Tag Archive | transgenderism

Identity & Conflict

Through most of my life, I considered myself a boy. I was such a dude that it still bothers me to see men wearing pink, and I’ve said countless times that the shirt that says “Real men wear pink” is stupid–real men avoid wearing pink at all costs. I wore boxers, shaved my head, and had a bad ass goatee. No one in their right mind would have looked at me and suspected that I was anything but ordinary heterosexual male.

I drank beer, ate steaks, had a wife, knew how to work on automobiles, knew how to repair washing machines, and all the usual stuff. Yet the person there in that pic–that’s me. That person in that pic who five minutes before or after would have laughed at a guy for wearing a pink shirt–that’s me. That person who would have sneered if someone offered him a wine cooler over a Bud Light–that’s me.

Recently, Caryn Harlos has called me a revisionist making the party look silly because I say that Nolan was, and always was, an anarchist, even if he identified in the past as a minarchist. Speaking as a transgender person, I know exactly how this goes, and that’s why I bring all of this up. There is a lot of truth to the idea that a M2F trans person will embrace the most masculine aspects of being a male. It’s not an accident that I shaved my head, had a goatee, lifted weights, wore muscle shirts, and all the other shit. One might say I was overcompensating.

Yet the truth always bled through, often unbidden and without conscious intent, and I wondered about it for years. I remember remarking to a friend several years ago that I am, and always have been, an enthusiastic supporter of LGBT rights, but that I wasn’t sure why. I’m not gay or bisexual, so why should I be such an Ally that it consumed probably 10% of my political discussion? It didn’t make much sense. This was the transgenderism bleeding through subconsciously, without my knowing it or realizing it.

Of course, you could ask my ex-wife (from whom I divorced for reasons entirely unrelated to any of this) about other ways my transgenderism bled through. I mentioned in Dancing in Hellfire that my cousin enjoyed wearing makeup when we played various games, but as early as kindergarten I loathed makeup. Our kindergarten teacher forced us all to put on lipstick to kiss a paperplate (making a thing for our parents), and I resented her from that day forward. Makeup was for girls, and I wasn’t a goddamned girl. Only because I was a freak (what people today would call “goth”) did eyeliner get a pass, and only then because it looked so freaking awesome, and that was much later.

There were always periods, though, no matter how masculine I presented myself, and no matter how generally conformist I was to sexual stereotypes of heterosexuality, it always bled through. I’ve described being transgender and having to repress it as desperately needing to breathe, but being able to breathe only in short, very sporadic gasps. But no matter what I did, no matter how I attempted to hide it–often from myself–it always bled through. My grandmother would find women’s clothing hidden between my mattresses. I wore them when I could, while at the same time hating myself for wearing them, knowing that I was betraying some other part of me.

It was conflict, pure and simple.

Conflict between who I was and the identity that I proclaimed–the identity that I believed in.

And now look at me.

Who would ever have guessed that the person in the above pic was not truly the person he identified as? Who would have guessed that the goatee, the shaved head, the muscles, the Bud Light, the steaks, and all the other things… were just ways of masking the true behavior that underwrote so much of what I said and did?

Because it’s true. I wore my girlfriend’s prom dress before she did–and she thought it was hot. I had long hair through most of high school, too. At one point, my hair fell below my breasts. This same girlfriend gave me tons of panties, yet at every given moment I’d have insisted that I was not even a cross-dresser, that I was adamantly against the notion of transgenderism. I’m sure that I’ve in the past said “Boys are boys and girls are girls, and that’s that.”

When the True Self conflicts with the Expressed Self, there are contradictions–often glaring contradictions.

It would be the height of transphobic ignorance to look back at that first pic, of me with a goatee, and say that I was clearly just a male, that I was only a male, and that I was not, even then, transgender. I most certainly was. I was even female then. I simply repressed it because, for various reasons that are often unique to the individual, I could not accept it, and I was not ready to accept it.

Several, several years ago, I mentioned to a friend that if my ex-wife and I ever divorced, I would move to California and get a sex change operation. I told this to another friend, too–one that you could almost call a boyfriend, except that it wasn’t like that for me. When he brought this up again a year later, I adamantly denied it. Even though I had told him to his face that I felt like a girl and wanted to pursue that, when he mentioned it later, I abjectly refused to admit that I’d said that. I told him he was taking it out of context and making it to be a much bigger deal than it was. Readiness often comes in phases, rarely does it come all at once.

Nolan’s early writings, particularly his written declaration of the case for a Libertarian Party, have anarchism bleeding through it in exactly the same way that transgenderism bled through so much of my life, even as I identified as a male and sought desperately to hide any indication that I wasn’t quite normal. We see in Nolan’s other writings exactly the same conflict that we saw in me when I said “real men don’t wear pink.” Coming to term with oneself and making that final leap is often extremely difficult, but it shines through, and nothing can dim the inner light of the true self.

When such a conflict arises, how shall we form an understanding of the person? Through their often-confused and often-contradictory expressions and positions, or through the inner light that bleeds through no matter how adamantly it is denied, and is only embraced much later in life? Should we embrace the identity of the person as they express themselves while clearly embroiled in internal conflict, or should we be more understanding and accept their internal conflict as just that–internal conflict that was only resolved much later in life? Nolan denied being an anarchist and expressly stated that he was a minarchist with exactly the same fervor and tenacity with which I stated that I was a normal heterosexual male.

But I was never a normal heterosexual male, and Nolan was never a minarchist.

So, no. Caryn Harlos is wrong. Nolan was an anarchist, even back then, and it clearly bleeds through in his early writings in exactly the same way that female clothing bled through my otherwise-normal male adolescence. That I claimed to be a normal male didn’t make me one; that Nolan claimed not to be an anarchist didn’t prevent him from being one. It merely prevented him from coming to terms with what was already then shining through.

But apparently I’m a revisionist for saying that, clearly, Nolan was always an anarchist. If so, then I’m a revisionist for saying that I was always transgender.

Moreover, I can claim right now to be a minarchist. That won’t make me one. I could just as easily call this site “The Minarchist Shemale” and write pretty much the same things, though occasionally throwing out contradictory articles about how we need a state to protect us from a state. None of that would make me a minarchist, though–it would only make me confused about who I am and what I believe.

I’d rather take the word of the person who has worked through that confusion and expressed an identity that is in accord with their inner identity than to arbitrarily cling to the confused contradictions of someone struggling to come to terms with their identity.

But that’s just me…

Cum Trumpsters–i.e., Libertarians For Trump

It’s a subject I’ve avoided for the most part, but one that I can’t take any longer. I know a fair number of self-described libertarians, and even a few self-described anarchists, who boarded the Trump Train, and so I felt it best to just look the other way. Many of these people are friends, after all.

But these same people still support Trump, and I’ve got to call them out on it.

First, let’s talk about the VALs (Voluntaryists, Anarchists, and Libertarians, self-professed and actual) who routinely criticized Hillary as a passive attempt to help Trump, instead of just doing it because the bitch clearly wanted to start World War 3. They didn’t want Hillary to lose; they wanted Trump to win. I wanted both to lose. I wanted everyone to lose, in fact. No one on the ballot should have been on it.

If you attacked Hillary hoping to hurt her so that Trump would win, then you’re not just “not a libertarian.” You’re also underhanded and untrustworthy. We can’t just distrust the things you say; we must also distrust your motives for saying it.

I’m not gonna sit here and lie to you. I’m biased as hell. Everything I wrote during the election was aimed at making Hillary lose and McAfee win. I avoided Trump most of the time, because so many other people were attacking him, and instead focused my Trump articles on primarily addressing hysteria–hysteria that remains more of a problem than ever. In the grand scheme of things, Hillary was probably worse, seeing as she repeatedly threatened military action against Russia, but that doesn’t make Trump any better. He’s still a buffoon.

As to the people who fell for Trump’s speeches about draining the swamp, and who have now realized that it was all bullshit, welcome back. I hope you learn from the experience what I learned from Obama in 2008: no one in the main two parties can be trusted to do anything they say. I don’t know why anyone who was an adult in 2008 didn’t know this, but it happens, I guess.

Now the biggest group: the ones who are still with Trump.

Fuck all of you.

You’re not librarians or minarchists, and you’re damn sure not anarchists. Trump is clearly just another politician. If you supported Trump because you wanted to throw a bomb at Washington, I get it. I don’t approve of your choice in bomb, but I understand your sentiment.

But Trump wasn’t a bomb, was he? No, he was just wearing a Bomb Mask.

Pictured: Trump campaigning.

Now that he’s removed the mask, nothing but doublethink and cognitive dissonance can keep those people supporting him. He’s not a bomb. He’s not challenging the status quo. He’s just another politician, and one with a scary understanding of the military’s purpose and an America-centric way of viewing the world.

I was willing to give you guys the benefit of the doubt and let you say that you fell for his con. But you’re still falling for it, even though it’s apparent that he’s nothing but a modern Lincoln. You know. Lincoln. That President that libertarians despise because he cemented the federal government’s hold on the states, suspended the Bill of Rights, and killed more than half a million Americans. Policy-wise, he and Trump are identical. “The Union first” morphed into “America first.” The only thing that remains to be seen is how far Trump is willing to go.

But if by some chance [note: it would require more explanation than I’m willing to get into right now, but my position on California’s secession has changed–I now support it] California secedes, then we’ll see first-hand how similar they are.

And I’ve no doubt that you Cum Trumpsters would continue cheerleading for him as he invaded California. Why not? You guys don’t have the credibility to simply claim you’d be against such an invasion; your credibility lies burned by the bombs that killed the 8 year old girl.

You are every bit as bad as hypocritical conservatives. You know, the people who claim to want small government, unless it’s something they want to do, in which case big government is okay. That’s exactly what you’re doing. Your biggest issue is immigration. Even though the federal government has no authority over immigration (something that you knew until Trump announced his campaign), and certainly no rational or moral justification to affect it, you’re now totally okay with the federal government dictating over all fifty states and even cities in the name of your pet issue.

Just like a conservative.

Just like a liberal.

And, just like the conservatives, you completely lack the self-awareness to realize how hypocritical you are. If the federal government wanted to allow abortion in all fifty states, you’re all “RAWR! STATES’ RIGHTS!”

But if the federal government wants to force California to use Texas’s immigration policy, you don’t see the problem, the tyranny, or the hypocrisy. Because it’s YOUR pet issue.

Conservatives blew it, as I knew they would. It’s true that I hoped they wouldn’t, but I knew they would.

They had the chance to put their money where their mouths have been, to not force conservative positions onto liberal states. And instead of beginning to build bridges by allowing liberals to continue being liberal in liberal states, they jumped right to forcing conservativism onto everyone, particularly in regard to immigration, though there are other areas.

And you’re doing the same shit. “Oh, I’m a libertarian! I don’t think the government should be telling anyone what they can do! … Unless the government is going to tell them to do what I want them to do, in which case, yeah, I’m okay with that.”

“Libertarians.”

No.

You only want liberty when you get your way. If people who disagree with you want to get their way, then you suddenly stop being libertarians.

That’s conservatives’ shtick. Get that shit out of here.

Oh, and transgenderism? There is no fucking better indicator of a Cum Trumpster than vehemence toward transgender people. It’s not ubiquitous or exclusive, but it is certainly one of the best indicators. If someone professes to be a VAL but insults transgender people, particularly by calling us mentally ill, then I’ll gladly take the bet that they’re a Cum Trumpster.

You want to talk about mentally ill? Let’s talk about the Cum Trumpsters who think that the number of brown people in the country affects their lives in any way, and who think that how brown people enter the country makes even the smallest difference.

For fuck’s sake, these “Libertarians” are for the wall. The wall! The motherfucking, goddamn wall. I’m not sure that anything can get more statist than “We need the government to put a fence around our country!”

As Ron Paul pointed out repeatedly, walls don’t just keep people out. They also keep people in. Under no fucking circumstances should the government be building walls that could one day trap us in a la East Berlin. But no, these “Libertarians” are for it! They’re for what is probably the crowning symbol of statism: border walls.

Many of these same “Libertarians” want states or the federal government to legislate that a person can only use the restroom associated with their birth certificate. Even though, you know, they clearly don’t trust birth certificates, which is why their champion Trump carried the “Obama is a Kenyan” shit for so long. Though they don’t trust Obama’s to honestly report his place of birth, they’ll trust yours to report your birth sex.

Seems legit.

They’re particularly fond of saying that liberalism is a mental illness. So is conservatism, and I just don’t see a difference any longer between them and conservatives.

And they are conservatives, clearly–they want to conserve the 1950s Leave it to Beaver way of life that never actually existed anyway. They think their way of life is somehow under threat. It wasn’t long ago that I read an article by one Cum Trumpster saying that multi-culturalism was bad. What? Coexisting alongside other cultures is bad?

No, idiots. It’s only bad if incoming cultures refuse to allow and accommodate other cultures. It’s not even about assimilation; it doesn’t matter if people assimilate. It only matters if they conquer other cultures.

And while I know they don’t understand the difference and truly believe that Muslims are trying to conquer their culture, that’s because they are lunatics who think that a transgender person demanding the state not force its gender definitions onto her is the same as her forcing her definitions onto everyone.

And I do hate to say it, but that’s certainly a side effect of privilege: thinking that not being allowed to force your way onto people is the same as them forcing their way onto you. I mean, for centuries those people had the power and ran all over everyone. Then the democrats formed their equality coalition and pushed back. Of course, then that coalition became addicted to the power and went way too far, moving the goalposts from equality to elevation of minorities. I even agree that democrats have done that.

But the solution is egalitarianism and no one forcing things onto anyone. The solution is not reverting back to the way things were and forcing conservatism onto liberals. Just like Democrats, you “Libertarians” have moved the goalposts from liberty and egalitarianism.

So kindly fuck off and stop calling yourselves libertarians, voluntaryists, minarchists, and anarchists. You’re not. You’re conservatives who want small government when Democrats want to force their way onto you, and want large government when you can force your way onto them.

Some of you criticized Johnson for not being a libertarian, too. Are you kidding me? If you’re going to criticize Johnson for not being libertarian enough while supporting Trump, then you’re an idiot and you’ve dug the principled high ground right out from under your own feet.

I criticized Gary Johnson repeatedly as the libertarian candidate. The difference is that I did so because of principles. The Cum Trumpsters appear to have simply used that as an excuse to back a terrible candidate. And yes, Trump was a terrible candidate, and he’s proving a terrible President. I don’t know why anyone expected anything else. My sister recently said, “I like that Trump is doing what he promised to do.”

Like what? Bombing little kids? It’s true, he did promise to go after families. I have a hard time accepting that anyone, regardless of what they call themselves, is okay with that, but fair enough–he did promise to do that, and he is doing it.

That doesn’t make him a good President. It makes him a murderer. A monster. A depraved, disgusting wretch of a human being with calloused disrespect for life.

Tariffs are bullshit, too. They do have some place in world trade, but their only conceivable non-destructive use would be implementing them on a plan to phase them out from the start, easing a nation into an economic change instead of taking it all at once. That’s not good by any means, and consumers ultimately pay the cost, but it’s the only non-destructive role they could play. They’d still be damaging, but not destructive.

Economics is a pretty big part of libertarianism. I know very few VALs who are economically ignorant. So the Cum Trumpsters should *know* that tariffs on China should be put in place only if the plan is to abolish the Minimum Wage, and even then should start on a system to phase them out over several years. Ditto for Mexican tariffs. And this is because we KNOW that taxes are paid by consumers.

That sales tax you pay at Wal-Mart? That’s not a tax on you buying the item. It’s a tax on Wal-Mart for selling the item. But because Wal-Mart doesn’t want to eat the cost, they pass it onto you. That’s how taxes work. Consumers are always screwed by them and by tariffs. I’ll grant that it’s conceivable tariffs could be used to soften economic blows. I wouldn’t like it, and I think it would extend the damage, but I’m not going to argue the point. But just imposing tariffs and taxes?

