Success!

Yesterday morning (Tuesday, October 29th, 2013) my partner took their first dose of Estrogen and anti-androgens. So we’ve won that battle, and now we’re facing whatever estrogen may mean for my partner, and by extension, me. It doesn’t quite feel real to me yet, even after watching them take the first dose, we put so much emotion and energy into trying to get this prescription and now that they have it, it’s just a couple of pills twice a day and a whole lot of waiting. It’s  such a drastic change in pace from all the frenetic energy and phone calls and ups and downs that went into getting here.

My partner is both excited and nervous. They describe it kind of like packing up all of their worldly belongings and moving across the country to start working at their dream job. Sure, they’re excited, but they’re also leaving behind everyone and everything they’ve ever known and they are going somewhere where they don’t know anyone and they have no idea if things will work out, and that’s pretty scary.

My biggest worry is for my partner’s mental health. They have depression with suicidal thoughts and an anxiety disorder; I worry that the estrogen could make those things worse, but I also hope that it could make those things better. In spite of my worries, I’m excited, I think that this is a really good thing for my partner and I’m pretty confident that any problems we encounter will be things we can handle. Now all we have to do is wait.

Thoughts

I have a strange gender, an alien gender, a feral gender. My gender has not been domesticated, cannot be domesticated. Not by a culture that does not recognize its existence. Not in a language that has no words to describe it.

If they do not acknowledge us, they will never have words for us. If they never have words for us, they will never know us and if they never know us, then they cannot assimilate us.

And there lies the danger in articulation. The clearer we become to ourselves, the clearer we become to them.

I have no desire to give them the  few, precious words we have, to see them used to co-opt the selves and identities so many of us have struggled long and hard to carve out, but there is also danger in remaining unarticulated. Without words, we remain forever intangible and unknowable, even to ourselves.

To me my gender feels stormy, chaotic, restless, roiling like its just itching to burst out of me, or like a seedling, new, young and full of potential, but  not fully formed, not whole, not grown. it feels like a tangled ball of yarn or a small, empty room with blank white walls. I want my gender to feel whole one day, I want to be able to feel whole living as my gender and I want the words to find that wholeness.

I wish we had a secret language, only for our ears, one in which we could define and come to know ourselves, but that they could never use to hold us. Maybe, and perhaps more realistically, what I mean is that I wish for adjectives and not nouns. The dominant culture here (white, western, capitalist culture) puts so much emphasis on labels and naming and so we seem to fixate on those things in our exploration of our genders as well, but what good does it do you to name a thing that you cannot describe? Trying to name myself didn’t do me any good, so I stopped trying. But I still need language to explore my gender, just language developed with different priorities in mind. Language that is intended to facilitate communication and understanding of what it feels like to be non-binary/genderqueer amongst genderqueer and non-binary people. language for talking to us about us in a way that de-centers labels and bodies and focuses more on exploring the depth and complexity of our genders as we experience them internally.

‘You’re Too Pretty to Be Gay’ Is Not a Compliment | Anita Dolce Vita

Via Huffington Post

In her HuffPost blog post “The Assumption of Heterosexuality When You’re a Feminine Lesbian,” femme blogger Megan Evans mentions that gay men often tell her that she is “too pretty to be gay.” Megan’s experience resonates with me because some people find it necessary to “educate” me about how, in their expert opinion, my sexual orientation is not congruent with my physical appearance. I have also been told that I’m “too pretty to be a lesbian” and other versions of that assertion, such as, “But you’re pretty; you shouldn’t have a hard time finding a boyfriend,” or, “You don’t look gay.” Most people who spew such nonsense expect me to delight in their backhanded praise and are surprised when I inform them that telling someone that she is too pretty to be a lesbian is actually not a compliment. Believing that there is a point on some arbitrary scale at which a woman is too attractive to be gay is based on the assumption that heterosexual women are inherently better-looking, and that’s just plain homophobic.

To be clear, I am not writing this piece to toot my own horn. This is not one of those tortured-pretty-girl, Samantha Brick-type posts. I do not think that some peoples’ beliefs that I am too pretty to be gay are based on how “beautiful” I am according to some superficial measure of what is deemed aesthetically pleasing by the dominant culture. In fact, as a biracial woman, society is constantly bombarding me with messages that my hair, lips, and thighs are not as desirable as Pam Anderson types with lighter skin; straight, blonde hair; and an unattainable figure. Rather, I believe that people are often confused by my femininity, because the prevailing stereotype is that lesbians are simply not feminine. Just think back to last year, when Florida’s former Lt. Gov. Jennifer Carroll stated, in response to claims that she was involved in a lesbian affair, “Black women that look like me don’t engage in relationships like that.” The lack of femme visibility, as Evans documents in her blog post, as well as homophobia, misogyny, gender norms, and heteronormativity contribute to this stereotype. When feminine lesbians challenge existing stereotypes that all lesbians are masculine, it short-circuits peoples’ brains.

