Women in Afghanistan

So CNN just did a story about self-mutilating women in Afghanistan. The first person they talked about was a 16-year-old girl who was married to an abusive douche bag who would beat the fuck out of her daily. The cops apparently wouldn’t do shit, so to escape it she set herself on fire. Only then did the cops arrest said douche. Furthermore, the report states, this shit happens all the time over there. Just this week 5 women have been admitted to this hospital for the exact same reason. To illustrate that point, they then told a story of an 11-year-old girl whose mother was marrying her off to a 35-year-old man in exchange for money. To avoid this marriage, the girl set herself on fire. She claims that she is glad she did it, because she couldn’t bear to be married to an older man.

Later, they talk about arranged marriages in the opium trade. As police and American officials crack down on the opium trade in their never-ending attempt to deny people a good time or a lucrative business, many former opium farmers are having to sell their daughters to the drug lords in order to repay their debts. They had some clever name for these marriages, but I forget what it was. They talked to one former poppy farmer who had to marry off his 5 daughters and was still $12,000 in debt.

In the end, the had some dude explain to the viewers that “the lives of women have drastically improved” over the past 8 years (since the American invasion). He cites women getting jobs, going to school, etc. (Because, you know, Americans are a liberated species and therefore qualified to liberate others.) Obviously progress in Afghanistan is even slower than progress in the West, which means that in about 3,000 years they’ll have advanced to the point of implied sexism as opposed to overt woman-beating. Whoopee.

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GenderQueer in the Midwest

A mini-doc I found on Helen Boyd’s blog.

My thoughts on SCUM

So I just added a link to Valerie Solanas’s SCUM manifesto, not necessarily because I agree with it 100%, but because I respect it for trying to insite a true revolution. A lot of what she writes has some elements of truth, and she’s often treated as some sort of psycho survivalist. Being an anarcho-syndicalist and political writer, I know what this feels like. Since I was 10 I have felt that there was something very wrong with society, and as I got older I began to realize that the things wrong with society are mostly the results of men’s insecurities. Men are an opressive force which women must cast off, but the problem is that, as Solanas points out, most women have been brainwashed by men into being completely submissive simps. I certainly don’t think that every man is evil, just that most of them are. Also, I don’t think that every man wants to be a woman like Solanas suggests; I just believe that most men realize on some level that “manhood” is a sham and that they are afraid of confessing to who the really are. A study showed that 100% of men tested who had violent homophobic tendancies show signs of latent homosexuality, so it’s obvious that their “manliness” is some sort of facade to prevent the world from realizing that they’re really fags. I seriously think that the world is in need of a revolution, and I hope it comes in my lifetime. I don’t want to live my whole life in a oppressive power-centric society.

Intersex/trans documentary

I found this 45 minute documentary on Helen Boyd’s blog. It’s about intersex and MTF transsexual people. Basically they show evidence that gender identity has a biological basis not tied to XX/XY chromosomes. (Also known as the “brain sex theory.”) I liked how similar the story of the trans man known as Kevin (I think) going to bed wishing he would wake up male is to my own story (see this post). I also thought it was funny that the young MTF was named Alex, which is my name.

The best movie ever

I have been watching Pink Floyd The Wall on repeat since 4:30. I do this from time to time. Besides 2001: A Space Oddyssey, the Wall is my favorite movie. When I was a kid, it was my favorite cassette tape until my dad accidentally smashed it. (He made it up to me later by buying me the 2-disc CD.) Among my favorite parts is the scene in which young Pink is going through what is presumably his father’s trunk. First he puts on the cap from his father’s military uniform, then he admires his razor, then he opens a box of bullets and gently carresses them with his finger. Next it cuts to him dressing up in his father’s full military uniform. I think this little bit is a glaring statement on gender and masculinity in particular. It’s especially interesting looking at it through a trans lens: Just as I would play dress up in my mother’s clothes and pretend to be a woman, he is playing dress up and pretending to be a man.

I also like the “Mother” sequence mostly because that’s one of my favorite songs (no, I never played voyeur on any of the neighbor girls). Also I like how the woman undresses and her man is more interested in whatever he’s watching and treats her like an obstruction. And I like when Pink goes insane and speaks at the Nazi-like rally (the crossed hammers insignia is going to be my next tattoo once I decide where to put it; one would think the arm would be best but my arms are already taken by far superior tattoos). And I really identify with young Pink in the “Another Brick in the Wall” sequence when his teacher humiliates him for writing poetry. We artsy fags get no respect as children.

