Tag Archive | gender

Corporate Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell

As part of the “moving to Keene, New Hampshire” process, which you can speed up by buying my ebook for $2.99 or the paperback for $7.49, I’ve also been seeking a job there, since that will speed up the process far more than anything else. After receiving a series of promising emails, I found myself conducting a phone interview, at the end of which the person said, “Thank you, sir.”

Now, this is a bit more serious than “RAWR DID YOU JUST ASSUME MY GENDER?” I’ve of course applied to the job as myself; one of the primary reasons for moving, actually, is that I’m transsexual, although I know that, realistically, I need vocal surgery and minor cosmetic surgery. Despite my best efforts, and use of very expensive vocal training regimens, I’ve met with no success (though I have become a much better singer, so good that I’m considering picking music back up) in feminizing my voice. Hell, eating large amounts of Hostess mini donuts is doing nothing to help me gain weight, either, which is badly needed.

So I was faced with a problem. Realistically, I know that it can create problems in a service-driven industry. Whether the employer has an issue with it or not, clients might, and individual businesses can never be compelled to continue using one vendor or another. It’s why I continue to work as a male: the clients would unanimously fire me here. Will that problem exist in New Hampshire?

Because I can’t expect the employer to risk losing clients by having an employee who makes them uncomfortable. And my voice is clearly still so off that I was called a “sir,” though I’m not surprised by that. There’s a huge mental block there that I’ll get into some other time. Realistically, I know that I need to continue working as a male until I’ve made the money (which shouldn’t be much of an issue in NH) to afford the needed surgeries. Until then, it has the potential to create issues with clients.

But what about once I’ve had those surgeries? Being a male to them one day and female the next is likely to create even more issues.

“Thank you, sir.”

Motherfucker.

How to handle this delicate issue when the vast majority of potential employers will simply refuse to discuss it in any meaningful sense, for fear of saying the wrong thing and inviting myriad lawsuits?

Yet it had to be discussed: “Thank you, sir.”

I know the SJWs out there would contend, “At most, you should have corrected him and requested he refer to you as ‘ma’am,'” and, yeah, perhaps. But that doesn’t sit well with me, and never has. It’s disingenuous and dishonest. And it invites even more problems. Following that correction, they’d certainly have googled me (honestly, I’m surprised they haven’t already). And I don’t know, but I imagine reservations would be extremely high about hiring someone who felt they had the right to be treated as a female despite not conforming sufficiently to gender expectations.

I unambiguously take the stance that being considered a female is something that I have to earn, not something to which I am entitled. Other people have expectations of female and male, and their expectations are as valid as anyone else’s. Since I’m the one who wants to be considered female, the onus falls to me to conform to their expectations, not to make them conform to mine in full disregard of their own. And this served as proof that I haven’t achieved that. Hey, no biggie–it means I have more work to do, which I already knew anyway.

But how to handle the matter now?

It immediately became clear to me that I should have sent my resume as a male, but I didn’t. Again, that’s the primary reason for the move, so I didn’t think twice about it; when I applied for a job, I did it as Aria. It just seemed normal and natural to me, not worthy of second guessing. But even if I had, I’m transitioning, and the day is inevitable (and not as far away as it used to be) that the male persona is forever put to rest. There is an entirely different, and heightened, degree of difficulty transitioning in a single job–being a male (albeit unusual) to the employer and clients one day, and a female the next. It’s actually easier to be a non-passable (I’ll not apologize for that phrase) female one day, and a more passable one the next. People are already prepared for it at that point, are already getting used to it, and it’s much less jarring.

So, ultimately, I think I made the right choice: apply as a female and tough it out, unpassable in several critical regards, and, in time, get those issues handled (cosmetic surgery is likely limited to brow bone decreases, so it’s not major and shouldn’t be expensive). With many of the employers clients being government agencies, it’s actually not terribly likely to be a problem for clients. But there is still a problem at hand:

“Thank you, sir.”

