Tag Archive | the south

No, Faux Progressives. I’m Sorry, But You Do NOT Understand.

Following Brexit, many Remain advocates wanted to vote again, because so many people hadn’t voted at all–this despite the Brexit vote having the highest turnout in the UK since the 90s. As I pointed out then, those people did vote. They simply voted “Indifferent / Doesn’t Matter To Me.” There’s no other way to slice it; refraining from voting is voting for “it doesn’t make a difference to me.” A second round of voting, then, is nothing more than an attempt to let these people change their votes after the fact, from “indifferent” to “leave” or “remain,” and, they presume, the lion’s share of them would change from “indifferent” to “remain” if they’d known Leave had a chance of winning.

But I’m a believer in consequences and giving things a chance. The Brexit issue is complicated, isn’t it? What if most people would now change their vote from Indifferent to Remain, and the previous vote was nullified. If I love democracy so much*, then wouldn’t I be glad to see that? Yes, and no. See, it’s a matter of bailing out, isn’t it? Brexit took a gamble; I think they should have to bear the responsibility of seeing it through before they change their minds. Isn’t that pig-headedness, though? “Stay the course” and all that?

Kinda, except that, in regard to Brexit, we haven’t even begun to see what consequences it will have. The consequences so far are completely reactionary and are the case of self-fulfilling prophecies. People expecting the UK markets to crash pulled their money out of the UK, which caused the pound to fall, which caused more people to pull money out, which caused the pound to fall further. It’s a self-fulling prophecy all the way, and a simple matter of confidence.

The average person wants nothing more than to get on with their life and be left alone. They don’t want to be told how racist they are because they live in a rural area with a very low minority population and happen to not have any friends who are black. They don’t want to be called racist because their jobs were outsourced to Mexico and India thanks to the Minimum Wage. They don’t want to be called sexist because they are from a world where husbands are somewhat subservient to their wives, and where the wives want to be somewhat subservient to their husbands. The wives don’t want to be called “female misogynists”** because they love and support their husbands, are housewives, and all that. They don’t want to be told how homophobic they are because they’re grossed out by two dudes kissing, and they don’t want to be told how transphobic they are because they think penises belong in tidy-whities, not panties.

They just want to work, support themselves and their families, and enjoy life in the way that they enjoy life.

Democrats, you lost these people because of the above paragraph. I implore you to stop doing that. They’re not the ones who divided America into “white working class people without college degrees” and a coalition of “blacks, women, LGBTQ people, Muslims, and Hispanics” and then pitted those two sides against each other. You did that. What did you expect to happen? Did you expect they would just let you assault them and their values in perpetuity without ever striking back? You did, and I know you did–you thought they couldn’t fight back. As Trae Crowder said, “This is our world now, and you’re not getting it back.”

*sigh*

And so now, instead of realizing that insults, ignorance, and attacks are not the way you will win these people over, you double down on the offensive, hateful rhetoric, saying that you are not failing to understand these people. But yes… You are. If you are equating fifty percent of the population to this racist, homophobic, Islamophobic, misogynistic straw man that you’ve built up in your echo chamber, then yes, you most certainly have failed to understand.

I will never stop talking about the tragedy in Orlando, when a Muslim terrorist murdered 49 people, and I will never stop talking about the way that mainstream conservatives extended the olive branch to the LGBTQ community. “You’re one of us, an American,” they said. For fuck’s sake, bridges in Little Rock, Arkansas were lit up in the colors of the rainbow. All over the United States, including places deep in the Bible Belt, there was loud outcry and support for the LGBTQ community. And, because one tragedy was just not enough, liberals and the LGBTQ community slapped back the proffered hand of peace and shouted, “No! We are not one of you! You are just as bad! You did the Crusades!” as though an idiot preacher like Steven Anderson saying mean things is actually as bad as murdering almost fifty people.

Recently, Donald Trump was on 60 Minutes, and the host asked him about overturning Roe v. Wade. Trump responded that he would certainly appoint conservative judges, and that the matter of abortion should go back to the states. The host then replied, “But then some women won’t be able to get abortions.”

Trump rightly pointed out, “Yes, they can, but they’ll have to go to another state to do it.”

Conservatives in Mississippi don’t want to ban abortions in California. You get that, right? They think it’s abhorrent, unforgivable, and murder, but they have no desire to govern California. Let the Californians govern California. The conservatives in Kentucky have no desire to outlaw gay marriage in New York. They think it’s weird and gross, but they have no desire to govern New York. Let the New York people govern New York. This is where the Great Divide truly occurs, because liberals are not willing to compromise, as the 60 Minutes interview clearly showed.

That a woman might actually have to drive to another state to get an abortion… is unacceptable to the liberal. They see it as a violation of the woman’s rights. They see it as oppression. The liberal does want the people of California to tell Mississippi that they must allow abortions and gay marriage, but the conservative does not want the people of Mississippi to tell California that they must not allow abortions and gay marriage. This is what is meant by “small government.” The liberal, whose entire worldview is built upon big government being the answer to all of life’s problems, is no longer capable of understanding that.

The liberal doesn’t hear “The woman can still get an abortion. She just has to drive to a different state.”

The liberal hears “The woman is being oppressed, and her right to choose is being thwarted by hillbillies.”

Of course, I’m against all of it. I think this should be a matter between a woman and her doctor, and no one else, but this means that the doctor would have to be allowed to say, “No. I don’t perform abortions. Here’s a pamphlet for adoption agencies.”

And I just lost the liberal again, didn’t I? It sounds great to leave the matter between the woman and her doctor, right up until we allow the doctor to determine what the doctor does and doesn’t do. So what, the doctor doesn’t want to perform abortions? Doesn’t the woman have the right to have an abortion? Doesn’t the doctor have the right to not be enslaved and ordered to do things he doesn’t want to do?

Yesterday, I spoke with someone on Facebook who insisted that the Confederate Flag is a flag of white supremacy. Now, my grandfather owns a store with “Confederate State” in the title. I know these kind of people very well, and I know exactly why they fly the Confederate Flag. When she said that she “guesses” she doesn’t know what the flag means, I suggested that she ask someone who actually flies the flag what it means. Her response?

“No thanks.”

Congratulations, lady, on ensuring that compromise is impossible.

She believes that people who fly the Confederate Flag are white supremacists, and she will not ask them what the flag actually means because they are white supremacists and she doesn’t listen to what white supremacists have to say. It is circular reasoning; it is the reasoning of the echo chamber, of the safe space, as she and the other liberals sit in their self-imposed isolation chamber telling themselves how racist, homophobic, islamophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, and evil everyone else, and then refusing to listen to what those people have to say because they don’t listen to racist, homophobic, islamophobic, transphobic, misogynistic, and evil people.

Just read this article. It equates to “I understand them perfectly. They’re racist, homophobic, islamophobic, transphobic, misogynistic evil hillbillies carrying a gun in one hand and a Bible in the other.” So I want to address that article’s author quickly, since I’m sure they’ll be notified I linked to their blog.

Look, asshole. I’m from Mississippi. I’m a transgender atheist born and raised in Mississippi, surrounded by fundamentalist Christians in a way that you can’t understand, regardless of where you’re from. My family has actual compounds for when the Antichrist takes over, okay? I have spent more than my fair share of time criticizing them and trying to reason with them. And you don’t know what you’re talking about.

It is not racist to not have any black friends, although I would point out that the people in the south are substantially less racist than the people everywhere else. Look, the town I live in is 70% black. And when I went to Vegas in 2015, I encountered tons of people who assumed that I was racist because I’m white and from Mississippi. That’s absurd! We can’t be racist. You, in Michigan, with your 2% black population–you have no idea what it’s like to actually live among high concentrations of non-white people. You’re not afforded the luxury of racism in such an environment. If I didn’t want a black cashier, a black dude at the gas station, a black woman doing my taxes, or whatever else, then I wouldn’t be able to get anything done.

It is not racist to recognize that there are some pretty big cultural differences between white people and black people. I’ve dated black girls. Hell, I lived with a black couple when I was 18. I can tell you from firsthand experience that there are major cultural differences, but none that can’t be bridged. I can tell you this, too–I’ve never had my ass kicked in dominoes/bones like that, or Spades. This is a statement of fact: the black people with whom I’ve played dominoes and spades would crush any of the white people I’ve ever played with; they take it to an entirely new level. It’s like checkers and chess, really.

