanding of what defines the genders and sexes, and that I will use my definitions and not yours. You can disassociate from us, have at it, but you cannot use the state to force us to use your definitions “to avoid offending you or hurting your feelings” any more than we can use the state to force you to be called “he.”
But it’s the worst of entitled behavior to stand there in a mustache and expect people to just know that you prefer to be called “she” when you aren’t transgender and certainly aren’t even transsexual. I get that you have Gender Identity Disorder, Randy, and that it hurts you to some degree to be called “he” and “him,” but that’s your problem to deal with, not everyone else’s. If you want to deal with that problem, do so, but don’t expect other people to deal with it for you. Maybe it damages us psychologically to have to refer to a dude in a mustache as a chick. “Damage” is certainly too extreme, but it most definitely causes dissonance and awkwardness.
Demanding that we accommodate your Gender Identity Disorder while you aren’t even accommodating it is bizarrely entitled. I’m sure most people would gladly work with you and begin calling you your preferred pronouns if you started transitioning–if, indeed, one chooses to transition in order to deal with it–because for most reasonable, compassionate people it’s not about being passable or non-passable. It’s about effort. Just put some damned effort into it. Don’t expect everyone else to cure your Gender Identity Disorder by using certain pronouns for you when you haven’t done a thing to address the GID yourself. And if you’re not going to transition, then you have absolutely no justification for demanding the other sex’s pronouns in the first place, as doing so would only exacerbate your GID. If you have GID but you’ve decided to stick it out as your birth sex of “male,” then it’s not going to help you one teeny-tiny bit for people to call you a female, is it? No–it will perpetuate the dysphoria.
Having Gender Identity Disorder doesn’t entitle anyone to anything, and having it doesn’t make a person transgender or transsexual. We should all be compassionate enough to assist and accommodate our brothers and sisters and others who are transitioning, but if they aren’t transitioning, then there is nothing to accommodate, and being “well-intentioned” by trying to accommodate them anyway will only exacerbate their Gender Identity Disorder. Being transgender isn’t for everyone, and going even further into being transsexual certainly isn’t for everyone. They are difficult decisions, deliberate and willful courses undertaken as ways of handling Gender Identity Disorder, and they are not the only ways of doing so.
But I’m going to use the pronoun of the sex you’re presenting as, and so will most people who aren’t dicks.
When you stand there with a mustache and cry that it’s offended to be called “him,” you are insulting me and everything I’ve done in my transition, just as fully as the Minimum Wage workers who assert that the rich didn’t “earn” their wealth are insulted by those entitled, bratty demands. I am not offended, but I am most definitely insulted. If you want what I have, then you better be ready to put in the work that I’ve put in–and have yet to put in. You think it’s been a walk in the park to acquire estrogen? You think it’s pleasant to wear a waist trainer? You see all those marks on my stomach? Do you think it’s fun to shave my face every single day, sometimes twice a day? Did you think that plucking my eyebrows was something that I do for fun? Or that I’m force-feeding myself more food than I want in an effort to gain weight? No. All of this stuff sucks, and is between “very painful” and “very unpleasant.” And I do it because I don’t expect random strangers to call me “she” and “her” unless, you know… I appear to be a “she.” I’m not entitled to be called “she” even though I don’t look, act, or sound anything like what they understand “she” to mean.
And neither is anyone else.
Put in the work, or don’t. Be transgender or transsexual, or not. Deal with your Gender Identity Disorder. Don’t demand other people deal with it for you.
* Arguable. In fact, a recent study revealed that women who don’t wear bras have perkier breasts than women who do.
It’s been a while since the United States implemented conscription–what we now call “The Draft” since we’ve turned it into the lottery that no one wants to win–and there remains a lot of negativity attached to it. The last time there was any serious talk about conscription was during George W. Bush’s presidency, and my father was so convinced that the draft was imminent that he routinely suggested that I go ahead and sign up. The high school had just required us to take the ASFAB, and I scored very highly, which caused Army Reserve recruiters to pester me pretty extensively. When the recruiter insisted twice that there were no reserve units deployed to Iraq, my father thankfully made him leave.
I don’t know whether my father ever served in the military or not. Through most of my life he insisted that he fought in the Vietnam War, and my sister and I realized as adults that this couldn’t possibly be true. He said that he had been drafted out of high school into the Navy. I don’t know enough about the draft to know whether conscripts served in other branches, and I don’t really care, but he asserts that his recruiter told him he would be able to choose a submarine as his assignment, only to ultimately not be able to. Who knows? Nothing my father says is ever really true. At best, it’s a lie with a bit of lean toward the truth.
When I went through a difficult patch around 20 years old, I contacted the Navy about recruiting. Much to my dismay, I had to again take the stupid ASFAB, as well as a Navy-only code-breaking thing at the end, and it took all day even though I finished the test in about two hours. That’s the worst part of any standardized test. Just hand me the test and let me leave when I’m done. Don’t make me sit around for five hours waiting on other people to finish.
There were a few oddities, though. First, it was my intention to enter the nuclear research program. I hadn’t yet entered college, but one half-truth after the other led to the realization that, unless I had a BA, then I was going to enter the service at the lowest possible rank–which, not being arrogant, is a tremendous waste for someone of my talents. Handing me a gun and sending me to the frontline is probably the least effective way to put me to use–and yes, I realize that the Navy doesn’t really fight on the front. That’s not the point. However, I had a BA, then I would have no need or desire to enter the military.
The $5,000 signing bonus didn’t sound particularly appealing. That buys a ten year old car. I’m sorry, but if I’m signing my literal life over to you and essentially becoming your slave for a period of time, and if this gives you the right to basically tell me to go and die, then five grand isn’t going to cut it. Not by a long shot. Up that to fifty grand, and then we can talk.
It was hilarious, though, how the recruiter kept going on and on about how much money he makes by being in the service. In fact, he stopped by the bank while taking us to take the ASFAB, and made quite a show of transferring one thousand dollars from one account to another. I don’t know if the other kids bought it or not, but it was clearly a scripted piece of bullshit. After the test, he said he would treat us to lunch, at which point he began looking around the car for change, and then ordered us each two things from the dollar menu at McDonald’s. What a farce. I’ve taken clients to lunch before, and it has never crossed my mind to take them to McDonald’s, scrounge around for change, and then tell them to order from the dollar menu and drink a cup of free water. Coming after his display of how much money he has, it was really funny. No doubt, he had no more or less money than any average person–probably less, really–and the accounts he manipulated at the bank were official navy accounts for exactly that purpose: impressing impressionable teens.
The main killer, though, was when it turned out that I was qualified to join the nuclear program, but was told that I couldn’t apply to it until after I was in boot camp, at which point the decision would be made about whether I would be accepted.
Yeah, no. I’m not doing that.
They might fool people who aren’t qualified to join nuclear research programs with that sort of thing, but not me. I can tell you exactly how that would have played out. “You didn’t get accepted. Now march, maggot!”
At the moment, the American military is completely voluntary, and that’s a good thing–if there’s going to be a military, then at least it’s voluntary. I’m not particularly fond of the recruiting tactics, though. I hate that many young men and women just have no real options for making a better future for themselves than joining the military. I hate that recruiters know that and use it to their advantage by targeting poor and minority communities. One of the few Michael Moore documentaries worth a shit is the one where he confronts some recruiters on this sort of predatory behavior.
It’s voluntary at the moment, but that doesn’t mean it will stay that way. Conscription, however, isn’t a tool to protect the country. This is common sense, and it takes only a moment to think about it. It’s common knowledge that, immediately after Pearl Harbor, countless people joined the military. This is exactly what we’d expect if the United States–or any country, actually–was attacked by a foreign power. Just imagine what would happen if Russia stormed the beaches of California. Conscription wouldn’t be necessary to fill the ranks. We’d have people rushing out to California with guns loaded in their trucks without even bothering to enlist, they’d be so willing and so anxious to protect their country.
Conscription only serves the purpose of making people go and fight wars they don’t want to fight.