A libertarian should know better.

I arrived on-site at a client’s and had to get started working. I intend to add more to this.

Reductive Reasoning: Genders & Immigration

So I’m working on a new thing that I’m calling Reductive Reasoning. To my surprise, such a thing doesn’t already exist, and any searches regarding “reduction” and “reasoning” lead to reductio ad absurdum, which is certainly a type of Reductive Reasoning, but not the only type. I’m so intrigued by this idea, in fact, that I began a new book last night on the subject. I think I’ll provide this one for free, and the first draft will be finished around mid-April. Following a three month period of leaving it alone, I’ll begin the editing in mid-July, and should produce the finished version around the end of August. I’ve dropped other writing projects to pursue this one, because I think I’m onto something here.

Reductive Reasoning is all about sets and set theory, but, thankfully, doesn’t have to dive into the mathematics. In fact, it’s almost completely a logical exercise designed to separate fictitious sets from real items. There are countless ways in which this can be applied, and the book is going to spend most of its time providing these examples and explaining how it works. The interesting thing about this is that earlier I received an email from a colleague who was sharing with me an anti-transgender article from The Federalist, where I found myself immediately dissecting the assumptions and sets in my reply. The colleague wasn’t condoning the article; he just sent it as a point of interest.

Then, when I was working on this article about video games and RPGs, I found myself using it again, though only briefly. I mentioned that the definition of RPG must necessarily be a defining element–an element that is unique to the genre and ubiquitous in all games that are RPGs. If the element is not unique to the genre, or if the element is not present in all games that are RPGs, then we know that our definition isn’t adequate.

I’ve Got a Cat

Suppose I say “A cat is an animal that has fur and sharp teeth.” Here, obviously, my definition of “cat” is “an animal that has fur and sharp teeth,” because… that’s what “is” means.

We can immediately see that my definition is wrong. A dog has fur and sharp teeth. According to my definition, a dog is a cat. Similarly, hamsters have fur and sharp teeth, so, according to my definition, a hamster is a cat. Since we know that a dog is not a cat–because the entire meaning of “species” precludes the possibility that one species is another species, just as “is” has its own meaning–we also know that my definition is wrong.

For the most part, it’s irrelevant that my definition is wrong. However, suppose that I said “All cats know how to use a litter box.” It suddenly becomes very important to know what my definition of “cat” is. As I’ve provided my definition that “A cat is an animal that has fur and sharp teeth,” my statement is actually “All animals that have fur and sharp teeth know how to use a litter box.”

This statement is obviously false. Not only is a typical hamster incapable of using what we understand as a litter box, but you’ll go insane trying to teach a dog how to use one. My statement that “All cats know how to use the litter box” is built on the definition of what a cat is. It’s equally built on the assumption of what a litter box is, and what it means to use one. For the sake of keeping things simple–though I’ll probably delve into this in the book–“litter box” can be defined as “any small container filled with some sort of sand or gravel with the express purpose of being a repository for animal waste” and “using a litter box” means “releasing waste into the small container filled with some sort of sand or gravel.”

When attempting to determine whether my statement about cats using litter boxes is true, we must reduce it into its components:

  • What is a cat?
  • What is a litter box?
  • What does it mean to use a litter box?

These three things are assumed by my statement, and must be individually demonstrated and defined before the statement can be decreed as true or false. We’ve already defined “litter box” and “using a litter box” satisfactorily enough–there may be some problems with those definitions, but, for the sake of the argument, let’s just go with “common knowledge” here. The remaining question is, “What is a cat?”

My definition that a cat is any animal with fur and sharp teeth yields a statement that is obviously false–hamsters and dogs both meet that criteria. In fact, whether my statement is true or false depends entirely on what the nouns and verbs conjured even mean. Even using the scientific definition of a cat–a felis catus–won’t result in a true statement. “Any animal that is a member of the felis catus genus and species knows how to use a litter box” is still a false statement, or, at best, unfalsifiable. For whatever reason, not all cats will use a litter box, and so whether or not they even know how cannot be determined.

Immigration

Recently I pointed out on Facebook that “The United States” doesn’t share a border with Mexico. This is because “The United States” is a set, and sets aren’t real things. They’re imaginary human constructs that are often treated as real things, but aren’t. This is important, because the statement “The United States has every right to determine who can enter its borders” is just as open to reduction as the statement about cats. Does the United States even have borders? No. It’s a set of other states, and some of those other states have borders. California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas share a border with Mexican provinces.

So the United States can’t have the “right” to determine who can and can’t enter its borders, because the United States doesn’t actually have borders in the first place. Instead, we would have to say that California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas have the right to determine who can enter their borders.

Except we immediately have the same problem there, don’t we? These states are also sets without real existences. We treat them as real, but they aren’t. So the statement “California, New Mexico, Arizona, and Texas have the right to determine who can enter their borders” has to be reduced. And there’s no such thing as “California” or “Texas.” There are only sections of land with populations that we’ve artificially divided into different groups and that we treat as though they are real divisions. In reality, there’s just a large section of land, some of which is owned by individuals, and some of which isn’t owned by anyone but which is claimed to be own by the fictitious set called “the government.”

Well, “the government” isn’t a real thing, and so it can’t own property. It would be like if I gave my lighter to Casper the Friendly Ghost, and then everyone began acting as though Casper was the rightful owner of my lighter. In practice, I would contend that it constitutes a form of insanity to treat imaginary things as though they’re real; the only difference is that Casper is an imagined individual while “the government” is an imagined set. Who really owns my lighter, if I have given it to an imaginary entity?

No one.

Anyone who wanted to could take the lighter and then say that Casper gave it to them, and they would be just as correct to say that as I was to say that it belonged to Casper in the first place. We can attribute literally anything to a fictitious entity. “Casper hates black people,” I could say. “Casper doesn’t hate black people,” you could reply, “and actually worked in the Civil Rights Movement.” We’d have no problem recognizing any two people having a conversation about whether Casper worked in the Civil Rights Movement as being batshit crazy. And “government” is just as imaginary and fictitious as Casper. The only differences are that “the government” is a set and that a lot of us are batshit crazy enough to treat “the government” as though it’s a real thing.

When we get down to it, we find ourselves saying that “An individual who owns land has the right to determine who can enter that land.” This, too, is open to reduction and a discussion of the nature of property rights and ownership. That’s not my subject here; I only bring it up to point out that I know even this seemingly obvious statement is open to reduction–however, this statement also stands up to reduction if it is assumed that force, violence, and coercion are morally wrong.

So does the United States have the right to determine who can enter its borders? Obviously not. The United States doesn’t have borders, because it isn’t a real thing, and so it can’t have any characteristics. Do California, Texas, et al. have the right to determine who can enter their borders? Obviously not. These states don’t have borders because they aren’t real things, and so they can’t have any characteristics. Does an individual have the right to determine who can enter their property? Briefly, I will say “Yes,” though I’m aware that I have not, in this article, attempted to demonstrate that. Instead, I’m going to rely on common knowledge again so that I can move on to something else. In the grand scheme, yes, even “common knowledge” must be reduced, but I want to get to the next subject because I have shit to do.

Sex & Transgenderism

At one point in the Federalist article I linked above, the author says something like “This is a boy pretending to be a girl.”

Relying on “common knowledge” isn’t helpful here, because there is too much disagreement there. Here, whether one agrees with the statement or not merely depends upon their bias and what they believe to be common knowledge. However, we’re going to reduce it.

  • What is a boy?
  • What is a girl?

The quick-thinking person might say, “A boy is someone born with a penis. Duh. And a girl is obviously someone not born with one.” And they might roll their eyes in exasperation at how they were being asked to define something that they consider “common knowledge” or “common sense.” But not only is this not pedantic to ask, it is critical. The statement’s status as true or false depend entirely on these definitions; they are hardly inconsequential. Whether or not his person is a boy pretending to be a girl depends completely on what a boy is and what a girl is.

Well, that definition clearly doesn’t hold up to scrutiny. There exists a medical condition where boys can be born without penises and/or without testicles. The statement “This is a boy pretending to be a girl” becomes “This is a <person born with a penis and testicles> pretending to be <someone who was not born with a penis and testicles>.” But this statement is obviously not true, per the link I just provided.

If the person has any intellectual integrity at all, they’ll sigh in exasperation, admit that they’re previous definition doesn’t hold up, and might say, “Then a girl is someone born with a vagina, and a boy is someone who wasn’t born with a vagina.”

Again, though, this definition doesn’t hold up. It’s a bit rarer, but there have been born girls without vaginas. By the latest definition, this woman born without a vagina is actually a boy.

Frustrated and probably getting angry, the person might turn to what they learned in 8th grade Biology: “A boy is someone born with XY chromosomes, and a girl is someone born with XX Chromosomes.”

Until recently, I would have accepted that definition tentatively, because I lacked the knowledge to dispute it, but in fact human sexuality isn’t anywhere near that simple. It turns out that every single cell in a person’s body has its own sex. This means that, far from having “all XY chromosomes,” a boy can have anywhere from 0% and 100% of their cells having XY chromosomes. So no one is born “with XY or XX chromosomes,” because everyone is born with some combination of cells featuring both XX and XY chromosomes in virtually any conceivable ratio. So the statement “This is a person born with XY chromosomes pretending to be a person born with XX chromosomes” is similarly false–the statement isn’t scientifically valid and isn’t applicable to anyone.

What we find, as we continue reducing and continue digging, is that the entire argument is built upon the assumption that there is such a thing as “a boy” and “a girl,” and that these things are clearly defined along some delineating characteristic. Basically, “boy” is a set and “girl” is another set, but the person–any person–making the claim will be unable to provide any definition that doesn’t either apply to “boys” that the definer himself would dispute as being boys, or would not apply to boys that the definer himself would call “boys.” A hermaphrodite, for example, born with both a penis and a vagina, would count as a “boy” per the person’s first definition, but the person would adamantly deny that a hermaphrodite counts as a boy, even though his own definition means the hermaphrodite counts as a boy. Similarly, a male born without a penis would not count as a boy per the person’s first definition, though the person would adamantly insist that such a person counts as a boy, even though his own definition means the penis-less baby doesn’t count.

Any definition given for a set must include all members of that set and must exclude entities that aren’t members of that set. Otherwise, the definition is wrong and the set is improperly defined. Since the set itself isn’t defined properly in the first place, any statement made about that set must be either false or unprovable. As an example, any definition for “boy” must include all members of that set, at the very least according to the person defining it, and the definition must exclude all girls. The person must be able to delineate the set about which they are making a truth statement. Before it can be said that “This is a boy pretending to be a girl,” both “boy” and “girl” must be unambiguously and all-inclusively defined into their different, non-overlapping sets. Not only did the writer of that article fail to do that, but everyone would fail to do that, because it can’t be done.

The Transgender Male Wrestler

Another day, another weird conversation about something that shouldn’t be an issue but is because we threw common sense out of the window around the same time that we decided that simple, descriptive words like “shemale” were unacceptable. So today let’s have yet another conversation about terminology, transgenderism, and all that. I was going to save this for the podcast return debuting on March 1, but since the wrestler won the state championship today, the timing is more important.

So a transgender male wrestler just won the Texas State Wrestling Championship for high school kids by wrestling against girls.

Okay.

Where to start?

This image causes me profound confusion.

How about this simple question? What does it even mean that he’s a transgender male? What does that tell you? I’m transsexual, and even I had to stop and think about what this means. From one perspective, I’m a transgender female; from another, I’m a transgender male. What does it mean that this wrestler is a transgender male? It means that he was born a girl, and that he’s making the F2M transition. Has he undergone SRS? We don’t know. Maybe, and maybe not. Should a person with a penis be taking part in a ridiculously high-contact and notably homo-erotic sport like wrestling against people who would, in those conditions, be members of the opposite sex?

Well, let’s back up a bit more.

Sexual Segregation

To my surprise, my recent article about the transgender bathroom thing caused me to alter my position such that I’m no longer an advocate of any gender-based segregation. I’m a damned good chess player. In high school, there was a good chance that I was going to go on to become at least an IM. When I returned to chess a few years ago, I fell just short of qualifying for IM status.

For males.

Chess is one of the… sports*… where men and women are segregated. In some cases, this is good. There are measurable differences between men and women. But the idea of segregating men and women in an intellectual pursuit doesn’t strike me as right. Are women inherently less intelligent than mean? Less capable of playing chess? If not, then why are they segregated out? I wondered all this when I returned to the… sport… because I didn’t know which category I would be placed in. And in a… sport… where the best women players rank around 2500, the bars for qualifying for titles are much lower; at 2100 I probably could have secured a title. Hell, at 2100, pouring my entire life into chess and seizing the world championship would have been a realistic goal. I fell short of 2100, to be clear, when I lost interest again, as I tend to do, and moved on to other things. However, the gap from 2100 to “best female player in the world” is a hell of a lot lower than trying to take on Karpov, Kasparov, or Carlsen, who are around 2900. It may not seem like it, but that gap from 2500 to 2900 is a huge one. It represents basically a lifetime of dedication and study.

I think physical sports probably should remain segregated, because it’s not fair. I’d like to be able to say that “A good basketball player is a good basketball player regardless of whether something protrudes from their chest or their crotch.” But that isn’t the case. Women are notably shorter than men. Women can’t jump as high, or run as fast. It’s not popular to say it, and for some reason it’s considered bad to say, but these are measurable things. 6 ft, 10 1/4″ is the women’s high jump world record. The men’s high jump world record is 8’0 1/4“. That’s a measurable, quantifiable, demonstrable difference. Not only is the world’s best high jumping man objectively better at high jumping than the world’s best high jumping women, but it’s also true with averages: on average, any given man is likely to be better at high jumping than any given woman.

There’s a simple reason for this.

The Transgender Male is a Cheating Bastard

Testosterone.

Just as the measurable differences in physical capabilities are long-observed scientifically, so are the effects of testosterone, which is something else that I, being transgender, know first-hand. Not only does testosterone increase physical strength, stamina, and dexterity, but estrogen actively inhibits those–primarily by shrinking the testes and thereby prohibiting the production of testosterone, but… Anyway.

I fail to see how pumping yourself full of testosterone, a hormone known to increase physical strength, stamina, and dexterity at measurable quantities, while engaging in a physical competition designed explicitly to test strength, stamina, and dexterity against people who are defined explicitly by their lack of that hormone doesn’t qualify as using a performance-enhancing drug to cheat the competition. Of course the guy won! You basically chopped a dude’s dick off and told him to go and wrestle a bunch of girls!

This isn’t an accomplishment. It would be like challenging my sister to an arm wrestling match. Woohoo, I won! Can I have a congratulatory pat on the back, and maybe a sash or trophy?

No! Because I cheated. I have hormones in my body that make me innately stronger than she is.

How can we possibly be having this insane conversation? What has happened to America?

I’ve been taking estrogen consistently, without interruptions for about six months now. My muscles have only barely started to fade. I knew it was going to take time, because I’ve lifted weights most of my life–I’m skinny, yes, but it’s seriously 100% muscle, no fat or waste. But before the estrogen could begin eating away at my muscles, first the estrogen had to overtake my testes and inhibit and lower the production of testosterone. I could have taken T-inhibitors, but there is a reason that I opted not to do this–the fewer hormones the better, as far as I’m concerned, since my sexuality makes it very helpful for my equipment to continue functioning.

So I know from first-hand experience that estrogen reduces muscle mass and testosterone builds it. Plus, it’s just a scientific fact. It’s basically what the hormones do.

