There was another Super Ma’am freak-out this week, and this time from a black trans woman mocking a “no neck bitch” after she was called “sir” in a place of business. As many who follow me know, I spend a fair bit of my time attempting to refute the common anti-trans stereotypes that are so often thrown around, and it’s frustrating to see “my own people” willfully playing into those stereotypes instead of challenging them.
We do a great disservice to children by not teaching them the proper place of emotions, as they can be used for good or destruction. The power of raw emotion, and the critical importance of tempering them, is something that I discuss frequently, and will always discuss when the opportunity rises. An emotion can be either a fire that burns or a piece of steel to be forged. Isolating that emotion to a concrete building and letting it burn itself out is certainly a valid choice, but it isn’t my preferred one–instead, use the anvil of reason and the hammer of creativity to turn the lump of steel into a sword. Don’t let it be a fire that engulfs you; use it to create, like the song above, “Your Fall From Grace,” which I wrote while in the throes of anger–and it shows, being the most angry song I’ve ever composed.
But more to the point, we need to discuss perceptions, word choice, and human interactions, because the “Learn your pronouns!” stuff has to stop.
Anyone with even a passing interest in psychology or economics (the study of human action) will realize very quickly that words like “he” and “she” are selected by the user automatically, with little or no cognition put into them at the time of usage. From very, very early ages, we are taught when to use “he” and when to use “she,” just as we are taught when to say “please” and when to say “thank you.” No one has to put any thought into it to determine whether to say “please” or “thanks” when the occasion comes up; it happens automatically and without deliberate selection. When making a request, one says “please.” When receiving something, one says “thanks.”
The power of the human brain is that it’s capable of shifting much of our interactions into auto-pilot like this. We don’t have to think about whether to say “hello” or “goodbye” when we run into someone, which frees our brain to think about other things (while it also controls our breathing, movement, heartbeat, and other necessary functions). Just ponder for a moment how exhausting it would actually be, when faced with any person, to have to dedicate any amount of thought to whether you’re supposed to say “hello” or “goodbye.” This is a useful feature, and one would hope that everyone would be aware of it, but this doesn’t seem to be the case.
Whether to say “sir” or “ma’am,” or to refer to someone as “he” or “she” is similarly automatic. When we ask someone to call us a different pronoun, we are asking them to dedicate part of their conscious thought to casual conversation–we are asking them to do work. We are asking them to throw a wrench into an automatic process in the course of a conversation and to instead deliberately ponder whether to say “hello” or “goodbye.” This is not an easy task, even for the most “woke” person out there, and we should never be upset when someone slips back into auto-pilot in conversation. Neither should we be upset when someone does it intentionally, of course–at least, we shouldn’t simply allow that emotion to burn uncontrolled in the forest of our life.
I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it many more times: I get called “sir” every single night at work, most commonly over the phone. Sometimes, though, people do it in person. As accepting as my co-workers are, and as visible as they are putting aforementioned deliberate effort into calling me “she,” the truth is that if I got bent out of shape and went on a wild, emotional tirade every time this happened, I wouldn’t still have a job. No one wants to work with someone so unpredictable, unhinged, and uncontrolled, nevermind that it would also mean that I regularly lashed out, chastised, and drove away paying customers. I work as a female and live as a female, and my coworkers are among the most accepting people I’ve ever met (realistically, probably more accepting than I am), but a lot of this acceptance is due to the fact that I’m not an insufferable cunt.
That’s what this is really about, of course. While “he” and “she” are programmed into us at very early ages and are selected automatically and unconsciously, this doesn’t change the fact that the other person’s perceptions of me are what their brain uses to determine which to use. Rather than forcing that person to put in the work to consciously choose which pronoun to use, if I am the one who wants to change their speech, then the onus falls onto me to alter their perception of me. If their brain determines I am more masculine than feminine, they will say “he.” If their brain determines that I am more feminine than masculine, then they will say “she.” Why does this need to be pointed out to any adult?
I am not entitled to make them think about me a certain way, or to make them use certain words when referring to me. This is true in general, but it must be recognized in particular with those people who intentionally use the non-preferred pronoun.
An ordinary occurrence, to be honest. Also of note: there is no chance I’m going to be kicked from LRN.
But, as mentioned previously, why would I give “Pussy ass leftist” the power to make me upset? This would require that I care about his opinion, and I don’t have the energy to care about the opinions of random dipshits. Who does? There are a few people who could genuinely hurt me by intentionally misgendering me, and they’re the people least likely to do so. They may still slip occasionally, but if they can make the effort to call me “she,” then I think it’s only fair that I make the effort to adjust their perception of me, and to overlook any accidents. It’s generally called “being an adult.”
I firmly believe that the greatest threat facing western society today is that we have stopped teaching people how to temper their emotions, or the value of doing so. What else can I think when congressional officials talk of being “morally right, but factually incorrect?” What else can I think when a person sees a photograph of coal miners, acknowledges they are coal miners, and then writes a lengthy article about how upset they are about the “blackface,” despite acknowledging that it isn’t blackface? What else can I think when, following the election of Donald Trump in 2016 on largely jingoist slogans and emotional appeals, there was an onslaught of people recording videos of themselves crying and flipping out, and sharing them for all the world to see? This is the Era of Unbridled Emotion, and that’s dangerous, because emotion has not ever been a valid pathway to truth. Feeling something is true won’t make it true. Emotion doesn’t keep the jet in the sky, or the automobile moving.
“The road to hell is paved with good intentions,” they say, and we similarly see this playing out in New York following its Minimum Wage increase, with restaurant owners forced to raise prices, and customers shocked at how much more expensive it has become to eat out. The result was both predicted and expected: fewer people eat out, so some of the wait staff is fired. After all, the Minimum Wage is a direct price floor on the cost of labor, and price floors always create surpluses; a surplus of labor is called “unemployment.” When you raise that price floor, you simply get… more unemployment. This is basic economics, but many adults today simply don’t want to hear it, and instead truly believe that their feelings on the matter, that “everyone deserves a ‘living wage,'” will somehow make all this work out.
An emotion is nothing more than an internal reaction to external stimuli. It is our own proclivity and inclination that determines our reaction to the external stimuli, and even if we can’t actually change how we feel, we can and absolutely should limit the scope of those feelings in our behavior and beliefs. It isn’t easy, but I don’t know why anyone thinks that it should be. It’s supposed to be more difficult to resist animalistic impulses and overcome them. But it isn’t just for “the good of society” that we need to relearn this art; it’s far more important than that, because…
Controlling one’s animalistic tendencies is what it means to be human.
Through most of my life, I considered myself a boy. I was such a dude that it still bothers me to see men wearing pink, and I’ve said countless times that the shirt that says “Real men wear pink” is stupid–real men avoid wearing pink at all costs. I wore boxers, shaved my head, and had a bad ass goatee. No one in their right mind would have looked at me and suspected that I was anything but ordinary heterosexual male.
I drank beer, ate steaks, had a wife, knew how to work on automobiles, knew how to repair washing machines, and all the usual stuff. Yet the person there in that pic–that’s me. That person in that pic who five minutes before or after would have laughed at a guy for wearing a pink shirt–that’s me. That person who would have sneered if someone offered him a wine cooler over a Bud Light–that’s me.
Recently, Caryn Harlos has called me a revisionist making the party look silly because I say that Nolan was, and always was, an anarchist, even if he identified in the past as a minarchist. Speaking as a transgender person, I know exactly how this goes, and that’s why I bring all of this up. There is a lot of truth to the idea that a M2F trans person will embrace the most masculine aspects of being a male. It’s not an accident that I shaved my head, had a goatee, lifted weights, wore muscle shirts, and all the other shit. One might say I was overcompensating.
Yet the truth always bled through, often unbidden and without conscious intent, and I wondered about it for years. I remember remarking to a friend several years ago that I am, and always have been, an enthusiastic supporter of LGBT rights, but that I wasn’t sure why. I’m not gay or bisexual, so why should I be such an Ally that it consumed probably 10% of my political discussion? It didn’t make much sense. This was the transgenderism bleeding through subconsciously, without my knowing it or realizing it.
Of course, you could ask my ex-wife (from whom I divorced for reasons entirely unrelated to any of this) about other ways my transgenderism bled through. I mentioned in Dancing in Hellfire that my cousin enjoyed wearing makeup when we played various games, but as early as kindergarten I loathed makeup. Our kindergarten teacher forced us all to put on lipstick to kiss a paperplate (making a thing for our parents), and I resented her from that day forward. Makeup was for girls, and I wasn’t a goddamned girl. Only because I was a freak (what people today would call “goth”) did eyeliner get a pass, and only then because it looked so freaking awesome, and that was much later.
There were always periods, though, no matter how masculine I presented myself, and no matter how generally conformist I was to sexual stereotypes of heterosexuality, it always bled through. I’ve described being transgender and having to repress it as desperately needing to breathe, but being able to breathe only in short, very sporadic gasps. But no matter what I did, no matter how I attempted to hide it–often from myself–it always bled through. My grandmother would find women’s clothing hidden between my mattresses. I wore them when I could, while at the same time hating myself for wearing them, knowing that I was betraying some other part of me.
It was conflict, pure and simple.
Conflict between who I was and the identity that I proclaimed–the identity that I believed in.
And now look at me.
Who would ever have guessed that the person in the above pic was not truly the person he identified as? Who would have guessed that the goatee, the shaved head, the muscles, the Bud Light, the steaks, and all the other things… were just ways of masking the true behavior that underwrote so much of what I said and did?
Because it’s true. I wore my girlfriend’s prom dress before she did–and she thought it was hot. I had long hair through most of high school, too. At one point, my hair fell below my breasts. This same girlfriend gave me tons of panties, yet at every given moment I’d have insisted that I was not even a cross-dresser, that I was adamantly against the notion of transgenderism. I’m sure that I’ve in the past said “Boys are boys and girls are girls, and that’s that.”
When the True Self conflicts with the Expressed Self, there are contradictions–often glaring contradictions.
It would be the height of transphobic ignorance to look back at that first pic, of me with a goatee, and say that I was clearly just a male, that I was only a male, and that I was not, even then, transgender. I most certainly was. I was even female then. I simply repressed it because, for various reasons that are often unique to the individual, I could not accept it, and I was not ready to accept it.
