How We Fuck

When we walk the streets together
my long blond hair
my lengthy stride
my short skit
We walk with our heads held high
We walk with pride in each step

When we walk the streets together
her flowing black dress
her elegant makeup
her piercing eyes
we walk hand it hand
we walk together a tranny and a dyke

When we walk the streets together
you always turn
you always watch
you always stare
Your stares are all around us
Your stares are suffocating

When we walk the streets together
your eyes pierce
your eyes scrutinize
your eyes struggle to comprehend
Your stares they comes with a question
Your question is so obvious: How do they fuck?

When we fuck there is no gender
no sexual orientation
no male
no female
we fuck like we’re dykes
we fuck like we’re faggots

When we fuck the room is covered
in dirty sex toys
in used condoms
in empty bottles of lube
we fuck and scream and cry
we moan with no regard

When we fuck we don’t think about you
your genders
your sexualities
your norms
we do things you’d never think of
we have orgasms you couldn’t imagine

When we fuck the whole world disappears
all that’s left is me and her
all that’s left are our sex toys
all that’s left is this bed that is our only respite from you
we don’t think of your stares
we don’t think of you at all

When we fuck we are liberated
we are accepted
we are unfettered
we are free
we’re free to be dykes and trannies
we’re free to be us

Summer Love Playlist 2016.8

Here is my most recent playlist. While most of them focus upon a time in my life this one more seems to focus around a person in my life, Half Elegant (previously known as R). We were involved for 3 months, most of this time I wasn’t really into it. I was trying to find a balance between friends and lovers, we clearly weren’t friends and I didn’t feel like she was a lover. The balance was never reached. This is why the cd is being release now, it’s the end of an time period, the time period I call “Summer Love.” I can’t say this title isn’t ironically named, but I will confirm that “love” is a complicated thing with our without quotes around it.

1. Totally Confused – Beck

This is what I listened to at the end of Half Elegant and my relationship. Melancholy, raw, disorienting (other songs on the album highlight this). This is how I felt.

2. Skinny Love – Bon Iver

I first heard this in the Wire Tap episode Never Say I Love You. The episode has a segment about people in love, without their lover anymore. People holding on, struggling, feeling sad, and still feeling love. It is followed up by this song. I started to cry when I was biking home, I started to feel. Half Elegant made it hard for me to feel she just wanted too much. Now that we are apart I am able to feel what I wanted without holding back, finally. And I biked home listening to this on repeat while getting teary eyed and feeling love.

3. Betty’s Bomb Shell – Group Love

Earlier in the day (months ago) I felt awful, I tried to cut myself with my work keys, they weren’t sharp enough. I went back to work and when I finally left work I felt the same way. I looked incessantly at the ground looking for a piece of broken glass. When I finally found one I found out just how dull glass from the side of the road is, so I kept biking. I stopped in Arsenal Park and sat on the ground. I thought about what I should cut myself with while listening to this song. I played it over and over again and finally I found a pepsi can. First using the tab, then using a small piece of the side of the can I repeatedly cut small cuts horizontally on my arm. This is the biggest cut on my arm and it happened whilst listening to this song.

4. Signs of Love – Moby

I can’t remember when I listened to this song, but it is one of my favorites. It reminds me of staring at the sky and smiling while listening to another Moby song, it reminds me of biking along the river in Philly and crying to Moby. It’s happy, it’s sad, it’s melancholy, it’s real.

“I fly so high,Then fall so low”

5. It’s Only (feat. Zyra) – Odesza

I am long boarding on Ellsworth near Oakland. I am singing this song so loud. I’m singing this song to Trish, to Kelly. I’m singing this song loud and proud and I feel good, I feel sad.

I’m again on my longboard, it’s 2am and I’m back at it again, I’m in Oakland singing and carving.

6. Not In Love (feat. Robert Smith) – Crystal Castles

Half Elegant gave me this song. She listened to it after we broke up the first time after “dating” for a few days. We listened to it under 40th st Bridge and Half Elegant banged her head all around. She jammed to it when she was drunk and I came over. We were in the hallway of her house where there is a built in shelf that holds records and the music player. The lights were mostly out and she danced like a maniac. This is our song.

