Tag Archive | family

Destroying Bigotry Through Relationships

One of the most interesting things that came about because of Porcfest 2017 is that I realized just how ignorant I am of “average” Muslim behavior. Given that I’m an atheist and have no more interest in Islam than I do Wicca or Zoroastrianism, I’m okay with that. I’m also an individualist, so I also make it a point to treat each person as an individual, not a homogenized blob because they happen to have this or that characteristic. I knew intellectually that all Muslims couldn’t fulfill “the stereotype,” but what stereotype is that? Certainly, there’s the “OMG TERRORIST” stereotype, but everyone except the most idiotic conservative knows that not all Muslims are terrorists. However, some idiotic conservatives do think that. I quote a local writer who recently gave me a copy of his book (yes, the book is trash) (and yes, the motherfucker signed it):

“There are no Peace-Loving Muslims, no Moderate Muslims, no Indifferent Muslims. No Radical Muslims. Just Muslims. A Muslim is a Muslim. Period.”

Yes, someone not only wrote that, but got it published in a book.

While most people wouldn’t go that far, it remains true that familiarity is the destroyer of stereotypes–which is the primary reason that I’m currently considering staying in Mississippi*. But before we get into that, let’s talk about paleo-libertarianism. The question of free markets and discrimination is one that a lot of people would like the answer to, because “let the free market deal with it” is not a satisfying answer when discussing people like me who could end up in situations where they can’t shop at critical stores because everyone in the area is transphobic/racist/homophobic/etc.

They have a point.

It doesn’t really make a difference that 50s era segregation was enforced by the state, because many of the business owners of that day would have carried on that policy regardless–and did so well into the 70s in some places. It’s a nice cop-out to be able to say, “There was nothing ‘free market’ about American segregation; it was legislated and enforced by the state, not the market.” Such a statement is true in a limited sense, but we can’t pretend like segregation and discrimination magically disappear if there’s a free market in place, because they don’t.

Last night I spent a while thinking about a friend of mine who immediately identified someone else as Jewish by their last name. Until this “someone else” told me so, I had no idea that he was Jewish, and even afterward it was worthy of nothing but a mental note. When I asked him how he identified the guy as Jewish, he said it was the last name, and that he knew most/all of common Jewish last names. Then I thought of the many borderline anti-semitic things this friend has said in the past. While he doesn’t deny the Holocaust happened, he does take a position closer to mine, that the truth is lost to history and that wartime propaganda twisted the story until it bears unknown  resemblance to the truth. It also occurred to me that, if asked, I would insist to people that this friend isn’t racist. Finally, I wondered whether that was true. Perhaps my own whiteness keeps me from being able to see his racism.

However, I was also repeatedly interrupted during every conversation at Porcfest a few weeks ago, and, when I mentioned this to someone, I was told that “Women traditionally didn’t have a voice at the politics table,” and that was why I was being interrupted. However, this was demonstrably false. It would have been all too easy to play the victim card and cry about sexism (it would also have been nonsense, given my voice), but instead I observed, and what I saw was everyone interrupting everyone else all the time, without regard to age, gender, or race. Seeing sexism in the interruptions would have been confirmation bias; if I went into it expecting to find that, that’s what I would have found, even though the issue is something larger and much more serious.

In fact, the idea that it was sexist struck me as odd from the start. Although hormones have certainly begun to affect my face and body, my hair still isn’t that long, and from some angles I don’t look very feminine at all. On top of that, my voice is certainly on the deeper end–an issue I haven’t yet worked out. Even wearing a dress, some people instinctively called me “he,” something else that I didn’t and don’t get worked up about (although, as I said to someone Friday night, there will come a time when calling me “he” must be intentional, but that’s after more physiological changes and, ideally, vocal surgery), and people tuning into Call to Freedom would have no idea that the person they were listening to identified as a chick. The idea behind the “They’re sexist” argument is that they’re sexist instinctively and without their conscious awareness, but that falls apart when instinctively they consider me a dude.

All that said, the entire reason my rant at Porcfest was so successful is that I’m transgender. How much power would my rant have lost if that wasn’t the case? Many people told me afterward that I broke through their stereotype of transgender people. One of the judges even said that he’d pre-judged me, and was surprised to have that prejudice shattered. I’m no stranger to stereotypes, and they aren’t really a problem; the only problem is when we cling to them and refuse to allow individuals to break them.

I’ve experienced this more than simply at Porcfest. A friend of mine has a grandmother who strongly disliked transgender people, and this friend handled it by showing her grandmother my posts on Facebook from a year ago about just wanting to live in peace. Stereotypes are built of straw people, and they very rarely apply fully, and sometimes they don’t apply at all. The reason they persist is due more to unfamiliarity than anything else. They imagine in their heads some amalgam of all the terrible things they’ve heard about this or that group, and various factors lead them to believe that their imagined person is representative of everyone in that group. It’s just human nature, and it’s not something to condemn people over.

I wouldn’t be able to fully explain my Straw Muslim. The Straw Muslim wasn’t a terrorist, but they were extremely devout–uncomfortably devout. Your Straw Southern Baptist is pretty much what my Straw Muslim looks like, and I’d go even further and suggest that your Straw Muslim also looks a lot like mine. And while the faith of the people involved with Muslims 4 Liberty cannot be doubted, they don’t fit the stereotype at all. Prior to meeting and spending a week with Will Coley et al., I had no idea how pervasive that perception of Islam was, but why else would I have been surprised by the generosity they showed during Ramadan? I’ve been equally surprised by some of the Christians I’ve met within libertarian circles, such as Thomas Knapp, and I’ve been surrounded by Christians most of my life. Prior to meeting some of these people, I probably would have said there’s no such thing as a moderate Christian. In fact, I’m sure I’ve said that in the past. And there’s no doubt: people like Thomas Knapp are entirely the reason I’ve eliminated anti-Christian rhetoric from my repertoire.

However, even as vehemently anti-Christian as I used to be (and I’m still anti-fundamentalist), I was more than willing to allow people their right to free association, and have been arguing in favor of that for years. I look back on an article I published about a year ago and badly want to remove it, because it’s so close to being anti-Muslim in its tone. And that came from myself; it came from within. There was no talk of individualism in that article. It was a lot of bullshit about social customs, integration, and assimilation. I’m positively embarrassed that I wrote that spiel, although that sentiment was present before I met people of Muslims 4 Liberty and goes back at least 7 months, to the first time I re-read the article.

Under no circumstances have I or would I ever deny service to someone because of their characteristics, it must be stated unequivocally, but most people aren’t like that. The same people who condemn Trump for his ban of Muslims also praise Canada for refusing to allow entry to members of the Westboro Baptist Church; the Westboro Baptist Church, on the other hand, would adamantly refuse to allow me into their building, and people like Steven Anderson (not with the WBC, but every bit as hateful and vile) whine and bitch when companies don’t want to do business with them, even as they explicitly refuse to do business with others.

