Dysphoria

I haven’t been blogging much this last year. Why? Several reasons.

When you transition, most of the big, new, happy stuff happens in the first year.

When you transition, most of the shitty stuff catches up with you after the first year.

On paper, my life is shit. Unemployed and exiled in Montana where people just don’t take too kindly to my type.

I don’t want to dwell on the negative stuff.

And yet, a few days ago, I went through one of my worst dysphoric bouts in years and the memories are so fresh, I think I can write the experience down and shed some light on the whole dysphoria thing.

So, this blog entry will be about dysphoria.

Dysphoria is like an emotional pimple, and it has a similar life cycle. It gets red, festers, grows, hurts… and you know it is there. You know it is growing. You try your best to conceal it.

Then it explodes.

Then it scabs over and fades away, and if you are lucky, it doesn’t leave a scar.

95-98% of the time, my dysphoria is manageable, still there but drowned out by normal, human emotions a person would expect to feel.

Then it pops. It is gross.

It is so complex. My mind is filled with self-loathing, just like most anyone else, if they allow it. I am also full of internalized transphobia. There is so much about me that I can so readily hate, and when that dysphoric zit is popping, not only do I want to hate myself, I want everyone else to hate me too. Most people are more than happy to hate me when I am like that. Some stubborn lunatics will have none of it.

Then the dysphoria lifts, and I wonder why everyone hates me so much. I feel weak and depressed and vulnerable to another dysphoric bout if I don’t fix things quickly (something I struggle to do after being weakened by such a bout).

The dysphoria wants to rule my life, make all the decisions, and I am left feeling helpless to it at times.

It is Dexter’s Dark Passenger, it is Mr. Hyde.

And THAT is when the suicidal feelings can come in. If I could just take control, I could kill everything I loathe about myself. It would be an act of defiance. It would be me finally standing up for, and against myself in one grand gesture.

Shit’s fucked up. You know?

I was convinced a couple years ago by my dysphoria that I would be doing EVERYONE a favor by just ending it all. Convinced. No doubt in my disturbed mind.

Imagine that. Fresh out of Grad School and then suddenly suicidal, so I transition, to get away from those suicidal thoughts only to discover they still return every 3 or so months. My last bout was around Christmas, and then one before in late summer, early autumn… almost every three months like clockwork.

I am so afraid to live my life because of this dark festering zit that keeps popping up.

Many people think all trans people are crazy. At times, I totally agree. God knows I experience a level of crazy that could win an amateur crazy competition.

So that is dysphoria.

What is it like to come out of a dysphoric bout? A bit like I imagine a rape victim feels. Helpless. Hopeless. Questioning what part of it was your fault.

And then, catharsis.

It is as frightening, ugly and beautiful as the birthing process. Every time the dysphoria lifts, in spite of the damage it does, I am left stronger, wiser, and with more tools at my disposal. It is a time of relief and bursts of joy.

At this rate, it will either kill me or make me stronger than I ever could dream. It is the type of life experience you brag about overcoming in job interviews. You know?

I really do think some day, I will have full control over my dysphoric tendencies. That day just can’t come soon enough.

If I don’t write about this soon after a bout, I begin to forget. Humans forget pain very quickly. It is an evolutionary survival instinct that is well documented. I have wanted to blog about this before but just never did it in time so I lost track of the specifics.

So, in the meantime, I am in exile, trying to stay away from people for fear I will hurt them in an effort to get them to hurt me back. I live more life online than off.

But my God! I can taste the freedom from this bitch of a disability. I will get there eventually, or die trying.

I know this is not a happy entry, but it needed to be shared to give people a fuller picture. I would not wish dysphoria on my enemies.

People read my words and relate them to their own lives. That brings me much joy. There is something about the human condition, trans or not, that we all relate to. Everyone experiences dysphoria in their own way, just typically on a much smaller scale than I.

Transition is hard. It is filled with self doubts and second guessing. Who wouldn’t feel bitter when they give up male privilege for a life as a third class citizen? I far too often HATE being trans and just want it to go away, while knowing full well, transition is keeping me alive. It is a complex relationship.

There is a logic to my insanity. I’d be crazy to not go crazy at times with all this shit to balance in my head.

I almost transitioned in my mid 20’s, then my neighborhood was attacked by hijacked airplanes. Suddenly, my dysphoria lifted because there were more important things to deal with. Many trans people with children say similar things. The birth of a child lifted their dysphoria for years because they had more important things to deal with. Of course, then everyone wants to know why they would transition when they have children. They don’t understand that the dysphoria often returns a decade later crippling the parent much like it cripples me.

