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!

Mayes for District 7

Sorry y’all. I’ve been working on La’Tasha Mayes campaign for District 7 the past 16 days and have had little time for much else. To catch you up to speed, I finished my union organizing gig on May 1st, two days later I was the field director for La’Tasha Mayes campaign for city council. And 16 days later was election day. Now it is a few days after election day and I’m finally taking it easy.

The union organizing of home care workers went terrific. I was promoted to a lead fairly quickly which was a cool privilege and fun to do. Being lead entailed briefing and training folks in the morning, checking in with folks and debriefing folks at the end of the night. The job ended up turning from a 9:30am to 8:30pm gig to a 8:30am to 9:30pm gig. We were in blitz mode and can’t say I breathed much. I did even have time to think about my demons and feel uncomfortable with myself and now I’m a much happier person for that.

We ended up winning the union, with 89% of home care workers voting in favor of having a union. The whole thing was a pleasure to be apart of, taught me so much and re-entered me into the world of activism and propelled me into my next job, field director.

And after my glorious 2 days off that included sun bathing in my back yard and a going to a parade I began my next job, field director of La’Tasha Mayes campaign for city council (who if elected would’ve been the first openly black queer woman who is a city council member and the first time 3 out of 9 city council positions were filled with people of color). This job entailed being the main person that deals with volunteers in every respect. I reached out to them, I trained them, I wrote the phone banking and door knocking scripts they wrote, I was their everything.

This job was hard to figure out at first as I reworked phone banking scripts, tried to hire paid door knockers and figured out my candidates positions on different issues and how to best explain them to volunteers. After a week I fell into the job and embraced the role. I talked to a few different organizers, who were volunteering, about my work and was happy to get their approval of my work and happy to talk organizer with them. I’ve organized for 5 years of my life and I didn’t realize I learned a whole other language. The way you communicate with people and run things is much different. It’s a world where small differences are huge where saying “please” makes you sound pitiful and saying “thank you” makes people you say it to feel they are helping you instead of feeling ownership over the movement.

In the end I kicked butt. I and must say I owe it all to the volunteers and door knockers, I contacted only a few voters, they did all the work. This is how I know I did my job right. My job is to inspire, educate and open the floor so other can do the real work. The job is essential for making the campaign work, but without so many passionate volunteers inspired by La’Tasha there wouldn’t be anything.

At the end of the campaign I knew I had done just about my best, I was proud for turning that campaign up! The vote came in election night and it was what I expected, but actually, no, it was much better. She got 35% of the vote, 1,400 votes. I have 537 confirmed “yes” votes for of our contacted folks, our goal was 2,000. She started late, hired me super late and still got a good grab of votes.

At the celebration party she was happy and so where all of the volunteers. Probably happier than the “winner’s” party. She was cheered in as though she was victorious and gave her victory speech. Thanking everyone and what I didn’t realize until this point, was how important I was. She got to me and just kept going on about how essential I was and how she had wished she had hired me earlier. Then the bar started chanting my name. I had rocked that campaign, in a really good way. And everyone wanted to know what was next for me.

One of the organizers I respected and confided with to told me she couldn’t wait to see what campaign I worked on next and wanted to work with me in the future. I realized that this, this is what I am good at, this is my passion and this is my career track. I love campaigns and I cannot wait to see what I’ll do next but it will probably be a policy campaign, world I’m not going away. I have just found my passion. And when La’Tasha Mayes runs again, because she certainly will, I will probably find her by my side organizing volunteers and working my tail off to get her in office. Can’t wait to see where the world is going to take me but it’s going to be awesome.

How to File Petition for Name Change in Allegheny County Pennsylvania

I had some confusion about how to go about this at first and I figured I’d post my walk through of it. This is how to change your name specifically for Allegheny County, Pennsylvania. It should be just about the same as most other counties in Pennsylvania. If once reading through this you don’t feel comfortable you can get pro bono help from TLDEF, though they have a pretty long waiting list. Otherwise feel free to ask questions in the comments and I’ll do my best

First step is to go to your local prothonotary, which for me was in the family and civil service room of the Allegheny Courthouse in downtown Pittsburgh. Once there I asked for a name change packet. They will give you a packet and explain what you need to fill out and do from there.

