One year in, and I’m amazed at the difference T has made. My wrists are still small, but my neck has grown into a size that makes nice shirts more easy to find. My facial structure has changed dramatically, and my legs are a whole lot hairier… well all of me is. I’m growing a decent amount of facial hair, even if it isn’t enough to grow anything fun, it’s still enough that I really do need to shave more than once a week. I revel in the newfound fuzziness of my chest, the furriness of my stomach, and the muscle definition in my legs. I’m ecstatic, and without regrets.
It’s also obvious that there is a long way to go.
I want to be able to be comfortable in my body. A year ago, there was a degree to which no matter how I phrased it out loud, this body was not mine. That is the main thing T did, my situation went from dealing with “this body” to dealing with “my body” in my own head. Except, it is still really uncomfortable.
Sure, there are some things I could do fairly easily to help myself be more comfortable. Lifting weights would probably be the first thing on that list. I’m always more comfortable when I’m stronger, when I’ve got more muscle. But that doesn’t change that when I look in the mirror, my eyes are immediately drawn to the shadow on my shirt showing that I have a chest. A shadow that is difficult to detect for anyone else, looks massive to me. Everyone else thinks I bind so well, enough that I’ve had people be surprised to find out I have not yet had top surgery (though anyone who has seen me with my shirt off would definitely notice.) I see breasts. I see between them, to my new chest hair and I smile a nice big smile. Then I look again at my chest, and so long smile. These are mine, in that they are attached to me, in that I can feel them, but they aren’t mine in that they don’t feel like they belong, they don’t feel like they have anything to do with me.
It isn’t surprising, my biggest body issue that I could easily put a finger on has long been my chest. Especially since senior year of high school when they just grew so much more.
Broader shoulders helps in some ways, but they still are there, still staring at me, and anyone else who sees me shirtless (or rarely, binderless.) Surgery is a thought for the future, not even something being planned yet, let alone something to count on. So, I work on figuring out how to be more comfortable in this body I’ve got. Part of me really wants to try to grow to be okay with my chest. The rest of me responds in a fashion of “Fuck no.” Or points out the irony that would be, seeing as way back when C and I were dating, when I first explicitly told her that I’d ideally prefer to switch name and pronouns (this was definitely not a high point in our relationship, on either of our parts) and she reacted poorly, but had suggested I get top surgery earlier in the conversation. Hopefully that sentence makes enough sense. I want to be able to be comfortable enough to do things like go to The Floating World next summer, and be shirtless in the dungeon. I’d love to go to CampOut and go swimming completely topless. The first, possible. The second, technically possible but highly improbable.
Yes, going on testosterone has done awesome things. The acne is even getting more manageable. But I’ve got so much more still to think on, to process, and to learn to tolerate about my body. In the meanwhile, I’ll go back to squee-ing over my rough cheeks.
Recent adventures have included my computer breaking. From my battery to my logic board (yes, computers have logic boards, and when they break the computer goes illogical) I have new parts and this is the most functional my computer has been since I got it almost three years ago. They also gave me a bunch of free upgrades in programs that I’d otherwise have to pay for, which was awesome.
Other adventures include tearing through novels like I haven’t since high school, and reading books on spirituality. No computer? I read. A lot.
And now it is back. So I’m back.
T is interesting. I’ve grown a lot. My feet jumped a size, or a size and a half. I’m a lot broader now, no longer so scrawny. As in, my shirt neck size went from 13 1/2 to 15 1/2, and my sleeve length got longer as well. On the upside, this means I fit into regular shirts now. My sideburns are starting to come in. I really do need to shave more than once a week now, though much of the time I’m still lazy and only do it about once a week.
Still endlessly hungry. Still have a kicked up sex drive. I’ve adjusted to the second, but the first is being a much larger problem than it should be.