Merely mentioning my gender identity could be enough to cost me the job, for exactly the same reason that Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell existed in the military; it immediately creates the danger of legal action. By mentioning it, I’d put them instantly into a No Win situation. Either they don’t hire, and then there’s the threat of lawsuit on the basis that they didn’t hire me because of my gender identity, or they do hire me simply to avoid the risk of that lawsuit. Of course, I’m an anarchist. Government is a weapon, not a tool. I didn’t sue a realty company who let their dog bite me twice in a service call, and that was the most solid lawsuit most people have ever heard. But I don’t think that’s right. But while I know there’s no chance I’m trying to bait them, a la Dale Gribble in King of the Hill applying as a waiter to Hooters, there’s no possible way they could know that. A company I’ve worked with for seven years asked me to put in writing that I would not seek any legal action, after all–the threat is very real, too real, and cannot be discounted. I know it exists, and they know it exists. Though I’d never, ever use such a vile weapon to force others into certain actions, they have no way of knowing my principled stance against such things, nor any reason to believe such claims. Yet there it was.

“Thank you, sir.”

In their zeal for anti-discrimination protections, liberals have created Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Even mentioning this disparity between my birth sex and my gender, the mention of which became necessary (as I don’t think anyone would dispute), violates that policy and places everyone into a minefield that is impossible to navigate. Say the wrong thing, bam. Lawsuit. Don’t hire me, bam. Lawsuit. Don’t respond, bam. Lawsuit. Suggest clients may have an issue with it, bam. Lawsuit.

I need them to be open an honest about whether it could impair client relationships, but they can’t be. Even if it would cost them half their clients, they simply can’t tell me so. They have to lose those clients with a smile on their face, resenting me all the while, because I’m protected by the violence of government action. They can’t fire me, because then, however roundabout, they’d be firing me for being transsexual. Nor can they use fear of that for reason not to hire me, for the same reason.

Yet it’s completely true. No amount of denial will change that, and no amount of good feelings would change my I.T. company in Mississippi going under because I worked as a female. All the liberal protestations that “gender identity shouldn’t matter” won’t make it not matter. It will matter. It does matter. And we can work on that, sure, but we can’t outlaw it, not as we’ve done, because that closes off honest communication. That conservative woman to whom it matters is as right as the liberal man to whom it doesn’t. Now, though, that woman simply can’t discuss it, and we can’t talk to her. Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell reigns. She must grit her teeth and act with secret motives to avoid lawsuits and government bludgeoning. If she doesn’t want to work with a transsexual person, she has to keep that to herself, and fire them over something else. The issue goes unaddressed, and she continues unreached and unpersuaded.

“Thank you, sir.”

The reality is simply that it matters to some people, whether it matters to the potential employers or not, and we all know that. A client needs to give no reason for firing a vendor. They simply stop calling, and start calling someone else.

“Thank you, sir.”

But I can’t mention it, can I? At most I can inform them that I prefer to be referred to as a female. No further explanation, no consideration of their wants and needs, and no recognition of the fact that, you know, I share this planet with seven billion other people, many of whom disagree with me about various things. We have to deny the existence of those people. We have to deny reality itself, and behave as though x is true when we know very well that x is false.

So what did I do?

I laid it out in an email that friends criticised as being overly long. But they don’t understand. This is a matter that I live. It’s tertiary to them; they’re spectators. I live and breathe it, and I know it’s a sensitive and delicate issue, not to mention that bringing it up at all places everyone involved into a minefield where the slightest misstep, as far as they knew, was a legal explosion.

And even despite my lengthy email (it wasn’t really that long–three paragraphs, which I consider damned good for an issue of this complexity and sensitivity), they asked for clarification on a few things.

Because I expressed a willingness to work as a male. Though I don’t like it, I recognize that it may be the path of least resistance for them, and that’s a fair compromise, I think. Maybe they could still employ me post-transition, and maybe they couldn’t; we could cross that bridge later. But I recognize that being a non-passable female could create problems for them, and could harm their business. It’s WRONG to demand them unilaterally take that risk.

But they can’t even admit that it could create problems. Whether it would or wouldn’t, they can’t admit it, nor can they openly factor it into the decision of whether to hire me. Would it be a factor? Who can say? Rest assured, it wouldn’t be their personal issue with transsexualism, but their recognition that clients may have an issue with it. Therefore, hiring me would not be good for their company, because it wouldn’t be good for their client relationships, because their clients may have problems with it.