While there are pacifists, cowards, and sympathizers in all countries, if people want to fight, then they will volunteer to. That’s what it means to want something, after all. It’s readily apparent, and historically documented, that one of the things that make people want to fight is a foreign attack against their homeland. So while pacifists, cowards, and sympathizers wouldn’t want to fight, most people would, and I’m not seeing much benefit from making pacifists, cowards, and sympathizers fight. In fact, they’d probably do more harm than good.
Arguing this point with a friend a few years ago, he replied, “Yeah, but then they’d have to be sent through boot camp and trained, so there would be a delay…”
What a remarkable thing to say. That delay will exist whether the enemy attacks and people volunteer, or whether the enemy attacks and people are drafted. The only way to prevent that is to have a perpetual conscription requirement, which some people have campaigned for, where every adult must spend 2 years in the military or Peace Corps or something. I’m obviously not a fan of such an idea.
The very idea is stomach-churning. By what right does the government kidnap me, put a gun in my hand, and tell me to go and die? Shouldn’t I be the person who gets to make the determination that a cause is worth fighting for? Why does the government get to make that decision for me? So let’s call it what it is: enslavement. Literal enslavement, at that.
If the government needs soldiers, then the government has two options. It can either enslave people against their will, or it can offer people more stuff to enlist. If the government really wanted my service, they could have upped their bonus to fifty thousand dollars. However, force is what people use when they don’t want to compete. So instead of competing with non-dangerous employment by offering me a better wage and better signing bonus, the government chooses instead to circumvent that whole process and simply kidnap and enslave me.
If it ever so happened that the government needed more soldiers, they wouldn’t take the obvious route of offering people more money and more perks. They may make some token effort of doing this–raising the signing bonus to $5500, for example, as though an extra $500 will entice many more people to risk their lives for Uncle Sam–but they wouldn’t put any serious effort into it. Why should they? They hold the ultimate trump card: force. They don’t have to compete with free market jobs if they don’t want to, and they don’t have to expend much effort trying to compete, because they can just force people to join.
It’s bad enough that the state enslaves us through taxation and steals a sizable chunk of the fruits of our labors for itself. Conscription, however, allows the state to take 100% of our labor and to dictate exactly what that labor is. Maybe it’s digging trenches in Europe and fighting people who haven’t done anything to you. Maybe it’s taking and abandoning one hill after another in Vietnam, where success is measured in body count rather than territory. With conscription, you belong to the state. Your life belongs to the state, and it can effectively order you to end your life.
Now American society is asking whether women and transgender people should be required to sign up for selective service. Obviously, the answer is “No.” Instead of asking whether this archaic vestige of state supremacy should be expanded, we should be pointing out that it has no place in anything that calls itself a free country. If the cause of a war is just to a person, then that person will enlist to fight it. If the cause is not just, then they won’t. We cannot steal this agency from people. Their lives don’t belong to us or to the government. We don’t get to tell them to go die for a cause they don’t think is just. We don’t get to kidnap and enslave them.
Sure, we have an all volunteer military right now. But we’re only one major terrorist attack away from throwing that away, and tradition won’t stop people when the cards are down. Other people generally have few qualms about throwing away other people’s lives. The draft isn’t just some idea. It’s an omnipresent threat to every American, that we are never more than a moment away from becoming slaves to the government, and being sent to die in other parts of the world. It must be abolished. We do not belong to the government, and our lives are not its to throw away.
So I’m working on a new thing that I’m calling Reductive Reasoning. To my surprise, such a thing doesn’t already exist, and any searches regarding “reduction” and “reasoning” lead to reductio ad absurdum, which is certainly a type of Reductive Reasoning, but not the only type. I’m so intrigued by this idea, in fact, that I began a new book last night on the subject. I think I’ll provide this one for free, and the first draft will be finished around mid-April. Following a three month period of leaving it alone, I’ll begin the editing in mid-July, and should produce the finished version around the end of August. I’ve dropped other writing projects to pursue this one, because I think I’m onto something here.
Reductive Reasoning is all about sets and set theory, but, thankfully, doesn’t have to dive into the mathematics. In fact, it’s almost completely a logical exercise designed to separate fictitious sets from real items. There are countless ways in which this can be applied, and the book is going to spend most of its time providing these examples and explaining how it works. The interesting thing about this is that earlier I received an email from a colleague who was sharing with me an anti-transgender article from The Federalist, where I found myself immediately dissecting the assumptions and sets in my reply. The colleague wasn’t condoning the article; he just sent it as a point of interest.
Then, when I was working on this article about video games and RPGs, I found myself using it again, though only briefly. I mentioned that the definition of RPG must necessarily be a defining element–an element that is unique to the genre and ubiquitous in all games that are RPGs. If the element is not unique to the genre, or if the element is not present in all games that are RPGs, then we know that our definition isn’t adequate.
I’ve Got a Cat
Suppose I say “A cat is an animal that has fur and sharp teeth.” Here, obviously, my definition of “cat” is “an animal that has fur and sharp teeth,” because… that’s what “is” means.
We can immediately see that my definition is wrong. A dog has fur and sharp teeth. According to my definition, a dog is a cat. Similarly, hamsters have fur and sharp teeth, so, according to my definition, a hamster is a cat. Since we know that a dog is not a cat–because the entire meaning of “species” precludes the possibility that one species is another species, just as “is” has its own meaning–we also know that my definition is wrong.
For the most part, it’s irrelevant that my definition is wrong. However, suppose that I said “All cats know how to use a litter box.” It suddenly becomes very important to know what my definition of “cat” is. As I’ve provided my definition that “A cat is an animal that has fur and sharp teeth,” my statement is actually “All animals that have fur and sharp teeth know how to use a litter box.”
This statement is obviously false. Not only is a typical hamster incapable of using what we understand as a litter box, but you’ll go insane trying to teach a dog how to use one. My statement that “All cats know how to use the litter box” is built on the definition of what a cat is. It’s equally built on the assumption of what a litter box is, and what it means to use one. For the sake of keeping things simple–though I’ll probably delve into this in the book–“litter box” can be defined as “any small container filled with some sort of sand or gravel with the express purpose of being a repository for animal waste” and “using a litter box” means “releasing waste into the small container filled with some sort of sand or gravel.”
When attempting to determine whether my statement about cats using litter boxes is true, we must reduce it into its components:
What is a cat?
What is a litter box?
What does it mean to use a litter box?
These three things are assumed by my statement, and must be individually demonstrated and defined before the statement can be decreed as true or false. We’ve already defined “litter box” and “using a litter box” satisfactorily enough–there may be some problems with those definitions, but, for the sake of the argument, let’s just go with “common knowledge” here. The remaining question is, “What is a cat?”
My definition that a cat is any animal with fur and sharp teeth yields a statement that is obviously false–hamsters and dogs both meet that criteria. In fact, whether my statement is true or false depends entirely on what the nouns and verbs conjured even mean. Even using the scientific definition of a cat–a felis catus–won’t result in a true statement. “Any animal that is a member of the felis catus genus and species knows how to use a litter box” is still a false statement, or, at best, unfalsifiable. For whatever reason, not all cats will use a litter box, and so whether or not they even know how cannot be determined.
Recently I pointed out on Facebook that “The United States” doesn’t share a border with Mexico. This is because “The United States” is a set, and sets aren’t real things. They’re imaginary human constructs that are often treated as real things, but aren’t. This is important, because the statement “The United States has every right to determine who can enter its borders” is just as open to reduction as the statement about cats. Does the United States even have borders? No. It’s a set of other states, and some of those other states have borders. California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas share a border with Mexican provinces.
So the United States can’t have the “right” to determine who can and can’t enter its borders, because the United States doesn’t actually have borders in the first place. Instead, we would have to say that California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas have the right to determine who can enter their borders.
Except we immediately have the same problem there, don’t we? These states are also sets without real existences. We treat them as real, but they aren’t. So the statement “California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas have the right to determine who can enter their borders” has to be reduced. And there’s no such thing as “California” or “Texas.” There are only sections of land with populations that we’ve artificially divided into different groups and that we treat as though they are real divisions. In reality, there’s just a large section of land, some of which is owned by individuals, and some of which isn’t owned by anyone but which is claimed to be own by the fictitious set called “the government.”