Every Thanksgiving–prior to when my family stopped inviting me because I’m transgender–my family, after eating, plays Spades. We’ve never played dominoes, but we’ve played a ton of poker and Spades. And my dad may be the only one who could even compete with any of the black people I’ve ever played with, and I’ve no doubt that my father would ultimately lose. I was playing checkers while they played chess. Is that racist of me to say? Probably, but it’s more a matter of culture than anything, and I don’t care if it’s considered racist or not; it’s my experience and a statement of fact regarding my experience. As I’ve said elsewhere, we can’t let ourselves get into the mindset of calling facts racist.

I have nothing in my heart but love for everyone. I don’t care what the hell their skin color is, or how different their culture is from mine. If I can bridge the gap, then I’m going to. If I can’t, then… that sucks, but that’s life sometimes. I would ask the liberal how many black friends they have. I’m being honest here. I have many liberal friends on Facebook, and, to my knowledge, they don’t have any black friends. The only black dude some of them know is one they’ve all nicknamed “Nigger Dave.” No, I’m not kidding. And these people are as far north as you can get without crossing into Canada. And they’re millennials. And they’re liberal.

For years, the singer in my rock band was a black lesbian. Did I ever care? No. Why would I? She remains the best singer I have ever heard, a truly talented musician who should indisputably be on the radio.

I don’t give a shit what her skin color is, what her sexual orientation is, or anything else. She’s my friend, and she’s fucking amazing.

I can’t say that this is true of every Mississippian, and goodness knows I have no idea what it’s like to be black–or anything but “me,” actually–

–and I’d certainly never suggest she’s never experienced racism in Mississippi, or homophobia in Mississippi. I have absolutely no doubt that she has, and that’s fucked up. My point is that, per capita, far less racism goes on in the south simply because of pragmatism.

It is not homophobic to be grossed out by gay people and to not want to be friends with them. It is not transphobic to not want to associate what what you consider to be a guy wearing girls’ clothes. It is not transphobic to think of a transgender person as a guy wearing girls’ clothes. People have different worldviews. You have to tolerate them. As long as they’re not forcing people to bow to their worldviews, tolerate them. Is it messed up? Sure, so don’t be friends with them. That’s where your rights end.

There are millions and millions of us who just don’t care. And that’s okay! I know the liberal response to that–I’ve addressed it before. You’re not allowed to be neutral on LGBT issues. If you’re straight and you’re pro-LGBT, then you’re an Ally. If you’re straight and not pro-LGBT, then you’re homophobic. Neutrality is no longer acceptable to the left. Compromise is no longer acceptable to the left.

Allowing conservatives to ban abortion in some states, thereby forcing women to have to go through all the trouble of driving to a different state*^ is not acceptable to the liberal, because all they can do is think of that straw woman who can somehow afford an abortion but not the gas to drive to it. But that gets into its own problem, doesn’t it? They don’t think the woman should have to pay for the abortion; they think the doctor should be their slave, not getting paid and not getting a choice about the work he/she does.

You have the right to FREEDOM not FREESTUFF.

You have the right to FREEDOM not FREESTUFF.

Conservatives don’t want to take your birth control pills away. They just don’t want to pay for them, just like you don’t want to pay for the Westboro Baptist Church. They don’t want to take your abortions away. They just don’t want to pay for them.

Governmentally, Donald Trump’s presidency is bad. There is nothing about Trump’s policies for me to really get behind. However, every indication that I’ve seen suggests that Trump is going to spend most of his time attempting to bridge the gap between conservatives and liberals. He is, after all, a deal maker–much adieu has been made about his ability to make deals.

The problem, as I see it, is that liberals aren’t willing to compromise, and so there can be no deal. And even if Trump does manage to miraculously work out a compromise where liberal states get to be liberal while conservative states get to be conservative, without a pervasive ideologically awakening to the ideas of self-governance and liberty, I don’t see it lasting beyond the next president, because as soon as liberals are back in power they will start forcing Mississippi to allow gay marriage and abortions all over again, taking us right back to where we are now.

It all starts with compromise, and compromise starts with understanding, tolerance, and empathy. But evidently it’s not enough that they lost the House of Representatives, the Senate, the Supreme Court, the White House, 900 federal positions, and lots of governorships because of their unwillingness to tolerate and their unwillingness to compromise.

I’ve spoke before about how the people advocating that Mississippi employers and clients should be forced to accept me as transgender aren’t doing me any favors, because their dislike will have resentment piled on top of it. Their dislike of me will move from the open, where all they can do is shun me, into the shadows, where they can do whatever they can get away with. If you take away someone’s ability to say “I hate you” and condemn that person for saying it, yes, you drive them into the shadows to express their hatred, with resentment and bitterness added to it.

If you want to reach these people, then follow my lead. Your methods won’t work and, in the end, will only get people killed.

You have to reach these people on a personal level, by alleviating their fears and showing them that you are just a human being, just like them. You can’t do that if you treat them like they aren’t a human being worthy of respect and compassion.

Tolerance starts with you, not them.

* I hate democracy. I hate democratic republics, too. They’re the best of a terrible situation. As Churchill said, “Democracy is the worst form of government, except all the others that we’ve tried.” He’s exactly right. Democracy sucks, and republics suck. If we are going to have a state, though, it must be a republic.

** “Female misogynists.” You’re really a jerk if you say something like that sincerely. You couldn’t more transparently say that “Everyone who disagrees with me is a misogynist” if you tried. I’m with you in that there is a lot of self-hate here in the United States, but you’re not thinking big enough if you think it’s as simple as women who vote for Trump hate themselves.

*^ This is already necessary in many cases. I had to drive my sister to Little Rock to get an abortion a few years ago, because she had already gone past the point at which Mississippi would allow one. It was not the end of the world.

Asylum

This. This is exactly how I feel.

This. This is exactly how I feel.

Today I was faced with a problem. As I arrived on-site to set up a client’s computer, I got down into the carpet and began connecting things, and–“What the hell is that smell?”

It did not take long to find the source of the problem: the jeans I was wearing. Around the knees, there was an awful and pungent stench. I have no idea what caused it–they were basically fresh out of the dryer–but it presented an immediate and serious problem: after that client (thankfully, there was no one there, and no one would have been close enough to me to smell around my knees anyway–the only reason I caught it was because I was in the floor) I had two more to visit, and I simply could not visit them like that.

I told my colleague that I wasn’t going to be able to hit the other two clients, because I was going to have to sort out this issue. I only have two pairs of work pants, to be clear. Most of my male clothes are casual–black Tripp pants with chains and things on them, and not the sort of thing a person can wear for work. He told me just take his credit card and go buy some.

As I stood in the men’s clothing aisle at Wal-Mart, it occurred to me that I no longer even know what size men’s clothing I wear. I’ve been thinking in size 7 and 5, Smalls and Mediums, through the last year, and I’ve never bought many male clothes in the first place (a curious thing, too). In fact, my male wardrobe is just enough to get buy. It is exactly the minimum that can be reasonably had. I no longer own a single pair of boxers or men’s socks. I could probably sit and list, off the top of my head, every article of male clothing that I own. There are three types: Formal Work, Casual Work, and Casual. I have about two outfits of each, really. My male shoes are old and needing to be replaced, but I just don’t care about them. My Led Zeppelin shirt is practically grey now, but I just don’t care enough to replace it. One of my casual work jeans has a hole about as big around as a pencil around one of the knees, and I just don’t care enough to replace it.

Compare that to my female shoes.

It's worth mentioning they don't actually look THAT bad. It was muddy today.

It’s worth mentioning they don’t actually look THAT bad. It was muddy today.

So it was muddy today, and I haven’t bothered to clean them since I’ve been home. I’ll tell you about the horrible day shortly, but… it was not a good day. Yes, it gets worse than finding myself wearing a pair of stinky pants that smelled in a weird place.

Compare that to my female tennis shoes on the right, which are spotless and in remarkable shape. I’ve needed to replace (or at the least polish) my male shoes for something like two years, and I just can’t be bothered to. But I won’t let so much as a speck of dust stay on my female shoes.

IMG_2072[1]

Caption!

Of course, you wouldn’t know it from looking, but I wear my female shoes a hell of a lot more than I wear my male shoes. My male tennis shoes literally get worn only for work, and then only for some clients–the more casual ones. This same disparity exists between my flip-flops, as well–I have two pairs, and my female pair is in infinitely better shape. Each night, I put up my female flip-flops out of reach of the cats, because they try to use them as a claw sharpener.

No, cat, that’s what my recliner is for!

On the other hand, I don’t bother to put up my male flip-flops. In my defense there, though, the cats also don’t mess with them.

Right now I’m wearing a pair of jeans that are nicer, cleaner, and better than any pair of male pants that I own, including the ones that I bought today. I don’t give the smallest shit about my male clothing. It is a means to an end, and in some cases I’m actively beginning to hate it. The last thing I wanted today was to buy male clothes, and I made that clear. There’s a reason he told me to use his credit card–because then I couldn’t really object. This one I couldn’t fight, as I could the television and other crap he wanted to buy, because this was more or less necessary for work. However, there was no chance that I was going to spend my money buying clothes that I didn’t want.