Anyway, thank you for reading. It is wonderful to finally get some of this off my chest.

Aloha,
Tori

Losing My Religion

For my latest research project, I have been studying how to talk about trans issues with strangers on the Internet. I already wrote about talking to certain homosexuals who are anti-trans. Today, I will talk about a particularly fascinating topic: Communicating with people who are very religious.

This is a sensitive subject, and while I will do my best to be fair to all sides, please

know in spite of my intent, this post will probably offend some of you. I understand this and apologize in advance. Stop reading now if you would rather not risk taking offense, especially if you are a devout Christian.

Full disclosure, I am an atheist. I was raised Lutheran. I also went through an agnostic period. Born and raised in Utah, many of my friends are devout Mormons. I delved into Buddhism, but if anything, I was and am drawn more to its secular aspects. If you have to tag me with a belief, you can call me a Secular Buddhist. I call myself an atheist.

Religion and spirituality fascinate me. I am a spiritual person. Humans have a HUGE capacity for spirituality, so why not use it?

A spiritual atheist? Yup. How? Because I believe in invisible, intangible things. I believe in love, imagination/creativity… etc. I just put my stock in the intangible that can be made tangible in this life, not the next.

Atheists can be devout. I do not know if I am or not. I like to think I am flexible, but I do tend to base my beliefs on scientific evidence rather than theological evidence.

I have a profound respect for many people of faith, and their security in their beliefs. Where I draw the line is when their beliefs cause a real conflict with my life, particularly my life as a transgender woman.

Readers of this blog know full well, this is the first time I have talked about my beliefs or lack of them. I hope I do not preach. I do not care to convert anyone. Go live your spiritual life your way. I shall do it my way. Thanks.

That said, talking about trans issues with religious strangers online (and even friends) is often enough, like getting in a pissing contest with a skunk. Sadly, I still have not found a method that works perfectly.

It frequently feels like I am talking to grown-ass adults who are telling me their imaginary friend wants to send me into imaginary damnation for being exactly who I feel I was born to be: A transgender female.

I believe in trans. I am trans. It is stark. It is real. It is tangible. It is frightening. What kind of grown-ass adult would negate this experience? One who has an imaginary friend. That is who.

And I just fell into a trap. By negating their beliefs, by calling their God an imaginary friend, I, a grown-ass adult myself, have just invalidated their experience. Their belief is real. It does not matter if it is correct. They have studied, gone to church, listened to sermons, prayed… etc. Those things are all as real as my transition and, my need to transition is as spiritual as their belief in God.

Another trap? Persecution. Christian advocates are as out of the closet as I am as a trans advocate. Both sides face frequent persecution. If I call them bigoted, they can say the same thing about me and we would both be right.

Yet another trap? People generally have good intentions. Even classic trolls just intend to entertain themselves for a short time. When a devout Christian tells me, “You are just a man in a dress. You are a sinner. You will burn in Hell.”, what they are really saying is, “Look dumbass, I am trying to save your eternal life here. Fuck THIS life. Suck it up and stop being trans. Be a good Christian. The next life is going to be worth the pain you suffer in this one.”

Of course, I have tried explaining how, “Thou shalt not trans.” is not a commandment. No dice. Never.

I have tried, “Judge not lest ye be judged.” No luck. They have heard that one before. They have convinced themselves they are not casting judgement because their intent is to save me. That intent is noble.

On that note, I know my Bible very well but who cares? If someone knows I disagree with their beliefs, why would they care what I have to say about their source material, even if I just quote it chapter and verse without embellishment? It is a dead end.

So what works best? Taking the higher ground. Stick to the REAL topic, which is trans related. Respectfully avoid their attempts to draw you into a religious discussion. Stick to facts. Stick to science. Have credible links at your fingertips to back yourself up. Be nice… even if you blow a blood vessel in your eye by doing it.

And here is the best tip I have to offer: Be like Jesus. Forgive them, for they know not what they do. Turn the other cheek. Be a better person in the discussion than they are being. Don’t judge. Don’t cast stones.

If they have been mean and do not eventually see their own hypocrisy, others certainly will, and they may chime in to defend you. Control the tone of the discussion. Calm heads prevail. If someone joins in to defend you but they are cruel to your opponent, call them out and defend your opponent from the cruelty of those comments.

Your goal in online discussions as a trans advocate can be winning. It can be making another person look bad.