Several, several years ago, I mentioned to a friend that if my ex-wife and I ever divorced, I would move to California and get a sex change operation. I told this to another friend, too–one that you could almost call a boyfriend, except that it wasn’t like that for me. When he brought this up again a year later, I adamantly denied it. Even though I had told him to his face that I felt like a girl and wanted to pursue that, when he mentioned it later, I abjectly refused to admit that I’d said that. I told him he was taking it out of context and making it to be a much bigger deal than it was. Readiness often comes in phases, rarely does it come all at once.
Nolan’s early writings, particularly his written declaration of the case for a Libertarian Party, have anarchism bleeding through it in exactly the same way that transgenderism bled through so much of my life, even as I identified as a male and sought desperately to hide any indication that I wasn’t quite normal. We see in Nolan’s other writings exactly the same conflict that we saw in me when I said “real men don’t wear pink.” Coming to term with oneself and making that final leap is often extremely difficult, but it shines through, and nothing can dim the inner light of the true self.
When such a conflict arises, how shall we form an understanding of the person? Through their often-confused and often-contradictory expressions and positions, or through the inner light that bleeds through no matter how adamantly it is denied, and is only embraced much later in life? Should we embrace the identity of the person as they express themselves while clearly embroiled in internal conflict, or should we be more understanding and accept their internal conflict as just that–internal conflict that was only resolved much later in life? Nolan denied being an anarchist and expressly stated that he was a minarchist with exactly the same fervor and tenacity with which I stated that I was a normal heterosexual male.
But I was never a normal heterosexual male, and Nolan was never a minarchist.
So, no. Caryn Harlos is wrong. Nolan was an anarchist, even back then, and it clearly bleeds through in his early writings in exactly the same way that female clothing bled through my otherwise-normal male adolescence. That I claimed to be a normal male didn’t make me one; that Nolan claimed not to be an anarchist didn’t prevent him from being one. It merely prevented him from coming to terms with what was already then shining through.
But apparently I’m a revisionist for saying that, clearly, Nolan was always an anarchist. If so, then I’m a revisionist for saying that I was always transgender.
Moreover, I can claim right now to be a minarchist. That won’t make me one. I could just as easily call this site “The Minarchist Shemale” and write pretty much the same things, though occasionally throwing out contradictory articles about how we need a state to protect us from a state. None of that would make me a minarchist, though–it would only make me confused about who I am and what I believe.
I’d rather take the word of the person who has worked through that confusion and expressed an identity that is in accord with their inner identity than to arbitrarily cling to the confused contradictions of someone struggling to come to terms with their identity.
Want to read the whole story? Well, now you can! For a limited time (until June 15), Dancing in Hellfire is finally available for sale, for only $3.49. You can buy it here, through this very site, using PayPal or a typical credit/debit card (payment is processed by PayPal, so I don’t see the info), after which you’ll be given access to the book as both a PDF and an ePub.
Whether being four years old and watching one of my parents’ friends shoot up peanut butter on our couch and dying before my eyes; whether being effectively kidnapped at the age of eight by my meth-addicted mother and forced to endure a summer of being too poor to buy food, with our water turned off due to non-payment, and with mom being beaten mercilessly by a violent alcoholic; whether coming to terms with her disappearance like something out of a murder mystery show; or whether being transgender in the midst of all of this and trying desperately to come to terms with it while surrounded by a fundamentalist Christian family that forced me to not merely repress who I was but also to forget who I was, I have seen a great deal of tragedy.
It’s strangely easy to forget how devastating all of this must truly have been, even as I was the one who experienced it, because it’s easy to forget how it truly felt to lie awake, crying and listening to the sounds of shattering glass as my mother was thrown brutally through windows. It’s easy to forget how angry I have the right to be at my father and grandmother, for forcing me to oppress myself and attempting to turn me into something that I am not.
Today I am a transgender woman and resident of the state of Mississippi. This is as frustrating, difficult, and dangerous as one would expect, but I survive, and I roll with the punches. I have no choice, just as I had no choice those early mornings as I bore witness to horrific domestic violence.
So this is my story–a story of how low human depravity can sink, but also how the human spirit can stand resilient and refuse to surrender. However, I know that I am one of the lucky ones. The majority of people who endure such childhood trauma, and who are forced by religiously oppressive authorities to repress their own natures, are not so fortunate. Most of the former lose themselves in a sea of drugs that allow them to forget, while the latter often lose themselves to the blade of a razor. Yet I know, because I have lived it, that we can survive the struggles–and not merely survive, but become stronger through them.
Where to begin, in this sordid tale of devils and demons?
My family is exactly what one would expect of a north Mississippi lower middle class / upper lower class white Christian family; it was only a few years ago that I first heard the acronym WASP, but I have to admit: aside from its redundancy, there is no more apt description of my family. They are almost stereotypical in how typical they are of an ordinary white fundamentalist Christian family from the southern United States.
Everyone in Mississippi isn’t like that, however, which is a point I’ve tried to stress in the past: Mississippi does contain many people like myself. As a friend recently put it, “We grew up in an area that is run-down, poor, and stupid, over all, where most of the populace is indoctrinated by religious nonsense to the point where they can’t even recognize rational thought. We pushed through what it takes to fit in here, and we defined ourselves. That’s something to embrace and be proud of.”
My friends and I have reached the end of a long and grueling journey that was filled with adversity and people who would use any means at their disposal—terrorism, fear, violence, and coercion—to bend us to their wills, and we’ve looked back at the paths we traveled and rejoiced that we survived and stayed true to ourselves. Friends are priceless when one is transgender in a family full of fundamentalist Christians.
Both of my paternal grandparents would reject me entirely—they do not yet know, and they will be among the last to know, since I see them only a few times a year. “You don’t know how they’ll react,” I’ve had people tell me. “Give them a chance. Sometimes people surprise you.”
With all due respect, those allies and friends have no idea the type of people we’re really dealing with. My Mississippian friends know better, too; they know that there is no chance that my family will ever welcome me at Christmas dinner as a female. When my grandfather (who, for the record, is on his tenth or eleventh wife) learned that my sister was living with her boyfriend, he wrote her a lengthy letter, wherein he quoted Biblical passages and called her a whore. When my grandmother found girls’ clothes hidden between my mattresses, she wanted to send me to a foster home and asserted that she would not have that in her house. If they had thought I was gay, they would have sent me to one of those awful “pray the gay away” camps.
This isn’t to say that I’m perfect, and acknowledging my own faults and mistakes will be the most difficult part of writing this. I have made plenty of mistakes and stupid decisions that brought people around me severe difficulty and hardship, particularly regarding past relationships.
My memory is also not perfect, and I am likely to make mistakes, and, given that some of the information comes from extremely unreliable sources (like my father), some of that can’t really be helped. It doesn’t matter, though. The point of this is to show how awful parenting shaped me, and the countless lies that my dad told me are part of that. I strive for honesty, integrity, and sincerity in all things. Consider this my vow that everything within is, to the best of my knowledge, the unaltered truth, except that names have been changed.
I was born premature, thankfully, since the umbilical cord had wrapped around my throat and I was choking to death. This was surely a result of my mother’s cigarette smoking and eating painkillers while pregnant. My father insists that she didn’t do drugs while she carried us, but… Yeah, she did.
I certainly don’t remember my birth, but I do remember some things from shortly after my birth. Though my family says there is no way I could remember it, my introduction to the world came with overwhelming confusion: I was in some sort of cradle, and the back of my right hand hurt because a number of needles and tubes penetrated my flesh. The details are blurry and fuzzy, as one would expect from such early memories, but the needles burned and itched. They irritated me, and I wanted them out. I was afraid and confused, with no idea why these things penetrated my hand and no understanding of what was going on. I knew only that I was hurting and helpless to do anything about it.
Confusion—pure confusion. I didn’t even have a sense of self. I had no idea that I existed, that I was a baby in a hospital, and that I was a being. I could feel the needles in the back of my hand, and they hurt. The pain, however, was not unbearable, and wasn’t the main facet of that moment. It was confusion. I was not afraid—I didn’t have enough self-awareness for the confusion to make me scared. I simply knew nothing. I was a blank slate, onto which was being written reality in the ink of experience. I didn’t even know that I was a blank slate. I knew only that I hurt, and that I was confused. I was not in the arms of a loving mother whose warmth brought me comfort. I did not stare up and into the eyes of a nurse who was delighted to see a baby growing healthier by the hour. I was not being cooed by an older brother, or rocked in the cradle while a loving grandparent read a story. I was alone and hurting in a room bathed in fluorescent light.
That was my first experience with the world. That was how I was introduced to the universe—in the sterilizing, emotionless light of an empty hospital room, not the gentle and soothing light of a home. I heard the beeps and sounds of monitoring equipment, not the joyous laughter of a loving family. I lie alone in a hospital contraption with the shrill, uncomfortable hospital sheets, not wrapped in a blanket and the arms of a doting mother.
And the worst part—the indisputable worst part—is that I remember this.
The first few years of my life were probably normal, about what anyone would expect from a southern, lower middle class white family that subsisted more on the successes of previous generations than the merits of its own. There were some oddities, though, and signs even then of who I really was, but it was the mid-80s. It wouldn’t really be fair to blame my parents for not recognizing and embracing that I was transgender.
Of course, I was born male, “with a penis and everything.” But whenever all of my underwear was dirty, my mother would put me in my sister’s panties; it wasn’t a punishment, to clarify. Being the clever child that I was, I began hiding all of my underwear, just so that I could tell my mom that I didn’t have any, and so that I could wear panties instead. Somewhere around three years old, I took all of my underwear and threw them into the back of a closet that no one ever opened, and then I reported to my mother that, strangely, all of my underwear was suddenly gone.
So when I say that I’ve been transgender since birth, it’s as close to “since birth” as one can get. I couldn’t have been older than three years old at that point, because my sister hadn’t begun kindergarten herself. I knew then that I preferred women to men: I loved my mother and sister, and, even at that age, I had a deep appreciation for feminine beauty. I also thought that my Aunt Diane was the most beautiful woman I’d ever seen, and my mother used to make fun of me for my enamorment with my aunt.
My experience with men at this point was limited to my father (who was fat and not overly pleasant to look at), my brother (who was thin, but who had nothing on my mother), my grandfather (who was also overweight, and a jerk), and my Uncle Danny (who has always been an asshole). Although it’s typical for young boys to love their mothers, I wanted to be just like mine, and I suspect that had a lot to do it with, but who can say? I was three when it began, and I simply wanted to be a girl.
