So, today being International Women’s day, I have been thoughtful all day. Last year, I went to the local march, even though it was excruciatingly cold.
I felt like I didn’t belong, or like I was an imposter, because I didn’t grow up in a body like theirs, and because I still had the benefits of male privilege at times. I was made to feel welcome, and the relationships that I formed that day are still going strong, and have allowed me to grow and flourish in my activism work, and given me some beautiful friendships.
However, this year, despite the way some people treat me (Looking at you TERFs) and look at me, I feel more entrenched in my identity and like I deserve the identity of woman.
The sad part about that is that a lot of it is because of shared victimization by misogynists (both Men and “Gender Critical,” A-Holes, who, let’s call a spade a spade. You are just spicy misogynists, and not a feminist in any sense of the word.) and feeling like I am not enough. Not Woman enough, not pretty enough, not Feminine enough, not thin enough, not quiet enough, not submissive enough, and on and on and on and on.
That is just a lie that my gender dysphoria, my head, and the outside world with their lies and bigotry tells me. Women are loud, Women are messy, Women wear all sorts of clothes, both “Masculine,” and “Feminine,” (Spoiler Alert: Clothes don’t have a gender). Women Wear Makeup and don’t. Women Wear Jewelry and don’t. Women bear children and don’t. Women have facial hair and don’t.
I can be what the world tells me what a woman is, or I can be me…And, to be perfectly honest, being what the world tells me a woman is sounds an awful lot like who I was when I was told I was a boy and a man.
I limited myself, edited myself, and lost myself in an identity that I was told I should have because of what I looked like…even though that identity was never mine. It was always off and always felt like I was broken, even before the trauma that the world and I put myself through broke me.
“I feel thin, sort of stretched, like butter scraped over too much bread.”
Bilbo Baggins, The Lord of The Rings, JRR Tolkien
Bilbo said it right. This is how I felt all of the time when I did what you told me and was who you told me I was.
If I do the same thing as when I was hiding in my boy shaped costume, I will be in pain all of the time, my emotions will be minimized, “unjustified,” and theorized. My interests are not for me, my job is not for me (I work in STEM), I am too loud, too opinionated, much too much, too feminine, too masculine, too everything.
By your (the world’s) definition of Femininity and womanhood, I just shouldn’t exist, and by that same definition, so shouldn’t a lot of the strongest and brightest women that I know.
With All Due Respect, Fuck That
I can be me, a woman who is loud, angry, joyous, sensitive, strong, poetic, brash, hardcore, an activist, an anti-racist, an anti-ableist, a mental health advocate, a nerd, a geek, a Lesbian, an Asexual, a warrior, a princess, your strongest ally (or your worst enemy), sweet, sassy, demure, dominating, and so much more.
OR, I can be a subservient shell of a person…which is what the world, society, and politicians want me to be.
With All Due Respect, Fuck You and The Horse You Rode in On
If that is what you want from me, what do you want from your daughters, your wives, your sisters, your nieces, your aunts, your grandmothers, etc?
I suspect, the exact same thing
Women are whatever and whoever they tell you they are, and whoever they want to be. So today, of all days, I am standing up and telling you:
I am Justice, I am a Woman, I am Trans, I am Bold, I am Loud, I am Sweet, I am Sassy, I am your best friend, I am your Worst Nightmare. I am filled with anxiety and depression, I have hope, strength, and integrity to do the right thing whether it is what you say it is what your big bad sky daddy wants or not. I am a Beauty and a Bitch, and I am not going anywhere.
Good morning friends. I am in a very contemplative state this week, but especially today. Today being election day in the US. We have a very broken system, that cannot be denied. The powers that be tell us it is a Democracy, which is nothing but a pipe dream, we are much closer to an Oligarchy, and our current President would have it be a Monarchy or a Facist state with him and his family as the “Dear Leaders.”
There are so many human rights that are being put on the ballot with this election…which, to be perfectly frank, is a load of bullshit. Human rates should not be up for debate, they should not be along party lines, or linked to politics at all. They should just be standard. If you are an human, you get the same rights. This, however, is not the case, at least in the US.
