Category: society


Many years back, I had a different personal website. It was there I maintained something of a diary, as well as fiction and poetry I’d written. This goes back to my earlier days of trying to deal with being trans. While perusing some older file folders I came across the saved contents of that old site. The following poem is one I feel to be still very relevent today. Particularly in light of more and more young people expressing their gender conflicts. If this can enlighten just one parent, save just one young transperson the heartache that years of denial brings, then it will be more than worth reposting. My very deepest wish in this regard, is that every child is allowed to grow into their truest, most honest self, without fear, without repression, without judgement. Rather with love, support and acceptance.

Somewhere In The World

Somewhere in the world a child is born.

……..And they exclaim, “It’s a boy!” …..And they exclaim, “It’s a girl!”

But with all their wisdom, they are ignorant

For they cannot see inside

And even the child does not yet know just which they truly are.

……..So they dress him in Blue …So they dress her in pink.

….And they give him toy trucks …. And they give her toy dolls

………And the child learns what he’s taught. ..And the child learns what she’s taught.

……………..Should he reach for the doll, he’s called “Sissy” … Should she reach for the truck, she’s called”Tomboy”

………And he’s taught that it’s wrong …. And she’s taught that it’s wrong.

………So, eager to please he conforms …. So, eager to please she conforms.

………..And he learns from his parents …. And she learns from her parents.

Because after all they know best

………..And he learns from his siblings …. And she learns from her siblings

……….And he learns from playing with others …. And she learns from playing with others.

……….And he learns when he’s in school …..And she learns when she’s in school.

What is acceptable, and how to avoid the taunts.

………And this child begins to build his armor …. And this child begins to build her armor.

………He learns how to blend in …. She learns how to blend in.

………He learns how to avoid being different …. She learns how to avoid being different.

Because when you’re different, you get hurt.

…….But he isn’t taught how to know himself …. But she isn’t taught how to know herself.

And as the years pass, the armor gets thicker, the shell becomes stronger.

Until soon it is more like a prison, from which there is no escape.

And trapped deep inside, growing day by day,

Is the true heart of that child.

And all the lessons, the learned behaviours, the camouflage and armor

……..Block his true nature from himself …. Block her true nature from herself.

………And so he struggles …. And so she struggles.

………To learn just who he really is …. To learn just who she really is.

………And how to set his spirit free …. And how to set her spirit free.

For that is the way things should be.

……..But the struggles bring him pain …. But the struggles bring her pain.

……….For his chains have been there for years …. For her chains have been there for years.

………And if he’s very lucky …. And if she’s very lucky.

…..One day she finds she’s free …. One day he finds he’s free.

…….And her true nature can grow and blossom …. And his true nature can grow and blossom,

…….As she was always meant to be …. As he was always meant to be.

………But far too often he fails …. But far too often she fails.

………Instead his soul withers and dies….Instead her soul withers and dies.

……….For his struggles are too great to bear … For her struggles are too great to bear.

Freedom has been too long denied.

……..So his shell becomes a coffin …. So her shell becomes a coffin.

…….To bury his inner self…. To bury her inner self.

…….And though he might be living…. And though she might be living.

It’s the very worst kind of hell.


I don’t have all the answers. But there are some things I do believe. Perhaps instead of being so focused on labels, perhaps our children would be best served, if we taught them to be the best possible PEOPLE they can be, to look inside themselves without fear or guilt, and to nurture whoever they are. Maybe, just maybe, then there will be a bit less misery in this world. And after all, isn’t it every parent’s wish that their children grow to be happy?

 

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Do you see spots?

The other day someone asked me a question that I never expected to hear as a professional: “Do you know anything that can be used to bleach someone’s butthole?”

Seriously? I mean WTF are people thinking? What has society come to when a person worries that their asshole, something nobody else should be seeing or contemplating much, isn’t as bright and even toned as the rest of their derriere. Have no other more pressing issues or problems to think about?

Naturally this lead my somewhat skewed sense of humor to imagine a new infomercial. One that could only be done by the sadly deceased Billie Mays.

“Hi Folks! Billie Mays here. Are tired of your butthole not being bright and even toned? Do you worry about how to erase that unsightly darkness surrounding your anal sphincter? Well now there’s a solution.

Try our new amazing Butt Be Bright! It Lightens! It Brightens! It Freshens!

No more need to feel self-conscious as your darkest nether regions will now be as bright and sparkly as the rest of you. And it smells great too!

Our new product comes in four entrancing fragrances: Ocean Breeze, Pine Forest, Floral Bouquet and Exotic Spice. You’ll not only look great but you’ll smell great too.

Order now and we’ll even throw in our Out Damned Spot for those more stubborn stains. If you call in the next 5 minutes we’ll double your order! 

That’s right, you’ll get two bottles of Butt Be Bright and two bottles of Out Damned Spot for the low price of only $19.99 (plus shipping and handling) So order now!

Quantities are limited and operators are standing by.

Disclaimer: Butt Be Bright anpsyche.”d Out Damned Spot are not meant for internal consumption. Side effects may include , but are not limited to; burning, stinging, itching, necrosis, anaphylaxis, loss of I.Q., loss of self-respect, loss of $19.99, humiliation, and anal prolapse. Not responsible for any damages to your body or psyche.”

