Sunday, September 30, 2012

The T in LGBT

Why is the T in LGBT when it has nothing to do with our sexuality? I've seen this question arise in a number of support groups for trans people, and I really think we need to look at this from a different perspective. We don't need LGB people to help us or fight for our rights. We need to fight for theirs. Allow me to explain, briefly.

Trans people live in contrast with the binary model of gender/sex that exists in our society, and what we are fighting for is the recognition of our gender identities as valid and the right to express our identities in whatever way we choose. And that is not a right that we alone deserve. All people deserve this right, and I believe it would greatly benefit the people in our society to not have to conform or face social isolation, among other things.

Much of the violence perpetrated against LGB (and T) people, from the time of childhood, is based upon behaviors, mannerisms, preferences, etc. that heteronormative people associate with the "opposite" gender. There is the pervading belief that real manhood and real womanhood are observable and quantifiable, and that one is less of a man or woman if certain criteria are not met. This greatly affects LGB people because society characterizes people who don't have a certain number of manly or womanly traits as gay without hesitation. Well, not all gay men are effeminate, and not all straight men are macho. I'm not even arguing for the idea that many trans people first find acceptance as members of the gay community. Aside from this, we are fighting for the same rights. As a transman, I am fighting for acceptance as a real man just as much as a so-called effeminate gay man. I'm not in the we're-just-like-the-rest-of-you-straight-people camp. No. We are different. We don't have to pretend to be straight or act in heteronormative ways or have body parts that are heteronormatively associated with the gender with which we identify in order to be considered real and granted the real rights we deserve.

And since sexuality, sex and gender are so linked in our society, homosexual behavior is considered a transgression of gender norms as well. We're all breaking the same rules. And we are fighting for LGB people, trans people, and straight people, and everyone else to be able to express their sex, gender, and sexuality in whichever ways they choose. Do you know how many times people have commented to me that certain people just "act too gay" for them? We're fighting against that mindset. People seem not to have an issue with gay people as long as it can be ignored or hidden, but when the gender transgressions occur, it cannot be ignored. Many young boys learn to fear and hate gays because, as they grow up, they are fighting to attain manhood/masculinity, which is incompatible with any sort of feminine behavior or transgression, which homosexuality is again a part of. In fighting for our rights to express our own gender identity, we are fighting for gender justice for all, to quote the IDKE slogan from 2010.

Now I think I will go post this in response. I never do that, but I think this might be one of those important times where people might actually get it.

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Winter, Interviews...Winterviews?

One of the reasons I dislike winter so much is that it becomes much more difficult for me to walk to places of necessity. I feel even more trapped than usual, and while I love hockey and playing in the snow, I tend to hate cold weather because I'm apparently extraordinarily sensitive to it. Winter's coming soon, and that means all of the above and most likely, worsening depression.

I was asked if I had achieved any recent goals of mine in my interview today. I couldn't even make something up. I said no. And I am still struggling to find an answer. This also leads me to another point. Interview questions tend to stack the cards against people who are depressed or atypical. Thinking of an answer to that particular question would probably have been easier if my brain were primed to see the positive in things, but I'm constantly fighting to avoid negativity (and often failing). Regardless of whether I had achieved a goal or not, which actually would be indicative of success, the question is more telling about my perception of my success, which in most capitalistic contexts is irrelevant. Also, if you've ever taken one of those silly assessments that asks about what you would rather do or how likely you are to feel a certain way, you've probably encountered questions that seemed like they had no right answer. Sometimes, I want to pick strongly agree, and sometimes I want to pick strongly disagree for the same question. It depends on the day. Asking about whether I prefer to work with people or figures? Is that really a fair question? The only thing I could do was be honest and explain that it is not a matter of preference but a matter of comfort, though I most enjoy a context in which both opportunities are present to some degree. But many times I don't have the option of explaining myself. I think some people believe that because I need to work harder at these things, I'll be worse at them than someone who is naturally bubbly and extroverted. I would argue that my awareness of the situation gives me a more realistic perception and that I may sometimes surpass an individual that remains blissfully ignorant. But then there are times that I will not, and are those few instances what my entire life will be based upon? Again, I keep wondering how fair this is.

I was proud of myself for not completing falling apart after not doing so well at answering the first question. It was one of those questions that is probably meant to break the ice for most people, but it terrified me because I had no idea how to answer it. It was just too vague. I was faced with either saying nothing or perhaps going on for way too long. So I stumbled through an answer that didn't make much sense, now that I think about it. What was this prompt? "So, tell me about yourself."

I'm bothered by that question because no matter what answer you give, you're still giving an incomplete picture, unless your answer happens to be a novel.

(Distracted by the little gray dots on the whiteboard in my room.)