I had a blanket (what most people would call a “blankie,” though I never called it that), and it was one of those cotton-threaded ones similar to fishnet. I refused to sleep without it and my pillow. The pillow actually wasn’t that important, but the pillowcase certainly was. I rubbed the pillowcase between my finger and thumbnail, sleeping on the central heating vents in the floor and driving my father crazy with all of it.
A Look at My Father
I would love to say that my father isn’t a bad man.
But he is.
That’s a difficult thing to say and accept, but I have to stress that it doesn’t really make me love him any less, and that the dominant emotion I have for my father is pity. Even so, I would be lying if I said that he was a good man who simply made some mistakes; that isn’t the case at all. He’s a bad man who has made some good decisions, not a good man who has made a few bad ones.
His own childhood was no walk in the park, damaged by my alcoholic and abusive grandfather beating the hell out of my grandmother. Though not much of that has been shared with me, I can certainly relate to what he has said, and it’s clear the recollections are as painful to him as it is for me to recall the abuse my mother endured at the hands of alcoholics.
At some point, my grandparents divorced—Go, grandma!—because my grandmother wouldn’t put up with the abuse. My grandmother is easily worthy of her own story, because she is an unsung hero of the feminist movement without even trying. In the sixties and seventies, she left her violent husband and blazed her own path in Mississippi, won the house in the divorce, and then worked at a college until she retired at the age of 67.
True to the family history, my grandmother endured her own screwed up childhood, and was even sent away by her mother to live with Uncle Bill and Aunt Edna on their farm. Evidently, Aunt Edna didn’t like my grandmother one bit, and was very unkind to her. What internal strength caused my grandmother, in what must have been the 40s, to graduate as the valedictorian of her class? What quiet resolve allowed my grandmother to learn the necessary skills to work in the administration section of a college during the 60s?
These are questions to which I would love answers, but I’ll never have them, because they are not things that my grandmother is willing to discuss. Questions about her past are met with short answers, and I can’t blame her for not wanting to talk about it.
On one particular drunken rampage, my father held a gun on my grandfather so that my grandmother could limp out of the house. While I truly hate that he had to do such a thing in the first place, I’m also jealous that he was old enough to do something about it. When my mother suffered under Everett’s hands, I was in the second grade, and too young and weak to do anything to intervene.
For years, my father insisted that he was drafted to Vietnam, and he even talked about how he was called a murderer and spit upon when he returned. Eventually my sister and I realized that there’s no way this is true. Either he was actually the oldest between him and his brother (and thus wouldn’t have been drafted), or the Vietnam War ended when he was 16. In this little alternate reality he had constructed, he had to be older than our mother was (which was blatantly false—she had always been recognized as the older one), his brother had to be lying about his own age, and almost everyone had to have falsified birth records.
He changed his story to say that he was in Vietnam during the 80s, through another offensive that we did, but I have been unable to find any military record for him. Whether he actually fought in Vietnam, he did mislead us into believing he’d fought in the Vietnam War, which is a lie of such magnitude and scope that one has to marvel at it.
He is a religious man, though it’s hard to tell by his behavior: heavy drug usage, constant lies, and steady manipulation. Although he is less religious than other family members are, his secularism is applied selectively, and he’s generally as fundamental as everyone else is. He continues to believe that President Obama is a Muslim, is more or less openly racist, and is a diehard Republican, despite that he’s effectively a ward of the state who benefits substantially from liberal policies.
I obviously don’t see eye-to-eye with him, but we do have some similar interests. It was he who introduced me to Fantasy literature and tabletop gaming, both of which almost immediately became passions for me. In turn, I exposed him to the tenth installment of a popular roleplaying video game, and I’m still happy that I was able to show him to something that he enjoyed so immensely. He must have played through it a dozen times, and he certainly discovered more of its secrets than I ever would have.
There is some kinship between us, and I do love him, despite the numerous differences, and in spite of the fact that he has done me far more harm than good. More than anything, I pity him, because his childhood evidently destroyed him; he is one those who did not escape unscathed. He was swallowed by the mentality that the world owes him something, and oblivious to the reality that the world will never give it.
The rifts between us began because I was not the son that he wanted. He hated that I loved sleeping on the heating vents—I’ve always loved heat. I wouldn’t sleep anywhere else. I had to sleep on one of the floor vents, and the heat had to be on. There in the floor, I had the pillow and pillowcase that I refused to sleep without, and the blanket that I required as I slept.
My father hated all of these things. We went to visit some relatives at one point, and I left my blanket and pillow at home. With no other way to shut me up, my parents took me to a store to get a new pillow, and there I went from one to the next, tearing open the plastic just slightly, and “testing” it until I found one that was satisfactory. When we got back to our trailer a few nights later, dad went outside and told me to bring my pillow.
As I stepped out into the night air, I saw him kneeling just outside the small stone circle beside our front steps. It had once been a flower garden—conceived during one of mom’s highs, when she was bolstered with energy from painkillers. The high wore off, but the flowers remained in that little circle of rocks—at least for a while. Then they died, shriveled, neglected, and forgotten.
Almost like a demon out of a child’s horror story, there was my dad, grinning devilishly and eagerly, urging me to throw my old pillow onto a mess of crumbled newspapers soaked in lighter fluid as he held his flaming lighter above it. “We need to burn it!” he said, but I refused. There was no need to burn it. They were already making me throw it away—they were already making me discard this pillow that I loved and had slept with every night for years. Was that not enough?
“We need to burn it!” he said again, as I ran inside and cried to mom that dad wanted to burn the pillow that I loved. It may seem strange that I had such attachment to a pillow, but I did, and both of my parents knew it. My father certainly knew very well that I loved that pillow.
That’s why he wanted to burn it. Because I loved it.
We didn’t burn random things, and I doubt that we ever burned anything there at all. He wasn’t content to force me to throw away this pillow, the symbol that I was an emotional person and not the crass son that he apparently wanted. The pillow had to be destroyed in flames because I loved it, and because “real men don’t love.” This silly, feminine weakness, this emotional attachment to an object—it had to be gotten rid of, and in the most dramatic way possible.
It was not the pillow that my dad wanted to burn.
It was my heart.
My mother intervened, though my father came inside and continued insisting that we needed to burn the pillow, because he was afraid that I would be able to talk my mother into letting me keep it. One has to wonder why it was an issue that I wanted to keep it. In the end, I placed it gingerly on top of the garbage can in the kitchen and told it goodbye. I hated to do so, and I cried, because it didn’t make sense to me.
It’s understandable that I developed such strong emotional ties to objects, as neither parent spent much time with me, and there was not much hugging in the family. Mom and dad were always high on one drug or another, lying on the couch and borderline comatose. I don’t know how Brandi handled it then, or what she did in order to get through the long and miserable days, but it was surely as awful for her as it was for me. Unlike our older brother, we didn’t have friends with whom we could go hang out. Or, at least, I didn’t. Brandi was friends with a girl who didn’t live too far from us, and I hope that my sister was happy then.
Aunt May and Kay-Kay
For a while, mom did work, as did my father. While Brandi and Eric were gone to school and my parents were at work, I was babysat by our great aunt who lived next door, a relatively kind woman who I remember as mostly humorless. My father fleeced her out of most of her money, just as he did to my great-grandmother, and just as he is currently doing to my grandmother. However, I was too young to comprehend that, and there isn’t much that I remember about Aunt May.
It was horrendously boring at Aunt May’s. There were few places worse for my pre-school self. I wasn’t allowed to take my Nintendo, which left me there alone with an eighty-year-old woman and very little to actually do, because there was no one to play with and nowhere to play at. Aunt May wasn’t unkind, but she was also not particularly joyful. I don’t blame her for that—she was a very old woman, and probably not happy to babysit a four-year-old.
I should have been outside having fun, rather than sitting in a living room with an eighty-year-old woman and playing with paper dolls that she cut out of a magazine. Of course, such things seem droll only from a modern perspective, but I was accustomed to video games and cartoons, the heightened entertainment possibilities of the late 1980s. In the 1880s, a child would have been thrilled to sit on a couch in an air-conditioned house and idle away the hours with paper dolls.
However, imagine the horrified response one would get if a modern child was asked to spend day after day in that environment, with only a very old woman as company. There would probably be allegations of child abuse, though I’m not making that claim. However, many modern parents would likely consider that to be, at the least, borderline child abuse. To me, it was simply boring, and the time passed so slowly that I probably lived more moments there at Aunt May’s house than all the moments I have lived since.
I don’t intend any of this to be disparaging to Aunt May. I have no doubt that she did the best she could, and significantly better than many people in her position would have. Still, I dreaded those days when both parents had to work, and it was routine for me to ask mom each afternoon, “Do you have to work tomorrow?”
Aunt May had a moustache, as well, but I never noticed it. It wasn’t until I was a teenager and I was shown a picture of her that I learned she had a moustache. I was pre-kindergarten when I spent time with Aunt May, so the idea that a woman didn’t have facial hair wasn’t in my head yet, so it seemed perfectly normal to me. My father had a moustache and Aunt May had a moustache. Cars had tires, and houses had walls.
One horrible day, as Aunt May sat in her recliner, concealed from view of the kitchen as I sat on the couch near the front door, there was suddenly a crash in the kitchen. The backdoor entered into the kitchen, and I will never forget the fear that fell over this old woman’s face. Someone had broken in through the back door.
She and I hid in the living room, cowering in the corner behind her chair. I don’t believe she ever called the police (she didn’t have a phone), or did anything about it, but my memory of that ordeal is vague. I recall only the noise, the unmistakable terror in her eyes that I was able to recognize even at four years old, and the hiding.
Because she was very old, it simply wasn’t possible for Aunt May to always babysit me, and I had another sitter called Kay-Kay—a hefty, middle-aged woman who seemed to be doing pretty well in life. She had a house, at least, which I recognized to mean that she was okay—we lived in a trailer, and most of the people we knew lived in a trailer. Living in a house… That was a grand thing to me. I didn’t mind that we lived in a trailer, and I was much too young to know that being the child of two fast-food workers (even if they were supervisors) who raised Confederate flags, shot up heroin, and ate Xanax made me the definitive example of “trailer trash,” but I knew that it was a great thing to have a house.
