talking at myself… some more

The other day, someone made a comment to me that really resonated. We were sitting on a couch together, at a party, kind of surveying the whole thing, and they said: “Straight parties are weird, huh?” At the time I was like, “yeah, they are.” Before having this conversation, I had noticed people staring at me at the party, not sure what to make of me. I was reminded of why I rarely step out of my social comfort zone (aka queer spaces): because “straight parties are weird.” Meeting new people and making new friends can be hard no matter what the circumstances, but add judgment about gender and sexuality on top of that and you have a pretty dang uncomfortable situation. It’s just sooooo much easier to stay in the spaces where assumptions ARENT made about my gender or sexuality. And then I started thinking about what about when (if ever) I go on T and/or get top surgery… I may start being read as a man. My partner and I would be read in many spaces as a straight couple… so then would I feel comfortable at “straight parties”? No. I realized I will probably never feel comfortable in predominantly straight spaces because those spaces will still contain judgments/stereotypes about gender and sexuality and just because maybe those judgments wont be directed right at me, they’ll still make me EXTREMELY uncomfortable. I’m never going to be comfortable with “casual” misogyny/homophobia/transphobia/etc. I will always be that “buzz kill” who is not going to let those comments go by un-checked. Albeit, I’m not saying I’m perfect at speaking up, but I do try to as much as I can. So… just more thoughts about what life might be like once (if ever) I’m “further” along in my transition.

side note: I use “if ever” a lot when I’m talking about hormones and surgery for myself because I’m still trying to un-pack those topics and where I stand on them as far as my identity goes, as well as figure out if they are even feasibly accessible for me… and I use “further” in quotes, in regards to my transition, because I think the idea that my transition progress is based on hormones or surgery is silly. I view transition as more of a process/relationship with my identity and presentation as opposed to a linear journey that must follow certain steps to be considered a “genuine transition”. I should probably just stop referring to my transition that way entirely, as opposed to sarcastically using quotes and parentheses then… ahhh process.

I guess that’s enough talking at my self/working through my thoughts for one post 😛 Until next time…

A Few Thoughts

Wellllll, a few things have developed in the past few days! 1) I followed up with my managers at work about changing my name in the system. They were reluctant at first but when I pressed a little harder saying that they were required by law to accommodate my preferred name, somehow they instantly became more receptive. Now the only issue is that they issue my paycheck to my preferred name, which of course is not currently my legal name, making it impossible for me to cash… But I think I’ve found a sneaky way around it. It just goes to show that these bureaucratic systems are NOT set up or prepared to accommodate trans* folks, or anyone with a different preferred name than their legal name, for that matter. 2) I may have found a job I will enjoy a great deal more than the retail position I currently hold! However, it’s not full time so most likely I will have to keep both positions… But at least I’ll enjoy one of my jobs!

Now I’d like to talk about a greater development in the world. Charges have been filed against transgender teen, Jewlyes Gutierrez, after she defended herself from bullies at school, after having put up with the bullying for years. Coincidentally this is occurring at about the same time as Cece McDonald is being released from prison, where she was placed for defending herself from a transphobic attack. THIS HAS GOT TO STOP. If anyone else were defending themselves from bullying at school, the school district would deal with it. That is EXACTLY what should happen here. All students involved in the bullying and the altercation should be dealt with by the school district, in accordance with their policies on bullying and fighting. When trans* youth get no support from school administration, of course they are going to find another way to defend themselves. Any student would do that. The school administration needs to take responsibility FIRST for not supporting this student and stopping the bullies before it could reach this point and second for the violence that occurred on their campus among their students. Please sign the petition asking the DA to drop the charges against Jewlyes.