Well, “the government” isn’t a real thing, and so it can’t own property. It would be like if I gave my lighter to Casper the Friendly Ghost, and then everyone began acting as though Casper was the rightful owner of my lighter. In practice, I would contend that it constitutes a form of insanity to treat imaginary things as though they’re real; the only difference is that Casper is an imagined individual while “the government” is an imagined set. Who really owns my lighter, if I have given it to an imaginary entity?
Anyone who wanted to could take the lighter and then say that Casper gave it to them, and they would be just as correct to say that as I was to say that it belonged to Casper in the first place. We can attribute literally anything to a fictitious entity. “Casper hates black people,” I could say. “Casper doesn’t hate black people,” you could reply, “and actually worked in the Civil Rights Movement.” We’d have no problem recognizing any two people having a conversation about whether Casper worked in the Civil Rights Movement as being batshit crazy. And “government” is just as imaginary and fictitious as Casper. The only differences are that “the government” is a set and that a lot of us are batshit crazy enough to treat “the government” as though it’s a real thing.
When we get down to it, we find ourselves saying that “An individual who owns land has the right to determine who can enter that land.” This, too, is open to reduction and a discussion of the nature of property rights and ownership. That’s not my subject here; I only bring it up to point out that I know even this seemingly obvious statement is open to reduction–however, this statement also stands up to reduction if it is assumed that force, violence, and coercion are morally wrong.
So does the United States have the right to determine who can enter its borders? Obviously not. The United States doesn’t have borders, because it isn’t a real thing, and so it can’t have any characteristics. Do California, Texas, et al. have the right to determine who can enter their borders? Obviously not. These states don’t have borders because they aren’t real things, and so they can’t have any characteristics. Does an individual have the right to determine who can enter their property? Briefly, I will say “Yes,” though I’m aware that I have not, in this article, attempted to demonstrate that. Instead, I’m going to rely on common knowledge again so that I can move on to something else. In the grand scheme, yes, even “common knowledge” must be reduced, but I want to get to the next subject because I have shit to do.
Sex & Transgenderism
At one point in the Federalist article I linked above, the author says something like “This is a boy pretending to be a girl.”
Relying on “common knowledge” isn’t helpful here, because there is too much disagreement there. Here, whether one agrees with the statement or not merely depends upon their bias and what they believe to be common knowledge. However, we’re going to reduce it.
What is a boy?
What is a girl?
The quick-thinking person might say, “A boy is someone born with a penis. Duh. And a girl is obviously someone not born with one.” And they might roll their eyes in exasperation at how they were being asked to define something that they consider “common knowledge” or “common sense.” But not only is this not pedantic to ask, it is critical. The statement’s status as true or false depend entirely on these definitions; they are hardly inconsequential. Whether or not his person is a boy pretending to be a girl depends completely on what a boy is and what a girl is.
Well, that definition clearly doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. There exists a medical condition where boys can be born without penises and/or without testicles. The statement “This is a boy pretending to be a girl” becomes “This is a <person born with a penis and testicles> pretending to be <someone who was not born with a penis and testicles>.” But this statement is obviously not true, per the link I just provided.
If the person has any intellectual integrity at all, they’ll sigh in exasperation, admit that they’re previous definition doesn’t hold up, and might say, “Then a girl is someone born with a vagina, and a boy is someone who wasn’t born with a vagina.”
Again, though, this definition doesn’t hold up. It’s a bit rarer, but there have been born girls without vaginas. By the latest definition, this woman born without a vagina is actually a boy.
Frustrated and probably getting angry, the person might turn to what they learned in 8th grade Biology: “A boy is someone born with XY chromosomes, and a girl is someone born with XX Chromosomes.”
Until recently, I would have accepted that definition tentatively, because I lacked the knowledge to dispute it, but in fact human sexuality isn’t anywhere near that simple. It turns out that every single cell in a person’s body has its own sex. This means that, far from having “all XY chromosomes,” a boy can have anywhere from 0% and 100% of their cells having XY chromosomes. So no one is born “with XY or XX chromosomes,” because everyone is born with some combination of cells featuring both XX and XY chromosomes in virtually any conceivable ratio. So the statement “This is a person born with XY chromosomes pretending to be a person born with XX chromosomes” is similarly false–the statement isn’t scientifically valid and isn’t applicable to anyone.
What we find, as we continue reducing and continue digging, is that the entire argument is built upon the assumption that there is such a thing as “a boy” and “a girl,” and that these things are clearly defined along some delineating characteristic. Basically, “boy” is a set and “girl” is another set, but the person–any person–making the claim will be unable to provide any definition that doesn’t either apply to “boys” that the definer himself would dispute as being boys, or would not apply to boys that the definer himself would call “boys.” A hermaphrodite, for example, born with both a penis and a vagina, would count as a “boy” per the person’s first definition, but the person would adamantly deny that a hermaphrodite counts as a boy, even though his own definition means the hermaphrodite counts as a boy. Similarly, a male born without a penis would not count as a boy per the person’s first definition, though the person would adamantly insist that such a person counts as a boy, even though his own definition means the penis-less baby doesn’t count.
Any definition given for a set must include all members of that set and must exclude entities that aren’t members of that set. Otherwise, the definition is wrong and the set is improperly defined. Since the set itself isn’t defined properly in the first place, any statement made about that set must be either false or unprovable. As an example, any definition for “boy” must include all members of that set, at the very least according to the person defining it, and the definition must exclude all girls. The person must be able to delineate the set about which they are making a truth statement. Before it can be said that “This is a boy pretending to be a girl,” both “boy” and “girl” must be unambiguously and all-inclusively defined into their different, non-overlapping sets. Not only did the writer of that article fail to do that, but everyone would fail to do that, because it can’t be done.
Has anyone else noticed a tendency among pro-life libertarians to be smug and self-righteous in their assertions that the libertarian platform is unequivocally pro-life? I don’t mind people being confident in their positions, but there’s an inherent smugness in saying something like this:
It’s funny because he’s wrong.
I always look dubiously at people who say things like “This group…” and follows it with a statement that they consider universally true, unless that statement can be demonstrated. For example, I’ve said that libertarians are against the use of force and violence to achieve political goals, and that’s a general statement about a ton of people. Yet I’m okay with it, because “being against the use of force and violence to achieve political goals” is quintessentially what “libertarian” means, so I basically just gave the definition of a libertarian by saying that.
It’s a matter of semantics to phrase the first statement so poorly, so let’s go ahead and rephrase that to add clarity to his statement.
Recognizing that abortion is a sensitive issue and that people can hold good-faith views on all sides, we believe that government should be kept out of the matter, leaving the question to each person for their conscientious consideration.
Seeing as the state is the only institution capable of making something illegal, if the government is to be kept out of it then it is, ipso facto, a pro-choice position. The libertarian position is “You may not like abortion, but you can’t stop anyone from getting one, though you can refuse to get one and refuse to perform one.” In this way, people who are against abortions are not un-libertarian–they are merely exercising their right to act in accord with their own conscience.
The problem is that you certainly can make the case that the fetus is a person due the same rights as anyone else, and so it is wrong to initiate violence against the fetus by killing it. That’s not a position I have any desire to argue with, for the most part, except it forces us to ask a few questions that pro-life people can’t answer.
What is the difference between a fetus and a tumor?
If potentiality equals actuality, then people who fantasize about killing someone are criminals.
If the difference between a fetus and a tumor is that the former is a living human, what is a human?
If a human is life, what is life? How do you distinguish life from non-life?
If you presume it’s okay to force a woman to donate her womb space to an unborn fetus, then you must presume it’s okay to force her to donate a kidney if that child later becomes sick, since both are ipso facto consequences of her decision to have a child.
These, honestly, are questions that can be asked period, except for the first two and last one, and that’s my point. We have no idea what life itself is, and we have no valid metric of distinguishing life from non-life. I would argue that this is because “living matter” is an illusion, and that there is no difference between life and non-life, that there is only matter and energy and one of the remarkable elements of matter is how it can interact with itself. But until you can show me how fire isn’t alive but people are, I have no reason to take you seriously if you claim that a fetus is a living person.