“This is ridiculous,” I texted. “A true testament of how insane our society is, and how obsessed we are with the arbitrary values we place in things. I’ve got tons of really awesome clothes. Like really, I’ve got more clothes than I should, and I’m running out of places to put them. But because the angle of the legs on this pair of jeans is this way, I can’t wear them. Because the sleeves on this shirt are angled this way, I can’t wear them. Because the neck is cut this way, I can’t wear that shirt.”

It was surprisingly difficult, even with it being at no expense to myself, to buy male clothes. It felt too much like resigning to continued existence as a male. I didn’t want to buy new clothes, because I want to be escaping to where I don’t have to pretend to be a guy. I don’t want to replace my shoes because I want to move and just throw them away, not stay here for another year. I want to have moved before I have to replace them, the same for my pants and shirts. I give my colleague/employer credit for knowing immediately that there was no chance I was going to spend my money paying for more clothes, and that we’d have difficulties to deal with otherwise, but I’m not done with the story.

While on my way to the men’s clothing, I passed by the women’s clothing and immediately saw an outfit that I wanted. I’m in dire need of women’s shirts, and they’re the hardest things to find online for a decent price. I’m not interested in paying $23 for a shirt. I’m just not. Maybe one day, but I’m way too broke to find that even kinda reasonable. If I’m paying $23, I expect it to come with 3 shirts, at the very least. So sales racks and stuff at Rue21 are where I’d do my shopping for shirts–if I could.

It seemed so easy. Just walk by when there were no huge, burly, bearded dudes around, right? Quickly grab the outfit I was looking at, throw it in my basket, and reposition things so that they were covered as I went to check out. Simple, fast, easy.

So many people don’t get it when I talk about this. They say things like, “Just grab it. Fuck what people say.”

I can only shake my head at such things. Walk a mile in the shoes of a transgender Mississippian, and then come back with that. If I want to buy clothing, then I have to get a female friend to accompany me. I simply can’t stand in the aisle and inspect things, hold them up to see how they’d fit, or whether this top would match with those shorts.

“They don’t know they’re not for your girlfriend,” is another common statement.

Um… And?

Even if there were tons of guys running around Wal-Mart, Rue 21, Target, and Marshall’s shopping for clothes for their girlfriends (something the girlfriends wouldn’t appreciate, either) (and there aren’t anyway), it would be a flagrant denial of reality to say that people wouldn’t instantly guess that the clothes were for me. People aren’t that stupid. I knew when I went into the shoe store months ago and bought these awesome shoes that I’d get weird looks, not just for shopping for women’s shoes, but for buying a size 13–actually oversized, as it turns out I’m a 12, but it’s not like I could try them on…

The scathing, contemptible looks.

Of course, by this point I’m used to them. I’ve been getting hateful looks from people since being a goth kid in the ninth grade. However, the vitriol takes on a decidedly more lethal substance when you’re transgender. It’s not just people who don’t like my appearance or who don’t like my lifestyle; it’s people who feel threatened by my lifestyle. It’s not the female cashier that is the problem. It’s Bubba shopping with his girlfriend behind me. It’s Wyatt who is walking by. It’s the guy with a can of Skoal in his backpocket. It’s the guy who looks like he fell out of an episode of Duck Dynasty. These people are rare outliers in other parts of the world; in Mississippi, especially these more rural areas, they are the norm.

And there are tells, as I learned a few weeks ago, when a random girl at a store to which I’d never been asked me out of the blue if I preferred to be called “sir” or “ma’am.” That someone even asked this question should tell you right off the bat who we’re dealing with: southerners, for whom “sir” and “ma’am” are second nature. I don’t even think about it. A man older than me gets called “sir,” and a woman gets called “ma’am.” It’s one of the few things ingrained in every single southerner, and a dead giveaway to people in other parts of the country where you’re from.

I wasn’t doing anything odd, and this random person picked me out. No one will assume the clothes are for someone else; they will all intuit that the clothes are for me.

Even big dumb Bubba.

Seriously, Disturbed’s “Asylum” could easily be about being transgender and forced to repress it for so many years.

Release me

No remnants were ever found of it
Feeling the hot bile
With every fake smile
Though no evidence was ever found
It never went away completely

I try to hide from the unholy sound of it
Another day gone
Another night’s dawn
Dark forces pull me underground
They never went away completely

How can I feel this empty?
I will not recover this time
This loneliness is killing me

Will I never know peace of mind again?
I don’t believe it
I can’t achieve it
I think it all is just another sign
That never went away completely

Terror is coursing in me
Dreading the final moments
When I have to dream
And feel you die
([Background:] Death inside of me keeps a diligent watch on everything.
Keeps a terrible hold on my belief.
Just waiting for the moment when I…)

In Asylum (I live a lie)
Don’t you know I’m in love with you
And I wasn’t ready
For Asylum (Relive a lie)
To let go
Now it’s dragging me into your grave
Your Asylum (Forgive the lie)
Overcome by the feeling that I won’t get to join you in time
For the loneliness is killing me

Death’s images are all around again
They’re right behind me
They’re gonna find me
Judgment for the immortal sin
That had enveloped me completely

I know I’ll never know a peaceful night again
Afraid they’ll hear me
They don’t fear me
Punishment for the immoral crime
The debt was never paid completely

Terror is coursing in me
Dreading the final moments
When I have to dream
And feel you die
([Background:] Death inside of me keeps a diligent watch on everything.
Keeps a terrible hold on my belief.
Just waiting for the moment when I…)

In Asylum (I live a lie)
Don’t you know I’m in love with you
And I wasn’t ready
For Asylum (Relive a lie)
To let go
Now it’s dragging me into your grave
Your Asylum (Forgive the lie)
Overcome by the feeling that I won’t get to join you in time
For the loneliness is killing me

In the end there will be no suffering (more suffering)
In the end you will find out everything (not anything)
In the end you may question your belief (what belief)
In the end you will realize someday
How you were deceived

This has gone on too long (too long)
No more demonic dreams
Destroyer come to light
Because the memory is killing me

In Asylum (I live a lie)
I let go
Now it’s dragging me into your grave
For Asylum (Relive a lie)
Overcome by the feeling that I won’t get to join you in time
(without you) this world is not fulfilling me

Don’t make me live in Asylum
I live a lie
Don’t want to live in Asylum
I live a lie
Don’t make me live in Asylum
I live a lie

 

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.

Video: Transgender Life in Mississippi

Hey, if you like the video, be sure to actually go to it on Youtube and like, share, comment, and subscribe. There’s a lot of that, where my shares will get Likes and +1s, but that doesn’t really help the video any, since the post and not the video is what gets the attention from that.

Anyway, this is a general overview of life being transgender in Mississippi, how I came to accept it, how I dealt with it, how my fundamentalist drug addict parents fucked me up, and just conversation in general about what life is like in Mississippi–for transgender and non-transgender people.

I know that it’s pretty long, but that was kinda necessary, because there’s a lot of ground to cover.

I’m working on the audio quality issues, but there aren’t many ways that I can solve it in my current situation beyond using my microphone. I mean, I can’t just go out and buy a high quality audio recorder; I have to work with what I have. I mean, I can’t even just go out and buy the correct foundation, as I mentioned in the video (which is why my face is a different color than my body… I know.). I just have to work with what I have, in pretty much every part of my life.

Here is the GoFundMe page I mentioned…

Shemale Lesbian Problems

I’m sexy as fuck.

3I have to be honest, though, that my muscles are seriously beginning to irritate me, even as there’s nothing I can do about them except wait and let hormones knock them out. I imagine that it’s going to take a while, because I’ve always been pretty muscular. I’ve lifted weights most of my life, too, which has caused a lot of people to be surprised when I have to do something that really shows my muscles–or just flex. When I worked at Domino’s Pizza years ago, we were messing around near closing time, and discussing exercising, and everyone was showing their muscles. When the conversation worked its way around to me, I was like, “Nah, that’s alright. I’ve gotta do some dishes.” They pressed, however, so I flexed.

People are always surprised, because I’m so skinny, but I’m seriously all muscle. When lifting weights years ago at a gym, I had to be strapped down while working a machine that had me pulling the weights down from above, because it was instead lifting me into the air. It was a reverse benchpress kinda thing, I don’t know what it’s called. But there were several people in the gym, and everyone was shocked that skinny little me was like “No, put 150 pounds on it. I’ll start there.” When I owned a Bowflex (Don’t buy a Bowflex), I had to order two extra 50-pound resistors, because the default weight wasn’t enough for me to get a workout.