First step is to fill out the first 3 pages of the packet they give you (not including cover page). Makes copies of these first 3 pages (ideally before going back to the courthouse as there copy machines cost $.50 a page). You also have to get your 3 stamped envelopes ready. One to the Courthouse records, one to you, and one 9×11 envelope (for your fingerprint card) for the State Police (I put 4 stamps on this to be safe).

Next step is to get your fingerprints completed. You can do this at the State Police Barracks for free. The place closest to me was on 449 McCormick Road, Moon Twp, Pa (call first because they only do fingerprinting certain times of certain days). You can also call John Godlewski 412-three three seven-6004, he can do them at your place, but it will cost you $40. Make sure you have your ID with you when you get this done.

After all that fun is done you get to go back to the courthouse with $155.50, your filled in packet with 3 copies and envelopes. Your money cannot be in credit/debit or check, so I gave them cash. They take all your papers and money and give you a small receipt with your case number on it. Now you have to wait, mostly on the State Police in Harrisburg who have to make sure you are not secretly another person/deviant/criminal/etc. This can take from 3 months to 1 month.

recip

Just over one month after submitting it I happily got my self addressed letter in the mail containing the letter below:

March 23rd

I went to the courthouse back to the family and civil services room at the desk where I got the name change form from the first time I was there. I showed them the letter, more specifically my case number, the thing that looks something like GD ##-######. She then gave me my case file and told me to go to room 703 (on the 7th floor) to schedule my hearing. There wasn’t a judge in but the secretary/clerk/whoever that person’s title was kept my file up there and told me to come back Monday just after 9am.

I did just that. He remembered me and around 9:30am the judge came in signed some of my papers and then I had a hearing day, one month from that day I was there. He copied the paper saying when and what my hearing was about and sent me downstairs to the Wills room where I needed to talk out my ads.

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The ad people aren’t in until 10:30 so I came back later to find one of them there. You have to place two ads, one in the Pittsburgh Legal Journal and one in the Tribune or the Post Gazette. The Tribune is at least $20 cheaper and she was the only one there so I paid $103.91 in cash for the Pittsburgh Legal Journal and $104 via check for the Tribune. I would highly recommend bringing lots of cash, checks and plastic if possible. Some places only accept cash or money order, some places only accept check or plastic. It’s all very confusing and they don’t really like giving you change – in fact sometimes you just plain don’t get your change, so bring coins and ones.

April 6th555

The lady at the ad counter was very helpful and explained the next step, judgement searches, and how to get one. After walking through a maze I won’t explain I end up setting up a judgement search which is going to occur the day before my hearing and it costs $25 when I pick it up (the morning of the hearing). I also have lived in two previous counties and have to have judgement searches in those as well. Apparently some counties don’t know what that is, but all counties do in fact do judgement searches.

I lucked out and both of the counties I lived in know what judgement searches are. The first judgement search in Centre County is $7 and I need to send it in a money order to them just over a week before my hearing. The other county is Philadelphia County and after numerous transfers on the phone I found out that I can in fact do it via snail mail but it costs $100.10. They both have similar requirements which includes a self addressed stamped envelope, and copy of heading date with case number on it. And for good measure I would put your phone number and write on their that you need a judgement search.

A couple days after setting up my hearing date I received a photo copy of the paper telling me my hearing date. This was all the letter contained. I’m assuming this is some sort of reminder but either way, one less copy to make for the counties I’m getting my judgement searches from.

Just over a week was when I was told to put the judgement search requests in the mail. They want them processed as close to the hearing as possible. I did just that and mailed them out.

A week before my hearing date I had received one proof but not the other. I called into the Tribune and at no additional charge they sent me out another one. I received the other one a few days later.