Nothing can be done about that, because they aren’t allowed to say, “Okay, yes, we think it’s prudent that you work as a male for the time being.”

They aren’t allowed to say that.

I’d rather work as a female, but I’m aware that stepping stones are a thing, and we must sometimes be uncomfortable today to secure comfort tomorrow. It’s why I’m a capitalist. That notion of investing in the future–it’s exactly the same here. Working as a male for a strong, vibrant, well-paying, successful firm in New Hampshire is an investment in my future, and one that I don’t mind making, although I’d rather avoid it. Working as a male for six months there while I save up the money for vocal and cosmetic surgery is a small price to pay considering the rewards–a much better job, a much better area, freedom to be me…

But I can’t make the decision. Government and liberals have made the decision for me. I’ll work as a female, because they can’t tell me otherwise. The only way I could make a choice at all would be if I chose to work as a male. I can’t choose to work as a female now; working as a female now would be a product of government coercion, not my personal choices. And yet, without them being able to admit even the existence of potential problems, contacting them and telling them to consider me a male by another name would be construed as flaky, uncertain, and unstable; it would be far more damaging to my employment prospects than anything else.

“Thank you, sir.”

When they replied, it predictably contained mention of Equal Opportunity Employment, and the assurance that being transgender (I went with transgender because, generally, it’s more palatable) would not factor into their decision. Upon reading it, inwardly I sighed. I know enough to know that my email was very clear in those regards, but the gauntlet was tossed back to me: “Are you saying you wish to delay the interviewing process until you’re finished transitioning?”

Motherfucker.

Thank you, sir.

No, and they knew I wasn’t saying that. And I know they knew I wasn’t saying that, and they know I know that they knew I wasn’t saying that. They were more cleverly saying that they’d have nothing to do with it, that they would under no circumstances say “Don’t transition yet, then, if you feel it could create problems.” Instead they were saying, “We have no comment.”

Because they’re not allowed to comment, regardless of the reality in New Hampshire. Is it as big a deal there as it is here? I don’t know. If it is, they can’t admit it, and we can’t address that problem together. They airlifted themselves right out of that minefield, but the mines remain there. If it could be a potential issue for clients, that’s something that, at most, they’d have to discuss among themselves in secret, or keep to themselves entirely.

Instead of working through the problem together, if there is a problem, then they’ll simply not hire me, and will give any number of other reasons for that. Because they aren’t allowed to state the reason, if that’s the case, and so we can’t compromise to deal with it.

It’s not “Thank you, sir.”

It’s “Thank you, liberals,” said with a deep-seated, resentful anger for creating an environment where potential pitfalls and issues can’t be discussed openly and honestly.

 

Transtrending

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.

Sex

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

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.

Pulling a Kidney Stone From the Bowels of the Internet: Transgenderism & Transsexualism

Now given that this guy might as well have trollface.jpg as his profile pic, we don’t have to pay much attention to what he has to say. He’s just trolling–clearly–using loaded language on both sides of the issue to ignite flame wars on the update. Who cares. Reading through the comments, though, is an interesting experience. Not interesting enough for me to share the comments one by one–besides, there are at least seventy right now–but it did make it plainly obvious that the average person has no idea what we’re even talking about.

stupid-dickI’ll leave to your imagination the comments that this received.

First, there is a difference between transgenderism and transsexualism, and it’s actually more than splitting hairs. I once criticized someone for using the word “transsexual” and said they were likely out of touch with mainstream society, because it is no longer widely used. I was incorrect, and hadn’t given the matter sufficient thought. I was still correct about the person, because it’s not like he knew the difference, but I didn’t, either. “Transgender” seemed a more palatable version of the deprecated “transsexual.”

It gets murky, because there is a difference between gender and sex. After all, gender is a social construct; sex is not. This gets even more opaque because we tend to use words like “male” and “woman” in both contexts, often without even realizing it. For example, in a single paragraph, a person might say, “A man is someone with a penis [thereby referring to the sex of male], and someone with a beard who drinks beer and eats steaks that are almost raw. If your steak is cooked, you’re not a man.”