When I got home from school everyday during early high school, I’d jump and grab the roof of our house, and proceed to do pull-ups while lifting my knees–there’s nothing that works abs as much as doing that. And when all that combined, I ended up with mostly a 6-pack abs and quite a bit of muscle on my arms. So there was like a decade or more of pretty regular weight-lifting, crunches, sit-ups, and pull-ups.

I’m thinking it’s gonna take a few years for estrogen to atrophy those muscles away.

2I’m also looking pretty good, though! I don’t normally do my makeup that well, but I had several hours over which to do it, and I had plans that night, so the extra effort was important. I could have gone anywhere I needed to go looking like that, and no one would have looked twice–well, they might have, but it would not have been because they suspected I might have a penis.

Well, except for the muscles.

Those still are dead giveaways.

_20160717_120753I am pretty sexy, though, and I do enjoy showing that off. I’m kinda torn on the subject, though, because I want to take extra care to avoid being stereotyped like many transgender people are. I can handle my abs being like the pic there on the left, and you can even see where curves are starting to develop. There are clear curves there, and I really like that.

Even my legs are pure muscle, though. Look at them.

Just one big ass muscle there.

My legs are okay, though. I’m not particularly bothered by my legs, though I don’t like my ass.

One of the girls I was recently talking to pretty obviously wanted me to keep being a guy. It does put me in a weird position, granted, because these two left-aligned pics… they seem more like the sort of thing that would attract a guy, not a girl, and I’m not trying to attract guys. I’m well aware how this works for me sexually/romantically, thanks.

Interestingly, I used to take pictures because I looked more feminine in pictures than I did in the mirror. I went from using a lot of Photoshop to using filters to using no filters to using the rear camera. Now, however, I find that I look more feminine in the mirror than I do in picture. Why is that?

Mostly, it’s mentality.

I know the blurring work is sloppy. I don't really care.

I know the blurring work is sloppy. I don’t really care.

I know that my friends are put off a bit by it, and seeing pictures like those two on the left and this one on the right leave them asking, “Um… What kind of girl is she going to attract with pictures like that?

Well…

Um…

One that licks ass, I suppose.

But no, seriously, I’m well aware of the problems it creates–I spend a lot of time thinking about that. It’s also true, though, that I’m sexually fluid–something that very few of my friends know, but may have guessed, and something which alleviates much of the problem. While I could never be with a guy in any serious way, I like having a good time. And there’s also the fact that: yes, there are plenty of chicks out there who would see that pic and be interested.

They’re not in Mississippi, though.

They think they are, but they’re not. They always end up back at that place, where they’re basically asking me, “Can’t you just be a guy?”

No… No, sweetie, I can’t just be anything except me.

I’m working on leaving Mississippi, though. I’ve got a GoFundMe Campaign aimed at that end, because it’s really important that I leave the south and go somewhere that I can live and exist in peace, security, and stability. If you’d be interested in donating or even sharing the campaign, that would be fantastic, and infinitely appreciated: www.gofundme.com/transgendermove . I’ve submitted a novel recently for publishing and have my fingers crossed for that, but that’s a long shot, you know?

Well.

IMG_1469I did make the music video again–I’ve actually done several today, and I got one that was finally acceptable enough that I was willing to upload it. Then, as soon as I uploaded it and went to transcribe it for the lyrics, I deleted it. I’ve asked a friend to do something similar, but I simply can’t–my singing voice just sucks too bad. And I knew that when I uploaded the video, but I thought maybe it was alright. But no.

That’s frustrating, because I think something like that would be an effective way to get the word out.

Apparently, if I block someone for hate speech, it doesn’t delete their comments on my video. It just hides them from me. Well done, Youtube. That’s completely fucking broken. I only became aware of it because my first video about the GoFundMe campaign has like 15 comments. So I switched to a different profile, and there they were–the initial asshole’s comments, as well as someone who kindly took on the dipshit for me by pointing out that the rules of most places don’t really apply to Mississippi.

I’m really frustrated with my friends, but there’s no point in continuing to harp on that. But it’s really anger-inducing, because I can look over there, to the list of friends on the right and say:

  • I just sold you a $55 part for $15, taking a $40 loss to my company. I also gave you 45 minutes of labor and a $55 part for free, on top of the one I sold you.
  • I gave you a half-ounce of weed (years ago).
  • I borrowed a suboxone from my sister and gave it to you because you were withdrawing from heroin.
  • I gave you a ton of rides all over the place, and ecstasy (years ago, granted).
  • I’ve removed viruses for you and helped set up your controller for your PC.
  • I gave you money for you to start a company.
  • I shared your music for years, even though I don’t even like hip-hop.
  • You came in me.
  • I’ve been supporting your bid for state representative of Pennsylvania.
  • I share your podcast.

And yet none of them have liked, commented, or shared any of my statues. I posted this one early today, a warning to them all masked behind subtlety:

getting snippyIt’s certainly fair to say that I’m getting a bit snippy, but obviously it’s subtle enough that no one would feel like I’m taking shots at them. Unless they actually scrolled down my wall, in which case they’d see:

The answer to my question is "No."

The answer to my question is “No.”

Here I am, literally doing everything I can to try to improve my life forever, to get out of this hellhole, and put all this bullshit behind me, and I’ve resorted to running ads on Facebook and Twitter because I’m more likely to get likes, comments, shares, and donations from random strangers on the Internet than I am people that I’ve known for two decades. There are a few reasons for this:

1 – They’re Broke

I don’t expect any of them to donate money to me. Most of them are at least as broke as I am, and some of them are doing even worse. A few of them aren’t doing very badly, and I certainly am surprised that one in particular has not donated a fucking thing, but I’m not going to begrudge anyone for not donating money to me. Even though they’re the people who know best that I’ve spent my entire life trying and overcoming obstacles. What sort of message does that send people on the Internet, if my friends and family are unwilling to even pitch in a dollar? If the people who know me best and who, allegedly, care the most about me aren’t willing to throw in at least a few bucks, what does that tell people on the Internet? That’s why it pisses me off so much.

None of these people even bought my story on Amazon, despite the fact that nearly every friend I’ve ever had has told me, “Let me know when you have something published! I’ll definitely buy it!” Then none of them did. Well, one friend did, and then promised to leave a review. He never did, because he never actually read it. I don’t know how to feel about that. Thanks, I guess, for paying that whopping 99 cents to buy my story. Would’ve been nice if you’d taken the time to read all eleven pages of it and leave the review that you promised to leave, but I guess one can’t have everything. Other friends frequently post shit about how important it is to help friends get started. Seriously.

2 – They’re Self-Absorbed

bullshit

Yes, I had to call him on that, and there remain only two copies sold of my story. Out of all 7 billion people on the planet, two of them bought my story. Worse still, a few friends even have told me that they did purchase it. They assumed, presumably, that I had sold at least a few dozen copies, and that they could therefore hide in the numbers and say that they’d bought it when they didn’t. But only two people have bought it, and I can identify both of those people. But yes, I had to call this guy on his thing about how important it is to support local businesses and family and stuff, when he had never even shared any of the dozens of posts on my wall about my story. It’s ridiculous Feel Good bullshit. “I want to act like I believe this, but I don’t really want to do it. Help a friend? Fuck that.”

Take this, for example:

disgusting

This was so horrific I had to call the guy on it. “Are you attempting to sell something that you’re otherwise going to burn?” I added the “lol” because he was a friend, and for no other reason. To my horror, his response was “Yes. It’s garbage to me, but if anyone wants it, they have to pay for it.”

He literally tried to sell his garbage to people.

Literally. He literally tried selling his garbage to people.

Then the very same friend will post this, making fun of other people doing exactly the same thing:

garbage

Like “Dude. You literally tried selling your garbage to people. Something that was of no use to you whatsoever and that you were going to destroy, you attempted to sell to someone. And if someone had come to you to get it, and asked for it for free, you would have said, ‘No.’ You might have gone down to $3 or something, but that doesn’t change the fact that you literally tried to sell your garbage to people–and you knew it, and you admitted it. You value things not by how much value they have to you, but buy whether or not other people want them.”

The ultimate irony is that, yes, the same friend posted both things. The same friend that literally and knowingly tried selling his garbage to people made fun of people in Buy, Sell, Trade groups who do the same thing. I’ve rarely seen such a lack of self-awareness.