But let’s look at one of the roots of this stereotype a bit more. In 2008 CoverGirl cosmetics signed Ellen DeGeneres as one of their spokesmodels. While CoverGirl considers DeGeneres to be attractive enough to represent their brand and join the ranks of other famous CoverGirls like Sofia Vergara, Rihanna, and Christie Brinkley, people often say that DeGeneres “looks gay,” and that her more feminine wife, Portia de Rossi, is “too pretty to be a lesbian.” So why is it that some people believe that DeGeneres looks like a lesbian, but her wife does not fit the mold? Why would some people think that DeGeneres is “attractive enough” to be a CoverGirl but still consider her beauty substandard enough to clearly mark her as gay?

I would argue that the answer is found in Ellen’s short hair and masculine-inspired wardrobe. Society frowns upon female masculinity. If lesbians are believed to be more masculine than their heterosexual counterparts, and society views female masculinity as unattractive, then people might conclude that heterosexual women are better-looking.

On multiple occasions I have heard butch-identified women who are in butch/femme relationships state that people often think of their femme partners as the more attractive one in the couple. dapperQ, a fashion and empowerment website for the unconventionally masculine at which I am Managing Editor, continually receives emails from readers who are tired of being told that they would look better if they just wore a dress. And remember when that high school picture of a blonde, long-haired Rachel Maddow surfaced? The Internet was flooded with comments about how hot Maddow “used to be.” The message: If you are a woman and cut off your hair and dress more masculine, then you look gayer and therefore less beautiful. What an awful message!

Nevertheless, there are plenty of people, including me, who find female masculinity beautiful. I actually prefer to date women who lean toward the androgynous side on the masculine-feminine spectrum. For example, my fiancée happens to sport more of a Rachel Maddow/Ellen DeGeneres look and does not wear dresses, heels, or makeup. I think she’s gorgeous! And no, this does not mean that I should just be with a man if I find androgyny or masculinity attractive. (In a subsequent post, I will discuss how simply dressing masculine does not change your sex.)

Ultimately, female beauty is defined by what men find attractive and is offered for the male gaze, which marginalizes women and reduces us to body parts, as author Dan Pearce discusses in his piece “Worthless Women and the Men Who Make Them.” Thus, when someone tells me something ridiculous like “but you’re pretty; you shouldn’t have a hard time finding a boyfriend” upon discovering that I am gay, they are essentially telling me that they believe that lesbians are too ugly to find a man. News flash: Women don’t become lesbians because they cannot land a boyfriend. Furthermore, women, both feminine and masculine, are beautiful despite what men think of them. Standards of beauty rooted in misogyny are destructive not just to lesbians but to all women (and men).

HRT Update

On Monday I went up to D.C. with my partner for their second appointment at the LGBT Clinic. This appointment was a kind of like a very basic physical (except without the getting undressed or peeing in a cup or any of that awkward, unpleasant shit) , with some questions about their goals for transition, medical history and their family history and some blood work. The doctor was polite, friendly and professional and it was clear that she was comfortable and experienced with working with trans* people. My partner was also able to be honest with her about the fact that they are trans feminine and not a trans woman without risking being denied HRT. The whole visit was refreshingly quick and pleasant and, if results from the blood work are good, when my partner goes back in two weeks they should be able to come home with a prescription for Estrogen.

MCALC: the first Gender Neutral Menstruation Calculator

MCALC the first Gender Neutral Menstruation Calculator.

Mcalc started off as an idea to create a menstruation calculator app that could be used by anyone regardless of their gender, this way our app keeps the trans* and genderqueer community in mind so they can enjoy the features without being constantly misgendered (as with other apps).

Our new app is still in BETA so we appreciate any feedback you can give us at info.sexmind@gmail.com, we try to solve as many bugs as possible in as little time as we can so please, let us know if anything is not working properly.

What is Mcalc?

Mcalc is a new menstruation calculator app, it tracks your period and keeps you updated on your current status and any upcoming important events of your menstrual cycle

How does it work?

Simple! just provide the app with some basic information about you and your cycle, Mcalc will calculate the rest, taking your personal context into consideration. Afterwards you can set alarms and even log relevant events.

What features does it have?

-Neutrality Guaranteed: We understand that sex and gender identity are not the same, because of this, we designed our app so it can be used by almost everyone. Mcalc is 100% gender neutral and it won’t assume anything from you while using it.

-Notifications: Mcalc will keep you updated on the important dates of your menstrual cycle, it’s built in alarm system will allow you to set notifications you care about.

-Adaptation: We all have different needs, and Mcalc can suit them accordingly, it will only display the information relevant to your purposes and won’t nag you with irrelevant data. Using Mcalc on “sex mode” will help you reduce your risks of getting pregnant when having sex for fun, while setting it on “baby mode” will help you increase your chances of getting pregnant when planning one.

-Tracking: Mcalc lets you keep a log of your activity for later reference, it’s as simple as tapping a date in our calendar and tick the events that happened that day to save them for further reference.

-Information: Discover new things about menstrual cycles by using Mcalc’s informative pages.

You can learn more about mcalc by visiting our website:
http://sexmind.com/mcalc-en/index.html

Or you can go to the app store and download it here:
https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.Sexmind.Calculator