How to Be an All-Inclusive Gender Thread

m0nk3yboy wrote:
Hypatian wrote:

This is a really really sad thing.

It was exactly three months ago that Richard Littlejohn published a piece in the Daily Mail viciously attacking Lucy Meadows, a primary school teacher in Britain. Littlejohn targeted Meadows because she’s transgender and had chosen to remain in her job as a teacher after beginning to present as a woman – this was the entire basis for his outrageous, unprovoked assault on her identity, her career, and her very life. It was vile and hateful in all the ways we’ve come to expect from a publication that, like much of the press these days, treats trans women as alternately ridiculous or a threat to society. It was quite literally intolerant of everything that Lucy Meadows was.

So it came as a surprise today that the Daily Mail has completely removed any mention of Meadows from Littlejohn’s column. What happened? Did they suffer a sudden attack of morality, three months later? No. Their decision was based on something much darker than conscience.

Lucy Meadows killed herself this week.

Sometimes I really don't like this planet's inhabitants.

You're raising two good ones. I'm trying with mine. That keeps me from packing up and moving to the mountains. Although...

Weirdly affirming moment of the day: As I was exiting the crowded bus, I had to push past a woman and her kid who was on the edge of the seat. As I passed, she said "You could have at least said excuse me", and then after a moment (when I kept going because I was kind of off balance due to trying to push to the exit of a crowded bus) "bitch". At that point, I had a moment when I could stop, and I turned to her and said "I'm sorry, I did say it." And she kind of stared at me and blinked for a second before saying "Oh, I didn't hear you."

So, uh... yeah. Unpleasant crowded conditions lead to people being unpleasant... but... I do think she read my clothing and body language as female until I turned around and addressed her, which made me really weirdly happy. (What body language can be read in a bus-crowd-push, anyway. :D)

And another good post from Natalie Reed. I do hope she starts up a new blog somewhere one of these days.

Wow. I'm pretty sure this hasn't got a chance in hell of passing, but still.

Summary: Last month, Phoenix, Arizona's City Council passed an anti-discrimination ordnance that covers sexuality and gender expression for housing, employment, and public accommodations. Bully for them.

Last week, state representative John Kavanagh proposed a measure (by amending an existing bill) that would make it illegal to enter a restroom designated for a gender that does not match your legal gender. Of course, most people don't carry papers with proof of gender around with them, so this could lead to cases of trying to pee while looking too masculine for non-gender-variant folks, as well. So, that got shut down pretty hard.

So now he's amended a different bill to make it OK for private businesses etc. to throw people out of restrooms, changing areas, showers, etc. on the basis of their gender identity or expression, and forbids county or local governments from having different rules.

Ugh.

And the most amazing part of this bill to me is:

Sec. 2. Emergency

This act is an emergency measure that is necessary to preserve the public peace, health or safety and is operative immediately as provided by law.

Yes, that's right. It's [em]that important[/em].

In less eye-rolling news: Can anybody talk to me about tinted moisturizers? I'm thinking about maybe trying to wear some regularly while presenting male, at least on days when I'm not all stubbly.

So what are good products? What should I look for, and any hints for the "even out skin tone, but doesn't really look like wearing makeup" look?

Edit: Oh, and I stumbled across mention of a tattoo artist in SF who it sounds like would be the perfect person to do the tattoo I'd love to have. ("... my favorite would definitely be designing custom Art Nouveau or nature inspired pieces".) So I guess that means I should be hopeful that she or somebody with similar taste will be findable a few years down the road when I'm comfortable enough with my body to have that done.

From violations of human rights to tinted moisturiser advice in less than 5 minutes. I love this thread so much.

In less eye-rolling news: Can anybody talk to me about tinted moisturizers? I'm thinking about maybe trying to wear some regularly while presenting male, at least on days when I'm not all stubbly.

So what are good products? What should I look for, and any hints for the "even out skin tone, but doesn't really look like wearing makeup" look?