Well, I guess that’s all for now. Until next time…

[insert “new beginning” cliche here]

So, my last post was about feeling hopeful about the New Year, and thinking about all the things that may or may not happen this year. A few days after writing that post, I read Virgie Tovar’s post about feeling good about not having any new year’s resolutions. As it’s only the 7th day of the New Year, I’ve of course been bombarded with ads, articles, and people’s statuses/posts about their new year’s resolutions or lack thereof. While I do admit that starting a New Year does feel like [insert “new beginning” cliché here], I can also see the ridiculousness of New Year’s resolutions. I feel like they are mainly driven by capitalist-consumer culture. Particularly because I work in retail, it’s been easy to see how the way the store is set up, and the ads put on prominent display are geared toward customers with new year’s resolutions, i.e. the “active” section was moved to the front of the store, “healthy” cook-books were moved to the “impulse buy” section, the organizational (cabinet dividers, containers, etc.) section has expanded… and I can’t help but feel that it’s all so forced. Not only are oppressive lifestyle standards being reinforced, the sustainability of these resolutions is called into questions. It just seems to me that permanent and meaningful change is not affected by the date, it’s affected by personality, conviction, necessity etc. Now, maybe someone has reached the point in their life where they are ready to commit to a huge lifestyle change and that just happens to fall on the 1st of the year, but let’s wake up and smell the capitalist rhetoric behind mass new year’s resolutions!!

In other news, I’m getting ready to apply to grad school! When I graduated from undergrad, I was very much of never-going-to-grad-school mindset. However, since the undergrad bubble burst, I have been realizing that it’s going to be pretty hard for me to get involved in social justice, community-based, advocacy type work without a masters degree… at least I’m hoping that will be the key. So, with that as my motivation, I will be applying for grad school and hopefully starting in the fall! Here’s to working to achieve life goals.

That’s all for now, Until next time…

New Year, Familiar Thoughts

As the New Year draws ever closer, I am inevitably reminded of time passing and, as cliché as it may sound, I find myself reflecting on my goals, hopes, and dreams. I often feel like my life is sort of in pause mode and I am waiting to hit play… waiting for the medical/bureaucratic aspects of my transition to start, or waiting for a job that I actually want to be doing, or waiting for grad school, or waiting to feel more settled in home life and relationships… I am trying to find ways to live in the here and now, ways to remind myself that I don’t have a pause and a play button, it’s now or never. I know it’s kind of silly, but the New Year feels like a chance for a fresh start, a new chapter; I find myself making commitments or hoping for things like, this will be the year I start testosterone, or this will be the year I legally change my name, or this will be the year I officially come out to my family, or this will be the year I propose to my partner (more later on this), or this will be the year I start grad school, or this will be the year I lay out plans for/finish researching/find partners for my dream of starting a grassroots, community-based, social justice advocacy non-profit, or this will be the year I get hired for a job I love… Who knows if any of these things will come true, but it’s nice to dream and feel hopeful about them.

I’ve been thinking about marriage a lot lately. The concept of marriage and I have had a very unstable relationship. I used to not even question the idea I would get married, and then my parents got divorced and I kind of dismissed it as something that would never happen to me, but then as it sank in and marinated a little bit I realized I was terrified of a failed marriage and vowed to never get married, this vow was strengthened as I continued on in my educational career and learned about things like heteronormativity, homonormativity, and privilege and oppression, and then I started thinking about what if my partner or I was ever in the hospital and the hospital staff wouldn’t let the other in because we weren’t officially married, or what about if we ever wanted to have kids, how would that work? In a system that is stacked against us, it might be nice to take an ideological stand and never officially wed, but if doing so means facing fewer bureaucratic difficulties than we would otherwise, it may be a luxury our self/couple care can’t afford. While I was trying to sort out these thoughts, I stumbled upon this article about the privilege that allows someone to make the choice to not get married, and I started thinking, “yea, it’s possible to have a queer marriage, choosing to get married doesn’t make us the poster children for homonormativity.” So then I started thinking, maybe marriage wasn’t a horrible idea… I mean if I love my partner and we want to have a party with our friends and family to celebrate that fact, and it might make navigating bureaucratic situations a little bit easier – why not, right? There’s still the part about me being misgendered when/if we do have an official marriage, but the system is going to misgender me whether or not I’m married, so why should that be the deciding factor?