April 18 22222
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I waited eagerly for my judgement searches. I got my one from Centre County. Then I got mail from Philadelphia. Turns out Philadelphia took all of my stuff stamped it for no good reason and mailed it back… I got this on Monday. I called them immediately and struggled on the phone with them. Diamond transferred me to her boss, who never picked up. I started getting worried. The next day Diamond called me back and I emailed her the papers she needed and my address. She responded back an hour later with “THIS SHOULD BE FINE….” I had already given up on that judgement search and told myself that I didn’t tell them I lived in Philadelphia.

May 2nd

On May 6th I gathered all my papers and went down to the court house. My hearing was scheduled at 9:45 but I got there just after 9. First I needed to go to visit Beth and Mike and get my judgement search. Beth had it ready for me. Then I went down stairs and paid for the judgement search, $25. Next I went upstairs and went to court room 703. I handed the clerk all of my paperwork he looked it over and handed me a couple of things back he didn’t need. He looked at the judgement search for Centre County and said, “and it looks like you lived in centre county at one time.” He told me it should be long.

This is what they look for in a judgement search. Here is the technical info of my paper from the judgement search in Allegheny County

This is what they look for in a judgement search. Here is the technical info of my paper from the judgement search in Allegheny County

About 15 minutes later, just shy of 9:30 and just after the judge arrived. He told me that It was all done, handed me my file and told me to get stamped copies downstairs back in the Family and Civil Services room. I stood in line waiting for the floor clerks and one called me over. He explained that most people get either 2 or 3 stamped copies. One for your social security, one for your state ID or drivers license and one for your birth certificate. Each copy is $10. I bought 3 copies and he gave me 3 unstamped copies and 3 stamped copies. They look like this. The one copy has an ink stamp, signature and a stamp to the paper making it raised.

IMG_6225555

The process was much easier than I imagined, just long, slow and expensive. In the end it cost $430 with stamps (not including the judgement search from Philly that I didn’t end up getting). Now I am on my way to filling out all the information on my drivers license, social security card and eventually birth certificate. I’ll let you know how it goes!

(Edit)

I am half way through the process of how to change everything and wrote a list of what to change. I’ll update it once I figure out any weird loopholes one might have to jump through. https://casbalog.wordpress.com/2015/08/22/how-to-change-your-name-part-2/

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.

Informed Consent Hormones Pennsylvania: Second Puberty

Hey all! I’m writing this post for two reasons to list the resources I know about for Informed Consent Hormones in Pennsylvania and to tell y’all about my experiences thus far. If you don’t need those resources skip below, if you do enjoy.

So far I know of a few places that have informed consent hormones and a list more that may or may not be specifically informed consent in Pittsburgh in Garden of Peace’s website.
The ones that are informed consent in Pittsburgh are:
Metro Family Practice (which in my experience take most if not all insurances despite facts otherwise. I go here and have felt utmost respect as has my non-binary roommate Jamie who is going there too [they are super cool about the non-binary stuff])
Stacy Lane at West End Health Center(I heard from one person that a questioner they filled out had questions that felt like Dr. Lane may be gender policing a bit, asking whether my friend wore dresses or not.)
East End Community Health Center, which I have heard nothing bad about from the person that I know who goes there.

In Philadelphia I only know of the Mazzoni Center. They are an excellent resource which includes great resources online about name change etc here and I have heard great things about them.

In Harrisburg and Lancaster there are the Alder Health Services which provide informed consent hormones.

I feel that it is very important to better share information in the trans community, especially when this information is essential to new comers. I will be attempting to share information I am finding and cataloguing all the details of my name change for people who are excited about that lengthy exciting process in the coming months. This is also meant to motivate people to not give up hope because I almost drove to Philly before realizing there are 3 informed consent clinics in the city I lived in.

Now to the exciting stuff, changes I’ve felt on my two weeks on estrogen!!! Well first off I’d like to say how validating and exciting this has been for me. I felt torn about taking hormones for a while and was scared of possible side effects. I weighted positives v. negatives and found that there were hardly any negatives and a lot of positives and was compelled to take them and right my body.