I don’t know who is to blame for this situation. Given that it’s Texas, it’s probably Texas’s fault, for not allowing him to wrestle against other boys. And I’m sorry to say this, but… then do something else. Find something else to do. Don’t cheat all these girls out of their victories and championships because the state’s decree of your gender has screwed you and prevented you from competing in the proper category. Sometimes life sucks. When that happens, you have two options: let it go and move on, or pay it forward.

You paid it forward, man.

Because the state cheated you, you in turn cheated these girls.

I can’t exempt you from blame in that, because no one made you wrestle. When Mississippi jumped on the anti-LGBTQ bandwagon and made it clear that they’re going to land on the “birth certificate” side of things, my options became going into the men’s bathroom at the courthouse, or just using the bathroom somewhere else. So instead of paying it forward by forcing the men in those restrooms to deal with me–which, believe it or not, they probably wouldn’t have much cared for–I chose to let it go. I don’t have to use the bathroom at the courthouse. Maybe I really want to, for some reason. There are countless things that I want to do, but that I can’t, because I’m transgender and this is Mississippi.

I could pay it forward in countless ways. I could cause a ruckus, make all kinds of noise out in the real world. Like when my landlord nearly evicted me simply because I’m transgender. Oh, man. I could have paid that forward in countless ways. The public crucifixion of him, can you even imagine how the wider public would react? But I let it go. And, as it happens, the fact that I let it go and just continued doing my own thing is precisely the reason the landlord changed his mind. “She’s not bothering anything.” In fact, because I was willing to stand with the landlord’s right to evict me from his property, even though I felt it was the morally wrong thing to do, I would bet that if it ever came to it, that landlord would be at my house with a gun ready to shoot anyone attacking me for being transgender.

You don’t change minds by pulling this kind of shit, kid.

You don’t reach people’s hearts by using the fact that you were screwed as an excuse for screwing over other people. You forgive, and you let it go.

Just a kid?

I don’t buy into that. I don’t buy into the argument that “you’re just a kid,” so you bear no responsibility for what you’ve done. You’re 17. You’re anywhere between 364 days and 1 minute away from being classified as an adult. Unlike most people, I don’t place much significance in the arbitrary value that is a person’s age; you’re 17, and that makes you responsible for your actions. You knowingly and willfully continued cheating these girls because you wanted to wrestle and the state cheated you. But did the state even cheat you? You just won a state championship. Looks to me like you’re a wolf and the state just threw you a bunch of sheep. So I’m not even sure the State of Texas insisting you’re a female did you any harm. It looks to me like it helped you, because I’m thinking that you probably wouldn’t have won a state championship against other 17 year old boys.

You had the chance to do the right thing: withdraw.

Sometimes it sucks. No, it’s not fair. Life isn’t fair, and it can’t be made fair by other people. Fairness starts with you, regardless of what has been done to you. If you want life to be fair, then you have to start being fair to other people, even when you don’t think they deserve it, even when they haven’t been fair to you, and even when it is to your own detriment, because that is what fairness means. You are the only person who can directly increase the amount of fairness in the world, and every action that you take that isn’t fair actively decreases the amount of fairness in the world. Life isn’t fair, and you are the reason life wasn’t fair for every single girl you wrestled against.

From a M2F transgender person to you: you know damned well that you weren’t fair to those girls you wrestled against.

And, it bears repeating, that is not how you reach people’s hearts and change their minds. I would have thought people would have learned this from Trump’s victory over the left. You don’t reach people by making them angry, by cheating them. All you achieve, when you do that, is adding resentment to whatever they were already feeling. So congratulations, kid! Now there are probably a hundred girls in your wake that you defeated who are now actively resentful of transgender people, because a transgender person stole their championship from them. You’re not doing anyone but yourself any favors with this kind of shit.

If you want to reach people, you have be better than the people who screwed you over. You can’t just turn around and start screwing over other people and say, “It’s not my fault! I got screwed over, too!” Because it is your fault. You chose to wrestle against girls. You chose to cheat them. You chose to add resentment to the heart of every angry parent of each of those girls who you beat. You’re in Texas, man! You know those parents already were gritting their teeth simply because you exist. And then you went and cheated their daughters. What the hell good do you think that is doing for transgenderism?

You can’t force people to like you. You have to be bigger, you have to be better. You have to rise above it, not reflect it onto others.

Be the man that you want to be. Not the cowardly pussy who cheats other people because someone cheated him.

It’s not supposed to be easy to forgive and let things go, to walk away when you’ve been cheated. Every aspect of human nature demands vengeance, in any way that we can get it. “Fine! You won’t classify me as a boy? Then I’ll wrestle against all these girls who, let’s face it, won’t stand a chance. That’ll teach you a lesson!” But at what cost, man? Maybe the state of Texas will change their position now. I doubt it, but they might. I suspect that the only thing accomplished here is that you won a state championship. Meanwhile, you cheated untold girls out of fair wrestling matches. You made all of their parents, who were probably already predisposed to dislike you, actively resent you because you cheated their daughters. I hope that championship trophy is worth it, because you just set back transgenderism in Texas.

You did that.

Addendum

As Thomas Knapp points out below, the responsibility for this does ultimately fall to the state, and my initial thoughts were just to delete this since much of it is irrelevant. I’m not even sure how to amend this because of that; I was fixed on his choice to wrestle or not to wrestle, not on the nuance that the state created the entire freaking mess and didn’t steal from the kid’s parents in order to fund it. There is that reality, that if we’re going to have “public services” provided by the state, then those services must be available to everyone. I still don’t think that Mack made the right decision, and that his actions could only have increased the amount of ill-will people in Texas have for transgender people, which isn’t entirely on him anyway. I still think the championship is hollow, and I don’t see much difference, within this context, between injecting testosterone and injecting steroids.

One thing that I have been considering is the likelihood that the primary reason he continued wrestling was specifically to win the championship and draw attention to the absurdity of it, which is the sort of thing that happens when the state tells people what gender they are. There’s no way here that everyone could have been happy, I guess, is the place I’m coming from, and the way it played out meant that Mack is the only person truly happy with the result. And now in the list of high school state championships, there will be Jessica, Amy, Sarah… and then Mack. He had to say “fuck them” about a lot of people and disregard a lot of people’s feelings to win the championship. And while the state of Texas forced that choice on him, I think he made the wrong one.

* I love chess. But I don’t consider it a sport.

Solving the Transgender Bathroom Thing Once and For All

First, I’m tired of hearing discussions about how transgender people will deal with restrooms, and how wider society will deal with transgender people dealing with restrooms, because the much more serious problems of how police deal with transgender people needs to be addressed first. Seriously, on the scale of priorities, “bathrooms” is way down on the last from “prison” and “jail.” Right now, transgender women are locked away in men’s cells and being treated as men by police officers, meaning that they’re regularly being molested and strip-searched by male officers, not to mention being placed–as women–into cell blocks filled with typically violent, horny men. And we’re discussing bathrooms. Again.

So I’m going to propose a solution that will decide the matter once and for all. It’s easy to implement, and it will permanently solve the problem. However, you’ll have to bear with me, because what will strike you as an extremely radical, possibly insane, idea will take some time to adjust to, but I think you’ll agree it’s the only way. So let’s not beat around the bush. What is the answer?

Co-Ed bathrooms.

I’m not joking.

First, it must be pointed out: what business does the state have recognizing anyone’s gender and forcing them into segregated areas based on that gender? We’ve done all this before, when people whose race was black were segregated off from people whose race was white. It’s just accepted still that it’s okay to do this in regard to gender, but it actually isn’t, and I think you’ll agree with me by the end of this. Just as governments, businesses, and people have no moral authority to segregate people based on race, neither do they have the moral authority to do so over gender. And here is where we meet our first hurdle:

“Ah, but boys and girls can have sex… You put a bunch of naked boys and girls in a bathroom together, and there’s no telling what will happen.”

And… No. That’s wrong.

In the 1890s, a psychologist named Ivan Pavlov did an experiment where he rang a bell each time before he fed his dog. It did not take long–a few weeks–for the dog to begin salivating any time the bell was wrong. It is called Classical Conditioning, and it is the phenomenon that we come to associate one thing with another. In the case of Pavlov, the dog associated the bell with food, and thus hearing the bell caused the dog to salivate.

I hate to break this to you, but we’ve all been conditioned to associate nudity with sex. Now, I’m not a nudist, and though I do enjoy wearing only a bra and shorts, I’m not comfortable enough in my skin to just run around naked all the time. This, too, is conditioning–I’ve been conditioned to think that there is something about my body that must be hidden, and in time I’ve become so accustomed to wearing clothing that not wearing clothing feels unnatural. In fact, there are generally only three instances during which a person isn’t wearing clothing:

  • When about to shower.
  • When changing clothes.
  • When about to have sex.

I would hazard the guess that the average person becomes inexplicably 25% more likely to masturbate or feel the urge to masturbate while changing clothes, but that is just a guess. The sound of running water and the location–the place where we, you know, use the bathroom–being a not-very-sexually-appealing-place surely override the other associations, so it often feels rather natural to stand naked in the bathroom while waiting on the shower to warm up or the tub to fill with water. Again, these feel normal because we’ve been doing it that way for twenty to sixty years. It would be weird if we did it some other way. I live alone, and it still feels weird on those occasions when I’ve removed all my clothes, am waiting on water to run, and have to run into the kitchen because I forgot my lighter or something. On a few occasions, I’ve even put some clothes back on before doing so, simply because it feels weird.

But why should it feel weird? We enter the world naked. If anything should feel weird, it should be wearing clothes. But we begin wearing clothes almost immediately, so any discomfort we experience from it happens when we are three months old. By the time we are old enough to really think about these things, we’ve become more comfortable, simply out of habit, with wearing clothes than not wearing clothes.

It’s my guess that the entire clothing thing began not because our species needed to keep warm–since we originally hailed from the plains of Africa–but because men with “lesser packages” wanted to hide that until after some sort of marriage or mating ceremony had been performed. I’m serious. Because clothing began with the loincloth, and between men and women it’s men who have something dangling out there with something to see. Is it really that hard to imagine that the entire trend began because a select group of men on the smaller side felt insecure, and so began wearing loincloths? I don’t think it’s that hard to imagine; in fact, I really do suspect that is how the entire ordeal started.

I mean, if you were a man in 150,000 BCE with limited machinery, wouldn’t you be quietly seething, angry, and thinking, “We should cover these up! It’s not proper! No one wants to see Big Jim flopping around all the time during his dance around the drum circle!”

Anywho.

My point is that there isn’t anything inherently sexual about nudity. In fact, it’s just the natural way for a human to exist: naked. We could make the case that we wear clothes because of cold weather, and there’s certainly something to that, though it wouldn’t have been a problem in the very, very beginning.

However, the only time you’re likely to see a naked person is either when you’re about to masturbate or when you’re about to have sex. At all other times, you and the other person are fully clothed. Think of “being naked” as the ringing bell, and think of sex as the food. We hear the ringing bell, and because we only hear the ringing bell when we’re about to eat the food, we’ve become conditioned to associate the ringing bell with about to eat. So any time we see nudity now, in almost any context, it brings up sexual thoughts. Don’t believe me?

Don’t even try to say that you felt no arousal whatsoever when you saw the above picture. I did, you did, everyone did. There might even be some 15 year old kid reading this and masturbating to it right now, and why? Because we’ve been conditioned to associate nudity with sex.

So of course, yes, if you took three naked boys and three naked girls and put them in a closed room together, they would almost certainly end up having sex. Because even seeing the other sex naked will make them excited, and the next thing you know, yes, they’ll be having sex. But, again, these people have already been conditioned. We have to think of a world where that conditioning doesn’t exist. We have to think of a world where nudity isn’t automatically associated with sex.

And, thankfully, nudist colonies and beaches provide us with those examples.

I’m not going to find any links because many of these sites show a lot of children and teenagers in completely non-sexual images, yet they do appear naked. But even a fourteen year old girl and a fourteen year old boy who find themselves alone on a nude beach don’t have sex, because that conditioning has already been broken. To them, it’s just like seeing the other person in clothes; it’s not sexual.

So what bathroom should transgender people use? The same bathroom everyone else uses.

Schools across the country should implement co-ed bathrooms on a curve, year by year: the first year, it’s kindergarten. The next year, it’s kindergarten and first grade. The next, it’s kindergarten, first, and second grade. Then, it’s kindergarten, first, second, and third grade. And that should repeat until those kids who broke the association of “nudity = about to get laid” in kindergarten would be college students, and colleges would adopt the same policies, starting with those once-kindergarteners who are now freshmen, and continuing until they graduate. Within only 16 years, we will have completely solved the problem, and done society a tremendous amount of good in the process.

For example, as Jim Sterling points out in one of his videos, penises are considered okay to appear in popular media. There is a game on Steam right now called “Floppy Penis Attack” or something like that, where your goal is to play as a floppy penis putting your head in another floppy penis’s anus while avoiding getting a floppy penis in your anus. It’s considered funny. Haha, floppy penises.

Yet at the same time, Watch Dogs 2 explicitly apologizes and issues a patch because one of the female NPCs in their game actually had a vagina that, if you killed her in the right way, players could actually see. The moral of the story? Penises are okay, vaginas are not. Breasts face the same kind of crap. Men can go totally shirtless and it’s no problem at all, even if they have manboobs that make me feel insecure about my boobs. But a woman with even the smallest cup size isn’t allowed to go shirtless. Again, it’s because of classical conditioning: we’ve been conditioned to associate vaginas and breasts with sex.

If you want to talk true egalitarianism, then this is how it is implemented. It’s not implemented by laughing at the floppy wieners and frothing at the mouth over a poorly drawn vagina.

This is an artificial vagina.

Just like Jim uses artificial penises in his gags quite often, the artificial vagina is perfectly normal, and perfectly acceptable. There’s nothing more sexual about the vagina than the penis. And there’s nothing explicitly sexual about either; it’s only because we only bring them about when we’re about to have sex that we’ve come to associate them solely with sex.

So if you really want to fix the transgender bathroom thing, the double standards on nudity, and all the other silly crap that should really take a backseat to the transgender women thrown into male prisons where they are raped a reported two thousand times, then this is the way you do it. That’s the plan. Co-ed bathrooms, starting at kindergarten, and going up each year until nudity is normalized.

I’m not saying that we should accept people running around naked in the streets. But hey, if they want to, why shouldn’t they be able to? By that point, no one would care, and no one would think, “Oh my god, there’s a naked chick jogging! She must be looking for sex!” because that association will have been broken.

And that association needs to be broken, because we’re talking about freaking bathrooms, where people go to piss and shit–bodily functions that are gross, unappealing, and unavoidable. No one is thinking about getting laid when they’re squatting over the toilet or standing at the urinal. No one. And no one wants to have sex with someone who is squatting over the toilet or standing at the urinal. We would know this, if we hadn’t gotten so far wrapped up in our conditioning that we’ve simply come to accept it as truth and as the way things naturally are.

But things naturally aren’t that way. Break the conditioning, and all of this crap stops being an issue entirely.

I realize that you, the person reading this, have similarly been conditioned to associate nudity with sex, and this may very well make it extremely difficult for you to separate the two things even theoretically. But I promise you that it’s possible, and that we have countless examples of people doing exactly that. Again, I’m not going to provide links, but fifteen minutes on Google will teach you everything you need to know about nudism. And, once more, I’m no nudist, but they’re correct. We only associate sex with nudity because we’ve been conditioned to, just like Pavlov’s dog only associates the bell with food because the dog has been conditioned to.

So just stop conditioning the dog.