He has picked up on my agitation, though, because earlier today he shared one of my posts about my GoFundMe campaign, and he did it in exactly the way that I said he would: without text, without saying anything. Just an empty click of the share button, a gesture, a token–an obligation. I don’t want my friends to feel obligated to share my stuff, and I don’t want them to feel obligated to help. I want friends who want to help, and mine simply don’t.

obligationNothing like

This person has been my friend for 15 years and has overcome a lot of bullshit, and now needs a little help to get out of Mississippi and go somewhere that she’ll be safe and secure.

No

I’ve known this person for 15 years, and if there’s anyone who has tried hard to move forward, it’s her. Now she needs a little help.

Just an empty share.

I said two days ago that this is exactly what I didn’t want:

called it

I want friends who act like fucking friends. Is that so much to ask?

I’ve always been there any time these people needed. With this particular friend, let me tell you a little story.

His wife had a skirt that she couldn’t wear because she’d bought a Youth 24 instead of some other 24, so the skirt was more like my size than hers. He asked if I wanted it. After looking it over, I told him that: While I did like the skirt, it was simply too short, and I wouldn’t be able to wear it in public. Therefore, I couldn’t purchase it. I have enough clothes that are too short/tight for me to wear anywhere but home, and I’m not going to pay to add to that. He told me to hang on to it anyway, because he had no use for it.

A few weeks later, I decided that I liked it after all, and he asked if I was going to pay for it.

Process that for a minute.

If I didn’t want the skirt, then I could have it for free. But if I did want the skirt, then I had to pay for it.

I don’t typically keep cash on me, and he dropped by my house like three times unexpectedly and out of the blue, asking for money for that goddamned skirt. It got to the point where I was considering just telling him to take the damned thing back, because it was horrifically offensive (Yes, offensive) that he had given me this skirt until I decided that I liked it, at which point he wanted $15 for it. Rather than telling me at any of these points that he stopped by unexpectedly and I had no cash on me, despite my telling him that he had to give me advance notice before he came by because I don’t keep cash, “You know what? Don’t worry about it. I told you to just keep it, so just keep it. I gave it to you as a gift because I had no need or use for it, so it wouldn’t be right for me to take your money for it now…” he just kept asking for money for it. I was in a video session with John McAfee the last time that he stopped by, and I was just so goddamned tired of dealing with it and happened to have cash on me that I put a $20 bill under my windshield wiper and ignored him the rest of the night. How dare he take that money?

Only when I was writing this post did I realize that he sold me his garbage.

I would unfriend all of these people right now if I knew how long it would take to garner the money I need to go to Vegas and escape this living nightmare, but it’s not like he’s a bad guy. He’s not. He’s just… very greedy when it comes to money, clearly–and I don’t like saying that about my friends, especially since there is the possibility that he might read this, but the dude sold me his garbage. I don’t know how else to characterize that. He’s a great guy in other respects. Hey, I’ve got lots of flaws, too. I’m extremely argumentative, and I’m sure that’s pissed my friends off on several occasions. I’m very thankful that they’ve dealt with that and generally just ignore it.

But one thing that I can’t simply forget is that I’ve always been willing to help my friends, and I don’t think I’ve ever refused to help a friend. When this same friend called me while I was at work, and his wife’s car was messed up in a nearby city with a dead battery, I was willing to contact someone I knew in the area and ask them to go jump off her battery. Because I’m willing to help friends. Maybe my mistake is expecting that people value me as much as I value them.

3 – Fear

Almost none of the selfies I post ever get Likes, and the few likes that I do get always come from female friends. None of my male friends will go anywhere near that Like button on one of my selfies, and we all know why. In the back of their mind, they don’t know what it will mean if they Like the picture. “Does that mean I think she is hot? Will everyone else think that I think she’s hot? Will she think that I think she’s hot? Does that just mean that I like the picture? What if I just like the picture because it’s a good pic, but everyone else thinks I liked it because I think she’s pretty in that picture? She’s got a penis, so I can’t think she’s pretty without being gay, and I’m not gay…”

Some of my pics are pretty damned good, if I do say so myself:

I gotta tell ya... I'd lick the hell out of that belly.

I gotta tell ya… I’d lick the hell out of that belly.

IMG_1466As I’ve said before, I’m not in the least attracted to guys, and I never have been. To be totally honest, I find the idea of two guys kissing to be repulsive, but it’s not because I think it’s wrong for two guys to kiss–it’s because I don’t think guys are attractive, so how could two guys making out be anything less than unattractive? I find the idea of kissing a guy to be gross. I like girls–it’s a major part of me being transgender, after all.

The point of all that is to say that the pic on the left is one of the few pics I’ve taken where I can honestly say that I’d totally make out with that person. And I’d really enjoy it. I happen to think I look pretty hot in that pic. Not incredible, gorgeous, or anything like that, but… fairly hot. And when I went outside to tan yesterday afternoon and removed my shorts, I realized… “Holy shit. I look like a bronze goddess.”

I’m not saying that I expect you or anyone else to agree with those statements; in fact, it’s irrelevant to me whether or not you do. I want to look at myself and think that I’m hot. It means absolutely nothing to me whether anyone else thinks I’m hot. Obviously, for the sake of having a relationship, it would be good for another girl to find me attractive, and I think I’ll be able to find such girls without much issue in Vegas, which I’m really looking forward to. I can’t wait to go out on the city, and be safe, hit some LGBT clubs, and meet some fellow lesbians.

For similar reasons they won’t like my pictures, my friends won’t share my statues about the GoFundMe campaign. Though they may not have a problem with transgender people, what about their family? How would this friend’s mom react if she found out that he was supporting a transgender friend? How would that friend’s church group react if they saw the post? How would that friend’s coworkers react? The answer to these questions, since we are talking about people in Mississippi, is “Badly, Badly, and Badly.”

“Oh, I didn’t know you were into that sort of thing!” would be the mildest of the messages such a friend would get from other friends and family–joking jabs meant half in jest and half in sincerity, to get the person to explain. For the most part, though, they’d get comments and messages saying things like “Instead of donating, we need to be praying for this poor soul, for the devil to release his hold on him.” For the most part, it would be largely ineffective for them to share my campaign.

But it wouldn’t be totally ineffective.

Most of my friends have other friends who live in Washington, Canada, New York, Florida, New Jersey, and other places where people are far more tolerant and open.

I need $3,865 more. If I could reach 3,865 and all of them give just $1, then I could forever be free of this nightmare, could move to an economically stable city, and live in peace and security. If I could just reach 1933 people, and all of them give just $2, then I could put the despair of Mississippi and the American south in the past and relocate to a city where I will not have to sleep with a loaded gun on my headboard out of fear for my life, where I can’t even go to the nearest LGBT bar because people are routinely attacked as they leave them–the news stories for which have been buried by the Orlando attack. When I first looked into going, however, that’s what caused me not to: the LGBT bars in Memphis are often in the news because patrons are attacked, beaten, and hospitalized after leaving the club.

But as I said: I shall endeavor on. And I will continue donating everything I can to the campaign in the hopes that it sends the right message to people, in the hopes that the word spreads, and in the hopes that people outside of Mississippi are as good, kind, and compassionate as I know them to be.

To me, friendship is reciprocity of care. I don’t think I’m yet jaded enough to say that people only have friends based on what those “friends” can do for them, but there’s certainly a case to be made for that. Even myself, I would argue–I have friends because I don’t like loneliness. But this cold statement hides the real emotions that underscore a friendship: the care and the concern. If these things are not reciprocated (which is clearly shown in a person’s actions), then there is hardly a friendship there. There is only a parasite and a host.

C’est la vie.

I don’t like self-promotion. Even when it’s relevant, I don’t like self-promotion.

When I answer questions on Quora, I tend to answer questions that I’m interested in–obviously. This means that I’ve probably done a podcast or video on the subject, or at the very least have written an article about it, but I always find it so hard to link the content in question. Because I don’t like the idea of self-promotion.

Yet as I stand here trying to promote a GoFundMe campaign, I’m terribly aware that the only way… is self-promotion.

That’s what I meant to discuss in the last article, before I digressed, so now I’m writing about it.

As I said there, it’s no surprise that my friends don’t throw up donations. I don’t expect them to. Most of them are doing as badly as I am, and some of them worse–I at least have my own place and am not living on my parents’ land, after all. But there’s another place that I can’t turn: family. Not only do I have to be careful to ensure that my family doesn’t see me on Facebook and Twitter (I’m the only person in my family who even uses Twitter), but even if they did, there is no chance whatsoever that they would share the post, or that any of them would donate.

That’s what frustrates me about the #1 suggest on GoFundMe, Indiegogo, and everywhere else: “Share with your friends and family!”

Yeah, because I enjoy being ignored.