But one of the most interesting changes for me throughout transition is that my reactions to pain has changed. The way I feel pain, when S bites me (or when my friend bites my arm and leaves a bruise for a few days) is completely different than before. Not just more or less, but an actual different sensation that is really hard to explain. Stingy pain hurts so much more, as well as very different. At the same time, despite the fact that I’m processing pain differently and needing to completely relearn my limits and thus am far more sensitive than I would be if I knew how things would feel, I’m still needing the pain just as much. But I also like causing pain. About two and a half years ago I realized that I couldn’t date someone who wouldn’t give me pain, and hooking up would be difficult. About a year ago, I realized I couldn’t date someone who couldn’t take pain, and hooking up would be even more difficult than the former. I like pain. Be it the bite marks on my arm, or the scratches on someone else’s back, pain is really important for me. Which makes being so unclear about my own reactions to pain really damn frustrating.
And not frustrating in the fun way either.
Eventually, I’ll figure out how things are working with my body.
I haven’t written in a week and a half, which is a long absence for me, and also missed two AwaAs. I’ve been good, but busy in my own way, and decided two things. One, I’m going to force myself to write in here regardless of level of busy, and two that I’m switching AwaA to every other week.
Life is a crazy thing. Lots of updates to come on things like my relationship with S, kinky thoughts, and of course, more on transition.
Because getting cat called and honked at by passing cars is not something I am particularly used to. I was walking down the street, to a free outdoor movie, and some guys in a passing car honked, waved, and shouted at me. Now, I was confused for a moment, looked behind me to see no one there. I figured they had to be waving at someone else. Or maybe they thought they knew me? Regardless, I returned to the phone conversation I was having. Then, walking back, I was eating falafel (mm, tasty) and some random guy I passed said “Hey, hoststuff.” Again, I looked around to see who he was talking to.
I eventually realized both times the people were talking/honking/waving at me. Which was really strange. I pass, so that meant they were doing that to someone they saw as a guy? Because for a second I wondered if I just didn’t pass, and then I looked down at myself… Even to my overly critical eye, (chest sticks out too much, god why are my hips so big, etc.) I knew I passed. And if I didn’t, then I certainly wasn’t the stereotype of a “girl” to be catcalled.
Because I’m used to people shouting shit like “Are you a boy or a girl?” or “What are you, harry potter freak?” (I used to look a lot like harry potter, at least, when my hair was shaggy, I had glasses, and I wore my trench coat.) I’m used to “Faggot” or “Dyke.” I’m used to insults, to assholes trying to shit on my one-person pride parade.
But “hotstuff” ?!
Part of me is flattered. I mean, sure it is always nice to know I still look good when I pass. Hell, gay guys finding me cute? Definitely a compliment. But shouting or saying stuff at me while I’m clearly tuning out the world, as in on my cell or eating a falafel wrap, is still being an asshole. My body is not yours to objectify, unless of course we’re in a scene and I’m in a mood to be an object and give my consent to such. But yeah, getting stuff shouted to me on from a car while I’m on my cell phone? Doesn’t matter that you see me as a guy not a girl, it’s still being an asshole. Why? Because you are interrupting me.
I’m all for compliments. I like giving them, and I’ve gotten better about taking them with grace. And know what? I’d actually be perfectly welcoming of someone walking up to me, and telling me honestly that they find me attractive. I mean hell, I met C when her friend walked up to me and said, “You see that girl over there? She’s been staring at you all night.” Another time someone said “I want your cute boy butt.” Neither of these times was I offended. The first left me stammering awkwardly and eventually engaging in a conversation with C. The second lead to a hookup that night. Forwardness is not a problem. Compliments are not a problem. The main difference? Situation.
Walking down the street while on my cell phone, I’m busy in another conversation. No, I have no interest in being hit on. While I’m walking down the street, eating falafel on my way home, I’m far more interested in food than any random person I passed who feels the need to make me feel like an object without my consent. It is situational, it is tone of voice, it is thinking before doing.
It is something I honestly didn’t expect to be dealing with again. Admittedly, the only time I dealt with it before was dressed up for Rocky in high school and running a few blocks from my car to the theater, and it was directed less at me than who I was with. Part of me assumed that with our cultural fucked-up-ness being very much cismen objectifying, I didn’t expect to be the objectified when I pass as a cisman.