Gender Identity & Gender Misidentification

After sharing my previous article to an Anarchist, Voluntaryist, and Libertarian page on Facebook–not something I do often; in fact, this was only the second time in a year that I’ve done so–the very first comment was, predictably, that no one cares about my mental illness. Right, because that is a conversation transgender people aren’t sick of having. And it’s extremely common. With almost every video, every post, every article around the Internet that is from a transgender author about transgender things, there is very likely to be some asshat who thinks that he, and only he–because, sorry, I have yet to come across a female doing this–understands that gender is binary, transgender people are insane, and being transgender undermines everything else you have to say because you’re insane. Remembering now that I posted this to a closed group of like-minded people, I found myself having to point out that there is no such thing as a “legitimate reason” for kidnapping, sexual assault, theft, or ransom.

I was also called a “transgender fascist” because of my desire to force the state to accept my right to define myself and to identify myself. This, in the mind of the confused person who is so terrified that I’m going to force my beliefs onto them that they are eager to force theirs onto me, is nothing short of fascism. It’s a remarkable disconnect, and showcases just how warped a person’s brain can get when they hold reverence to dogmatic values and insist they aren’t arbitrary. I once stated that sex was a binary thing–I was mistaken. Sex has never been a binary thing; we simply treated it as one. Initially, we understood sex as XX and XY chromosomes, but more recent developments have revealed how horrifically inaccurate that was, and that the reality is that every cell in a person’s body has a sex, and they’re not all the same. This literally means that, far from being a binary matter, sex is an infinitely fluid matter, ranging from 0.0000001% male to 0.0000001% female.

If we look at these three shades of blue and just say they’re all “blue,” and then spend decades treating them all the same, does that really mean that there’s only one blue? No. It just means we were short-sighted, overly eager to simplify, and mistaken.

And, as we’ve learned more recently as our technology advances and we peer deeper into cells, genes, and chromosomes, what looked like a single shade of blue when we stood back seventy feet from the television and looked at little boxes actually turned out to be totally different shades when we got up close and examined them. So yes, I was again wrong; sex is not a binary thing and has never been a binary thing. So to be so beholden to the idea of sex as a binary concept when all scientific evidence disputes that idea is the very definition of dogma, especially since what we’re talking about is evidently an arbitrary human construct of generalities and oversimplifications. I would call dogmatic loyalty to an artificial construct so severe that it causes one to utterly lose the ability to empathize with another human being the “mental illness,” if we really want to talk mental illness.

Of course, it was brought up that “gender dysphoria” is classified as a mental illness. This is true. And I pointed out, though I can’t find the source, the AMA has gone on record stating that they did this in order to ensure that transgender people’s medicines, hormones, and surgeries were deemed “necessary” rather than “cosmetic.” It’s rather like how some dental plans won’t give you a full set of dentures because it’s deemed cosmetic, and will instead cover only partial sets. That rift between “cosmetic” and “necessary” is a big deal, and while I appreciate their reason for doing it, people who have chosen to treat it like the holy grail of definitive medicine–even as they dispute numerous other diagnoses in its pages (“Addiction isn’t a disease! They’re so wrong about that! Addiction is a choice! But gender dysphoria? No, they’re right! You’re insane, because they said so! Because ‘mental illness’ obviously means ‘full-blown insanity!'”)–end up causing transgender people in the real world no end of headaches.

When I pointed out to this person that gender dysphoria is the disease and “being transgender” is the cure, he replied, “They’re the same thing.”

It’s frustrating, because, as I said, this is a conversation that any transgender person has had countless times. Almost any time the subject is brought up, there’s at least one fuckwad who does this, and it’s always hard to ignore. It’s hard to ignore someone sitting there and calling you insane because they don’t have any understanding of things that are pretty easy to Google. But even if we don’t reply–and for the most part, I didn’t, because a wonderful other person took up the cause for me–it still stings. How could it not? It’s like a white kid being told he’s insane because he likes rap, or a guy being told he’s insane because he’s gay.

More to the point, the basic issue is his inability to understand that this interaction between transgender people and the state… doesn’t impact him in any way. If I fight the state, succeed, and force the state of Mississippi and its police officers to recognize people as the gender they identify as, this does absolutely nothing to force this random person to accept my definitions or gender identity–unless he is one of the police officers in question.

This gets into messy territory, doesn’t it? Do I have the right to force the state to recognize my gender identity?

See, that’s the wrong question, and it reveals how skewed this discussion even is. The actual question is: Does the state have the right to dictate my gender? Does any state employee have the right to say whether I am male or female, and to treat me accordingly? This is the real heart of the question, and the answer is obviously “No.” If state employees could do this, then an officer could tell any woman he arrested, “No, you’re a male. Now get naked. It’s time for a strip search, dude.” According to this guy who thinks I shouldn’t be able to prevent the state from forcing its definitions onto me, this would be totally acceptable. The state defines me, regardless of what I say, and to this Voluntaryist, Anarchist, or Libertarian, that’s totally okay–because the state’s definitions are the same as his definitions. But no, that’s not bias or hypocrisy. It’s just a happy coincidence that it happens to be his definitions that the state is forcing onto people.

By treating me as a male, the state is forcing their definition of genders and sexes onto me. My telling them, “No, you can’t do that. You have to treat me as the gender that I am, not the one you say that I am,” is defense, not offense. It would not be an issue if the state was not attempting to force their definition onto me. But they are, and they did. When I say that I’m a female, absolutely no one has the right to dictate over me as though I’m male. This random person can use whatever definitions he wants and believes me to be whatever he wants, but he has no authority to dictate over me, no ability to impact my life unless I allow him to. If he wants to insist that I’m a male, that’s his right, and it’s my right to call him a bigoted, ignorant idiot and stop having anything to do with him.

See? That’s the difference. I can’t just “stop having anything to do with” the state or the police.

This is the state we’re talking about. I’m not talking about this random dipshit on Facebook. If he wants to treat me as a male, fine. I don’t care. If he says “Turn around and drop your pants,” I don’t have to obey him. And if he pulls a gun on me, I can pull one back out on him. If he attempts to rape me, I can fight back without risking getting beaten to death by fifteen freaking people. He has no authority to trap me in a windowless concrete box with the steel door shut and command me to drop my panties. So I don’t give a flying fuck what he thinks.

Whether we like it or not–and I don’t like it–the state does have authority. It’s stolen authority, it’s immoral authority, and it’s disgusting authority, but the reality is that they have it. In a moral world, it wouldn’t have been an issue because no one could have kidnapped me and held me for ransom at gunpoint yesterday. In a moral world, it wouldn’t be an issue, because someone wouldn’t have a badge giving them the authority to coerce me into doing a strip tease. Without a state, these wouldn’t be issues at all. Fighting against the state’s attempts to define me as a male in full disregard of my own wishes, physiology, preferences, and identity is reactionary–by definition–but it is also necessary, defensive, and justified. It is the equivalent of shooting an armed burglar who has broken into your home. By kidnapping me at gunpoint and coercing me with the power of the badge to do a striptease, the officers roundly violated my rights as a human being. I should not have to explain this to anyone who claims to be a Voluntaryist, Anarchist, or Libertarian.

“What perceived rights do you think were violated?” someone asked.

Well, that’s an interesting question. All the more interesting because it came in this same group of people who are supposed to understand these things. I guarantee you that when the Constitution was written, the American Founders didn’t intend “forcing a prisoner to do a strip tease” to be any sort of reasonable search.

I shouldn’t have to explain to anyone that a male officer forcing a woman prisoner to do a striptease while she’s being processed for a misdemeanor traffic violation and waiting on the paperwork to be completed so that she can leave is a full and total violation of her Fourth Amendment rights. I don’t give a SHIT what the Supreme Court has ruled about it. Besides all of that, this person has completely missed the point–a few other people have totally missed the point as well.

It’s not about whether the strip search can be justified. It probably can’t, and I’ve now spoken with nine other people who have been through this jail–in fact, I’ve been there twice and this is the first time I was strip searched–and none of them were strip-searched, including several people who actually were in custody for a few days. You can’t hide behind “Standard Operating Procedure” when I can present a list of a dozen people who passed through that very jail for the very same charge in the very same circumstances and were not forced to do a strip tease. You simply can’t, because the evidence is against you. If you attempt to play that card, you are being a statist apologist. I can point you to these people right now, my own sister among them. She’s been to that jail twice. She was only patted down on both occasions. You’d better believe I’m compiling a list of names of people who will swear before a grand jury that they weren’t strip searched.

What it’s actually about, though, is related to the above–the fact that I was strip-searched because I was transgender by a cop who abused the authority of his badge to sate his curiosity. That’s the allegation–one of them. Because that’s clearly what happened. I know females who weren’t strip-searched, I know males who weren’t strip-searched, and I’ve now been in that jail three times–once when I was 17, once for 3 days when I was 19, and yesterday. Only on one of these occasions was I strip-searched, and only on one of these occasions “was I transgender.” Holy crap, the evidence is overwhelmingly against Tate County and the officer in question.

Furthermore, there is the fact that I’m transgender. And while this will be the messiest part, and will inevitably land before a federal appeals court, I have full confidence that it is a legal battle that I will ultimately win. A long-time friend asked me today, “If you found a competent lawyer, and Tate County offered you $10,000 to settle, what would you do?” It was a question of such profound ignorance that I didn’t know where to begin.

Dude, you think this is about money? Me? The quasi-Buddhist? The chick who shuns materialism? You think I’m motivated by money?

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll be fighting for money, because that’s all they can offer. They can’t undo what they did, and they can’t fix what they did. Will ten grand be enough to satisfy me? Not by a fucking long shot. The real answer to that question is that I will do whatever my attorney suggests that I do. What the hell? How can he be that unfamiliar with litigation? The attorney would advise me whether or not to accept the settlement. I don’t even understand how someone can ask me such a question barely 12 hours after the incident even occurred.

Beyond that, I do have a goal. Not just for Tate County, but for the state of Mississippi to institute a policy regarding transgender people that is identical to the city of Seattle’s: that all transgender people will be recognized and treated as the gender they identify as. That is what I want. That is my goal. If they don’t give me that, then absolutely no amount of money will appease me. They could offer me ten trillion dollars and I would not take a penny of it if they will not adopt that policy.

If I hadn’t been bailed out last night, do you know what would have happened? I have to wonder if these people have given this sufficient thought. If I had been forced to spend the night–or a few days or weeks–in jail, I would have been tossed into a men’s cell block–panties, makeup, bra, boobs, curves, and all. This happens. In fact, looking into this issue makes me enraged that people are discussing bathrooms, because I read about a transgender woman who served a prison sentence in a men’s block, where she was reportedly raped more than two thousand times. And what are we discussing?

Fucking bathrooms.

It’s true that there is much less rape in county jails, but this isn’t to say there is none, and my friend’s attempt to assuage me by saying there is “very little risk” of being raped in a county jail is nothing short of sociopathic. “It’s fine. There’s only a 0.2% chance that you would have been raped, so what’s the big deal?” It’s a mark of how fucking ridiculous this entire conversation is that someone would even say such a thing. I tried pointing out to him that he would never say that about his sister, his wife, one of his daughters, or even any female friend of his, and that the only reason he’s saying it to me is that I’m transgender. It stems from more of that “You’re not really a woman” stuff that pervades more of their thought processes than such people understand.

He infuriated me in his attempt to play the devil’s advocate, because there was just so much wrong with it. For one, the event, as of right now, happened barely more than 24 hours ago. This shit just happened. I was just sexually assaulted. Yesterday. I was just forced to do a strip-tease by a male cop against my will. 24 hours ago. No ordinary or reasonable human being would ever say, “But what harm was really done?” to someone in such a situation, much less when not even a full day had passed since it happened. He got pissed off when I replied that he was being borderline sociopathic, but I absolutely stand by that assessment. Actually, I’d say psychopathic to stand by the assessment.

No judge, jury, prosecutor, defendant, or attorney in their right fucking mind would ever dare ask a sexual assault victim what “demonstrable damages” were done. That is a question of such extraordinary offensiveness that I informed him bluntly that I would henceforth not discuss the litigation or my transgenderism with him again. Because of that line of questions, he has all but been thrown from my life. These are not questions that any jury would ask. They are questions that Charles Manson would ask. They are questions that the desperate pedophile on trial for child pornography would ask: “But, Your Honor, what harm was there really? I only downloaded the pictures. I didn’t perform any of the acts or take any of the pictures!”

It is unbridled madness to even ask such a thing. There’s being a devil’s advocate, and there’s being an absolute dick. No woman in any modern American court–transgender or otherwise–would have to explain to any sane juror the harm of being forced to do a strip-tease by a male cop. And I told him that if he was to ask anyone the same questions that he asked me, his wife would divorce him, his sister would never speak to him again, and he’d find that everyone thought he was a psychopath. It’s like asking a rape victim, “But you didn’t get pregnant and it was over quickly, so there weren’t really any damages, were there?”

It’s sexual assault. The very act itself causes damage. That’s why we outlawed it.

I didn’t mean to get into all this, but it’s been a full day as I’ve learned who my friends are and who my friends aren’t. It’s been a devastating day. Before I began writing this, I lied in my bed, cuddled with my cat, and cried. I did that for about an hour, and then I forced myself to get up, because I’m not a crier. I won’t lie down and cry–at least not for long. I will fight. I will fight against anyone and everyone who stands in my way. It’s more “You’re not really a woman, though” bullshit.

Because it would unequivocally be sexual assault if a male officer did this to a natural-born female, and even this “devil’s advocate” wouldn’t challenge that. Even asking such a thing is a tentative admission that he doesn’t consider me a female–just a guy wearing women’s clothes. Because I refuse to believe that any sane person could imagine their sister or wife or other female friend in a closed cell with a cop being forced to do a strip-tease and somehow dispute whether or not it counted as sexual assault and whether or not that entailed damages. And naturally when I got pissed off, he pulled the “You’re too emotional to talk about this” card.

You’re goddamned right, you fucking dick, and your bigotry and borderline psychopathy are the fucking reasons why. If your wife came out of this situation and was looking into attorneys and you asked her about “demonstrable damages,” she would divorce your ass. It’s understood, by the act itself.

The Senatobia cop who was both polite and professional, I didn’t care if he referred to me as a male, or called me “dude” or anything else. I didn’t tell him that I’m transgender because I insisted that he call me “ma’am,” although he did. I told him because I wanted him to know in case it became relevant. It’s just like I don’t care if my friends occasionally call me “him,” or if clients think I’m a guy. Their opinions don’t matter to me, and their misgendering me isn’t a concern, because it’s best for everyone involved if they do misgender me.

But it matters when people have authority over you. Holy fuck, does it matter when you’re being forced to do a strip-tease for a curious male cop and facing the prospect of being thrown into the men’s cell block. Despite this “I’m such a devil’s advocate I’m almost a psychopath”‘s assurances, it is not true that “everyone” is in there awaiting DUI trials. I’ve been in county jails before. There are some people waiting on murder trials, some waiting on rape trials, some waiting on drug trials. Some of these people face 25 years. Some face life.

And American prison and jail systems have a long fucking history of placing gay men in cell blocks where they know the men will be raped, only to then say, “You must have been asking for it.” This guy had the audacity to say to me, “They wouldn’t want to add on a rape charge to their jail sentence.”

What?

Dude, how many occurrences of prison and jail rape do you think result in charges? It’s been a long time since I looked at the numbers, but the last I checked it was like 5.7% or something along those lines. It would have been my word against the rapist’s. The rapist would have insisted that I consented to it, and I would have obviously disputed that. It’s a profound ignorance about not just male-on-male rape and prison rape but rape in general. The rape culture hysteria is certainly overblown, but we do have a problem with police officers putting forward and accepting the rationale that “she was asking for it” and “she actually wanted it.” This problem is particularly prevalent with male-on-male rape and prison rape.

One of the main reasons that most men don’t report it when they are raped is the psychological damage of it. Through no desire or enjoyment on the rape victim’s part, his penis will become erect–at least semi-erect–from stimulation of the prostate. It is well-known that rapists use this to their advantage, saying things like, “Yeah, you know you like it–that’s why you’re getting hard.” And you don’t think this ignorant ass officer who forced me to do a strip tease for him would say, “Well, her penis got hard, so clearly she enjoyed it, and she wouldn’t have enjoyed it if it had been rape”? How insulated in a bubble can a person be?