BB cream! Or Neutrogena tinted moisturizer, but if you're fair it doesn't match so well.

Hmm. Or just a primer like the Smashbox one, with little/nothing on top.

Hmm. Do you mean like Photo Finish Foundation Primer maybe with just powder over it? I have a little sample of that, but I'm not sure what you mean since it's basically just transparent.

And yeah, if I could find a nice BB cream that could work, too. I got the impression that those might be a bit heavier (when they're not just tinted moisturizers labeled as BB cream). Any specific things I might look for along those lines?

(Edit: BTW, friends who give you little Sephora bags with Smashbox samplers to celebrate your doctor's appointment? Those are the awesomest friends. :D)

I was thinking of the Photo Finish stuff, yep. It doesn't have tint but it mattifies and gives whatever is on top a good base to stick to... That way, you could just wear it and a good loose powder and look like you're wearing nothing, while if you just powdered over the top of a regular moisturizer it wouldn't even you out and would crease after a while.

BB creams are a little heavier, you're right, but you can cut them with your day cream. Sephora also carries a couple that are lighter... dr. j? Something like that. I've found the drugstore ones to be heavier, although Olay has a "CC" thing that might be worth a try.

I vote for going to the Sephora site and buying whichever BB cream has the most reviews complaining about light coverage.

Thanks for the suggestions! I'll definitely have to play around and try a few things.

Today's link: Wigging Out: How I Found Beauty in Baldness. One of those things I'm sure I'm going to spend a lot of time thinking about for... a long time to come. I kind of suspect I could never rock the shaved-head look while presenting female like she can—I highly suspect that fair hair makes "oh, you have male pattern baldness stubble!" a lot less apparent than it is with dark hair. But... it's something for me to think about, still. I'm so often torn between "I want to be my honest self in every way possible!", "I'm okay with being visibly queer!", and "I just want to be seen as a woman", "I don't want to stand out".

Hard things. You know, being a teenager was kind of sh*tty... but it's kind of easier to figure out how you fit into the world at the same time everybody else is doing it (and having a sh*tty time trying to fit and force each other to fit), instead of having to take a sharp turn later in life. Then again, this isn't the only kind of major life-changing event people go through. Ehhhhh.

Anyway, she looks awesome! I am envious.

(Also, Autostraddle is a really fantastic site.)

I think about shaving my head all the time, and her picture is what I always hope it would look like, at least in my head.

My girlfriend in my first year of college shaved her head. She looked kind of like a skin head which was amusing considering I dressed like a gang member most of the time.

Am I the only one who skipped right past the wigs to think that the outfits in the first two pics are F'ing awesome??

Also, any thoughts on her posture in the last pic, wigless? Maybe it's just me, but with only the only picture of her without a wig posed in such a strong "shoulder back, chest out" stereotypical feminine pose seemed at odds with the theme of throwing off the shackles of cultural femininity in the article.

For some the wig may represent the cultural ideal of femininity that is forced upon everyone, but posture / heels / weight are the same way. Each person should be able to value what they find definitive about themselves and be happy with it. For her that used to include wigs, but then it changed. Anybody should be able to make that choice at any time, I don't see that her choice to go wigless is right for anybody but her.

I'm also a big fan of being happy with who you are at a base level, but there's no reason that can't include a wig if you want. I just realized I used more words to go through all the phases that Hypatia mentioned in her post... oh well, I guess I agree with having multiple modes of thought on the matter?

Parsing normative gender presentation is hard, let's go mathing?

Yep. Those outfits are fantastic. She's got excellent style.

I'm really digging the bald look and the outfit.

Jolly Bill wrote:

Am I the only one who skipped right past the wigs to think that the outfits in the first two pics are F'ing awesome??

Nope. They're all pretty kick ass, both the wigged pictures and the wigless. She has a great style. (Yes, I [em]do[/em] wonder how much goth/punk style I might be able to get away with in my rather corporate setting! Why do you ask?)