The first thing I felt was headaches the first few days. I also got really somber and felt very lonely one day. I ended up going on a long walk and going to a friends house. This feeling passed quickly, though it ended up feeling validating, especially when my roommates just told me I was having my period for the first time (ha).

I have been taking NatureDay supplements for 10 months now and will continue to. They have caused a small amount of breast growth – significantly more after I started using the soap and moisturizer. The introduction of estrogen on top of that has caused noticeable breast growth, even by friends who can feel it in hugs and visibly see a small change in only two weeks!

But the most noticeable thing for me is an increased energy level. Before I struggled to feel a desire to do much of anything now I feel happier and more productive. I don’t know if this is estrogen specifically or simply my body/mind response to it. Either way it feels nice to be even further from the weight of depression.

I also recently talked to a translady who had been on hormones for just shy of a year and she showed me her results at a dance party we were at. Woah. Her breasts, and hips were much much larger. And her face feminized more than I expected not to mention her super soft skin. A week ago I got nervous not being able to pass but after seeing her changes I’m sure I’ll look a lot more effeminate and voice training will certainly help the disconnect I feel with my body. I’m really excited for the year for so many reasons. Haven’t felt that a while so I’m pumped for 2015!

Some small steps are huge

Small slow steps when I’m ready and feel comfortable. That’s how I’ve been expressing myself and the woman I am. But the small step of wearing a bra, has opened my options and altered my reality. I’m happy to think of myself and my acts as womanly and happy to put the word of my last blog entry into action. Confidence in who you are can lead to a world of change.

After wearing dresses around the house, and bras around the house I decided to stop hiding and take my clothing choices outside. My first day was going to the GLCC in a bra and a dress. The responses I got riding all the way downtown: minimal if any, I was almost disappointed. I’m used to people telling me I’m a dude or receiving weird stares. Instead I didn’t get any and didn’t look to see if anyone was, because I didn’t care.

Nov 7 2014

I was comfortable with who I am and didn’t need any validation. I was quite anxious but it ended up being for nothing. So I continued, wearing a bra the following three days. One of those days I had stubble from the previous day and had to talk to numerous people when running errands. Again, no one cared.

Reflections, that’s all people are. They reflect your insecurities and you reflect theirs. We are all too in our own head to see what is actually occurring around us, our world is the only world we see and everything revolves around our head. As soon as you are comfortable with yourself so is everyone else. It’s hard to believe but it’s true. Only a few people will have the courage to say anything to a confident person. When you see someone acting as though it’s normal it must be, right?

Months ago I saw people spray painting these lovely ladies on the road.

Wearing orange construction vests, they frantically spray painted their cardboard stencil before moving it and the cones out of the way so that cars could pass. It was 11 am on a weekend and they painted at least a hundred of these all over Pittsburgh and no one stopped them because they acted as though they were supposed to be there. Cars simply waited for them to finish and went on with their business. I knew they weren’t supposed to be there and I knew that people did this thing, yet even I was convinced by their confidence.

If people can spend hours spray painting bike lanes on the road and not get in trouble then anyone can wear a dress, bra, beard or whatever you want with the same amount of confidence with little harassment. So far I’ve gotten none. And the worst I’ve gotten is a WTF face that went away as soon as they realized I was serious. If you believe it, it’s true. And very few people will have the confidence to say otherwise.

With transwomen being beaten and injured occasionally in the news I originally felt fear and anxiety on every street. But I have since realized the scarcity of these occurences. I’m wary of this happening, but I’m more concerned with being happy and confident with who I am. I’m happy to say that this increases each day. I feel like a women when I put on tights, bras and dresses, but I also feel like a woman when riding my bike, taking out the trash and doing so many other acts. The mask is starting to come off and she’s starting to come out. Second life here I come, excited to live it as the woman I’ve always been.

Who doesn’t want to be the victim?