Maybe that is its own form of internalized sexism. My mind is still so wrapped up in battling the internalized dialogue of “I’m a freak, who could ever want me,” that I’ve let something else slide.
Because it didn’t happen like I’ve watched it happen to my female-presenting friends. The guy just walked on, didn’t even turn around to watch me walk away eating my falafel. They just drove on after honking and waving and shouting. No follow up, no more harassment. And it mostly stuck out because it happened twice in one day. I was just wearing jeans and a tee-shirt. Nothing special. So part of me thinks I should just be grateful I look good.
But I know that isn’t right. Backhanded compliment of asshole-ness is not something I should be thankful for. Things I should be thankful for? Friends in the area who are awesome and invite me to stuff and thus make me be social. A really great and healthy relationship with S. Good phone calls with Q. Having my brother back safe from Israel. Somehow, being objectified without my consent just isn’t on that list.
Also, I am going to be on KinkOnTap tomorrow! Come join us in live at 8pm. There is a fabulous chatroom too, so it isn’t just listening, but interacting as well.
The first time through puberty I got incredibly lucky. I had great skin, from day one through the bitchy days of middle school and the angst-ridden days of high school. Acne was never a major problem, except sometimes on the backs of my arms. But my face? I rarely got zits. My back, never. So here is a demonic duck to express my frustration.
I knew that acne would come with T. I knew that, I had been told that, and naively thought because I got so lucky the first time through that it would be the same this time. S and C are probably shaking their heads, laughing at me, because even though I have been dealing the worst acne of my life, it isn’t that bad. I haven’t felt the need to go to the dermatologist, so long as I scrub my face a few times a day with acne wash, and every other day with a deeper exfoliant.
No, the pet peeve are zits just inside my nostril. They hurt. Moreover, I have pretty terrible allergies, and so every time I blow my nose, it hurts even more.
It drives me crazy. It annoys me endlessly, or at least until it goes away again. I know I’m lucky, I’ve never needed Accutane, and I still barely get break outs on my back. My arms have also been calm this time through, so that’s better than last time. I know I’m lucky but it is still driving me crazy. Because it isn’t angering, it is incredibly annoying, constant, and every time one goes away, within a week another one appears at my nostrils. Recurring, highly frustrating… yup, pet peeve of T.
Generally speaking, acne also makes shaving a pain in the ass. Or perhaps more accurately it is a pain in the face, as it makes cutting so much more likely. Shaving is difficult enough, but adding painful bumps I have to dodge just makes it worse. At least I have some whiskers to shave, right? Still…
And what do I have to show for it?
My voice dropped into nice, low, masculine ranges. My neck sized increased, which greatly affected the shape of my face, even more than the more subtle changes on my face itself. My clit increased size, my sex drive shot up, shot up again, and then dropped a hair to a nice, steady place. I’m hungry all the time, but figuring out how to handle it, and making sure I eat at least mostly healthy food.
I’m in a surprisingly healthy relationship. Surprising because healthy relationships have been so rare for me, and it has been a really pleasant surprise. She sees me for who I am, not for my body, but also does an amazing job at being careful about what I want with my body, how I exist within my body… and how in many ways it isn’t mine.
My clothes don’t quite fit right anymore, I need to go shopping. In the last six months, I’ve moved, gotten a new job, met some amazing people, and found some awesome things. I lost friends, and found friends in places I had not even thought about.
I’ve been heartsick, and crushing. I’ve been freezing and melting into a pile of liquid xMech from the scorching heat.
I’ve stretched my comfort zone, gone to play parties and allowed penetrative sex. Hell, I’ve started asking for it more than ever. I’ve broken down mental barriers, and brought myself to the point where I can slap S… though still not on the face. I’ve marked her again and again, bites, bruises, hickies, handprints, and been marked in return. I’ve entered male bathrooms and confronted some of my ableist tendencies and language. I started relooking into religion, pushing myself past the “I don’t want to do this, I can’t examine this” and into books and articles on Judaism, Buddhism, Neo-Paganism and all kinds of alternative spiritualities. I’ve accepted that I can’t keep friends forever, and strove to rebuild my own mind.