Also, any thoughts on her posture in the last pic, wigless? Maybe it's just me, but with only the only picture of her without a wig posed in such a strong "shoulder back, chest out" stereotypical feminine pose seemed at odds with the theme of throwing off the shackles of cultural femininity in the article.

For some the wig may represent the cultural ideal of femininity that is forced upon everyone, but posture / heels / weight are the same way. Each person should be able to value what they find definitive about themselves and be happy with it. For her that used to include wigs, but then it changed. Anybody should be able to make that choice at any time, I don't see that her choice to go wigless is right for anybody but her.

I'm also a big fan of being happy with who you are at a base level, but there's no reason that can't include a wig if you want. I just realized I used more words to go through all the phases that Hypatia mentioned in her post... oh well, I guess I agree with having multiple modes of thought on the matter?

I think that the core thought for me is that becoming so fixated on something and making it a "must keep my secret" kind of thing feels like poison. I think that's more or less the state she got to when she realized she was putting on her wig to answer the phone: even if people might know she was wearing wigs, she was so tied up in knots over not letting people see her without one that it was eating away at her. It's not that she didn't want to express herself in a feminine way, it's that she realized that at least one part of that desire had a stranglehold on her.

That's the feeling I take away from it, anyway. I really dislike having secrets--that's one reason that I just keep feeling more and more stressed by not being out to people at work. Even though my being trans is not something that's going to have an impact for probably a rather long time, the simple thought of being in a position where I feel I should either reveal my trans-ness or talk about trans issues (which would then potentially put me in a situation where revealing my trans-ness was appropriate) and... feeling like I couldn't do that... Ugh. It makes me shiver.

I recently found out that someone had learned I was trans and had been keeping it to themselves, and ended up talking to them about it. They had previously figured into some thoughts I had about "this person is someone who might make a comment that would lead me to wish to reveal that I'm trans". And, well, it turned out to be no big deal (although my heart did leap a bit in my chest). So that's a similar sort of thing: Something comes up, and I am in a position where I can either talk about my experience or pretend it has nothing to do with me, and... I hate the idea that I might reflexively hide myself away, because it's something I'm sensitive about, because it opens up this whole big complicated mess of other sensitive things. I distrust that reflex. I dislike that reflex. And I know that I have given in to that reflex in the past, but I no longer want to have anything to do with it. It ruled... far too many years of my life.

So, anyway, that's what I think: That whatever you do, however you present yourself, it's best to own it and not let it own you.

If I want to wear wigs, I'll wear wigs. But that choice, like many others, should be a real choice: something I consciously choose to do, not something I do because I am consumed with fear or self-loathing or any other such negative emotion.

Today I was in Subway having dinner on my way home from work, and I saw a young trans woman with a friend talking computer stuff. She was clearly a CS undergrad. I was pretty envious. And kind of inspired.

I've been thinking a lot lately about how my presentation has changed through life, and all of the different ways people present themselves that aren't about performing gender. Like Nika in the wigging out article with her gothy/punky style. And, well, me in my past with my geeky/gothy (informed, strangely, also by a bit of preppy style inherited from my girlfriend in high school.)

The girl at Subway had a pretty relaxed college student vibe going on, with a touch of young female professional. She was pretty openly trans and queer--she had a rather androgynous appearance, but had clearly been hit by a testosterone-fueled puberty in the past, and just as clearly has been under the influence of estrogen more recently. She had a big old rainbow bracelet on. She was wearing jeans and a T-shirt in a feminine style (i.e. more closely fitting than most men would typically wear), revealing the curves that she did have, and the other curves that she didn't have. When they got up to leave she had a nice feminine-styled coat. Her mannerisms had a slightly feminine air, but her conversation with her male friend was very much in the take-no-prisoners style typical of men in technical fields.

I got the sense that if she decided to doll herself up to go out, she totally could. And if she wanted to go to efforts to pass as a cis woman, she could probably manage that: but she clearly felt no need to.

