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Activism All Writing Family Mental Health Pride Response Thoughts Transgender

Pride Month (And Juneteenth) Reflections and Rantings

This Month, I have taken the time to write up a few different posts about different marginalized identities within the LGBTQIA+ community on my personal Facebook Account(s). I am going to aggregate them here.

I will probably add some more, as I am apt to Rant.

On Non-Binary Identities

So, had a conversation with a friend this morning that sparked these thoughts that I thought All Y’all could use.FYI: Non-Binary is an umbrella term that includes a LOT of different identities, so, if you are not sure, err on the side of caution.

Like Wil Wheaton says “Don’t be a dick.”On Pronouns and Non-Binary identities:Non-Binary is not:

1) Man-Lite or Woman-Lite

2) A third gender.

It is literally everything except for 100% woman or 100% Man, however, there can be overlap (ie people that are a non-binary trans woman or man)

3) “It,” is not an appropriate gender-neutral pronoun to use for ANY TGNC person, unless it has told you that it uses it pronouns. “It,” has been used as a slur to other and minimize us, treat us as less than, and make us feel sub-human. Just Don’t, unless that person specifically tells you that they use “It,” Pronouns.

4) Non-Binary People are not “confused,” or switching from one gender to another. There are Genderfluid people whose identity may shift, but it is a fluid thing (hence the name).

5) Just because someone is presenting more “Masculine,” or “Feminine,” that does not mean that their pronouns change, UNLESS they tell you to use different pronouns.

On Pronouns:

1) There are people that use They/Them pronouns exclusively, some use Neo-Pronouns (Ze/Zer, Ze/Zir, Fae/Faer, etc.) exclusively, some use any pronouns (except “It,” Unless explicitly told that they use “It,”), there are people that use the pronouns of their AGAB (AGAB=Assigned Gender At Birth) and others, or exclusively the pronouns of their AGAB.

2) If you do not know someone’s pronouns, They/Them pronouns are the way to go, but once you know the person’s pronouns and they are not They/Them, using They/Them is misgendering.

3) Some Non-Binary people do not use any pronouns. They use their name as their pronoun.

4) Some Non-Binary people use multiple sets of pronouns. That does not mean that you pick one and run with it and never deviate from it. If a person uses He/Him and They/Them, don’t just grab onto the He/Him and exclusively use it. When you do that, you are pushing a person that is outside of the gender binary box right back into it.

4a) This is one of the BIGGEST complaints that my Non-Binary friends bring up to me that people do. It is not just some of them, either. It is Every Single One of Them that uses multiple sets of pronouns.

5) Pronouns are not “preferred,” (same with name) for the majority of trans people. There are people that have preferred (in my experience, this is going to be more likely from a person that does not experience dysphoria, but not always). That terminology is hurtful and misleading. It gives the impression that my pronouns are optional…they are not.

If you want a more in depth overview, check out http://schsafespace.org/?page_id=132 This was written by a good friend and co-member of the Schenectady Safe Space Board, Miki Foster.

#pridemonth2021#NonBinaryGender#nonbinary#transrightsarehumanrights#Pronouns#PronounsMatter#Gender#PRotectTransKids#BlackTransLivesMatter

On non-Monosexual Identities

Rant incoming from your friendly neighborhood trans mom:

/rant on non-mono sexualities (Bigotry, erasure, and fidelity)

re: Transphobia

This is your reminder that Bisexual, Pansexual, Omnisexual, Polysexual, etc. sexualities are not inherently transphobic or enbyphobic. While some people with those sexualities may be, the sexuality itself is not transphobic. To quote the Bisexual Manifesto “Do not assume that bisexuality is binary or dougamous in nature; that we must have “two” sides or that we MUST be involved simultaneously with both genders to be fulfilled human beings. In fact, don’t assume that there are only two genders.”

While this is only Bisexuality and there are differences between the identities, this statement (written in 1990) stands for all of them. There may be bigoted people of each of these sexualities, that does not make the sexuality itself inherently bigoted.I have honestly had as much (if not more) acceptance and support from Bi/Pan/Omni/Poly/etc. people once I figured out who I was. I am in a long committed and monogamous relationship with a Bisexual woman, and some of my closest friends and staunchest supporters are bi/pan/omni/poly/etc. people.

Erasure:

Just like Non-Binary and ASpec people, bi/pan/omni/poly/etc. people get shunted to the side, minimized, and shuffled away.If a bi/pan/omni/poly/etc. person is in a straight passing relationship, their queerness is questioned, or forgotten completely. And if they are in a same-gender relationship, then people just think that they are gay/lesbian.

If I (or you) am single, my sexuality does not diminish or disappear, so a bi/pan/omni/poly/etc. person in either of hose relationships does not lose the non-mono portion of their sexuality. Also, you do not get to dictate someone else’s sexuality, period. If someone tells you they are not straight or gay, even if their relationship makes you think otherwise, believe them. They know themselves a lot better than you do.

In addition, they are not “Confused,” or “Greedy.” If you know that you are into only *gender*, or only *gender*, my saying, “Well, you haven’t tried it, so you just haven’t found the right *insert gender here* yet,” isn’t going to make you go, “Oh! You’re right! I am now sexually attracted to the gender that I have never had any attraction to before! Thanks so much for pointing that out!”

How ludicrous does that sound? How likely is that to happen? About as likely as you saying asinine crap like that to bi/pan/omni/poly/etc. people.

Fidelity:

Bi/pan/omni/poly/etc. are not inherently cheaters, despite what a lot of people like to say. My guess is they have either been cheated on by a person who was bi/pan/omni/poly/etc. in the past, or they are a cheater, and they can’t comprehend that someone who has so many options could possibly control themselves. That sounds like a you problem, not a them problem.

Also, there are Asexual Bisexual people, checkmate, dinguses.

/EndRant #Pride2021 #pridemonth #Pridemonth2021 #bisexual #pansexua #Polysexual #Omnisexual #Erasure #BisexualErasure #PansexualErasure

On Exploitation of LGBTQIA+ People

This is it, right here. Your “Acceptance,” of me or my gay as hell relationship that is to use me as your “We are inclusive, see, here’s how,” or fetishization of me is just a go the fuck away. I get a lot of messages from chasers, and that is not acceptance, that is them thinking of me as a “Tra**y,” or a “Best of both worlds,” type of situation. Just NO. Shoo. I am not your kink, (the majority of) trans women cannot, or do not want to top you, or want anything to do with you. Your feigned acceptance to use me (and people like me) as a toy and then make jokes about me or use slurs to describe me is known and will not be tolerated.