Kay-Kay was an ordinary woman, and there was much going on beneath the surface that most people never saw. As I sat in one of her bedrooms, playing a video game, there was suddenly a banging on the door and people shouting, demanding to be allowed inside and promising that, if Kay-Kay refused, they would tear the house down.
Although I was shocked and scared at first, Kay-Kay put my fears to rest by handling it expertly. She answered in an almost aloof way, as though she had no concern about it. Even as they banged and screamed, I was unafraid, because Kay-Kay didn’t appear to take it seriously. After a minute or so, the banging stopped, and then the rhythmic pounding echoed through her home, coming from somewhere in the back.
“They’re going to tear the house down!” I shouted to Kay-Kay, scared once more. In my head, I had the image of two enormous, burly, and angry men outside with huge hammers, smashing away the bricks and crashing through the walls.
“Oh, no, they’re not, sweetie,” came Kay-Kay’s reply as she dropped to a knee and hugged me. “They’re just mad. They’ll get over it and leave in a few minutes.”
Sure enough, Kay-Kay was right: they did leave shortly thereafter. In actuality, they probably just had given up on the front door and gone to try the back door. Finding it locked, they banged and shouted some more, and then left. I never learned what it was about, and Kay-Kay asked me not to mention it to my parents, which made sense: that isn’t the sort of thing a mother wants happening at the selected babysitter’s home. I didn’t stay quiet, though, and that was the last time Kay-Kay ever babysat me. It was also the last time that I saw her.
The Rise of Tumult
There was a “friend of the family” called Doc, and I liked him a lot. Everyone liked Doc—he was a friendly, charismatic person. Being my parents’ friend, he was heavily on drugs, but Doc was also in a motorcycle gang, which created a problem, because shooting up was explicitly against the gang’s laws. Just to be clear here: this is the world I grew up in. This was normal to my three-year-old self. On any given day, I was likely to see one or both of my parents shoot up heroin with a buddy who was in a motorcycle gang, smoke a joint or two, and collapse onto the couch in a stupor and droning out “Yeah…” to no one.
I watched my mother, laid out on the loveseat, look to my father on the other side of the living room. She held up, toward my father, a syringe full of some red liquid, and then she asked in a seductive voice, “John, do you want some of this?” And as she spoke, she pressed in the syringe and sent a jet stream of this stuff—whatever it was—flying across the living room. They were both out of their minds, just high as hell.
Disheveled, frantic, panicked, and terrified, Doc stopped by our trailer and wanted to sell my father a half-pound of weed for fifty bucks. My father had twenty dollars he could pay. Knowing my father, it’s amazing that he had any money, but he did, and he explained to Doc what he had.
Doc in turn explained that he had to get out of town. “Had to,” he said, and my father understood what that meant. The gang somehow learned that Doc was shooting up, so Doc had to get out of town before they found him and forced him to run “The Gauntlet.” Because, apparently, that actually happens. My father bought the weed, and Doc fled, but it was to no avail, and he was later found dead.
We frequently drove north to visit my Aunt Diane and Uncle Danny (the man who would later go to prison for murder and, in all likelihood, killed my mother, though there is no body or evidence), as well as our cousins. One of these trips proved to be one of the most traumatic experiences of my childhood.
As Brandi and I rode with dad in his yellow truck, in a secluded area where the road was surrounded by steep ditches that spelled death for anyone who lost control and went over, a truck driver decided to pass us. The trucker blew his horn a few times, and then he went for it. As he passed, he veered to the right—or dad swerved to the left. The enormous side view mirror of the rig crashed through the window beside dad and sent a spray of glass shards through the cab of our truck. Luckily, neither my sister nor I sustained any injuries.
The fault was probably my father’s (driving under the influence of one drug or another), but the reason officially given was that the highway wasn’t wide enough to pass. This excuse came much later in the day, after the trip got significantly worse.
We passed through Memphis as we traveled, and came upon an intersection. Not paying attention, I couldn’t tell you exactly how it happened, but there was shaking and noise. We rear-ended another vehicle. It’s possible that my father didn’t stop quickly enough, and it’s possible that he pressed the gas too hard and too quickly after the light turned green. Regardless, we hit the vehicle hard and sent it careening into the intersection. Reportedly, it traveled fifty feet from the impact.
The woman driving that car died on the spot with a broken neck.
Someone obviously called the police, and they arrested my father. The police placed Brandi and me in the back of the police car with him, which made us feel as though we were also being arrested, and that is terrifying when you’re four or five years old and have no comprehension of what is going on. As though we were playing out a scene in a movie, the very same trucker who had hit us earlier happened upon the accident, and presumably told the police that dad was driving erratically. The next thing I knew, the trucker was banging on the glass beside me, shouting obscenities at us—not just at our dad, but honestly at the five-year-old children, too. I was terrified, confused, and frightened out of my mind, and it didn’t help that dad, with his hands cuffed behind his back, was frothing at the mouth, rocking the police car, and demanding to be let out so that he could fight the truck driver.
My sister and I were taken to the hospital, and police, doctors, and therapists repeatedly questioned us about the accidents. We were separated from our father, but also from each other, and that made the experience more traumatic than it had to be. We were finally told that we would be going into the care of Aunt Diane and Uncle Danny briefly, and they were the ones who picked us up from the hospital. My grandmother acquired a good lawyer for my father, and he was able to go to rehabilitation rather than prison, or something to that effect.
For a long time, my nerves were absolutely shot, and it was nearly impossible to get me into a vehicle, which is probably the normal response of a four year old child after being in two accidents in a single day, one of which resulted in a death, all because the parents didn’t mind driving after eating a bunch of pills. Naturally, their solution was to shove pills down my throat, giving me what they called “nerve pills” that were probably Xanax or Klonopin. This was the only way to get me into an automobile for several months after the accidents, because otherwise I would scream and throw fits. Eventually the anxiety faded, but knocking me out with drugs was the only way to get me into a car for a while.
Things returned to what we considered normal, though that isn’t to say that either of my parents stopped doing drugs. I doubt either parent was clean for any notable period, and they continued inviting friends over. These parties, while they were more or less tame and consisted of people drinking, doing drugs, and playing spades, would not constitute “normal” for most kids.
On one such occasion, one of the people with whom they were hanging out decided that it would be a brilliant idea to inject peanut butter. Presumably, he’d heard that “The high is incredible, man!” and wasn’t much interested in maybe asking a doctor before doing something so horrendously and creatively stupid. According to my father—who is a known pathological liar, it’s worth remembering—the man died on the spot, so they took him home and left him on his couch, dead. I have no memory of this, but it allegedly happened sometime around my fifth birthday.
I started kindergarten, and I loathed it. Up until that point, my life was fantastic. I could wake up whenever I wanted, spend the entire day watching cartoons and playing videogames, snacking whenever I desired, and just doing anything I pleased. Then suddenly I couldn’t do that any longer; I had to wake up at a specific time, go spend the entire day in a boring school, and then only had a few hours afterward to do the things that I enjoyed doing. As early as kindergarten, it struck me as absurd: if the point of life is to be happy, as everyone constantly insisted to me, then why did I have to go to school?
We were poor—dirt poor, as you might expect, given the heavy drug usage. Although both parents were managers at various fast food restaurants at times, my mother eventually quit working altogether and got onto disability for her migraines. It was with tremendous excitement that we were approved for food stamps, and we waited for weeks with palpable eagerness in the air, though I had no idea what it even meant. There are two times that I distinctly recall the entire family waiting anxiously for something to happen, and the anticipation was identical on both occasions; we waited for food stamps and we waited for our cable to be activated with the same sense of impending thrill, as did I, even though I had no understanding of what either meant.
Being approved for food stamps felt like having a birthday, and so did the cable company finally coming out, after weeks of waiting, to connect our cable television. While I understood that having cable meant that we would have Nickelodeon, there was no way that I understood the concept of food stamps, so my excitement was surely nothing more than a mirror of my parents’ own eager anticipations. It was just months after this that I began school, and that mom became convinced that dad was not really working, that he was only disappearing while he was supposed to be at work.
It was a school day when it happened, because we were supposed to be in class, but mom kept us at home. My much older brother, my slightly older sister, and I were told that we were leaving dad, and I’m sure I handled that as well as any six year old child would, which is to say with naked emotion untempered by the jaded self-control we are taught to exercise in later years. I didn’t understand what was going on, but I was devastated nonetheless. First, the life I had come to know and love was wrecked by having to go to school, and then what little semblance of it remained was being irretrievably shattered by this upheaval. I spent the entire day in tears, as did my sister. Whatever was going on between our parents had nothing to do with us, and our lives were being cast into the hurricane because of it.
Too young to truly understand what was really going on, my primary concern was whether to leave my father “the good Nintendo” or the bad one. They both worked, but one of them was much more difficult to get working. Both my dad and I were big on video games, and so was my older brother, and even my mom and sister played occasionally. There were lots of family moments when we all took turns, and we even had a device that allowed four controllers to be used.
I agonized over that decision far more than a six year old should, and my mom didn’t give the situation nearly as much attention as it deserved. My entire world, prior to school, consisted almost entirely of playing video games. That I even debated which one to leave was a tremendous indicator of how much I loved my father, how much I didn’t want to leave, and, above all, how poorly equipped I was to cope with the chaos I suddenly was confronting. Mom was tearing our family apart, breaking it into two pieces, and she never sat down with my sister and me to explain what was happening, to assure us that we’d still see our dad, or to promise us that it would be okay. While to some extent that’s understandable, since she had to pack and load things up, the utter failure to remember that she was literally wrecking her youngest kids’ lives is very difficult to excuse.
To make matters worse, she was cowardly about it, too, because all of this happened while my father was at work. We lived in a trailer on my grandfather’s land, and it’s very likely that my grandfather was the one who alerted my father to the moving truck that was at his home. However, seeing as my grandfather later offered to shoot my mother for my dad, I doubt he would have showed the restraint simply to inform my dad of what was happening.
Regardless, dad pulled up while we were finishing and preparing to leave. The next little bit is a blur of anger, hostility, and shouting from which I am able to pull very few details. In a flash, dad went from anger to pleading, but mom refused to listen; her mind was made up, and she cranked the car, put it into gear, and hit the gas. Dad threw himself into the side of the car and then hit the ground, fell onto his back, and then lie there in the grass. My sister and I screamed and cried—our dad had just been run over!—and mom shouted at us to stop yelling. I gazed out of the back window at my father as we drove away, and there he was, lying unmoving in the grass, and all I could think was the horrible thought, “Dad is dead.”
