dominicdemeyn

:Neutrois Niche:

Tag: gender culture

The art of negotiating

It seems to me that every trans person needs some skills in negotiating. The terms of our existence are far from fixed, but ocassionally shift, sometimes in our favour, and sometimes in another direction.

A trans person is also lucky if they know some trans law and a way to communicate to people in positions of power. A trans person is like a fish swimming in an endless sea, trying to get back to where they live, a safe space that they call home, whilst trying to avoid all the nets and other traps set in place to capture and dissect them or even tear them apart.

How to negotiate an identity: First, get someone else, who does not know you and has never been an important part in your life but is considered a specialist to judge you and hope they judge in your favour.

Second, make sure you have enough money to pay to people who will then go on and tell you who you are or who you are supposed to be. If surgery is required, make sure the funds extend to that point where your body is cut open and revealed to complete strangers who then reshape it according to the terms that have been set.

Make sure you have time to run around here and there and confront people all the time on your identity, who cannot believe it is really so and would like to steer you in a certain direction or at least understand you. Be aware that what they call understanding might not be what you might call understanding, and their way of empathising with you might differ from what you would expect. Be aware that if they cannot believe in your type, they cannot understand.

Be prepared to get what you are given, to take what you can. Name change, fine. Under what conditions…you decide on which name? A neutral one, they say, but neutral does not exist. A name such as Alex or something like that. To me, that’s not a neutral name. In a gender-obsessed culture there is no neutral. This does not mean that I am less of a neutral. Just because nobody sees me does not mean I don’t exist. Just because nobody understands my language does not mean that I am not communicating. People just have not come to terms with me yet.

Negotiating is frustrating, when you have no tools at your disposal to help you out, to give you authority or to justify yourself. There is not much evidence I can use to justify my claims of being trans.

I believe I am transsexual. Just not the traditional type that wants to swap one gender role for another. My gender role does apparently not exist yet, eventhough I as a person exist alongside my gender.

Apparently my best option is to lie and cheat my way to some form of resolution that would benefit all parties involved, except mine. Oh, I forgot, I’m not even a minority enough to get credit for being marginalised, because I do not succesfully represent a group and can’t shout as loud as others. I am not represented in the media, my identity scares people more than aids or cancer. But I represent myself. I guess that’s not quite enough.

People make so many assumptions and mistakes and I am to reinforce them by playing along. How do you think that makes me feel? I feel like a criminal trying to escape conviction only to then be free and then serve the sentence of having to perpetually lie to myself and others. I don’t think I am a good liar, even with hours and hours of enforced training and accomplished survival tactics. I am sick of lying and having to defend myself and my core principles when there is really nothing to defend. There is absolutely no logical reason to attack my ideas and beliefs and the way I see myself. Me being Neutrois will not destroy the universe, so why try and keep me in line, in check? I am a good enough little citizen even without your intervention.

What do I need to give and what do I get out of it is the question? I want my freedom to express myself, I want to not get bullied into submission by complete strangers who don’t like me, I want to be left alone to make decisions about myself. But it seems I am not able to, because I will always need a specialist to hold my hand and some authority to approve of me.

I really wonder if this is really what true negotiating is about, what diplomacy is, or if this is just another form of majority rule, where I benefit less from the ruling than my majority counterpart human life forms.

I know what I want. That is also not good enough. I need to know what others want and need first and then fit my desires around their needs. I need to get back into the fold of a crazed social construct and function normally. Apparently my abstinence is an issue. It makes me happier and makes me much healthier (both mentally and physically), yet it must be a problem because others cannot fathom it. I think it wouldn’t be a problem if I had promiscuous unprotected sex, because that at least would better fit the description of trans, or even of a Borderline person who is also trans. But being happy with who I am at this moment, that’s called being diseased.

I am not saying I don’t have many issues, but that does not make it right for people to claim to know my identity and what is good for me and write the rules that govern my life.

I apreciate the help I am getting, but am far from feeling that I have found an advocate for my rights. I have found a person who does not beat me for being who I am, nor send me away, but listens to what I have to say. That is indeed something.