#IAmNotYourKink #transrightsarehumanrights#protecttranskids #pridemonth2021 #Pride #Pride2021 #BlackTransLivesMatter

Link to Tweet: https://twitter.com/FoxxyGl…/status/1400569751471112196…

~~~Tweet from Twitter User @FoxxyGlamKitty. Profile Picture is of a BIPOC Person with Black hair and a black shirt, with a sly smile.Tweet Reads: I dunno who needs to hear this during Pride Month but exploitation, fetishization, and objectification are not the same as acceptance and that is not what our queer elders fought for lol.

On Rainbow Capitalism

If companies really wanted to support LGBTQIA+ People, they would donate to the campaigns of local politicians that are working to get our rights restored and cemented.

Or, if they don’t have the ability to do that, they would donate to organizations like the Human Rights Campaign, The Trevor Project, or the National Center for Transgender Equality. Rounding up on all purchases and donating those from all purchases to an org or campaign during the month of June.

But they won’t. Because that is work. Putting a rainbow as their profile pictures and saying “We stand with you,” or “Love is Love,” or “Protect trans kids,” on their corporate Twitter account is about the most they are willing to do.

If you are going to buy Pride swag, support small queer artists. That way you will actually support the LGBTQIA+ community, not helping to buy another yacht for their execs.

Jeff Bezos and the Waltons don’t need another Lambo, but that gay kid that you see selling his art on Etsy, or the trans girl that makes kickass stickers could really use that to cover rent after their parents kicked them out for telling them who they were.

#ProtectTransKids #PeopleNotProfits# TransRightsAreHumanRights #NoWarButClassWar #Pride #PrideMonth #PrideMonth2021

On Trans Athletes

This is great! And by the way, the Olympics has allowed #TransAthletes to compete since 2004.How many of them have medaled, you may ask? Zero. That’s right. They have not medaled in any sport. In addition, the average trans woman (on HRT) has less testosterone than the average cis woman. I can tell you that within a couple of months of going onto HRT, my upper body strength decreased significantly.

Link Attached

On Juneteenth

Tomorrow is #Juneteenth. Yt people, put your money where your hashtags are.Send a few bucks to the Black organizers in your area, friends of yours that are Black, or Organizations that help Black people (Such as Bail funds [https://bailfunds.github.io]).Send some reparations to people that can actually use it. Tweeting and sharing #BlackLivesMatter is great and all, but are you:- Educating yourself and your yt friends and family?- Holding your racist family and friends accountable?- Showing up for your local Black community? – Going to protests (when you can)? – Not making the Black people in your life do the heavy lifting in your relationships with their emotional labour?- Doing anti-racism work on yourself so that you don’t continue to make their lives harder?- Donating when you can?- Signal Boosting your local Black orgs, organizers, and activists posts?- Sharing #BlackJoy, not just trauma and death? – Giving time, space, love, and support to your Black friends?- Not making your Black friends edit themselves because of your Whyte Fragility?- Not tone policing the Black people in your life/circles?If you aren’t doing these things, and are just sharing posts that point out the things that they know already, then, I hate to break it to you, but you are not the ally you think you are. #sorrynotsorry

——-

If you are local to the #CapitalRegionNY, give to these organizers, if you are not sure where else to send your $$$

All Of Us (https://www.facebook.com/UntitledAndFree) – (CashApp) $UntitledAndFree

CommunityAid518 – (CashApp) $CommunityAid518 –

Community Matters Inc./ QueenSimba Fox – Cashapp – $VFcommunityMatters

Mikayla Foster – (Venmo) @Mikayla-Foster11Cashapp – $MikaylaFosterr

Jamaica Miles – Paypal: paypal.me/JamaicaMilesVenmo – @Jamaica-Miles

Chandler Merrisa Hickenbottom – Venmo – @Chandler-Hickenbottom Kasey Charles – CashApp- $Kasey0510Venmo- Kasey-Charles-3

Elz Figuereo – Venmo – Lexis-Figuereo

Legacy Casanõva – Cashapp – $LegacyCasanova

Samira Sangare – Cashapp – $MiraMiraOnDaWallll

Shawn Young – CashApp – $CommunitiesFirst

#BlackLivesMatter #BlackTransLivesMatter #Reparations #powertothepeople

On A horrible “LGBT,” book

Found in one of my groups. This book is Gatekeeping, bigoted trash. DO NOT READ IT!In fact, please give it 1 star reviews on Goodreads and Amazon .The author probably means well, but trash like this does way more harm than good, especially from someone that is not a member of the LGBTQIA+ community (from her blog “a middle-aged cisgender, heteronormative, white female”). Gatekeeping from the medical community, politicians, and our own community is bad enough.

We DO NOT need to allow people that (seemingly well meaning) think they are allies, but are misinformed, and are using their voices and privilege to speak over us, and reinforce offensive tropes.I also doubt that her child was asked if it was ok to publish his deadname in a fucking book!

If she had actually asked the local LGBTQIA+ community in rural Idaho what they thought, it probably would have been shut down…if she had actually taken their experience into account.

Note: I have not read this book, but after reading that screen, I can just tell what utter garbage comes afterwards.The original caption is below (permission from OP was obtained) #transrightsarehumanrights #BlackTransLivesMatter #lgbtqcommunity #LGBTQBooks #Fail #MoreHarmThanGood

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

CW: Queerphobia and beyond

THIS BOOK IS EXTREMELY PROBLEMATIC, BEWAREI don’t even know where to begin with this steaming pile of garbage. I found this book while looking for a non-fiction book on queer issues for a book group I am in (book group focuses on social justice issues). I will admit that I did not finish this book (and as a matter of fact, I didn’t even finish reading the introduction after reading the passage in the second picture). The author starts out by talking about why she wanted to write a book: supposedly to help other parents of queer folks. After talking about her son who is gay, she starts talking about trans issues. She says that her eldest son changed his name (she notes that he is not trans), and talks about how he specifically told her that he didn’t ever want to be called [deadname] ever again. SHE THEN REFERS TO HIM AS [DEADNAME] AT LEAST A DOZEN TIMES OVER THE FOLLOWING PAGES. Not only are you deadnaming your own child, but then you PUBLISH IT IN A BOOK?!Then I read the passage in the picture below and decided to put the whole book in the recycling. I will not be donating it anywhere. The world does not need this kind of garbage.

On Pronouns

It’s literally the least you can do. Seriously. The smallest, most minute, most insignificant significant thing you can do.Using the right name and pronouns is suicide prevention. If you say you love someone, and then don’t even attempt to use their name and pronouns, you are telling them, that no, you do not love them. You love a version of them that you want them to be, and you are not helping them bu ignoring who they are.You are attempting to shove them back into a box with knives, broken glass, hydrochloric acid, and scorpions that they, against all odds, forced their way out and can finally breathe. It is violent, visceral, and an attack on their very being.I don’t care if you “Don’t agree,” you are being violent and harmful, and if they cut you off, that is why.