Last night, the state forced its binary, unscientific, and inapplicable definition of “male” onto me, despite my protests and explicit statements otherwise. Realistically, at the very moment I told the officer that I’m a transgender female, it could damned well have meant that I have a vagina. This has to be considered–the officer had no idea what type of transsexual I am, and didn’t ask. Rather than ask, he forced me to do a strip-tease to find out.

For the most part, it’s just so not important what people call me. I call myself the Anarchist Shemale. Almost all of my clients call me “he,” and a few of my friends still call me by my old name. It’s so meaningless to me. These transsexual and transgender people who get up in arms–“Did you just assume my gender?! Did you just misgender me?!”–they are undermining the actual problems out there. Those things are irrelevant. They are issues created by people who have never truly suffered. One of the greatest revelations for me in the last few months was that the Dunning-Kruger Effect applies very much to a person’s understanding of what suffering is. I don’t blame them for that. I applaud them. Congratulations–they have lived lives of such ease and comfort that some random person at a store calling them by the wrong pronoun is an offense and losing an election is traumatic. I don’t care what this asshole on Facebook wants to call me, or if he wants to label me as a male. It makes no difference to me. It’s tedious and exhausting, but I don’t care.

I’m not and will never fight to force Random Joe to call me a female. In fact, I have a long record of fighting for the right of Random Joe to exercise all of his rights, including the right to hate me and disassociate from me.

And this:

And this.

So anyone who accuses me of trying to force other people to accept my gender identity is either not listening, not paying attention, or purposefully misunderstanding me. In his overzealousness to prevent me from forcing him to accept my gender identity, he becomes okay with the state forcing me to accept his and their gender definitions. I’m not trying to force him to accept my gender identity. I’m trying to stop him from forcing his definitions onto me. And I hate myself for even saying this, but his inability to understand that difference is the very essence of the whole “privilege” thing.

When you’re that accustomed to forcing your way onto everyone else, it does seem like someone forcing their way onto you when they stop you from forcing your way onto them. This doesn’t mean there aren’t people out there trying to force their way onto them–there are. Lots of them. There are lots of transsexual and transgender people who think it should be totally illegal to call a transgender person by the “wrong” pronoun. I’m not among them, and any idiot who reads anything I write would quickly realize that. It was outright stated in the fucking initial article about this.

I refused to vote for Gary Johnson, and my primary reason for that was precisely that he wouldn’t allow religious people the right to conduct business in accordance with their religious beliefs. This is a message to all those fucking idiots who don’t understand simple concepts. I have been fighting this fucking battle for the right of people to discriminate against me for years, and I have the record to prove it. To all those people, I have stood by their rights for years, even when it actively harmed me and went against my own direct interests, and I will continue doing so. Now it’s time for those people to shut the fuck up and stand beside me like I stood beside them. I’m not asking them to accept me. I’m asking them to help protect me from the goddamned state, just like I fought to protect them from the state.

I apologize for how this next paragraph is written, but there was no other way to convey it in written words.

I also learned from this experience how seriously damaging it is to be transgender–to be struggling to be transgender because more than 5/6 of your life was stolen from you and you’re fighting against every single day you’ve lived past puberty without the correct hormones coursing through your body… To already be struggling everyday with doubts about “Am I feminine enough?” To look in the mirror at every opportunity, hoping and praying to see yourself more feminine, more how you should be, more how you want to be… To already struggle so much with day-to-day life as a transgender person, not to mention all the other stuff, the family stuff, the parasitism, the economic and financial struggles, the struggles to get a book published… To be depressed deep down inside and constantly in a state of mild cognitive dissonance–because I know I’m not as feminine as I want to be, that I’m not as passable as I must be… And then to have an authority figure slap you back down viciously, rebuke you firmly, and state that no, you are not female, so turn around and drop your pants.

It’s always painful to look in the mirror and not see what I want to see, to have the fear constantly nagging in the back of my mind that maybe I’ll never see what I want to see, that maybe it’s too late, maybe there’s no hope. To then have long-time friends reveal that they consider me a guy in women’s clothes–even if they don’t have the balls to outright say it… That’s painful. And to have an authority–not just any authority, but the ultimate authority, the state itself–rebuke you, spit on your efforts, spit on your life, your hopes and your dreams, and insist that you are a male whether you like it or not. Most people won’t understand. Most people can’t understand.

But goddamn, that hurts.

I’m Thankful For the Free(ish) Market

Clearly, what we have here in the United States isn’t a free market. It’s occasionally free in a few places, if you’re careful and if you’re doing something very innocuous, but we can’t really say that there is “a free market” here simply because the state doesn’t intervene in a few limited areas. No, we have a Fascist Market here in the United States, not a “capitalist plus regulation” one, because one simple pillar of capitalism has been utterly destroyed: private property.

Just this week, during emails to a friend of mine, I said,

We have meaningless property–the same property we’d be allowed to claim as ours under communism. Consumption items, I guess I’d call them. Food, televisions, phones. But actual, meaningful property? It’s not ours. It’s the government’s. Your house will always be the government’s and if you don’t pay your extortion fee, they will take it from you. With private property, that’s not the case: you are the owner, and anyone taking it from you is stealing it (unless you explicitly signed a voluntary contract with the property as collateral). Your house isn’t yours. It’s yours as long as you pay the government. If it’s your property, why can’t you add your own septic tank? Why can’t you add a wing to it? Why can’t you raise cows on it? Because it’s not yours. You’re simply allowed the privilege of using it as long as you pay their rental fees and abide their ownership rules.

And if they want, they can go “eminent domain” and take it from you. Their claim to it always supersedes yours x but they’ll let you stay as long as you follow their rules and pay rent to them.

Private property protects us from exactly that. But it’s not private. It’s “private per the government’s TOU, per your payment of extortion, and per their disinterest in it.” It’s an illusion that we can maintain until we come face to face with it, like the illusion people have that the police aren’t omnipotent falling apart once a person has been pulled over at 3 in the morning and held at their mercy.

To this, the friend replied:

I truly am not following you. In fact, I’m wondering if you’re joking with me. Are you not aware that the vast majority of property in the US is owned – outright – by private interests? For example, my father OWNS two houses outright – bought, fully paid for. No mortgage, no loan, no rent, no monthly fees, certainly no “extortion.” The farm, for example: Dad owns that house, the place you live in, and 10 acres of land. He owns vehicles, tractors, farming implements, and hundreds of thousands of dollars in furniture and assets related to my mom’s business. He owns buildings in <area>, the property they sit on, and for years he owned mini-storage units that he sold outright to another individual. Before that he owned a large building on 3rd St in Memphis, paid it off, and sold it, too. At any point he can sell anything he owns and do whatever he wishes with the money.

The house I live in: it’s owned, 100%, outright, by my father in law. He paid it off in full when he sold his part of <edited> Company – a company that was co-owned by two men.  He can dig a hole tomorrow and bury a septic tank by lunch, if he wants. Neither my dad nor my father in law pays the government anything in the way of rent, fees, or extortion. I guess you could say property taxes are along the lines of “fee,” but that’s a totally different matter than private ownership. Taxes are real. And taxes suck. But the property – land, houses, assets, etc – are owned outright.
My cousin is a farmer. He farms about 3000 acres of prime MS Delta farmland. He owns about 1/3 of it, and he leases the rest – from rich, “landed gentry” in the delta. Neither he as leasor or the landowners are in any way beholden to the government. If anything, most Americans spend their lives beholden to banks and other creditors – which themselves are private interests, owners of vast assets. In fact, what individuals don’t own, banks do, generally speaking. But the government certainly doesn’t own it.
I’m really not following you on this one. Are you speaking figuratively, or perhaps referring to taxes?
And I was truly blown away.

How could he not be following me? What I described was clearly taxation. And despite drawing a direct line from taxation to how it turns us into glorified renters, because of the words involved, he was unable to see what I was saying. I remarked that it was curious how dangerous words are. It’s so clear I don’t know how else to put it: if you don’t pay your extortion fees–property taxes–to the state, then they will take your house from you. How is it your property if you must continually pay a fee just to prevent it from being taken from you?

So even though we have to pay the government taxes regularly to prevent them from taking our property from us, we are not beholden to the government. It’s one thing to have to pay a bank monthly to keep the land, and that certainly does curtail ownership, but it’s a completely different thing to have to pay the government to keep the land, which doesn’t curtail ownership because “those are taxes.” As I said–what a danger words are. The situation I described is unimpeachable; it is a fact of life in the United States, but because he waves it away as this word “taxes,” it gets compartmentalized in his head as something that must be ignored.

Medicine and the Free Market

the-state-vs-the-marketWe can never have free market medicine until the ability of doctors to prescribe medication is no longer sanctioned by the state. Pharmacies, of course, can set their own policies. Does Pharmacy X wish to allow people to get medications without a prescription? Maybe they will for most medications, but won’t allow people to get opiates without a doctor’s prescription? Maybe Pharmacy Y will allow anyone to get any medications they want–as long as they are 18, I suppose, though I would also be against that.

There are several gatekeepers in the way of a person getting medication that they need.

First, it is simply assumed that the doctor knows more about your condition and physiology than you do. In a lot of cases, this is true, because someone who self-diagnoses through Web MD may go to the doctor asking for treatment for a disease contracted by not properly cooking frog legs that came from the Amazon Rainforest, when they really just have a cold. Is this always going to be the case, though? Certainly not.

I’ve contracted pneumonia four times in my life; I have a known susceptibility to it, and it will almost certainly be what kills me one day. I know exactly what it feels like, and I don’t need a doctor running a bunch of tests to confirm that I have pneumonia. This is a minor example, because the “tests” involve little more than using a stethoscope to hear your breathing, but the point remains perfectly valid. I can probably recognize the illness better than most doctors, but there isn’t a doctor alive who would just “take my word for it,” because the state would drop the hammer on them quickly if they turned out to be wrong.

The pharmacy, though, is the true holder of the drugs and the true gatekeeper. After all, they are the ones with shelves full of all kinds of pills, most of them as damaging as whatever symptom they’re supposed to address, but they will only give you those pills if you have a sheet of paper from a doctor–which costs, roughly, $100 to acquire. Why? Because the government has sectioned these pills off into varying degrees of acceptability, and if they let you have those pills without that doctor’s scrap of paper, then the state will drop the hammer on them. If they have that sheet of paper, then they have no responsibility in the matter; the responsibility is shifted to the doctor who gave you the prescription.

So what I’m about to call “free market medicine” isn’t in any sense truly free market.

My Involvement With Free Market Medicine

Last year, I took the extraordinary step of accepting that I am transgender. It was actually about a year ago today that I dropped the ultimatum on my sister that she could accept me or lose me, but I’m not going to hide it. Still, I was not doing well financially, having had my life completely wrecked by someone who betrayed me about as completely as anyone ever betrayed anyone, and it was a long, painful, awful road from that to where I am today.

Obviously, she chose not to have anything to do with me.

Click for full image

Click for full image. It’s more self-aware and devastating than you’d expect, so be warned.

So in January I moved, and I was not making very much money–about $150 a week on good weeks, but it actually came closer to about $100 a week on average. It certainly wasn’t easy, but I managed.

I had spent the previous few months looking into hormone therapy, and ran into brick wall after brick wall. Everything I found online suggested that even if I did find a doctor in Mississippi who would be willing to prescribe me estrogen, they would not do so until I had been in therapy for at least six months, and then all they would do is send me to an endocrinologist who, after extensive testing, would determine the quantity of estrogen that I could take.

Not only was I too old for that–because late twenties is old to be taking hormones to change your freaking gender, so don’t offer me any of that “No, you’re still young!” crap if you don’t know what you’re talking about–but there was no way that I could possibly have afforded it. Affording all that was a pipe dream with no relation to my situation. And I didn’t want to wait six months; I’d waited more than twenty years, mostly because my fundamentalist Christian parents had traumatized me to the extent that I’d forced myself to forget… It’s not something that’s easy to convey. But it took a long time to come to terms with all of that. And it took courage to say, “I’m an adult with friends and family who all know me as a male. But screw it. I’m coming out as transgender.”

So I turned to the Internet.

I was not just researching how to get hormones through the previous few months; I was learning everything there was to know about estrogen and taking it, with the only thing I couldn’t find being its impact on a person’s face. Luckily, it absolutely does impact the face–which is good because I’m sick of my masculine eyebrows, and they are, thankfully, the result of fat and muscle rather than the result of bone. It’s why it frustrates me when transgender friends lie to me about the effects hormones have on them: one girl told me that, after a year, she had already grown C cups. And no… No, she hadn’t. She might have had B cups, but with her using her arms to prop them up it was hard to tell. I know Cs, though–that’s my favorite cup size, and those are no Cs. Plus, the idea that a transgender person will grow C cups in one year is absurd. They probably won’t ever grow C cups, and if they do it will only be after the full 2+ year period of taking high doses of estrogen everyday.

I finally found a website that would let me order them, but it seemed a bit fishy. It was located in China, first of all, and no prescription was required in order to buy the estradiol. Most places I checked did require that a prescription be faxed to them, so obviously I was a bit skeptical. However, I took some money and ordered 56 quantity.

Nearly a month later, they arrived. That was in February.

The next several months were extraordinarily difficult. Every time that I tried to repurchase, the payment failed to process. The pharmacy said that my bank was blocking the international transaction. I spoke with my bank repeatedly, and they were not receiving any attempt to charge my account, much less blocking one. We underwent 3-way calls, and never arrived at a solution. Finally, I took some money and, after having been out of hormones for weeks because of the delays–

For whatever freaking reason, this international pharmacy does not process payments when you make them. They process your payment at some point “within the next 24 hours” after you give them your info. This meant that I had to give them my info one day, and then wait until the next day to find out if there was a problem. If there was a problem, then we would try something else–usually speaking with my bank–and then we’d try again, only for it to fail again. These sort of delays cost me months of being on hormones.

I finally bought a reloadable debit card from a store, loaded it with the money I needed, and the purchase went right through. The next month rolled around, and I took the card to the store, reloaded it, and–once again, the payment failed. Now, it was already difficult to come up with the $60~ I needed every month; there was no way at that point in time that I would have been able to order the next batch of hormones until the very last minute. Now I order them with plenty of room to spare, but I wasn’t able to then.

After a week of making no progress and repeatedly running into that same problem where they couldn’t process the payment because my bank was “blocking the transaction,” even though Visa insisted that they were not blocking the transaction, I broke down and asked a friend to order them, and I’d give him the cash. He did, and the payment went right through. There was yet another period of going 2-3 weeks without any hormones, completely undoing the previous period of taking them.

Not to mention that I was in some kind of emotional state from this extreme fluctuation of hormones. From 8mg estrogen a day for three weeks to zero mg of estrogen a day for three weeks. It’s amazing that I managed to be calm to any degree.

The next refill time came around, and I decided to just purchase another identical reloadable card. But wouldn’t you know it? I bought the wrong damned one. I meant to buy a My Vanilla card, and instead bought a One Vanilla card because, fuck me, I didn’t expect there to be a fucking difference. There was a difference, though, and that difference was that One Vanilla cards couldn’t be used internationally. So I had $65 on a reloadable Visa that served absolutely no purpose, and did not have the $65 I needed to buy the correct one for another week, since you can’t use a debit card to buy a reloadable debit card.