In the past weeks I’ve hard a hard time keeping myself upbeat. Small problems would down trodden me and I let others comments hurt me. The weight of my transition is heavy and the struggle for my correct pronouns continues. Suddenly I began losing the battles. I began letting people write my story, and waited for salvation in the few who got it right. I would cry on their shoulders about how hard it was to be me. I made myself a victim and failed to assert my identity. I became lost in a food fight of identities being thrown all over me by everyone and I retreated seeking help from those who knew me.

I hid from the food fight, and declared that I had a hard life and became the victim. I waited for help from others and cried to myself in the mean time. But this was only weighing down my days and increasing my suffering as I waited to be saved. I felt powerless, but was at the same time the most powerful. I knew I was the one who could change this but I couldn’t figure out how.

My transition was troubling me and weighed heavily on my shoulders. My Dad has disacknowledged the whole thing as me trying to find a purpose and meaning. And countless other people have a hard time fully acknowledging my identity. While I certainly don’t pass for a straight boy anymore few people identify me as a woman, if I’m lucky I get identified as a trans woman. And this struggle makes me question myself at times, I look around and wonder do I really want to do this?

And the answer is no, I don’t want to go through all of this, I just want to get there. The fight I fight goes on nearly ever waking hour. It’s an uphill battle and always will be. Many people never even think about their identity, I have to fight for mine. And I realize that I may always have to correct pronouns, there may be some douchebags who choose to refer to me as my birth sex despite appearing like a woman.

To some people I will never really be a woman, I will always have been a man and always be trans. I will slip between this binary like Brynn Tannhill talks about (starts around 14:00). She says, “How will I feel when I am told that I am not a real woman? … If I am not a real woman, then I’m certainly not a real woman. If I am neither than I am nothing, an it, a thing, a non-human.”

This fight for labels, for identities is tireless. I am fighting for my identity to be a women, I fight tirelessly to be called “she,” because as Brynn says, “I am real… and I am a woman, just one with a different history. Though I lived behind a mask, one fastened to me at birth.” But right now for me it is a tireless fight, I don’t look enough like a woman right now to pass by anyones standards. Then I look around at this food fight I’m in and realize everyone is throwing labels and identities on everyone else. No one is accepting of others unless they choose to. My identity is mine, and I won’t let others throw theirs on me, I am a woman, and I have always been.

Finally I feel empowered to own my own identity. To correct people who use the wrong pronouns. I don’t care why people are using the wrong pronouns I care that they do it. Why they are using the wrong pronouns is their problem, not mine. Maybe the slipped up, maybe they are an ass. But I’m going to correct it and move on with my life. I am going to see myself for who I am and stop caring what everyone else thinks.

I’m going to get up off my butt and go for things. I’m going to look back on my life and remember the meeting I had with President Spanier (President of Penn State University), the second person I hated. I hated him for disrespecting me so horribly. I’m going to remember how he tried yet again to talk over me, but I had done my research and I wasn’t about to be talked over. I didn’t let him spread his lies and I didn’t let him talk over me. I stood up to the President of my University. So I’m going to stand up to Joe Schmo who calls me a man.

I’m going to remember where I came from and I’m going to remember where I’m going. I’m not going to let people persuade me or push me, because I know who I am and I don’t need anyone to tell me that. I’m going to stay strong, because I am strong. I’m going to fight for what I deserve, because that’s what a student activist does, that’s what Yeti does! Why did I ever stop? because I didn’t feel like I was worth it, because I felt unsure and unconfident, because I was afraid to stand up for the most important thing in my world, me. To stand up for who I am.

I stood up for sweatshop workers across the world, I stood up to Presidents of universities and to CEOs of Brands. I stood up to my Professors, to my peers, to my parents and friends. I fought the good fight, but then I cut out early when I had to fight for myself. I’m going to remember the awesome person I was, that I am, and I’m going to keep moving forward. I’m not going to let others define me. I am Yeti, I am a woman, I am trans, I am a lesbian, and I have a ways to go but I’m not stopping anytime soon.

As the song Ambling Alp by Yeaysayer says, “Stick up for yourself son, nevermind what anyone else does”