The second I finish my insane deadline, they fire me. I worked 43 hours in two and a half days (Monday 8:30-1:00, Tuesday 8:30-Wednesday 11:00) days to finish this project and then they let me go.
They don’t even have the grace to say so to my face. They have the nerve to have the contracting agency call me to tell me my contract wasn’t extended. On fucking MONDAY they were talking about long term planning and I was in the new office! They had a desk for me!
I got blood work back that proves it. My cells are a mix of XX and XY.
That period? The one so many people yelled at me for being “incapable of having”? No, my body was trying to. And to everyone who made me feel like shit? Who attacked me when I was literally in a ball crying already? You can go fuck yourself.
Try having a conversation without using a pronoun: he, she, his, hers, they, theirs.
You’ll find it’s nearly impossible.
In the English language, if you’re referring to one person, you have to gender them. As such, pronouns are an important part of our language. And yet their role in understanding gender can easily go unnoticed.
So what happens when someone identifies as a gender other than that which they were assigned at birth, or has no gender at all?
Trans* people often ask that they be referred to using a different gendered pronoun, and this can be a big part of coming into one’s identity.
New singular pronouns have been invented for folks who may not want to use heor she: ze and hir being the most commonly used, although using the plural pronouns they and them can also be used to refer to a single person.
Changing the pronouns to which someone is referred can be a major part of coming out as trans*. Asking those around you to refer to you with different pronouns may seem like a simple task, but it can often be met with confusion, apathy, and anger.
We live in a country with horribly high amounts of violence against trans* people.
Trans* folks face a host of systemic forms of violence as well, including discrimination in housing and employment.
There’s another layer of violence, and this comes through the way our culture views and speaks about trans* people. The delegitimization and invisibility of trans* identities and their struggle is evident in and perpetuated through language.
While using the right pronouns may seem insignificant, it is a major step in fighting for trans justice. Here’s why:
1. Language Shapes Culture
Because pronouns are so engrained in our language, we often take for granted how necessary they are.
In this way, the issue of using the correct gender pronouns is often disregarded, even by allies, as vain or as a waste of time.
But language has power.
When we use a pronoun that assigns someone a gender with which they do not identify (for example, referring to a self-identified trans man as she), the use of that pronoun can serve to invalidate who that person is and undermine their transition.
Our language is also constantly evolving – and spreading fast, thanks to the Internet – to match the evolution of our culture.
The fact that new pronouns (ze, hir, and many others) have been added and are being used by many trans* people and their allies is really cool and speaks to the fluidity of language and its ability to reflect our ongoing experiences.
In this way, culture shapes language. But language also shapes culture. The words we use can shape how we see the world.
When we use and invent new words to describe people who identify outside of a strict gender binary, we legitimize thoseways of being, and participate in the larger struggle for trans* visibility.
We should always be sure to use the words we’re asked to by our trans* friends, even when we’re not around them.
The more we use the correct gender pronouns, the faster the words and their meanings will spread through our communities.
2. Respect Others’ Realities
Trans* people are constantly faced with people and systems who think they know that person’s gender better than they know it themselves.
Doctors, reporters, and politicians often participate in denying trans* people’s realities by labeling them with a gender identifier or name that undermines and negates who they really are.
This is why it’s so important to remember that you do not know more about someone’s gender identity than they do, so it’s not up to you to decide who they are, what to call them, or to make assumptions about their body.
Sometimes, especially when you’re in a position of privilege – and if you identify with the gender you were assigned at birth, you are – it’s best to check that privilege and listen.
Some people (including many in the medical establishment) argue that a trans* person should be referred to by the pronouns of the gender which they were assigned at birth until they have undergone physical surgery or begun receiving hormones to transition. They see the physical change as the marker, or proof, of gender change rather than taking a person at their word.
But this problematic thinking doesn’t consider that these procedures are, to many, inaccessible, invasive, and not necessarily a part of a person’s plan for transitioning.