But what do I have to show for it all?
No matter what I do, for me it will never be enough. Part of me loves that, loves that I always want more from myself, never to be static, always growing, looking for new connections to help me grow and change. I’m a person of becoming, not being, and I love it. But no matter how I contemplate Nietzsche, I am tired of never being enough for myself.
Years ago I realized I couldn’t keep a promise I made to myself, so instead I completely reoriented my life. I started to strive to become the person others saw me to be, to become the person my friends, family, lovers, and teachers saw in me, or at least saw that I could become. And it is never enough. Not because they tell me that, in fact they usually tell me the exact opposite, but I see how awesome they are, how much they deserve…
and after all these changes in the last six months, or six years… I still wonder what do I have to show for it?
A few whiskers and ill-fitting clothes just don’t quite seem to cut it. About only one thing does: I’m genuinely happy. And that is more than enough to show for anything. Just need to manage to get my mind around the concept.
I’ve decided I want to conquer that fear. Okay, maybe fear isn’t the right word, but it sounds better than “nervousness, foreboding, and slightly paranoid unease.” Yeah, I’ll stick with fear.
It’s not that what I do or don’t want has changed. But I want to know, to understand the feeling, the walking, the positioning of my body and legs, and how it will alter how I’m read. I want to see if it changes my behaviour, and if so does it impact my life positively or negatively. If it changes my behaviour, will it be positive or negative for those around me?
It isn’t that I’ve never packed before. I’ve just never packed with a packer. For some of you, that doesn’t make much sense, but trust me when I say there is a huge difference between sticking a sock down one’s underwear and using a soft packer (which have varying degrees of realism.) And even there, there are a variety of ways to pack, from hard or soft, just stuck in or using some kind of sock/strap… There are a bunch of things to do.
The person who makes that one in particular, Gear Guy, also runs a great site, The Transitional Male, which I have been referencing for years. So, I confronted my fears and my wallet, and got a packer and strap. More on this to come once they actually, y’know, arrive.
For a comparison of packers, check out the TransGuys article, “The Packer Showdown” (and they’re awesome and syndicating my blog.) For some other great information on packing, see Hudson’s Resource Guide or FTM Passing Tips.
Bathrooms are a big deal for me. The basic functioning of life become a daily series of questions and fears because of the frequency that I must use a public restroom. Every time I step through the door of a Men’s labeled bathroom I start questioning… Is my chest obvious? Are there stall doors? What if they notice? What if I don’t pass? and I am afraid. Admittedly, I am much less afraid here in the Northeast than I am when I’m home in the southern parts of the Midwest, but I am still afraid.
I don’t have an STP that I carry around. Mostly because I don’t have the knack yet (apparently I’m incompetent.) So I sit in fear, wondering if someone walking through the bathroom will wonder why I’m sitting down. Because I pass too well to use a Women’s labeled bathroom. I can’t quote Andrea Gibson saying, “I’m sorry, I didn’t feel comfortable sticking this tampon up my penis in the men’s room” with my voice being as deep as it is. Thus, I use the Men’s bathroom… and I sit in fear hoping no one notices I’m sitting to pee, hoping no one notices when my chest isn’t perfectly bound down, hoping no one notices I’m trans, because if they notice I might get my ass kicked. Funnily enough, I don’t particularly want that to happen. I may be a masochist, but for consensual pain thank you very much.
And then, I moved to Rhode Island and discovered a much greater frequency of single-use bathrooms. Maybe it is just where I keep going, like the awesome bakery down the street, or the coffeeshop across town, but there are more single-use bathrooms I’ve come across in this tiny state in the last month than I saw in four years around my college.
I’m very, very angry.