Oh and my professional answer to the original question was: Nothing that would be safe.

Well I’ve been working at my new job for about 6 weeks now. It’s been good. The people I work with are great. The clients I’ve had have been nice. The clients of other staff that I’ve been introduced to have been fine for the most part. I’ve been open and out about being trans and it’s been no big deal, just another facet of me. I guess it was just a matter of time though before some sort of ripples disturbed the unusually placid acceptance I’ve found.

It not been anything upsetting, or outrageous. Far from it.

One of our recently hired team members starting asking me a few questions about my being trans. She explained that she’d grown up in a small town and simply had never met or known anyone who was trans before. She said if it was too personal to just let her know. What I told her was that I have no problem answering questions that are asked out of a genuine desire to learn and understand. The only ones I did not appreciate occur out of some voyeuristic desire to have their curiosity titillated, when it becomes more about the person seeking some sort of thrill and not really caring to understand. However unlike many other times when the questions tended to be about surgery, medical or sexual issues, she was more interested to know how my daughters and family felt about my life path, about how my being trans impacted them. I didn’t have any sense of morbid curiosity from her. Rather just a concern that the people who were closest to me had been able to accept me and the course my life has taken.

A few days later the topic of job discrimination came up at work. A colleague that I met at a recent class had expressed she was surprised I was working at a salon that wasn’t already busy. She felt given my depth of knowledge I should be working for a dermatologist or plastic surgeon. When I shared this with my co-workers, one of them said, “I don’t know why you aren’t, but we’re glad you’re here instead because we’re lucky to have you.” When I said that I had interviewed with several over the years, I’d never been hired. What works against me is my weight, my age and the fact that I’m trans. Even if they interviewer isn’t sure they often sense there’s something different about me and people do not like to deal with different. And I do not fit the image many such places want – young, thin, pretty, attractive. My co-worker was surprised that people would refuse to hire me because I’m trans. She said, “What would that have to do with anything?” It had never occurred to her that transpeople would be discriminated against. She’s experienced discrimination for being African-American before, and our receptionist schooled her on the existence of age discrimination (she and I are in our 50’s). I said that while I will never know exactly what it has been like for her to be discriminated against because of her race, I do know how it feels because of other factors. We all agreed such discrimination is often subtle and impossible to prove legally. Yet she was further amazed when I explained to her how few states, and countries, have any protections in place for transpeople. That in most of this country we can be denied employment, fired, denied housing and even medical care. Simply for being trans and that with no laws protecting our rights, we have little legal recourse. We are one of the last segments of society that it is legal to discriminate against.

Another day while having lunch, one of the stylists shared with me that he’s been asked by a few clients, “Is that a man or a woman?” Why he felt the need to share this with me I do not know. Yet his response to said clients shows his support. Basically he told them I am a woman. His point of view is that if someone presents themselves as male or female, that is what people need to accept them as, regardless of what their birth sex might have been or even what their genitalia may or may not be (No one has asked if I am “complete” or cares whether I’ve had surgery or not). He asked his client, “Why should it matter to you? Unless you plan on dating her or sleeping with her, all that matters is that she is an amazing esthetician.” (of course I cannot recall what he said word for word but am relating things as accurately as I can) Ah but if only everyone could be so open-minded, accepting and stay focused on what is, and isn’t someone else’s business. Unless you plan to sleep with someone, or become romantically involved with them, then their gender and intimate physical details are not only none of your business, but should not concern you. The same goes for people’s sexuality, race and religion.

Again though, he really didn’t need to share this with me. How he interacts with me on a daily basis tells me he is accepting and supportive. As a transwoman I know that there will be people who do not know what to make of me, may actively dislike (and yes hate) me without ever knowing me, who may disapprove of me and who will judge me in the most negative ways, simply because of their own ignorance and prejudice. I will run into it enough and have to face it in direct encounters. I don’t always need to know about incidents I missed.

Yet in each of these three occurrences, the end result has been those I work with achieving a bit more awareness and their reactions demonstrating true acceptance and support.

In a similar vein, back when I was working at another place (a hellish blend of retail and salon run by one of those Wicked Witches of the South who my very existence drove batshit hostile) I remarked to my then roommate (not to be confused with my current Wonderful Roomie) that clients all seemed to love me and that despite Wicked Witch’s hostility, my co-workers did too. The only co-worker exception was another Mini-Southern Wicked Witch. While I was sharing how good it felt to be accepted and appreciated by clients and co-worker’s, Former Roommate felt the need to say, “They probably don’t. More than likely they just think it’s cool to be able to say they know a tranny as it’s all the rage and the In Thing in the media.” I have no desire to dwell on whether or not her assessment was right and I was deluding myself into feeling liked, or whether she was just envious and full of crap. What did, and still does, bug the heck out of me is even if she knew her assessment to be true, why on earth would she feel she had to say it? Why would you in essence say to someone who was supposedly a friend “People are only acting nice to you because you’re an oddity and part of the latest social craze. They really loathe, pity or despise you.” Why make it a point to cast a pall over another’s good feelings, especially when they didn’t ask your opinion as to whether or not what they felt was real?

So people I ask you to think before you speak and ask yourself, “Why do I feel the need to say what I am thinking and will it make the person I am saying it to feel better or worse and will it make their life better or not?” Sometimes things are better left unsaid.