Of the many posts I’ve made about my campaign on my artist page and my personal Facebook page, no friend has shared anything. And they never will. These are the same people who wouldn’t spend ninety-nine cents buying my short story on Amazon. Hell, they couldn’t even be bothered to share those posts, either. I’ve often said that I’d have more luck getting them do share a kidney than I would getting them to share a post, but I’m not sure that’s true, either. I think they’d probably just sit back and do nothing.

That’s particularly frustrating because I’ve always made it a point to share things and help in whatever way that I could. When a friend of mine was raising money to start a business making vapor liquids, I donated $10 to him. I’m the only person who donated to him and shared his campaign, so it’s not just I who have the problem. It’s seriously not me; it’s them. And while I love these people to death for the (albeit limited) emotional support they’ve provided by being my friend, and for putting up with my rather… argumentative… comments without telling me to fuck off, that doesn’t change that it hurts to be trying for six months to do something, and to be able to count on one hand the number of times that friends have shown any interest whatsoever in it.

I’ve now paid $7.00 to Facebook for promoting one of my posts about the campaign, and that has yielded no result. Today I added Twitter to the list and am paying $10 to have one of my tweets about it posted. I have to do for myself the things that friends and family ordinarily do, because my family is non-existent (for all intents and purposes) and my friends are… a tad self-absorbed. They see the posts. And they just keep scrolling.

They say that you pick your friends, but not your family, and I’m not sure how true that really is. I didn’t have much choice when I picked my friends; we generally came together out of circumstance in high school, because we were the rejects, the ones who fell through society’s cracks. But realistically, I didn’t have a particularly large group of friends to choose from, and there was never really any “choosing.” The environment and circumstances handed me friends in much the same way that it handed me family.

Out of all my friends, I would have to say that the only one I think truly qualifies as an actual friend, and not merely “an agreeable person met through circumstances” would be Michelle Kelly, who I’ve never even met. And that’s not because she’s done this, that, and the other thing to help me; it’s simply because she shows the characteristic that a friend actually should: support.

When I came out as transgender, I made it clear to a lot of my friends that I was going to be leaning pretty heavily on them. They understood, because being transgender meant that I was about to be dead to my family. One girl in particular was supposed to be there–and then wasn’t. C’est la vie.

I’m not bitter or angry about it, not really, but it does frustrate me and sadden me. It’s a large part of the reason that I was so willing to drop everything and move to Vegas–thinking I had found that, as I said, “kindred spirit.” That person who would ensure that I wasn’t totally alone. That’s really what matters to me, as I have spent the better part of my life alone–something that a lot of people simply won’t get. Most people do have at least a parent they can go to, after all.

C’est la vie.

When a friend of mine called me a week ago and needed help with his computers, I told him to come on out, and I looked for power supplies to sell him that he needed. I couldn’t give them away, because they were business inventory, but I sold them for $15 each–one third the actual price. Not only was there no markup, I actually took a loss by selling them, and converted one computer from a “Just needs a hard drive” to “pretty much junk now” by removing its PSU. Then he arrived and I spent about 45 minutes troubleshooting things with him. I only put a stop to things when he basically wanted me to open up a brand new case, brand new motherboard, brand new CPU, brand new RAM, and put one of the computers together for him. That… crossed a line of friendship to me, especially since this was something he’d already done twice himself. I’m all for helping someone with something, but I’m not just going to do it for them. My colleague was coming down anyway, so I didn’t have another hour to dedicate to building a computer. And while I wouldn’t have let him pay me for my time, he also didn’t offer.

Two weeks later, and my GoFundMe campaign sits on my wall ignored, not even a Like. And if it did get a share, it would be an empty one, an obvious gesture, with no text or anything added, no, “Hey, this is a really good friend of mine who has worked really hard to overcome obstacles, but who needs a little help right now…” or anything like that.

No sign of friendship. Just a sign of obligation.

An obligation that would only be acknowledged if I brought attention to it.

When he first asked if I had a PSU, I said “No,” because I didn’t have one just sitting around. When he made it clear that he really needed them, I took time out of my day and pulled three. Then helped troubleshoot the problem.

Another friend contacts me somewhat regularly to have me do things remotely for his computer. I’ve installed and setup MotionInJoy for him, so that we could trick his computer into reading his 360 controller as a PS3 controller and remap the axes on it. I’ve helped him remove malware. All things that I charge people for on a daily basis, but the thought of charging him never crossed my mind–because he was a friend and needed help, and I was able to give it.

It’s a nuanced issue, obviously. I never helped them because I expected reciprocation. I never envisioned a scenario where this friend 3,000 miles away would be able to help me with something; I simply did it because he was a friend and I cared, not because I was obligated to or because I wanted him to be obligated to return the favor. But I think someone’s willingness or unwillingness to take three seconds out of their day to click two buttons and type a short message is probably a pretty good indicator of how much they value you as a friend.

My campaign can’t go viral if the people to whom I’m sharing it don’t forward it on. That’s how this sharing thing works–it’s a spider web. I share it with the thirty friends I have, and they share it with the 30-300 friends they have. In one act, I went from sharing with 30 people to sharing with 900 people.

In theory, anyway.

How it actually works is that I share it, and that’s as far as it goes.

When you’re literally trying to do something that will improve your life by leaps and bounds forever and that will allow you to actually move from a place of economic despair to stability and progress, it goes a bit beyond “disappointing” and flirts with “insulting” to hear only the crickets and see only the tumbleweeds after I effectively ask, “Hey, could you share this?”

But I will keep going. I will endeavor on. And when I have moved to Vegas and make new friends, they will find themselves systematically removed from my life. They weren’t there when I needed them, so why on Earth would they be there after the dust had settled?

3

I will succeed. I will leave this wretched place, and I will put all this shit and this horrid environment of selfish people in the past.

And I won’t look back.

Spirals

I’m not sure what to call it, but I’m sure that it will come to me as I write this. “Spirals” isn’t quite right. It’s self-reinforcing, though, perpetuating itself because it is and cannot be anything else. No, I haven’t been hit by a bout of depression or anything–I’m just thinking about the fact that, of my friends, none have ever done anything to help me do anything.

Poverty perpetuates itself. That is what I was trying to say.

I totally get why none of my friends would donate to the GoFundMe campaign, and I don’t begrudge them for that. They’re Mississippians, too, which means that they face the same harsh reality that I face: there’s just no money here anyway. In order for them to give me money, they’d have to have money, and they grew up in the same area that I did, faced the same economic despair that I did. Most of them live on their parents’ land, in a trailer on their parents’ land, or in a trailer on their wives’ parents’ land. Less than 1% successfully broke away, and those who did were already safely middle class. I think of the guy I went to school with, with whom I was best friends when we were much younger but drifted apart because I moved closer to atheism and faith is a big deal to him, and how he is now a reporter for ESPN or something. I’m thrilled for him, but that brings something else to my attention.

It’s fair to say that he had a better start than I did–Hell, than most people here did. The circle of friends I had in school all came from similar backgrounds, and I’ve mentioned it before: our parents were on drugs, divorced. Many of us didn’t live with either parent. And so we all rejected the system that had spit upon us.

Many people would here say something like “Oh, you’re blaming the system for everything now? Grow up and take some responsibility!” I’ve heard that refrain often. Never directed at me, though, because until the past few months I’ve never really sat down to think about how all of this came about. It was pointless. I simply went with the hand that I was dealt, and it served no purpose to sit around thinking about how some people were dealt better hands. And I’m still not doing so–the hand I was dealt is irrelevant, because I don’t mean any of this in a personal way. I’m talking more along the fact that it’s borderline impossible to be born to a poor family in a place like this and change those circumstances.

A lot of people grow up with parents who talk about putting back money for college funds. How hilarious. Because I remember when my dad took my sister and me to cash out our savings bonds that were supposed to go to college–all one of them that we each had–and instead used that money on himself. Probably on drugs. It never occurred to me in high school that there would never be a college fund, and it actually might have been helpful if my dad had sat me down at some point and said, “Do you see the way I live? You don’t have to do that. If you apply yourself, if you focus and try to excel, you can break out of this bullshit. But I won’t be able to help you do it. I’m not man enough to help you do it.”

Other people talk about getting $150 allowances from their parents each week while they’re living in dorms in college, and I can’t even fathom what that is like. I’ve been working since I was fifteen years old, specifically because my father couldn’t pay for me, and because I had to pay for myself. Even before that, he had me working outside during the summers at the trailer park at which he was a maintenance guy, putting this shit called “Cool Coating” or something on people’s roofs for $100 a trailer. Of course, he enjoyed a $40 Finders Fee for each one of these.