I think it was in July that I worked out the last of the problems, and had been taking hormones consistently for about two months–even though there were fluctuations in the dosage to avoid running out–when I ran into the last snag. I don’t recall what the last snag was; it may have been the one I just described, of buying the stupid One Vanilla card. No, it wasn’t that. Fucking USPS had lost my shipment. That’s what it was. They were just gone, having been sent to Jackson, MS, which was currently being overhauled and which was out of the way of where I lived. They should have gone to Memphis, and then to my local post office. Instead, they went right past Memphis and onto Jackson. And I had one day left, at only 2 mg a day–just enough to keep from undoing the progress I’d made, perhaps.

With nowhere else to turn, I called a pharmacy and told them everything. The pharmacist there, when I told him I’m transgender, confessed that he wasn’t that, but he was “something” himself. Like “No kidding, dude. You’re gay. I think everyone knows that.”

Thanks to his kind heart and sympathy, I was able to make it. He stole something like 46 2mg estrogen tabs, met me when he got off work, and then gave them to it at no cost. Why couldn’t I just have walked into the pharmacy and bought some of these non-narcotic meds? Because of the government. I am extremely thankful to this person for helping me out. And, wouldn’t you know it, ten days later USPS finally delivered the hormones, and I’d already ordered another batch, finally placing me ahead of the cycle.

Customs in New York rubberstamps my packages now when they arrive from Denmark. It’s a strange thing, but yeah–order from China, they ship from Denmark or Germany. Initially, my packages stayed in Customs for 2 or 3 days; now, they’re in and out. So I’m thankful to the people in Customs for recognizing the name on the package, the size of the package, and the contents of the package, and sending it straight on without delay.

Believe it or not, I’m also thankful to Barack Obama, who has promised not to prosecute or impede anyone who orders their medicines online from other countries. While that is fantastic, this entire arrangement could change under President Trump, and that does scare me. Rather than giving a blanket pardon and absolution to everyone ordering medicine internationally, Obama would have done more for health care in the United States if he had repealed the laws that make it technically illegal in the first place–even if he has promised not to enforce those laws.

I suspect, given his propensity for “free-ish markets” that Trump won’t do anything to limit the competition, either.

But this is why competition is such a beautiful thing. If all of these laws were repealed, then pharmacies here in the United States would have to compete with the International Drug Mart to get my business, by offering me lower prices and lower shipping. But they can’t, and they won’t, because they don’t have to. Instead, they can just petition the government to make it illegal to order medicine internationally, and then they have me by my transgender balls, able to charge me whatever they want and capable of making me jump through whatever hoops they want.

Things are different now. Obama, I have heard, has mandated that all doctors must assist transgender patients. I’m not okay with that, because I think that should be between the doctor and the patient. I was not happy when regulations required the doctor to send the patient to six months of therapy, and I’m not happy now that regulations require the doctor to write hormones to anyone who asks for them, whether they may be making a mistake or not. I think the doctor should be able to sit down with me and make that determination himself about whether he thinks I’m serious, without being afraid that I will sue him if he thinks some therapy would do me some good. If he did, I would just find a different doctor.

That wasn’t the case in January, though, that’s for damned sure.

Those eyebrows and cheeks, though... Just gotta let the hormones do their thing now. :/

Those eyebrows and cheeks, though… Just gotta let the hormones do their thing now. :/

Because of all these shenanigans, I don’t actually know how long I’ve been on hormones. It’s not an easy estimate to make, and international delays still occasionally cause me to have to cut down to 4mg a day–on occasion only 2mg a day–while I wait on the next package to arrive. I would guess, though, that it’s coming on five months of continuous, uninterrupted estrogen. The funny part about that is that my situation would be about the same today if I’d gone through the “proper” channels, only I’d have burned through a whole lot more money and would have been totally at the mercy of people who, for some reason, had the right to decide for me whether or not I should be on hormones. And, no, I’d probably just be in month 2 or so, if I’d gone the official route, when instead I’m actually starting to look fairly feminine.

My muscles are finally beginning to drop off–if only slightly so far–and there’s no doubt whatsoever that I’m growing breasts. I’m thankful that there was a backdoor for me to take control of my life and not be at the mercy of the government, its machinations, and the myriad mechanisms it has in place to force me to live according to the parameters set by other people.

The free market allows me to be transgender.

What are you not allowed to do because markets aren’t free? I’d wager there are more things than you’d immediately think of.

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

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

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

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

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

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

See how complex it gets?

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

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

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

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

The anthropic principle applied to gender, as it were.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

For “Shemale.”

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

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

We don’t live in La-La Fantasy Land.

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

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

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

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

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

But that doesn’t really change anything.

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

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

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

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

What do you know! We have one.

It’s “shemale.”

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

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

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

Transgenderism: Who Needs To Know?

It wasn’t terribly long ago that I unfriended this transgender girl on Facebook, and I did so for a number of reasons. First among those was that she was extremely derivative of myself, essentially following in my footsteps with her online presence, but was exploiting her sex appeal and the fact that she performed shows and gained a fanbase that way. I found that to be cheap and tawdry, but that wasn’t the reason that I removed her.

No, the reason that I removed her is because of this long “Oh, poor me” post about how hard it is being transgender, and how she had once been beaten and raped by this guy when he found out that she had a penis. Her excuse was that it never occurred to her to point out that she was transgender, non-op, and that she didn’t think it was her responsibility to go around telling people that she had a penis. And while I agree in many ways, there’s certainly a grey area there, and the point at which she should have told the guy that she had a penis was long before he was taking her pants off.

People like that who think it’s everyone else’s responsibility to cater to them piss me off, because it’s that ultra-liberal, anti-progressive bullshit, and it’s much simpler than that. So let me just say for the record: Yes, if you don’t have the sexual organs that the person who you’re sexually involved with expects you to have, then it is your responsibility to inform them. I know we’ve seen shemale porn where the guy pulls off the girl’s pants and is delighted to find a penis staring up at him, but this isn’t porn; this is the real world, and you’re an entitled moron to put yourself in that position.

I’m not justifying that the guy attacked her and raped her–two pieces of information that don’t quite fit if you remember that the reason he became angry was that he did not want to have sex with what he felt was a guy. And she can argue that with him all she wants, but it’s not going to change how he feels about it. That conversation should have happened long before that point when they were getting naked. People like what they like, don’t like what they don’t like, and aren’t interested in what they aren’t interested in. There is very little someone could do to persuade me to put my dick in a dude’s ass. And while I would absolutely have sex with a shemale, I don’t consider shemales to be men–hence myself. But there’s also a wide range of people there, and it would depend more on the individual than any simple, universally applicable statement.

However, if I was removing a girl’s clothes in between drunken kisses and suddenly felt a hard dick, it would absolutely give me pause, and it might even be an enormous turn-off. It certainly wouldn’t go down like in porn; I wouldn’t grin and moan and bend down to slob on it. I don’t know if this is what the girl I’m talking about expected, or if she just expected that the guy would ignore her penis, but one thing is certain:

He wasn’t expecting to find a penis there.

A lot of men out there simply aren’t willing to have sex with another guy. This does NOT make them homophobic. Being unwilling to have sex with a non-op transgender woman, or a pre-op transgender woman, also does not make a person homophobic. People like what they like, and they have their own inhibitions. I wouldn’t want to have sex with a guy–does that make me homophobic? If I removed a girl’s clothes only to find a penis, only to find out that she wasn’t even transgender but was just a cross-dresser, I would feel both betrayed and unaroused. I have very little control over that–I’m not attracted to the male form. I like curves. I’m not going to apologize for that. And removing a girl’s clothes to find out that the curves weren’t real would ruin her sex appeal for me. This does not make me homophobic; it is simply my preferences.

If you think it’s unreasonable for a guy who is removing a girl’s clothes to expect to find a vagina there, then you should probably re-evaluate what you think is reasonable and unreasonable. People have expectations, and one of those expectations is that women have vaginas. If you knowingly go against that expectation that is shared by pretty much everyone on the planet, then it is your responsibility to let someone know that before you become sexually involved.

Does it have to be the very first thing you say? Do you have to tell every random person you see that you have a penis? Absolutely not.

My dream is to be able to just live as myself, to have a job as myself, and to just be able to exist as myself. To everyone who saw me, I’d just be a woman, and they’d know nothing more than that. My co-workers, employees, colleagues, friends, whoever–would see only a woman, and that is all they would know. They would never need to know more than that. However, the girl that I was dating? Yes, she deserves to know, and it is my responsibility to tell her. Letting her pull off my clothes and find a penis there when she expects a vagina would be betraying her entirely reasonable expectation.

I unfriended her when I saw her attempt to gain sympathy about how hard it is to be transgender, because she can get attacked and beaten “just for being transgender.” This wasn’t even remotely what happened. She was attacked and beaten for betraying someone. Whether she intended to or not, she knew that the average guy–even 99.9999% of guys–expect that removing a girl’s clothes will reveal a vagina. She knew that she was going against that expectation, and she knew that the guy expected her to not have a dick.

Her defense that “Being transgender is just normal for me, I never think anything about it” is utter bullshit. If you “never think anything about it” to the extent that you’d let someone have sex with you without telling them that you don’t have the organs that they expect you to have, then you are being wholly irresponsible, reckless, and ridiculous.

Things are no different for me. Just because it would be a girl undressing me and finding a penis doesn’t mean I have no responsibility to inform them–there are plenty of lesbians out there who wouldn’t be interested. But it’s humorous for me to note that it has only become easier for me to find interested chicks, when I imagine that the opposite would be true for a non-op transgender man who was into men. God, this terminology is so sloppy. You have to stop and think too much about what “non-op transgender man” means–what sexual organ does that person have? A vagina. This terminology is far too clunky.

That’s why I love the term “shemale” and will continue using it no matter how many transgender women tell me that it is somehow an insult to them that I use this word to characterize myself. It’s even better when they try to tell me the connotations of “shemale” like I don’t already know that it’s tied to porn–in fact, it’s rather important to me that I break that connotation, and it was an important milestone for me to see that “anarchist shemale” has me as the #1 result on Google search, beating out a fair bit of porn to get there. Breaking how “shemale” is tied to porn is a major part of the reason I use it. But do people ever ask about that? Nope. They just assume that I don’t know that shemale is tied to porn, and that I’m not aware of how I’m offending them by calling myself a shemale.

Just think about the absurdity of that, and how it so obviously requires group-think. I can’t even call myself something without it somehow being applied to all non-op transgender women. What kind of madness is that? I didn’t say you are a shemale, lady. I said that I am a shemale. If your ego and narcissism are so out of control that I can’t call myself something without you somehow making it about you, then you need a serious reality check and a firm reminder that you and I are different people. I would suggest such people remember that, first and foremost, they are individuals; they are not the characteristics they happen to have.

What do they want me to do, call myself “The Anarchist Non-Op Transgender Woman”? God, that’s so catchy! Of course! Why didn’t I think about it before? It’s so obvious! I was originally going with “The Libertarian Shemale,” of course, but swapped it out for Anarchist. I did this for two reasons. First, because I am an anarchist, and not a libertarian. Second, “Anarchist Shemale” sounds a whole lot more memorable and awesome than “Libertarian Shemale.”

facebook

You don’t own me. I can call myself any goddamned thing I want, and it has nothing to do with anyone else. I hate to belabor the point, but it’s an important one, and it has happened multiple time. I’ve been chastised several times for calling myself a shemale, told how “offensive and insulting” it is to other people, and lectured on how the word is tied to porn. I’m well-aware of the last bit, and anyone who spends any time listening to the things I say will conclude that I’m obviously well aware of that. But the notion that it can do injury to other people (because to offend them is to commit some offense upon them, to make them a victim and injure them in some way) by calling myself something is patently absurd.

Well, I got completely off track. I apologize for that.

Hey, but if you like what I have to say, you might enjoy my latest video:

Or if you’re more interested in things that pertain to transgenderism:

You could also check out my podcasts at www.ariadimezzo.podbean.com–there are 37 or 38 episodes there, most of them are Rantings & Ravings, about 1/4 of them are Food For Thought, and another 1/8 of them are Transgender Frustrations, which are mostly just me bitching about things here in the real world, not creating my own problems and then bitching because I landed myself in a horrible situation and faced disproportionate consequences.

Transgender people face real problems in the United States, and especially here in the south. I went into Wal-Mart today to buy a new microphone (I have no shame shopping at Wal-Mart), and while there I walked by the flip-flop aisle and saw a few pairs that would actually fit me. Since I wear a size 12.5W/11M, it can be hard to find flip-flops that fit. And these were adorable! But it was mid-afternoon in Wal-Mart. I couldn’t just buy a pair of women’s flip-flops. So I whipped out my phone, took a few pictures of the aisle, and sent them to a friend on Facebook, pretending that I was picking them up for someone else.

That’s the kind of real issue that a transgender person faces in Wal-Mart. I’m thrilled that this transgender chick in freaking Michigan has no problem going to Wal-Mart, and that no one will follower her home and burn her house to the ground. That’s fantastic. But what does she do with that wonderful ability? She creates her own fucking problems, and then screams and cries about them like her self-created problems are even remotely on par with actual transgender problems that people have to face all over America. I would sell my soul to be able to just walk into Wal-Mart and shop for clothes, but I can’t. I wouldn’t make it home, and I probably wouldn’t make it out of the parking lot. In fact, I would probably have the police called on me.

Oh, yeah. For sure. Some old Christian woman with her young daughter would be “creeped out” and would notify the manager. Without doubt–I mean, really. That would happen. If there was anyone else shopping in that area, that would happen. And the manager would immediately think “Pedophile” not “Transgender” and would call the police. Then, after extensive searches of me and my phone to verify that I wasn’t taking pictures of little girls in the changing room and repeatedly demanding to know why I was in the girls’ clothing area in the first place, I’d probably just be banned from the store.

That’s my reality.

So I’m not going to cut some stupid bitch slack when she creates her own problems.

Dancing in Hellfire, 2nd Draft Preview

This is essentially the first few sections (because the manuscript isn’t divided into chapters) of the upcoming autobiography Dancing in Hellfire and is, basically, the Submission Sample. While I’m not submitting yet, because I won’t until the final draft is 75% done (I really dropped the ball on it, but have recommitted to x pages per day, which is the only way to do such things), I think that this will get the job done. I’m going to continue rewriting those first few paragraphs until they leave people fucking speechless, though. Anyway–I hope you enjoy. Well… I hope you find it fascinating and interesting, because it’s not the sort of thing anyone should really enjoy…

You could also watch this video, where I tell a very small portion of the story–only a few parts that relate to being transgender–in video form, with wickedly appropriate music in the background. 😀

Introduction

 

The absolute best that I can say about my mother is that: even if she was kidnapped and wasn’t murdered outright, it has been seventeen years, and she has surely been killed by now—so, even if she was tortured in some psycho’s basement, it’s over now.

It’s the greatest of the series of tragedies that characterized my early life, and the worst part is that there is only truth in the above; that is the best that I can say of her fate. She vanished when I was twelve years old, and no body has ever been recovered. Since the last person with whom she lived has served a prison sentence for an unrelated murder, and that all he had to say back then was that “She left with a truck driver named Tim,” it’s not hard to piece the puzzle together, but it never grows beyond speculation. Without her body, it can never be more than baseless speculation.

And though that is surely the worst of the true and unembellished tales I can impart, it is far from the only such story. Instead, there are more horrors to be uncovered and shared—a reminder of the terrible depths to which human depravity can sink, and of the extraordinariy resilience of the human spirit that refuses to surrender. Because it’s possible—and I know it’s possible. Sometimes other people delay things and force transgender people to be something they’re not, but survival is always an option, and nothing can truly destroy someone’s spirit, hope, or identity.

It’s strangely easy to forget how much all of this really sucks. It’s easy to forget how horrible it was to lie awake, crying and listening to the screaming and sounds of shattering glass as my mother was beaten by her alcoholic boyfriend at two in the morning. It’s easy to forget how angry I have the right to be at my father and grandmother, for forcing me to oppress myself, to make myself forget who I am. And it’s easy to forget how terrible it was when my father killed a woman, when I was interrogated by police at the age of five, and how deeply the emotional scars of that childhood really extend.