We saw the same thing when Obama became president, and everyone who wanted to see his birth certificate was dismissed as a racist. The reality for most people, however, was something different: through their entire lives, an old white man had been in charge. Suddenly, a black, relatively young man was in charge. They were uncomfortable and afraid, not hateful. And while it’s true that fear often motivates horrific behavior, it didn’t on this occasion, and manifested primarily in cries that Obama was a Muslim or wasn’t from Kenya. It was a knee-jerk reaction to an unfamiliar situation, and one by one these people adapted and realized their world wasn’t coming to an end. Anyone still going on about Obama being a Muslim or a Kenyan is probably just racist and attempting to mask their racism with those allegations, but the birther movement died out because people adjusted and moved on, leaving behind only the racists.

It’s ultimately a matter of cognitive dissonance.

When Bob is told his entire life by his fundamentalist church that gay people are evil abominations, he’s going to experience cognitive dissonance when his best friend of 17 years, Jim, confesses to Bob that he is gay. At this point, Bob is presented with several choices for resolving the dissonance:

  1. My church is wrong. All gay people cannot be evil abominations, because Jim is gay and isn’t an evil abomination.
  2. Jim is wrong and isn’t really gay. He isn’t an evil abomination, and my church is right; ergo, Jim isn’t really gay.
  3. My church is right. All gay people are evil abominations. Therefore, Jim has managed to hide his evil from me for the last 17 years.
  4. On rarer occasions, Bob might craft a special exemption for Jim. “Jim is different… He isn’t like all the other gay people.”

Which of these Bob lands on is ultimately going to come down to trust and relationship importance. If his friendship with Jim is more important to him, then he will decide on #1. If both are equally important to him, he will decide on #2. If his relationship with his church and his religious beliefs are more important, he will go with #3. We can immediately see, then, that Jim has his work cut out for him; there aren’t many things that will be more important to Bob than his religious beliefs, because religious beliefs are “core beliefs” that form the foundation of other beliefs. Asking Bob to accept that his church/religious beliefs are wrong is a much greater thing than simply accepting that Jim is wrong, because Bob’s entire worldview stems from his religious beliefs. If we pull the foundation out from under his worldview, the entire thing collapses.

“Muslim call to prayer while hula-hoppers [sic] groove nearby.”

…And?

That’s a pretty awesome event to be at, if you ask me. People hula-hooping, people stoned, people drunk, people tripping, people dancing, people praying… Everyone getting along, everyone celebrating, and no one hating anyone else over squabbling differences… That sounds to me like a fucking utopia, not something that should be mocked or looked upon with disdain. Indeed, that’s how our entire society should be. I fail to see how anyone has a problem with “Everyone is doing their own thing, and everyone is friendly with everyone else. If they can’t get along, then they just leave each other be.”

In fact, Porcfest is proof that you can put Muslims, Jews, atheists, Christians, transgender people, straight people, gay people, black people, white people, Asian people, and all other people with various characteristics into a society together and end up with something that is really awesome. Yet this douchenozzle from CNN said this with disdain and contempt, and people who replied to the tweet made even more contemptuous remarks: “They don’t pay you enough to attend that crap.”

There are only three ways that liberty can work: homogeneity, diversity, and individualism.

Homogeneity is obviously broken as an idea–it’s simply impossible. There will always be differences between people, and those differences will always be highlighted. Hitler wanted to basically produce an all-white society, and what happened? The differences among white people were immediately targeted as points of divide: those with blond hair and blue eyes were considered superior to someone who had brown hair and brown eyes. By definition, a society can never be truly homogeneous. Even if Hitler had succeeded in eliminating everyone but white people with blond hair and blue eyes, the divisiveness wouldn’t have ended; instead, it would have become “tall people are superior to short people” or something else. I’d venture the statement that the more homogeneous a society is, the more petty are its points of division.

Diversity is flawed for other reasons. A homogeneous society of 99% white people (in addition to still being divided, as the previous paragraph contends) discriminating against the 1% black population can’t be fixed by “the free market” alone. However, what if the society is 75% white and 25% black, and the white population is uniformly racist? With these numbers, it’s true that the black population could simply shop at black-owned stores and work for black-owned businesses, but at this point we aren’t dealing with one society; we’re talking about two societies that just happen to reside in geographic proximity. This is still true if we add in an 80% straight population that doesn’t want to associate with the 20% LGBT population; we aren’t “uniting” society. We’re segregating it into many different societies.

It’s similarly true that diversity fails to take hold in homogeneous societies because of social pressures and economic concerns that often conspire to make it impossible for a person to “come out.” This is a problem that never magically vanishes, and there will always be one group or another who cannot openly admit to being in that group because of the adversity they will face upon doing so. Suppose our society was 99% Christian and 1% atheist, but no atheists were even allowed to speak out without being put to death (as was the case until about 300 years ago). Atheists would not be able to band together to create their atheist stores because coming out as an atheist resulted in death. Diversity requires openness, but there will always be disenfranchised people who simply aren’t allowed to be open about who they are.

Instead we could take the approach of individualism, that a person’s characteristics shouldn’t matter, and that a person should be judged by their actions and behavior rather than being judged over what characteristics they happen to have. This is precisely how Jim breaks through Bob’s anti-gay bigotry. Instead of being lumped into that foreign group that has been painted as a bogeyman by Bob’s church, Jim has an in-road directly to Bob’s heart by being his friend–someone he personally knows. When Bob accepts that Jim isn’t an evil abomination, it is because he isn’t lumping his friend into that group and therefore isn’t applying that group’s alleged qualities to his friend.

Often, we aren’t aware of what stereotypes we harbor, and we’re capable of harboring them regardless of how individualist we are. The destroyer of those stereotypes is the individualism that allows us to have a relationship with someone regardless of their characteristics. Only then can we see how wrong we were.

* As stated elsewhere, the state arresting me and extorting me for nearly $2,500 six months ago ravaged my bank account and basically put me back at square one, albeit with $250~ or so. If I pursue this avenue, all funds contributed to that campaign will be returned, either directly or via matching donations to donors’ campaigns.

I’ve Been Down This Road Before

fingerThis 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.

suspicions confirmed

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.

It’s feminization.

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:

bitchSo 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.

But me?

No.

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.

I’m so tired.

My Goodness, Grandma! What Little Shit You Give!

Yesterday was like my grandmother’s 87th birthday or something. 88, 89, I’m not really sure. She may even be in her nineties. I’m not sure, and it’s not important. Anyway, my employer had just told me a few days prior to take the company credit card and take out a girl with it. Because of things I’ve talked about before, that isn’t really an option at the moment, but the timing was too great. So I talked to my sister about us going to my grandmother’s “favorite restaurant,” El Charro’s. Obviously, we’re white trash from rural Mississippi, so naturally, that would be someone’s favorite restaurant. We did the math and discovered that it would be easily done under the $50 that I was authorized to spend for this purpose, so we offered it to my grandmother.