#DeadNamesStayDead #PronounsMatter #TransRightsAreHumanRights #BlackTransLivesMatter #ProtectTransKids

On Non-Binary People

Shoutout to my trans and non-binary siblings that are not out to anyone but themselves, that aren’t changing their name/pronouns, that aren’t medically transitioning, that don’t bind or tuck, that don’t have dysphoria, that don’t wear makup (or do), that don’t change their clothing style, and/or are not sure what their gender is yet.Y’all are valid, your identity is worthy of respect, and you are trans enough. Your identity is not dependent on ANY of that crap.

#transrightsarehumanrights #BlackTransLivesMatter #nonbinarygender #TransEnough

On Trans Identities

Trans is short for Transgender, not Transition. Period.

If you change your name, if you change your pronouns, if you get surger(y)(ies), if you change how you dress, if you go onto HRT, if you wear makeup (or stop), if you bind, if you cut your hair (or grow it out), if you have dysphoria, you are trans enough.If you do/experience some of that, or none of it, you are trans enough. Presentation and medically transitioning are not pre-requisites for being trans, or being trans enough.

Truscum/TransMedicalists can get lost.

On Homophobic and Transphobic Family

Yes, I am an educator, an activist, and an organizer.

No, I do not have to put myself in a position to be hurt.

I have family and old friends that I will not put myself in more than a cursory connection with, because their beliefs and opinions are toxic for me and my mental health.

It doesn’t mean that I don’t love them, want the best for them, and want them to be happy. It just means that their behavior, words, and actions are painful, detrimental, and harmful to me, so I limit my time and contact with them.

I wish them no ill will, but they want to force me back into a box that did a LOT of harm to me and almost killed me, more than once. That is not ok, and I will not put myself in that place anymore.I minimized, quieted myself, hid, and stayed silent for far too long. I will not do it anymore.

I am human.

I am a woman.

I am trans.

I am queer.

I am gay.

I am proud.

#transvisibility #TransRightsAreHumanRights #beyourmostauthenticselfeveryday #BlackTransLivesMatter #ProtectTransKids #Pride #PricdeMonth2021 #Pride2021 #PrideOn #PrideMonth

On White Privilege in Queer Spaces

100%

As a yt, (mostly) able-bodied trans woman I have more privilege than any of my BIPOC LGBTQIA+ friends, family, and comrades.If I ignore that, or don’t use it to push anti-racism in queer spaces, I am just as bad as the people that make spaces unsafe and unwelcoming for them.

Be Better.

Do Better. #BlackTransLivesMatter #BlackLivesMatter#Pride #Pride2021 #pridemonth #pridemonth2021 #ProtectTransKids

On Representation and Rainbow Capitalism

This. The only “representation,” I had in media were horrible homophobic and transphobic jokes and Chandler’s parent (from what I remember, it was never made clear if trans or gay, but either way, super cringe).

This is one of the many reasons that it took me so long to figure out my identity, and it could have killed me. Being able to see LGBTQIA+ people (or knowing that anything besides for L and G existed) growing up would have given me some hope and maybe allowed me to go through a little less pain and suffering.

On The Closet and Coming Out

Remember that the joy we show this Pride season is for us making it out of the closet alive, but it is also to show those who can’t come out (for whatever reason) that we are here, we love them, and they are valid, even if they have only come out to themselves.

Not everyone can come out and be safe. There are many places in the world where being an out LGBTQIA+ person is literally punishable by death.

#Pride2021 #pridemonth2021 #pride

On Zaya Wade

I have a serious question, seriously, Kimmy Vanillabean.

What in the actual fuck is wrong with you?

This is Dwayne’s Daughter. HER name is Zaya. Your transphobia is showing.

Trans people exist, have existed, and will exist as long as humans do. Science, biology, and actual lived experience show us that we are not lying about who we are. You choosing to ignore that is just bigotry, plain and simple.I hope to whatever god you pray to that you never have children, if them being LGBTQIA+ is a reason for you not to love them unconditionally. If you can’t deal with that, then you should just never have children. Kids are not your property or mini-me’s, they are people, and some of them are going to be gay, bi, ace, non-binary, or trans.

Get fucked.

Avoiding the comments on this toxic AF post is self-care.

#protecttranskids #zayawade

Categories
All Writing Family Prose Response Thoughts Transgender

What may be…

So, I have some family that is resistant to using my pronouns and calling me Justice; instead using my birth name and pronouns.

While most of you will find it hard to believe that I have a hard (almost impossible) time speaking up when they are misgendering me and deadnaming me, what with how outspoken, visible, and how much of an advocate I am for myself and others…this is one of the hardest things that I have come up against.

Why, you may ask?

Simply put, when my family is doing this, it brings me right back to that moment when I was 3 or 4 and first wore a dress. No, not the euphoria I felt at finally feeling comfortable in my own skin, but my siblings laughing at their perception of it being so ridiculous. It told me IMMEDIATELY that me going outside of gender norms was wrong, ludicrous, and something to be mocked.

I doubt that my siblings (3 and 6 years older than me, respectively)  thought much about it, have since, or that it affected them in the slightest. They may not even remember it. Why should they? It wasn’t a crucial moment for them and their development (or lack thereof) like it was for me.

But what it did was tell me that going outside of predetermined gender roles and identity would mean that I would be mocked, laughed at, and ridiculed. In addition, that even daring to experiment with it with anyone besides myself in the area would lead to feelings of worthlessness, so why even try.

It told the budding, confused, and vulnerable little girl inside that she was broken, wrong, and shouldn’t exist, and if she dared to, she would be faced with controversy and pain. So, why even bother trying?

I took that memory (and a lot of others that may have made me face my gender identity sooner) and buried it for a long time. It is only in the last few months that I even remembered that this occurred. What it tells me is that I KNEW who I was at 4 years old, and was told that it was wrong and I had to hide it in order to be accepted in my family and in the world at large.

I grew up in a small, rural, and  conservative farming community. I met my first gay person at 14 years old (knew him prior to this, but that was when he came out to me), but I didn’t know that Trans people even existed until I was well into my 20s.

Had I been allowed to experiment with my gender growing up, I am fairly certain of a couple of things, because of reflections on my life and some of the things that my family has said and done since I came out to them.

First, that I might not gone through the pain and trauma that I put myself through trying to bury who I was.

Second, that my family would not have known what to do, and might have done some hurtful things out of love to “prove,” that I was not trans, and that I was simply confused.