But what usually happens after the short phase of being delighted at having found someone who is versed in trans issues is a bit disappointing. Far from trying to beat the system, they reveal that they are, in fact, a part of it. They like stereotypes and ideals that everyone in the system appreciates and want to uphold. They enjoy priviledge, as anyone would. And they decide how to work with the system to further my rights.

like fifty shades of grey

Is negotiating really about me or is it more about how to become closer to the cis gender? I don’t believe negotiation is a win-win situation, and  it seems to me to come closer to conforming to established rules.

Authorities may be satisfied with the results, but I am still left to negotiate my life. I will still struggle to be seen, and the torment will go on…

Gender: the new religion

I am beginning to think that gender is the biggest lie that humanity has ever created. I don’t think any aspect of gender is biological, in fact, I believe it is 100 per cent social construct.

Gender is like religion, it is there because we humans love to believe in something and set rules for ourselves because we cannot live with the uncertainty and possibilities that are provided to us when we are able to say that we are in full control of our lives and we are the ones responsible for ourselves and we only have this life so we need to make the most of it. It’s scary to have so many options and noone to guide us. So we turn to God, because he knows better and if there is a problem we can blame him or the devil, or we turn to gender and blame each other.

The problem is not necessarily that religion, for example, or gender, is inherently evil, but it inevitably creates a ‘them’ and an ‘us’ and different warring groups that all want to impose their ideas on other individuals. Such is the nature of religion, and such is the nature of gender. It interferes with our lives to the point of us losing the security it was meant to provide us with.

a little ramble about the NaNowriMo meeting: if anyone at the meeting is reading this, remind me next time to talk to you in person about this…

I hate to admit it, but I want to meet people. I go out of my way to meet people.

Yesterday I was half an hour early for the NaNoWriMo meet-up that took place in a cozy cafe in a side street. I looked around and saw a woman eagerly typing on her laptop, with papers strewn everywhere, and I thought that must be what a true writer looked like. I wondered if the people I would meet would also be like that, obsessively writing and only looking up from their oeuvres to take a sip of  their drink or perhaps eat a slice of cake.

I tried to introduce myself, to make sure they at least knew, even just for a split second, that I did not identify as female, and therefore I called myself Dominic, and thereby implying that female pronouns are also black-listed.

It’s quite funny that almost all of ‘us’ write fantasy novels, stories about something extraordinary, or rather out of the ordinary, as they include fable animals or magic, fairy beings and such like. I am also keen on writing a fantasy story, because it opens up different possibilities if I stop being creative. It’s easier to make things up in a fictional world. To me, reality requires too much research.

But what I also find striking is that although many write fiction or fantasy, when confronted with fantastical ideas or transhuman thought, they are not interested. I mentioned that I didn’t have breasts anymore as part of my plea to not call me any female things, and one of them blurted out (it seemed almost involuntary, the response was so fast and sharp): “I’m not interested”.

I wonder why are you sitting here for, then, if it’s not about the people you meet? You are immersed in your writing and that’s great, but I personally wouldn’t come here just cause I can write with other people next to me. I can do that at home, and much more succesfully at that.

I am lucky though, though the people all left without saying a word while I was still in the bathroom, a man with a top hat drove me home cause it’s on the way to where he lives. It was refreshing to hear someone talk as fast as he does and be able to talk about things others might find disturbing..aka: ideas…but one thing did bother me. It only occured to me to be upset when I was already safely home and able to re-create the whole conversation. He basically related to me how he knew a thing or two about bullying and being deprived of his freedom and being different, because he wore hats and these are not fashionable. So he sometimes gets strange looks.     !     . Are you comparing having someone throw your hat in a tree when you were a kid to being transgender, excluded from society, deprived of your identity, doubted, poked, prodeed, raped, villified, accused, killed? (I obviously haven’t been killed yet, so who am I to talk).

Do you think the type of erasure is so similar, middle aged white cis male? (You probably don’t even get the fact that I am trying to stereotype you, too).

Then he talked about one of his most beloved movies, wherein a filmmaker shows stereotypes in a cicrus, people with lost limbs and strange faces, and generally different conditions and talked about this in the context of transsexuality, comparing how similar people reacted to disabled people and to trans people, practically creating a link with disability and being trans.