We soon learned that she does not like El Charro’s, and that she would rather go to Applebee’s instead. Oh. Yeah, well… that kinda doubles the bill, you know? And I just paid my phone bill this morning and ordered hormones yesterday. It’s not like I have a ton of money. In fact, there was no way for me to afford taking me, my sister, her husband, her two kids, my dad, and my grandmother to Applebee’s. Even El Charro’s would have had me spending $15-20 of my own money, but I simply couldn’t handle that with Applebee’s. I could, really, but it would mean that I’d have to stretch the pack of cigarettes I was smoking until this upcoming Thursday, at least, and that wasn’t going to be possible, because I had two cigarettes left. But I couldn’t back out, then. My grandmother was visibly excited; I’d never offered to do anything like that, and it clearly meant a lot to her.

They have margaritas for a dollar.

They have many fewer margaritas now than they did when I arrived.

Anyway, so after we placed our orders,I learned that my nephew added $1.99 to the bill by playing the games on the tablets they have on the table, but it was again asking for authorization. $1.99 isn’t shit to make my nephew happy (he’s more like a little brother honestly), so I authorized it again. Then my dad’s appetizers showed up as I realized that Applebees isn’t for people like me who don’t really eat brown food (you know what I mean), but I found a Thai Shrimp Salad that was acceptable, even though I was probably more Thai than it was.

As the waitress took our orders, she wrote nothing down, and my dad asked if she’d remember it all. She said she would, but I had my doubts, because she’d already forgotten my sweet tea. Twelve minutes later, my dad’s appetizers showed up, but noone else’s did, and it took six more minutes before my appetizers showed up. Three minutes later, my sister and her husband’s appetizers arrived, exactly when everyone’s entrees did.

Amusingly, everyone’s food was burnt and improperly cooked, except my Thai shrimp salad, which war bomb as fuck. We ate in almost uncomfortable silence, with everyone thinking the same thing: I was about to have to drop a hundo on food that was easily outstripped by a McDonald’s dollar menu.

I gave the waitress my credit card (company card) and my debit card, and told her to charge $50 to the credit card. I also told her that I don’t carry cash, so she needed to add a 17% gratuity. The food was awful, but the service was decent. After I stood by the door for nine minutes thinking about how badly I wanted a cigarette, she returned and told me that all of it had been put on the credit card.

At this point, I’m pretty sure I’d be justified in telling her to reverse the charges because I wasn’t paying for a bad meal to a server who can’t follow simple directions, but I firmly and politely said that wasn’t going to work; the charges HAD to be reversed, and she HAD to do it as I told her. Her manager came and took care of it, I added the tips, and walked outside.

My dad and grandmother were GONE. These old ass fuckers VAMPED, dude. Didn’t say thanks, didn’t even wait for me to finish paying. Just left.

As though I needed another reason to hate my family. The same people who oppressed me for fifteen years. Didn’t even wait for me to finish paying the bill man.

I was stunned when I stepped out into the parking lot and saw only my sister’s vehicle. Surely, my dad and grandmother hadn’t left, right? I’m sure they said “Thanks, we enjoyed it” offhandedly as they boxed the leftovers, but that didn’t actually qualify as a true “Thank you for doing this,” did it? What they offered was a token response, the way I was programmed to say “Thank you, that was good” after eating a meal–as my grandmother programmed me to say when I was a kid. That was all that was. Surely that isn’t what they considered sufficient to the fact that I’d just dropped a hundred freaking dollars when they know how broke I am, and they know that I had to have made some pretty major sacrifices to afford this?

I thought my dad must have moved the car on one of his many smoking trips. But as I approached my car, parked beside my sister and her husband’s, it became inescapably clear, and I looked around the parking lot. They were gone. G–o–n–e. My father and grandmother showed the same level of appreciation that my nephew shows when I give him a stick of gum or something. They dined and dashed in almost every sense, and the only way that idea is broken is that they did offer up the token of manners, that “Thank you, it was good” line that people in the south are taught to say.

Thank you. It was good.

It was good?

I didn’t fucking cook it.

The best they could offer was the token mannered bullshit that kids say to their mom after dinner? The same unenthusiastic bullshit that I said to my grandmother probably thousands of times growing up? You know, when I was six? And then… And then, they didn’t even say bye?

My dad knew how fucked up it was. I know that, because he texted me shortly after I got home, saying:

Thanx we both enjoyed it.Nice place.Be safe.Watch the blue lites.

I’ve been on the verge of tears pretty much perpetually through the last week, and this is going to be what finally makes me cry. This brazen disrespect, this utter disregard, this almost psychopathic handling of the situation when their child/grandchild took them out for a fucking goddamn birthday dinner, to not even say goodbye, and to offer up nothing more than a mumbled expression of gratitude as they boxed up what they hadn’t eaten.

Isolation will kill you, you know?

I shouldn’t be willing to even speak to my family, other than my sister, and even my sister is in a huge grey zone, and there’s a growing elephant in the room there. The verdict is still out on whether she is really going to reject me (she hasn’t yet, but she also hasn’t accepted me yet), but the verdict has long been delivered with my dad and grandmother. And here I am, taking $45 that I should have put toward my GoFundMe campaign (that’s not true–with the phone bill and hormones, there was no way that I would have been able to donate to the campaign this week) and using it instead to buy them a dinner, and the best they can muster is the reply of a child whose mother reminded him to say “Thank you.”

It’s hard to even explain how much it hurt to walk out into that parking lot and see my grandmother gone. The dinner was for her fucking birthday.

I’m just thankful that my sister was still out there.

My grandmother expects me to come out tomorrow and reformat her computer.

That’s not going to happen.

That was flagrant abuse of my emotions, an absolute disregard for my feelings, and a shining bastion of selfishness and arrogance.

I replied to my dad a simple “Really disrespectful.”

He replied back:

Who was?

I did say we enjoyed it. Right? And thanx

You’d honestly get the impression that these people are sociopaths. Maybe they are. Maybe that’s why my worldview has always been so skewed: I was raised by sociopaths. This is… actually pretty likely. So now they’re going to pretend like they didn’t do anything fucked up. That’s fine, I can pretend, too. I can pretend not to give a shit.

It’s a Holiday

And what am I going to do?

I didn’t do anything over the weekend to celebrate the Fourth of July, which is odd because it’s one of the few holidays that I actually like. Of course. This was the day, 240 years ago, that we declared independence from the British Empire. As an anarchist, I stand in favor of that. But I didn’t do anything.

My family had no cookout, and even if they had, I wouldn’t have been able to go, not really, because it’s the weekend–and, during the weekends, I spend as little time as a male as possible. The last time I went out to my grandmother’s my dad pulled me aside and told me not to come back out there with black fingernail polish on anyway, which just adds to the list of things I’d have to do if I wanted to go out there. But we didn’t have one anyway.