I am a trans woman today, as much as I was a trans girl on that day so many years ago. I simply finally was in enough existential, emotional, and spiritual pain to finally allow myself to look at myself, in a way that I was immediately told was wrong.

So, when my family doesn’t use my name and pronouns, it tells me a couple of things.

That I am not worthy of their respect or love unless I am the person that they see me as. It also tells me that they don’t truly see or hear me, just like they didn’t see me that day so many years ago.

I may never have the strength to tell them that enough is enough, and if they negate my identity and existence any longer, they won’t have the privilege of having me in their lives, but that breaking point is getting closer and closer every time they call me he and my deadname.

I don’t want to have to do that, but every time I hear it, that moment gets closer and closer, and harder and harder not to make a reality.

I get that they are having to come to terms with me being their daughter and sister, where before (as far as they knew), I was their son and brother…but I can only take so much more refusal to even try.

I hope that this is simply a bad chapter in my story, that I can look back on when reflecting about how things were, but I truly don’t know what the resolution of this will be.

Pensively,

– Justice Faye Dazzle
(She/Her/Hers)

Categories
All Writing Family Mental Health Prose Response Thoughts Transgender

A Boy Shaped Costume

So, I was asked a few different questions about my experience as a Trans Woman. I am going to try to answer one (or more, but let’s be honest, I am verbose, so…) of them every day until I am through them.

The first one is: Do you feel like you were socialized differently from boys? Differently for girls?

—-

Prefacing this with, this is only my experience, I can’t speak for all trans women, as their experiences definitely don’t all align with mine, and they have their own stories and experiences.

Note: When I say that I was told or taught something about what being a boy/man was, it was not necessarily someone telling me that, it could have been movies, tv, books, watching others, etc.

One of the talking points that is used about trans people is that they were “Socialized AGAB.” That is true, in part, but there is so much more to that narrative.

What it leaves out is what was going on in my head in all of my interactions with both cisgender males and cisgender females. I was expected to have male friends, because I was told I was male, I didn’t know any different, and couldn’t put into words how I felt for so long. I wasn’t included in “girls’ activities,” and was given “boys’ toys.”

I didn’t have the words for what I was feeling, and told myself for decades that “Everyone must think and feel like this.” I didn’t know how wrong that was.

I was expected to be stronger, faster, more competitive, more aggressive, etc. than my sisters. I was excluded from their activities and time with my parents, and the time I had with them was different than my sisters. I was actively shut out from play time with dolls, etc. because it wasn’t for me.

The first time I felt gender euphoria, I was about 4 years old. I played dressup with my sisters, and I picked a dress and a floppy hat. I was ecstatic! I had no idea what I was feeling at the time, but, looking back, it was the first time that I felt comfortable and at home in my own body.

That should have been a beautiful experience, but instead, I was made fun of by my sisters. I don’t think they knew what they were doing, or the hurt that caused, but it told me immediately that what I felt was wrong and shameful. To my recollection, I never picked the dresses again.

I was told I had to be friends with boys, so I was. I was told I should be good at sports, so I worked to do so, even though I was playing with boys who were more aggressive, competitive, etc. than I was naturally. Rather than be left behind and looked at as being “girly, or weak,” I became as aggressive and competitive as I possibly could. I got angry when I messed up, I took up “masculine,” hobbies. For example, I taught myself how to throw axes when I was about 15.

If I was going to be treated like a boy, even though I didn’t feel comfortable with that and couldn’t express how I felt, I was going to be the best boy I could be. That may be why my family and oldest friends are so confused about me being a trans woman. I played the part of an average boy and man for as long as I could…and it almost broke me.

Spending time with Men always led me to thinking things like:

– Why are they talking about women like that?
– Should I tell their Partner/Spouse?
– No, don’t do that, then they will all hate you and not trust you.
– This must be what they are all thinking, and they just say these things to fit in.
– But if they all think like this, then why are they saying these things?
– MUST CHANGE STREAM OF CONSCIOUSNESS! DO SOMETHING DIFFERENT…NOW!
– ABORT! ABORT! ABORT!

I was always having thoughts like that, and having to rationalize them away, to prevent looking at my gender.

I couldn’t have the types of pjysical relationships with girls and women that they could have with one another. Not in a sexual way, but sleep overs, pecks on the cheek, platonic cuddling, sitting on each other’s laps, telling each other how much they loved each other in a truly heartfelt and intimate manner, and so many other things. This tainted my ability to have those truly special relationships that girls and women have with each other.

I was taught that boys should chase after girls, and that we could be friends, but that there was always the ulterior motive of a romantic encounter, and if that didn’t happen, you were “friend zoned.” This put an unhealthy spin on every relationship that I had with girls and women that I was not related to for my entire life. I would have a beautiful friendship with a cisgender woman, and instead of being able to appreciate it and nurture it, I would ruin it by telling them that I had feelings for them. I didn’t know the difference between sisterly love and lust/romantic love. When they didn’t feel the same way (turns out I didn’t, either) it inevitably broke the bond in an almost irreparable way. I lost so many beautiful friendships with girls and women because I couldn’t differentiate between longing and sisterly love.

In fact, the situation that made me realize all of this was not that long ago. My best friend (Let’s call her K) and I have that kind of intimate friendship that women can have with each other, and because of the lessons that I have been taught and had been reinforced my entire life, I couldn’t recognize it for what it is. I ended up telling her how I thought that I felt, namely, that I was in love with her in a romantic way. She listened and then told me that she didn’t feel the same way…exactly like so many other girls and women before (rough count, probably around 40 or 50 throughout my life)…but unlike the others, we didn’t let it drive us apart.

The moment I realized that I was wrong, and had been wrong in so many other situations was when she met an amazing man that is a perfect match for her. I WAS ECSTATIC FOR HER! Immediately, unequivocally, and completely.

I wasn’t jealous, angry at this guy, figuting out ways to manipulate things that he did or said to “prove,” to her that he was wrong for her, etc. This was completely different than all of these other times, and I had a revelation. I didn’t love her…not in the way that I thought, at least.