We all have our priviledges and are all on a quest either to gain them or more of them, or not to loose them. I still have many priviledges so I probably shouldn’t be too upset at people’s offhand remarks, but that’s exactly the point. That people speak their minds so freely abut topics they know shit about, and that they feel content and, moreover, entitled to show their emotions and pry into people’s lives and make judgements or dismiss someone straight out because, well, who represents the norm….? Right, not I.

This guy is divorced and he said his family couldn’t understand how his divorce happened so quickly and without problems, and how the divorced parties could still communicate normally with eachother. He even got criticised for his exemplary behaviour, and why, because it’s unusual. It’s normal to fight, and therefore you’d rather support such behaviour than laud a person for acting differently.

He of all people should understand the fact that we try to shape our world into what we want to see and what we want it to be like. Perhaps he should take another look at me and people who have a gender disconnect and really see what it means to live like that. Perhaps he should take his hat off.

 

He/She/It-it’s all in the head

Imagine we didn’t have these wordes to relate to people….

Imagine you just arrived on Earthe from a different part of space, and gender and its terms didn’t mean anything to you. What reference model would you use when referring to people?

Would you perhaps conclude that people with the same eye colour were related and spoke the same language? Where would you imagine the coloure in the hair/face/eyes came from? How would you interact with these people, not knowing who they are?

We as humans are fairly limited in our perceptions and other cognitive abilities. We cannot know a thinge, we only ever know of a thinge, of its relation to us and its surroundings. We evaluate eachother in order to define ourselves. Distance, Time, Touch, Smell, Sound,…and Gender are all relative. They are because we say they are, because we have created mental structures around them. They are frames of reference around which we build our ‘artificial’ world, which then translates into real life/real time.

But this knowledge, this knowing of, is not Truthe: one can relate to another by saying “I understand what you mean or even I know what you mean”, communicating that what was said was at least partially understood and thereby one can make the other person feel better, more included, less alone perhaps. Shared experience is a type of emotional bonding that is important and can have many positive effects on people, but it does not go as far as true knowledge. We do not know what it is like to be a chaire or what a dog feels and perceives with its superhuman sensory perception, and eventhough we were all once babies, we can scarcely remember that time of our lives; we don’t inhabit a baby’s body or live a baby’s life anymore (at least I suspect that most of my readers don’t).

Her/Him/It, these terms are markers, verbal cues that are part of the human language and symbole matrix within which our identities are embedded.

Nobody ever asks a person whether it wants to be called he or she, unless its obvious that there is a consciously sought transgression of gender boundaries. Nobody would think it their right to ask such a thinge, as normality has already become festooned in their conscience, their vocabulary, their neurons. Words, like experiences, make connections in our brains with which we are able to maneuvre the evironmnet we live in. Language, our verbal experience, can also change behaviour, it may redirect neural pathways and associations. If we stopped using derogatory words and gendered words (which I place in the same category by the way) we would probably start looking at reality differently.

Reality is in our heads. My reality might be different from yours.

We establish what is real through verbal, physical, mental boundaries. We can beat people with sticks, and keep them away in slums or enclaves, and we can establish power structures in more subtle ways.

He/She/It are labels, but they are empty! All they signify is that ‘he’ is not ‘she’ is not ‘it’, that there is a difference between them. In Germany we say ‘Der Stuhl’ (the chaire, male). We also say ‘Der Mann’ (the man, male). Should we therefore treat these two equally or shold we rather start respecting the chaire more or perhaps we should start throwing the man around ‘like an olde chaire’? Does the chaire have a gender and if so, how does it express it? The chaire is most likely not even aware of its name or pronouns…

As I said a while ago, I started a new job. I already introduced my name (Dominic) in many ways, by signing documents using the name, by saying I like the name and would like to be called it all the time, and even by buying a name badge for 10 Euro. I wore this at work until the supervisor found out and called it all off. My plans have thus been disturbed, but I am still happy because my workmates have accepted the name. However, they still haven’t fully understood its implications and made the mental connection between the worde and the lifestyle behind it, between the name and my identity. They still use female pronouns and define me as female, but are also willing to use a male name for me. I wonder that they don’t get more confused by doing this. But it seems pronouns and names don’t pose much of a problem as long as they are gendered. Their concept of who I could and should be is not disturbed but rather reinforced by gendered pronouns.

What they can’t get their heads around is that I exist eventhough the language to define me doesn’t.

Gender as a codifier of value

What is the real problem with gender?