There in the back of the car, crying quietly, having just watched my father die from being hit by a car, I sat at the age of six years old, being shouted at by my mom to shut up because I freaked out when I saw her kill my dad.
Want to read the whole story? Well, now you can! For a limited time (until June 15), Dancing in Hellfire is finally available for sale, for only $3.49. You can buy it here, through this very site, using PayPal or a typical credit/debit card (payment is processed by PayPal, so I don’t see the info), after which you’ll be given access to the book as both a PDF and an ePub.
Another day, another weird conversation about something that shouldn’t be an issue but is because we threw common sense out of the window around the same time that we decided that simple, descriptive words like “shemale” were unacceptable. So today let’s have yet another conversation about terminology, transgenderism, and all that. I was going to save this for the podcast return debuting on March 1, but since the wrestler won the state championship today, the timing is more important.
How about this simple question? What does it even mean that he’s a transgender male? What does that tell you? I’m transsexual, and even I had to stop and think about what this means. From one perspective, I’m a transgender female; from another, I’m a transgender male. What does it mean that this wrestler is a transgender male? It means that he was born a girl, and that he’s making the F2M transition. Has he undergone SRS? We don’t know. Maybe, and maybe not. Should a person with a penis be taking part in a ridiculously high-contact and notably homo-erotic sport like wrestling against people who would, in those conditions, be members of the opposite sex?
Well, let’s back up a bit more.
To my surprise, my recent article about the transgender bathroom thing caused me to alter my position such that I’m no longer an advocate of any gender-based segregation. I’m a damned good chess player. In high school, there was a good chance that I was going to go on to become at least an IM. When I returned to chess a few years ago, I fell just short of qualifying for IM status.
Chess is one of the… sports*… where men and women are segregated. In some cases, this is good. There are measurable differences between men and women. But the idea of segregating men and women in an intellectual pursuit doesn’t strike me as right. Are women inherently less intelligent than mean? Less capable of playing chess? If not, then why are they segregated out? I wondered all this when I returned to the… sport… because I didn’t know which category I would be placed in. And in a… sport… where the best women players rank around 2500, the bars for qualifying for titles are much lower; at 2100 I probably could have secured a title. Hell, at 2100, pouring my entire life into chess and seizing the world championship would have been a realistic goal. I fell short of 2100, to be clear, when I lost interest again, as I tend to do, and moved on to other things. However, the gap from 2100 to “best female player in the world” is a hell of a lot lower than trying to take on Karpov, Kasparov, or Carlsen, who are around 2900. It may not seem like it, but that gap from 2500 to 2900 is a huge one. It represents basically a lifetime of dedication and study.
I think physical sports probably should remain segregated, because it’s not fair. I’d like to be able to say that “A good basketball player is a good basketball player regardless of whether something protrudes from their chest or their crotch.” But that isn’t the case. Women are notably shorter than men. Women can’t jump as high, or run as fast. It’s not popular to say it, and for some reason it’s considered bad to say, but these are measurable things. 6 ft, 10 1/4″ is the women’s high jump world record. The men’s high jump world record is 8’0 1/4“. That’s a measurable, quantifiable, demonstrable difference. Not only is the world’s best high jumping man objectively better at high jumping than the world’s best high jumping women, but it’s also true with averages: on average, any given man is likely to be better at high jumping than any given woman.
There’s a simple reason for this.
The Transgender Male is a Cheating Bastard
Just as the measurable differences in physical capabilities are long-observed scientifically, so are the effects of testosterone, which is something else that I, being transgender, know first-hand. Not only does testosterone increase physical strength, stamina, and dexterity, but estrogen actively inhibits those–primarily by shrinking the testes and thereby prohibiting the production of testosterone, but… Anyway.
I fail to see how pumping yourself full of testosterone, a hormone known to increase physical strength, stamina, and dexterity at measurable quantities, while engaging in a physical competition designed explicitly to test strength, stamina, and dexterity against people who are defined explicitly by their lack of that hormone doesn’t qualify as using a performance-enhancing drug to cheat the competition. Of course the guy won! You basically chopped a dude’s dick off and told him to go and wrestle a bunch of girls!
This isn’t an accomplishment. It would be like challenging my sister to an arm wrestling match. Woohoo, I won! Can I have a congratulatory pat on the back, and maybe a sash or trophy?
No! Because I cheated. I have hormones in my body that make me innately stronger than she is.
How can we possibly be having this insane conversation? What has happened to America?
I’ve been taking estrogen consistently, without interruptions for about six months now. My muscles have only barely started to fade. I knew it was going to take time, because I’ve lifted weights most of my life–I’m skinny, yes, but it’s seriously 100% muscle, no fat or waste. But before the estrogen could begin eating away at my muscles, first the estrogen had to overtake my testes and inhibit and lower the production of testosterone. I could have taken T-inhibitors, but there is a reason that I opted not to do this–the fewer hormones the better, as far as I’m concerned, since my sexuality makes it very helpful for my equipment to continue functioning.
So I know from first-hand experience that estrogen reduces muscle mass and testosterone builds it. Plus, it’s just a scientific fact. It’s basically what the hormones do.
I don’t know who is to blame for this situation. Given that it’s Texas, it’s probably Texas’s fault, for not allowing him to wrestle against other boys. And I’m sorry to say this, but… then do something else. Find something else to do. Don’t cheat all these girls out of their victories and championships because the state’s decree of your gender has screwed you and prevented you from competing in the proper category. Sometimes life sucks. When that happens, you have two options: let it go and move on, or pay it forward.
You paid it forward, man.
Because the state cheated you, you in turn cheated these girls.
I can’t exempt you from blame in that, because no one made you wrestle. When Mississippi jumped on the anti-LGBTQ bandwagon and made it clear that they’re going to land on the “birth certificate” side of things, my options became going into the men’s bathroom at the courthouse, or just using the bathroom somewhere else. So instead of paying it forward by forcing the men in those restrooms to deal with me–which, believe it or not, they probably wouldn’t have much cared for–I chose to let it go. I don’t have to use the bathroom at the courthouse. Maybe I really want to, for some reason. There are countless things that I want to do, but that I can’t, because I’m transgender and this is Mississippi.
I could pay it forward in countless ways. I could cause a ruckus, make all kinds of noise out in the real world. Like when my landlord nearly evicted me simply because I’m transgender. Oh, man. I could have paid that forward in countless ways. The public crucifixion of him, can you even imagine how the wider public would react? But I let it go. And, as it happens, the fact that I let it go and just continued doing my own thing is precisely the reason the landlord changed his mind. “She’s not bothering anything.” In fact, because I was willing to stand with the landlord’s right to evict me from his property, even though I felt it was the morally wrong thing to do, I would bet that if it ever came to it, that landlord would be at my house with a gun ready to shoot anyone attacking me for being transgender.
You don’t change minds by pulling this kind of shit, kid.
You don’t reach people’s hearts by using the fact that you were screwed as an excuse for screwing over other people. You forgive, and you let it go.
Just a kid?
I don’t buy into that. I don’t buy into the argument that “you’re just a kid,” so you bear no responsibility for what you’ve done. You’re 17. You’re anywhere between 364 days and 1 minute away from being classified as an adult. Unlike most people, I don’t place much significance in the arbitrary value that is a person’s age; you’re 17, and that makes you responsible for your actions. You knowingly and willfully continued cheating these girls because you wanted to wrestle and the state cheated you. But did the state even cheat you? You just won a state championship. Looks to me like you’re a wolf and the state just threw you a bunch of sheep. So I’m not even sure the State of Texas insisting you’re a female did you any harm. It looks to me like it helped you, because I’m thinking that you probably wouldn’t have won a state championship against other 17 year old boys.
You had the chance to do the right thing: withdraw.
Sometimes it sucks. No, it’s not fair. Life isn’t fair, and it can’t be made fair by other people. Fairness starts with you, regardless of what has been done to you. If you want life to be fair, then you have to start being fair to other people, even when you don’t think they deserve it, even when they haven’t been fair to you, and even when it is to your own detriment, because that is what fairness means. You are the only person who can directly increase the amount of fairness in the world, and every action that you take that isn’t fair actively decreases the amount of fairness in the world. Life isn’t fair, and you are the reason life wasn’t fair for every single girl you wrestled against.
From a M2F transgender person to you: you know damned well that you weren’t fair to those girls you wrestled against.
And, it bears repeating, that is not how you reach people’s hearts and change their minds. I would have thought people would have learned this from Trump’s victory over the left. You don’t reach people by making them angry, by cheating them. All you achieve, when you do that, is adding resentment to whatever they were already feeling. So congratulations, kid! Now there are probably a hundred girls in your wake that you defeated who are now actively resentful of transgender people, because a transgender person stole their championship from them. You’re not doing anyone but yourself any favors with this kind of shit.
If you want to reach people, you have be better than the people who screwed you over. You can’t just turn around and start screwing over other people and say, “It’s not my fault! I got screwed over, too!” Because it is your fault. You chose to wrestle against girls. You chose to cheat them. You chose to add resentment to the heart of every angry parent of each of those girls who you beat. You’re in Texas, man! You know those parents already were gritting their teeth simply because you exist. And then you went and cheated their daughters. What the hell good do you think that is doing for transgenderism?
You can’t force people to like you. You have to be bigger, you have to be better. You have to rise above it, not reflect it onto others.
Be the man that you want to be. Not the cowardly pussy who cheats other people because someone cheated him.
It’s not supposed to be easy to forgive and let things go, to walk away when you’ve been cheated. Every aspect of human nature demands vengeance, in any way that we can get it. “Fine! You won’t classify me as a boy? Then I’ll wrestle against all these girls who, let’s face it, won’t stand a chance. That’ll teach you a lesson!” But at what cost, man? Maybe the state of Texas will change their position now. I doubt it, but they might. I suspect that the only thing accomplished here is that you won a state championship. Meanwhile, you cheated untold girls out of fair wrestling matches. You made all of their parents, who were probably already predisposed to dislike you, actively resent you because you cheated their daughters. I hope that championship trophy is worth it, because you just set back transgenderism in Texas.
You did that.