The biggest point of contention, though, is #5, because pro-life people assume that the fetus has the right to be inside the woman’s womb. It is well-established that a womb is part of a woman’s body. As pro-life people love saying, the fetus is a separate life, and therefore not part of the womb.
Think about a kangaroo and its pouch. Pro-Life people are arguing that the baby kangaroo has the right to be inside the mother’s pouch, and that the mother’s pouch is so much the baby kangaroo’s right that the mother can be forced to have the baby in her pouch whether she likes it or not. So you would force the woman to let the kangaroo into her pouch, because the kangaroo will die if it isn’t allowed to be in her pouch. In order to prevent an act of violence, you commit an act of violence.
Pro-Choice is no better, don’t get me wrong. In fact, that’s why I’m writing this, because there isn’t an easy answer, and there is no “objectively right” or “logic dictates” answer. The issue is the murkiest of murky murkiness. Pro-Choice chooses to allow violence to be done to what could be argued is a human being, in order to prevent someone from having their body forcibly used by another person against their will. That’s not a particularly great position to be in, either.
I am pro-choice. Worse–because this is almost certainly going to make you angry–because I don’t think that anyone with a penis has any right whatsoever to weigh in on the subject of abortion*. I’ve caught a lot of heat for saying this, but c’mon, let’s be realistic here. Pregnancy is the one fucking thing that women can do that men absolutely cannot, but men still can’t resist trying to dominate the subject and saying what can and can’t be done about it. When I said this two years ago, no one really minded. Most people didn’t agree, but I didn’t catch heat for it. Now, people act like I cut off their goddamned balls my saying it, and then they say “There’s no such thing as sexism in America.”
You’d think such people would gladly listen to what a transgender person who has lived as both genders has to say about sexism in the country. There is no one more qualified to discuss sexism than a transgender person. I’ve had girls tell me there’s no such thing as sexism, and call me a stupid cunt for suggesting there is. To me, this is like a black person saying there’s no racism just because they haven’t noticed it. There’s plenty of sexism, but my position on it is that it’s not automatically a bad thing.
But yes, one of the ways that the sexism manifests is in men believing they should have a say-so in abortion.
Guys, if you get a girl pregnant, it is one hundred percent up to her whether she wants to take your feelings into account. If she wants an abortion but you want her to keep the baby, if she wants to ignore your wishes, then she can, and she will. I’ve been there. I got the Vegas Chick pregnant, in fact. Unsurprisingly, she totally ignored my wishes on the matter; there was nothing I could do about it, and it never occurred to me that I should be able to force her to carry the baby.
Is that what you want, men? To be able to force your girlfriend or wife to see the pregnancy through? And you don’t see how that reeks of sexism? Sticking your dick in that girl didn’t give you any ownership claim of her. Her womb is still hers, and that’s the bottom line. Her womb isn’t your property, and if she doesn’t want something in that womb, then…
“Tough titty said the kitty.”
If you get a girl pregnant and she ignores your wishes, then tough shit. Find a better girl, one that will take your feelings into consideration. This holds true in the other direction, as well. If she wants to carry the child and you want her to get an abortion, it’s tough shit again for you. However, I’m obviously against the state forcing you to give her money to raise that child, too–or forcing you to pay for the abortion, either. If she wants to raise that child on her own, never even telling that child who the father is, then…
“Tough titty,” said the kitty.
Men have no perspective on the issue of pregnancy and abortion because, until very recently, men were utterly unable to be pregnant. This is something that only women can do, guys. This is the only area in human life that belongs 100% to females**. You are at their mercy here. If your girl wants to be a bitch and abort the baby, tough shit. If she wants to be a bitch and have the baby but keep you out of the life, tough shit. I know this bothers you. I know it angers you. And I know that having someone tell you this directly angers you even more.
Because men are used to being in control. You’re not used to being at anyone’s mercy. You’re accustomed to having the authority to tell people what to do, no matter the topic, and it drives you fucking crazy to have this one area where you rightly have no authority or say-so at all unless the woman wishes to allow it. Think about the long history of humanity and the countless areas where women have had no authority or say-so at all unless the man wishes to allow it.
You gotta let girls have this one, dudes. The issue doesn’t affect you.
And that’s why I’m pro-choice. I’m not “pro-choice” as much as I am “I don’t have a womb, so this issue can’t possibly apply to me, and thus I have no right to dictate one way or another.”
If your girlfriend or wife wants an abortion and doesn’t care that you don’t, suck it up.
If your girlfriend or wife doesn’t want an abortion but you do, suck it up.
You have no rightful claim to anyone’s womb, whether you want something to be in there or not.
* Said, of course, as someone with a penis. However, it’s impossible to point out that men shouldn’t have a say-so on the matter of abortion without being involved in the subject of abortion, and genitalia is irrelevant to that. I’m not arguing pro-choice or pro-life, really–I’m arguing that it’s not our damned place to say, because the issue, by definition, cannot affect us in any direct sense. If you want to argue that your feelings will be hurt, then you are also making an argument against outlawing hate speech and anything else that hurts feelings, so that’s a slippery slope we shouldn’t jump down. “Hurting your feelings” is not an injury.
** Actually, there is also breast-feeding, but breast-feeding reeks of its own sexist displays, doesn’t it? Rest assured that breast-feeding would not be illegal if men could do it. Why do I say that? Because this picture is totally acceptable:
But this one is not:
My boobs are still small, but that’s not the point.
This morning my employer confirmed the suspicions that I wrote about yesterday. His reply was exactly what I had expected, and had been delayed for exactly the reasons that I expected. Like my sister, he expects me to “just deal with it” and to just be trapped in the box out of pragmatism.
But I will not.
I will not do it again. That is no way to live.
Like my sister assumed, he assumes that I will back down because I have to have a place to live, and he’s not wrong. I don’t make enough money to afford anywhere else. I live in rural Mississippi and am basically a serf to this employer; it doesn’t even appear to be by accident that I don’t make enough money to do other things, you know? I’ve talked about that before, and I’ll provide the link here.
This situation is very much a “You’ll hide the fact that you’re transgender from my son, or you’ll be kicked out, and I don’t pay you enough for you to live elsewhere, so suck it up and put yourself back in the box.”
How can I take it any other way?
It is irrelevant that he is a bit nicer about it than that, and that he hasn’t overtly said that, but that is what he is saying nonetheless. Look at the situation more closely, and keep in mind that I’ve spent the last year trying to get a different and better job. There just aren’t any here in rural Mississippi; I need money to leave, and I need to leave in order to make money. And now I am facing a situation where my employer is threatening that I will be kicked out if I continue openly being transgender, and so I must get back in the closet because he, my employer, doesn’t pay me enough for me to do anything else.
Though it was not overtly said, the message is clear. If his son moves into the house in question, he expects me to get back in the box. He doesn’t seem to have grasped what I meant when I said that I will not be put back in the box. Have you ever seen the film The Man in the Iron Mask? Leonardo Di Caprio gives a stunning performance, and at one point he cries, “No, kill me if you must, but do not make me wear that mask again.”
I am being told to wear the mask again.
What consequences will result from this decision? Terrible ones. Unemployment, homelessness. Yet the alternative is one that I cannot face. I would sooner die. I have lived that life before, trapped in a small box–then a bedroom–and not even allowed to go to the bathroom. I wasn’t even able to be me until after my nephew had gone to sleep because, no matter how many times I berated him, he had the lamentable habit of barging into my bedroom without knocking. My sister and her husband would have thrown me out then and there if her son had walked in on me as me, and I couldn’t handle that. And even then, once they were gone to bed, I was forced to stay in my bedroom. I couldn’t go to the kitchen or bathroom. If one of them woke up and saw me, they’d have thrown me out.
This is the same situation, and I’ve been here before. The box in which I will be trapped is bigger, but I will be trapped nonetheless. Did I leave something important in my car? Uh-oh, better change clothes completely. Can’t just walk outside and get my stuff out of my car. Do I need to do laundry? Better hope he doesn’t open the dryer or anything. Plus, for complex reasons I don’t feel like getting into, I bathe in this house that we’re talking about. I use the freezer in this house that we’re talking about. If all this strikes you as bizarre, read the post I linked above.