 

-it doesn’t exist!

 

We need to create it and that takes a lot of time, energy, and money. It has to be reinforced in every sphere of our lives, and that requires endless attention, study, and self-sacrifice.

Gender seems to exist outside of ourselves, it has taken over. We have become slaves of gender!

Nobody gets hurt if you cut yourself or committ suicide. But as soon as you contradict the gender binary, as soon as you start messing with gender roles and sexuality, you open up a Pandora’s Box of curses, stigmas, and debate.

Political groups and religions all of a sudden take an interest in you, because gender is one of the many measures of wealth, sucess, happiness, and power. Whoever wields the gender controlling stick decides how society is to function.

Whoever controls our bodies and what we are allowed to do with ourselves has immense control of society.

Minority groups are, in essence, a collection of individual bodies who have come together or are lumped together to form a collective. If people had full control of their bodies, others, the ones deciding on what constitues normality, would have less. Therefore, fertility, procreation, marriage, image, media attention, philosophical discourse and medical practice have all been colonized by one segment of the population.

The binary requires protection from trans-identified folk, and even feminists are not immune to the fear of difference. Being trans is not complicated and not a political statement in itself, but is taken advantage of in a political climate. Imagine being a writer and having written a play that is constantly being censored and ultimately re-written by the director. In the end, the play is nothing like the original. The play has been screwed up.

Why are transsexuals allowed to have surgery now, even herded into the operating rooms like cattle in a farmyard? Because they have been deemed acceptable for retraining. They might have qualities that are attractive to the binary, they can be shifted from male to female and vice versa. Even though it’s annoying to do so, at least the categories male/female are not shifted, and that’s what it’s all about in the end. Having set definitions and regulations of what constitutes being trans helps monitor and regulate this gender playing field.

A nurse I met once told me she could understand my reluctance to go to the gynaecologist. I had repeatedly told her of my gender dysphoria and that I felt uncomfortable being poked and proddded in places I felt didn’t even belong to my body and, if I had any say in it, should never see the light of day. She gave me great encouragement when I didn’t let go of my fear of bodily invasion and talked about transition. She saw that I wouldn’t stop talking about being the one who decides what happens to my body, so she encouraged me to finally decide now on being male, because it’s really not a big deal anymore to come out, she knows many trans people, and society is so open nowadays. She said it’s impossible to live in such a state of limbo where the body is not right and that I should really talk to the doctor about this, he could help me get the necessary help.

When I told her I had already had top surgery without hormones and that I have no nipples either, she was taken aback. She was confused and then annoyed. It’s amazing how charged emotions can get when it comes to gender-aligned-to-sex. She didn’t ask me how surgery was or how I felt. I had hurt her by confusing her, while I didn’t even pay much attention anymore to her attempts at erasing my identity. She said “well, I guess it’s too late now”, too late for her to be able to tell me what to do with my body. This was not the male form, the male transition she had expected. I had taken this power away from her, I had changed the recognisable form, the form to which so much about ourselves is attached. The form that decides your worth.

Who is man and who is woman? These labels are crucially important in defining what we do, how we are to act, how we live, what life choices we are able to make. In modern society hegemony still exists and it expands by using gender as a tool to reward or punish. Traditional marriage supports gender norms, as the woman and man relationship allows for greater dominance of male-centered benefit. Many marriages are built on the premise that women are domestics and child-bearers/carers. One aspect of marriage is sexual availablity of the spouse, it’s part of the contract.

The image of a man and a woman is also important, for how else would we recognise what social class a person belongs to, what gender class? Poverty affects both men and women, but if ones gender is driven to the foreground of how important, how effective one is for commercial success, these roles and norms decide not only on our economic output capacity, but also on how much we are able to earn and gain from society. It’s no weird coincidence that transgender individuals are usually left out of receiving economic benefits.

Eventhough it makes less economic sense to deprive one group of its earning potential, such is the desire of the elite.

Gender, the gender binary, favours forced dependence. Women’s bodies, for example, have been used for ages as vessels for male sexuality and breeding. The refusal to accept birth control and abortions is still rampant in many parts of the world, even the so-called free and family-friendly United States, not because people feel morally obliged to save an unborn child, but because they are obliged to keep one major segment of the population under control, to assert dominance. When U.S. governing bodies determine that your child should be an outcast due to their gender expression or the fact that they don’t conform to traditional roles, where is the family friendliness in that? They destroy many families by promoting violence against this child,the destroy many family unions in that way. It’s not really about freedom of expression (freedom of speech) and family.