My sister occasionally does such things, because she’s trying to step up to fill my grandmother’s role in the event of my grandmother’s inevitable death. It’s always my grandmother’s that we go to, for family shit, and my sister badly wants her house to be the nexus when my grandmother dies. But it’s not going to happen, for a few reasons–the most important is that family unity dies with my grandmother. There’s no chance of my my dad’s brother and wife coming out to my sister’s for a Thanksgiving or Christmas thing, and if they do, they’d only stop by for a minute on their way somewhere else. And then the next year, they’d stop by for a few minutes less, and then they’ll stop coming altogether.

Of course, I’ll be long gone by then. Not just because I’ll have moved, but because I’m transgender and simply won’t be welcome there–end of story. I’ve addressed it several times, but here, one more time, is my sister’s long reply when I finally broke down and was honest with her about me being transgender and how I wasn’t going to continue to hide it:

Click to enlarge.

Click to enlarge.

But the real reason that no one in our family did anything is that everyone is broke. My sister still hasn’t found a replacement job from when she unwisely quit her job as a bartender from the Diamond Lounge at the Horseshoe, where she made about $600 a week in tips alone, and received a full wage. And she’s not going to, because for 9 years she worked as a bartender; it’s the only thing she knows.

The county we live in is an honest-to-god dry county. I invite you to ponder how many bartending opportunities are available here. The only real opportunities were at the casino, and they demonstrably prefer hiring 21 year old women, not 31 year old women. While they’ve enough lawyers to ensure they are never called out on this, it’s certainly true. And, even so, they’d rather hire someone who went to bartending school, and my sister did not–she was a cocktail waitress who was “promoted” to a bartender.

She cooked her own goose, as it were, and everyone warned her not to do it. However, her husband and father of their newly born 3 month old child, threatened to leave her if she went back to work at the casino, so she quit the day that she was supposed to return from FMLA. I don’t blame her for that, because she had a really shitty choice to make: let her husband leave when she knew she couldn’t pay the bills, or quit her job when she knew that he couldn’t pay the bills. And he hasn’t. Much as I have been, they’ve been treading water through the last year, except they’ve had to borrow money almost constantly to make it, and they are months behind on their house note with foreclosure inevitable. There is a reason why, last July when my sister quit and I was still living there, that I immediately contacted my uncle and asked him to rent me the one bedroom apartment that my dad and I had lived in–because everyone who knew the situation knew that the Sword of Damocles hung over her head. I’m surprised they’ve made it this long, but I don’t think they’ll make it much further.

What few friends actually would have done something for the holiday would not have invited me, because they don’t want to ask the question, and they don’t want to say it.

“Would you be coming as Aria, or as a guy…?” is the question they don’t want to ask, but it’s also a question that they must ask, because…

“You can’t come here as Aria,” is the thing they don’t want to say.

Which is something I allow from them simply because I don’t have other friends. How could I? These are the tolerant Mississippians; these are the open “I don’t give a shit what people do” Mississippians.

And though the reality is that they don’t care, they also wouldn’t be the only people at these parties, and it’s simply true that… “My wife’s brother would spend the whole night mocking you, and he might even threaten you and attack you.” “Someone would bring a friend of a friend, or a date with them, and they’d find out, and chaos would ensue.” “My parents would leave as soon as they found out. You can’t ask me to choose between having you at my party and having my parents there.”

That’s the reality of Mississippi–the same reason that it would be mostly ineffective for any of them to share my GoFundMe campaign. Not only would inviting me to their party probably put me directly in danger, but it would force them to stand up and take a side–and not everyone is willing to do that. Not everyone is willing to face that situation where your brother-in-law is threatening your transgender friend.

So I did nothing for the holiday except think about all the things that I will do next year when I am in Vegas, living free, living securely, and without danger constantly hanging over my head about someone’s brother-in-law, a friend of a friend, and other shit like that. I thought about how next year I will be hosting the party with all the friends I make quickly and easily by hitting up local LGBT clubs and hotspots, of being a fascinating and interesting person to hang out with. I thought about how I will be telling people, “Hey–if you’ve got a fucking problem, you can leave” if they mouth off to a straight friend, a transgender friend, a gay friend, or any other friend.

I thought about how I’ll surely have Dancing in Hellfire published by then, and how I’ll be making bigger and better videos on Youtube, possibly writing for mises.org. Maybe I’ll even have finished Steam Greenlight & Anarchy by then.

I thought about how I’ll be looking back on this day and being shocked by how desensitized I was to how much Mississippi truly sucks–in the same way that we become desensitized to everything. It’s amazing what a person can accept as normal simply because they see it everyday. I thought about how that would probably be my last post to the GoFundMe campaign–a picture of me in my new home, surrounded by friends and not worried that someone’s brother-in-law is going to start shit with me because he “don’t like them queers and transsexyals.”

That would be fitting, I think.

Saying Goodbye

I’ve gone out of my way in the past few weeks to keep in touch with my nephew, to go out when he is home and hang out with him–even if I’m just sitting there watching him play the latest Call of Duty or something–and I did that as recently as Saturday morning. He wanted me to take my PC out there, too, and I did try–it just wasn’t feasible though. The simplest way to explain that would be to say that my PC is pretty much wired into my house. Given that I have speakers implanted in the ceiling that are fed from a receiver that is fed by my PC, that’s not terribly off the mark. So I told him that he could come out some time.

He texted me yesterday (obviously, I removed where he said his name):

13113014_243376576021050_7576293454739092547_o

He knew the reason I asked if everything was okay. His parents fight a lot (almost daily, in fact), and he knows that I hate him being around that, especially when they yell. I don’t know. Maybe it’s just me. My ex-wife and I fought, sure, but the majority of our arguments were civil, and they never came anywhere close to violence. When we did yell at one another, it was an occurrence that didn’t last long and didn’t happen more than once every six months or so. I think in the 6-7 years we were together, we yelled at each other maybe three times.

Anyway. He knows that the very moment he says that everything isn’t okay, I’ll be on my way out there to pick him up. And one of the main points of this is the heart-breaking second text that he sent me–I’m going to come back to that.

He also wrote this note and gave it to me:

"You need three."

“You need three.”

Again, I just removed his name.

That deals with Minecraft and something he saw in a Youtube video. I have no idea what he’s talking about, but apparently you need sand, dirt, and a bucket of lava three blocks of sand, dirt, and buckets of lava. He said this will let you walk on walls and stuff, and I pretended like it was really useful information, despite not really having any idea what he was talking about, because he took the time to write me a note about it. He even had his mom put it in an envelope and seal it for him, and he gave it to me today.

