Archive for June, 2009

16
Jun
09

Kinks and Shrinks

I will freely admit that I can be pretty disparaging of the mental health profession. (I have nothing against psychologists, I just don’t agree with psychologist politics.) I’m generally just stubborn about accepting help. But, the dislike of shrinks specifically is partly thanks to a bad experience with the guidance counselor in high school. Most of the reason is, I just can’t assign legitimacy to something that is a conglomeration of unverifiable hypotheses, with guidelines decided by majority vote, and interpretive standards of care that haven’t been updated in decades in some cases, that are so frequently used and abused to brainwash people into behaving a certain way — such as into being straight, into being cisgender, into being vanilla…

People who are by normative definitions mentally healthy are privileged because of it, and it’s not just the mostly noticeable ones that cause markedly different behaviour. How often have you heard “Oh, she’s just bipolar.” “*sigh* He’s off his meds again…” or my favorite, “It’s obvious to me that you can’t run you life the way you need to (read: ‘the way I do’ or ‘the way I think you should’). I think you need professional help.” By DSM definitions, I’m quite likely borderline on their pathological version of masochism (If they do remove the “cause significant distress or functional impairment” bit in the upcoming revision, as there have been rumors of. See this article, although it is NARTH, so reader beware), possibly compulsive, and dissociative in relation to gender dysphoria. And ‘Gender Identity Disorder’ being in the DSM… it’s a hormone imbalance, not a mental issue, ok? If the only effective treatment is by physiological means (hormones and surgery), it’s a medical condition! I get sad when I have the flu. That doesn’t mean I go to a shrink for three months to get some fucking Ibuprofen.

Moving on.

A notable exception I’ve found to this is one of the counselors at the University, Niceguy, who is in fact GLBTQ- and K-friendly, argues with the DSM, avoids medicating people, tries to get people to help themselves instead of imposing help on them, and comes and talks with people at the GLBTQOrg when we have planned discussions about mental health and the queer community. Niceguy and Superprof are two of the academic inspirations for another project (concurrent with Tranny 101) on anti-BDSM bias in the mental health profession. This may take the form of a literature review (publication has been suggested by Superprof, in whose class this idea spermed as a final project. Big starry-eyed hopes, I has them) or eventually a larger work. A related component is a “Here’s How to Talk About Kink” reading list to give to Niceguy and coworkers in the student counseling office. Small-scale quiet sort of activism.

Sidenote: APA Standards 2.01 (b) and (c): If a mental health professional doesn’t know enough about a client’s problem, it is the professional’s responsibility to either educate themselves, or refer the client to someone who can appropriately treat them, or a couple of other alternatives, none of which include claiming knowledge they don’t have or unnecessarily pathologizing something that’s just a little different. It is not the client’s responsibility to educate someone whom they are paying for help. (Full text of the Ethical Principles of Psychologists and Code of Conduct here.)

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09
Jun
09

The Closet

Yes, I’m still in it. In a lot of places.

There are parts of my life where I am only selectively out to people who need to know — i.e., people who are boinking me (currently only the Captain) and people he trusts to be smart about it (a very small number, most of whom I only see a few times a year), and people who have access to my records at work or school, or have known me under a different name. I just tell everyone else I’m a guy. Because much as I’d love to be out about everything, it’ll be on my own damn time. And much as I think educating people is important, sometimes I don’t want to be the gateway tranny. Sometimes I just want to go out and have fun and be “one of the guys” in that special geeky way we have.

(I got glared at yesterday and reminded that I agreed to this. …And I want to do it myself, my way; not accidentally via someone else’s thoughtlessness.)

This is why social networking sites are so devious, because a link from one can have a link to the Twitter which is connected to someone’s personal anonymous blog, and a lot of the stuff on here is quite transparent if one knows the people involved. Bit of a problem. So, some care will be exercised until the issue is resolved. Don’t know what form that’ll take yet. I don’t know if I’m overreacting but uh, putting someone in danger of being outed seems like a big deal to me.

Stealth? Yes. Sometimes. Yes, most people there would probably be supportive. Yes, I’m open about most things most of the time. Yes, I have a blog with basically my entire personal life all over it. But in real life my biology in particular is not everybody’s damn business.

06
Jun
09

Chapter List (maybe)

I’m pretty much done with 101, though there will be some editing. Not that I’m a compulsive editor or anything…

Tranny 101: Making New Friends

Tranny 102: Cisgender Privilege

Tranny 103: All in the Family

Tranny 104: Gender Theory

Tranny 201: Dating and Relating

Tranny 202: Just when you got used to it…

Tranny 203: Gender as an Identity

Tranny 204: Intersections: Trans and…

Tranny 301: The Transition Process

Tranny 302: Supporting Transition

Tranny 303: Babies! *pop*

Tranny 400: Aftermath (Independent Study)

06
Jun
09

“Magnificent Bastards”

Mid-May, 2009

This will be a bit rambling.

When I was a wee little freshman, there was someone in the campus LGBTQ org whom no one really liked, who would come to meetings and point out everything that was being done wrong. Artmajor, who avoids use of pronouns, had been at the University for a few years, and had history with a lot of people. Calls self a ‘magnificent bastard’ and makes a point of being as non-mainstream, non-normative, non-gender as possible. And has, for all four years I’ve been involved with this organization, been pointing out what was going wrong. For the past year I’ve been President, I’ve tended to agree with on political and structural issues, mostly. (I think I’m a bit more patient with the closed-minded anti-kink and anti-queer people).

