Tag Archives: trans

springtime, even though it never was winter here.

Standard

hello! i have been writing blog entries in my head for months, but i never have the internet time to actually do it, it seems. i wrote a lot of really good ones and i LOST them, ugh, oh no. where did they go? i’ve been remarkably busy with my book, trying to get it out into the world in as many forms as possible, trying to get people to actually read it. the library! i would like it to appear at the library, any library, but mostly i have to find a distributor and i think maybe i need to pay a lot of money? but i’m really not sure. i wish somebody could do this all for me: fundraising, promoting, asking people to do things, technical stuff. i’m fine with mailing books, writing, and blogging about this process. i can do that part. i realized that i haven’t written anything besides blog posts for at least six months because i’m too busy trying to bring this thing into the world. that makes me sad.
in other news, i’ve started binding again for the first time since 2003. last time it was motivated by pure self-hatred and body dysphoria, it felt desperate, urgent. this time it’s way more casual. a gender hiccup, not a gender crisis. no desires for surgery or pronoun changes. i just like the way my chest looks more when it’s flat. it’s interesting how differently people perceive me–a lot more hatred (i’m pretty sure someone spit at me the other day) and a lot more embarrassing pity. as a (possibly-controversial) side-note, i’m pretty tired of hearing gender-conforming people complain about how nobody GETS their obscure gender. i’d really fucking like to walk down the street dressed the way i want without having to worry that someone is going to bash my face in, without planning what i will tell my clients who will inevitably be triggered by my bruised face, without calculating how much sick time i have left, how much i will need to take to recover. without stressing about how i’ve already had two concussions that fucked up my life and they’re cumulative, they’re cumulative and i think if i get a third there is a part of me that will never come back. i don’t give a fuck if anyone GETS my (strange) gender, I WANT TO BE ALLOWED TO LIVE. i want to not be scared. i want to not have a history that includes a man at a train station whispering to me the details of how he will kill my faggot ass once these people leave, how he has a gun and no one will miss one less faggot….and how terrified i was to speak, to say one word, because my voice gives me away as female and what, what, what will he do to me then? i have tried to conform and i can’t, i can’t. there is a common misperception that people who don’t conform do it because they “like being weird” and while i do like it in some ways, it is mainly out of a lack of choice. i have tried and i have failed. the choices are: accept it or die. i don’t want to die, so that is my only choice.
the ex i love most once called me an “anti-drogynous boy in a skirt” which melted my heart, the way i was understood. i am not a boy, but…there aren’t any words for what i am, and in many ways it doesn’t actually matter.
ok, writing this blog post has actually made me very upset, i think i need to go home and drink some skullcap tea now or something. in other news, i got a crock pot and think it’s an important form of self-care. i am trying to prioritize friendship more. soon i will be able to catch up on my mail. soon, soon. i am getting somewhat used to working 12-hour days, being out of the house from 7am to 10pm (or 7pm to 10am when i work overnights). my home is still a sanctuary. i pretend that it’s a ship’s cabin. so tiny and so cozy.

Advertisements

an open letter to WPXI: stop yr transphobic reporting practices

Standard

so, this morning my boyfriend and i were looking for something totally unrelated on our local news’ website, and we came across this horrifyingly transphobic news segment: “Police Bust Men Posing as Female Prostitutes”.

In case you don’t feel like clicking that link and watching that awful video, 2 transwomen prostitutes were arrested recently in a sting. The news chose to portray them as men trying to pull a fast one on the johns of Pittsburgh. The reporter actually showed pictures of the women (who have long hair, breasts and who pass as women) to a random douchebag on the street and saying something like, “can you believe these people are REALLY MEN?!” they recorded his reaction: shaking his head in mute disgust, saying, “wow, i don’t even know what to say.”

we were both so angry after watching this clip. my boyfriend curled up in a ball on the couch. we didn’t say anything for a minute, and then he said, “i feel physically ill right now.” i rubbed his back and said, let’s do something about it. so he called the news station & called the jail (he is actually arguing with a reporter on the phone as i write this!), and i wrote the following letter to WPXI. i’m posting it here so that more people can read it. i encourage anyone who is outraged to call, write or email WPXI.

February 5, 2011

WPXI

4145 Evergreen Road

Pittsburgh, PA 15214

To Whom It May Concern:

I was saddened and appalled by WPXI’s news item on February 4, “Police Bust Men Posing as Female Prostitutes in Strip District.” I feel that reporter Vince Sims (as well as the editors, producers and anyone else involved with the story) treated its’ subjects in a derogatory and disrespectful manner that was completely uncalled for, and requires an immediate public apology.

First of all, the story’s title is inaccurate. Tamika Jones and Nakala Jackson are not names anyone would associate with men. Their feminine appearance, female names, and the presence of breasts on their bodies are indicators that they are not men at all, but transgendered women. Their birth sex is irrelevant, as they clearly pass as women, identify as women, live as women.

While I don’t know Jones or Jackson personally, and cannot make a statement as to what they were doing in that hotel room, they were definitely not “men posing as female prostitutes.” They were not a pair of men who thought it would be hilarious to trick some unsuspecting johns into having sex with them. In all likelihood, they, as is the case with many transgendered women, probably found prostitution their only viable work option. Imagine interviewing for a job with a female name and long, flowing hair; and then having your employer ask for ID and having to sheepishly hand them a driver’s license with an “M” instead of the “F” they were expecting. Changing one’s gender legally is a very expensive, time-consuming process; some states will not allow it at all without a note from a surgeon stating that the person has undergone genital surgery (which can cost upwards of $100,000 and is not covered by any insurance). This lack of appropriate papers makes on-the-books employment an extreme challenge for many transwomen who cannot afford a legal gender change, and many turn to prostitution simply to survive. Dozens of trans prostitutes are killed every year by enraged johns who “discover” their “real” sex. It’s no laughing matter.

Sims’ tactic of interviewing a random man on the street, showing him pictures of Jones and Jackson and asking if he believes they were men, is stunningly unprofessional. The man-on-the-street (who’s not even from Pittsburgh!) shaking his head in mute disgust is presumably meant to drive the story’s point home–that these women are “freaks”. I can think of no other circumstance in which a reporter would show pictures of women to random people, record their disdainful reactions, and call that news.

The AP Style guide, 2006, says this about reporting on transgendered people: “Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.” I realize that standards are different for broadcast journalism than they are for print; however, I would like to think that WPXI holds itself to industry professional standards.

I actually watch WPXI news every night. I think it’s the best local news in the Pittsburgh region. However, until WPXI publicly apologizes to Tamika Jones, Nakala Jackson, and the transgender community in Pittsburgh for its thoughtless, unprofessional and sometimes downright cruel reporting of this story, I will never watch it again.

In Struggle,

[my legal name]