It should be readily obvious that we’re talking about two totally different things here. One is a sexual organ–a certifiable, verifiable fact that a person either has or does not have. The second part deals with social roles and stereotypes that are not universally applicable. Although it’s becoming increasingly politically incorrect to say, if you have a penis, then your sex is male. At least, that’s how it used to be–I would argue that’s no longer the case, seeing as I’m a non-op transsexual, but I also think that “having a penis” means that I can never refer to my sex as female.

See how complex it gets?

Gender is all about archetypes and stereotypes, conditioning, and societal expectations. “Girls play with Barbies, boys play with G.I. Joes” is a statement referring to gender. These are human social constructs without objective form–they are, to borrow from Shakespeare, our attempt to “give to airy nothingness / a local habitation and a name.” It is almost completely arbitrary that skirts are feminine and jeans are masculine, that women wear makeup but men do not. Of course, we can look through history and find socioeconomic reasons for why these things are adapted by or forced onto one gender or another, but that doesn’t really change anything. Why didn’t men decree that skirts were masculine and that jeans were feminine, that way they could see all those delicious butts in jeans throughout the eons?

Well, for one, denim wasn’t invented in the age we’re discussing.

“Because they didn’t,” is the answer to my question, though. Why didn’t men decide that it was their role to attract women, and thus that men needed to wear makeup and doll themselves up? Again, “Because they didn’t” is the answer.

Now, again, we can go back to the ancient stages of human history and reflect on the fact that men are innately stronger than women, and so men naturally fell into the hunter role better while women were better suited for the gatherer role, but we’ll still ultimately find that it was arbitrary and mostly about power. I’m not preparing to launch into a tirade about female oppression throughout history–it’s not relevant. That’s exactly my point: none of it is really relevant. How these things came about is meaningless today–they are because they are, and they aren’t because they aren’t.

The anthropic principle applied to gender, as it were.

What about bras, though? Surely, it’s not a societal construct that women wear bras while men don’t. Indeed, it’s not, because the sexual dimorphism of humans is most prominent in the breasts. This is a real, sexual difference between the two. We can talk about bra burning and stuff, but that’s not the point. Again, the point is that women have boobs, and men don’t, so if either sex was going to wear protective–or oppressive, for the virulent feminists out there–clothing over their boobs, it would obviously be the sex that has something there to protect.

We could easily ask why men wear jock straps and cups, but women don’t.

“Because having something in that region to protect is a characteristic of the sex,” we would answer, and we would be right to give that answer.

Now, what happens if someone’s sex does not match their gender?

A lot of people would call it a mental illness. This is, strictly speaking, referred to as gender dysphoria, and it’s presently considered a mental illness, though the reason for that is explicitly given that it’s the only way to ensure that Hormone Replacement Therapy and Sex Reassignment Surgery are covered by medical insurance plans. We can get into whether or not that’s beneficial or harmful. It’s also not relevant to our discussion. Gender dysphoria is simply what it’s called when a person’s sex doesn’t match their gender.

Since “gender” is a social construct in the first place, it’s impossible that it could genuinely be a mental illness.

It would be like saying that a white kid has a mental illness because he wears Fubu and listens to Kanye West. In this analogy, the kid’s skin color (an objective, verifiable reality) does not match his cultural identification (he has adopted black culture as his own). Is this a mental illness?

What a stupid question. It’s obviously not a mental illness.

But when we alter it slightly and we have a white boy who wants to wear dresses and play with Barbies, suddenly we do have people crying that it’s a mental illness.

This is what being “transgender” means. It means there is no change to the person’s sex, yet they adopt the other sex’s gender roles and stereotypes as their own. Yes, this involves acknowledging and even embracing gender stereotypes, one of the many examples of liberals’ hypocrisy. You literally cannot be transgender without being sexist. Saying–even if not directly–something like “I don’t want to play with G.I. Joe! I want to play with Barbies, because girls play with Barbies!” is quite obviously sexist.