Yes, I love her in a deep, intimate, and real way, but not romantically, not even a little. I love her the way that women do with their soul sisters.

MIND BLOWN.

So, in conclusion, yes, I was socialized as a boy/man, and differently with girls, but it didn’t matter, because I wasn’t a boy hanging out with boys and a boy hanging out with girls, I was a girl the whole time…even though I couldn’t accept it, understand it, or do anything about it for a very long time.

Pensively,

-Justice Faye Dazzle

Categories
All Writing Family Mental Health Politics Prose Response Suicide Thoughts Transgender

I am a Trans Woman, and this is why

So, a friend asked me today why I identify as a trans woman instead of as just a woman, because it seems like I am separating/sub-categorizing  myself. I could have just commented, but instead, I decided to write it out thoughtfully. There are many reasons, and it is a choice I made, and make on a daily basis to continue.

Preface: This is only my experience and opinion. I do not speak for every trans person that identifies this way, simply for myself.

That being said, here goes:

Trans is an adjective, like tall or smelly. It is a descriptor of the kind of woman I am. I use Trans Woman as my descriptor/identity for a multitude of reasons. They are many and varied. I will attempt to list them all out in the best way that I can.

First, because I don’t have the same experiences as an AFAB (Assigned Female at Birth) Woman, it feels like I am taking something away from myself and my identity if I drop the Trans. Also, because I didn’t have those experiences, I feel more like I am an awkward 13-16 year old girl in a 34 year old’s body.

I didn’t get to experiment with makeup, dish and giggle with the girls about the stupid things the boys did that day, grow into my body in the way that they did, etc. I also didn’t have to worry about someone assaulting me, following me home, having my keys in my hand walking across the parking lot, not going certain places after dark, having a code word with friends when going out, etc. These are all things that separate my experience from an AFAB women’s.

I also don’t feel that I am fully worth of the “title,” of just woman. Most of the strongest people (and most of my heroes) are women who have been through uninimaginable horrors and trauma that were inflicted upon them by people that have bodies that are like mine (at least until I started on HRT [Hormone Replacement Therapy]).

Even though I never did those things, or ever even related to Men’s ways of thinking or acting, I have the same body, and got the same treatment  that they did for my entire life up until not that long ago. It feels like I am taking something away from their experiences and struggles if I claim the identity of Woman.

In addition, I had to work so hard and do so much soul searching, deal with the pain that I did, make myself a limited version of myself, and finally get to a point of breaking out of my cute boy shaped costume in order to get to this moment.

That is not the experience that a cisgender woman had or ever will have. That separates us in a way that I cannot ever traverse (no matter how much I wish I could sometimes). I am a woman forged in fire, pain, loss, struggles, and rebirth in a way that a non-trans woman will ever experience. There is nothing wrong with that, it’s just the fact of the matter.

Also, because I am strong enough. I don’t say that out of ego, I have had a rough life, and a lot of people would not have survived to get to this point. I put myself in a lot of dangerous situations that should have killed me because of the pain I was in. Most people have 1 or 2 situations that they could or should have died…I can’t even count them. They probably number in the hundreds. I beat my body up for years in a multitude of ways, actively had a death wish for about 5 years, acted without thinking because I just didn’t care whenther I lived or died, told people to shoot me or stab me (they didn’t), spent time with severely unhinged people that had done serious time for intense violent crimes that they had no remorse over, and many other dangerous situations that your average person wouldn’t have ever thought about putting themself in, let alone actievely sought them out. I was also actively suicidal for significant periods of time. I never did anything about it, because I couldn’t force myself to do it, but there were months where I thought about killing myself every day.

So, I am strong enough to take it. Anything that bigots and transphobes  care to throw at me is nothing to compare to what I put myself through.

I do this, and am as visible as I am for many reasons.

First, for every person that doesn’t know a trans person and judges them, makes fun of them, laughs at them, etc. Maybe if they see me or talk to me, I can change their mind.

Secondly, for the trans people that have to deal with bigots and transphobes in every aspect of their life. If they can see me living my life 100% authentically, maybe it gives them the strength to hold on long enough to live their lives without fear and get out of the oppressive  situations that they are in currently.

Thirdly, because of white privilege. Trans people as a whole are one of the most victimized, brutalized, and oppressed people in the world, second only to Trans People of color. Because of the color of my skin, I can say things, do things, and be safe in situations that my siblings cannot. If I were to ignore that, I would be willfully ignorant, and I don’t know if I could ever forgive myself for doing that.

Lastly, for trans kids. I do what I do so that they will live long enough to become beautiful, strong, and vibrant Trans adults. Full fucking stop.

I have no bones about knowing that me being as visible, outspoken, proud, and happy as I am angers some people, and some of them may wish me harm, pain, and death. That’s fine. I don’t like it, don’t accept it, and will not let it stop me from living my most authentic life.

If one trans person lives to die of old age, and not murder or suicide, because of my actions and visibilty, then it is 1,000,000,000% worth it.

I am also, not blind to the fact that I may be the victim of a transphobic  hate crime because of my visibility, outspokeness, authenticity, words, and actions. I may be killed or brutalized  at some point. I have made my peace with that.

One of my (blood) siblings said that they (not their pronouns, but to protect their anonymity, I am using gender neutral pronouns) were worried I would die within 5 years. Honestly, when I read that message, I thought to myself, 5 years of finally living as myself and being happy? Instead of the 30+ years of pain and suffering that I had prior?

There is no comparison to my life today to what it was even 5 years ago, and I would die peacefully knowing who I am.

So, to my friend, and anyone who read this far, those are the reasons that I identify as a trans woman instead of a woman.

Lovingly,

– Justice Faye Dazzle

Categories
All Writing Family Mental Health Prose Random Religion Response Thoughts Transgender

Reflections on Easter

Random thought that I had yesterday.

I am going to preface this with, not attacking anyone, just something that I have been reflecting on and made me think. I also could be just overthinking this, as I am apt to do at times, so please let know your thoughts.