As Thomas Knapp points out below, the responsibility for this does ultimately fall to the state, and my initial thoughts were just to delete this since much of it is irrelevant. I’m not even sure how to amend this because of that; I was fixed on his choice to wrestle or not to wrestle, not on the nuance that the state created the entire freaking mess and didn’t steal from the kid’s parents in order to fund it. There is that reality, that if we’re going to have “public services” provided by the state, then those services must be available to everyone. I still don’t think that Mack made the right decision, and that his actions could only have increased the amount of ill-will people in Texas have for transgender people, which isn’t entirely on him anyway. I still think the championship is hollow, and I don’t see much difference, within this context, between injecting testosterone and injecting steroids.
One thing that I have been considering is the likelihood that the primary reason he continued wrestling was specifically to win the championship and draw attention to the absurdity of it, which is the sort of thing that happens when the state tells people what gender they are. There’s no way here that everyone could have been happy, I guess, is the place I’m coming from, and the way it played out meant that Mack is the only person truly happy with the result. And now in the list of high school state championships, there will be Jessica, Amy, Sarah… and then Mack. He had to say “fuck them” about a lot of people and disregard a lot of people’s feelings to win the championship. And while the state of Texas forced that choice on him, I think he made the wrong one.
If you’re LGBTQ, I want you to take an hour or two to sit down and read this, consider it carefully, and then proceed. I want you to forget for a moment everything that you’ve been told by Democrats; I want you to come at this with a fresh perspective and an open mind, because I am watching–I am watching, my fellow LGBTQ people–as you are abused, used, and manipulated by the Democratic Party, and it breaks my heart. You are human beings, and you are not being treated as human beings. You are being treated as resources, as votes, and not much else. You, the proud LGBTQ community who stood and fought for your rights, found solace in a Democratic Party that offered you acceptance, only to pull a bait and switch; what they offered, it has turned out, was not acceptance but compliance.
We have much to thank the Democratic Party for. It was, after all, the Republicans who fought so hard against us, and the Democratic Party took us in at a time when we needed allies most. However, it has become painfully clear that they did not take us in out of any care or compassion for us; they took us in solely because they were building a political coalition to take on their chosen scapegoat, and so they needed us and our support. It was almost a quid pro quo–we used them and they used us–but it was never truly egalitarianism or equality that they sought.
Our goal is, and must be, to create a world where gender identity and sexual orientation do not matter. I believe that this is a goal we can all agree on, that we should move toward a world where transgender people are accepted as people, where homosexuals are accepted as people, where lesbians are accepted as people, and where, regardless of a person’s gender and sexual inclinations, they are accepted as people. The left has deceived us by pretending that they wanted this, too, but it has become clear that they didn’t.
The Democratic Party wants a world where sexual orientation matters, because if sexual orientation does not matter, then there is no longer an LGBTQ community that is part of their coalition. Egalitarianism would destroy the modern Democratic Party. It needs it to matter that a person is gay, that a person is black, that a person is Muslim, because it has built a coalition from these people. If suddenly these characteristics cease being places at which lines are drawn, then their coalition literally falls apart. They want you to be a pariah and, even if you’re not, they’re going to consistently tell you that you are.
I am a transgender polyamorous lesbian.
I’m as LGBTQ as a person can get. I fight my battles alone here in the state of Mississippi, though, generally with nothing but disdain heaped upon me by liberal elements within the LGBTQ community, because I do not toe the party line. Because I will not sign on with the Democratic Party, I am a pariah. I have been attacked by supposed allies of the LGBTQ community, all because I’m not a Democrat. I’m not exaggerating; it has happened repeatedly. Their alliance with LGBTQ people is not built upon their compassion and acceptance of LGBTQ people; it is built upon our willingness to ascribe to their ideology, and the moment we don’t do that, they turn against us with all the fury that they otherwise direct at straight white Christian men.
“Allies” they call themselves, and that’s true, but only in the sense of “political allies.” Their alliance with you is not derived from their desire for egalitarianism and equality, but their realization that you side with them politically, and the very moment you don’t do that, the kangaroo will turn and hang the jury with the innocent. This is all the evidence we need that they don’t care about us. They care about our votes. They care about our obedience to their political ideology.
Someone who truly cares about you won’t turn their back on you the very moment you step out of their political line.
Behold: the response of “Allies” when you aren’t a Democrat.
It’s a horrific group-based mob mentality. “If you’re not with us, then you’re against us.” It’s not “being LGBTQ” that they care about–clearly. Just look at those comments. How dare I disagree with a liberal! All because I dared speak up and speak my mind and not be a liberal, they turned on me viciously, highlighting in the process exactly how they view the world: Us and Them. Once I spoke out against a liberal, I was no longer LGBTQ–I was one of Them. I was an enemy. I, an LGBTQ person, was no longer LGBTQ to these Allies of the LGBTQ community.
Because I didn’t toe the party line.
It’s inescapably clear that their concern for you is not built on the fact that you’re LGBTQ, but on the fact that you’ll side with them politically. I think I’ve made this case clearly–we have only to read above and see exactly what happened.
Consider Milo at Breitbart, as well. He’s a Republican, and widely despised by these same “allies” of the LGBTQ community, all because he dares disagree politically. It’s right in our faces. “Toe the party line, go along with what we say, bow to us, and we’ll ‘accept’ you. Challenge us, show any dissent, and we’ll turn and hang you with them.”
In order to keep you siding with them politically, they will lie. Oh, good God, they will lie, manipulate, and fearmonger.
I am a strict advocate of non-violence, but I swear I would probably beat the hell out of Donovan Paisley for this. So he terrorized a “friend” of his by telling her that she would be captured and imprisoned, until she broke down and cried. He did this to force her to bow to his anti-Trump, Democratic hysteria. He doesn’t give a shit about her. How could he care about her? You don’t terrorize your friends. You can warn your friends, sure, but what he’s saying here isn’t a warning; it’s hysterical terrorism with absolutely no basis in reality.
Trump has said several times that he thinks transgender people should use whatever bathroom they want. The leader of the Republican Party is on record saying that he doesn’t really care about the transgender issue, that he doesn’t care what bathroom people use. I am no Trump supporter, but I do advocate truth, and the undeniable truth is that Trump is on record advocating transgender rights. Full stop: Trump is on record advocating transgender rights. He even said this during the Republican Primary, when he was in Full Conservative mode. This is a man who poses you no danger whatsoever.
Donald Trump is on record saying that he is fine with same sex marriage. These statements are not hard to find. Donald Trump has never said or suggested or implied anything that indicated he is ever going to do anything that would harm the LGBTQ community. In fact, Donald Trump has gone on record vowing to protect the LGBTQ community.
Compare these undeniable facts with the fearmongering that your “allies” are using on you.
Your “Allies” are telling you that you’ll be electrocuted and tortured in conversion therapy against your will. Your “allies” are telling you that you’ll be caught and sent to death camps. Your “allies” are telling you that you will be captured and imprisoned. Your allies are doing everything they can to terrorize you, when the facts–when the actual, verifiable facts–point in exactly the opposite direction: Donald Trump has long been an ally of the LGBTQ community. For fuck’s sake, Hillary Clinton opposed same sex marriage as recently as 2013, while Trump has been an actual ally since the 90s.
I don’t know how much plainer I can make it, fellow LGBTQ people. First, I’m generally not considered one of you at all, and why? Because I’m a libertarian, not a liberal. Simply for being a libertarian rather than a liberal, “Allies” of the LGBTQ community have turned and attacked me viciously–and not just me, but every outspoken LGBTQ person who dares to not be a Democrat. Your allies are doing everything they can to convince you to be afraid, to terrorize you into submission, to make you cower and weep in fear. It’s so pervasive that these same people consider me an enemy of the LGBTQ community! I am LGBTQ!
They don’t accept you because you’re LGBTQ. They accept you because you vote Democrat. And they will pull out every trick in the book from deceit to manipulation to terrorism to keep you voting Democrat. They don’t care about you. They care about forcing you to bow to their political ideology.
Trust Me. Please.
I can show you to a group of people who genuinely don’t care about your political ideology or your sexual orientation. I can show you to a group of people who care about you not because you vote for their political party, not because you’re gay, not because you’re a minority, but because you are an individual and a human being. I can show you to people who will respect you regardless of what you say, who will stand up for you and your rights regardless of where you fall on the political spectra, who will stand up for you and your rights regardless of the clothes you wear, how you do your hair, or what you do with your genitals.
No, they are not Republicans. I would not ever send you to Republicans. Conservatives have certainly gotten a lot better in recent decades, but abandoning one political party to sign up to another won’t help–you’ll just become a tool to be manipulated and used by them, as well.
But first you must divorce yourselves from the Democratic Party. They do not care about you, and they do not accept you. Their care and their acceptance of you depends wholly on your willingness to vote for their political ideology. And when they need to, they will throw you under the bus in a heartbeat to further their political ends.
It’s time to stand up. It’s time to end this abusive relationship.
I should point out that it’s entirely possible Donovan’s post was satire, in which case I’d owe him an apology–but not the Democrats. Because though his is the only one I saved, I’ve seen countless sincere ones exactly like this. Poe’s Law should never apply to something like this.
Now given that this guy might as well have trollface.jpg as his profile pic, we don’t have to pay much attention to what he has to say. He’s just trolling–clearly–using loaded language on both sides of the issue to ignite flame wars on the update. Who cares. Reading through the comments, though, is an interesting experience. Not interesting enough for me to share the comments one by one–besides, there are at least seventy right now–but it did make it plainly obvious that the average person has no idea what we’re even talking about.
I’ll leave to your imagination the comments that this received.
First, there is a difference between transgenderism and transsexualism, and it’s actually more than splitting hairs. I once criticized someone for using the word “transsexual” and said they were likely out of touch with mainstream society, because it is no longer widely used. I was incorrect, and hadn’t given the matter sufficient thought. I was still correct about the person, because it’s not like he knew the difference, but I didn’t, either. “Transgender” seemed a more palatable version of the deprecated “transsexual.”
It gets murky, because there is a difference between gender and sex. After all, gender is a social construct; sex is not. This gets even more opaque because we tend to use words like “male” and “woman” in both contexts, often without even realizing it. For example, in a single paragraph, a person might say, “A man is someone with a penis [thereby referring to the sex of male], and someone with a beard who drinks beer and eats steaks that are almost raw. If your steak is cooked, you’re not a man.”