7. Sorry – Beyoncé

There are countless memories around singing this song. The one that is most recently and strong in my memory is with Half Elegant. It was the day we hung out with Jesse and tried to go to the pool. She was an ass. We were driving her home to drop her off and this song. I felt this song. I felt pissed at Half Elegant. As I drove my arms were out stretched leaning on the steering wheel with my middle fingers up.

“Middle fingers up, put them hands high, Wave it in his face, tell him, boy, bye”

8. No Role Modelz – J. Cole

“Don’t save her, she don’t wanna be saved.”

This is the lyric I heard when I felt Half Elegant trying to save me. This is why I started listening to this song. That isn’t exactly what Half Elegant was trying to say, but I’m still singing I don’t wanna be saved.

9. For Free (feat. Drake) -DJ Khaled

The beat caught me on this song, while driving around Fight for Fifteen workers to go to their conference. The song also constantly reminds me of Half Elegant. I must admit sex with her was the best sex I’ve ever had by a long shot. So good I thought I should pay her, especially cause she had no income for a while.

10. Panda – Desiigner

The beats of this song are great, the fact that he keeps saying Panda is hilarious. I first listened to this song because a Pittsburgh activist and USASer posted this on a Penn State USASer’s wall with the description, “I broke my bed while listening to this song.” That’s what I think of every time.

11. FUCKMYLIFE666 – Against Me!

I was getting gas on the Northside and I looked hot. Grey tank top, maroon tube skirt, brown knee high boots with grey leg warmers sticking out. This guy walked about 20 feet from me looked over at me and turned around. It puzzled me, but it made sense when he and his friends walked by and yelled, “that’s a dude.” I was mortified and eventually just put on my middle finger and stewed over it. The person next to me muttered, “She doesn’t have a choice.” which felt nice to hear.

I got in the car pissed and I put on Against Me! and started screaming along to them. As I was about to turn them off and then this song came on from their live album. The beginning of the song just caught me and I couldn’t stop listening.

The song also reminded me of an important fact, I had been trying my damnedest to “pass” as a woman for about 2 years. I’ve been slowly realizing I am a woman. But Against Me! reminds that I am a gender warrior. I am a woman and a man. I am here to fuck with your concept of gender. I am a trans-tomboy. As the shirt that Laura Jane Grace wears states, “Gender is over (if you want it)”

12. The Writings On The Wall – OK Go

Half Elegant gave me this song. I feel this song, this song often feels like our relationship.

“It seems like forever since we’ve had a good day, the writings on the wall
But I just wanna get you high tonight, I just wanna see some see some pleasure in your eyes”

I would listen to it most when I was sad. Because OK Go was staying to me, that it’s horrible, yes it is, but “I just wanna get you high tonight.”

My most recent memory and the one besides watching drunk Half Elegant dancing to this song is as follows. Half Elegant biked off in an agitated hurry to go no where and I stopped. I couldn’t handle the frustration she was expressing towards me so I stopped biking. Instead I listened to this song. I felt sad I was having a hard day and I just wanted to get high tonight, to feel some pleasure. Half Elegant came back and said in a accusatory tone, “Why are you listening to that song? Are you trying to say something? You know that’s a break up song.” The next day we broke up for the second time.

13. I Hate Hate – Reagan Youth

This song is amazing to sing along to. I song along to this endlessly along the bike path. I remember biking up past Millvale on the bike path, I remember biking down to the northside on the bike path, all the while I would sing this song for the haters. Because I hate HAAAAATE!

“I as in M, E, Fucking Me, Hate as in H, A, T, E, Hate… HAAAAAATE!

Surgery, Hormones, and Our Heavily Gendered Society

This past week I was having a conversation with my friend Spaced about bottom surgery. She couldn’t understand why I wanted to have bottom surgery so we had a little discussion about it. I said things about not wanting to have this thing between my legs bothering me, and how I always felt uncomfortable penetrating people during sex (I’ve only really felt comfortable in a submissive position). Basically I just felt bothered and outed by my penis. I always worried about it being seen, noticed or felt by people. Having a penis made me feel uncomfortable and not like a woman.