The other day, I tweeted a link to an article that pissed me off. It took me a few clicks to track down the original article, Preventing Homosexuality (and Uppity Women) in the Womb?, but here it is. I’m not angry at those authors, if anything I’m impressed by how they managed to both maintain journalistic objectivity while highlighting their much deserved indignation. Or perhaps rage might be a better word?
First of all, the scientist in me is enraged. As well as the mathematician. Or well, perhaps I should say person with a brain. Anyone who has taken an entry level statistics course, or even sat in on the first day or two of an entry level statistics course, knows the difference between causation and correlation. In fact, a person who took a pretty bad AP Psychology course would have been taught the difference (I know, I took one.) Correlation DOES NOT EQUAL causation. How the hell could someone have made it through medical school without learning that? CAH is correlated with lower interest in “normal” female activities, such as child bearing/rearing. On the other hand, depending on the way CAH manifests and the degree to which it manifests, there is a good chance that you were socialized in a very different way.
“CAH women as a group have a lower interest than controls in getting married and performing the traditional child-care/housewife role.” [quoted in the article from a paper by the assholes.]
I’m sorry, but you seem to be missing a rather key point here. There is a correlation between those the article defines as women with CAH (it did not mention if it included those who were also trans-identified) and enacting “traditional” women’s behavior. It did not say that the ‘lower interest’ was a statistically significant degree lower, did not question how much of lowered interest was a reaction to being treated badly by men, did not account for variances in sexual orientation (my bet is that wanting to be a housewife for a woman is not part of a “traditional” role) but beyond all else none of the things these supposed doctor/researchers addressed mentioned that the lowered interest might be a reaction to their socialization.
And that, brings me to my outrage as a person. If you are brought up being told you are less of a woman, less of a person, that you are abnormal, being told that you are biologically less of a woman, your interest in those womanly activities could well decrease. Being told repeatedly that you are not worthy, in that your worth is less, is bullshit but happens a lot to a variety of people, especially those who are intersex, or have intersex related biologies.
But they aren’t just targeting woman with CAH. They are targeting “gender related behaviours” including career preference, as well as sexual orientation, with the ideal goal of having all of such things being preventable with a steroid considered dangerous enough that the medical consensus says that it should only be used in “Controlled clinical trials with IRB oversight.” The doctors making these drastic claims about prenatal use of ‘dex’ are not doing any such things. Moreover, there is not yet an understanding over what long-term effects this would have on either the parent or the child. Steroids alter a lot of different things at once, they aren’t as targeted as people often think, and using one with unknown results, with unknown side effects, to “treat” things that aren’t even a problem, is total bullshit.
Beyond anything or everything else, this article shows how there are people desperate to “cure” people who are not sick, diseased, or in any way a problem. Being a lesbian isn’t a problem, it isn’t a disease, I’m sorry but someone should really welcome Dr. New to 1973/75 (When homosexuality was no longer categorized as a mental illness by the American Psychiatric Association and the American Psychological Association respectively.) An old friend of mine, who was a self-identified raging-dyke, used to enjoy fake coughing on homophobes and then telling them, “You’ve caught the gay, in three days you’ll start itching and liking :insert same gender here:.” Someone should really inform these doctors that 1- there is nothing wrong with being gay, 2- it isn’t contagious, it isn’t a disease, it isn’t a problem, so the medical industry should get the hell out, and 3- by her own standards, Dr. New is “abnormal” and should be cured. As many readers pointed out, if Dr. New is a woman in a ‘traditionally male profession’ and not at home simply being a housewife. She fits her own criteria of “behavioural masculinization.”
Not having maternal desires isn’t a problem, and isn’t “unwomanly.” Enjoying the pleasure of touch, licking, sucking, and fucking women isn’t “unwomanly,” (and if you think it is, think again.) Attempting a cure, means there is something to be cured, and just further alienates GBL people. But trying to cure woman for desiring something besides being a homemaker is beyond sexist, it is so unthinkably enraging that I rather want to smash something. If uppity women are bad, and lesbians need curing, what the hell does that mean for someone like me? Dramatic research should mention it’s potentaily broader implications, and this set of bad science has a lot of broader implications.