But if gender is blurred, obsolete, it benefits individuals. It would discourage the fetishizing of women, children, child-like people, trans individuals and male-and-female identified people, because gender would not determine one’s value, would not be a means to objectify and abuse. People would possibly start seeing a human being rather than a gender when dealing with another person, there would be more identification with our common plight of all being trapped in physical existence rather than being trapped in a better body, a more suitable body, a more valid body.

But the economy has its own rules, and profits (note: profits in economic terms, not in human terms) might decrease when people stop consuming eachother. Free labour would not occur as often, because equal rights would be implemented, naked bodies would not be used as sales reps for useless items.

Freeing ourselves of the gender obligation would not be a positive development….not for the capitalist who would like to sell their own grandmother if they could make a profit, not for the greedy and narcissists who only think about their own lives, it would not be good for those whose instincts tell them “you must conquer to survive”, not good for those pleasure-seeking-at-any-cost-types on this, our precious Earth.

Perhaps one day people will come to their senses. I would say….fine, keep your gender if you really have to cling to this term, but stop using it to damage other people, stop manipulating this term and creating difference when there is none. Stop evoking fear and hatred when you encounter a person that does not appeal to you aesthetically or does not fit your agenda.

Get rid of gender and its implications, you get rid of a whole set of issues that affect all of us who are trapped in human bodies. Perhaps the first step is to trying to define yourself REGARDLESS of the gender/sex that has been imposed upon us.

It’s not easy, but it can be done.

 

Tell me what gender you are, and I tell you how fuckable you are

 

 

“…But you’re still female, you were born as female?”

“(???) I am female-assigned-at-birth…”

“Ahh, I see…”

 

(script colour: burnt orange)

 

link to article ‘Lies about transgender people (and how to spot a rubbish journalist)’

I would like to write so much stuff and focus on words rather than go out and do stuff. I wish I was better with words and could express myself more openly and without always doubting my word choices, my sentence structure or the way I put phrases together.

I am starting a new job on Saturday (what a great day to start work). It’ll be within reach of lots of people, at a major airport, and I’m thrilled to have been given this opportunity but am also very nervous. I hope I won’t get too many things wrong, I hope I’ll make a decent impression.

That’s why right now I can’t write, I can’t even form proper sentences in my head. This often happens when I have a lot of ideas in my head, they whirl around in there for a while until I feel more settled and comfortable and then I can talk. Luckily I can still read.

So here’s a link to a post @ The Independent Blogs by author Paris Lees:

Lies about transgender people (and how to spot a rubbish journalist)

I am Neutrois now

In the past couple of months many things have changed for me. I changed country, city, and, to some degree, lifestyle, and these were all choices I made willingly. I was driven in part by economic circumstance and dreams about re-establishing family ties, in part by the need to transition and feel better about myself (in my own skin).

The operation was a good idea, though many people will doubt that. I don’t think about it much, to me it is an established fact that I am Neutrois and I am justified to alter my body in certain ways.

But I do have doubts. I doubt people can understand what it’s like to feel Neutrois, I doubt I will ever be free of prejudice and misunderstanding, I doubt I will eventually find my place in society, because I am a fringe person, I seem to always live on the edge of what is normal. Though I would like to own my own place one day and stay at a job and work, and have a circle of friends, and cultivate good relations with my family, I seem to intrinsically live a different lifestyle, because I consider myself Neutrois, and am therefore an Other.

I never wanted to be trans*, but i seem to be trans* now, because my being Neutrois requires from me (from my personal view and seeking of happiness for myself) a transition. I do not transition in order to become Neutrois, because that is already in me, I am ‘it’, but I still feel the strong need to transition, to align my body with myself, for unless it changes, my body and soul will always suffer.