The last time I did this at all, I had four trailers to do in a single day–$400 for a single day of work. I was 14 years old, and had never even seen that amount of money, much less held it. I was dreaming about finally getting a PlayStation 2, like my cousin had because his parents had bought him one. Just as I’d gotten myself a Playstation X by trading in my Super Nintendo and every single SNES game that I had to Funcoland. I didn’t have a single game for that PlayStationX (there’s a difference between the PSX and PS1). In fact, I didn’t even have a way to connect it to my television, because my television was one of the old CRTs with only coaxial inputs, and the PSX came with composite cables. So there I was, without the SNES that my mother had given me for my birthday the year that the N64 came out, and without any of those games, but I didn’t care. I had the latest and greatest. No games for it, and no way to even connect it to my TV. But I had it.

That was what I wanted: a PlayStation 2 and Final Fantasy X. It looked amazing.

Instead, as we were leaving for the day, my father asked for $140 to pay back his boss for a loan. “I’ll give it back to you Friday,” my dad said. Then, after we left the office, “I also need to borrow $200 so I can get my license plate renewed.” By the time we made it home, I had $60 left–all that remained of the 8 hours I spent standing on roofs in the hot Mississippi sun at 14 years old coating people’s roofs in some coolant. Of course, my dad never paid me back, as I knew he wouldn’t, but it’s not like you can call your father out on things like that, not when you’re 14 and living with him. “Oh, I didn’t know you liked having a roof over your head.” Not to mention that my dad was spiteful in the extreme. “I guess you can buy your own food and start paying rent from now on then!” he would have replied.

There was a period of about a month where he basically made me play the boardgame RISK with him and his girlfriend every single fucking day. While I like RISK (not so much since this experience) and did enjoy playing it occasionally, a friend had loaned me a guitar, and I wanted to be practicing that–since I didn’t have a guitar and couldn’t borrow it indefinitely. That kid, Chris P., is solely the reason I was able to learn to play the guitar, something that I’ve become quite good at and that has saved my life on several occasions.

I also had Final Fantasy IX, I remember, and I badly wanted to play it. I’d gotten it at Wal-Mart for $20 with some of the money I made doing the cooling crap on roofs, because my Disc 3 had stopped working. Funnily enough, this was because I’d let my cousin borrow it. After weeks of trying everything from nail polish remover to toothpaste (yes, toothpaste) to remove the scratches, I accepted that there was no option but to replace the game. And I finally had. So I could finally get back to my quest!

But no. Because everyday I got home from school, ten minutes later my dad got home, and then we had to play that stupid goddamned boardgame for the next six fucking hours. After weeks of this, I decided that I just couldn’t play anymore. We never finished any of the games. We always stopped about five hours in, when it was obvious that my father was going to win, and decided “We’ll finish it tomorrow.” But then tomorrow came, and, rather than finishing, we’d restart the whole fucking thing. That went on for weeks. Seriously, weeks.

It doesn’t take that long to get sick of The Game of Global Domination.

When I said “No, I’m not going to play,” my father flew into a rage. So angry that he could barely speak straight, slurring his words and stuttering about what a “piece of shit” I was, and how I could just take my ass outside and cut the grass. With a weedeater. Because he was never going to buy a lawnmower, and never did buy a mower. His solution was what you’d call the “Cheap Because I Don’t Have To Do It” option of buying a weedeater and pushing responsibility of cutting the yard off onto me. After all, he wasn’t going to get outside with a weedeater to cut a few fucking hundred yards of grass (this was my uncle’s land).

So all that was to say that my father is petty.

But even that experience where my father “borrowed” $340 wasn’t the reason I stopped doing it. No, he would never have allowed that. He needed me to do it so that he could “borrow” *wink-wink* money from me, so under no circumstances would he have allowed me to stop doing it.

Instead, the reason I stopped doing it was that someone offered to pay him in advance, because they needed him to purchase the stuff. Two barrels of the stuff was about $60, if I recall correctly, so he was given $160. I’m sure you can guess what happened next.

First, he decided he would “borrow” part of the $100 from me to get various things that he needed. On day three, that $100 was down to $0. So on Day 3, he decided that he would “borrow” from the $60 for the materials, and then “Pay it back on payday.”

Just like he “paid me back,” I’m sure.

So after that, I couldn’t continue doing it, because he had to come up with $60 to buy the materials, and he had to come up with something to pay me. Even he wasn’t a big enough piece of shit to ask me to do it for free.

Shortly after that, he was fired, as one might expect. A tenant complaining to the landlord “Hey, your maintenance guy kinda stole $160 from me” can have that effect, especially since my dad was never qualified to do any sort of maintenance anyway, and had already borrowed $2000 from his boss. That’s right. $2000. For what? Who knows. His car was paid for, and we lived in the one bedroom addition to my uncle’s house. And, at that time, my dad’s rent was a measly $150 a month.

Drugs, I’m sure. You’d be surprised, if you’ve never been down that road, how quickly you can burn money on drugs, especially lortabs at $7 a pop. Hell, there were days that I paid $10/pill. When you’re addicted and desperate, you’ll pay just about anything.

I got sidetracked on Quora arguing with someone who literally argued with my answer to a question while specifically demonstrating the exact mindset that I was talking about. Honestly, you can’t make this shit up:

https://www.quora.com/Why-are-many-people-against-direct-democracy-after-Brexit-when-it-works-quite-well-in-Switzerland/answer/Aria-DiMezzo

How in the hell can someone say in one comment that they don’t like direct democracy because they don’t agree with the criteria by which people who disagree on the policy came to their dissenting conclusion, while saying just a moment later that they value liberty? I am reminded of that brilliant passage from Thomas Paine in The Rights of Man:

It takes in a field too vast for their views to explore, and proceeds with a mightiness of reason they cannot keep pace with.

Love me some Thomas Paine.

When I took British Literature in college, I asked the instructor if I could do my term paper on Thomas Paine. This was a class that was largely dedicated to Romantic poetry (the reason that I took the class–I’ve always loved Romantic and Victorian era poetry). To my surprise, he allowed it. So I talked about how Thomas Paine had a better understanding of rights and liberty than most people today, and how he demolished the Pentateuch, as well as the notion that it was written by Moses, in The Age of Reason–after which I later named a song The Age of Aquarius. One of the greatest tragedies of human history is that Thomas Paine’s influence has been so narrow. The Rights of Man, in particular, is a masterpiece of the theories of self-government, and almost no one has read it.

I’m not really out for pity or sympathy when I write things like this, though. A friend of a friend commented this video:

…by saying that he knew I wasn’t after sympathy, and it never occurred to me that someone could feel sympathy over it. I don’t really feel bad or disenfranchised by any of the shit that has happened.

All in all it was all just bricks in the wall.

Although, I can’t deny that I’ve been much more focused recently on talking about my past and various things that have happened. But I don’t think it’s sympathy that I’m after–but understanding. The last thing I want is for anyone to feel sorry for me; I’m too proud for that. And why shouldn’t I be proud? I rose from a dirt poor family in the economic despair of Mississippi and put my fucking ass through college.

IMG_1521

But there’s no scholarship for me to apply for if I desire to move out of Mississippi and put this college degree to use. And though it’s only an Associate’s Degree, I’ve frequently considered getting my BA, but have ultimately decided against it. There aren’t many more doors that a BA would open that an AAS doesn’t. But I need to get to the doors. And there are no doors here.

I am humbly asking for help to make this happen.

https://www.gofundme.com/transgendermove

Clear & Concise: Mississippi’s Problems

Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, and I took the one less traveled by…

I hate Robert Frost.

That’s not true. I like Robert Frost quite a lot, and he’s a fantastic poet. I hate the effects that Robert Frost had on poetry, as I think a generation of people who grew up knowing nothing more about poetry than “Robert Frost and Edgar Allan Poe” did a great deal of damage to poetry as a whole, and that’s obviously not Frost’s fault. I would love for American students to have to spend a decade studying the Romantics, because that was some of the best poetry in human history. But that’s actually not what I want to talk about. Just a completely unrelated prologue, in fact.

I began to drop the hints to my colleague today that I am taking steps to move, but it was only something I weakly alluded to. When I left last year, he was the last person to find out. He won’t be the last person to learn of it this time, but I’m still not going to tell him until I’m much closer to the funding goal. That’s a link to the GoFundMe campaign, which you are free to share or donate to, to help me change my life for the better forever.

At any rate, I simply made it a point to bring up Mississippi’s latest piece of bullshit legislation, and my observation that the state is taking babysteps toward theocracy. But just a little while ago a friend shared something on Facebook that I found really interesting.

Diabetes rates across the U.S.

Diabetes rates across the U.S.

But we’re just getting started. Of course, I’ve already shared this one that drags in religion–particularly southern baptists–as well.

religionkeyOf course, poverty is worse here:

We're the blue one. The ONLY blue one.