Rather than even considering tackling the societal problems that cause many of the issues, Dr. New and her college are attempting to treat it medically in a very dangerous way. And for that, yes, I am enraged.
Needless to say, we do not think it reasonable or just to use medicine to try to prevent homosexual and bisexual orientations. Nor do we think it reasonable to use medicine to prevent uppity women, like the sort who might raise just these kinds of alarms. Consider that our declaration of our conflict of interest.
Preventing Homosexuality (and Uppity Women) in the Womb?
I need to never meet this person. I am not a violent person, nor an angry person. I get angry very rarely, and almost always it is of this variety, righteous wrath.
I have whiskers, and it is strange. There aren’t a ton of them, as in I am not even close to getting a 5 o’clock shadow (or a two day shadow for that matter.) But they are definitely there, and definitely very dark. The ones that are there that is.
I was looking in the mirror, and thought something was on my chin. I tried rubbing it off, and it didn’t move. Looking closer, I realized, “Oh, it’s attached!”
My shoulders are broader. I noticed this past weekend while bound, and on my way to NYC for Pride weekend. A shirt that used to fit in that “really awesome but rather large on me” kind of way now fits in that “fits perfectly to my shoulders” sort of way. I don’t quite know what I think of my clothes no longer fitting, but I am happy with the way my body is shifting. Like, I’m no longer in the position of having my pants barely fit, but that may be due to (possibly) eating less because my schedule has been rather bizarre recently. Either way, I’m looking different, and apparently am reading as a straight guy? Which confuses me, because I haven’t changed my mannerisms at all… and my wrist? Is limp like a wet noodle.
My voice has gotten really damn deep, though. As in, multiple friends have asked me to change my voicemail message because it is a bit jarring to hear my nice, high pitched old voice, after it has gotten so much lower. Q was particularly amusing about it, when we finally talked and had a break from phone tag. Other friends have flipped out for most of a night after hearing me say “Hi,” and I consistently get “Sir’ed” on the phone. Actually, I get sir all the time now, in person or on the phone. I pass…
And it’s weird for me. I actually reached something I set out to do, what?
There is so much more I want. Some of it is coming, at least, like my facial hair. I want more, and it slowly appears. I want top surgery, but that isn’t going to be until some undetermined time in the future. I want, I want, I want! And… I’m getting it. That is the constant strangeness with my life, I want, I do, and then I actually get it.
Years ago, in my slightly more innocent years of high school, I used to claim that if a person wanted something badly enough, they would get it. If they didn’t, it was because they didn’t try hard enough, didn’t work enough, etc. A major reason I thought this was because life sucked, and I was a huge underachiever, and it was a convenient way to blame myself. Except that I was harshly proven wrong, that everything a person works their ass off for does not happen. Life sucks, and no need to blame myself any extra, but it also took away my hope that things could change if I worked enough. That was the real thing that made me a bit more innocent back then, that I actually thought if I tried, things would change. Which is part of what makes this so confusing for me.
I’ve worked hard to get where I am, and things just keep falling into place as a result. Transition, apartment, friends, job, and my wonderful relationship with S didn’t just fall into my lap, but part of me is very confused…
And mostly waiting for the other shoe to drop. Or piano, because that would so be my life.
So, there is some transition update goodness. Tomorrow is Answers with an Agenda.
I don’t feel entirely comfortable in non-cismen spaces. I understand it, and have even organized similar spaces at various times. But a space that specifically states it is for lesbian, dyke, straight, bisexual, queer, and trans women… or rather, FtMs and other trans folk… such a space gives me a sense of discomfort. It isn’t that I don’t appreciate what is attempting to be done, and it is nice to have something to remind me that just because I’m no longer a part of the lesbian/dyke community doesn’t mean that community automatically hates me. I like queer women. I really like queer women. In fact, I am rarely attracted to straight women anywhere near as much as I am attracted to queer women. Actually, I’m more attracted to queers in general than to heterosexuals, especially cisgendered heterosexuals.