It was actually that house that I was renting in the first place. But the owners keep a bunch of ceramic knick-knacks and other shit in there, and my cats broke one of them. They were supposed to come and remove their shit, but never did, and they ultimately asked me to move into the other place, which was fine, for the most part. I still have free access to the other place–I do my laundry there, I freeze my ice there, I bathe there, I park my car in its garage, because it’s like fifty feet from where I do live.
I knew as soon as I received the initial email Sunday that this was going to be bad, because it all hinges on one thing: his son’s tolerance, or lack of, for transgender people. It’s hard to believe that this guy who has known me for 5 or 6 years would so callously see to it that I’m kicked out, even though it wouldn’t be doing him a damned bit of harm, but I already know from experience… that it doesn’t matter.
My own sister, someone I have known my entire life (obviously), kicked me out for it. I have no delusions that his son will be more reasonable, more open, and more understanding. The fact that he’s known me for years and knows me to be, at the very least, an alright person, will count for nothing.
It’s not even “being transgender” that people have a problem with.
Think about it. How many times have you seen a girl wearing men’s clothes without it being a problem? Just the other day at a client’s, there was a girl working there who was clearly wearing men’s clothes, and no one looked twice at her about it.
It’s not crossdressing or transgenderism that people get pissed off about.
Even here in bum-fucked Mississippi, it’s totally acceptable for a girl to wear guys’ clothes. In fact, it’s pretty common–probably more common here than in other parts of the country. But if a guy is caught wearing girls’ clothes… It’s life-threatening. At the very least, he’ll be attacked.
And that’s the problem here. So many of these people know me as a guy. They won’t see Aria and go on about their business. They’ll see this guy that they see every other day wearing women’s clothes. Even though they wouldn’t care in the slightest if ” a girl they see every other day” was wearing men’s clothes, I would not be so lucky.
I’m honestly not sure what to do here. I can’t go back in the box, and I won’t. My employer’s latest email insists that I’m jumping the gun a bit, but I have been down this road before. His gut reaction is the correct one, I know from experience.
When I first realized I had to start coming out to people as transgender, I was torn about my sister. My gut told me that she would flip out, and a friend of mine who knew her very well agreed. As I continued pondering it, however, I became convinced that I was freaking out over nothing. She already knew for the most part–it was an unspoken secret. And she was my sister–together, she and I had gone through alllllllll that bullshit:
And this one:
Yes, we went through a ton of bullshit, and all that is just the tip of the iceberg. It’s enough for me to fill an entire book that I’m calling Dancing in Hellfire and am trying to find an agent for. God, having that book published would alleviate all of these problems, would easily provide me with the means to move to Vegas and escape this nightmare where shit is constantly hanging over my head, where I’m always in danger.
I convinced myself that she wouldn’t care. So I told her. She said she was fine with it, but that she’d have to ask her husband whether I could simply be me as I paid them rent each fucking month. Weeks passed. I finally asked again. She said she hadn’t. More weeks passed, and I finally asked again. She said that he had a problem with it. She lied, of course, and I knew that she would: it was never her husband (who had once lived with a cross-dresser) who had a problem with it. It was her, and she used her husband as a convenient excuse.
Finally I laid it all out for them in a letter, informing them that I was proceeding with it, and that they could accept it, or not. It was then that I received that fucked up text message from my sister:
So oh, yes. I’ve been down this road before, and unless I’m able to move to Vegas this time, I will end up going down this road again. It’s so much easier for people to reject me than to confront their own discomfort, their own disdain for feminization, and their own cognitive dissonance.
I’m so tired.
I just want to be left to live, work, and love in peace. Why is that so goddamned much to ask? Everyone else is allowed to do it. But no, because I choose to wear women’s clothes and present myself as a woman, I’m not allowed those basic things.
Why can’t I wear the shirts I want to wear, the jeans I want to wear, and the shoes I want to wear? Why can’t I present the face that I want? Men can grow beards if they want; men can grow mustaches if they want. But I can’t wear makeup? Why can’t I wear my hair a certain way? Everyone else can. Everyone else can wear the shirts they like, the jeans they like, the shoes they like.
It’s not a matter of courage. There is nothing to be gained by presenting myself as a female permanently here in Mississippi. It would leave me unemployed, homeless, and starving to death very quickly, and that is if someone didn’t attack me and kill me before those other circumstances started falling on me. It wouldn’t be “courageous” to present myself as a female all the time here, because everyone here has known me as a male. You can see from my videos that I’m passable, for the most part. Yet I’ll never be passable to the people who have always known me as a male. While my friends are accepting and don’t give a shit, that doesn’t apply to the random people who see me around town.
Today I was faced with a problem. As I arrived on-site to set up a client’s computer, I got down into the carpet and began connecting things, and–“What the hell is that smell?”
It did not take long to find the source of the problem: the jeans I was wearing. Around the knees, there was an awful and pungent stench. I have no idea what caused it–they were basically fresh out of the dryer–but it presented an immediate and serious problem: after that client (thankfully, there was no one there, and no one would have been close enough to me to smell around my knees anyway–the only reason I caught it was because I was in the floor) I had two more to visit, and I simply could not visit them like that.
I told my colleague that I wasn’t going to be able to hit the other two clients, because I was going to have to sort out this issue. I only have two pairs of work pants, to be clear. Most of my male clothes are casual–black Tripp pants with chains and things on them, and not the sort of thing a person can wear for work. He told me just take his credit card and go buy some.
As I stood in the men’s clothing aisle at Wal-Mart, it occurred to me that I no longer even know what size men’s clothing I wear. I’ve been thinking in size 7 and 5, Smalls and Mediums, through the last year, and I’ve never bought many male clothes in the first place (a curious thing, too). In fact, my male wardrobe is just enough to get buy. It is exactly the minimum that can be reasonably had. I no longer own a single pair of boxers or men’s socks. I could probably sit and list, off the top of my head, every article of male clothing that I own. There are three types: Formal Work, Casual Work, and Casual. I have about two outfits of each, really. My male shoes are old and needing to be replaced, but I just don’t care about them. My Led Zeppelin shirt is practically grey now, but I just don’t care enough to replace it. One of my casual work jeans has a hole about as big around as a pencil around one of the knees, and I just don’t care enough to replace it.
Compare that to my female shoes.
It’s worth mentioning they don’t actually look THAT bad. It was muddy today.
So it was muddy today, and I haven’t bothered to clean them since I’ve been home. I’ll tell you about the horrible day shortly, but… it was not a good day. Yes, it gets worse than finding myself wearing a pair of stinky pants that smelled in a weird place.
Compare that to my female tennis shoes on the right, which are spotless and in remarkable shape. I’ve needed to replace (or at the least polish) my male shoes for something like two years, and I just can’t be bothered to. But I won’t let so much as a speck of dust stay on my female shoes.
Of course, you wouldn’t know it from looking, but I wear my female shoes a hell of a lot more than I wear my male shoes. My male tennis shoes literally get worn only for work, and then only for some clients–the more casual ones. This same disparity exists between my flip-flops, as well–I have two pairs, and my female pair is in infinitely better shape. Each night, I put up my female flip-flops out of reach of the cats, because they try to use them as a claw sharpener.
No, cat, that’s what my recliner is for!
On the other hand, I don’t bother to put up my male flip-flops. In my defense there, though, the cats also don’t mess with them.
Right now I’m wearing a pair of jeans that are nicer, cleaner, and better than any pair of male pants that I own, including the ones that I bought today. I don’t give the smallest shit about my male clothing. It is a means to an end, and in some cases I’m actively beginning to hate it. The last thing I wanted today was to buy male clothes, and I made that clear. There’s a reason he told me to use his credit card–because then I couldn’t really object. This one I couldn’t fight, as I could the television and other crap he wanted to buy, because this was more or less necessary for work. However, there was no chance that I was going to spend my money buying clothes that I didn’t want.