My goal is not to win. Not at least to win against one opponent, but rather to sway the largest percentage of people I possibly can. You have to think about what your audience will respond to most positively. Your opponent just gives you a platform to discuss your position in either a positive or a negative way. If you take the negative road, you will sway far fewer people who happen to be on the fence.

There is so much cruelty online, so the opposite of cruelty can frequently get more traction.

And always remember: Sometimes it is best to just walk away and live to fight another day.

Let me leave you with an example:

“I am sorry. I trust your intent is noble. I know you are trying your best to lead me to a glorious afterlife. I do not blame you. I understand. Thank you for your kindness.

Your beliefs just do not change my stark reality any more than my being trans will change your beliefs. If you have it in your heart to accept me in spite of this difference, please do. If you feel the need to pray for me, who am I to judge what you do with your time? In fact, it may work.

I am willing to accept my lot, and I promise I will do my best with this life, so if we both are to be judged by God, we still might see each other in the next one… in spite of my spending my life as a transgender woman.

I wish we could find common ground, but alas, it may never happen. Please accept this and know that neither I nor my transition will ever cause you any personal harm.”

Aloha,
Tori

One of the Guys

I hated being a guy but sometimes I miss being one of the guys.

I was talking to a friend who is also transitioning and the discussion moved towards how our relationships with others have changed. It mostly was about our male friends. Our experiences are quite similar. We are relating better with women than men. Men are becoming harder and harder to figure out in spite of all our experience in men’s shoes.

My relationships with most men have changed vastly. Only a very few have remained much as they were before.

One close friend told me a few weeks ago that I had changed. I am like a different person now.

The discussion that followed really shook me to the core.

He was speaking honestly and from the heart. He was not being mean. All the same, it seemed like a mark of the end of our relationship. I hope it isn’t.

But shit, I have been in transition for over a year and a half now. All the while, I have been the star of my own movie. I guess I had moved past worrying about the impact my transition has on people who are close to me. This reminded me that it is a bit of an adjustment for everyone.

To me, I feel like I have changed very little. That may come as a surprise. But, I started transition with the same consciousness I have today. Whatever it is that makes me a unique and living human was never rebooted with a brand new operating system. My brain is still my brain. I started transition as me. I remain me.

Transition is SLOW. I always say it can be like watching paint dry. Perhaps my personality has changed far more than I had thought.

I think there is more to it though. Other people’s perception also plays a HUGE role. To some people, TOLERANT people, simply viewing me as a woman or a trans woman completely changes how they feel they should relate to me.

Obviously, men tend to treat women differently than they treat other men. Men, usually heterosexual, commonly avoid friendships with women. The friend zone is a bad thing according to most men. Femininity holds far less value In male circles, and women are easily ignored or talked over. The whole dynamic is different.

Then, there are the guys who have become flirtatious. What a bizarre, confusing form of flattery to someone like me who is not used to it. Many men though, only know how to communicate to women through flirtation. It rarely means anything besides the person likes me and is trying to express it.

There is just a general distancing that has evolved over time. I am far from the only trans woman who has experienced this.

The longer men have to wrap their head around my transition, the less they see me as one of the guys. They forget what it was like to hang out with me. They replace these memories with new thoughts of me being a trans female.

My relations with women have evolved too. These differences were far quicker for me to notice.

Many trans women talk about how women start behaving differently around them shortly after starting hormone replacement therapy. It just becomes easier to talk with women within a few weeks, even for those trans women who have not come out.

Obviously, part of that is the hormones. Hormones are like drugs. Men and women are all stoned out of their gourds, they are just high on different substances. Thinking whilst high on estrogen has to effect how a person interprets other people on estrogen.

The next thing is pretty cool. I think it is partly pheromonal. One of the first things to change on hormones is how you smell. That musky to foul male scent I could not always shake was replaced with something far more mild and female. I do not smell male anymore and I suspect that really changed how women act around me. Why do I think this is the case? Because before I came out but shortly after starting hormones, female strangers, female cashiers… etc. started talking to me. Just small talk. It started happening far more frequently than it did before

Finally, my sex drive plummeted in those first weeks on hormones, so I was more likely to communicate with women without that awkwardness of wanting to check out her tits while knowing I shouldn’t.

By the time I came out, I was already relating differently to females and they were relating differently to me. This has only become deeper since then, to the point where I now think I understand the women I talk to better than the men.