Fast forward to this past week. Two things have happened, one of which has somewhat redirected my life. One, I made a deal with someone to perform queertastic fuckshituppery in his name, in return for a little help with things I have a lot of trouble with, like public speaking (see this post). Two, the organization held elections for next year’s officers and all the places were filled, which meant I didn’t need to run for anything.

So the new plan is: being the only two out trannies in the org, DDog and I are going to be playing that same role — the people who just won’t quit, coming in and complaining about how the younguns are repeating past mistakes. It does, in fact, take two of us to make up the awesome that is Artmajor. DDog has the theory, and now I have the voice πŸ˜€

06
Jun
09

Questions and Answers

Early May:

I’ve been looking more into Norse traditional religion (specifically Asatru) in my general search for ‘what’s out there.’ Partially because I have roots in that region, partially because Norse mythology is something I grew up in a familiar sort of way with; “Norse Gods and Giants” was one of my earliest English-language books that I remember (first-grade me was fascinated by the pictures of battles in Valhalla — I remember showing that page to my mom and asking if I could have a copy of the book for my birthday. Considering my memories of childhood are few and far between, this is a Big Thing). My sister and I both learned Runes in middle school / high school: she cast them, I carved them into my skin.

So, I had a presentation in class last week, and if any readers have seen me talking in front of a group (prior to this writing, anyway) I stammer, fiddle with my hands, um, uh, right, and… *looks for place on paper during long awkward pause* Complete with nervous jitter, tummy butterflies, etc. So I thought, what the hell, it can’t hurt to ask for help, and if there’s no answer I won’t do any worse than usual.

Problem is, the Christian G-d that I’d had most of my explicitly religious experiences with had been silent when I asked for help recently, and had in the past been willing only to help me figure things out that I already knew. I had read about public speaking, I had heard people talk about how to do it, I could not for the life of me wrap my head around it. So I figured if I was going to get it, it had to come from outside. Seen as I’d gotten a bit more connected to the Norse way, I decided to go there for help.

It was a different kind of request than I’d made before. It wasn’t “Help me find the strength to do this” or “Help me open my mind to understand this” with nothing but belief and a properly lived life in return, no. It was “I need to stand in front of people and have words come out of my mouth. The right ones. Intelligibly.” So it seemed like a good idea at the time to ask Loki — the trickster, the sly one, the talker; silver tongue and fox’s nimble wit. And, since there’s this whole idea of sacrificing to the gods, it made sense to offer something in return: in this case, genderbendery trannytastic fuckshituppery. A little chaos, a little change. After all, one of the reasons I was drawn towards Loki in the first place was the shapeshifting aspect (including gender-switching).

Update 6-6-09: And apparently he’s giving me ideas and requiring that I do them… Including conversations about how I need to stop being so f-ing overcautious. Curiouser and curiouser.

05
Jun
09

Listamania!

I’ve been trying to fill out a “BDSM Activities” checklist for a while. It has a big long list of activities, with a yes/no field and a rating system, 1 being a hard limit and 5 being please yes now kthx. I started it while still attached to an ex (at which point I was in a dominant position) and decided to start it up again after getting together with the Captain, so now there’s two copies of it for different power dynamics.
I thought it would be a good idea, since I love lists, and it was fun to fill out. Of course some of my ratings are weird (“Crossdressing” got a rating of LOL, because I have no idea what would count any more) and a lot of them are physically impossible (much as I’d love to try CBT… the plumbing just ain’t there 😦 ) and knifeplay got a 7.5.
…aaaand I haven’t touched it since.
I mean, I guess I could plonk it in front of the Captain with a “Here you go, Sir, everything you need to know!” except it’s not. It doesn’t get into enough detail. Taking the example of knifeplay above, I like to get teased up to the point of cutting, and once skin starts getting broken I want semi-permanent scars. The sound of a flipknife being opened is a wild turn-on. Carvings? Sure. Ownership marks? Well… let’s talk first. And so on and so forth.
Which I guess is the whole idea, negotiating things once they’re spoken… but then why have a list in the first place? If the idea is that it’s easier to put things in writing than in speech, my ‘checklist’ would be a novel. And while there is a (semi-serious) Trannysaurus User Manual with a few hints in it, discovering those things is half the fun. I’m at least patient enough to let the Captain play with sharp objects around me πŸ˜‰
This is not to say that I don’t ever write things down as a way to be able to talk about them. But, I guess the checklist is a little cut-and-dry for my taste…
Which brings me to my second (third? maybe?) point: other kinds of lists. Since moving in with the Captain, I’ve been wandering around various D/S sites (a.k.a. D/s. I tend to capitalize acronyms) and reading articles about “What Make a Good Dom” and “How to Tell If You’re Submissive” and while it is fun to compare myself to all kinds of folks’s opinions it’s getting into a lot of meta-analysis of personalities and things that I thought I was done with. I know who and what I am (right now anyway). And the only real reason I know that I am submissive to the Captain’s dominance, masochist to his sadist, is that we tried it and we liked it and it works for us. I am happy. That’s the only justification I need.