We’re the blue one. The ONLY blue one.

It’s really hard to put into perspective how much Mississippi truly freaking sucks. Teen pregnancy? Yep, we’re full up on that, too. Might have something to do with the fact that our schools only teach abstinence for sex ed.

Sigh.

Sigh.

Of course, we also have some of the lowest high school graduation rates in the country–and I’m a statistic on one of those, because I didn’t graduate high school. I instead earned my GED and later went to college. Still. Interesting, Nevada is just as bad as Mississippi in this respect.

Slide4Oh, good. We also have gonorrhea.

ghonnoreaThe short version is that this place sucks.

It sucks even more than I thought it sucked, and I’ve always known that it sucks really bad. It’s not hard to look outside my window and see the boards on buildings, the empty, crack and grass-filled parking lots. Hell, even our banks close up and get out of dodge.

That building in the foreground used to be a bank.

That building in the foreground used to be a bank.

On a given day, I don’t notice on this. And I’ve never had an encounter with gonorrhea, so I’d never notice that anyway. But on any given day, I just see the overabundance of churches. That’s the only real evidence that, just below the surface, this state is sick as hell–horrendously sick, on the verge of catastrophic illness. Beneath the dazzling veneer of the holy churches is a society of petty, petulant, and bitter people, convinced that their problems are caused by:

  • The Muslims.
  • Icky brown people.
  • Them dang Spics done took ‘er jobs!
  • It’s them dang ‘um queers o’er thar that’s the problem.
  • Them boys wanna dress lock girls, what’d’ey ‘xpect was gun happen?
  • Obama’s gonna take our gerns!

And I know I’m sounding like the Liberal Redneck here, and I can appreciate the irony of that, but there’s a few important points to consider:

  1. He made his statements about specific people, specific individuals.
  2. I’ve frequently said this isn’t true of all of them.

Yet… with Mississippi’s Anti-Gay legislation on top of their latest “put God back in school!” legislation, with the fact that…

These people went HEAVY Trump (as I predicted, btw)...

these people went HEAVY Trump (as I predicted, btw)…

It’s certainly true of a majority of them.

They’re looking for someone to blame, and Trump didn’t tell them to blame Mexicans and gays. I know Trump likes to credit himself for bringing immigration up to the surface, but who is he kidding? Immigration never really stopped being a large issue anywhere in the world. That we in the U.S. went a few months without talking about doesn’t mean that Trump created the issue. These people–not all the people here, but the majority to which I’m referring–have always said that Mexicans, gays, black people, etc. were the problem.

My mistake was in thinking that the moderates had more sway than they actually do. Clearly, the moderates are powerless here. Our state legislature has proven itself firmly in the grips of religious zealots, and our Governor has proven himself firmly on their side. Rather than veto this horrific legislation, Phil Bryant proudly signs it into law. I spoke in the podcast last night about how this state has lost its mind. But it’s not like Mississippi ever had very far to go to lose its mind. The only thing that has really changed is that the moderates and reasonable people have been swept aside, and the religious extremists have taken over.

There are dark days ahead for Mississippi, and I’m not referring to my suspicion that secession and civil war are inevitable. I mean only that Mississippi has made it clear: Mississippi is committed to pursuing this path of Christian theocracy, where the moral proclamations of a single religion dictate the law. If I hadn’t decided Saturday that it was truly time to leave, then I would be making that decision now. Mississippi already has among the lowest Average Incomes in the country:

I was unable to find one that didn't specifically apply to millennials.

I was unable to find one that didn’t specifically apply to millennials.

When you add in the gonorrhea, the high school dropouts, the teen pregnancy, the high religious rates, the diabetes, and all the other shit, you have a place that is held together only by its religion. So it should be no surprise that Mississippi–which, I think we can all agree, is objectively the worst state in the United States–also has the highest rates of religiosity. What else do these people have, except their hope that they will have a better life in the next world?

Mississippi sucks, and I’m trying to leave it. Unfortunately, most of the problems affecting the statistics above also affect me (except, again, the gonorrhea one :D), and it’s largely irrelevant here that I’m a college graduate with a good work ethic. This is a place where you either work at a gas station, or at an assembly line in a factory (and there are only two factories nearby, both of which only hire through temp agencies and won’t hire someone with a college degree in an unrelated field). This isn’t a place where you get a college degree in I.T. and then stay here, working in your new field. No, as I’ve come to realize, the only option is leaving. And I need help to make that happen. So I ask humbly that you consider helping me with that, in whatever way you can, from donating to liking and sharing–it all helps.

https://www.gofundme.com/transgendermove

Thank you for reading, and thank you for your time.

Transgender & Need To Leave Mississippi

https://www.gofundme.com/transgendermove

Saturday, the realization occurred to me that in the past year I’ve been able to make pretty much zero progress in my life here in Mississippi. All I’ve managed to do was tread water, and that took tremendous work, and the prospect of drowning has loomed over me pretty much every minute of every day. I look on envy at the people making Minimum Wage, as the numbers show that I would make more money if I flipped burgers at McDonald’s. So why don’t I do that? Well, there’s the problem exactly!

McDonald’s won’t hire me, because I’m a college graduate and wildly overqualified. In the past year, out of the inestimable job applications I’ve put in, I got only one callback, and that was for a busperson position at a restaurant–and I didn’t get the job.

Because I was overqualified.

The death of my television and my total inability to scrape up the paltry amount of $160 to replace it is an absolute disgrace to myself as a human being. This is why I busted my ass all those years ago, working a full-time job while being a full-time college student, doing homework like a lunatic on my lunch break? Going to sleep when I got home from work at 2:00 in the morning, and then waking up at 6:30 to get ready for class? This is my reward for that labor? To be totally unable to come up with a measly $160 to buy a cheap fucking television? To live on a diet of (literally) ramen noodles and bologna sandwiches–without cheese? Without cheese, for fuck’s sake!

I’m angry. I’m tremendously angry. And I have every right to be angry, because no matter how it’s sliced, this isn’t my fault. Even if I had never gone to Vegas, my situation wouldn’t be much improved to how it is today. No, this is almost completely an extension of how my parents and their drug usage, separation, and irresponsibility stacked the deck so heavily against me. Through my whole life, I’ve fought against those odds, and I’m furious that circumstances have trapped me here. The more I think about it, the angrier I become.

https://www.gofundme.com/transgendermove

But I’m in a Catch-22 here. I need money to leave Mississippi, and I need to leave Mississippi in order to make money. I am turning to the wider world and asking for assistance in extricating myself from this untenable and wretched situation, where not only am I unable to “get ahead” because there is no “ahead” to get to, but because I am transgender in a state that is not going to simply allow that to happen.

So if there is anything that you can do, from donations to sharing that link, it would be tremendously appreciated. I need $3,500 to safely and securely move out of this hellhole and be able to establish myself elsewhere, and put this miserable existence behind me.

Expense Estimated Cost
Gasoline (1700 miles @ 15/gallon @ $2.25/gallon) $255 Note A
Deposit + 3 Months Rent ($545/month) $2,180 http://www.apartments.com/vibe-apartments-las-vegas-nv/l67j48e/
Electricity/Water/Gas Deposits $200 Perhaps unnecessary, will know when Vibe returns my contact
Pet Deposit (Probably) ** $500 Unnecessary at Vibe Apartments–waiting to hear back from them*
Food, Miscellaneous Household Items $150
Hotel Expense $60 Amarillo, TX Super 8
Miscellaneous? Drinks, etc., Gas Jug, Water Jugs $50 Note B
$3,395
Note A: This is slightly high, in fact, by about 10%. The trip to Vegas from where I am in MS is only about 1600 miles, and I get better than
15 miles per gallon. “How much better” is a figure that I don’t know, but it’s not considerably better–perhaps 18-19 per gallon. That certainly
adds up over time, of course, but it’s always better to err on the side of caution. Plus, the cost of gas varies across the country.
Note B: One does not make a drive across the country without a few gallons of water and a 5 gallon jug of gas in the trunk. The last time
I made such a drive, there were two occasions when the gas jug came in very handy. While it wasn’t necessary, better safe than sorry.
* Given the circumstances, I hope that they are willing to work with me and have a way of me filling out the requisite paperwork from
a distance. For obvious reasons, an interview with them is hardly an option. But surely this happens somewhat frequently.
** If this proves unnecessary, it would be ideal for me to have my female fixed before making the trip, for $135. My male cat is fixed
already, but the female just about stays in heat these days, and she would drive apartment neighbors crazy.

I am humbly requesting the assistance of anyone and everyone who can provide any help whatsoever.