Anyway, besides all of those ruminations, there’s a new puppy in our lives. Baby Emma is bringing joy to me and my partner as well as her big sister, Xochìtl. Her other big sister, Frida the cat, is not so sure, but we think she’ll come around. There’s no feeling quite like having a sleeping puppy in your arms, and we know Emma is going to make a great playmate for Xochitl. Plus, my partner and I get the chance to further refine our parenting skills, bonus! We just gotta watch out for those teeth and potty accidents.

That’s all for now, until next time…

Updates and Things

Hi Everyone,

So an interesting development in the work drama saga: I have learned that I legally have the right to only have my preferred name appear on things like the schedule and the time clock at work. I’m not sure about the specifics on this exactly, but if anyone does know about them, I would greatly appreciate the info! I am going to wait until after the holiday season, when I will *hopefully* no longer be a “part-time, seasonal” employee to ask again that my preferred name be the one printed on the schedule and in the time clock. I’m going to wait because as a “part-time, seasonal” employee, I can be let go at any time and without the managers having to give me a reason. But I’m pretty sure they have to list their reasons for letting go of people who are not seasonal, and it’s illegal to fire someone because they’re trans*, so I’ll wait until I have that protection… of course, they could just list another reason for firing me, but at least I feel like my position is a little bit more secure that way.

In other news, my partner just gave me a haircut! It was getting way too long and all over my face. It’s a big relief having it short again. It’s only been a few days but I’ve really noticed that acquaintances or people I don’t know very well seem to be a bit colder toward me… It’s not like my hair was THAT much longer before, but now that it’s shorter it’s almost like people are looking down on me for moving in the opposite direction of normative gender conformity. And I realize that maybe I’m imagining this, maybe it’s just been a coincidence that the people around me have been in bad moods, but as a friend of mine once said, “someone could be looking at me funny because my shoe is untied or because I have food on my face, or maybe they’re looking at someone else entirely, but my brain is always going to go straight to “I wonder if they’re looking at me because I’m trans*.” I dread comments like, “oh your hair looks nice but I liked it longer.” Because for me, it’s a matter of feeling comfortable, of not feeling anxious every time I look in a mirror. I cut my hair because I wanted to, not because I was looking for anyone’s approval.

As I settle more and more into the fact that I’m probably not going to find a job doing social justice/community-based/gender equity type work until after I attend grad school, and that until then I’m going to be stuck working somewhere I’m not thrilled about, I’m trying to prioritize having fun. So I’m hanging out with friends, making new friends, reading for pleasure, writing for pleasure, and brainstorming free ways to enjoy my time outside of work. Having pets really helps because they keep me busy, get me moving, and love to cuddle <3. If I don’t prioritize these things, I find myself moping around feeling sorry for myself, dwelling on the bad things in my life, as opposed to thinking about all the great things in my life. So, here’s to de-stressing, strengthening relationships, and learning to enjoy life.

That’s all for now, Until next time…

Questioning

I have been thinking quite a bit, as usual, about my gender identity and presentation and how I would/will feel most comfortable. I have been questioning myself a bit more than usual lately. I’m usually plagued by thoughts of “what if I start hormone therapy and I don’t feel this way in 5 years or 10 years, etc.” Recently I’ve started thinking about the fact that if I start hormone therapy and if sometime in the (distant) future I was able to somehow find the money for top surgery, that I would start passing as a man. As someone who identifies as a non-binary trans* person, I struggle with the idea of being read consistently as a woman or a man. Currently I am mostly read as a woman, a situation that I’m not happy with… but would I really be happy being mostly read as a man? Probably not… but if I’m going to be misgendered either way, wouldn’t it be better for me to at least feel less dysphoric, and more like my presentation/body match my gender identity? I’ve also been questioning whether or not I desire to be more masculine of center in my presentation because of my romantic/sexual preferences. Admittedly, my preferences are not super clearly defined, they have ranged far and wide; however, I would say that more often than not, they tend toward femme individuals… and as someone who has grown up in a society where the dominant narrative insists that femme people are supposed to be with masculine people, I worry that this has affected my feelings about my gender. Because, our preferences/tendencies do not exist in a vacuum, they were/are formed and/or at least influenced by the society(ies) we grow up in… These are the questions I’m currently grappling with.