If however, you see this as an attack and feel the need to defend your religion, you can just go ahead and keep scrolling, that is not my intent, I am simply putting some of my thoughts into words to open debate and make people think. I am not saying any belief system is more right than another, in fact, my belief is that all religious and spiritual beliefs are partly right (and partly wrong, because they were created by humans, who are flawed) and are just ways that resonate more with different people.

If you feel that strongly about it, maybe that is something you should look at, and if you want to go on the defensive, maybe you should just stop reading my writing, as an attack is not what I am doing, and I am not going to sit and try to defend things that are simply observations.

That being said, here is what I have been reflecting on over the last 24 hours or so:

It is amazing how much the Christian mindset pervades our country. I am not Christian, haven’t been in a long time, but I got so many “Happy Easter,” greetings yesterday (phone calls, texts, etc.), including a Snapchat message from the developers…

Nothing wrong with that, except as a person who doesn’t subscribe to these beliefs, it is pushed so hard, especially when compared to other belief systems and their (not)doing the same thing.

I didn’t know what to say/respond to these messages. You too seems wrong, as I don’t want to enforce the idea that it is fine and I believe the same thing that they do. I said (to my mom when we talked on the phone) that it isn’t a holiday for me, so I didn’t have a special meal or anything planned; it seemed as if she was shocked/thrown when I said that, I think partly because I grew up in that belief system, and partly because she doesn’t see how I could walk away from it, because it has helped her so much and is so tied to a part of her identity.

In comparison, I have a LOT of Jewish friends…and none of them sent me a message wishing me a happy Passover (even though the start was only a few days ago)…but I can think of at least 10 people who reached out to me to wish me a happy Easter.

For a country that says it is ok to be whatever you want, it is amazing how the subliminal message that is being pushed is that if you are non-Christian, you are outside of the norm, and it is ok to push those beliefs onto others, even if just in a “Happy whatever,” way.

A related thought is the “War on Christmas.” Spoiler alert, people that celebrate other holidays aren’t trying to take away your ability to celebrate one of your religion’s major holidays.

There are holidays for almost every major (and some minor) religions in December and January, and saying happy holidays is literally the most accurate way to greet people, especially if you don’t know their beliefs, which, if you are honest with yourself, it is a pretty good bet that you don’t know what religious belief all of the people that you interact with in a 6 week period are practitioners of.

Personally, I know Pagans, Hindus, Buddhists, Muslims, Satanists, Jews, Taoists, and more, so me saying “Merry Christmas,” especially when it isn’t something that I follow or agree with (for me only), and have had such a tumultuous relationship with the religion I was raised in, (in a sense) negates the experiences and beliefs of all of those people.

It personally makes me feel uncomfortable saying Christian phrases, for many reasons. If I do, am I open to hearing Happy whatever, or May X bless you, or am I implicitly closing the door and making others either pretend like I didn’t say anything, or letting them know that I think that their beliefs are not as valuable as mine?

It also echoes the (sometimes) unspoken belief that if you do not fit in the White, Cisgender, and straight package there is something wrong/broken/different/other about you, and we need to make sure that you know this…incessantly, and offensively. Add Judeo-Christian to that list, and the only thing on that list that I am is White, so there is always going to be something about me that offends someone’s delicate sensitivites.

Just some food for thought.

Categories
All Writing Family Prose Random Response Thoughts Transgender

Mutterings and Musings of a Merry Maiden

The last 18 months have been some of the hardest, but most rewarding of my life. I realized a lot of things about myself and the world about me. Not just that I am a Bisexual Transgender Woman, that is probably the biggest one, but many other things as well.

In all of the self reflection, I was able to come to a better understanding of who I am as a person, not sexuality, gender, name, or otherwise, but the unique things about me, that make me me.

When I started questioning my gender identity, it was a series of existential crises on top of existential crises. This may not be the case for all Trans/enby/GnC folx, but it certainly was for me. I didn’t know what was real about me and what I had put up to prevent myself from looking “feminine,” not because of what others would think, but so I could keep those thoughts at bay. Why did I act in certain ways? Was it because I actually felt that way/liked those things/etc? Or was it yet another mask that I had put on to protect myself and my ego, and not wanting to face the truth about myself?

It’s something you’re born with, and you realize that you’re trapped in the wrong body. It’s not like one day you’re like, ‘I want to be transgender!’

Jazz Jennings

I had to categorically look at almost everything in my life, childhood, relationships (romantic, friendships, family, etc.), career choices, hobbies, political beliefs, music, movies, likes, dislikes, and on, and on, and on. The reason that I did this was because I didn’t know who I truly was, and what was part of my pseudo-self.

I also didn’t know that I had gender dysphoria, until my therapist read me the DSM definition, and I hit all of the criterion. I have seen all of the memes and Tumblr posts that you all have (maybe a few more because, well…) and I thought that I had to hate my body, want to mutilate myself, kill myself, etc. in order for me to have dysphoria.

This is not necessarily the case!

What my therapist told me is that dysphoria, like gender (and sexuality, politics, biological sex [Don’t believe me, check out the science], etc.) exists along a spectrum. The reason that the things that I saw was because of the shock value and that those are the extremes. Extremes grab peoples’ attention, get remembered, and get clicks/read/views. The average is just that, average, and it doesn’t catch attention.

What made it easier for me to start questioning everything was having out and proud Trans/enby/GnC people in my circle, so I could talk to them about their experience. I spoke to a friend and former co-worker who is genderfluid, and what she/they told me about her experience rang true in certain aspects, but there were other things that didn’t jive with me. There were things that I could relate to, and things I couldn’t. But it made me realize that there was definitely something there. If I had spoken to her and nothing made sense or sounded familiar to how I have felt, then I would have known (hopefully) that I was cisgender. What happened instead was similar to Alice. Once she went down the rabbit hole, there was no going back.