The main thing I think coming out did, was it showed women how I too embraced my feminine side. I did not think less of women, like many men seem to. We were on the same team.

So, back to my friend who thinks I have changed, and I am almost a different person. I guess I have changed. I guess I am like a different person. I guess he is right. I don’t know if things will or ever can return to how they used to be. I don’t know if I want them to.

All I know is, I still do occasionally miss being one of the guys… but I love transition.

Aloha,
Tori

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Homosexuals vs. Trans 2: Electric Boogaloo

I have recently covered this topic but I intentionally avoided the real meat and potatoes and instead opted to make the point that homosexuals have been mistreated by others and that bullying homosexuals can inspire homosexuals to bully others. Especially groups of people whom they feel are weaker than they are.

Today, I will tackle this topic more directly.

For the last month or two, I have taken on a project. I am reading the comment sections on trans related news articles of various media outlets and I am participating in the discussions. I will write about this more in future posts. For now, let me just say it is not for the thin skinned. Internet comment boards are a place where people can feel safe to say the most bigoted and vile things imaginable, even on Facebook, where most people use their real name and even then, they frequently do not hide their bigotry.

Today, I am going to focus on the type of bigotry I have faced during conversations with people who comment when a primarily homosexual news site covers a trans issue. These conversations are usually between me and one or more gay or lesbian posters. After enough encounters, patterns begin to emerge.

I am making a disclaimer because it may be obligatory considering the subject matter. Here goes: The VAST majority of cisgender homosexual people I encounter online and in real life are BEYOND accepting. I support their causes and they support mine. We are all in this together.

This post is going to focus on the bigots. Yes, I have seen plenty of shameful bigotry within the trans community as well. There are rotten apples in every barrel. I hope our collective barrels are not spoiled, in spite of the rot.

Ok. End disclaimer.

The two LGBT news feeds I most frequently participate in via their comment sections are, “The Advocate” and, “Gay Star News” via their Facebook feeds. Both are outlets that tend to focus on gay issues the vast majority of the time, followed by lesbian news stories, then bi and trans articles combined getting about 5-10% of their coverage, and the occasional Q,I or A article thrown in to spice things up.

As I run through these examples, I want you to understand, these SAME types of comments popped up frequently, by multiple posters, over multiple comment threads. I am not listing things I saw just once, I am listing things I have seen dozens of times.

The first type of negative comment a trans story will tend to get is: “Why are you guys posting so many trans articles?”

To them, let me personally apologize for taking a teeny tiny sliver of your news outlet pie away from you. It must be hard to have to scroll past one in ten or twenty articles that do not directly relate to you.

These comments are far from the worst a trans person will encounter, but the point is made clear. “Trans news is not worthy of taking space beside their news.”

Then there are the ones who say something like: “Whatever floats your boat, just don’t hit on me.”

To them, let me personally apologize. You must get hit on a lot, so it must be a logical assumption that if the two of us ever came face to face, I would not be able to control my animalistic need to jump your bones. I will do my best to keep myself in check. I apologize in advance though, especially if I screw up.

Their point is made clear. These commentators do not find trans folk attractive and they want the world to know it. Again, far from the worst type of comment you will hear online.

Then there’s this: “There is no such thing as trans. They are just closeted homosexuals.”

To them, let me personally apologize. You caught me. My bad. I am sorry. I just thought it would be SO MUCH easier to land a gay man if I, you know, transitioned to female.

Their point is made clear. My existence and identity are not valid. Theirs is.

The next example: “My gender is male. I know this because I have a penis!”

To them let me apologize. I’m sorry. I too have a penis, for now at least, and all this time, in spite of my penis, I thought I was trans. I guess I was incorrect. And to think, it was right in front of me all this time!?! Gee! Thanks for the help!

Their point is made clear. My existence and identity are not valid. Also, these folks can’t be bothered with dictionaries and definitions. To them, gender and sex are exactly the same thing. They are not. Sure, they are used as synonyms on occasion but that is because most people have a gender identity that is in line with their physical sex. Also, they are used as synonyms because not too long ago, the word, “Sex” was considered to be much more vulgar than it is today. Gender was used as a euphemism to take its place. “Shoot” does not really mean, “Shit” but it can take its place as a euphemism. “Darn” does not mean, “Damn”. Aw, fudge it! Read a fucking dictionary! Clearly you have access to the Internet, you are posting to an online discussion. You can use your Google machine to make sure words mean what you plan to insist they mean.