It should be readily obvious that we’re talking about two totally different things here. One is a sexual organ–a certifiable, verifiable fact that a person either has or does not have. The second part deals with social roles and stereotypes that are not universally applicable. Although it’s becoming increasingly politically incorrect to say, if you have a penis, then your sex is male. At least, that’s how it used to be–I would argue that’s no longer the case, seeing as I’m a non-op transsexual, but I also think that “having a penis” means that I can never refer to my sex as female.
See how complex it gets?
Gender is all about archetypes and stereotypes, conditioning, and societal expectations. “Girls play with Barbies, boys play with G.I. Joes” is a statement referring to gender. These are human social constructs without objective form–they are, to borrow from Shakespeare, our attempt to “give to airy nothingness / a local habitation and a name.” It is almost completely arbitrary that skirts are feminine and jeans are masculine, that women wear makeup but men do not. Of course, we can look through history and find socioeconomic reasons for why these things are adapted by or forced onto one gender or another, but that doesn’t really change anything. Why didn’t men decree that skirts were masculine and that jeans were feminine, that way they could see all those delicious butts in jeans throughout the eons?
Well, for one, denim wasn’t invented in the age we’re discussing.
“Because they didn’t,” is the answer to my question, though. Why didn’t men decide that it was their role to attract women, and thus that men needed to wear makeup and doll themselves up? Again, “Because they didn’t” is the answer.
Now, again, we can go back to the ancient stages of human history and reflect on the fact that men are innately stronger than women, and so men naturally fell into the hunter role better while women were better suited for the gatherer role, but we’ll still ultimately find that it was arbitrary and mostly about power. I’m not preparing to launch into a tirade about female oppression throughout history–it’s not relevant. That’s exactly my point: none of it is really relevant. How these things came about is meaningless today–they are because they are, and they aren’t because they aren’t.
What about bras, though? Surely, it’s not a societal construct that women wear bras while men don’t. Indeed, it’s not, because the sexual dimorphism of humans is most prominent in the breasts. This is a real, sexual difference between the two. We can talk about bra burning and stuff, but that’s not the point. Again, the point is that women have boobs, and men don’t, so if either sex was going to wear protective–or oppressive, for the virulent feminists out there–clothing over their boobs, it would obviously be the sex that has something there to protect.
We could easily ask why men wear jock straps and cups, but women don’t.
“Because having something in that region to protect is a characteristic of the sex,” we would answer, and we would be right to give that answer.
Now, what happens if someone’s sex does not match their gender?
A lot of people would call it a mental illness. This is, strictly speaking, referred to as gender dysphoria, and it’s presently considered a mental illness, though the reason for that is explicitly given that it’s the only way to ensure that Hormone Replacement Therapy and Sex Reassignment Surgery are covered by medical insurance plans. We can get into whether or not that’s beneficial or harmful. It’s also not relevant to our discussion. Gender dysphoria is simply what it’s called when a person’s sex doesn’t match their gender.
Since “gender” is a social construct in the first place, it’s impossible that it could genuinely be a mental illness.
It would be like saying that a white kid has a mental illness because he wears Fubu and listens to Kanye West. In this analogy, the kid’s skin color (an objective, verifiable reality) does not match his cultural identification (he has adopted black culture as his own). Is this a mental illness?
What a stupid question. It’s obviously not a mental illness.
But when we alter it slightly and we have a white boy who wants to wear dresses and play with Barbies, suddenly we do have people crying that it’s a mental illness.
This is what being “transgender” means. It means there is no change to the person’s sex, yet they adopt the other sex’s gender roles and stereotypes as their own. Yes, this involves acknowledging and even embracing gender stereotypes, one of the many examples of liberals’ hypocrisy. You literally cannot be transgender without being sexist. Saying–even if not directly–something like “I don’t want to play with G.I. Joe! I want to play with Barbies, because girls play with Barbies!” is quite obviously sexist.
Under most circumstances, the liberal would reply, “Girls don’t have to play with Barbies! That’s an outdated way of thinking, you chauvinistic pig!”
But if the person is transgender, they’re like, “Awe, and you should do whatever empowers you!”
Being transsexual entails being transgender, but “transsexual” means that there are changes to a person’s sex organs, and there are a few types of this. There is Pre-Op, Post-Op, and Non-Op, depending on whether the person is going to undergo surgery of their primary sex organs. The difference between a Pre-Op Transsexual and a Non-Op Transsexual, then, is one of intent: the pre-op intends to have a sex change operation–to have their penis replaced with a vagina, or their vagina replaced with a penis. A Post-Op is someone who has had this surgery, like Caitlyn Jenner. A Non-Op is someone who is fine with their primary sexual organ, but does make changes to their body that exclude surgery (excluding cosmetic surgery of the face or breasts).
Realistically, a non-op transsexual is a mix of the sexes.
I’ve been criticized and told that I shouldn’t call myself a shemale because it underscores the idea that we aren’t “real women.” I agree and disagree. I agree that, when we’re talking sex, yes–not having the primary sexual organ of a woman does, in fact, mean a person isn’t a “real woman,” at the very least sexually. I realize this offends people. I also don’t care. If you don’t have a vagina, then your attempts to sell yourself as sexually a woman are either disingenuous or delusional. Take your pick. But I don’t think it’s your prerogative to demand other people to acquiesce to your delusion.
Sex is a matter determined by the person’s sexual characteristics. My sex is shemale. I don’t care if that bothers you. It is shemale–you can use “non-op transsexual” if you want, but I prefer communication over political correctness, and “shemale” conveys more to the average person in a single word than this entire article will–and saying “I’m offended” isn’t going to change that. I’m not a pre-op or post-op. I have made the deliberate and conscious decision to keep my penis. It would be the height of absurdity to proclaim that my sex is female and to demand that other people grit their teeth and pretend like it is female. It’s not–it’s S.
My gender is female. With the recent changes to my eyebrows and increasing changes to my face from the estrogen that I take (which is causing the bodily changes I addressed previously), I’m increasingly “passable.” While many people would also get upset that I’d dare use such a word to describe a transsexual rather than a Drag Queen or crossdresser, it simply is the case that I, as any transsexual person does, want to be able to simply exist as an ordinary woman. It’s not until we get into the bedroom with the door shut that my primary sex organ would matter, so no one ever needs to know that my gender–female–doesn’t quite match my sex–shemale. As I currently stand, it is obvious, primarily because of my eyebrows and cheeks.
While the liberal would argue, “No. There’s no such thing as ‘passable’ when it comes to transsexualism or transgenderism. You are female because you say you are female. So you are, by definition, passable, because you are female,” the reality is, of course, murkier.
We don’t live in La-La Fantasy Land.
The word “passable” refers to whether a random stranger will notice anything odd about my gender identification. I can insist to this stranger, “No, really, I’m a female” all day long, but it’s not going to stop me from getting this look:
“Passable” simply refers to whether or not I get that look.
Strictly speaking, no, “passable” doesn’t have anything to do with me. I’m not a drag queen or a crossdresser–I’m transsexual. So the liberal is, in a sense, correct–I’m passable by definition because I identify as a woman and thus am a woman. Strictly speaking, it is irrelevant whether I conform or break this stereotype or whether I have or lack that feature. I am because I am because I am.
Yet the liberal is still wrong to say it has nothing to do with me, because no transssexual person wants that look.
Caitlyn Jenner, for example, is one of the least passable transsexuals that I have ever seen. It’s seriously jarring to me, to see Caitlyn Jenner. I do feel bad for the girl–that enormously square jaw and countless amounts of money spent on cosmetic surgery. And I’ve spent very little money and yet am far more “passable” than she is. That makes me sad for her–it does.
But that doesn’t really change anything.
So, to summarize, sex has been, through most of human history, a binary matter, and because of that, gender became a binary matter. I would suggest that it’s probably true that gender remains a binary matter to this day, but sex is no longer a binary matter. After all, I would put “S” under my sex, but “F” under my gender. I do get that a lot of people think that I should put “F” under both, and I’ve had people chastise me, insult me, and block me for refusing to put Female as both my sex and my gender.
If you ask me, that is the mental disorder: refusing to accept that your sexual organs do determine your sex.
We can have disagreement about whether the sex of “Female” means “has boobs and vagina.” But we can also find plenty of examples that break that mold–breast cancer survivors, and some girls are just flat-chested. We can have a disagreement about whether the sex of “Male” means “has penis, no boobs.” And we could also find plenty of examples that break that mold–men who have had irate waves perform improvised surgery with butcher knives after finding them cheating, or men who have what we call “man-boobs.” There are exceptions to everything, and a rejection of black and white thinking is prevalent in my work.
So I’m not willing to say that it’s universally true that women have vaginas and boobs, and men have penises but no boobs. But I am going to say that if you’ve made the conscious decision to have a penis, then you’re expecting other people to bow to your delusion when you say that your sex is female. Maybe this means we need a new sex for people who willfully operate between the sexes by having a penis, curves, and boobs while identifying as the gender of female.
What do you know! We have one.
Stop being offended by it. It’s the next step of sexual identification.
A quick note: I would tentatively suggest–without having put a considerable amount of thought into it, hence why it’s tentative–that if you experience “gender dysphoria” while touching your primary sexual organ, then it is probably evidence that you are identifying as the wrong sex. People are often surprised to learn that my penis doesn’t bother me. This appears to come from a general confusion on the matter–I’m a lesbian. My penis is rather useful for that. If I experienced “gender dysphoria” by having my penis stimulated, then I’d have major problems. I’d also say that this is “sexual dysphoria” and not “gender dysphoria.”
But my sex is shemale. Shemales have penises. There is no discrepancy there, so there is no conflict that would cause dysphoria. Again, people would understand that more easily if they could get it through their thick skulls that there are some very goddamned good reasons that I identify my sex as Shemale rather than Female.
One year ago today, I connected all the dots and realized that I am transgender, an act I symbolized with the creation of my email address. It’s been a hell of a year. For the time being, please ignore this picture on the left; it’s just there to make it the default picture when this posts to Twitter, Facebook, etc.
That is pretty much how I looked prior to this realization, and prior to accepting that I am transgender.
This abominable pic is how I looked then. I know. This pic is awful. Everything about this picture is awful. It’s not just an ugly female; it is an ugly male.
And that is how I look today. Yes, it has been a hell of a year.