Further, why must a person alter and modify their body to perfectly fit into another gender category before others will consider calling them by their chosen name?
A discussion around the physical transition assumes that a person wants their body to change – and many do not.
Even then, there’s an assumption that there are only two genders. Many people occupy all different spaces on the gender spectrum, including gender ambiguity and other lovely spaces beyond fixed categories.
It is so important to never make assumptions about a person’s body or to base a gender pronoun on whether or not they have or will transition physically.
In this way, using the pronouns and gender signifiers that someone asks you to use can do a lot in showing your trans* friends (and everyone else) that you respect their reality and their right to decide for themselves who they are how they will be referred.
3. Hold the Media Accountable
The issue of gendered pronouns has been a major topic in the media lately, as mainstream media outlets have seriously struggled to report on the news thatChelsea Manning announced after her trial that she identifies as a woman and would like to be referred to as such.
Although she made it very clear how she would like to be referred, most news outlets continued to report on her story using male pronouns, and manyquestioned her request.
Thanks to an outpouring of response from trans* activists and allies, many newsorganizations have since changed their protocol on gender pronouns, setting a precedent for future reporting on trans* people to better fit the needs of the people they’re reporting on.
There are scores of headlines and articles referring to “he-shes,” “men dressed as women,” and “transsexual hookers” (regardless of whether they are actually sex workers), and countless articles and news reports referring to trans* women using the pronoun he and to trans men with she.
The media’s often confusing and demeaning reporting on trans* people reflects and perpetuates our larger transphobic culture where language can be used to dehumanize people who act outside their assigned gender.
But as we’ve seen with Chelsea Manning and others, when reporters are called out, they’re likely to change.
When you see a news story about a trans* person that uses incorrect and offensive gender identifiers, call them out!
Write a letter to the editor, write a blog, tell your community. Draw attention to it and encourage them to change.
It’s up to us to challenge the media and hold them accountable to a set of standards that respects people’s gender identities.
4. Fight Transphobia and Sexism
A lot of mis-gendering stems from a general lack of understanding around what it’s like to be transgender, and there’s fear and insecurity around this cultural gap.
But there is also a very real oppression based in systemic sexism around maintaining the male/female binary according to rigid constructs of what those categories mean.
Our culture teaches us that there is something wrong with those who act outside of their culturally assigned gender.
This leads to a policing of trans* bodies – an effort to control and “normalize”people by using pronouns that match a person’s biological sex or their assigned gender rather than those that correspond with their identity.
In this way, actively choosing one’s own gender pronoun and identifier can be a very radical act.
Think about it: The more we challenge the repressive cultural concept that gender roles are natural – that if you are born with a set of genitals then your personality, your interests, and your desires are all predestined accordingly – the more freedom we all have to move about freely within or outside of our culture’s prescribed gender roles and just be who we are.
Being a trans* activist/ally means you’re also working for gender equality.
Encourage your feminist friends to understand how using gender pronouns is also a feminist issue, and why when we stand up for our trans* friends, we’re fighting for a better world for people of all genders.
5. Educate Our Communities
I’m frustrated by the number of times I’ve heard fellow activists exclaim that the pronouns they’re being asked to use by trans* friends confuse them.
There is, of course, some genuine confusion, and that’s why it’s important to be patient when educating others.
But it’s also not that hard to get right, and sometimes it seems people work themselves up over pronouns because they just don’t understand how someone could be trans*.
That’s why it’s so important that we speak up!
Start an ongoing dialogue with the people around you about the issues facing trans* folks and why it’s so important to use the pronouns they’re asked to use.
And of course, allies must always use them.
By using terms that are honest and reflect a person’s gender, allies help legitimize those identities and perpetuate the use of those pronouns in our communities.
Trans* folks are doing a lot of hard and necessary work to be seen and respected. It’s the job of allies to support that work by not only maintaining the language that is requested of us, but to call out others.