When my mother disappeared off the face of the Earth, never to be seen again, I was only twelve years old, and people today are stunned that I speak of her murder so matter-of-factly, though her body has never been recovered and the only real evidence of her death is that the man with whom she was living has since been to prison for another murder. It’s amazing what the human spirit can become accustomed to, a fact clearly evidenced by the almost lackadaisical way I approach these would-be bitter memories.

But that’s all they are: memories.

Today I am a transgender woman and resident of the state of Mississisppi—the U.S. state that just passed a law allowing discrimination on religious grounds. Really, this is about as frustrating and difficult as one would expect, and the only thing that keeps me safe is the secrecy that surrounds me—not many people can link my male identity to my female one. That’s only dealing with what people do under the radar, though—in the open is another story, because it was already impossible for me to find a job as my true self, which forced me to live a lie to some degree as long as I am here, so the new laws don’t really have any impact for me. And I survive. As always, I simply roll with the punches. There is no choice. Nor was there a choice those early mornings as I became witness to horrific domestic violence.

C’est la vie.

I once uttered that phrase almost ironically, but it’s now one that I speak with the greatest of sighs, because there is no truer expression in any language: “Such is life.” It’s not that I consider existence meaningless and bleak, but I have been looking upon an unnecessarily brutal world since before my mind was capable of even grasping its tragedies. I did not live the sheltered life, and that delusion, that there is a Great Justice that one day is due us all, was ripped from my hands before I had even taken my first steps into a school.

I don’t begrudge the past. If anything, I am thankful for it, because we are all shaped by our experiences, and I’m pleased with the person I am. However, I am one of the lucky ones. The majority of people who endure such childhood trauma, and who are forced by religiously oppressive authorities to repress their own natures, are not so fortunate. Most of the former lose themselves in a sea of drugs that allow them to forget, while the latter are, perhaps, even more unlucky, and lose themselves to the blade of a razor.

Where to begin, in this sordid tale of devils and demons? Obviously, with the family that is, to be frank, to blame. Though I am not perfect and have done plenty wrong, my mistakes generally come after I was shaped by that childhood and adolescence.

My family is exactly what one would expect of a north Mississippi lower middle class / upper lower class white Christian family; it was only a few years ago that I first heard the acronym WASP, and I have to admit: aside from its redundancy, there is no more apt description of my family. With the exception of only myself and one of my cousins, the family is almost stereotypical in how typical they are of an ordinary white fundamentalist Christian family from the southern United States.

Everyone in Mississippi isn’t like that, however, and that’s one of the main points I’ve attempted to make in online communities: Mississippi does contain many people like myself. It must be acknowledged, though, that the common thread between us is that we’ve broken free of the terrorizing and gripping fears of the local religion. As a friend recently put it, “We grew up in an area that is run-down, poor, and stupid, over all, where most of the populace is indoctrinated by religious nonsense to the point where they can’t even recognize rational thought. We pushed through what it takes to fit in here, and we defined ourselves. That’s something to embrace and be proud of.”

My friends and I have reached the end of a long and grueling journey that was filled with adversity and people who would use any means at their disposal—terrorism, fear, violence, and coercion—to bend us to their will,s and we’ve looked back at the paths we traveled, and rejoiced that we survived and stayed true to ourselves. Friends are… absolutely priceless when one is transgender in a family full of fundamentalist Christians.

Both of my paternal grandparents would reject me entirely—they do not yet know, and they will be among the last to know, since I see them only a few times a year. “You don’t know how they’ll react,” I’ve had people tell me. “Give them a chance. Sometimes people surprise you.”

With all due respect, to everyone involved, those allies and friends have no idea the type of people we’re really dealing with. My Mississippian friends know better, too; they know that there is no chance that my family will ever welcome me at Christmas dinner as a female. When my grandfather (who, for the record, is on his tenth or eleventh wife) learned that my sister was living with her boyfriend, he wrote her a lengthy letter, wherein he quoted Biblical passages and called her a whore. When my grandmother found girls’ clothes hidden between my mattresses, she wanted to send me to a foster home and asserted that she would not have that in her house; if they had thought I was gay, they would have sent me to one of those awful “pray the gay away” camps. These are the type of people that comprise my family.

Again, this isn’t to say that I’m perfect, and acknowledging my own faults and mistakes will be the most difficult part of writing this. I have made plenty of mistakes, blunders, and stupid decisions that brought myself, and people around me, severe difficulty and hardship, and that is particularly true regarding past relationships.

My memory is also not perfect, and I am likely to make mistakes, and, given that some of the information comes from extremely unreliable sources (like my father), some of that can’t really be helped. It honestly doesn’t matter, though. The point of this is to show how awful parenting shaped me, and the countless lies that my dad told me are part of that. That said, I strive for honesty, integrity, and sincerity in all things. Consider this my vow that everything within is, to the best of my knowledge, the unaltered truth, except that names have been changed.

 

South Pontotoc

I was born premature, thankfully, too, because the umbilical cord had wrapped around my throat and I was born black, reportedly. This was surely a result of my mother’s cigarette smoking and eating painkillers while pregnant. My father insists that she didn’t do drugs while she carried us, but… Yeah, she did.

I don’t remember my birth, but I do remember some things from shortly after my birth. Though my family says there is no way I could remember it, my introduction to the world came with overwhelming confusion: I was in some sort of cradle, and the back of my right hand hurt like hell, and it was pained because a number of needles and tubes penetrated my flesh. The details are blurry and fuzzy, as we’d expect from such early memories, but the needles hurt and itched. They irritated me, and I wanted them out. I was afraid and confused, with no idea why these things were stabbed through my hand and no understanding of what was going on. I knew only that I was hurting and helpless to do anything about it.

Confusion—pure confusion. I didn’t even have a sense of self. I had no idea that I existed, that I was a baby in a hospital, and that I was a being. I could feel the needles in the back of my hand, and they hurt. The pain, however, was not unbearable, and that wasn’t the main facet of that moment. It was confusion. I was not afraid—I didn’t have enough self-awareness for the confusion to make me scared. I simply knew… nothing. I was a blank slate, onto which was being written reality in the ink of experience. And then I didn’t even know that I was a blank slate; I knew only that I hurt, and that I was confused. I was not in the arms of a loving mother whose warmth brought me comfort. I did not stare up and into the eyes of a nurse who was delighted to see a baby growing healthier by the hour. I was not being cooed by an older brother happy to have a new sibling, or rocked in the cradle while the soothing voice of a loving grandparent read a story. I was in a room shining in fluorescent light, alone, and hurting.

That was my first experience with the world. That was how I was introduced to the universe—in the sterilizing, emotionless light of an empty hospital room, not the gentle and soothing light of a home. I heard the beeps and sounds of monitoring equipment, not the joyous laughter of a loving family. I lie alone in a hospital contraption with the shrill, uncomfortable hospital sheets, not wrapped in a blanket and the arms of a doting mother.

And the worst part—the indisputable worst part—is that I remember this.

The first few years of my life were probably normal, about what anyone would expect from a southern, lower middle class white family that subsisted more on the successes of previous generations than the merits of its own. There were some oddities, though, and signs even then of who I really was, but it was the mid-80s, then. It wouldn’t really be fair to blame my parents for not recognizing it and embracing it.

I was, of course, born male, “with a penis and everything.” But whenever all of my underwear was dirty, my mother would put me in my sister’s panties; it wasn’t a punishment, to clarify. Being the clever child that I was, I soon began hiding all of my underwear, just so that I could tell my mom I didn’t have any, and so that I could then wear panties instead. There I was, at three years old, taking all of my tidy-whities and throwing them into the back of the closet that no one ever opened, and then I reported to my mother that, strangely, all of my underwear was suddenly gone.

So when I say that I’ve been transgender since birth, it’s as close to “since birth” as one can get. I couldn’t have been older than three years old at that point, because my sister hadn’t begun kindergarten herself. I knew then that I preferred women to men: I loved my mother and sister, and, even at that age, I had a deep appreciation for feminine beauty. I also thought that my Aunt Daisy was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen, and my mother used to laughingly make fun of me for my enamorment with my aunt.

My experience with men at this point was limited to my father (who was fat and not overly pleasant to look at), my brother (who was thin, but who had nothing on my mother), my grandfather (who was also overweight, and a jerk), and my Uncle Dickbag (who has always been an asshole). Although it’s typical for young boys to love their mothers, I wanted to be just like mine, and I suspect that had a lot to do it with, but who can say? I was three when it began, and I simply wanted to be a girl.

I had a blanket (what most people would call a “blankie,” though I never called it that), and it was one of those cotton-threaded ones similar to fishnet. I refused to sleep without it and my pillow. The pillow actually wasn’t that important, but the pillowcase certainly was. I rubbed the pillowcase between my finger and thumbnail, sleeping on the central heating vents in the floor and driving my father crazy with all of it.

 

A Look At My Father

I would love to say that my father isn’t a bad man.

But he is.

That’s a difficult thing to say and accept, but I have to stress that it doesn’t really make me love him any less, and that the predominant emotion I have for my father, even now, is pity. Even so, I would be lying if I said that he was a good man who simply made some mistakes; that isn’t the case at all. He’s a bad man who has made some good decisions, not a good man who has made a few bad ones.

His own childhood was no walk in the park, and was tarnished by my alcoholic and abusive grandfather beating the hell out of my grandmother. Though not much of that has been shared with me, I can certainly relate to what he has said, and it’s clear the the recollections are as painful to him as it is for me to recall the abuse my mother endured at the hands of alcoholics.

At some point, my grandparents divorced—Go, grandma!—because my grandmother wouldn’t put up with the abuse. My grandmother is easily worthy of her own story, because she is an unsung hero of the feminist movement without even trying. In the sixties and seventies, she left her violent husband and blazed her own path, winning the house in the divorce, and then worked at a college the rest of her days, finally retiring at the age of 67.

True to the family history, my grandmother endured her own screwed up childhood, and was even sent away by her mother, for undisclosed reasons, to live with Uncle Ben and Aunt Ethel on their farm. Evidently, Aunt Ethel didn’t like my grandmother one bit, and was very unkind to her. What set of circumstances caused Jessica—I’ve never heard my grandmother refer to her own mother by anything other than her name—to send my grandmother off to this farm? What internal strength caused my grandmother, in what must have been the 40s, to graduate as the valedictorian of her class? What quite resolve allowed my grandmother to learn the necessary skills to work in the administration section of a college during the 60s?

These are questions to which I would dearly love the answers, but I’ll never have them; they are not things that my grandmother is happy to discuss. Questions about her past are met with short answers, and I can’t really blame her for not wanting to talk about it. She lived a difficult life, but she’s also the strongest woman I’ve ever heard of. I would love little more than for her story to be known, and that’s part of what makes her so remarkable: she doesn’t want her story to be told. Her humility and sincerity are matched only by the courage and wisdom it must have taken to craft the life she did in a time when women were “not allowed” to be more than housewives.

On one particular drunken rampage, my father was forced to hold a gun on my grandfather so that my grandmother could limp out of the house. While I truly hate that he even had to do such a thing in the first place, I’m also jealous that he was old enough to do something about it. When my mother suffered under Assface’s hands, I was in the second grade, and too young and weak to do anything to get in the way.

For years, my father insisted that he had been drafted to Vietnam, and he even pulled the whole John Rambo thing, where he talked about how he was called a murderer and spit upon when he returned. At one point, though, my sister and I realized that… there’s no way. Either he was actually the oldest between him and his brother (and thus wouldn’t have been drafted), or the Vietnam War ended when he was 16. In this little alternate reality he had crafted, he had to be older than our mother (which was blatantly false—she had always been recognized as the older one, by several years), his brother had to be lying about his own age, and almost everyone had to have falsified birth records.

He retconned his story to say that he was in Vietnam during the 80s, through another offensive that we did, but I have been unable to find any military record for him, and have even signed up for one of the paid services to look. Whether he did fight in Vietnam or not, he did mislead us into believing he’d fought in the Vietnam War, which is a lie of such magnitude and scope that one has to marvel at it.

He is a religious man, though it’s hard to tell by looking at his behavior: heavy drug usage, constant lies, and steady manipulation. Although he is less religious than other members of the family, the secularism is applied in strangely selective ways, and he’s generally just as fundamental as everyone else in the family—he continues to believe that Obama is a Muslim, is more or less openly racist, and is a diehard Republican, despite the fact that he’s effectively a ward of the state who benefits substantially from liberal policies.

I obviously don’t see eye-to-eye with him, but we do have some similar interests. It was he who introduced me to Fantasy literature and tabletop gaming, both of which almost immediately became passions for me. In turn, I exposed him to the tenth installment of a wildly popular roleplaying video game, and I’m still happy that I was able to show him to something that he enjoyed so immensely. He must have played through it a dozen times, and he certainly discovered more of its secrets than I ever would have.

As an aside, with the recent HD Remaster of said video game’s release to PC, I actually installed it onto my grandmother’s computer for him, thereby allowing him to play through it again. He’s been really excited, and I’m glad for that. Though I’d name him Lardnugget if I had to “All names have been changed” him, I’m still glad that I was able to do that for him.

There is some kinship between us, and I do love him, despite the more numerous differences, and in spite of the fact that he has done me far more harm than good. More than anything, I pity him, because the traumatic childhood seems to have destroyed him; he is one of the ones who did not come through unscathed. He was swallowed by the mentality that the world owes him something, whereas I left with the same feeling and the certainty that, whether the world owed it or not, it would never give it willingly.

The rifts between us began because I was just… not the son that he wanted. He hated that I loved sleeping on the heating vents—I’ve always loved heat. I would wager the guess that, particularly at those young ages, it was related to my premature birth, but, regardless, I wouldn’t sleep anywhere else. I had to sleep on one of the floor vents, and the heat had to be on. There in the floor, I had the pillow and pillowcase that I refused to sleep without, and the blanket that I really wanted with me when I slept.

My father hated all of these things. We went to visit some relatives at one point, and I left my blanket and pillow at home. With no other way to shut me up, my parents took me to a store to get a new pillow, and there I went from one to the next, tearing open the plastic just slightly, and “testing” it with my finger and thumbnail until I found one that was satisfactory. When we got back to our trailer a few nights later, dad told me to bring my pillow outside.

As I stepped out into the night air, I saw him kneeling just outside the small stone circle beside our front steps. It had once been a flower garden—conceived and implemented during one of mom’s highs, when she was bolstered with energy and had the random idea to start a flower garden. Naturally, the high wore off, but the flowers remained in that little circle of stones—at least for a while. Then they died, unwatered, neglected, and forgotten.

Almost like a demon out of a child’s horror story, there was my dad, grinning devilishly and eagerly with the flickering glow of his lighter shining on his face, urging me to throw my old pillow onto a mess of crumbled newspapers soaked in lighter fluid. “We need to burn it!” he said, and I refused. There was no need to burn it. They were already making me throw it away—they were already making me discard into the trash this pillow that I loved and had slept with every night for years. Was that not enough?

“We need to burn it!” he said again, and I ran back inside, crying to mom that dad wanted to make me burn the pillow that I loved. It may seem strange that I had such attachment to a pillow, but I did, and both of my parents knew it. My father knew it; he knew very well that I loved that pillow.

And that’s why he wanted to burn it. Because I loved it.

We didn’t burn random things, and I doubt that we ever burned anything there at all. But he wasn’t content to simply force me to throw away this pillow that I loved, this symbol that I was an emotional person and not the crass son that he so desperately wanted. The pillow had to be destroyed in flames because I loved it, and because “real men don’t love.” This silly, feminine weakness, this emotional attachment to an object—it had to be gotten rid of, and in the most dramatic way possible.