I don’t have any kids, and I don’t envy people who do. I spend enough time worrying about my nephew and just relishing little moments like that, where all I can do is tear up and think “Oh my god, I love this little dude.” Parents undoubtedly become desensitized to that sort of thing. They forget what it’s like to have a kid do something like that, because for the first few years it happens all the time. Mothers take notes like that and put them away the mundanity that accompanies routine, and they think no more about it. But that note to me is an indisputable sign that my nephew loves me.

Well, of course he does! you might be replying. He’s your nephew, so… duh.

I hope you’re not saying that, because I don’t want to live in the world of a jaded, where the love of a six year old is so taken for granted that it should be considered trivial.

Even my cats aren’t afraid of my nephew. He’s one of the few people they aren’t afraid of; they love him to death, too, because he’s also spent time with them. It says a lot to me that my cats like him. They barely tolerate me.

That’s not true. My cats are deeply fond of me.

There are two reasons that I’ve made more of an effort recently to spend more time with my nephew. The first is pragmatic. It’s my hope that my sister (who is increasingly impossible to predict about me being transgender) will accept the reality that it’s not going to affect him one bit when the time comes. As it is, there is the unspoken rule that I can only spend time with my nephew if I’m a male. In fact, I can’t go anywhere near any of my family as a female, but that’s not really the issue I want to get into.

If you remember, her main response about me being transgender is that it will destroy my nephew’s innocence. It took me more than three months to come up with the resolve and fortitude to offer a rebuttal to that, but at the moment it’s somewhere between an elephant in the room and an unspoken agreement. But around the time I’m sporting C cups, that unspoken agreement is going to fall apart.

If she does go through with her plan to keep me away from my nephew, in spite of how much he clearly loves me and vice versa, then I want him to be able to remember, in ten years, all the great times we had. While I don’t think she would attempt to poison his mind against me, it’s quite possible that too many replies of “I’ll explain it when you’re older” will leave his imagination twisting me into some sort of gnarled bogeyman that his mother had to protect him from. If he can remember these great memories, then he can look back one day and say, “No… There’s nothing wrong with my uncle. Or Aunt. Or whoever the hell she is–she’s fine. It was my mom’s prejudice and turning away from her sibling that was the problem.”

Not that he should turn away from his mother by any means… I don’t mean that, and I’d never want that. But I don’t want him turning from me, either.

Let’s return for a moment to the fact that she’s worried that knowing I’m transgender will affect his innocence, his carefree childhood life. And then look back up to his second text:

Ok but we don’t have gas to go there

Why–Dear fucking YAHWEH, will someone tell me WHY–does this six year old child have any knowledge whatsoever about money, gas, and the reality of not having those?

I remember being a kid and having my mom tell me, “No, we don’t have the money for you to get that.” “No, we don’t have the gas for us to go there.” “No, we don’t have the money to do that.” And I remember having my dad tell me the very same things. 99% of the reasons my mother ever gave about why she couldn’t come see my sister and me… were gas. From the age of 7 to about the age of 14, I hated the idea of gas. I didn’t really even understand what it was. I just knew that people needed it for cars to work, and for some reason neither of my parents ever seemed to have any.

If we want to talk about things destroying a carefree childhood, money and gas have to be at the top of the list. And if those don’t make the Number One spot, then parents fighting all the fucking time will.

It breaks my heart to think that one day he’s going to ask, “Can I go to <Uncle MyName’s>?” and that she’s going to answer, “No. You can’t hang out with him anymore.” And why? Well, it’s not because she thinks all LGBT people are rapists and child molesters–she at least knows better than that. In fact, she snapped on someone for making that accusation not too long ago.

Someone she knows fairly well became convinced that someone had “touched” her son. And this person immediately pointed the finger at me with no justification other than “Isn’t your brother kinda… you know?” Happily, my sister lost her cool on this jackass, because there were so many things wrong with the idea that it was hard to even know where to start. How about the fact that I’d never been alone with the kid? How about the fact that transgender doesn’t mean child molester? How about the fact that the majority of child molesters openly identify as straight–even the men who rape little boys call themselves straight. How about the fact that I’m an extremely principled and moral person and have always stood against all forms of child abuse?

So I can at least say that for my sister. But why, then? Because she thinks my nephew will care? Because he won’t, and we all know that’s true. He’s six. He’s at the exact age where he would say, “Okay. Can I play Smash Bros.?” He has seen pictures of me in female clothing and it’s never struck him as odd or even something worth noting. He’s before that age where such things can even affect him. But I’ve pointed out this already. I don’t want to do it again.

It just frustrates me, because I know my sister isn’t going to change her mind. At least I’ll have these memories to get me through the next 50 years while I become that one family member that everyone forgets about and never mentions because they’re too afraid to face their own inner demons and my presence and mere mention would force them to.

Oh, and what about my dad? He texted me yesterday and said:

I kno u miss ur mom but u could tell ur gma happy mothersday

I didn’t reply. How could I reply? What could I possibly say to that? He had basically just said:

I know your mom was murdered, but mine is still alive.

Obviously, he didn’t mean it in such ridiculous terms, but that doesn’t change what he said. It’s still a fucked up thing to say. My mother is dead, dude. Probably. I say “probably” because no one knows where my mother is. No one has ever recovered her body, and no one has ever been charged with a crime. It’s pretty much indisputable that my aunt’s ex-husband (someone who you might call an uncle) murdered her, since he has been to prison for another murder, but without a corpse it’s worse than speculation. It’s baseless speculation.

All I want is my mother’s body. I would love nothing more than to be able to strike the deal with this man “You tell me where my mother’s body is, and I will remove the knife from your throat, and I will let you walk away and will never press charges.” But the justice system won’t let me do that. Rightfully–in regard to the knife but I’m not a violent person anyway and wouldn’t try to handle it like that in the first place. But I couldn’t even peacefully make this agreement with him, because the justice system denies me the right to forego pressing charges in regard to murder. You can’t kill someone and then have someone not press charges; murder doesn’t work that way.

Would he even do it? I think probably, if he knew there wouldn’t be any consequences. And why would there be? My mother has been dead (allegedly) since I was 12 years old. For more than half of my life, she’s been dead. There is no conceivable way for her to be brought justice at this point, and revenge is something I long ago released the desire for. It’s a simple matter of closure for me. I want to know that she’s dead, and not screaming in some basement somewhere…

That’s undoubtedly the worst part. Because I don’t know that she’s dead. There are plenty of places in the Ozarks to hide a body that will never be discovered, but even so–how possible is it to hide a body and it not be found in the modern world? It’s entirely possible that he is telling the truth, that she did vanish with a truck driver named Tim, and that she has spent the last 17 years trapped in a basement with a broken psyche and battered body, tortured and mutilated and barely clinging to life. Who the fuck knows? No one. And humans have done worse than that to one another.

I would be more than willing to face obstruction of justice charges for refusing to say how I got the information. I’d attribute it to fucking psychic visions; I don’t give a fuck. No jury in the world would convict me for doing whatever I had to do in order to recover my mother’s body after nearly two decades, and I doubt a competent DA would even try. Besides, after two decades even with a confession the killer wouldn’t serve any time–even with a prior under his belt.