It’s also been a fantastic day. Truly. There is a feral kitten outside that finally allowed me to pet her. But even better than that, I happened to have a supporter share something on Twitter that I just happened to see–someone rebutted some anarcho-capitalist claims. Well, you know me… I’m the Anarchist Shemale. To my knowledge, no one has yet rebutted anarcho-capitalism. So I looked at the video, and fifteen seconds in, I knew I had to do a reply, not because Tyler Preston was wrong, but because the anarchists with whom he was discussing it… clearly had no idea what they were talking about. I set out to do a reply, not to dispute Tyler, but to clear the air on anarcho-capitalism.
In fact, I was tremendously impressed with Tyler’s intellect and, above all, his intellectual honesty.
That is his initial video.
There is my reply. It’s worth mentioning that I realized how belligerent I sounded only after I’d uploaded it, and found it better to simply offer the disclaimer than re-recording my arguments. I had no desire to sound hostile, and I did… I sounded far more hostile and belligerent than I really am. I’m only hostile toward people who make fallacious and ridiculous claims, and Tyler Preston certainly did not.
My Youtube Playlist of response videos is called “Responding to Ignorance.” You’ll notice that my reply to Tyler is not in that playlist. That’s because I was not responding to ignorance. Or, at least, if I was, then it was not Tyler’s ignorance but the ignorance of the people that he was also replying to. As such, I added it to the Anarcho-Capitalism playlist, because he’s certainly not ignorant.
To my surprise, rather than just ignoring my tiny channel, Tyler not only watched the video, but liked it, and then did his own response to my response:
Although I’m sure to mention it in the video I’m doing later where I address Tyler’s last question about how many people would voluntarily pay taxes, I have to say: Tyler, I’m stunned and awed by your intellectual honesty. I can’t count the number of people who have heard my statements and then said, “Yeah, well, you’re still wrong.” To be met with someone who goes, “You know what? That’s actually a good point.” is refreshing in a way that I can’t even describe, and I’m a fiction writer.
I will edit this and post my own video later, but mine isn’t really a response video–it’s just answering a question about voluntaryism/anarcho-capitalism.
Here is the first of my three replies–most of my replies deal with “less than intelligent” comments. I say “less than intelligent,” because they’re things I addressed in the initial video, but… that’s statism for you.
Hey, if you like the video, be sure to actually go to it on Youtube and like, share, comment, and subscribe. There’s a lot of that, where my shares will get Likes and +1s, but that doesn’t really help the video any, since the post and not the video is what gets the attention from that.
Anyway, this is a general overview of life being transgender in Mississippi, how I came to accept it, how I dealt with it, how my fundamentalist drug addict parents fucked me up, and just conversation in general about what life is like in Mississippi–for transgender and non-transgender people.
I know that it’s pretty long, but that was kinda necessary, because there’s a lot of ground to cover.
I’m working on the audio quality issues, but there aren’t many ways that I can solve it in my current situation beyond using my microphone. I mean, I can’t just go out and buy a high quality audio recorder; I have to work with what I have. I mean, I can’t even just go out and buy the correct foundation, as I mentioned in the video (which is why my face is a different color than my body… I know.). I just have to work with what I have, in pretty much every part of my life.
As promised earlier, this is not something I’m going to do often, but this is one of those special podcasts where I finally shut the hell up about politics for a few minutes and talked about something more real, more relevant, and more emotional, answering two questions that I am asked all the time:
What does it feel like to be transgender?
What do you get out of it?
Both questions are supremely ignorant, not because the person is offensive or intolerant (the second question, I do kinda find offensive, to be honest), but because… they’re ignorant, poorly-considered questions.
Here is a link directly to the podcast, but I hope Podbean has a player I can throw in: http://ariadimezzo.podbean.com/e/rr-ep-17-what-it-feels-like-being-transgender/
Many people refer to me as the most rational and empirical person they know, and that’s a statement I can agree with. Through most of my life, it’s been a specific goal to allow emotions to impact as little of my decision-making as possible. In the course of this, I have entirely eliminated religious beliefs, socialist ideologies, and many other tendencies. Arguments with an emotional appeal have no impact on me at all, and it’s because my emotions don’t impact my position on something. We can see this in the abortion debate, with people insisting that this is a human being that is murdered, and the way that this claim has absolutely no effect on my position. We can also say this in Pro Minimum Wage arguments. “Everyone deserves a living wage!” has absolutely no impact on my position, because I know that an emotional idea like that doesn’t translate into sound policy. An irrational motivation leads to an irrational conclusion.
It’s a key part of Nihilism, in fact, and Nietzsche is often cited as being cold and emotionless–a label that is ignorantly applied to Nihilists such as myself today. This is merely a misunderstanding, however, as I’m more emotional than the average person. Because of emotions, I dropped my entire life and moved 2000 miles a year ago. So when I say that I don’t let emotions impact my decision making, that’s not true; I merely don’t let emotions affect my beliefs and conclusions. Nihilists are as emotional as anyone else (and in my case, perhaps more emotional); the difference is that a Nihilist carefully and rationally controls what their emotions are allowed to influence.
I didn’t do a podcast last night, and there’s a good reason for that. Aside from the fact that I got distracted by some transphobic douche on twitter, the truth is that I was terrified.
A few weeks ago, I began watching “creepy” videos on YouTube. Things from people like Mr. Nightmare and other notorious channels; horror movies have always been something I’ve loved, and I’ve watched probably thousands of such videos on YouTube with no ill effects whatsoever. However, I recently found myself unwilling to even turn on a light at night. The only light I would use was my bathroom light, for some innate fear that any other light would effectively serve as a beacon to “whatever is out there.”
This is very curious, because I know there is nothing out there. When I made the trip to Vegas, I stayed in the very back of a cheap motel in a shady part of Amarillo, and I did it without blinking. I’ve given countless rides to hitchhikers, and that has bitten me in the ass more than once. I used to allow a homeless man to come and stay in my home on cold winter nights. I don’t mention these to make you see me as altruistic, but because all of these are pretty reckless, devil-may-care things to be doing. I could add many others.
I live on the edge of a town. When I say “edge,” I mean exactly that. The property is rural, out of the way, quiet, and private–perfect for a transgender person in an area not particularly kind to transgender people. There is one house nearby, and it is lived in by a normal dude. On the west and north sides, I am surrounded by a field that is bordered by an untamed forest. I have a 38 special and a sawed off 12 gauge shotgun that is exactly the minimum length allowed by state law–I rationally know that I am fine, both because there is nothing out there and because I am more than armed. My shotgun is cradled on a shelf above my bed, and beside it sits a knife.
It’s not paranoia that causes me to do this, but common fucking sense. There’s only one exit from my bedroom–if I get caught in there by some invader, then there is only one way out, and that way out is through the assailant. So I merely have the tools necessary to go through the invader if required. It’s not because I think it’s likely to happen. I have nothing worth stealing, and there are 4 dogs that will make me instantly aware if there’s a human outside. While one or two routinely bark occasionally during the night at deer, coyotes, and wolves that happen to stray too close to the property, all 4 bark at humans. Dogs are curious like that. It’s also worth mentioning that these aren’t my dogs, but they do stay here with me. Long story. But they’re more or less just there.
It’s also true that Mississippi is not particularly friend to gay people, and certainly not to transgender people, and there’s always the possibility that someone learns the wrong pieces of information. It only takes one jackass to half-jokingly say “We should kill that faggot,” and then all of his friends will laughingly agree. The next thing you know, there’s a veritable lynch mob pulling into your driveway. These things happen, and on late nights after a few beers it becomes hard to predict what such people will do. Jokes get carried too far all the time, and peer pressure is the most underestimated force in American society.
But things have changed. I can no longer watch such creepy things and then be okay. It latches itself to something within me and refuses to let go. I have become terrified of turning on a light at night, for fear, as I said, that something “out there” will see it. I verify that all of my curtains are drawn, but I’m not convinced that all of this is to keep people from looking in. I think it’s to keep me from looking out. Because I know, without a shadow of a doubt, that any fear and worry that I feel will be dispelled the very moment that I look outside.
It’s like my imagination constructs some creepy-video-informed idea of “what is out there,” and that imagining is allowed to fester until I look outside. It’s almost like that imagining is hesitant to die–abolition of the fear is never more than a few seconds away. Pulling back the curtain and looking is all that it takes, but I can almost never force myself to do it. Because what if…? What if I look and see that the imagined “out there” is what really is out there? What if I peel back the curtain and am met only by a grinning, maniacal face at one in the morning?
It’s that prospect that ties my hands and keeps me from looking, thereby allowing the imagined bullshit to grow to the point where I refuse to turn on lights, where I sit at two in the morning, scared to make a sound, telling my cats to knock off their rambunctious playing. It doesn’t matter that I know there will never be a haunted vestige of the devil himself staring back when I peer out into the world–no amount of reason and rationality can defeat this more primal fear of the unknown, and the obvious behavior of someone trying to shield themselves from the unknown.
This is highly unusual behavior for me. And though I’ve stopped watching creepy shit on the Internet, and though I know from experience that the mind’s hallucinations will steadily decrease until I once more think nothing about turning on the light in the kitchen, it doesn’t change the situation now. There is no doubt that this odd cultivation of primal emotions and irrational responses is a side effect of the hormone therapy, and “increased susceptibility to emotions” is no longer just a random line in an article somewhere. It doesn’t simply mean that I will be more prone to cry in sad movies; it has the very real meaning that I am, for the first time in memory, genuinely susceptible to the fear that there is something in the dark.
There is a really awesome angled mirror above my bed (use your imagination why that mirror is so freaking awesome), and I also have not been able to force myself to look into it–a result, of course, of creepy videos where a subject before a mirror moves, but the reflection does not. I have never had any problem with that, and it’s something I’ve actually pondered extensively because of the odd way that mirrors work. After all, if you touch your ear with your left hand, then your reflection touches its other ear with its right hand. But the same result comes from using the front-facing camera, which is why my guitar videos show a left-handed guitarist despite the fact that I’m right-handed. It’s nothing of significance, and, again, I know that.
But I have no rational control over this fear. No amount of reminding myself that we literally know everything there is to know about the surface of the Earth (underground and underwater still contain some question marks, of course) will erase these fears. No amount of reminding myself that I’m a fucking Nihilist who is more than aware that we live in a rational universe will dispel the fear that something unnatural is out there, not at one in the morning when I have the lights off and am lit only by the gentle glow of a television as I watch something–anything–desperate to take my mind off the fear.
For the first time in… probably twenty years… I am afraid. And I don’t know what I’m afraid of.