This next one, I call the mansplaining cisplainer: “Nope. There is natural born male and female. Period. Case closed. And don’t bother appealing to the Mother Nature Court of Appeals because your case is dead on arrival.”

To him, let me apologize. I am sorry. I should have a better understanding of sex and gender, what with being trans and all. Oops.

His point is made clear. My existence and identity are not valid. He is here, to explain things to me, because I am a trans woman, and therefore, I am obviously not smart enough to grasp such things. Posts like this almost always begin with words like, “No.” or, “Nope” then go on to say things much like what I have already said myself minus the bigotry. So not only am I invalid in his eyes, my posts are not even worth reading by him before he replies to them, because he assumes he magically knows what I would say without reading it, and that is good enough for him.

This next one is often related to the one above, the same kind of person often falls into both categories: “Don’t call me, ‘Cisgender’ that is a slur!”

To them, let me personally apologize. I am sorry. It is hard talking about trans issues without a word to describe people who are not trans. I promise I do not intend it as a slur. “Cisgender” or, “Cis” means, “Non-trans”. If only you homosexuals had a word to describe people who are not homosexual. You know, those normal, non-homosexual people? It must be so difficult for you without a simple word to describe those people who are attracted to the opposite sex.

His point is made clear. My existence and identity are not valid. How dare I use a scientific word that means exactly what I think it means to correctly label a person who is not trans?

Then there is this type of comment: “If you were born thinking you could pretend to be a woman, then what is to keep me from saying I was born believing I am a mermaid/dragon/dog… etc.?”

To them, I offer this apology: I am sorry. That is an old joke. It was moderately funny the first time I heard it 8-10 years ago on, “South Park” when Kyle’s dad decided he would finally transition into a dolphin since he was born believing in his heart that he truly was one. The joke has since lost its luster. I see a variation of it in almost every single comment thread about a trans topic. Get some new material.

Their point is made clear. My existence and identity are not valid. It is a joke. You see, they too can pretend to be someone or some thing they are not. If you want, you can look at how I recently took down a person who claimed to be born Batman, see my last blog post.

The last two types of comments are complex. They are hard to summarize in one post, as they unfold through sometimes lengthy conversations.

The first type is the worst: The passive aggressive, bigot in denial. This person will stoop to almost any level. They will insult a trans person’s name, looks, gender identity, they may even mock a trans person’s feelings of dysphoria or suicidal thoughts. They are often subversive. One example of subversion was a guy who kept saying things like, “Sorry Charlie.” and, “No shit Sherlock!” to me, knowing full well he was calling me by male names, and still, I knew that he would be able to safely deny it if I ever called him out it because, hey, they are just things we say. These folks exhibit true troll like behavior, but they are fully in denial of it. it is like, they are convinced they are doing me a favor, by breaking the bad news to me

Their point is not as clear as others, but it is fascinating. They HATE trans people, but they know better than to just outright say it. They know they will look like a bigot, so they push your buttons in the desperate hope that you snap, say something rude to them, and give them permission to not only openly hate you, but to use you as an example in the future for why they continue to hate on other trans folk. You do not see this tactic much outside of LGBT feeds, but it happens all the freaking time in LGBT feeds. I guess people who have faced oppression themselves, know better than to be overtly bigoted, but my God! If you dare show ANY defensive emotion in response to their comments, they will let you have it. They want permission to show their hatred, but you have to take the bait first.

This last type is unique and also evolves and emerges over a long discussion. This type of person is abrasive and rude to you from the get go but underneath, you begin to see their compassion, respect and intelligence. They are like older siblings. They may play too rough at times, but they know the world is not for the weak, especially if you are LGBT. They have been there before and they want to help you climb to new heights.

Their point is harsh, but sound. The only problem is, sometimes they fail to realize that trans folk can have different types of triggers than cisgender homosexuals and therefore, they might cause a dysphoric bout in a trans person without realizing it or intending to do so.

That is it. These are the most common forms of bigotry I encounter on LGBT discussion boards. They happen all the time. I will be writing another post soon where I will give some tips and tricks to having a higher percentage of positive encounters when you are stupid enough to read the comments.

Until then, aloha,

Tori

D.C. vs. Marvel

I have officially won the Internet. Thanks for playing.

Discussing trans health care in a comment thread for a news page, someone sarcastically stated: “I am Batman, I have always known. I want the government to pay for my costume.”

I could not resist. I had to reply: “We all know who you really are, Mr. Wayne. You can afford your own costume. Hell, just from the taxes you pay on the interest you earn, you could buy costumes for the poorest 98%.