But it will never happen. Eventually I’ll be able to rest assured that she’s dead. And, realistically, I can do so now. She’d be sixty years old now. Far too old for someone to be interested in raping, and far too old to still have any will to live after nearly two decades of imprisonment and torture; her spirit would have given up by now. That is the only solace I can find on the matter. “Even if she was tortured in a basement, she would have given up on life and died by now.”

That’s my mother, man. That’s the woman who gave birth to me that we’re talking about. The woman who I loved so deeply and in whom I found such beauty that it more or less made me transgender. And the only definitive thing I can say about her is that “Even if she was tortured in a basement, it has been two decades and she’d be sixty by now, so she would certainly be dead by this point. She’s no longer alone and screaming now.”

To end this with something that will make you laugh:

A Long Time Coming

Last night, I reached a point in “Dancing in Hellfire” where it was time to discuss coming out, and, of my experiences, one in particular is notable. The rest don’t matter and are all being lumped together as “Fantastic Friends,” but one is unique: my sister. By an incredible margin, this was the most difficult one to address, and by all rights should have brought me the most relief once it was over, since most people would look back in hindsight and think “Well, of course my sister wasn’t going to have a problem with it! What the fuck was I thinking?”

But I can’t look back and say that, because my initial fears–shared by a friend who knew my sister pretty well–proved correct. In the cognitive dissonance that rose because I’m transgender and she’s a fundamentalist Christian, she actively chose unacceptance and ignorance. Strangely, this is something that she more or less openly admits. And, to make matters worse, I happened to see her a few hours ago when I was at the bank, and she reported that she’d just taken her son back to the doctor. That’s three doctor visits in 5 days, and during none of those did she do what she’d told me she would.

I knew it would have to happen eventually, and, sure enough, the content I wrote last night on the matter was aimed more at dissecting and rebuking my sister’s long and fucked up text message. I had to get it out of my system, though, because I haven’t actually sat down to examine it and point out every little thing that’s wrong with it. So here’s another excerpt from “Dancing in Hellfire.”

=====================================

Accepting that I’m transgender was only the first of many difficult battles—in fact, there are still battles that I fight, and I don’t expect that I’ll have the war behind me for many years. I would even go further than that and say: accepting that I’m transgender was not the first of many battles; it was the declaration of war.

The first step in this, of course, is coming out to people, and that has been extremely easy and extremely difficult. I still haven’t told my grandfather, grandmother, and father, but, in honesty, I don’t intend to tell my grandfather at all. I love him to death, and he’s very old—I don’t want him to spend the last few years of his life supremely disapointed and under the impression that I’m going to hell. There’s no need to burden him with that, since I don’t see him that often in the first place—not as much as I’d like, for sure. My grandmother and dad will have to know, but, as the time of writing this section, I still hadn’t told them because, again, I don’t see them often enough for it to be a problem.

The most difficult person so far to discuss it with has been my sister. I knew that it could go one of two ways: either she wouldn’t care, or she would care immensely. It’s that damned internal conflict, that cognitive dissonance, and her reply, I knew, would depend on which of the two things were more important to her on a fundamental level: her religious beliefs or our relationship.

When I discussed this with a friend of mine, he told me that I was crazy for telling her and that she would never have anything to do with me again. As I thought more and more about it, though, I decided that wasn’t true, and that all of the bullshit we had gone through together ensured a more powerful bond than that. Because we really did go through a lot together, and we always have had each other’s back.

So I just told her one day, after wrestling with it for months, by bringing it up randomly while we were in the kitchen. I showed her a picture of myself as a female, and said, “That’s me,” or something to that effect. She replied that she already knew and that she didn’t care. We discussed it for a few moments, but nothing substantial was said, and I broke it to her in the same way that I’ve broken it to others: “For now, just think of it like cross dressing. It’s not cross dressing, but that’s a good way to think of it for the time being.” And, most critically, I explained that the reason I was finally bringing it up was because I wasn’t content to continue dressing as a male when I was at home. She said that she’d have to discuss that with her husband.

I knew that she knew I occasionally wore women’s clothes, and she knew that I knew that she knew, so her response to the whole thing was pretty much unnecessary. It was an open secret, an elephant in the room that we never talked about. Something like “So you’re finally getting it out in the open? That’s great. I’m happy for you” would have been nice, but, as I would soon guess, that was not her feeling about it at all.

I waited about a week to hear back from her on discussing it with her husband, and then I asked her if she’d talked to him. She said that she had not, because he had been pretty busy at work. This was the first indication that something was amiss. I had stressed to her the entire reason for bringing it out into the open, after all, and made it a point to mention that it was all very important to me, though I didn’t then go into specifics. I did explain then that I’m not into guys, and that my love for women hasn’t changed at all, and I explained that I have no interest in SRS, so it’s not like nothing was said that day.

After several more days, I began to suspect that something was amiss, and nearly a month passed before I asked her about it again, though by this point I was already starting to sense that my initial impression—and my friend’s impression—was correct, and that she was going to hide behind her husband (who she probably hadn’t even talked to) as an excuse to stop it. And, sure enough, when I asked her again, she said that he wasn’t comfortable with the idea.

That… struck me as strange, because he had lived with a drag queen before, when he was younger. They weren’t romantically involved or anything like that, but I still have a hard time believing that he had a problem with it. He had never said or done anything that indicated an unwillingness to accept homosexuals or transgenders, and he had once been roommates with a drag queen; that’s a pretty big change of heart, and in a strange direction for someone who describes himself as an atheist.

Meanwhile, my sister’s biggest “thing” is a deep and pervasive fear of death and oblivion. She willingly admits that the reason she is a Christian is because she is scared of oblivion and wants to believe in an afterlife. During that month that I waited patiently for her to do something she should have had the decency as my sister to do immediately, I thought a lot about her motivations, and I realized that accepting me would come in direct conflict with her religious beliefs, and her religious beliefs gave her the pacifier of immortality; asking her to accept me was to ask her to accept oblivion.

She lies, because she’s a coward and won’t say to my face the things she says in text message. She has done this repeatedly, and it’s infuriating. Still, she was noticeably uncomfortable discussing this sort of thing in person, even though she had just a week or so before given me a ton of clothes, jewelry, and makeup that she didn’t want or need. I languished for about another month, wondering how she would react if I simply dropped it on her as an ultimatum. I realized my mistake—I was asking her permission to by myself, and that was the wrong way to handle it. I didn’t need her permission. Instead, I should have said, “This is what I’m doing. You can accept it or not.”