“This is ridiculous,” I texted. “A true testament of how insane our society is, and how obsessed we are with the arbitrary values we place in things. I’ve got tons of really awesome clothes. Like really, I’ve got more clothes than I should, and I’m running out of places to put them. But because the angle of the legs on this pair of jeans is this way, I can’t wear them. Because the sleeves on this shirt are angled this way, I can’t wear them. Because the neck is cut this way, I can’t wear that shirt.”
It was surprisingly difficult, even with it being at no expense to myself, to buy male clothes. It felt too much like resigning to continued existence as a male. I didn’t want to buy new clothes, because I want to be escaping to where I don’t have to pretend to be a guy. I don’t want to replace my shoes because I want to move and just throw them away, not stay here for another year. I want to have moved before I have to replace them, the same for my pants and shirts. I give my colleague/employer credit for knowing immediately that there was no chance I was going to spend my money paying for more clothes, and that we’d have difficulties to deal with otherwise, but I’m not done with the story.
While on my way to the men’s clothing, I passed by the women’s clothing and immediately saw an outfit that I wanted. I’m in dire need of women’s shirts, and they’re the hardest things to find online for a decent price. I’m not interested in paying $23 for a shirt. I’m just not. Maybe one day, but I’m way too broke to find that even kinda reasonable. If I’m paying $23, I expect it to come with 3 shirts, at the very least. So sales racks and stuff at Rue21 are where I’d do my shopping for shirts–if I could.
It seemed so easy. Just walk by when there were no huge, burly, bearded dudes around, right? Quickly grab the outfit I was looking at, throw it in my basket, and reposition things so that they were covered as I went to check out. Simple, fast, easy.
So many people don’t get it when I talk about this. They say things like, “Just grab it. Fuck what people say.”
I can only shake my head at such things. Walk a mile in the shoes of a transgender Mississippian, and then come back with that. If I want to buy clothing, then I have to get a female friend to accompany me. I simply can’t stand in the aisle and inspect things, hold them up to see how they’d fit, or whether this top would match with those shorts.
“They don’t know they’re not for your girlfriend,” is another common statement.
Even if there were tons of guys running around Wal-Mart, Rue 21, Target, and Marshall’s shopping for clothes for their girlfriends (something the girlfriends wouldn’t appreciate, either) (and there aren’t anyway), it would be a flagrant denial of reality to say that people wouldn’t instantly guess that the clothes were for me. People aren’t that stupid. I knew when I went into the shoe store months ago and bought these awesome shoes that I’d get weird looks, not just for shopping for women’s shoes, but for buying a size 13–actually oversized, as it turns out I’m a 12, but it’s not like I could try them on…
The scathing, contemptible looks.
Of course, by this point I’m used to them. I’ve been getting hateful looks from people since being a goth kid in the ninth grade. However, the vitriol takes on a decidedly more lethal substance when you’re transgender. It’s not just people who don’t like my appearance or who don’t like my lifestyle; it’s people who feel threatened by my lifestyle. It’s not the female cashier that is the problem. It’s Bubba shopping with his girlfriend behind me. It’s Wyatt who is walking by. It’s the guy with a can of Skoal in his backpocket. It’s the guy who looks like he fell out of an episode of Duck Dynasty. These people are rare outliers in other parts of the world; in Mississippi, especially these more rural areas, they are the norm.
And there are tells, as I learned a few weeks ago, when a random girl at a store to which I’d never been asked me out of the blue if I preferred to be called “sir” or “ma’am.” That someone even asked this question should tell you right off the bat who we’re dealing with: southerners, for whom “sir” and “ma’am” are second nature. I don’t even think about it. A man older than me gets called “sir,” and a woman gets called “ma’am.” It’s one of the few things ingrained in every single southerner, and a dead giveaway to people in other parts of the country where you’re from.
I wasn’t doing anything odd, and this random person picked me out. No one will assume the clothes are for someone else; they will all intuit that the clothes are for me.
Even big dumb Bubba.
Seriously, Disturbed’s “Asylum” could easily be about being transgender and forced to repress it for so many years.
No remnants were ever found of it
Feeling the hot bile
With every fake smile
Though no evidence was ever found
It never went away completely
I try to hide from the unholy sound of it
Another day gone
Another night’s dawn
Dark forces pull me underground
They never went away completely
How can I feel this empty?
I will not recover this time
This loneliness is killing me
Will I never know peace of mind again?
I don’t believe it
I can’t achieve it
I think it all is just another sign
That never went away completely
Terror is coursing in me
Dreading the final moments
When I have to dream
And feel you die
([Background:] Death inside of me keeps a diligent watch on everything.
Keeps a terrible hold on my belief.
Just waiting for the moment when I…)
In Asylum (I live a lie)
Don’t you know I’m in love with you
And I wasn’t ready
For Asylum (Relive a lie)
To let go
Now it’s dragging me into your grave
Your Asylum (Forgive the lie)
Overcome by the feeling that I won’t get to join you in time
For the loneliness is killing me
Death’s images are all around again
They’re right behind me
They’re gonna find me
Judgment for the immortal sin
That had enveloped me completely
I know I’ll never know a peaceful night again
Afraid they’ll hear me
They don’t fear me
Punishment for the immoral crime
The debt was never paid completely
Terror is coursing in me
Dreading the final moments
When I have to dream
And feel you die
([Background:] Death inside of me keeps a diligent watch on everything.
Keeps a terrible hold on my belief.
Just waiting for the moment when I…)
In Asylum (I live a lie)
Don’t you know I’m in love with you
And I wasn’t ready
For Asylum (Relive a lie)
To let go
Now it’s dragging me into your grave
Your Asylum (Forgive the lie)
Overcome by the feeling that I won’t get to join you in time
For the loneliness is killing me
In the end there will be no suffering (more suffering)
In the end you will find out everything (not anything)
In the end you may question your belief (what belief)
In the end you will realize someday
How you were deceived
This has gone on too long (too long)
No more demonic dreams
Destroyer come to light
Because the memory is killing me
In Asylum (I live a lie)
I let go
Now it’s dragging me into your grave
For Asylum (Relive a lie)
Overcome by the feeling that I won’t get to join you in time
(without you) this world is not fulfilling me
Don’t make me live in Asylum
I live a lie
Don’t want to live in Asylum
I live a lie
Don’t make me live in Asylum
I live a lie
I’m consciously aware that my life is pretty easy at the moment–I mean, relatively. That’s kind of depressing, but I’m speaking of being transgender. At the moment, I still work as a male, and generally just go to stores as a male. I very rarely go into public as a female, and then only to places that I know very well, or that are open to that sort of thing anyway, like a LGBT bar. It won’t always be this easy, though. There will come a time when I can’t pass as a male–my hair will be too long and feminine, my facial features (which are already changing subtly) will have changed too much, and I’ll have boobs that will be impossible to hide.
No matter what, there must come a day when the transgender person must cast aside the old shell and step back into the world. That will be difficult no matter what part of the country one is in, and I would certainly say that it will be substantially harder in Mississippi, but it’s never easy. In so many ways, it would have been easier to do this in high school, but I didn’t have that luxury. I envy those who did.
I regularly stop by a gas station and am on excellent terms with the people who work there. It’s one of those ones owned by Middle Eastern people, which means they’re probably Muslims and have much the same position on transgenderism that Christians have. I see these people as my male self every single day. What am I to do that morning when I wake, and it’s That Day–That Day when the shell has been shattered beyond repair, leaving the facade that was my male persona rotting in the past? Must I simply walk away from that store, never again to see those people? No amount of time could pass that they wouldn’t recognize me–people remember me. They always have.
I live just a few minutes from a general store that I go to a few times each week for miscellaneous things that I don’t get elsewhere. When I wake up That Day, will I simply never go to that store again? How could I? With the cashiers staring, their mouths agape, speechless and all of them thinking the same thing:
“What… the… fuck… Do we… Do we call the police?”
I have not yet had the luxury of even going clothes shopping. How can I, when my voice still needs so much work? How would the cashier at Rue21 react when I replied to her greeting, with my masculine voice that clearly marks me as “not quite simply a woman”? I’ve done most of my clothes shopping online, or with friends–then I have the excuse that the clothes aren’t for me, but for my friends. But there must come a day when I go to Rue21 as myself, or to TJ Maxx as myself–what shall I do on That Day?