Until next time…

The Work-Challenges Saga Continues

Hey Everyone,

So I haven’t even BEEN to work today and I’m already so fired up that I just have to write about it. SO, something I haven’t really talked about yet, but that has been an ongoing problem for me is my name situation. It’s a challenge in many ways in my life but for right now I’m just going to talk about how it’s a challenge for me at work.

Let me start by saying the managers at work have almost always (except for once) called me Lane, and they printed Lane on my name tag (so far, so good). However, whenever the weekly schedule (the one that says who is working what hours for the whole week), or the daily schedule (the one that lists everyone who’s working that day and when their breaks are), are printed, they always list my birth name. The daily schedule has always been the one I’ve had more of a problem with, at the start of every shift, the first thing I do is go cross out my birth name on the schedule and write Lane. I learned to do this when I was paged by my birth name, over the loud speaker one time, and then a few co-workers connected the dots and started jokingly calling me my birth name. A choice quote from one of them was “That’s forever burned in my brain.” “Great,” I thought. Luckily it mostly blew over, and I started crossing out my birth name and things were peachy for a while. Until one day, when I wasn’t working, my partner came home and told me that during her lunch break, the topic of names had come up in the break room and someone told everyone my birth name and then they all started debating which name they liked better. As triggering as that was to hear, I was really glad that I hadn’t been there because that would have been really hard to sit through.

I didn’t think the weekly schedule was such a big deal, up until a week ago, because people just mostly look at their own schedule, right? WRONG. So, because they’ve started doing the layoffs at work, everyone has gotten in the habit of checking everyone else’s schedule to see who’s been fired. That’s been really great for me because the people who don’t know my birth name have all tried to console me over getting fired when they didn’t see Lane listed on the schedule and the people who do know my birth name have so helpfully volunteered the information to some of the people who didn’t know. AWESOME. My partner came home today and told me that one of our co-workers said asked her if my birth name is my “real name” today. She replied “that’s Lane’s birth name.” The co-worker then had all kinds of questions to which my partner just kept saying “Lane’s name is Lane.” She asked me what I would prefer be her response in those situations, after thinking about it for a while, I said “If someone asks you if my birth name is my real name, just say no.” She struggled with that a bit, and I said “it’s none of their business, they don’t get to demand that answer. So they’re confused. I don’t care.”

All of this just really sucks because after I was outed at work (a story for another time), and then I confirmed the fact to my managers, they said I could come to them with any concerns, ever. They really emphasized that no concern was too small. I was like “awesome, it seems like they actually care.” Silly me. I went to them a few weeks ago, asking if it was possible for them to change my name in the system. The store manager said he thought so. A few days later, one of the other managers announced to me, in front of other associates, I might add, that it wouldn’t be possible. The next day the store manager told me he was still working on it, despite what the other manager had told me. The next day, when I punched in, the computer said Lane. I was overjoyed! I felt like I was floating for that whole shift. But the following day when I punched in, it was back to saying my birth name and it has since. So, I’m left to guess that it’s not possible. In a fair world, this wouldn’t be my concern, it would be the concern of my manager’s, trying to make me comfortable so that I could do the best work that I am capable of. However, we don’t live in the world. So, for now I will run to the daily schedule at the start of every shift to cross out my birth name and write in my chosen name, and work with anxiety in the back of my mind, hoping that a co-worker doesn’t joke about my name today, and that someone else doesn’t put my partner on the spot to answer demands about my identity.

That’s all for now, until next time…