One thing that motivated me further was my knowledge that they simply don’t have the money to survive without me paying them that $500 monthly that I was giving them. Shortly after they had their second child, they fought constantly about whether [my sister] was going back to work. Surprisingly, [my sister] wanted to go back, because she accepted the reality that they simply didn’t make enough money, the way they burned through it, to make ends meet on only one income. Keeping in mind that they had a six year old child and a two month old baby, as [my sister] drove to work, [her husband] informed her that if she went to work, then he was leaving her.

Let that sink in.

So she quit her job, and they’ve been white-knuckling it since, even with the money that I gave them monthly and the random cigarettes and stuff I purchased here and there because they were out. And there was constant tension for me, because if they were broke it was always my fault. It didn’t matter that I paid them exactly what they asked—if they were broke, it was because I hadn’t paid them yet. There was so much tension that there were several nights when I simply sat in my room, needing to use the bathroom but holding it, simply because I didn’t want to deal with that horrible tension. Meanwhile, I paid them regularly, and they had a steady influx of money—as they were creating this oppressive vibe in the air.

I accommodated her still and wrote her a letter. For one, she had consistently written it off as “wanting to wear girl clothes,” and I had already corrected that. That first time I asked her if she’d talked to [her husband] yet, I clarified that and explained that I’m transgender. So she only believed that I cross-dressed for a few days, a week at the most; after that, she knew the full details that I’m transgender and that it’s a pretty big deal. But she continued to characterize it as “wanting to wear girl clothes,” and writing it down would leave her totally unable to misconstrue it. It couldn’t be interrupted—something else she is bad about doing—and it couldn’t be misunderstood.

My letter basically said that being forced to live the lie constantly, even when I was at home, where I was paying a substantial amount of money to rent a bedroom with drafts all through it in a house that was in poor condition, was destroying me. And it was. The only other time in my life that I had been that suicidal was shortly after my separation, and on that occasion I was admitted to the hospital for slashing my wrists open. I told her that she could accept it, or I could move, but I wasn’t asking her permission to do it, and I wasn’t going to continue hiding it. I explained that her 6 year old is the least likely person in the world to care and that at most he will think it’s funny at first, and then will ask if he can play one of the games on my computer, and then he will never think about it again.

She responded just a few minutes later with a text message that I can’t let myself read right now, because it will infuriate me, and probably make me cry since I’m on hormone. I was going to post the screenshot, but it’s kind of difficult to read, and it wouldn’t be legible in black and white anyway. So here’s the message:

“I love u and for 29 yrs u have been my brother so I just block it out bc I can’t even come to terms with it so my 6 year old isn’t going to have to either. I would rather leave it to deal with when he’s older so no I won’t b telling him now. We, as a family, are not comfortable with you dressing up as a woman in our home. I’m sorry. But it’s my family. These kids mean more than anything to me. I do want u to be happy and not depressed but I guess that does involve u moving. [My son] is still full of innocence and I am not going to destroy that. I know that this world will do that all by itself but [my husband] and I have decided to raise our sons the way we think. This is a topic obviously that I try to avoid bc I’m not comfortable with it. I can’t look at u in any other way. I will tell [my son] anything but the truth right now. He will miss u but he will get over it. I just can’t explain it to him and we don’t want to so I’m sorry.”

I’m going to now do something that I’ve resisted the urge to do since I saw that text message. I’m going to explain everything that’s wrong with it.

First, as I said, her son won’t have a hard time coming to terms with it. The only reason she has a hard time is because of all that religious crap in her head that says it’s a sin and that it’s wrong. The bluntness and self-awareness of her message is staggering: she knows she wants to escape back into ignorance. She wanted to keep Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell in our family, and I was unwilling to do that. There’s a reason we abolished that in the military. It’s extremely destructive.

By the third sentence, she has forgotten that I’m her family, too, but whatever. That’s not even the important bit. The important part is “…you dressing up as a woman in our home.” This infuriates me so much to see, because it’s not only willful ignorance—since I’ve already explained to her that it’s not “dressing up”—it’s downright offensive and insulting. You don’t characterize a transgender person as fucking playing dress up. That’s messed up. Drag Queens dress up, and there’s nothing wrong with that, but that isn’t what a transgender person does. These are critical distinctions, and I’d already made them to her. That she would say this after at least two in-depth explanations is nothing short of insulting and a blatant display of her absolute failure to listen.

Take note of the line “These kids mean more than anything to me,” because we’ll come back to that in a moment. Let’s focus for now on the allegation that my very existence is a threat to her son’s innocence. Is that not just the most fundamentalist Christian thing you’ve ever heard? I don’t have any problem with Christians—a great deal of them are wonderful, kind, and loving people. I have a problem with Christians like my sister, who think that my being openly transgender will destroy her son’s innocence. By that statement, we can extrapolate that she would think her son seeing two men or two women kiss on television would also destroy her son’s innocence. But it doesn’t. It simply expands his mind.

Because she doesn’t have a problem with non-transgender people dressing however they want to dress. Nor does she have a problem with straight couples kissing in front of her son—she even encourages it regularly. “Is that your little girlfriend?” she asks him, never stopping to consider that he might be gay, and never even allowing the possibility. “He’s a little ladies’ man!” she proclaims proudly. If we’re going to talk about the destruction of innocence, let’s talk about the destruction of innocence and how she has overwritten his default worldview of bisexualism with heterosexuality, and now she brands everything that isn’t strict homosexuality as the destruction of innocence. It is not. It is simply a threat on the definitions and constraints she has attempted to impose upon his mind, rather than letting it grow and develop naturally.

And she even knows that: “We have decided to raise our sons how we think.” Well, first of all, her husband calls himself an atheist, so I still doubt that he has a problem with it. I don’t know that, but I do doubt it, because being unaccepting of homosexuals and transgender people is almost always a religious thing. Why hide behind this bullshit about innocence, though, when we all know what it’s really about—controlling how her kids think. My being transgender isn’t an assault on her son’s ignorance. It’s an assault on her attempts to make her kids into the kind of people who would turn their backs on a family member of 29 years. If you ask me, that’s the kind of thing that should be assaulted.

“Oh? My being transgender is an attack on that mentality that would lead someone to turn their backs on their sibling after 29 years beside each other through hardship, struggle, abuse, and violence? I’m a threat to that worldview that openly chooses lies and willful ignorance over the truth and acceptance? Good.”

Then she gets into how she’s not comfortable with it and can’t look at me in any other way. Well, of course you can’t! You won’t open your eyes! This was infuriating, made all the worse that I forced myself to be the bigger person and just not reply to it. I still haven’t replied to it. We’ve had a few small discussions here and there, but nothing really substantial, and, after what happened in the past few days, we won’t really have any discussions again. We’re done.

How ridiculous is it, though, to say that she can’t see me any other way, when she openly refuses to look at me? Remember what all of this was about: my telling her that I was going to begin being me more and more frequently until I no longer presented myself as a male at all. Apart from the picture I showed her, which concealed most of my face, she had only ever seen her brother. One thing I stressed in my letter was that I knew it was jarring for everyone and would require transition—I was not going to just pop out in a little pink dress and high heels. I was willing to move slowly toward that, at a rate that was slow but moving forward. I think I said a good first step would have been to simply wear female jeans at home. But even that was too much for her.

