Posts Tagged ‘tranny 101

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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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 😀

25
Jan
09

I lied!

This is all totally going to be navel-gazing, because I’ve decided what it’s about: Learning how not to take advantage of the various privileges afforded me, with a subplot of being a kinky poly tranny.
There are so many blogs out there that talk about the oppression the writer faces, how there are so many forces out to get L/G/B/T/Q/P/A folk, and how some of the above throw others of the above under the bus. I’m well aware that there are people who are accosted on all sides and this is bad and wrong; there are also quite a few who don’t realize how good they have it.
Until very recently, I was one of those: I am kinky-poly-trans, therefore I am downtrodden! The Man is out to Get Me! I will complain complain complain because I am being denied rights and privilege that all cis people have access to! And then I had one of those classic white-people moments where we realize for the first time that, oh damn, I’m quite an ignorant asshole.
Granted, I’ll probably never stop being an asshole. But the ignorance ends here. I can no longer assume that identifying as transgender gives me any right to proclaim blanket lack of privilege. There are people worse off than me, and better off than me, and if catalogueing my personal journey can help one person understand someone else a little better, it’s all worth it.
Still, keep a look out for Tranny 101, possibly as an e-book.

EDIT 5-2-09: I lied again. The above will probably just be a frequent topic.

24
Jan
09

Made of Win and Candy.

I don’t usually like navel-gazing, which is why I’m not on Myspace or Twitter and only on Facebook as necessary, but I feel I should share this story, because it’s fucking hilarious.

(Backstory: the Captain thought I was a transwoman when he first met me / we hooked up– “I’m trans” + “T. Rex is a guy” = Mistaken Captain + Oblivious T. Rex. We were on totally different pages for a week and a half. Once I figured that out, I did not immediately disabuse him of the notion, more for my own amusement than anything else, and then about two weeks in decided it would be a good time to explain about tits and bits. This is known as the ‘Tranny Surprise’. He was somewhat taken aback, but applauded the mindfuck and has since been in on it when I mess with other people. Hooray for partners who have a sense of humor.)

Last weekend we were at a large event, where I was working in the kitchen under the kind tutelage of the Captain. (This bitstrip contains everything you need to know about him, me, my trannybuddy DDog, and the brainwaves in between. Read the rest while you’re at it, and then tell DDog to make MOAR.) The Captain knows a large number of the people who were at this event, and most of those working in the kitchen, but it was the first time I’ve met most of them — the exception being Not-Narrow, who just watched us go and laughed along.

For the entire time, the Captain was a good sport and introduced me as the new-ish boyfriend and did not refer to me as ‘tranny’ within earshot, as is his usual wont. Things is, I’m not on hormones (yet…). So I’m apparently pretty for a guy, and people were confused…

#

(Names are changed, including mine)

Captain: This is my boyfriend, T. Rex.
Buddy 1: Wait… that’s a guy?
Me: Uh… yeah? *pointing at magically flat chest*
Captain: Oh trust me, he’s a guy *winknudge*

#

Buddy 1: Hey, T. Rex.
Me: Eh? *turns around*
Buddy 1: *gropes left not-a-boob*
Me: Buh?
Buddy 1: Damn, I guess you are a guy! A girl would’ve slapped me!
Me: (Hooray, dysphoria! And alcohol!) *blinkblink*

#

Me and the Captain: *kiss*
Buddy 2: Oh, is she your girlfriend?
Captain: He. Boyfriend.
Buddy 2: Oh my G-d, I’m so sorry!!!
Me: Don’t worry, I get that a lot… *wan smile and long-suffering sigh*
Buddy 2: Wait, Captain — when did you turn gay?
Captain: …bi? Best of both worlds!
Me: At the same time. *chuckle, wink*
Captain: I’m just a greedy poly bastard.

#

Buddy 3: Dude, I totally thought that was a girl!
Captain: Nnnope.
Buddy 1: I did too! But then I grabbed his chest last night, and there’s no boobs!
Me: (…and then told everyone, you loudmouth you. My job here is done.)