If it were, there would not be this massive dread and (as) extreme polarization between Democrats and Republicans. I am not going to use left and right, because, while that may have been the case in the past, decades of the right moving further right, and the left bowing and scraping and making nice has moved them out of “The Left,” and deep into centrist territory. I am not a Democrat, haven’t been in a very long time, but at least their main party lines don’t want me dead and forgotten.
Onto the human rights that are on the ballot today. We have so many that are being infringed upon, as the BLM protests, Children in cages, families being separated (and parents not being able to be found), rape and molestation victims being forced (in some states) to carry a literal reminder of one of their greatest (if not the greatest) traumas to term and care for it…
But that is not the ones that I am going to focus on. As I am trans and a lesbian there are more than enough rights that may be ripped away from me and my siblings.
The LGBTQIA+ community has been a focus of this administration literally from day one, starting with removing all references to us from the White House website the day Trump was sworn into office in 2017, and manymore, including trying to make it illegal for same sex couples to be able to adopt.
However, the focus of this piece is going to be on the transphobic bigotry that will likely become legal if Trump is elected for a second term, as these will directly affect me.
One of the biggest human rights violations that this administration has tried to push through was allowing healthcare workers to deny care to trans people. Whether this is because of their religious beliefs, bigotry, or any other reason, this is scary, and a very slippery slope. If I am in a car accident and need lifesaving care, and the EMTs don’t want to save my life, I don’t want to suffer the same fate as Tyra Hunter did in 1995 in Washington DC.
She was a Black Trans Woman whose car was hit by someone that ran a red light, and the EMTs stopped working on her when they realized that she was trans, even with bystanders yelling at them to help her. She only received care after the supervisor arrived, over 5 minutes after they had stopped administering care. She ended up dying an hour after arriving at the hospital, and was misgendered even on being admitted as a “Justice Doe.”
This could become the norm if Trump’s administration had their way and he is re-elected. Go to the hospital with heart problems, cancer, or a broken bone, they find out you are trans and will not treat you. They will not directly kill us, but allowing people’s bigotry and religious conviction be the guide will kill a lot of trans (and intersex) people.
In addition, if this administration had their way, we would be placed in lockup/jails/prisons with people of our AGAB (Assigned Gender At Birth), having to use the wrong bathroom, etc. even after legally changing our name, gender, and medically transitioning. They use the Transphobic Dog Whistle that “Biological Males,” in a women’s space (completely disregarding trans men and non-binary people) are going to rape/attack other women. The facts of the matter are that trans women (especially black trans women) are sexually assaulted in higher percenta(by a huge margin) than our cisgender counterparts, and if a cisgender man wants to rape a woman, he is not going to bother dressing up as a woman, he is simply going to rape her. A sign on a door is not going to stop him.
Being able to have stable housing and income is something that everyone wants and works towards. This administration does not want that for trans people. Removing gender and gender identity as a protected class in the DOJ gives them an edge to do it nationally, and gives them (and others) precedent. Most states in the US do not have protections for their trans workers. If someone wants to fire you for being trans (or LGBTQIA+ at all), there is not a damn thing you can do about it. SCOTUS did rule that being LGBTQIA+ people are protected from workplace discrimination, however if you are not a part of a union (which most people are not) they can make up other reasons or just fire you because “It just isn’t working out,” or “you just aren’t a good fit,” even if there were no problems with your work, you could be fired for being trans, without being fired for being trans.
This extends to housing. Most states (the only one that I know of that does have protections is NY state) have zero protections for being evicted for being trans. In addition to that, HUD (With Ben Carson at the head) proposed a new rule that would allow emergency shelters to not allow trans people to be housed with people of their gender (using the same transphobic dog whistle as prisons/bathrooms), instead forcing them to be housed with people that have the same AGAB, or deny service completely.