How to refer to me

So last night I was talking to my best friend about Mark McGwire. (Seriously, is anyone surprised that he was on roids? Remember in 2005 when he testified about drug use in baseball and every time he was asked a question about steroids he read a prepared statement. That should’ve been a dead giveaway.) Anyway, at one point Josh said “I just realized I keep calling you ‘man.’ Does that offend you?”

First of all, I’m so early in my transition that I don’t expect anyone to think of me as a woman. So I could understand why he was calling me “man.” Even if I was farther along (such as living full-time), if Josh called me “man” or “dude” or “brother” like he always has I wouldn’t care. You see, Josh and I have been brothers for about 15 years now. We used to spend tons of time together, playing video games or D&D, watching Mallrats, listening to Steven Wright, or just hanging out. We are pretty much as close as two people can get. Even though there are some things I had kept from him when we were younger (such as my drug use and involvement in the queer community), I eventually told him about it and it didn’t hurt our friendship at all. He has many LGBT friends and he’s supportive of us all. He’s super open-minded, despite the fact that his dad listens to Rush Limbaugh. So I know he really doesn’t mean to imply anything by using masculine terms to refer to me; it’s just force of habit from a decade and a half of being close friends and “brothers.”

That being said, would I be happy if he came to think of me as his sister instead of his brother? Of course it would. And knowing him, I’m sure it will happen eventually. However, until then it doesn’t offend me for him to call me “man.”

(It would be a different story if I was out in the real world en femme and someone clocked me and started calling me “dude” or “man” or “sir.” That’s just insensitive.)

Dating pre-transition

I thought I’d write a little about my experiences dating before transition. I’ve dated a lot and had lots of sex, which I think was an attempt to prove to the world that I was a man. I started having sex at 13 and have done just about everything. I’ve only had sex with one guy, and I didn’t like it so I swore never to do it again.

Anyway, I like a specific type of girl. I prefer really strong, independant women. I like the type of girl who can chug a beer and out-belch any guy in the bar. That being said, a few of the girls I’ve dated have been kind of butch or even dykey. I’ve found that these women are the ones that have the biggest problems with me being trans.

Usually, I begin a relationship by telling the woman I’m a crossdresser, just so I’m still free to experiment with my gender in the relationship. All the people I’ve dated have been okay with this. If I think the relationship is taking a serious turn, I feel obliged to tell them about how serious my gender identity issues are. Some women are okay with this, however the dykey ones always blow up and usually become very abusive. I think this is because they are so butch that they get a lot of people who assume they are lesbians. By being attracted to someone who identifies as a woman, they probably feel that their sexuality is being called into question. I’m not entirely sure, though.

Anyway, I’ve decided not to date any more until I’m more comfortable with my body. Also, I doubt any girl I might date would be completely fine with dating someone during transition. I think I’ve already said this, but I am super androgynous and I get a lot of people who don’t know how to refer to me (sir or ma’am). Anyway, right now I think I’m too feminine for straight girls and too masculine for gay girls. You never know, though; I could meet the girl of my dreams who is also completely fine with me the way I am. If on the off chance that happens, I’ll certainly not miss the opportunity. I highly doubt it will happen, though.

Weird interactions

I just had a weird interaction with a stranger. You see, even though I just started my transition, I’ve always been very androgynous (I was big into the genderfuck scene back home), despite being 6’2″. Anyway, a man just walked up to me while I was outside smoking and asked if I had a phone he could borrow. I let him borrow my cell phone and he ma’amed me (it always makes me feel good when this happens). Anyway, he called whoever he was trying to get in touch with and I assume whoever he was talking to asked where he was calling from. He replied, “This strange ma- woma- person let me borrow their phone.” Clearly he didn’t know how to refer to me. This happens quite a lot to me, and it’s always very awkward. Whenever it happens, the person in question always seems quite distressed, as if meeting someone who doesn’t conform to gender norms completely blows their mind. I hope that as I progress in my transition this will happen less, because I really don’t like causing people distress. Although, it really isn’t my fault. I dream of a world in which gender is fluid, and a person’s presentation wouldn’t matter quite as much. That world is probably a very long way off, if it’s even possible.