But society does not accept this. I go out, and people talk. I get questioned about being a girl or boy, until they settle on one or the other, I get told: “Ah, you’re just like the other one we met the other day”, and it feels like they actually stamp me with an oversized stamping tool that says: “We have just the right box for you”. Their interest lies not in knowing the truth about me or where I come from or where I am going, they want to re-establish their truth about themselves and the world they are accustomed to. I understand that quite well, as I myself often hide from unsettling things until I am ready to tackle them. But my response is not physical or verbal attack. I don’t try and injure the people I don’t like, eventhough there are many.

I feel that people go out of their way to belittle others. That is what I cannot understand, unless I look into the recesses of my most evil parts, and there I find some sort of comradeship. But seeing that I am often out and about alone and an easy target, people fall prey to their base instincts, their lack of reason and sense, their base thoughts, and attack me through well-thought-out words and phrases, that they know will pierce me just as much as a knife into flesh would. These are not all morons who use verbal slurs, but use the intellect and creativity they have to demean other people, because they cannot seem to think of other ways to use this talent.

“I am Neutrois” should be written on every T-shirt and other item of clothing I own and I am tempted to tarnish the basic and true colours with writing in order to be more fully understood. I only want people to ‘look at me’ in order to see positive difference and the possibility for change. They can distort a painting or burn a book, but they cannot distort me when I walk past. That must be very frustrating, that I am so important to them in this way but yet not important at all, and they can’t avoid noticing me, and yet just want me to vanish or be assimilated like a BORG from Star Trek.

“I am Neutrois” is a fact, whenever I walk past you, I am Neutrois, whenever you think of me, I am Neutrois, whenever I am silent, I am still Neutrois. I am beginning to be tired of always thinking of ways I need to change and adapt. I can only adapt so much without losing myself, I can only change so much in physical ways as to become more fully aligned with my (gender) identity. I am always going to be caught in the middle, like a half-human only, who is neither this and neither that and does not belong.

Perfection is clearly out of reach, humanity is a concept that is not wholly in my grasp. But Neutrois is still what I am, even if it sounds like a new sci-fi induced race.

The funny thing is that even if I wanted to fit in, I cannnot do so anymore, because I am compelled from an inner source to stick to this identity. I do make some small sacrifices along the way, but not enough to lose myself. I am still trapped in a female body (I am not denying that), but I am still Neutrois. Those who cannot grasp that concept cannot grasp the concept that a box may have different content than what is written on it, that writing on a box may be washed away or changed, even if it is done with permanent marker.

They cannot grasp the concept that they are not the only ones to decide who a human being is, and that they are not immune to re-definition and change, either.

Existence is dialogue, and that is why they talk TO me. They talk like throwing stones, their talking is more of a hissing, and yet it is part of the dialogue that establishes who we are.

I ignore them.

Another gender-related article (link) related to media

Here’s the article on gaming culture: ‘Sexual Harassment in Video Game Culture’:

link to article

Some excerpts:
“According to psychologist Scott, “My thought is that we continue to live in a real life culture that continues to be alarmingly misogynistic under the surface, but the hostility that many males feel towards females is suppressed by social forces (like mothers, law enforcement officers, etc.). In secondary virtual worlds, like MMOs, those controlling social forces are largely absent…. In secondary worlds, males can be anonymous, and allow aggressive impulses to have free reign – and some seem to feel very empowered by this. These are likely men who don’t experience a sense of strength or personal power in their primary lives. Perhaps they are threatened by women, and deeply angry at them. They carry those feelings to secondary life and it feels really good to them to act out that hostility – and they are able to do so with impunity.”

“It’s not only women who are concerned with this issue. Men are also disturbed by harassment and sexism. James Bosier, an MMO player who plays to game with his daughter, is also concerned with the bigger picture: “I think [harassment] diminishes the game experience for everyone. It plays into the stereotype that people who play games are nerdy, misogynistic men who live with their parents. It continues to prevent us from being a more respected medium.”

My thoughts:
Aren’t we all misogynistic, deranged, sexually frsutrated, psychotic gamers?! (I know, ’cause I watch TV!!!)

Harassing someone online is not that bad anyway, ’cause it’s not real, it’s online…fictional harassment, so why be bothered by it, it’s just a couple of words and stuff and why should…I mean why….(upps, this comment could not be finished because the person making it was distracted by something on the computer and is now drooling over his keyboard while his eyes are glued to the screen).