It is a false analogy though. You are making a joke, but nobody, not even you, is born Batman, Mr. Wayne. You decided to become The Dark Knight after the childhood trauma of seeing your parents murdered in cold blood. Everybody knows that.

I was born trans.

Perhaps Superman would be a better analogy, but then again, he was just a baby named Kal-El from the planet Krypton. He did not get his powers until he was exposed to the power of our Sun… so not the best analogy either.

I was born trans.

Let’s try Marvel… D.C. Is not working out.

Spider-Man? Nope. Radioactive spider bite.

Thor? Captain America? Hulk? Nope. Nope. Nope.

Perhaps one of the X-Men. While I resent being compared to a mutant, they were born that way and let’s be honest, I too AM an ex man!

There’s your analogy, Mr. Wayne, free of charge. When comparing yourself to a trans woman by using a comic book/superhero analogy, go with the X-Men. Marvel wins. You’re welcome.”

Tori Barton won the Internet on the day of, April 6, 2015. You are lucky to know me. That is all.

Homosexuals vs. Trans

Being accepted as trans can be a struggle, even amongst the LGBT community. Much of it is rooted in miscommunication and misunderstanding. It is ironic how much understanding transition brings me, at the cost of others failing to understand me as a trans woman.

It really does not matter if you are in a minority or in the majority, bullying begets bullying, and trans folk fall so low on the discriminatory totem pole, there are not many people left to bully but our own self. Walk a mile in my heels and you will understand, I am sure. Then again, I bet most of you know better, because society has already told you what the general consensus happens to be when it comes to trans folk like me.

For my own safety, I have begrudgingly lumbered like a bull dyke back into my China closet. I HATE it, but I am insolvent, unemployed, and I do not know enough about the community I have moved to, to go in guns a blazin’, and paint the town trans. Fortunately my head is in a good place, so the need to hide myself externally is not overwhelming my ability to be myself internally. I guess guy clothes are like my burka right now.

I hate it. I have made so much progress this last year, only to be set back like this, and there is nothing I can really do about it right now. I have to bide my time and hide my shame.

Now, several people have told me, “Nobody is stopping you.” including my wife. I appreciate what they are saying and I appreciate the support.

I am just learning to trust my female intuition and it tells me this is neither the time nor the place to be flamboyant with my transition. I am stuck here, out of necessity, and by God, it better be short term.

I overheard a conversation last night where a guy was talking about how he’d recently been hit on by a gay man. Everybody with him rolled their eyes in understanding. He went on to say the gay guy came up to him like, “‘Hi-ee, what are YOU doing here?'” in a stereotypically effeminate voice, “So, I set him straight.” he went on to say.

My first thought was, “Well, I doubt you set him STRAIGHT.” and my next, “What does that even mean? Set him straight? Did you reject him or beat the shit out of him?” then, “Does this gap-toothed douche-nozzle even know the difference between being hit on, and someone just trying to spark a conversation?” and finally, “Is he just saying this because I am near, and he can tell I do not fit the norm?”

Intuition.

The need for men to be masculine here, is ingrained in the culture.

I heard similar things in Hawaii, but only rarely and typically in hushed tones. Here, that type of thinking gets socially reinforced by folks all the time, to the point where gays stay underground, and still there are pricks so insecure in their masculinity, that they have to prove how un-gay they are by telling stupid stories like that one. I mean, how dare that gay guy even talk to him!?!

And I realize, homosexual people frequently disregard trans folk while trans folk are left looking up to them on the fucking discrimination totem pole. It is time to say the obligatory, “Not all homosexuals.” I have SO many supportive people in my life and many of them are so far from straight, they look like a spiral.

I also realize, within this group that guy was telling his story to, was one very good looking female. Sure, I could see her agreeing with him, at least externally, but I imagined she was also thinking, “Get over it, dude. I get unwanted advances all the time and I have to navigate them without being seen as a total bitch!”

But yeah, in past posts, including one about the TERFS (trans exclusionary radical feminists) and another about the use of the word, “Tranny” in gay circles, I have already explored how there are some very vocal groups within the homosexual community who are happy to keep trans people below them. Bullying begets bullying.

In spite of all this horse shit, I am discovering something. Unlike that homophobic turd, I am finally and totally secure in my own masculinity. I guess that is an unexpected perk of finally embracing my true femininity. It is a luxury most men, including many gay men, may never have.