Once I realized that there was something there, I couldn’t ignore it/hide from it anymore. I started looking at everything I had thought about, and explained away with a “Everyone thinks like this sometimes,” which is certainly not the case. Not everyone imagines that they will wake up one day and be the opposite sex, or plays every available character in games that is the opposite sex and is annoyed when there is no option for it, and 1000s of other little things that are easy to explain away at the time.

I existed in what one of my friends accurately described as “Gender Purgatory,” for probably about 9 months. I didn’t know if I was trans, enby, or just a guy that enjoyed wearing women’s clothing…or something in between. I described myself as “Whatever the fuck I am,” for awhile. It was very confusing, and disheartening at times. I didn’t know if I wanted to change my name, pronouns, go onto hormones, etc. I talked to probably about 2 dozen different peeps with similar experiences (mostly trans women, but some questioning, some trans men, etc.) over that time, did a LOT of research, introspection, digging in therapy, refection on my life, talking to close friends, etc.

I tried using They/Them pronouns, but it didn’t feel right, just like my birth name and male pronouns no longer felt like me anymore, I stopped using my birth name and used Gael for a bit (at least online and with my therapist), but that didn’t seem right, either, and didn’t feel like me, so I never asked anyone to use it. I started introducing/using a nickname that I have had for a long time, which didn’t feel right, but it didn’t feel as wrong as my birth name…it at least wasn’t overtly male, like my birth name is.

I wasn’t truly happy or content for most of my life, but now that I have realized that I was inside a man shaped shell and am doing what I am to move towards and grow into the woman inside, I can truthfully say that I am happier and more in touch with myself than I have ever been. 

This lasted until September 11th, 2019. That’s when I found my name, and realized that I was definitely a trans woman. I had given up researching names and was just processing a bunch of stuff, letting it happen how it would. I was anxious all of the time, not sure what direction to go in, lost and confused.

Don’t get me wrong, I was happier than I had ever been, felt more like myself than I ever had, and leaned on some people and was a looot more open about my feelings than I ever had been in my life.

That was something that directly contributed to the end of the relationship that ended right before I started to look at my identity. I wasn’t able to be emotionally vulnerable, partly because I couldn’t identify what I was feeling (because I had been burying it for so long), partly because I wouldn’t allow myself to try (unconsciously, that is) because if I did, then the mask would start to unravel, and partly because I was in stasis.

I could only grow so much…even though I did a LOT of work on myself over the last decade, but I had hit a wall, and it was like I was in a world of greyscale, I knew that colour existed (Note: I grew up near the Canadien border, so I spell some things that way, it is not wrong, just different, and my preference) but I couldn’t see it, and I had gotten used to the world without it, and was resigned to my reality, it just was.

This is not to say that I wasn’t ecstatic or melancholy sometimes, but the majority of the time, I was just kind of bleh.

I had trained myself how not to let my emotions run over, and the longer I did it, the harder it was for me to feel anything outside of a pre-determined scale…and the longer I did that, the smaller the scale got.

Not that I didn’t feel emotions, in fact, I felt (and feel) them very intensely, but to protect myself from digging deeper, I disciplined myself on “moving” my reactions from an emotional one to a logical one. I did this (I thought) as a healthy way to avoid boiling over, when in fact, the reality of the situation was that this was a coping mechanism to keep my identity locked away, so I could be ok with being a straight cisgender male…even though none of that was accurate.

I grew up in an Irish Catholic household, was homeschooled, have mental health issues (anxiety and AD/HD), have an overactive imagination, and am fairly intelligent, couple that all together, and I ended up with a lot of guilt and shame about being outside of the norm. That would have been fine, and I probably could have kept it together and lived a semi-normal life, but then when I was 14 or 15 a friend (Let’s call him M…one of the kindest souls I have ever met) came out to me as gay.

This didn’t change my opinion of him, in fact, it was a pivotal point in my life. What it did do, was made me seriously question the Catholic church (which I already had misgivings about and it was all my family could do to get me to go to Mass), and this loving God that said that M. was not as good as them, not as worthy of love, because of something that he couldn’t control. That, to put it bluntly, was absolutely fucked in the head, in my opinion.

The second thing it did, was make me a staunch ally of LGBT people…even though I didn’t know that that (Either the term Ally, or the LGBT community) was a thing for quite a few years. I remember having (I tell myself hundreds, but it was probably closer to) dozens of arguments with family members. I call them arguments, because, there was no chance that either side was going to give on their position. I believed that they were wrong, and any God that was loving and didn’t make mistakes wouldn’t forsake and condemn his children for being how he made them, and they followed the Bible and the teachings of the Church, which was (in my perception), that it was ok to be gay, just don’t ever act upon it, because that’s a sin.

Fast forward to the recent past.

I was at work, at my new job (which I LOVE!), taking care of cleaning up a database of users (professional nerd here) which I had been working on every day for about 3 weeks, when I saw my name. 2 seconds earlier, if you had asked me my name, I wouldn’t have known what to respond, but as soon as I saw it, it was like I could finally breathe. Being the logical, analytical person that I am, I researched similar names, but nothing made me quite so peaceful, content, and at home as Justice did.

I knew two things that day. I knew my name, and I knew that I was a Transgender Woman.

I felt so much more at home in my own body than I had my entire life. Honestly, I couldn’t tell you most of my life that I didn’t feel at home in my own body, something just felt off. I couldn’t put words to it, I just felt wrong, not able to put a name to it, and wouldn’t allow myself to face it for a very long time.

I don’t know if this was because of societal pressure, family expectations, self-imposed misogyny, a combination of these, or something else entirely.

After I found my name, I continued talking to people who had been on/were on HRT. I had done a lot of research/talking to people before this, but because of the unknowns and confusion, it was simply information gathering before this point. Now, I knew that I was a transgender woman, so it was real, not a what-if situation.

I did a ton of contemplation about what this would mean for my life: health, people around me, friendships, romantic relationships, family, my career/co-workers, etc. This was all well and good, but one of the things that I have done my entire life was analyze and think my way away from my emotions to avoid facing the truth about myself, and I knew that this was something that I needed to do to feel like me. I had finally ripped the mask off and thrown it away, and I had gotten to a place that I was ok with being me.

