i bought a new binder that requires a S2P and now peeing is so much more trans guy than i can handle.
i bought a new binder that requires a S2P and now peeing is so much more trans guy than i can handle.
ugh the guy who came to clean the furnace misgendered me when he called to report what he found to the landlord. He doesn’t know me by any other name or know me at all, I have a ridiculous beard and face, this is going to keep happening forever
additionally my neck is breaking out in a rash and i don’t know why. cis people hives.
my mom offered to help me figure out housing? like she said she would fly up here and help me drive around. she’s never even mentioned wanting to visit before even though i have asked her several times. she has never desired to be in my space rather than me be in hers. this feels really big. also i didn’t lie to her about my christmas plans and said i wanted to spend them with my beau but still see the family for the holidays…it was a weird conversation.
Yesterday at the state fair I was trying to buy a beer with a friend and her friend, bc it is the Wisconsin State Fair and there are 9000x beer stands.
The vendor took my id, scrutinized it for 45 seconds, then asked me, “How old are you?”
I know this line of questioning bc I look young, so I answered, “25.”
Then she very loudly declared, “You don’t look like a Carolyn Elizabeth.”
I sighed, gave her the Oh God You Are Going To Make A Thing of this look, and then said, “I know, I am aware. I have a credit card with my name on it if you want to see that.”
"Hold on, I’m going to get my manager to look at it," she said.
"No, give it back to me," I said, because I was already humiliated and didn’t need another person gawking at my ID and wondering why it had the wrong name on it, but she refused to give it back to me.
Meanwhile she refused to serve my friend because she had the paper ID that Wisconsin gives you because of the REAL ID which requires them to mail you a new driver’s license when you renew.
Then the manager looked me over and looked at the ID and repeated the “You don’t look like a Carolyn” line and then finally I got my ID back and I walked away.
My friends caught up with me and the vendor had given my friend with the paper ID her beer for free because of “all the trouble she had gone through.”
i’m worried about what writing fixes in time, what it means to write about the unresolved past and future, what to do with the unsayable.
i saw eli clare this week, and in a group over lunch where i fear i took up a lot of discussion space, he talked about writing and its relationship to growing up in a rural town—how there’s no way to anonymize people or places, how your work will never even end up there. writing after being rural relies on a lack of access to hide where you are now, relies on knowing that changing means above all else leaving people you love behind—as clare put it, seeing those you love spread out in a comet trail behind you.
i think about this tumblr a lot, how it opened up so many relationships for me, how i met many people in my life who i love hard through it. certainly as many people as i love in madison. but the opening up i do here about my family and my life is predicated on the idea that my family and their peers will never read it.
i am banking on a basic privilege here: internet access. my parents have never had consistent, speedy internet services. broadband doesn’t cross the bridge that leads to our house. satellite internet is spotty and too expensive. i rely on that lack of access to interact with my networks on tumblr and elsewhere on the internet. but i can’t help but know how fucked up that is.
when i was a first year in college, i changed my myspace page to say i was a lesbian in “dickhater, ga.”* in november, my mom called me and confronted me about it. a woman at our church whose daughter was also queer had been researching her friends on her new internet connection, because her daughter had forgotten to log out of myspace before she went back to college. the fellow church member had saw that her daughter listed herself as a lesbian and that we were friends.
my mother, however, saw this reification of my lesbian identity as a rejection of my home rhetorical space that thrives on the open secret and a symptom of my newly constant internet access. after all, she had cancelled our dialup after she initially learned i had a myspace account. “i didn’t send you away to college so that you could become a lesbian,” she said coldly. “you can’t put things like that up on the internet for everyone to see.” there was a southern rural understanding of privacy incongruent with having a myspace page, much less one that says you’re lesbian. i was angrily hunched outside of walters, kicking the thick magnolia leaves that crowded the pathway like they did my uncle’s driveway. i don’t remember how i responded to my mother. i wrote a blog post about it on my myspace but i deleted my myspace profile in 2008.
at lunch this wednesday, eli clare told us about how his mother, a community college composition teacher, begged to read his work (his senior thesis? his mfa collection? i’m not sure) over and over. he told her she wouldn’t like it, that it was about his remembrance of their shared past. she scolded him and asked to read it anyway, and he sent it to her. she never responded to his work or asked to read anything else.
i feel like this is why i share so little with my parents but write so much and thus reveal so much about who i am and where i come from. if i ever told my mother how i experienced growing up in our home, i imagine her response would be the same as eli’s mother’s—silence. the few ventures i’ve made in that regard have ended that way already. what would it mean to piece together what i remember of ex-gay therapy and confront her with that? my father has such a revisionist history of who i am that i doubt my narrative would even remotely match his. the one time he recalled a common memory we shared—me being pelted with insults in the car rider line my last day of my first year of high school as i kissed my girlfriend for what would be the last time before i clambered into the passenger seat of his pick up truck—he claimed that i was intentionally trying to shame our family and sully his parenting by daring to be queer in public. he used this memory as evidence that my transness was about my incorrigible desire to challenge his parental authority.
i don’t know what ot do with this disconnect brought about by both material access and distorted memory. i just don’t know. and i feel like writing about memories like the one i just did freeze them and my parents in time, present them to a simultaneously limited and infinite audience without the chance for them to respond. something just feels fucked about that, even if their own memories and actions are equally fucked.
eli clare talked extensively about getting an mfa rather than a phd of some sort. i wonder if the same reasons, the same circumstances, and many of the same questions and problems of access are why i did the opposite. i wonder why i chose to go into a path where writing about queerness isn’t writing about my life experience as such—was it an unwillingness to open myself up to my own family, to hold them accountable and also have them hold me accountable for the choices we all made? i wonder if i will ask myself these questions for the rest of my life.
i’ve been mulling over what bothers me about how the department/union is approaching my name situation. what i think is going on that really bothers me is the assumption that i 1) should come out to my students and 2) that my students would figure out that i’m trans no matter how i sliced it.
i feel weird about wanting to control when and where i am read as trans. i also feel weird about people clocking me as trans even though i look pretty *~*~masc*~*~ now. it happens all the time—almost every day. i felt like after almost two years on t i would be different, but it isn’t.