Aloha,
Tori

G.I. Jane

Defense Secretary Ashton Carter recently went on record as being in favor of allowing trans personnel to serve openly in the American armed forces and went on to say President Obama is also in favor. This is the most progressive move since his predecessor, Secretary Hagel, said he thought the idea of trans folk serving openly was worth looking into.

Now, I saw the news posted on a national media website and made a mistake. I looked at the comments.

Internet comment sections entice me, especially when trans folk are the subject. Many trans people have learned to avoid comment sections entirely as they can be quite triggering, and to be honest, they are. I get triggered into responding to idiots at the expense of sleep.

Comment sections really can be a great way to change people’s minds about certain issues. It is a way to converse with someone you do not know. Of course, there are people who are just there for the LOLs, there are people who are just trying to troll in an inflammatory way, and there are just plain idiots. The idiots are easily spotted by their spelling, grammar and/or overuse of caps lock. When it comes to trans issues, there are also a lot of Christians who feel the need to opine judgmentally. Comments from any of these types of people are easily glossed over, although, sometimes you can still sway their opinions.

The people to look for are the ones who make logical points but still disagree with you. They are worth their weight in gold. They may think about what you say . They may change their minds. Sometimes it is worth being out and communicating to strangers.

In the case of trans folk in the military, there are some decent arguments against… at least from the perspective of a fairly intelligent person who knows little about being trans or serving in the military.

I am noticing some interesting trends in the comment sections. People in these discussions frequently think ALL trans people have had or will have the surgery. They frequently think trans women will have to share bathrooms and showers with men, which ironically, is how things happen now. They also frequently think all trans people want to be women,

On a side note, there are an estimated 15,000 trans troops currently serving. They can serve, they just can not serve openly. If they come out, they are considered mentally unfit to serve because the military considers being trans a disqualifying mental disorder. Let me repeat, trans people already serve in the military. If being trans is a mental disorder, then the military still has it backwards, the dysphoria that can come with being trans is often cured by transition. Keeping trans people closeted is the worst way to keep them sane.

Let’s look at convicted leaker Chelsea Manning. I find it quite interesting that when she was known as Bradley, and she knew something others did not know, and it would cost her a job if she came out and said it, in spite of thinking that telling everybody was the right thing to do… the parallels are kinda’ uncanny. I can’t help but wonder if her secret trans life was the straw that broke her back. Admittedly, her example is troubling. The most famous trans person in the military is in prison.

The oddest thing? She is still enlisted. They can’t discharge her and still send her to military prison. She will be dismissed upon release, I imagine. The second oddest thing? She recently was given permission to get hormone replacement therapy, while being in prison and still serving, making her one of the first, if not the very first of the active duty soldiers to be allowed to come out and be treated medically for being trans.

Of course, Manning has tarnished the trans name for many military personnel. She is the first person they think of and she is an example of doing the opposite of what a soldier is supposed to do with confidential military intelligence. Why couldn’t the trans poster child for the military be one of the Navy Seals who helped get Bin Laden or something? Ever heard of Kristin Beck? She was one of the Navy Seals who helped get Bin Laden. She transitioned after leaving the military.

Which brings me to this: The VA treats trans vets. They give trans vets hormones. The military is already well aware they have a bunch of trans folk working for them. If they serve and retire while remaining closeted they get treatment in spite of knowing full well they were, “Unfit to serve” and keeping it secret, or even lying about it until it did not matter any more.

Studies have concluded that a higher percentage of trans people serve in the military than there are trans people in the general population by as much as 300%. Why? It has to do with masculinity. The military is seen as a masculine job. Femininity in our culture is frowned upon, especially among males. Men are taught to be masculine and teach each other to remain so. Women are taught that it is okay to be masculine or a Tom boy. So, trans men join as women because it is a place where they can be masculine and trans women join as men to overcompensate for their feminine side. The military already serves as a noble refuge for closeted trans folk of any gender.

I understand the trans female perspective first hand, so I totally understand why they would join, thinking it may help repress those trans and dysphoric feelings. Thinking it would hide their inner female from friends and family. Many trans soldiers LOVE their jobs but, dysphoria is a bitch. Military personnel enlist and then they must serve a specific amount of time, honorably, before they earn the benefits they have worked for. So many trans people join and then see that deadline they have to get to, and they realize that the military has not cured their being dysphoric, it has just trapped them and kept them from transitioning for an even longer time, thus amplifying their dysphoria.