She wasn’t willing to look, and she insisted that she couldn’t look. I am a threat to the Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell shit that we’ve lived for two decades. I’m a threat to the secret, to the elephant in the room. I’m a threat to her desire not to think about it. I’m a threat to her ignorance. She didn’t choose her religion; she chose her ignorance.

And then she drops the hammer. She will tell her son anything but the truth. What a remarkable thing to say. If your worldview requries lies in order to protect it, then you should re-examine that worldview. And drop it, replacing it with one that doesn’t require lies and deceit to be protected. But let’s just bask in the glory of that statement—she would tell her son anything but the truth.

She would lie to her son.

She will kick me from her son’s life.

She will bring her son sorrow.

And I’m a threat to his innocence.

Her son and I spent a lot of time together, because we are both avid video gamers. I write for a gaming site and am a professional game critics—they’re more than a hobby to me, and I’ve got a ton of games on my computer that her son loved playing. Every single evening, he’d come into my room and ask if he could play with my cats, ask if he could play games on my computer, and ask if he could watch me play. I didn’t always say “Yes,” because, frankly, I don’t have kids for a reason, and one of those reasons is that I like to spend time to myself. But he did spend a lot of time with me.

And one day he’s going to wonder why his mom took his friend away and wouldn’t let him see his friend anymore. He is only six, so he may not remember how much time we spent together. He may not remember all the nights he sat in there and played with my cats, and he might not remember how many times I told him to come into the bedroom with me because his parents were fighting again and I knew he didn’t need to hear that shit. I love that kid. And my existence is a threat to his innocence.

As a bonus happy thought, here is my kitty Rainbow:

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She’s so precious. 🙂

My pillowcases were actually in the dryer because I needed to get cat hair off them, in case anyone is curious. Neither of the cats shed very badly, and it’s winter here anyway, but I still wash them pretty often because they do stuff like this.

Rainbow wants to know if you’ve considered supporting me on Patreon, to help ensure that posts like these keep coming, as well as getting some exclusive stuff that only patrons get. Join that elite club of awesome people. 🙂

Hormones: Crossing the Rubicon

I made the decision yesterday that I am going to begin hormone therapy en sincera this month. For the last two to three months, I’ve been taking very small doses of estrogen, but the doses were low enough that it has been more a pacifier than anything–certainly not enough to cause any behavioral or physical changes. It has been my hope that doing this will decrease the psychological impact of a sudden influx of hormones, but that’s not really the way it works, so…

For more than two decades, I’ve had to live as a male, and that’s caused a lot of destructive and self-destructive behavior to manifest in my life. No more. I made that decision in August, following the most disastrous period of my life. It was almost entirely a side effect of my denial. When I left my ex-wife four years ago, I told a long-time friend of mine that I was considering SRS, because I had always told myself that “If I ever divorce, I’m going to go ahead and do it.” Because I’ve always wanted to–in many ways, at least. And that’s an aspect of this I can’t stress enough. Though it seems to many people that this came out of nowhere, it did not.

One of my earliest memories entails a little three or four year old me hiding all my underwear in the closet. Why? Because, for some reason, whenever all my underwear was dirty, my mom put me in my sister’s panties. And even then, even at the age before preschool and before kindergarten, I preferred that. I wish I’d realized then what I know now. I nearly fell into a deep depression earlier today when it dawned on me how much time I’ve lost to this lie, how I’ll never get it back, and how I’ll die in the next two to five decades, and will never get that lost time back. It’s just… gone. Honestly, I can’t help but feel that society stole those 20+ years from me.

And part of that is because I do live in Mississippi. I was born here, I was raised here, and my family is exactly what you’d expect a Mississippi family to be. Though my sister has known for years, it was something we never discussed openly, and I knew why. In the back of my mind, I knew why–it was sort of a “Don’t ask, don’t tell” thing. She knew, but she didn’t want to know. But after spending more than two decades accommodating her and the rest of my family, leading me into lots of self-destructive behavior I’ll inevitably write about here, I finally decided that I’d been accommodating enough, and I threw the gauntlet at her feet: her brother is going to cease to exist, and she’ll be left with her sister. I told her that I was more than willing to ease her into it slowly, because I knew it was a huge adjustment and change, but she made it clear in an absolutely heartbreaking text that she wasn’t interested in adjusting and changing.

This will never change. And, even if it did, I doubt I could forgive it. Could you?

This will never change. And, even if it did, I doubt I could forgive it. Could you?

I’m not going to read it again, because it crushes my heart every time that I do, but even just seeing it my attention is again called to a few details. First is her continued characterization of it as cross-dressing, waving it away that I’m wanting to just “dress like a woman,” in total disregard of everything I’ve told her. That, of course, makes sense, because, as she says, she doesn’t want to know. So, without doubt, when I told her the details, she ignored every bit of it. I thought that she would have a much easier time with it knowing that I identify as a lesbian, but evidently it didn’t matter.

The self-awareness of her text also strikes me. She knows it’s on her, she knows it’s messed up and closed-minded, and she knows what she is doing. She has made the conscious effort to not deal with it, to ignore it. And since it can no longer be ignored, we came to an impasse. Either she had to accept it, or she had to throw me from her life. She chose the latter. The rest of my family will follow suit, but I haven’t even bothered to tell them, because my sister was the only person in my family that I cared about. My mother would have been accepting, but she’s been dead since I was 12 or 13. My brother probably would have been accepting, but he’s been dead since I was 19 or 20.

But I made the decision yesterday to begin actual hormone therapy, which is difficult in Mississippi without a doctor with whom I can talk. I’ve seen a few general practitioners who were more or less eager to try to assist, but a few pointed questions revealed that they knew much less about the whole thing than I do. This is not the sort of thing you want a doctor guessing about, you know? So you’ve got to find a doctor who specializes in this, who has done it before. And there are none of those in Mississippi, Tennessee, or Arkansas. This has left me reaching out to doctors over the Internet, and I’m more than willing to pay them and to use general practitioners here basically as liaisons and labs, to collect the blood work and whatever else is necessary. But so far, the only responses I’ve gotten from anyone are the wonderful people at Tara’s Resources.

I’m not in the “wrong body.” My body simply didn’t develop the way that it should have. And I’m already in my late 20s. That’s young in the grand scheme of things… unless we’re talking hormonal physiological changes. And unless we’re talking about years lost in a false identity that can never be regained. In those cases, I’m really, really old.

As always, Mississippi does not make this transition easy, and the physical changes hormones bring will make employment virtually impossible six months from now, once I begin growing breasts and stuff. Your assistance to help me get through this would be beyond appreciated:

https://www.gofundme.com/ariatransition