Under most circumstances, the liberal would reply, “Girls don’t have to play with Barbies! That’s an outdated way of thinking, you chauvinistic pig!”

But if the person is transgender, they’re like, “Awe, and you should do whatever empowers you!”

Being transsexual entails being transgender, but “transsexual” means that there are changes to a person’s sex organs, and there are a few types of this. There is Pre-Op, Post-Op, and Non-Op, depending on whether the person is going to undergo surgery of their primary sex organs. The difference between a Pre-Op Transsexual and a Non-Op Transsexual, then, is one of intent: the pre-op intends to have a sex change operation–to have their penis replaced with a vagina, or their vagina replaced with a penis. A Post-Op is someone who has had this surgery, like Caitlyn Jenner. A Non-Op is someone who is fine with their primary sexual organ, but does make changes to their body that exclude surgery (excluding cosmetic surgery of the face or breasts).

Realistically, a non-op transsexual is a mix of the sexes.

I’ve been criticized and told that I shouldn’t call myself a shemale because it underscores the idea that we aren’t “real women.” I agree and disagree. I agree that, when we’re talking sex, yes–not having the primary sexual organ of a woman does, in fact, mean a person isn’t a “real woman,” at the very least sexually. I realize this offends people. I also don’t care. If you don’t have a vagina, then your attempts to sell yourself as sexually a woman are either disingenuous or delusional. Take your pick. But I don’t think it’s your prerogative to demand other people to acquiesce to your delusion.

Sex is a matter determined by the person’s sexual characteristics. My sex is shemale. I don’t care if that bothers you. It is shemale–you can use “non-op transsexual” if you want, but I prefer communication over political correctness, and “shemale” conveys more to the average person in a single word than this entire article will–and saying “I’m offended” isn’t going to change that. I’m not a pre-op or post-op. I have made the deliberate and conscious decision to keep my penis. It would be the height of absurdity to proclaim that my sex is female and to demand that other people grit their teeth and pretend like it is female. It’s not–it’s S.

For “Shemale.”

My gender is female. With the recent changes to my eyebrows and increasing changes to my face from the estrogen that I take (which is causing the bodily changes I addressed previously), I’m increasingly “passable.” While many people would also get upset that I’d dare use such a word to describe a transsexual rather than a Drag Queen or crossdresser, it simply is the case that I, as any transsexual person does, want to be able to simply exist as an ordinary woman. It’s not until we get into the bedroom with the door shut that my primary sex organ would matter, so no one ever needs to know that my gender–female–doesn’t quite match my sex–shemale. As I currently stand, it is obvious, primarily because of my eyebrows and cheeks.

While the liberal would argue, “No. There’s no such thing as ‘passable’ when it comes to transsexualism or transgenderism. You are female because you say you are female. So you are, by definition, passable, because you are female,” the reality is, of course, murkier.

We don’t live in La-La Fantasy Land.

The word “passable” refers to whether a random stranger will notice anything odd about my gender identification. I can insist to this stranger, “No, really, I’m a female” all day long, but it’s not going to stop me from getting this look:

skeptical“Passable” simply refers to whether or not I get that look.

Strictly speaking, no, “passable” doesn’t have anything to do with me. I’m not a drag queen or a crossdresser–I’m transsexual. So the liberal is, in a sense, correct–I’m passable by definition because I identify as a woman and thus am a woman. Strictly speaking, it is irrelevant whether I conform or break this stereotype or whether I have or lack that feature. I am because I am because I am.

Yet the liberal is still wrong to say it has nothing to do with me, because no transssexual person wants that look.

Caitlyn Jenner, for example, is one of the least passable transsexuals that I have ever seen. It’s seriously jarring to me, to see Caitlyn Jenner. I do feel bad for the girl–that enormously square jaw and countless amounts of money spent on cosmetic surgery. And I’ve spent very little money and yet am far more “passable” than she is. That makes me sad for her–it does.

But that doesn’t really change anything.

So, to summarize, sex has been, through most of human history, a binary matter, and because of that, gender became a binary matter. I would suggest that it’s probably true that gender remains a binary matter to this day, but sex is no longer a binary matter. After all, I would put “S” under my sex, but “F” under my gender. I do get that a lot of people think that I should put “F” under both, and I’ve had people chastise me, insult me, and block me for refusing to put Female as both my sex and my gender.