That’s undoubtedly the hardest part, and I’m afraid–of course I’m afraid. Even if this wasn’t Mississippi, I would be afraid. I once made the analogy that it’s a bit like going to school after getting a new haircut, and the anxiety one feels the night before, totally convinced that other kids are going to laugh and say that it looks stupid. And they might–it’s always a real possibility that the haircut does look stupid. But this isn’t high school, and this is so much more than a haircut.
One day I will think nothing of it as I leave my house, get into my car, go to the store, and do everything I need to do as Aria. That day must come; that day is coming. It is, perhaps, approaching faster than I thought it would. But before I can do that–before that day comes that I am simply comfortable doing what I must do–the penny must drop. It is something I have put off–understandably so, as I’ve said, because it’s simply not reasonable to do such a thing until I have progressed further along this voice issue.
But I am not known for being a coward. Neither will I put that day off one sunrise longer than necessary.
“Are you a transsexual?” someone asked me yesterday over the Internet. To be honest, they said “are u a transsexual” but it pains me to see such lazy writing–yes, even on the Internet and in a YouTube comment, I think the bare minimum should involve putting a question mark at the end of an inquiry. But I’m pretty out of touch with the way most people communicate, because I’ve never even texted someone anything like “im goin 2 the show wbu”.
I use on YouTube the same pic that I use for my Gravatar–this one. As you can see, there’s nothing in particular about that pic that says “transgender” one way or another. Facial features are among the most difficult ways to identify someone’s gender, because there aren’t any facial features that are predominantly male or predominantly female. While I’m not the hottest chick out there, nothing in that pic indicates I may be transgender.
I’ve tied my various online accounts together pretty well: Quora, Twitter, Facebook, Youtube, Google+, WordPress… All in the name of making it easier for people to follow me if they’re interested in doing so. It’s not hard, for someone who cares to, to take the path that starts at Facebook and ends with my Google+/YouTube profile, and that’s by design.
Judging just off the comment, I’m guessing that this is one of the Rand Paul supporters who happened to stumble across me again, a month or so after their initial bout of stupidity and ignorance, and he couldn’t resist the urge to pose the question to me again, since I ignored it everywhere else. We were initially having a decent conversation–though I was the only person defending my position, and everyone else was assaulting it and not listening, because a few logical steps is just too much to ask the average person to take–and then the discussion suddenly and inexplicably turned to my gender–as though it was in any way relevant to the topic. Things soon spiraled downward, as they tend to do, and I was briefly followed to various other places, but not in a way that was overwhelming or particularly bothersome. It was just annoying.
Clearly, this person doesn’t have much exposure to liberal issues, because “transsexual” has fallen out of use, and has been out of use in the U.S. for the past decade–it has gone the way of “transvestite,” and only someone pretty out of touch would use it. It’s almost like the transgender equivalent of “queer,” in fact. Now, you know me. I call myself a shemale, so I’m not going to get worked up over someone being politically incorrect. That’s not my point. My point is that he simply used a word that indicates he comes from a conservative background. A liberal would have said “transgender,” in the same way that a liberal would say “little person” or “homosexual” instead of “midget” or “gay.”
I would actually make the case that I’m transgender and not transsexual, but I’m not sure I would really want to use that fine of a comb to untangle the issue. Since it doesn’t matter anyway, my point is simply that he used a version of the label that indicates a rightwing mentality. And that’s fine. Hey, I’m an anarchist. In many ways, I’m on the extreme Conservative side.
People have a hard time characterizing my political leanings. Despite extensive conversations with a colleague, he told me last week that he wouldn’t know how to answer if someone asked him what my political ideology was. I don’t know why–it’s really simple. I think people should be allowed to do anything they want to do, as long as they don’t do anything that forcefully prevents anyone else from doing what the other person wants to do. I think that the state (what you’d know as “the government”) should be abolished, because, by definition, all it does is forcefully inhibit people from doing what they want to do, and we have forms of government that do not require force (namely: economics). When it comes to social matters, I am extreme left: people can say whatever they want to say, marry whoever they want to marry, smoke all the pot they want, and whatever else. I don’t care, because it’s not my business. It doesn’t affect me, and I have no right to force other people to behave as I want them to. Because of this, I am extreme right when it comes to the state (again, what you’d know as “the government”), because the state is a tool that people use specifically to force other people to behave as they want. There are two aspects to this: social and governmental.
Generally speaking, conservatives want Big Government, and they want to use that Big Government to enforce their conservative social ideas. They want to use the state to force people to not have homosexual marriages and to not get abortions, for example. Generally speaking, liberals want Big Government, and they want to use that Big Government to enforce their liberal social ideas. They want to use the state to force people to serve homosexual weddings, to force religious institutions to provide birth control, for example.
Goddamn, I didn’t mean to get off onto all of that.
Our society is obsessed with labels. It doesn’t matter who you are; there are a few dozen labels that can be applied to you right now based on your beliefs, ideas, and practices. Labels have several problems. Labels create stereotypes. After all, a label is really only a category, and members of a category, by definition, all share some traits. These shared traits become the stereotype. Even if the shared traits are predominantly positive, it’s still a stereotype and it’s still a negative thing. When we use a label on a person, we immediately create a mental image of what that person is like. Every word in the opening paragraph of annoyingly written one-word “sentences” will form an image in the reader’s head no matter how open-minded and tolerant the reader is. This is the purpose of labels and categories, after all. This is also the danger of labels and categories.
The use of labels prevents us from recognizing a very important fact: the person we’re affixing the label to is an Individual, not a group. We are all Individuals. We are not groups. Because of this fixation our society has with labels, categories, and groups, we long ago abandoned the idea of Individual Rights and stealthily swapped it out for Group Rights. There is no greater threat to Liberty than the use of labels and groups.
We talk about homosexual marriage and we debate whether or not it should be allowed. This overlooks the very important fact that what we’re really talking about is an Individual. We refer to people as adjectives, not as Individuals, and in this we err. The question is not whether gays should be allowed to marry; the question is: Should this Individual be allowed to marry? The answer to this question is an immediate and resounding, “Yes.” “Yes,” however, isn’t the right answer. The right answer is: “All Individuals should be allowed to do the same thing that all other Individuals do.”
There’s no such thing as a homosexual. There’s no such thing as an Atheist. There’s no such thing as a Christian. There’s no such thing as a Mexican. There’s no such thing as a Statist, Corporatist, Democrat, Conservative, or Libertarian. There are only Individuals. There may be an Individual who is a male and who is attracted to males, but this Individual is not a homosexual. “Homosexual” is simply a label we use to describe this Individual so that we can readily identify certain characteristics the Individual has. Labels should be used for nothing else. Labels should never be used to dictate one’s rights.
An Individual’s preferences in religion, politics, government, sexual orientation, or whatever should have no bearing on what an Individual is allowed to do. When we allow these preferences to dictate an Individual’s rights, then we immediately move from a system based on Individual Rights and to a system based on Group Rights. From there, it’s just a matter of time before the Majority is dictating its preferences onto the Minority.
Gay/Lesbian marriage is the finest example of this problem. As a society, we are arguing about whether the group we call “homosexuals” should be allowed to marry. We’ve missed the point entirely. The only reason that can be given as to why “homosexuals” should not be allowed to marry is that certain people believe it is a sin, it is wrong, it is an abomination, or it is “spitting in the face of ‘God!’” (Which of these reasons you get depends on how far into the South you are when you ask). There’s simply no other reason that can be given as to why homosexuals should not be allowed to marry.
Plato long ago recognized that Democracy has a severe flaw: it can devolve into a dictatorship over minorities by the majority. In the case of “homosexual marriage,” this is what is happening. A marriage between two men is only going to affect the two men who married; a marriage between two women is only going to affect the two women who married. It does not affect bystanders in the tiniest way.
Why should groups who are unaffected by the actions of another group be allowed to dictate whether those actions are allowed? There is a flip side to this argument that is largely unrecognized, though: If “heterosexuals” can marry but “homosexuals” cannot, then Individuals that belong to the Heterosexual Group have more rights than Individuals who belong to other groups. With this scenario, one Individual has more rights than another Individual.