Using the right pronouns in our own daily language and asking others to do the same isn’t enough to change the extreme transphobia, discrimination, and violence that trans* people experience, but it’s a simple way to use language to show respect for our friends, to make trans* issues visible, and to challenge gender-based oppression.
He, she, ze, they – it’s well worth the work of getting it right.
In compliance with an agreement made about the incident yesterday, I have taken down yesterday’s post about the confrontation at work. I am not at liberty to discuss the details at this time. Thank you for your support.
hey - i don't believe we've interacted, but i just heard about the harrassment you've been getting from terfs. i just wanted to send some trans girl love your way. i'm really sorry those pieces of shit came at you so hard. i hope you're able to get some more piece of mind and stability, and if you ever come back, we're around <3 <3 <3 <3
Aww, thanks! I hope I can keep that peace of mind this time around.
I am so sorry for everything that is happening to you and everything these awful people are saying. As a cis woman, I often get those same symptoms, so they can fuck right off with their "this is anti-menstruation misogyny" or whatever. I really hope you feel better soon.
Thanks hun. Thanks to messages like this I actually did feel better soon and came back.
I just read your post re: hormones and the terrible reaction you got from people. I just felt like telling you that I think it's awesome you wrote it and think your voice is incredibly important - and that doesn't change even if you leave tumblr.
This is another one that made me well up a bit. Thank you so much for writing in.
Hey, I just wanted to say that I was one of the people criticizing your post from yesterday and I feel bad because I had no idea that transwomen on hormones essentially experience periods without the bleeding. I don't think most people realized that. Anyway, I hope you are okay, and I am incredibly sorry.
Considering the shit I went through, hearing this made me feel so much better that I would give you a hug if I had permission and there weren’t an internet in the way. I cannot express how much I LOVE that you are willing to educate yourself about these issues. I hope you were as vocal in your support as you were in your criticism but thank you SO MUCH for being better then many of your peers.
And for cramps, I take the herbal supplement vitex, use a hot sock (sock filled with dry rice then microwave) and lots of ibuprofen. Midol is just ibuprofen with bloating medicine added.:)
The hot sock and the herbal supplement sound fantastic. And I had a bottle of Midol that definitely helped. Thank you so much for writing in with this, I’m going to write more in the first message you sent in.
Don't know how old those posts were but upon coming across your "getting my period" stuff I had to write: stop, stop, stop. I'm not a radfem. I'm just someone with a uterus that sheds lining abt every 30 days, part of a cycle that your body doesn't & can't & won't. Cramps=uterus. Trans woman "body wants a period"=not real. It's extreme misogyny to list all these "bad day, creaky body" feelings & call it menstruation. It's stereotypes, & your body can't be trying to have a period so knock it off.
Thank you for writing in. I disagree but I’m moving on.
i don't get tumblr, i just read it, so i hope this gets to you. i follow dear cis people and ask a trans woman and i saw the rad fem shit about your hormones and body trying to menstruate. i am a cis woman feminist and fuck fuck fuck those "feminists." i am so sorry you've had to deal with the hate. i don't get why some radical feminists are so stupid, mean, ignorant, and exclusive. i really, truly don't get it. i hope you feel better soon, physically, and emotionally. love.
Thanks hun. I’m glad I have people like you reading who get me, if not Tumblr.
I'm shocked and disgusted by the Tumblr community for giving you such hatred for expressing something that happened to you and your feelings about this. I can't believe the attitude they chose to take about this. I hope you're OK.
I don't know about dealing with unpleasant people, but I recommend ibuprofen-type OTC painkillers. You can see your doctor to make sure everything is ok and maybe get more effective ones (apparently there's one that helps with pain and reduces length of period, which may be useful). Hot baths and heating pads can help. Pampering yourself can also help. And avoid yeasty food as they can cause bloating and cramps. (I'm a transman, and I find these help. *jedi hugs*)
Thank you for the jedi hugs, they made my midichlorians feel comfortable and safe.
what is involved in keeping up the dear cis people page? i may be interested.
My step-by-step process:
Take messages through tumblr mail.