#

I guess you could say this is lying by misdirection and omission? I dunno. I tend to keep the bits on a need to know basis, and as far as most of these folk will likely ever need to concern themselves with, I’m a very feminine gay guy, which is what I’ve told them, and it’s the truth. I never said ‘I was born biologically male and am possessed of all the usual faculties’, but I know that’s what they assumed (I know cisfolk assume that man=male and I admit to freely taking advantage of that) so I led them to that conclusion. As much as it’s one of my goals to be out and educate people as much as possible, ‘pre-event party’ and ‘stress-hell kitchen’ is not a place I feel comfortable conducting Tranny 101. It works much much better one-on-one. Some of it will be done on Sundays, some of it will be done over Spring Break, some of it will be done in April and May (by which time there will hopefully be T involved…) And, Tranny Surprise is just FUN. Anyway with this particular social group, usefulness is of more importance than identity or preference: I can cook, clean, carry, sew, drive, make lists, and stay organized; I don’t make drama and I follow through on things. Sounds an awful lot like I’m just another decent hardworking human being.

Still bothers me a little that I’m doing something that could be called ‘transperson lying about their past’ and ‘hiding what I really am’ even though, no, really. Telling people, “No, I’m not a girl, I’m really a guy, I have a male name, I take male pronouns, I’m a gay man, I know I look pretty but that’s not my fault” is what I really am, it is honest, it’s the version of truth that will make the most sense to people who will just be confused if I start explaining about the difference between sex and gender and socialization and trans identities, and on and on. The best rationalization I can come up with is, I’m training them to use male pronouns, so when I finally do come out about it, they don’t need to change their habits. I won’t have changed; the only thing that changes is how much they know about me. And even that still bothers me, because I’m not being entirely up front and honest with people and, much as I keep the walls up in public, being honest and open is hugely important to me, and I’m not trying nearly hard enough most of the time… *sigh*. I don’t want to be a stealth tranny. I shouldn’t have to hide these things even from strangers. The Captain is an amazingly staunch supporter and good partner and I ❤ him all the more for it, but our I feel like our codes just don’t mesh on some things (and I’m working on being ok with that). Or maybe I’m just thinking too hard about this whole thing. And the world should be fair and good and nobody should ever feel guilt or fear. Castles in the sky.

Don’t mind Mr. Serious Tranny down here; this post wasn’t supposed to go that far into the rift. Just reread the excerpts above and laugh some more. That’ll go further towards fixing this poor world than any amount of ranting and reeducating.

12
Jan
09

Blog!

Not quite sure what this is going to turn into, but, letting it evolve as it wants to. Possible idea I’m tossing around my head:

A series of somewhat satirical lectures, syllabi, readings, class assignments, and quizzes based on a joke that a friend and I have about coming out: Every time we come out to someone, we have to educate them about what ‘transgender’ is and how they can respectfully treat our identities. Over time, this has morphed into an actual presentation-style talk about the basics of ‘trans stuff’, and was affectionately named ‘Tranny 101’. At some point, it was postulated that significant others had taken that as a prerequisite, and moved on to Tranny 201. Then one day after contemplating class schedules and lists of required courses and trying to work out how to graduate in less than six years, I went nuts and wrote out a whole slew of Tranny coursework. It’s somewhat tongue-in-cheek, because I can’t be Mr. Serious Tranny all the time and remain sane.

This is not intended as academic material, though its intent is educational. It is targeted towards friends, parents, acquaintances, allies, and anyone who wants to learn about trangender people, and maybe about themselves. One of the main things I wanted to accomplish with this work is to provide a sort of ‘etiquette manual’ for friends and family of transfolk, because I know we confuse the hell out of you sometimes. The assumption here is that you want to educate yourself, and that you’re open-minded and already leaning in the ‘ally’ direction, for one reason or another.

There will be more when my brain is more caffeinated.