All of this is completely outside of the realm of the very real threat of sexual or physical assault or murder which trans people (Black Trans Women, in particular) face for just being themselves. There have been 35 murders of trans, non-binary, and Gender Non-Conforming people in the US in 2020 so far (more than any year before with 2 months left in the year), and that is not counting the ones that are mis-identified and mis-gendered in death or their families do not allow them to be identified as trans. The number is probably much higher than that.
In addition, the Gay/Trans Panic defense is still a valid legal defense in 39 states. This basically states that finding out that someone is gay or trans can be so shocking that you go off the rails and react violently. It is essentially saying that because of the cishetnormativity of the world, being outside of that is so earth shattering that violence and murder are valid reactions. It is also continuing the rule of victim blaming and excusing white cis men’s behavior (the majority of the people that kill trans people are from that demographic) that our country has made the rule in assaults, no matter the victim.
With Amy Coney Barrett being confirmed to the Supreme Court, there are a lot of rights which would be able to be ripped away, not the least of which is for Gay/Bi/Lesbian people to marry (if it is a same sex marriage). I am a lesbian, and I am legally Female, so I could personally be affected by this when I am ready to marry another woman. It is also important to note that the right to marry was only given to LGBT+ people five years ago.
This may sound dramatic, but given this administration’s push this summer to ban same-sex couples from adopting children, I do not believe that it is a far leap from that to removing the ability to get married.
So, when people say “Agree to disagree,” or “Different political opinions,” I cannot take them seriously, and know that they are just so privileged that they have never had to deal with their rights being ripped away and their existence and human rights being made into a political tool that can change with every administration.
This administration has done absolutely everything that it can to reduce our ability to live happy, productive lives.
So, this article has been all gloom and doom, and what might happen, and for some people, that might send them into a place where they are unable to move/act. That is not the case for me, and I hope for you. I am MORE incensed to push for change, to hold people (locally, regionally, nationally, and globally) accountable for their atrocious and abhorrent behavior and treatment of trans people (and LGBTQIA+ people as a whole), and to be even more visible, out and proud. I don’t want one more person killed because of who they are or feel that there is no hope for them and end it all because they see the bigotry rampant in our world, whether it is because of the color of their skin, their sexuality, or their gender.
If you are trans, you know most of these things already, as you live it. If, however, some (or all) of these things are surprising/shocking to you, I have a challenge for you.
Reach out to your LGBTQIA+ friends and family, make sure that they are OK.
Stay informed about the laws that are being passed/debated (both in your state and nationally).
Call your elected officials and tell them that you do not support (or you do, if they are protecting rights instead of stripping them away) this particular laws.
Hold these officials accountable to their campaign promises, and do nopt back down.
Support your LGBTQIA+ friends and family as needed. They may not feel comfortable with opening up to you, but they may. I know that having people that actually give a shit has been so important for me when these atrocious laws are being passed and these abominable bigotry and fake science is being spewed from elected officials and people that have no idea what being trans is, and think it is a kink or has anything to do with sexuality.
Hold your friends and family accountable and correct them when they parrot the vitriolic garbage that transphobes want people to think is fact.
We are tired of having to defend our identities and our right to exist. Please, just help us.
Let this inspire you and incite you to help us, and help yourselves.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
So, yesterday, I received an email. Nothing abnormal about that, except for 4 things.
1) It was from an old family friend who I haven’t seen or spoken to in years, and would have no way to get the email address they sent it to, except by getting it from someone.
2) They somehow knew that I am trans, despite me having no connection to them or their family for a long time (Years before I started looking at my identity), and not coming out to them, because they are not a part of my life anymore.
3) They came at me from a place of judgement, incorrect information, and telling me that I am simply confused or mistaken about being Trans.
4) and They did not try to open a dialogue. It was a very judgement-filled, close-minded, and higher than thou type of message.
I decided not to respond, but this is a teachable moment for any one of you who may have a trans person in your life (or may in the future), and this is NOT how to behave if you want to have a relationship with them, or want them to actually open a dialogue with you.