Monday, September 24, 2012


I've recently decided that I might want to move back to Pittsburgh. I now know why. I spent a weekend with the right people and kept my attention focused on that, instead of worrying about how miserable I might be on the off chance the wrong people confronted me. Despite a few unhappy looking glances in my direction, they seemed to be relatively easy to ignore, almost like they weren't even there. I've already lost my home to ignorant fucks on more than one occasion, and I don't intend to make a habit of it. Perhaps I am so drawn back to the city, not only because it is home but because I also have a lot of unfinished business to tackle. If I am going to leave somewhere, I want to be the one to decide that. The way things went down, I feel as if something has been taken from me, and I don't think I'll be able to live with the feeling of letting go so easily--of abandoning something I wanted so much and was so close to achieving. I wanted to establish my home out there for a reason, and that reason has not changed, and many of the people that helped me make that decision are still out there. I feel bad for not making them a bigger part of my life when it turns out I could have used them a great deal. I think going back would be very different this time around because I know which people are worth the time.

My brain definitely has a funny way of doing things.

Thursday, September 20, 2012


I finally figured out how to write the introduction to my book. And I'm feeling pretty impressed with myself because of my opening analogy. I feel like the hardest part is behind me. Hooray for progress!

Monday, September 17, 2012


I am an awkward hugger. Hugging most people makes me uncomfortable. How I know that I really love someone--I can feel it in the hug. Those are the ones I wish would never end. It's so rare that I can find someone with whom I can share that much. If you can make me feel that comfortable, chances are you've got a shot. But good luck because the list is pretty short.
On Sunday, I just didn't want to let go. I wasn't sure until that very moment. But now I know that I really did and really do love him, in spite of everything. And once again, it's too late.
It never gets any easier to deal with this kind of pain.

Sunday, September 16, 2012


It's over. I'm completely sober, and I don't even think I'm tired. But my reign as Mr. Cattivo is over. I cannot even believe how much has happened in these last twelve months. But I think I said that already.

Everybody surprised me tonight. I really am proud of these guys for how much they have grown.

Let me also just say that I absolutely loved being in the backstage dressing room with Lady Rose and Tamara. That was perfect planning on Renee's part, and that definitely contributed to reducing the awkwardness that could have ensued.

What was awkward was staring out and seeing the first few rows of people giving me death glares the whole time. It's surprising how easy it is to ignore people who hate you when you just have to look beyond them to see the smiling, screaming faces.

But everyone was professional. It was nice. The way it should be.

And of course I cried, but I don't think most people noticed it. I don't think many who did had any idea why. And that's fine with me. Only I need to know.

I'm proud of what I have done. I need to keep thinking of it that way. I just hope it matters.

I'll probably have something more coherent to say when I've processed everything. But this is all I've got for now.

It also feels funny to try to congratulate someone who has blocked you on facebook, so you can't tag them anyway. But still, nicely done. And congrats to everyone.


Saturday, September 15, 2012


Sometimes I am scared that what I am doing will not be good enough. But this one isn't meant to be like that. It's more for me than for anyone else, and I'm hoping that people will understand that. At least one of them is flashy and nuts, though.

It feels like it has been way longer than a year. I can't believe that much shit can happen in twelve months. It makes me wonder what the rest of my life is going to be like.

The crying will definitely happen tonight. 12 months or 24 years worth. Not sure.

Roar. I guess I should continue to do things now. Why am I so nervous? It seems silly. Maybe it is because this is how people will remember me. Or maybe they won't, and that's a little scary.

I don't have time for this depression nonsense.

Second night

I consider it a great accomplishment that I didn't break down and cry in the middle of the bar tonight. Too many different emotionally complicated situations were happening all at the same time. I can't imagine what tomorrow will be like. I guess I almost hope tomorrow never comes. after Sunday, it'll finally be over for real. And I just don't want that. It doesn't make any sense at all. My heart keeps on finding new ways to break. Why am I even trying?

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Return to South Oakland

Quite frequently, I get the urge to do something really nice and thoughtful for someone who absolutely doesn't deserve it. This happens with people I don't even really like all that much, but I am reminded of better times and of something that would make them smile, something that would be important to them. And I always want to be able to give that to people. I feel like this says way more about my personality than it should, and I'm not sure if that is a good thing or a bad thing.

I'm staying with friends in Pittsburgh, and I do not feel pressured to party or be crazy or do anything I don't actually feel like doing this weekend. I feel like a guest coming in for a visit, not a freeloader or someone who just needs a place to sleep. I'm going grocery shopping with her tomorrow and helping out a little, not in return for her letting me stay here but because that's just simply the right thing to do.

It's strange how college apartments can feel like real homes. And then how some real homes will never be anything close to that.