Her response was first acknowledging how that must feel uncomfortable, but then saying that society has shaped my image of what it is to be a woman. Society has made me feel uncomfortable about my genitals. Society has made me want to surgically alter my body to have different parts that match the gender I am so I can prove that I am a woman. I continued trying to explain my reasoning but was caught by hers. All I could say was I was uncomfortable, I didn’t like tucking, it got in the way. She said society made me feel that way, it made me feel like I shouldn’t and don’t exist. The next day I told her I changed my mind.

She felt tickled that I had listened to her. I felt tickled that she had succeeded and that she seriously thought about this as a cis-woman. She asked me to explain why I changed my mind and this led me to think about my history of struggling with society regarding thoughts on hormones and bottom surgery. I’ll quickly sum that up. When I first announced myself as a transwoman I said I wasn’t going to do hormones, instead I had been taking supplements and using various devices to extenuate my breasts (It wasn’t until several months later that I decided to take hormones). I was also adamant about not getting bottom surgery and frankly terrified of even considering it. It wasn’t until Andreja Pejic came out and announced that she had received bottom surgery that I changed my view. Her and Laura Jane Grace were my heroes and having one of my heroes announce that changed my view.

Spaced and I’s conversation that followed began to ask the larger question that I had forgotten about, what if our society weren’t so heavily gendered? Would I want long hair? Would I be wearing a skirt right now? Would anyone want to use chemical hormones to transition? I agreed with Spaced on the first two decisions and said definitely no. The third one caught me and my gut response was yes, trans people are real and chemical hormones aren’t something bad they are taking. Then I realized I was wrong. If gender were free of sex then penises would be free of men and boobs free of women. It wouldn’t just erase gender it would erase sex (since the two are so reliant on one another or basically synonymous), finally trans and intersex people would once again have a society they could live in. This world is impossible for me to grasp. A world where feminine and masculine have no bearing on gender, sex or sexuality. Everyone could be who they actually are. I could not grasp this world, so it was hard to respond to the theoretical questions about it.

I kept thinking about it and realized my gut response felt ignorant and was coming from a place of fear. I have felt pressure to take and not to take hormones. And I felt a lot of guilt at first after deciding I’d start taking them. So I validated my decision saying I needed chemical hormones, that I would even need them if I weren’t in this fucked up society. This isn’t true. Our society and the way it interacts with gender is the problem. You have to fight with our society to find a place you are comfortable and you feel like you have your identity. Some people are comfortable without medical intervention some need full medical intervention. There is nothing wrong with this, this is coping. I am coping with living in this society by taking chemical hormones others cope by getting bottom surgery or top surgery. None of these people deserve any shame. What deserves shame is society for making this people have to do this just to be themselves. People should feel the right to be comfortable with who they are, but they shouldn’t be coerced into receiving medical intervention, surgical or chemical.

Calling chemical hormones and surgery for trans people coping is an accurate description of it’s effect. It’s what it’s intended to do. Doctors, therapists and allies cannot change the world we are in, but they can help people cope with it. They help them cope but helping people “pass” more (I’m using the loaded term “pass” because that is exactly what’s being attempted, people are helping trans people “pass” for what is “male” or “female” as though there is a checklist to be a “normal” male/female) We as a society aren’t doing what is necessary to address this problem we are putting all of the problem on the individual. This is wrong, but what else can someone do in a individualist society like ours? It is only the responsibility of the transperson because society has rejected it’s on responsibility and impact on this. What needs to happen is for the gender binary to be destroyed all together. The binary system we have doesn’t make any sense and helping trans people navigate from one end to the other is avoiding the problem which is the gender binary.

Take whatever hormones you need, have whatever surgeries you please, be happy in your own skin and don’t let anyone shame you for needing surgery to cope with this fucked up society we live in. But do make sure to love yourself. We can’t change society but we can change ourselves and that will affect the people around us. Slowly but surely the future may hold a society where gender is once again a spectrum and trans people can be who they are from the start, not after they’ve had surgery and years of chemical hormones. A society where you needn’t transition because you are always allowed to be who you really are.