We all need to let off steam, it’s our human right. If you don’t like this, get out of my space and go somewhere else (since the computer is situated in someone’s personal space, it is automatically assumed that everything on the Internet [what the computer generates] is also part of their personal space).

&%@(HFVWQOYOO*&@#)!(@*# (only one of the many intelligent arguments anti-bullying campaigners are confronted with)

SO: Significant Others

I have recently haunted the TQ Nation forum again, to read about what’s new and what’s going through people’s minds. I am a bit of a stalker in that way.

I really like it there, it feels like a safe space, like all sorts of genres of people are recognised. After having partly transitioned into my non-existing gender, I have felt less of a need to speak a lot in every forum on the net dealing with trans issues and transition, because I feel a bit calmer and less angry (about my body and my situation). But I’m not fully transitioned yet and also might never be, even if I do one day become a robot, because, as one person said in a forum, it’s not so much about the physical stuff but about what’s inside, and gender is also what others do to us.

I am also reading and learning more about areas of people’s lives I am not or not much in touch with. Significant Others is such a topic I have nearly nothing to say about, and still I write about it (LOL).

I am usually thinking about me, me, me, everyday. That’s also due to the fact that, conveniently, I do not have a significant other in my life, the likes of which I encounter on the forums. Only recently has it really occured to me what struggle they could be going through when having to deal with their partner’s transition.

A lot has to be said for someone who stands by their (trans-)(-man) or (trans-)(-woman) when they realise what changes may occur in the transitioning process. While originally identifying as lesbian, for example, one is now, after transitioning has occured, often identified as a straight couple, which messes with one’s identity markers.

Other changes affect the body of one’s partner. The voice, muscle bulk, hair quantity, even facial structure may change due to hormone therapy. All of a sudden, one’s girlfriend is one’s boyfriend. Does that not change the dynamic of the relationship and what if one only ever thought one liked women (as a woman) and now this happened?

(significant other, you’re so significant other)

I cannot say this very well or sensitively, because it doesn’t really affect me personally, I am just not in the situation, and honestly, I have a hard time putting myself in that situation. I don’t know how I would react and if I would stand by my partner. Such drastic changes might not alter a persona, but physical changes of the hormone sort would probably be a huge barrier to me. That said, though, I am not really capable of loving, so what would I know.

But reading the posts of so many people who are talking about their relationship continuing and flourishing even with transiition have uplifted what’s left of my heart and soul. It’s inspiring to read about success (love) stories and know that it is possible for some of us to find the right one and not have to be disappointed because we are not good enough. These SO’s make life so much better for a trans person, I wonder if they know how special they are and how important their actions are to stay with their respective partners, because they really want to and love them. It’s a kind of sacrifice to lose the person (the shell) that one has known, for 10 years, 20 years, or even one year. One has to rearrange a lot in one’s head and the relationship dynamic possibly changes as the relationship moves on.

Trans people may also sacrifice a lot for their partners or children. In order not to embarass them or make life difficult for them, they often deny who they are and do not come out in public. It depends on where their priorities lie, but it’s saddening to see that a lot of people have to hide even from their own families, because who they are eventually affects a lot more than themselves.

It’s not easy and it’s still about what one is willing to gain and what one is willing to lose. Is one’s gender identity important enough to warrant transition, are the peer groups or family more important? When is a good time to tell SO’s about gender stuff, how will they react, what will be the fallout?

I’m lucky in that my family is juuuuust ok with me. That is also due to the fact that I have trained them beforehand (for years) into recognising me as the trouble maker and weirdo….It kind of helps when they have that image of you. Things are not so dramatic anymore. My brother was a bit taken aback after hearing about my operation. After not speaking much for years (because it’s just too difficult) he was worried about me….AT LAST!!…………………..well, too late.

But it’s a process and I shouldn’t be too strict. Like a lot of others, I’m worried that I might lose my family due to being too different, the other day I was even scared about refusing a glass of sparkling wine that everyone in the group liked, because everyone likes that stuff, and if I criticise it I might be seen as criticising their life choices, eventhough it’s just a drink we are talking about. I get phases like that when I’m scared of admitting to anything at all.

But that doesn’t really help the situation either, because then I just want to be in a dark room and sleep. So I’m trying to tell people about myself and trying to find out who my significant others are, so that I can work on keeping them and being able to tell them how special they are.