Copy-paste the messages into the format I have built (I have it set up for InDesign at the moment but if you have Photoshop I can make something that would work for that, too.
Save it as a JPEG.
Upload the JPEG. Paste the text into the text box to be openly accessible.
Pick a handful of tags that seem appropriate for that post.
Anyone who can do this, send me a message. City, if you’re still interested, send me another message. To the others who have sent me a message showing interest, just tell me that you can do what I’ve listed and I’ll send you the files and make you a co-admin.
I have an ability to use words well on occasion, so I’ll take some of the messages from Dear Cis People, but if you want you’d also handle observing the conversations as they develop.
My Hormonal Nightmare, or why I'm leaving Tumblr (for now.)
So, last night I posted about what was going on with me. I was going through a very profound, intensive, and painful (both physically and emotionally) experience. I went to talk about this experience with others on here only to be generally harassed.
So I’m going to avoid Tumblr. This may or may not be permanent.
First of all, what is going on with me biologically:
Last week, the clinic I go to screwed up, they didn’t send my hormones to the pharmacy and I missed two dosages - essentially, I missed a day. Now, for most people this wouldn’t be terrible. It sucks, and it causes a fluctuation, but most trans women who have only been on hormones for four/five months won’t have a massive swing.
Hormones are having an incredibly strong effect on me. My voice is cracking and shifting (a rarity for trans women), my breasts are growing faster then they should, my skin softness, body hair, and fat redistribution are all accelerated - my body reacts VERY strongly to hormones, apparently.
I missed hormones twice. Once is OK, but if you miss two your body will alter it’s own production of estrogen in an attempt to maintain it’s current balance. Then I went back on hormones.
So, this might result in a little moodiness, right?
The Brain Sex theory of transgender development is that there is a physiologically male and female brain, and someone who is a trans woman has a brain comparable to a cis female. We know the brains are different for two reasons - one, they’ve been catalogued extensively and the statistical information is too vast to be an error of data scale - an error because the data size was too small. There are certain ratios that have definitive ranges, midpoints, medians, etc. that are different. Not better, not worse, just different. The other is a simple understanding of how our nervous system works - the brain is the center of the nervous system, cis men and cis women have different reproductive organs and those organs are wired to the brain, ergo the brains are going to be wired differently.
Now, the symptoms of what happened:
About a week after missing my doses, then returning to normal dosage, I became incredibly emotional, depressive, and not myself. I was physically tired, well beyond what would be considered normal, and I had these weirdly specific cramps - they felt like I had a cattle prod pushing into my back and turning as it went off. It still does but it isn’t quite so excruciating today.
What I’m pretty sure is happening:
I had a low, followed by a flood, of estrogen, from my endocrine system. My brain saw this and translated it to a more common experience - the beginning of menstruation. It sent the signal to my body to start a period that would never come. The cramps are from the left over nerves, the ones connected to the uterus I don’t have, firing over and over, trying to start a cycle I don’t have the equipment for.
My partner is actually the one who figured this out. You can read the story here if you didn’t before. I talked to a physicians assistant at my job and she said it really doesn’t seem like anything else. I’ve also got an appointment to check the possibility that this is a potential intersex condition but I am 50/50 as to whether or not that makes sense, purely because the odds of having PMDS are pretty astronomical.
So I had this experience. I wanted to talk to others about it - get advice about handling the cramps, ask for others experiences, but instead I was told I hate women. Told I’m a mansplaining liar. Told that it didn’t matter what was going on, I must just be insane. Direct quotes: “you are the worst piece of shit mens right activist misogynist pornsick woman-hating asshole alive.” “Its funny you said ‘balls’ lilcrysi cause this dude just had his removed. Meaning he had testicles. Meaning he is a dude. And dudes don’t have have periods, even when their balls are gone.” “Ameliated is a Man. Ameliated is a misogynist. Ameliated needs to stop appropriating female biology for her own sick fetish.”