In college a friend and I discussed how “women’s only spaces” were morphing into “no cisgendered men” and that such a definition could next become “no heterosexual cismen” but really what all those are striving for isn’t exclusion, it is the comfort and safety of a space without male privilege.
All of that makes sense and isn’t something I necessarily disagree with, but walking into such a space after having been passing so well, walking into a space that means anyone who looks like me, sounds like me, and acts like me isn’t a butch but is trans… was incredibly disconcerting. I felt like there was a giant neon sign on my head saying “Look, here’s an FtM!” And the image of a giant neon sign saying that, made me smile. I want that kind of neon sign sometimes, preferably in a green or blue. Rainbow would work too…
But what bothers me about the space isn’t feeling like my identity is on display, that was a strange sense of relief. What bothers me is that there is a need for a space that specifies such restrictions.
It is needed because frequently safety means not having those who are so often a categorical threat to a group of people. So many friends of mine are not just skittish around frat brothers, but truly afraid of them unless there is a clear introduction and “these are safe people” moment. Or that certain groups of people tend to dominate spaces in such a way as to make it difficult for others to express themselves, speak up, or interact with people. For the opportunity to be safe, remove those that are the problem, separate them out.
But how is all of that really so different from the arguments for separate bathrooms based on sex? Men apparently cannot behave themselves enough to use the same restroom as women. Even worse, then people might decide to have consensual sex in the bathroom, oh no! As sarcastic as I am about that, there is a serious point some people make about the need for gendered spaces. How can people, usually women, be safe otherwise?
To me, that societal dialogue is part of the problem. Creepy ass people who would take advantage of a situation like that in a bathroom aren’t going to be stopped by the gendered bathrooms. Not to mention sexual assault can happen within a gay community, and gendered bathrooms contribute to the likelihood of gay-bashing for when people don’t match up to expected standards of “men” or “women,” which includes things like being a sweet little dyke who looks like Justin Bieber (Disclaimer- I had never heard of Bieber until I found that tumblr.) But there are some who vehemently oppose gender neutral bathrooms for the safety of either themselves, their families, or most often, their values and expected notions of what “should” be.
I’m not saying that queers spaces that limit the identities who attend are the same as gendering bathrooms. Bathrooms exist in response to the human necessity to shit and piss. Limited spaces, like the example from the beginning of this entry, are usually social, sexual, supportive, or other such spaces that are not “needed” but are for pleasure. Restricting access to a necessity is a much bigger problem than what the queer community is doing. Queers limit the attendance because of the safety risks of those same imposed limitations on bathrooms; the phobic, sexist, heteronormative, etc. views that make gendered bathrooms an unsafe space are what we don’t want around when limiting attendees’ identities.
Really, my point is two-fold. The first is that it is still policing. Limiting the attendance to certain identities is inherently policing. That isn’t bad in and of itself, just potentially dangerous. The second is that limiting identities doesn’t help the wider problem. It doesn’t alter the behaviors that create the safety problems. It doesn’t move to change the societal script that states certain groups of people are a problem, and that such people will cause safety or discomfort to other groups by their mere presence. These problems aren’t just gender, but race, religion, class, political affiliation, and any other identity category our minds/society has come up with. I mean, a specific Goth Night at a club falls into this as well. Except the difference between a Goth Night and something based around sexuality, gender (or conflating them,) race or other such identities is that Goth identification is a choice. And no matter what the religious right says, my “too-queer-to-be-gay” identity is not a choice, it’s who I am.
On the other hand, sometimes these requirements exist for a slightly different purpose- sexual spaces that limit the identities often do so to make sure that the people there are potentially interested in each other. But even then, what does it mean to limit a space for “gay men only,” are transfags included? Bi-guys? Pansexuals? Whatever the intent… it made for pensive thoughts this Pride weekend.
This blog contains sexually explicit material, so please be of legal reading age for your location. Any questions, concerns, or things you don't want to leave in a comment, feel free to email me at xmechbeyond AT gmail.com
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