I was done limiting, minimizing, and changing who I was to please anyone else or the self imposed limits that I had placed on myself. If I lost every relationship in my life and had to go it alone, then at least I would be ok with that person, like I never had been before. Knowing myself and being true to myself was worth the risk.

About this same time, I came out to my mom. She didn’t approve, understand, or get it. I had told her, one of my sisters, and my dad not that long before that I was questioning my gender identity and had been dressing more feminine, so this wasn’t as huge a thing as it could have been.

I told her that I am a trans woman, I am using female pronouns, going by Justice everywhere except work, and I am probably (had made my initial appontment) going to start HRT soon. She had some things to say which were not the easiest to hear, but were how she felt. I assumed that she was going to tell my dad (this will become important later), and we both went our separate ways.

One of the saving graces that I had through this whole process was having a very strong chosen family around me, both cis and trans people. The cis women in my life helped me with makeup, clothes, giving me a safe space to be myself, and so many other things.

This is such a different experience than so many trans people have, and I know that it is how I was able to get through this whole process without a major breakdown, especially since for the majority of this, my manager at my job was a narcissistic gaslighter who emotionally and psychologically abused me. Just that alone could have sent me off the deep end had I not had the tribe I did, let alone the confusion and unknowns of my identity crisis.

I have so many examples of this, but my rock through this was my bestie (Let’s call her K). She literally saved my sanity, kept me from falling apart too many times to fathom, and helped me nurture the Woman inside. She gave me a safe place to explore and took me as I was at the time. She came with me the first time I went shopping for women’s clothing, which is not something that I could have done alone at the time; pushed me to be true to myself and explore what kind of woman I was, gave me no judgement, just was my biggest cheerleader and a great example and stood on the sidelines shouting encouragement.


She helped me become the woman that I am today, and I cannot even begin to thank her for her love and support.


In early November, I realized that there was not a Pride center in my city. There is one in the next city over, but not one here. The first thought I had was why? The second was, what if I hadn’t had the people and support that I do/did? What if I was 15 going through this? What would I do?

Directly after that, it was, ok Bitch, time to get to work.

I reached out to friends of mine in my city that are in the LGBT community, to see if they would be interested in helping, and a few of them were 100% behind it. We are still in the beginning stages, but we have a solid core group of people that are movers and shakers and are motivated to get this going. We need a safe place for LGBT people to go to be themselves. We are in the process of planning our first event, and doing our initial outreach.

About this time, I decided that it was time to come out at work. I was living as Justice everywhere except work, and I felt like I was a fake, not being true to myself.

However, I wanted to make sure that I would be safe, so I reached out to my LGBT team member of my local union (Proud member here!), to find out what protections I would have, and what the process would look like. She is amazing! Such a great help.

I then talked to my manager…which was much easier than I thought it would be. He had already figured it out months before. Apparently I didn’t hide it as well as I thought. He is concerned with my skillset and ability to do the job, not with my gender. He talked to the head of HR for me so that they knew what was going on, so if anyone made it an issue, I would be protected.

I then had a call with both my manager and the head of HR about potentially changing my name/pronouns at work. Unfortunately, because of the nature of my job, there could be things that might be audited, so I need to wait until I legally change my name, which is giving me impetus to do that sooner rather than later.

During this time, I started coming out to my family. They were seemingly supportive.

At Thanksgiving I finished coming out to my siblings, which went semi well…I thought. My mom, however, told me flat out that I would always be my birth name and her son to her, which felt very hurtful, and like I was not being heard.

It feels like there is this huge double standard in my family. I mean, I know that I have caused a lot of hurt because of some of my past actions, but I have spent the past decade trying to mend them. It seems like it is ok to judge me and comment on my life, but I have to just accept the things that are broken in my family, and the choices/beliefs that my family has as accurate/acceptable. If I go against the grain…which is literally everything that makes me who I am, then it is going to be analyzed and debated to death, or ignored.

About a week after that, my mom sent a passive aggressive message to our family group chat (using my birth name and male pronouns) which rocked me, as she referenced the rest of the family being a mess. I reached out to my siblings to get clarity, and they all were wrecks emotionally.

They said things which showed me how much I have grown emotionally, as I know that someone’s feelings about what someone doing in their life (which do not directly effect them) is not the other person’s fault. I can’t make them feel something, that is on them and their beliefs/issues. I responded in a kind way, but saying, essentially, that It is my life and I am not going to change to spare their feelings, that they need to fix themselves, I can’t do that for them.

I then decided that because of how toxic some of the things that they were saying, that it was better for me to not spend the holidays with them. I needed to put up healthy boundaries to take care of me.

This caused my oldest sister to send me a bunch of poison. The things she said attacked my character, my morals, and were some of the most hurtful things that have ever been sent to me, period. Was she not my sister, I would have responded nastily and told her to never speak to me again. The things that she said are just not ok.

That just cemented my decision to not spend holidays with them, because she was going to be there, and I do not want to see her while she is saying things like that. She also outed me to one of my best friends from growing up, which, due to the nature of her job, and her contact with people in the LGBT community, she should know that you don’t do that. Especially, since, my suspicion was so that he could convince me to change my life and put the cute boy costume back on.

Not gonna happen. They may not like it, understand it, approve of it, or have made the same decision if they were in my shoes, but this is who I am.

One really good thing that came out of this shitstorm was that I am learning how to set healthy boundaries with my family.


While this is not everything that has happened to me over the last 18 months or so, it is a pretty good synopsis, and what I feel I needed to say.

I am trans, I am proud, I am finally starting to love myself, I am not afraid anymore

Love, Light, and Laughter,

-Justice Dazzle