I’m not appropriating my own biology. This is a thing that happened to me. I’m going to my doctor to double-check but I’ve had a physician’s assistant tell me this happened and she’s heard of it before. I don’t even get my own god damn body? I can’t even have this?
You know what? I’m done for now. If someone wants to handle Dear Cis People or Ask a Trans Woman, send me a message, but until further notice I’m not going on Tumblr. I get too involved and then end up emotional and hating myself and … it’s just not a good look.
Maybe I’ll come back. Maybe not. But for now, this is goodbye. I’ve genuinely made friends on here but I’m also just done with the negativity, the circular arguments, and the constant defensiveness. I’m just done.
We went to ikea today. I’d been feeling off, weird, incredibly emotional and my back was cramping up and killing me. I kept getting weepy randomly in the store. Mecca even started getting annoyed with the frequency, and seeming randomness of the sadness. We started talking, it got a little heated, and I broke down crying, telling her everything - the random sadness, the self loathing, the anger, the pressure, the cramps- when I said cramps her eyes lit up and she ran off. She came back with midol, chocolate, and diet coke. I was having my period, or at least my body is trying to.
Apparently this happens to some trans women. And JESUS FUCKING CHRIST THIS SUCKS.
I am in serious pain, I want to fuck something and kill it and the same god damn time, I randomly break out crying, I feel bloated and nothing fucking fits, I’m really fucking needy and I just want to curl up in a ball and sob.
I’m twenty three and having my first period. If I seem irrational or pissy, it’s because I am.
So, I started my period yesterday morning and cried like a freaking baby. Wah, wah, ANYWAY. Whatever, deal with it, eat some chocolate and move on. BUT. So last night, Amy didn’t sleep well, she woke up before me (this has happened 3 times in the last 4 years. It’s worth noting.) and just felt…
“On Periods: Let’s put this shit to bed right now: Women don’t lose their minds when they have period-related irritability. It doesn’t lower their ability to reason; it lowers their patience and, hence, tolerance for bullshit. If an issue comes up a lot during “that time of the month,” that doesn’t mean she only cares about it once a month; it means she’s bothered by it all the time and lacks the capacity, once a month, to shove it down and bury it beneath six gulps of willful silence.”—
Clinic fucked up my hormones. I’m back on but fucking estrogen drop is NOT. FUCKING. FUN.
I hate how people treat this like it’s a god damn cosmetic treatment. I have massive swings of depression and dissociative episodes without my hormones and Mecca/BaffledKing gets to suffer the worst of it because she has to deal with me when I’m a tiny ball of emotions, tears, and self loathing with dissociative episodes to boot.
“I’m never gonna wait
that extra twenty minutes
to text you back,
and I’m never gonna play
hard to get
when I know your life
has been hard enough already.
When we all know everyone’s life
has been hard enough already
it’s hard to watch
the game we make of love,
like everyone’s playing checkers
with their scars,
whenever they get out
without a broken heart.
Just to be clear
I don’t want to get out
without a broken heart.
I intend to leave this life
there’s gonna have to be
a thousand separate heavens
for all of my flying parts.”—Andrea Gibson (via psych-quotes)
Greece has reintroduced forced HIV testing in an effort to curb the growing rate of disease in the country. According to Human Rights Watch, the controversial law allows for the arrest and detention of those suspected of being HIV-positive.
Your body is made of the same elements that lionesses are built from. Three quarters of you is the same kind of water that beats rocks to rubble, wears stones away. Your DNA translates into the same twenty amino acids that wolf genes code for. When you look in the mirror and feel weak, remember, the air you breathe in fuels forest fires capable of destroying everything they touch. On the days you feel ugly, remember: diamonds are only carbon. You are so much more.
Play with Oregon Humane Society kitty-cats through ROBOTIC TOYS that you can control through this website. IT HAS A LIVE FEED SO YOU CAN WATCH THEM WHILE YOU MOVE KITTY TOYS AROUND. AGHHAGHAHGAHGHAGHAHGHH