If you ask me, that is the mental disorder: refusing to accept that your sexual organs do determine your sex.

We can have disagreement about whether the sex of “Female” means “has boobs and vagina.” But we can also find plenty of examples that break that mold–breast cancer survivors, and some girls are just flat-chested. We can have a disagreement about whether the sex of “Male” means “has penis, no boobs.” And we could also find plenty of examples that break that mold–men who have had irate waves perform improvised surgery with butcher knives after finding them cheating, or men who have what we call “man-boobs.” There are exceptions to everything, and a rejection of black and white thinking is prevalent in my work.

So I’m not willing to say that it’s universally true that women have vaginas and boobs, and men have penises but no boobs. But I am going to say that if you’ve made the conscious decision to have a penis, then you’re expecting other people to bow to your delusion when you say that your sex is female. Maybe this means we need a new sex for people who willfully operate between the sexes by having a penis, curves, and boobs while identifying as the gender of female.

What do you know! We have one.

It’s “shemale.”

Stop being offended by it. It’s the next step of sexual identification.

A quick note: I would tentatively suggest–without having put a considerable amount of thought into it, hence why it’s tentative–that if you experience “gender dysphoria” while touching your primary sexual organ, then it is probably evidence that you are identifying as the wrong sex. People are often surprised to learn that my penis doesn’t bother me. This appears to come from a general confusion on the matter–I’m a lesbian. My penis is rather useful for that. If I experienced “gender dysphoria” by having my penis stimulated, then I’d have major problems. I’d also say that this is “sexual dysphoria” and not “gender dysphoria.”

But my sex is shemale. Shemales have penises. There is no discrepancy there, so there is no conflict that would cause dysphoria. Again, people would understand that more easily if they could get it through their thick skulls that there are some very goddamned good reasons that I identify my sex as Shemale rather than Female.

Not in My House!

Last night someone shared something with me on Facebook that sparked a lot of memories, a lot of recollections that I’ve kept locked away in that part of my mind to which I never wander. I would not call the memories repressed; I would, however, say that they were unconsciously avoided.

The first one that returned was one that I’ve actually thought about a lot through the past year: when I was 12 or so, my grandmother (snooping, as she does) found women’s clothing hidden between my mattresses. There were a few pairs of underwear I’d pilfered from my sister, a skirt I’d taken from my grandmother–it’s not like I had a way to get my own. This is one of the things that makes everything so bloody obvious in hindsight.

The fallout was enormous. My father took me out back with his belt, and, though he didn’t whip me, it was only because one of our neighbors happened to come outside. I’d forgotten that detail, but I never forgot the disgust, fear, and almost hatred in my father’s voice when he asked in exasperation, “Why are they there, son? Do you wear them?”

There was no window of opportunity to answer that question honestly, because I overheard my dad and grandmother’s conversation before he took me outside, and she wanted to send me to a home, saying that she was not going to have that in her house, and that she’d send me to a home for troubled youth. When you’re in danger of literally being kicked out of your home at twelve years old, honesty isn’t a luxury you’re afforded.

 

I’ve often fantasized what my life might be like if I’d answered honestly. I’d have been kicked out and/or sent to a home, but maybe some reasonable couple disgusted by such horrendous behavior would have taken me in and fostered, rather than stifled, my development. But it’s idle fantasy, because that wouldn’t be how it happened. I’d have been sent to what we colloquially called “The Village,” which was a sort of foster facility run by extremely religious people and funded by local churches. However bad my situation was at my grandmother’s, it would have been infinitely worse there, with no way to hide anything.

It did get better in high school, when I moved in with my father. I stole clothes from my cousin next door, because I had no other way to acquire them still, and there were also some left in the house that had belonged to my great grandmother. Despite all his flaws, my dad is an extremely loose parent, and he worked swing shift at the nearby Burger King. Another thing that I’d forgotten: the sole reason that I wanted to move in with my dad was to have that time to myself, to dress and be as I chose instead of how other people chose.