The decision to transition comes at different times for every trans person. Many never need to. It does not mean they aren’t trans. But, wow, imagine discovering the primal need to transition three years before your job will allow it, and if you don’t do your job, you will have to explain to people why you were discharged in every job interview for the rest of your life. It just might be enough to cause a person to spill national security secrets…

Many of the strongest arguments against allowing trans folk to serve have to do with the fact that certain medical conditions will exclude a person from joining. The need to take regular medication excludes many from being in the military. Certain surgical procedures can also exempt a person from joining.

As for medicine, hormones can be implanted much like certain types of birth control, only needing to be changed every six or so months. If a trans person is in a combat role, and they need to take regular meds, that could really be an issue, but I don’t know of many combat situations that would go for more than six months without access to modern medicine, unless a soldier is captured, or we are really getting our asses kicked, which are risks all soldiers are already willing to take.

The surgery thing is more difficult. Certain surgeries make a person ineligible to serve because once the surgery is performed there is a risk of complications for the rest of their life, and the military wants to know their soldiers are in proper working order when they join or are drafted.

I will come back to that, but first, there is the shower/locker room/bunking issue. I can see how a trans woman with a penis or a trans man with a vagina could lead to awkward situations, especially during basic training and even in close combat situations. Hell, if you are not trans and the idea makes you feel awkward, rest assured, the idea is at least as awkward to me too.

Which brings me back to surgery. In most sports that allow trans athletes, one of the requirements is typically that they must be post-op. I figure this is because of locker rooms mainly because I am hard pressed to think of a sport that actively and athletically makes use of a person’s junk. Let me know in the comments if you can think of one.

Sports require surgery. So, it does not sound like the type of surgery that leads to complications under stress, after it has healed.

But then, there are the trans folk who are non-op by choice. I can see how that could be uncomfortable for everyone involved, in a forced locker room situation. Bathrooms tend to have stalls. Locker rooms? Bunking situations? Er…

So, I return to a previous point. Trans folk tend to join the military as a way to salve or hide their need to transition. I suspect there will be very few people joining the military mid transition. Transition is enough work. The vast majority of trans folk will come out during their service. Some would join post transition. Few would enlist mid transition, because we don’t want to force any of the problems that would complicate an already complicated time of life.

So many cisgender people think trans folk transition in part because they WANT to show their junk to other people. I understand. That is what happens when all you know about trans people comes from accidental clicks on porn sites.

The fact is trans people do not generally want to make a big deal about bathrooms or their junk. It is the cisgender folks who seem to dwell on that part of transition. I understand. That part of transition is the weirdest part to someone lucky enough to have a brain that matches their body. It fascinates and often enough, repulses cis folk. Kind of like televised car chases.

So, the majority of trans folk who are or will be in the military, likely will not come out until after they join. By then, they will have been trained and specialized. Our soldiers are generally smart enough to know that if they are incapable of doing an assigned task, they will be removed from that task.

If a soldier needs surgery, they are treated. If they can not recover fully, they are honorably discharged or reassigned. If they need to take regular medication, they are given the same treatment, depending on the condition.

People forget, most military jobs are not on the front lines. Most jobs can be done by trans people without even dealing with the locker room issues.

Can you honestly say that a pilot with combat experience should have their honor and training negated because they are trans? Who wins there? Our military is just stuck needing to invest in another, less experienced pilot.

So, if our military truly wants the best person for each job, some of those people are going to be trans and, they will be even better if they are allowed to serve openly.

Story time. I had to register for the draft because I was male. I was 25 on 9/11. I still had over one year left. Like many people my age, I knew the draft might be instated at any time. Had I been drafted, I would have served. I just knew, being trans, that I could not in good conscious enlist. It would be based on a lie but still, I seriously considered enlisting.

So back to the comment sections on the Internet, when I make a point about this topic, former military, knowing I am trans and out, tend to reply with something like, “Well, you have never served so what the fuck do you know?”

At those times, I tell them no, I have not, I just had a front row seat on 9/11. Depending on how rude and transphobic they were, I have even asked some of them how many Americans they have seen die with their own eyes because I sure as Hell know I saw more. In a way, I was drafted on that day. We all were.

One final note, trans people can serve openly in federal and federal contracting jobs. There may already be a trans person legally taking a leak in the stall next to a cisgender officer in Afghanistan, even as you are reading this. It is no big deal.

Aloha,
Tori

p.s. Take a chance to change a mind in a comment section some time. Feel free to be OUT there trans peeps! Some people really need the help.