In the mean time before society changes I’m going to try and take Albert Camus’s advice
Albert Camus

Book Review: Redefining Realness by Janet Mock

I just finished Redefining Realness by Janet Mock, a book my roommate Cha bought for me to thank me for being so flexible and helping her out. I figured it would be nice to read about someone else’s transition but it was much more than that. I found myself deeply relating to what Janet went through at times and crying because I knew I felt the same way she did. She talked a lot about self acceptance and vividly takes you through her journey to find it from childhood to coming out after “passing.”

redefining-realness-9781476709130_hr

Reading about her transition was so often a glimpse at someone else who is going through the same thing as me. She talked about her lack of self worth and how she sought it from other, something I still feel today. When she came out to her friend in NYC her friend responded, “You act as if you murdered someone!” I couldn’t help but cry knowing I would’ve said it the same way she did.

She left me with so many quotables that I relate to and hold dear to remind me of who I am, where I’m going and how amazing I truly am.

“Sometimes people try to destroy you, precisely because they recognize your power – not because they don’t see it, but because they see it and they don’t want it to exist.
-bell hooks

“Mary! Life is uncomfortable. You have to get used to it or you’re going to live your life trying to make people comfortable. I don’t care what people say ab and she humbles herself by reminding us about the number of other trans folks who felt suicidal and were kicked on the streets by her parentsout me because they don’t have to live as me. You gotta own who you are and keep it moving.”
-Her best friend Wendi (who is also trans)

She also talks about a topic many wouldn’t say it but I would argue is very contentious, “passing.” She is envied by her looks and ability to “pass” but talks about the complications of this idea. In her own words she says, “If a trans woman who knows herself and operates in the world as a woman is seen, perceived, treated and viewed as a woman, isn’t she being herself? She isn’t passing she is merely being.” Instead realness needs to be redefined as the book’s title asserts. One of the best ways of doing this is the same way the gay rights movement achieved it, by coming out. This makes the world an easier place for all of us to live, LGBT or otherwise. To free people of the restrictive gender binary we all have to live under. We need to use or visibility to show our power, or to requote a quote from Janet’s book:

That visibility which makes us most vulnerable is that which also is the source of our greatest strength.
-Audrey Lorde

Finally Janet tells us about something I didn’t expect to read about, her struggle beyond her gender. Her struggle through molestation, sex work and homelessness. She opened my eyes up even more to the horrible reality that exists throughout this “developed” country. She struggled with homelessness and constant moving for most of her childhood. Being swapped from one parent to the other and moving in with one family member to another. Her mom and dad both clung to their ever-changing partners and often left their children ignored.

Janet learned to go it alone and became a strong-willed little kid that pushed forward to her true self despite never ending barriers. She was defiant and strong, managing to save enough money by herself to fly to Thailand and pay for GCR (Genital Confirmation Surgery). When she did her sex work she had the constant reminder of who she was in her sex work bag. On the bottom of the bag filled with condoms, lube, baby wipes, hand sanitizer and lip gloss was a piece of paper with a quote from Maya Angelou on it saying,” I didn’t come to stay.” And she certainly didn’t.

I personally felt privileged to read her story and amazed at her c and she humbles herself by reminding us about the number of other trans folks who felt suicidal and were kicked on the streets by her parentsourage to tell it fully. She did an excellent job throughout and even humbled herself by pock marking the book with statistics and facts to remind everyone that not one transition story is alike. This book is an excellent read and I would highly suggest it to anyone wanting to hear more about the trans experience as well as the experience of marginalized, minority populations struggling to live their true life.

Trans Conference

This past weekend I had the great joy of attending the first annual Transpride Pittsburgh National Conference. There were about 30 to 50 trans people in attendance and we heard speeches and were education on topics from passing on a budget to trans laws. I met a whole bunch of trans people and grew a lot from the experience. Notably I have begun fully embracing my trans identity and have started identifying as a trans woman, including going by my new name and female pronouns (as I did the whole time at the conference).