With this set-up, the group with the most rights will be the majority. This is a clear problem in a nation built upon the idea that “all men are created equal.” Equal rights is one of the fundamental pillars of our nations; through our entire history as a nation, we have said that everyone should have equal rights. We have never, though, practiced what we preached by allowing everyone to have equal rights.
Rights have been divided among racial lines in the past. Black Americans had fewer rights than White Americans. Rights have been divided among gender lines in the past. Female Americans have had fewer rights than Male Americans. We did not “create equality” when we abolished these separations in regard to Rights; we simply went from very broad categories to smaller categories.
Now Rights are divided among sexual orientation, age, religious preferences, and all sorts of other asinine things. Sexual orientation is now the most dominant and most severe example in our culture. We went from a society in which “blacks” couldn’t marry “whites” to a society in which “homosexuals” couldn’t marry “homosexuals.” We still discriminate just as strongly and passionately as we did in the days of segregation. The only difference between discrimination today and discrimination then is that the groups to which we show discrimination are smaller and more narrowly-defined. We’re still discriminating.
And we always will be. The idea of groups will never go away, nor should it. The ability to classify and categorize is an evolutionary advantage that has helped us survive and thrive on a planet largely hostile to our existence in a universe largely hostile to our existence. We’ve categorized bears as dangerous, thus we avoid bears. We’ve categorized lightning as dangerous, thus we do not climb telephone poles during storms. The ability to classify and categorize is important to our survival, and we shouldn’t stop classifying ourselves. Categories and classifications make it easier for us to identify certain characteristics which make our lives easier. Classification is key to our lives.
The only way we should not use categorization is in regard to Rights. We can eliminate this problem quite easily by recognizing that humans are never adjectives. This isn’t “a homosexual” about whom we’re saying must be denied the right to marry. This is an Individual who happens to either have male characteristics while preferring relationships with other Individuals who have male characteristics or female characteristics while preferring relationships with other Individuals who have female characteristics. That’s what this is about: an Individual who has certain characteristics.
When we divide rights based upon groups, we end up with a culture full of groups who all claim, “The characteristics of our members are the only appropriate characteristics, and anyone who does not have these characteristics can be denied whatever rights we wish to deny them.” This is what is happening in the “homosexual marriage” debate. The group who numbers as the majority is claiming, “The heterosexuality of our members is the only appropriate option and anyone who is not a heterosexual can be denied their right to do what heterosexuals are allowed to do.”
Since we can divide Individuals into groups based on any arbitrary and irrelevant characteristic we want, our society can create a lot of problems by using Group Rights. Since 90% of Individuals are right-handed, why don’t we pass a law which says that “lefties” can’t attend public schools? Since Christianity is the dominant religion in the U.S., why don’t “Christians” pass a law which says that all “non-Christians” can’t vote? These issues are absurd, of course, and the latter is protected by the fact that, thankfully, most Individuals who are Christians still appreciate the right to religious freedom.
One day homosexuality could become the preference of the majority of Individuals. The percentage of Individuals who are homosexuals has been steadily climbing for decades now, after all, so it is quite possible that this percentage will climb so much that homosexuality is the majority. At that time, “homosexuals” could make it illegal for heterosexuals to marry. This scenario isn’t exactly implausible.
The “heterosexuals” want to deny rights based on sexual orientation right now because they are safely the majority. This is true of all groups who want to deny rights based on an Individual’s categorization into one group or another: they are all currently the majority. Majorities change. After all, once upon a time the majority believed that Zeus was real. Once upon a time, the majority believed that the Earth was the center of existence. Once upon a time, the majority believed that illnesses were sent directly from Yahweh and that the best cure was prayer, not medicine.
Simply because a group is a majority right now doesn’t mean they always will be, and when they are no longer a majority, their rights are likely to be restricted as strongly as they once restricted the rights of other groups. “Heterosexuals” may one day find that they are not allowed to marry. “Whites” may one day find that they are not allowed to vote and must use separate facilities. “Men” may one day find that they are not allowed to vote and only make about 50% of the money “women” make for doing the same job. Tables turn.
The best way to protect our rights is by making sure that everyone has the same rights. After all, if everyone has the same rights, then it doesn’t matter who is the majority, because the majority won’t have the power to dictate the rights allowed to the minority. Protecting ourselves (if we are the majority) in the future, in case we become a minority, is not the only reason we should make sure everyone has the same rights, though. It’s the right thing to do. Tolerance is the right thing to do, and it is nothing but intolerant to deny one group or another certain rights.
There will always be groups. There will always be adjectives which we use to strip away the personhood of someone. There will always be gays, straights, blacks, whites, Christians, Atheists, Republicans, Conservatives, Democrats, and Liberals. The concept of groups will never vanish from our society. The concept of Group Rights, however, must vanish from our society, because it is deeply flawed.
We are not gays. We are not straights. We are not blacks. We are not whites. We are not Christians. We are not Atheists. We are not Republicans. We are not Conservatives. We are not Democrats. We are not Liberals. We are not Statists. We are not Corporatists. We are not Libertarians. We are not Rationalists.
We are Individuals with characteristics that are most easily identified and explained by using one of the above labels. We have preferences, beliefs, ideas, philosophies, moralities, codes, and principles. But we, as Individuals, each define our own preferences, beliefs, ideas, philosophies, moralities, codes and principles—they do not define us.
Actually, there are quite a bit more than 5 people coming here, and that’s great; I love it. I hope people are enjoying the content.
Anyway, I officially have a Patreon page, linked above, and it’s mostly set up. However, I’ve put in my Milestones and Rewards multiple times, and the changes simply aren’t saving, even after disabling NoScript & Ghostery, and even after trying a different browser. I’ve contacted Patreon to get that worked out. The short of it is that it would allow me to publish more substantial content more frequently, and supporters would receive content as PDFs and ePUBs via email before they’re published elsewhere, as long as SFW images chronicling my journey, and miscellaneous other things. And, most importantly, the higher milestones allow me to reach out to other people in the south who are transgender and who are struggling just to survive.
The key thing for me is to continue producing content, and to simply have vehicles with which people can pay me for that content if they so choose. Because I don’t think art should be sold. Once artists start selling art, their artistic integrity dies. I write because I want to write, not because I want to sell my writing. I want people to enjoy what I write, and if they want to pay me for that, then I would love that, but there’s a huge difference between selling art and accepting donations for art. The former turns art into a whore, and the artist into a pimp.
I will continue writing and releasing content. Strictly speaking, supporters won’t get exclusive content–they will, in the case of the pics chronicling my journey and the “Private Thoughts” articles, but those were never things that I intended to publish anyway, so I don’t count them. Contributing or not contributing will not affect the content that I release to you, except in those two cases, but, again, they were never meant to be released anyway.
So if you like my content, maybe you’d consider supporting me there. Or Like to my Facebook page over there on the right, or by following this link to www.facebook.com/aria.the.writer to keep up-to-date on the things I do. You can also follow me at Amazon: www.amazon.com/author/AriaDiMezzo . Please consider contributing to my GoFundMe page at www.gofundme.com/ariatransition , or buy my short story for 99 cents, which I would actually prefer to a blanket donation: http://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B01AS5NJHM?*Version*=1&*entries*=0 And be sure to Follow me on Twitter to stay even more up-to-date on all the crazy shit I say: twitter.com/Aria_DiMezzo, or @Aria_DiMezzo . And you can find me on Tumblr, though that’s really just a way for me to reach a larger audience: www.shemalediary.tumblr.com . Follow me on OpenCritic for all the awesome games I review, because I’m probably the toughest reviewer out there, and nothing will stop me from reviewing a game honestly: http://opencritic.com/critic/1579/aria-dimezzo . Alternatively, you could just start visiting Cubed3, where I write weekly gaming articles known as Critical Hit, discussing things like Launch Day DLC, the use of slurs by gamers, re-re-re-re-releases, and other hot topics: www.cubed3.com/staffreviews/Anema86 .