The message is as follows:
As you said, you are an intelligent person …
Your family would sacrifice their lives for you! Their love is that deep. Do you REALLY think it is healthy to distance yourself from them at such a crucial time in your life? They are all very intelligent people. Don’t run for fear of hearing something that would change the trajectory of your life yet again. Listen to all sides again and again. Don’t immerse yourself in one or you will blind yourself to all other possibilities!
What if the leap you make is not REAL?
“I am afraid the psychologists will not be content to explain my insect fears by what a simpler generation would diagnose as their cause – a certain detestable picture in one of my nursery books …”
Best, <Name Redacted>”
Now, there is a lot to unpack there, most of which is not based on actual facts, and I wish I could tell you that this was the only/first time such ignorant things have been said to me, but it is not, and I would be willfully ignorant if I thought it would be the last.
My first feeling when I read this was that my heart had suddenly gained 50 pounds and was run over by a steamroller. It took all of the air out of my lungs.
What does this person know about me, or my relationships with my family except secondhand information? Where do they get off telling me what to do, or how much my family loves me, I know that, despite the sick way that some of them have reacted? Coming at me, after zero contact for almost a decade, and not being close for almost 2, with the blatant audacity of thinking that they know me.
Once I calmed down a bit, I wrote a well thought out, non-judgemental, logical response (with actual facts, not unfounded opinions. I shared it with a few close friends, trans and not. One of my good friends suggested I leave it alone, as she told me:
So your response is good, but my personal opinion is that they don’t deserve a response. Nothing you say will convince them of anything. And if you haven’t talked to them in over 10 years than an response is unnecessary. Also, lions don’t lose sleep over the opinions of sheep. And you’re a beautiful lioness, fuck that little sheep. They’re being the actor, trying to control both you and your family by saying what everyone should do and say and act like. Which is sick behavior. The only way to win is to not participate, in my opinion.
I am taking her advice, and instead using this as an opportunity to say what I wanted to say in a more public forum. If it helps one person that is struggling with family/friends/coworkers and their unfounded opinions, unasked for advice, or plain bigotry, or someone that has a trans person in their life doesn’t act in this way, then the time that I take to write this is well worth it.
Now, I am not Christian (far from it, in fact), but the Bible has some real gems, such as the following.
Love is patient,love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking,it is not easily angered,it keeps no record of wrongs.Love does not delight in evilbut rejoices with the truth.It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.
My family, and the person that wrote the email that is the catalyst for this post, are Christian. When they talk about me distancing myself from my family, that is partially true.
I did not spend Christmas with them, I did not go to a sibling get together a few weeks later, and I have not been reaching out to them that much. However there are reasons for that, and more to that than meets the eye.
1) When I came to Thanksgiving as Justice, not <Redacted>, and came out to the remainder of my siblings (which is covered in detail in this post) my Mom told me that I would always be her son, although my siblings seemed to take it well (which turned out to not be the case).
2) Because of the toxic victim mentality, inability to hear what I was saying (they listened, but didn’t hear), weaponized feelings, manipulative actions, and attempting to use old friends to convince me that I was simply confused (not positive on this, but pretty sure) I decided to put up boundaries to protect myself. <Note: This was not all of them, and some of this has gotten better>
3) I told them three things. That my name is Justice, and not to use my birthname; I am a trans woman, and to use feminine pronouns; and that if they were going to try to convince me of something about my identity, then I respectfully declined to put myself in those situations.
4) I didn’t reach out to them that much before this, so it is not like I cut off contact.
5) I have continued to have communication with every one of my family, barring one, as they have completely ignored my requests. I also, am not opposed to speaking to them, I am just not reaching out to someone that seemed to be an ally, until I told them something that they don’t agree with, and then started spitting venom. I think that they were ok (ish) with my questioning my gender, as long as I came to the conclusion that I was cisgender.
Sorry, dear, not the reality.
So, back to that email. Being transgender is not something I chose, am confused about, isn’t real, or is some fleeting thing like a hair color, or an outfit. It is a part of me, and always has been.