The education sessions were fun and educational. One of the most relieving things to find out was that I cannot legally be fired for being trans. The EEOC (Equal Employment Opportunity Commission) in a landmark case has extended the definition of sex to include gender and gender identity. I can be fired for being gay, but not trans. I also learned all about gender confirmation surgery. They are doing some cool stuff, especially with making penises out of clitorises or even thin air.

I also met a lot of trans people and felt very comfortable in the space. It was cool to get to know the community and very cool to go to a drag king show afterwards with Big S (her first drag show). I’m even hung out with one of the trans women from the conference outside of the conference. Spending an entire weekend with trans people really made me feel at home. We all know what we’re all going through and make a huge effort to support one another instead of question one another. Though I can’t say I haven’t felt an equal amount of support from almost every person who I’ve come out to (just more questions, which is understandable).

The most exciting part of the whole conference was coming into myself and feeling more comfortable being me. I love going by my new name, it makes me smile every time I hear it. If I could I would walk around saying my new name constantly (I figured that’d be a little weird). I just love hearing that name. I’ve begun getting over what other people think and I’ve begun to realize that I can be a trans woman without doing anything. All I really need is myself on board. I’m very excited about living as a trans woman and excited about now.
Before I was eager for the future when I passed more or had breasts, but I’m excited about everday. I’m at trans woman now and I’m out and I’m proud. It just feels really good.

I’ll leave you with the best speech from the entire weekend.

And feel free to ask me any questions. As Brynn said, I am your trans ambassador, probably one of the only ones you’ll ever know. We are great people I would say we are even more accepting and understanding that most.

Gender

Times have been shaping up for me recently. I’ve been having a great time in Philly and am looking forward to having a good time in Pittsburgh. But earlier in the week I was biking to work and got very very down. It made me begin questioning whether I was doing something wrong in my life to cause these feelings, which I’ve been having on and of for years. Maybe I wasn’t holding relationships right. Maybe I was missing something in my life to cause these feelings.

I had a very emotional conversation with a close friend that helped me reveal the cause of these feelings. It’s something I have known for a while, but have hidden from myself for convenience reasons: I have never been a regular boy.

As a kid most of my friends were girls, when playing video games I always picked a female character, and I always wanted longer hair, but it was always cut when it got shaggy. I tried to express my gender more in college, but after shaving my legs for a few weeks in sophomore year someone told me I had ugly legs. I promptly stopped shaving them. In addition to that I had some friends who would make me uncomfortable with my decisions, one of them calling me a “hate crime” when I wore more effeminate clothing.

Over a year ago, last November I skipped out on work as a community organizer one day and shaved my legs. I was really stressed about work and that made me feel much better. I’ve shaved them since then and began shaving my armpits, stomach and chest area. I often began such things during a time of stress. My mind needed an outlet and it picked my gender.

While I’ve certainly gotten a lot of support from people, notably Majesty, some people couldn’t understand what was going on. This was one of the reasons my relationship with Smiles fell apart: she couldn’t love the real me and neither could I. And when you don’t love yourself it’s hard to love other people or feel loved since they don’t love the real you.

This has been a big problem in my life for a while. Despite having dozens of close friends who love me very much I was insecure. I couldn’t help but think they didn’t love me, but the loved this other person I was presenting. I know that’s not true. But its hard to grapple with when you are ashamed of who you are.

So here is my big step. I’m coming out on the Casbalog. I know this won’t be a surprise to many, which is good. I’m not a boy, but don’t worry I’m pretty certain I don’t want to become a full girl. I just want my gender expression to be what I feel inside. I don’t want to look handsome, but pretty.

I know its going to be a hard time accepting myself truly and not keeping it my dark little secret. But as I’ve tried to show so many other people, be yourself, your true self. Now I have to try that for myself.

p.s. Smiles just pierced my ears for me, I can’t wait until they heal and I can wear some more interesting earings, definitely some that dangle.