I wrote them a few days ago. Here’s the response I just got.
First of all, I would like to personally thank you for your suggestions and thoughts on the Trans Health Initiative Program here at the Feminist Health Center. As an organization dedicated toserving our community, we take your questions and concerns very seriously and with much thought. As a direct result of your feedback there has been much discussion in regards to our services provided and the demographics we serve.
To clarify any misunderstood details,the Feminist Health Center is a gynecological clinic. Our mission statement, which can be found on our websiteat www.feministcenter.org, is to “to provide accessible, comprehensive gynecological healthcare to all who need it without judgment.” Thus, we operate and have the capacity to first and foremost meet the medical needs of those seeking gynecological services. Besides those focused programs, we are happy to meet any other needs to the best of our abilities.
Specifically regarding trans healthcare, we are proud to offer various gynecological services including lower exams, colposcopies, wellness lab work, and biopsies as well as testosterone hormone replacement therapy. This program dedicated to trans men was created 12 years ago with support from Lola Cola, partner of Robert Eads of the documentary film “Southern Comfort.” Regardless of gender identity and/or sexual identity, we are happy to provideHIV, STI/STD testing, counseling and referrals. The Trans Health Initiative is not a “partner” but rather an additional program of our Center. Because of our limited capacities of wide-range healthcare services as a gynecological clinic, we are not equipped to serve the specific medical needs of trans women, cisgendered males or estrogen hormone replacement therapy. Thus, our reasons for not offering hormone replacement therapy for trans women are because we are not currently able as a clinic to provide that type of care. However, we are more than happy to welcome any person of any gender identity and/ or sexual identity into our clinic and offer them the best support we can, including referrals to doctors and community organizations. In addition, we are equipped to assist with physician-ordered lab work for trans women who are on hormone replacement therapy.
FWHC is working to move beyond gender binaries and conflating “woman” to “person with a uterus.” As a result of your feedback we are re-evaluating and revising our website and other marketing materials to be more inclusive and more clear about who we are able to serve. At the same time, we have to walk a fine line between moving beyond biological essentialism and gender binaries and speaking the language of our clients. We have to “meet people where they are at” so that we can move forward together.
As a clinic and organization, we are dedicated to our community and having conversations tobroaden our commitment to inclusivity. Unfortunately, the issue of concern is not something that can be fixed overnight. We hope to continue down this “progressive road” with your support and suggestions. Roadblocksthat include funding and expanding our staff are issues that limit us in our scope of provided services. Rest assured, we take your concerns to heart and we are going to continue this conversation in the clinic and in the community. Thank you for your patience and time—-I apologize for the lengthy email but we highly value these concerns and hope to continue to foster this conversation with you in reaching our goals.
*I just want to note that the formatting of this email made it obvious that it was a cut-and-paste response.
these are the folks who provide t to a lot of afab folks in the atlanta-area—and really mostly in the southeast.
one reason, and i’m making a really unsupportable argument here, that they might be doing this is their really intense link to southern comfort. the older trans dude population who attends southern comfort started the robert eads health project, which i think the trans health initiative sort of grew out of. (check me if i’m wrong about any of this, please) so this attitude of not serving trans women might come from this shitty notion that i feel like is extra cultivated at southern comfort about how trans men are not as “visible” in the trans community.
the above paragraph is not to give an excuse as to why they are doing it, but to show how trans men’s quest for “visibility” in the trans “community” ultimately just fucked over trans women/amab trans people even more. blech.
i bought into the linear narrative of transition for some reason, and i’m finding that it’s so wrong for me (not necessarily for others); i’m starting to understand it in myself, rather than just seeing it in other people; starting to understand that it’s ok to have lots of layers of identity, to have my parents and grandparents see me as their (grand)daughter, however complicated that is. to have my roommate say she thinks i’m extra femme (“the gayest gay person i know”) because i like martha stewart, lace, and knitting and feel weird about it because domestic skills are so tied up in my home identity, my girl past.
i tell myself it’s ok to want to go by he/him pronouns but not being bothered by the shes and theys. or to even want that sometimes. and that reciprocally, it’s important for me to neither read people as trans or cis when i first meet them, to discreetly figure out how to pronoun them, rather than assuming one way or the other.
i don’t know what it all means for me, or really for everyone, but i’m becoming more ok with it all.
trans bodies and lives as a composition and revision of memory and time
*I saw a really good response to a question today that explored how memory is insidiously modified and revised to strengthen master narratives: The Help, for example, centers certain racist practices in the past—evokes them as a memory—without acknowledging the presence of similar racist practices in the present (such as the experience undocumented women who are domestic workers—could you make a [good] movie about that that would win an Academy Award?); this allows white people to feel better about or disavow racism.