I can remember the first time I felt ok with myself and comfortable with my body. It was when I was 4 or 5 and was playing dress up. I wore a dress and and I felt at home in my own body for the first time. I couldn’t tell you that at that time, put words to it, or accept it, but that was the moment that I knew, in my heart of hearts, that I was transgender.
There have been thousands (if not millions) of moments, thoughts, feelings, and experiences that have given me pause, and looking back at them now, I just wonder how it took me so long.
Also, “listening to all sides again and again,” is not what this is about. My existence is not up for debate. Period.
I know that it must be hard for my family to deal with me being trans, but sorry, it is the truth. It doesn’t matter how many times you tell me that 2+2=19, it doesn’t make it accurate.
Intelligence is different than educated, and doesn’t equal logical or openminded or well. I told them how I have felt my entire life, and based on their religious views, or idea of who I am, even when I was telling them that they were mistaken, I was being told I am wrong. They see me as the person that I was, that I put up as a shield, to hide from myself and others, so I wouldn’t have to look at being trans. Eventually, I couldn’t keep the facade up anymore, and it broke.
And “blinding myseld to all other possibilities”? You mean a heterosexual cisgender male? Like the life I tried to live my entire life and it kept me stagnant, broken, and living in a world of grayscale and unhappiness? Sorry, I tried that, and it didn’t work, and it could have killed me. Not going back to that.
Multiple members of my family also were worried about me becoming sterile by being on HRT. Did any of them actually ask me if I want to have children? No, because if they had, I would have told them the answer. If I can’t bear children of my own, I don’t want, or need to be the biological parent, plus, there are so many kids that need love, family, and advocates, and I am happy to be that for them. Family doesn’t have to be blood.
I could go into the science or medical opinion on transgender people, or biological sex and gender, or the history of us (spoiler alert, been around for centuries, if not longer), but there are experts who are much more familiar and eloquent than I am, so if you are interested, simply take a look.
I hope that this has been helpful to at least one person, besides for me. If you have thoughts that are not coming from a place of willingness, and you are simply going to throw your opinion, with no facts, or an experience of your own, kindly, shove off.
I exist, I am valid, I am proud, I am transgender, I am strong.
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!’
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.
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
I am a Gypsy at heart. Every time I go to work or home, I just want to keep going…
Where? I don’t know. Every time I see an out of state license plate, hear a new accent, or hear about a city, town, or state that sounds like it would be good for exploring, I want to go. My dream is to not have an apartment, a lease, a mortgage, or a brick and mortar anchor. The longer I spend in one place, the more I feel the pull of the world. Some people take comfort in a set routine, in a set neighborhood, in one set, sedentary city. Not me! The thought of still living in the same apartment or city in 5 years makes me nauseous and depressed.
What to do…
Every time I go visit a new city, I spend the next few weeks applying to jobs, looking up apartments, seeing what the culture and events look like there, and exploring their particular subreddit. I constantly feel the pull that there is something out there that I am missing, somewhere that I haven’t explored, and my life won’t be complete until I experience it; that I haven’t found my true home yet. It feels like the description of the Portkey in Harry Potter, as if something is grabbing me and pulling me forward to somewhere unknown, and there is nothing that I can do about it.
“because he had no place he could stay in without getting tired of it and because there was nowhere to go but everywhere, keep rolling under the stars…”
There are so many places that I want to visit, and things I want to do, that being nailed down in one place from now until I die is just not an option for me. I just don’t accept that. My goal is to get a job that is 100% remote so that I can travel as much as I want, sell or store everything that I don’t absolutely need, and take off.
Things that I want to do and places I want to visit before I die (In no particular order):
All 50 States
See the Panama Canal
Be in two places at once
Jump off of a mountain in a squirrel suit
Drift down the Amazon
Swim with Dolphins
Run with the bulls in Spain
Step foot on all 7 Continents
Climb some mountains in the Himalayas
Snowboard in the French Alps
Climb the Eiffel tower
Drive a car in the fast lane on the Autobahn
Shake Tom Waits hand before he dies
My girlfriend and I broke up over the summer, which was hard and painful, but there is a big benefit to that, as now I have nothing preventing me from just applying to jobs willy-nilly…and that’s what I have been doing. The first offer that looks solid and interesting that comes along, and it will be so long and thanks for all of the fish.