I want to have the kind of home where my friends will always feel welcome. I want to be that safe haven for someone who really needs it. I want to just sit and be in the company of people who can live together as a family, who can be with each other in a room and not be strangers. I want to have the ability to control that about my place--the ability to open up my home to the people that matter to me.

The little things about people's places get to me. Seeing silly things like certain dishes or a Brita picther or even just movies on the rack instead of in some garbage bag three hundred miles away or shoved in a bin somewhere. Things have their place in a home. But I almost feel like I don't have one in mine. I think a lot of that has to do with my fears about January and my fears about my father. There are times I do want to just go upstairs and hang out with my mother, but I just don't want to be in the same room with him. I keep trying but it's so hard to get myself past what he's done and will inevitably do again. I don't know how to deal with this at all. I am learning a little more about how to deal with the good and bad sides of people (and that everyone does indeed have both), but what happens when the bad seems to outweigh the good so much? Is there a logical answer to this, and why the hell am I even trying to quantify good and evil in the first place?

More people getting married. Having babies and real jobs. And here I am. A wanderer with no sense of home or purpose. I wouldn't mind if I didn't feel like I were actually lost. I'm scared of not knowing. And I know I've said that too many times already.

I'm happy that I am right here, right now. As far as this present moment is concerned, there is no other place I would rather be. And I feel like I really will be able to fall asleep like a normal person tonight. I enjoy hearing laughter upstairs rather than crying or screaming.

I want my house to feel like home. And it doesn't NOT feel like home, entirely. There is just something missing, and maybe I just feel out of place. I feel like I don't really belong there. I don't even have a door to my room. I know that it is because I am still having trouble seeing this part of my life as anything other than a stepping stone to the next part, which may mean that I am afraid to make the place feel like home again. You can't miss home if you don't have one. I'm not sure which of those feelings is worse. I want to be able to feel the emotions I need to again.

Love. And the feeling of real friendship. Just having the touch of a human being mean something more than an accident or something that I have to do because it would be rude not to.

I don't think I have a calling. I don't think I am supposed to be doing anything. I'm not one of the lucky ones who has it all figured out, and I really thought I was. So what does that mean? Do I just decide to do something and see where it takes me? It's obvious that something will have to be left behind in order for me to do anything more with my life, but what will make me the happiest? There's no way to collect data on this one. There's no way to do an accurate calculation. I hate taking chances. I don't even buy lottery tickets.

I remember when I got lottery tickets on my 18th birthday, like it meant something. Now birthdays don't mean anything. How do I make this meaningful, this getting older thing? I don't want to be okay with the idea that I'll be alone for the rest of my life, but what if that is what I need to do in order to get out of the head space I'm in now?

I just feel surrounded by so much hate most of the time, and it's nice to be in a place where that isn't the case, if only for a few days. But I will probably feel that way on Saturday too. I don't even know what to expect. I guess I'll be crying either way.

Why is it so easy to be calm in South Oakland? Very odd.

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

My Present

This January, I will leave this town. This will be my present to myself, whether I have a job in another place or not. This is my next step, and I know I won't be able to do or decide on anything else until I am in a better place.

I want a home. So I will make one for myself.


I don't want to make a decision based upon the fact that I'm in a shitty place in my life. I want to know that I would make the same decision if I were in a better place.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Why I'm Probably Not Doing Medical School

I've recently started rethinking my decision to rethink my career plans, but the more thinking I do, the less feasible the idea seems. I spent nearly twenty years of my life in school, always preparing for something and always making sacrifices for the future. Well, the future that I planned for never really came. And there's no guarantee that it well next time either. Medical school, from what countless doctors and medical students have told me, requires even more such sacrifices. You leave school with more debt and the prospect of at least five to ten more years of little to no sleep or social life. And you have little time to pursue other interests until you are older. I don't want to wait twenty years to be able to do the things I like to do because I may never get there. Going back to school because I don't know what else to do is a stupid idea. Going to medical school because I'm a smart person and that's what everyone else thinks that smart people do is stupid. I don't want to grow to hate people or to live with the harsh reality that doctors just don't have time to treat their patients the way they really deserve to be treated. I'm interested in the biological sciences and am fascinated by how things work, particularly the human body. I'm also interested in helping people live healthier lives, etc. And helping people in general. But is it worth it? I keep asking my self if medical school and the chance to be a doctor are truly worth it. And my gut just tells And I feel like a part of me has known this my whole life. I don't want to live for someone else anymore, and the sad truth is that doctors spend so much of their lives going through the machine that they become a part of it. I don't want that to happen to me. I don't want to lose my humanity. So many reasons not to do it, and not really that many to do it that can't be satisfied in some other way.