And I wasted no time. I recall clearly spending nearly every night dressing appropriately, talking on the phone with friends throughout, and finding great solace in video games, particularly those that let me play as a female. Like I said, in hindsight it’s all so obvious.

But in those days, it was largely a sexual thing for me. It had taken on a taboo nature of necessity, which pushed it closer to being about exploring the sexual taboo than addressing the larger issue. Plus, this was the late 90s and early 00s. There was no talk of transgenderism, at least none that would have reached a high school student in Mississippi. All I knew was that I liked cross dressing, which was a difficult thing to accept about myself when “That’s evil” came from every direction. Even then, I had already abandoned the dehumanization of organised religion, but indoctrination runs deep. Years later, in my early 20s, I had sex with a guy, and the overwhelming sense of shame and feeling that I’d sinned crippled me even then, and I had for a decade or so rejected the mantras of Christianity. But they indoctrinate children for a reason: because that’s how it sticks.

The first person I ever told was J., and she was just the right type of chick to handle it wonderfully; she thought it was the most awesome thing ever. Hell, she had me try on her prom dress before she did. So I did have that refuge. She gave me clothing and was tremendously helpful, but, as high school relationships do, it came crashing down and I handled it very badly. Very badly.

But it’s nearly impossible to hide things of this scope indefinitely. One day I accidentally greeted my cousin at the door while I was wearing jeans I’d taken from her. I don’t believe she ever said anything to anyone, but she did point to them and ask about it. I ran back inside and changed clothes, then denied that it had happened.

So much could have been different, and I’d just about give anything to have had different circumstances. And the doctors I’m dealing with don’t seem to grasp this. Yes, doc, I am in a hurry. No, doc, I’m not willing to wait two months for you and an endocrinologist to give me permission to move forward. I’ve lost 29 years that I’ll never get back. I’m not willing to lose another month. And since the hormones in question can be acquired legally in the US without a prescription, I don’t need a therapist’s blessing or an endocrinologist that I can’t afford anyway. I just need people to get the hell out of my way and let me be me.

Those who know me also know that I have nothing but vitriol for Caitlyn Jenner, but it’s not out of envy. It’s partially because of the supremely ignorant shit that she said a few weeks ago, and it’s partially because she still talks about playing roles when, for myself and the majority of transgender people, it’s about CEASING to play a role, not picking a different role to play.

It’s because Caitlyn Jenner will never understand what it’s like to deal with the struggles that the ordinary transgender person goes through, yet she has the audacity to speak out on behalf of transgender people. She will never spend long nights laying awake and trying to figure out how in the world she’s supposed to have a job while transitioning. She will never wonder how she’s going to pay for all this. She will never have family and friends reject her, call her evil, and cast her from their lives. She was praised for being brave enough to do this in full view of the media, but that isn’t the case at all. The media protected her from discrimination. No one could insult her openly, no family member could call her a wicked sinner, and no company could refuse service to her, because the firestorm of an unbridled media backlash would have decimated anyone who did. Let’s see her transition away from the spotlight, where she wouldn’t be able to run crying to the media when someone insulted her, where she would have to do what the rest of us do: just deal with it.

Caitlyn’s transition was a walk in the park, not the least of which was because she could just throw money at whatever problems rose. I don’t mean to minimize her internal conflict, because that’s something that every transgender person faces and can’t be solved with money, but the internal conflict was the only battle she had to fight once she made her decision. For the rest of us, the decision to proceed is simply the first of countless battles. For her, it was almost the only battle. I don’t begrudge her for that, but I do think it means she doesn’t have the right to speak about transgender issues.

As alluded to, the transition in Mississippi is inordinately difficult, and employment is going to become virtually impossible very soon. I am doing everything that I can to resolve that: I write for a website, I’m writing a new novel, I’m trying to find an agent for the novel I finished last year, and I’m now considering “camming.” I’m not that kind of girl, and I don’t think I actually have it in me, but I’m gonna have to pay for things somehow, and it’s just a matter of time before every client drops me. Any help you could provide, even if you’re just sharing the page, would be appreciated beyond my ability to express:

www.gofundme.com/ariatransition