It was not the pillow that my dad wanted to burn.

It was my heart.

My mother intervened, though my father came inside and continued insisting that we needed to burn the pillow, because he was afraid that I would be able to talk my mother into letting me keep it. One has to wonder why it was even an issue that I wanted to keep my pillow. In the end, I placed it gingerly on top of the garbage can in the kitchen and told it goodbye. I hated to do so, and I cried, because it didn’t make sense to me (and still doesn’t).

It’s understandable that I developed such strong emotional ties to inanimate objects: even before the separation, neither parent spent much time with me, and there wasn’t much hugging in the family. Mom and dad were always high on one drug or another, lying on the couch and borderline comatose. I don’t know how Brandi handled it then, or what she did in order to get through the long and miserable days, but it was surely as awful for her as it was for me. Unlike our older brother, we didn’t have friends with whom we could go hang out. Or, at least, I didn’t. Brittney was friends with a girl who didn’t live too far from us, and I hope that my sister was happy then.

 

Aunt May and Kay-Kay

For a while, mom did work, as did my father. While Brittney and Anthony were gone to school and my parents were at work, I was babysat by our great aunt who lived next door, a relatively kind woman who I remember as mostly humorless. Sadly, I’ve also been told that my father fleeced her out of most of her money, which is the same thing he did to my great-grandmother and is currently doing to my grandmother. However, I was too young to comprehend any of that, and there isn’t much that I remember about Aunt May.

It sucked at Aunt May’s, though. There was probably nowhere that would have been worse for my three or four-year-old self. I wasn’t allowed to take my Nintendo the vast majority of the time, which left me there alone with an eight-year-old woman and very little to actually do, because there was no one to play with and nowhere to play at. Aunt May wasn’t unkind, but she was not particularly joyful. I don’t blame her for that—she was a very old woman, and probably not really able or happy to babysit a four-year-old.

A kid at that age should be outside playing and having fun, not sitting in a living room with an eighty-year-old woman and playing with paper dolls that she cut out of a magazine. Of course, such things seem droll only from a modern perspective, but I was accustomed to video games and cartoons, the heightened entertainment possibilities of the late 1980s. In the 1880s a child would have been thrilled beyond measure to sit on a couch in an air-conditioned house and idle away the hours with paper dolls.

But just imagine the blank and horrified response one would get if a modern child was asked to spend day after day in that environment, with only a very old woman as company. There would probably be allegations of child abuse! Of course, I’m not making that claim. However, many modern parents would likely consider that to be, at the least, borderline child abuse. To me, it was simply boring, and the time passed so slowly that I probably lived more moments there at Aunt May’s house than all the moments I have lived since.

I don’t mean any of this to be disparaging to Aunt May. I have no doubt that she did the best she could, and significantly better than many people in her position would have. Still, I dreaded those days when both my parents had to work, and it was routine for me to ask mom each afternoon, “Do you have to work tomorrow?”

Aunt May had a moustache, as well, but I never noticed it. It wasn’t until I was a teenager and I was shown a picture of her that I learned she had a moustache. I was pre-kindergarten when I spent time with Autn May; the idea that a woman didn’t have facial hair wasn’t in my head at that point, so it was perfectly normal to me. My father had a moustache and Aunt May had a moustahce. Cars have tires, and cows go “moo.” It simply was.

One horrible day, as Aunt May sat in her recliner, concealed in the corner from view of the kitchen as I sat on the couch near the front door, there was suddenly a crash in the kitchen. The kitchen was near the back of the house, and had a door to the outside attached to it, and I will never forget the fear that fell over this old woman’s face. Someone had broken in through the back door.

She and I hid in the living room, cowering in the corner behind her chair. I don’t believe she ever called the police (I don’t think she even had a phone), or did anything else about it, but my memory of that ordeal is really vague. I recall only the noise, the unmistakable terror in her eyes that I was able to recognize even at four years old, and the hiding.

Because she was very old, it simply wasn’t possible for Aunt May to always babysit me, and I had another sitter called Kay-Kay—a hefty, middle-aged woman who seemed to be doing pretty well in life. She had a house, at least, and I recognized that as an indication she was alright—we lived in a trailer, and most of the people we knew lived in a trailer. Living in a house… That was a grand thing to me. I didn’t mind that we lived in a trailer, and I was much too young to know that being the child of two fast-food workers (even if they were supervisors) who raised Confederate flags, shot up heroin, and ate Xanax made me the definitive example of “trailer trash,” but I knew enough to know that it was a great thing to have a house.

Kay-Kay, however, was a pretty ordinary woman, but there was a lot going on beneath the surface that most people never saw. As I sat in one of her bedrooms, playing a video game, there was suddenly a banging on the door and people shouting, demanding to be allowed inside and promising that, if Kay-Kay refused, they would tear the house down.

Although I was shocked and scared at first, Kay-Kay expertly put my fears to rest by handling it so well. She answered in an almost aloof way, as though she had no concern about it whatsoever. Even as they banged and screamed, I was unafraid, because Kay-Kay didn’t appear to take it seriously. After a minute or so, they stopped for a moment, and then the rhythmic pounding echoed through her home, clearly coming from somewhere in the back.

“They’re going to tear the house down!” I shouted to Kay-Kay, scared once more. In my head there was the image of two enormous, burly, and angry men outside with huge hammers, smashing away the bricks and crashing through the walls.

“Oh, no, they’re not, sweetie,” came Kay-Kay’s reply as she dropped to a knee and hugged me. “They’re just mad. They’ll get over it and leave in a few minutes.”

Sure enough, Kay-Kay was right: they did leave shortly thereafter. In actuality, they probably just had given up on the front door and gone to try the back door. Finding it locked, they banged and shouted some more, and then stopped. I never learned what any of this was about, and Kay-Kay asked me to not mention it to my parents, which made sense: that isn’t the sort of thing a mother wants happening at the selected babysitter’s home. I didn’t stay quiet, though, and that was the last time Kay-Kay ever babysat me. It was also the last time that I saw her.

The Rise of Tumult

There was a “friend of the family” called Doc, and I liked him a lot. Everyone liked Doc—he was a friendly, charismatic guy. Being my parents’ friend, he was also heavily on drugs, but Doc was also in a motorcycle gang, which created a bit of a problem, because shooting up was explicitly against the gang’s laws. Just to be clear here: this is the world I grew up in. This was normal to my three-year-old self. On any given day, I was likely to see one or both of my parents shoot up heroin, smoke a joint or two, and collapse onto the couch, unmoving and in a stupor, droning out “Yeah…” to no one.

I watched my mother, laid out in the loveseat on one side of the living room, look over at my father. She held up and toward my father a syringe full of some red liquid, and then she asked in a seductive voice, “Lardnugget, do you want some of this?” And as she spoke, she pressed in the syringe and sent a jet stream of this stuff—whatever it was—flying across the living room. They were both just out of their minds, just high as hell.

Disheveled, frantic, panicked, and terrified, Doc stopped by our trailer one day and wanted to sell my father a half-pound of weed for fifty bucks. My father had twenty dollars he could pay. Knowing my father as I do, it’s amazing that he had any money at all, but he did, and he explained to Doc what he had.

Doc in turn explained that he had to get out of town. “Had to,” and my father understood what that meant: Doc had been caught shooting up by the gang. Doc had to get out of town before the gang could find him; whoever had discovered the secret would tell the others, and they would force Doc to run the Gauntlet. Because, apparently, that actually happens. My father bought the weed, and Doc fled, but it was to no avail. Doc was eventually found, and he did not survive.

We also frequently drove north to visit my Aunt Danielle and Uncle Dickbag (the man who would later go to prison for murder and, though there is no body or evidence, would one day murder my mother), as well as our cousins. We did this regularly, and one of these trips proved to be one of the most traumatic experiences of my childhood.

As Brittney and I rode with dad in his yellow truck, in a secluded area where the road was surrounded on both sides by trees and steep ditches that spelled certain death for anyone who lost control and went over, an 18-wheeler decided that he needed to pass us. The trucker blew his horn a few times, and then he went for it. As he passed, he veered to the right—or dad swerved to the left. The enormous sideview mirror of the rig crashed through the window beside dad and sent a spray of glass shards through the cab of our truck. Luckily, neither my sister nor I were cut.

The fault was probably my father’s, driving under the influence of one drug or another, but the reason officially given was that the highway there simply wasn’t wide enough to feasibly pass. This excuse was given much later in the day—after the trip got significantly worse. Whether the trucker stopped after the incident is anyone’s guess, but I don’t blame my father for continuing on; in an age before cell phones were common, it would have been stupid to stop in an isolated place and confront a trucker who had, whoever was to blame, just smashed a torrent of glass through the truck that held two children (Anthony rode with our mother).

We ended up in Memphis as we traveled, and came upon an intersection. Not paying attention, I couldn’t tell you exactly how it happened, but there was shaking and noise. We rear-ended another vehicle. It’s possible that my father simply didn’t stop quickly enough, and it’s possible that he pressed the gas too hard and too quickly after the light turned green. Regardless, we hit the vehicle hard and sent it careening into the intersection—reportedly, it traveled fifty feet from the impact.

The driver of that car died on the spot with a broken neck.

Obviously, the police were called, and my father was arrested. The police had Brittney and me wait in the back of the police car with him, which made us feel as though we were also being arrested, and that is terrifying when you’re four or five years old and have literally no comprehension of what is going on. As though we were playing out a scene in a movie, the very same trucker who had hit us earlier happened upon the accident, and presumably told the police that dad was driving erratically. The next thing I knew, the trucker was banging on the glass beside me, shouting obscenities at us—not just at our dad, but honestly at the five-year-old children, too. I was terrified, confused, and frightened out of my mind, and it didn’t help that dad, with his hands cuffed behind his back, was frothing at the mouth, rocking the police car, and demanding to be let out so that he could fight the truck driver.

My sister and I were taken to the hospital, and we were repeatedly questioned about the accidents by police, doctors, and therapists. Of course, we were separated from our father, but also from each other, and that served only to make the experience more traumatic than it had to be. We were finally told that we would be going into the care of Aunt Danielle and Uncle Dickbag briefly, and they were the ones who picked us up from the hospital. My grandmother acquired a good lawyer for my father, and he was able to go to rehabilitation rather than prison, or something to that effect.

For a long time, my nerves were absolutely shot, and it was nearly impossible to get me into a vehicle, which is probably the normal response of a four year old child after having been in two accidents in a single day, one of which resulted in a death, because the parents didn’t mind driving after eating a bunch of pills. Naturally, to fix the problem, they shoved pills down my throat, giving me what they called “nerve pills” that were probably simply Xanax or Klonopin. This was the only way to get me into an automobile for several months after the accidents, because otherwise I would scream and throw fits; knocking me out with drugs was the only way they could get me into one, though eventually that anxiety faded.

Things returned to what we considered normal, though that isn’t to say that either of my parents stopped doing drugs. I doubt either parent was ever clean for any noteworthy period of time, and they continued inviting friends over frequently. These parties, while they were more or less tame and simply consisted of people drinking, doing drugs, and playing spades, they were not what would constitute “normal” for most kids.

On one such occasion, one of the people with whom they were hanging out decided that it would be a brilliant idea to inject peanut butter. Presumably, he’d heard that “The high is incredible, man!” and wasn’t much interested in maybe asking a doctor before doing something so horrendously and creatively stupid. According to my father—who is a known pathological liar, it’s worth remembering—the man died on the spot, so they took him home and left him on his couch, dead. I have no memory of this, but it allegedly happened some time around my fifth birthday.

I started kindergarten, and I loathed it. Up until that point, my life was fantastic. I could wake up whenever I wanted, spend the entire day watching cartoons and playing video games, snacking whenever I desired, and just basically doing any damned thing I pleased. Then suddenly I couldn’t do that any longer; I had to wake up at a specific time, go spend the entire day in a boring school, and then only had a few hours afterward to do the things that I enjoyed doing. As early as kindergarten, it struck me as absurd: if the point of life is to be happy, as everyone constantly insisted to me, then why did I have to go to school?

We were poor—dirt poor, as you might expect, given the heavy drug usage. Although both parents were managers at various fast food restaurants at times, my mother eventually quit working altogether and got onto disability for her migraines. It was with tremendous excitement that we were approved for food stamps, and we waited for weeks with palpable eagerness in the air, though I had no idea what it even meant. There are two times that I distinctly recall the entire family waiting anxiously for something to happen, and the anticipation was identical on both occasions; we waited for food stamps and we waited for our cable to be activated with the same sense of impending thrill, as did I, even though I had no understanding of what either meant.

Getting approved for food stamps felt like having a birthday, and so did the cable company finally coming out, after weeks of waiting, to connect our cable television. While I understood that having cable meant that we would have Nickelodeon, there was no way that I understood the concept of food stamps, so my excitement was surely nothing more than a mirror of my parents’ own eager anticipations. It was just months after this that I began school, and just months later that mom became convinced that dad was not really working, and that he was just disappearing while he was supposed to be at work.

It was a schoolday when it happened, because we were supposed to be in class, but mom kept us at home. My much older brother, my slightly older sister, and I were told that we were leaving dad, and I’m sure I handled that as well as any six year old child would, which is to say with naked emotion untempered by the jaded self-control we are taught to exercise in later years. I didn’t understand what was going on, but I was devastated nonetheless. First, the life I had come to know and love was wrecked by having to go to school, and then what little semblance of it remained was being irretrievably shattered by this upheaval. I spent the entire day in tears, as did my sister. Whatever was going on between our parents had nothing to do with us, and our lives were being cast into the hurricane because of it.

Too young to truly understand what was really going on, my primary concern was whether to leave my father “the good Nintendo” or the bad one. They both worked, but one of them was much more difficult to get working. Both my dad and I were big on video games, and so was my older brother, and even my mom and sister played occasionally. There were lots of family moments when we all took turns, and we even had one of the NES Satellite devices that allowed four controllers to be used.

I agonized over that decision far more than a six year old should, and my mom didn’t give the situation nearly as much attention as it deserved. My entire world, prior to school, consisted almost entirely of playing video games. That I even debated which one to leave was a tremendous indicator of how much I loved my father, how much I didn’t want to leave, and, above all, how poorly equipped I was to cope with the chaos I suddenly was confronting. Mom was tearing our family apart, breaking it into two pieces, and she never sat down with my sister and me to explain what was happening, to assure us that we’d still see our dad, or to promise us that it would be okay. While to some extent that’s understandable, since she had to pack and load things up, the utter failure to remember that she was literally wrecking her youngest kids’ lives is very difficult to excuse.

To make matters worse, she was cowardly about it, too, because all of this happened while my father was at work. We lived in a trailer on my grandfather’s land, and it’s very likely that my grandfather was the one who alerted my father to the moving truck that was at his home. However, seeing as my grandfather later offered to shoot my mother for my dad, I doubt he would have showed the restraint to simply inform my dad of what was happening.

Regardless, dad pulled up while we were finishing and preparing to leave. The next little bit is a blur of anger, hostility, and shouting from which I am able to pull very few details. In a flash, dad went from anger to pleading, but mom refused to listen; her mind was made up, and she cranked the car, put it into gear, and hit the gas. Dad threw himself into the side of the car and then hit the ground, fell onto his back, and then lie there in the grass. My sister and I screamed and cried—our dad had just been run over!—and mom shouted at us to stop yelling. I gazed out of the back window at my father as we drove away, and there he was, lying unmoving in the grass, and all I could think was the horrible thought, “Dad is dead.”

There in the back of the car, crying quietly, having just watched my father die from being hit by a car, I sat at the age of six years old, being shouted at by my mom to shut up because I freaked out when I saw her kill my dad.

The story goes on to explain that, obviously, my dad wasn’t dead. He just, quite pathetically, wanted my mother to think he was hurt so that she’d stop and check on him.