I've also decided that going back to school is really stupid if I am not entirely sure that I'm going to be pursuing a lifetime of research, etc. If I am to go back to school, I want it to have some relationship to what I will be doing. I've heard even more stories about people who go through graduate school and wind up in the same position that I am now, so what would be the point in driving myself further into debt?

So, I have no idea what to do yet again. I want to believe that this phase of not knowing will end at some point, but there's no way I can be sure, which is actually pretty funny now that I read back over it.

Going to DC made me realize that I do love seeing new places and meeting new people, especially in the queer community. Maybe it's time to reconsider where I'm truly needed and appreciated.

I keep crying over all of this. I am trying so hard to enjoy just being where I am and doing things that I'll never get to do again. But it's almost impossible when you want so much more from your life. I don't want to be waiting to die, and I have days where I feel like that is all I am doing. I come home and don't know what to do with myself and just wait to fall asleep, sometimes literally pacing. I can't concentrate on anything that I do need to do, and everything just makes me anxious or frustrated. All I want to do is following the schedule of make money and sleep.

Personal training is looking more and more likely because I enjoy working out like nothing else. It's one of the only things that has been constant in this entire psychological journey of mine, and I think it's one of the only reasons I'm still here. And I like being in charge of my own money. And I know that I take a different approach than most people to what is healthy.

And then I keep thinking about counseling again, after another conversation with a friend, after two more conversations of being able to take people from the pit of despair back into a state of comfort. I wish I had someone to walk me through this. I wish I could just know. I want to know when I will know. I want to know if any of these doubts are unfounded.

I don't want to feel like a failure. It's been drilled into my head that success means reaching the top. I know I'm smart. Really, really smart. And part of that sucks because people expect you to want to do what smart people always do, and they also expect that smart people just don't do anything else.

If I'm going to make a difference in this world, it isn't going to be through being a medical doctor. It's not going to be in some lab. It's going to be with real people, being a real person. I keep thinking back to what she said to me. And I just didn't understand it before. I took it as an insult, as a smart person might be expected to.

"You'll never be great. But you will excel at doing ordinary things."

And maybe that is some sort of greatness in itself.

Maybe going back to school isn't the answer. And if it is, there's always time for that. There isn't always time for a lot of the things I want to do in this world, however.

I don't need to be like everyone else. I thought that meant not being like every other doctor. Maybe it means that I don't need to be like every other smart person. I keep feeling like I'm wasting my intelligence by not going to medical school. Like I'm disrespecting the gifts that have been given to me. But there are other uses for intelligence. And I have much more to offer than my skills of logic and memorization. And maybe those aren't even the most important things that I can offer. But they will probably help me in offering what I can.

This is crazy. I never thought I would end up here. And I know I have said that before. But even if only slightly, the realization that I don't HAVE TO do anything has taken some weight off of my shoulders. What if there were no more schooling to be had? What if I just considered this to be living? What if I just started moving forward now, planning for the things I really what and consider important instead of planning for more sacrifices? It seems insane. It seems to go against everything I've been taught. But as I have learned so many times before, much of what I had been taught goes against the very nature of humanity itself.

I don't want to live without my dreams because those are the things that make life worth living. I honestly feel that my experiences in the queer community have helped me and those I've met more than any of my scientific or health-related endeavors. I know I have reached people, and I continue to get messages from people who want to thank me for just being me. And that feels amazing. I don't know if this is supposed to mean something yet, but it probably does.

So, if I am not going back to school...Well, start over. I'm not in any hurry to go back if there isn't something driving me (other than the pressure of time and not having money or not knowing what else to do). So now the planning for a real life can begin. I don't want to feel like I have to run back to school to escape my own life. Going back to school would be just like going back to Pittsburgh. It would be safe and familiar but it probably wouldn't help me at all. It might only put everything I'm dealing with right now on pause until I'm a little older. And that, as it turns out, isn't such a good thing. Because now I feel like a child in an adult body, and everyone else is leaving me behind. I've felt like that most of my life, and I know that's because I really am a little bit developmentally behind, at least in some areas. And that sucks to have to admit, and I'm embarrassed by it because it's just something that a lot of people will never understand. Mostly because I can pretend to be normal.

I knew there must have been some reason that damned Good Charlotte song kept coming up on shuffle. The universe does provide me with at least a few beautiful coincidences to keep me smiling.

Maybe my goal in life should be to keep doing things that make me smile.

I can't believe I am actually considering this, but teaching came up as a possibility. I think there are more than a few teachers in my family, and I absolutely love kids. And my presence would definitely mean something. I am just getting a lot of things flashing through my head right now. Maybe this is something, maybe nothing. But there is time. I need to calm down and keep reminding myself of this fact because not knowing it makes me feel like I need to do everything right now, and having that feeling shuts down my entire body.

I'm sure I will cry just as much when I finally figure all of this out.