I am done with living my life in a way that makes sense to anyone but me, I don’t have to justify my existence to you, or anyone else…
I don’t know where it will be, when it will be, or for how long I will be wherever I end up…and that excites me and makes my soul smile so wide. If I find someone that is willing to have a partner that may just take off with little to no warning, that’s great, but if not, I may be just me for the rest of my life. I am ok with that, because I love myself today.
As most of you are aware, last night was the President Obama’s 2015 State of the Union address. It was filled with hope, togetherness, and some new ideas. It was, however, also ridden with inaccuracies. I am not going to say that it was incorrect in its entirety, or that Obama is living in a pipe dream, as some others have, but there were some key points that were mis-represented. Those are the things that I am going to focus on. I will not simply paraphrase his words and state an opinion based on that, I will directly quote from the transcript, which can be found in many locations across the web. If you want to read it for yourself, here is where I read it and am copying it from.
The first point that stood out to me was the example he used to about the family that went through hard times.
“America, Rebekah and Ben’s story is our story. They represent the millions who have worked hard, and scrimped, and sacrificed, and retooled.” While that is great, for this family, what about all of the other families who when this kind of financial insecurity hits, they end up homeless, having used up all of their unemployment, or, still have unemployment, but it isn’t enough to get by? I have known many people who, the only reason they are on the street is because of one big, unexpected emergency expense or lay off. While this is a touching story, it is not even close to being representative to what happens in a situation like this.
Next, we have education. Obama talks about our improvement, “We believed we could prepare our kids for a more competitive world. And today, our younger students have earned the highest math and reading scores on record.” While that may be true, I, personally wouldn’t be bragging about being 14th in education, as a whole, 14th in math, and 25th in reading, respectively. This is not something to be shouting from the rooftops about. Who is #1, you may be asking? None other than South Korea. This is a country that, in the 1950s was one of the poorest in the world. in about 50 years, they have gone from bottom of the barrel to top dog (at least in education).
The next point Obama talked about that is not completely valid is his statement, “Today, we have new tools to stop taxpayer-funded bailouts.” What he is talking about, I believe, is the Dodd-Frank Law. This is a law, passed in 2010 that, supposedly, will make taxpayer funded bailouts a thing of the past, and “Too Big to Fail,” a relic of the past. There is, however, language that gives banks and other corporations plenty of other tools that give them advantages over your mom and pop shops. The other options they have include “liquidation, receivership, a division of the institution into a good and bad bank, with the former to be run by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation (FDIC), selling the good bank to another bank or recapitalization. Fears of counterparty risk and former bondholders carrying equity of questionable value could engender a sale of its and its competitors’ shares.” (Via Investopedia) This “New Tool,” is more a new tool for big corporations to keep their money and avoid failure, while giving the illusion of limiting them.
Going right into his next point, “Middle-class economics works.” First off, Middle-Class economics is something that the current administration pulled out of thin air a short time ago. It sounds good to blue collar workers, because it makes it seem as if their representatives have them in mind, but even if you use the definition that Obama used last night, it has failed before it was even a term. “The nation’s median income remains lower than it was when the Great Recession ended, $52,000 at the end of 2013 compared to $54,400 at the end of 2008 in today’s dollars.” (Via The Washington Post) The fact remains, the United States Government is giving more priority to business, and exactly the same to their constituents.
“We know that more small business owners plan to raise their employees’ pay than at any time since 2007.” While, that is great, and thanks for that, what about large businesses? They get larger tax breaks, they have legislation that will protect them, they outsource manufacturing to China and Singapore, where is their plan to raise wages?
While there were lots of good ideas, and pipe dreams being touted and spouted last night, I didn’t hear any solutions…did you? What do you think? Did I miss something? Let me know.