Biopolitics and eugenics

I was browsing a trans forum when I saw something that made me think we need to have a little discussion about biopolitics and eugenics. For those of you who aren’t up on your Nazism, let me first explain what these two theories are.

Eugenics is the idea of “good breeding.” Eugenics proponents usually believe in a cleansing of the gene pool by only allowing people with desirable trait to reproduce.

Biopolitics is the idea that the state is a living organism, complete with “parasites” that need to be “cut out.” Usually these parasites are the poor and/or minority groups (blacks, gays, etc.). (I am currently writing an article for the Anarcho-syndicalist Review about how biopolitics is essentially true, except that the “parasites” are the elite: bankers, politicians, etc. When I’m done with it I’ll post it here as well.)

Both of these theories are usually associated with the far right (e.g. Nazism, Stalinism, etc.). They are, however, alive and well in mainstream America. Eugenics’ current form is in the pharmaceutical industry. By charging exorbitant amounts of money for essential drugs (cancer meds, antipsychotics, etc.), they ensure that the poor (uninsured) are less able to receive necessary health care. This is especially true with cancer medications; by denying such meds to the uninsured, they are hoping that the lower classes will die out and only the elite will be able to fight such a threatening ailment. It’s also true with trans people; they hope that by denying us essential support in our transitions, we will either self-destruct due to feeling “trapped” in a gender role we don’t identify with, or that we go broke transitioning. hat way, we are unable to breach the class lines and move up in the world. (Their plot is porving harder to implicate than they thought, though; they seemed to assume that we would simply roll over and die.)

Any way, the reason I wanted to talk about these topics is because in the past I’ve heard people talk of a “gay gene,” and now I see there is talk of a “trans gene.” These may seem like liberal notions, since they would seem to prove once and for all that homosexuality/transgenderism are natural (i.e., genetic). However, the far right is secretly parying to their “wrathful god” that this turns out to be the case. If these “lifestyles” are truly genetic, then they can once and for all be wiped out. The right hopes for a gay/trans gene, because if they were to discover such a gene, that means they could either: 1.) Figure out how to deactivate it, thereby “curing” alleged “sexual deviants”, or 2.) Identify individual carriers of these genes and take steps to prevent them from breeding.

I strongly urge all LGBT people to abandon hopes of such genes and stop talking about them as if they were a godsend. If such genes exist, they must never be discovered; it is vital to our existence. Fortunately, I highly doubt that a trans gene does exist (see my post on my views regarding gender), and I think that being gay/bisexual is a matter of fetishism. For instance, I am attracted to women, but what that means is that I have fetishes for soft skin, a curvy body, less muscle definition, and other things deemed “feminine.” I highly doubt being gay is genetic, I think it’s much more complicated than that.

A note on cultural differences

This will be a quick one. I grew up in New England, and as a kid I was free to explore my gender identity and sexuality without much fear of violence or rejection. Simply put, New England is a more accepting place than most when it comes to gender variance. I was free to show up to school in a skirt with painted nails because I wasn’t the only guy dressed like that, there was strength in numbers.

In Nebraska, where I am now, gender variance is viewed as something that needs to be hidden. It is so hard to meet other TG people here because everyone tries their hardest to go deep stealth. (I personally don’t plan on going stealth because I think that by being out I can draw more attention to the subject.) Even my androgyny and the androgyny of many of my friends (I hang out with a very odd crowd of androgynous sexually ambiguous creatures) illicites negative comments like “fag” or “dyke.” This confuses the hell out of me, as there are so many butch “straight” women in the Midwest!

Also, I’ve noticed in my travels as a young lad that even parts of Europe are less progressive than New England in terms of gnder variance. Once in Munich, I got called “fag” for having bright green fingernails. This blew my mind, as we are fed a story of Europe as a liberal playground. I would never be called fag at my school just for painting my nails!

Anyway, it’s amazing to see all the cultural differences between different parts of the country. Mental illness also has a strong stigma out here in Nebraska that wasn’t present (or at least remained hidden) in New England.

Well, that’s my two cents.

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