Of course, I can't really know what her inner thoughts are, but based how she carried herself she seemed totally at home in her body. It was wonderful to see.

It all resonated with me quite strongly. I was like "wow, that's how I want to be". Not running from who I've been, or hiding as I try to reach where I want to be, but just comfortable in myself every moment of every day.

And that connects to some of my thoughts about overall presentation: College students have a lot of leeway in how they present themselves. Later, in professional life, things get more constrained--but not absolutely constrained. So, a thing I've been thinking about is "what are the limits on personal style in a professional environment?" Obviously, if I suddenly started going to work looking like Robert Smith that wouldn't really be appropriate in a professional context. But, there's a lot of wiggle room between "boring, blends in with the beige walls and carpets" and "totally gothed out". And what's wrong with "geeky, professional, engineer-not-business-person, and visibly-queer"? I'm thinking "nothing".

I guess time will tell.

My apprehensions shrink as time goes on and I understand my inner workings more, and work through the damage I've done to myself out of fear through the years. I'm sure there are going to be bumpy periods, but... yeah, I can get through those. All I have to do is hold on and refuse to let my sense of self be shaken.

Hopefully one day in the not too distant future I'll be as awesomely self-assured as the young woman I saw today.

Until then, well, I'll just bask in the wonderful mood I'm in from seeing her.

Awesome

That's wonderful. I always enjoy seeing someone who is centered and obviously enjoying themselves. Even if I can't join them right then and there, just the reminder that it's possible is a good thing.

Whee. Chatted with my dad on the phone a bit tonight. Was going to call and share with people that I'm probably going to be starting hormones in a bit over a week. That didn't end up happening.

I think I had a good discussion with dad, but it didn't really start in a good place. More or less "I think that if you got [em]real[/em] psychological help and they gave you drugs for your depression, everything would be better". I eventually had to pull the "no, seriously, I am not depressed, I am not insane, I am not obsessed, and if you keep insinuating that that is what must be going on, I'm just going to have to hang up on you" card. We talked a long time after that, and came back around to things from different angles a number of times in different ways, and... I think it maybe helped, a bit? I don't know.

I think he still doesn't believe that being trans is a thing, and he still believe that if I went to a "real" psych, they would fix me. (I did try to explain that "no, dad, transition [em]is[/em] the recommended treatment for gender dysphoria", but... in one ear and out the other.) But... at least he listened.

And hopefully a little of it will set, and he'll have some time to ponder things like "from when I was young, everything around me said 'this is a shameful, hateful thing, hide it from everyone, no one must ever know', so of [em]course[/em] I f*cking hid what I was feeling from you and from everyone else". And my long rant about how any time someone wants to hide things like this from the kids "to avoid confusing them", what they're doing is reinforcing in everybody's minds--the kids, the person in question, the other adults who hear about it, [em]everybody[/em]--how shameful and awful it is that people like me [em]exist[/em], and how the only way to fix that is to not making a [em]big f*cking secret[/em]. And for heaven's sake, what if one of my sister's kids turns out to be trans or gay themselves? What are [em]they[/em] going to think if they're "protected" from this sort of thing? Wouldn't it be better if they had a chance to not hate themselves so they don't end up going through half their life in the closet?

*sigh*

Anyway, I'm glad we got past the stupid "I think you should get 'real' help" part without me having to hang up. But... I didn't really feel like I could share that I'm going to be starting hormones really soon. I kind of figured that there was enough emotional load going on and the conversation didn't need more... and I hate so much feeling that I had to not share that, even though it's the reason I originally called, but... Baby steps, I guess.

The day I eventually come out at work is going to feel [em]so easy[/em] compared to family. At least coworkers aren't likely to feel like they have to fix you because you're obviously not capable of doing it yourself.

Sorry to hear, Hyp. (Hugs) Good luck in future conversations.

Mostly at this point I'm annoyed because the stress totally blew up my smoking cessation efforts over the weekend. Now I'm trying to get back down quickly to where I was because I wanted to have quit by today. *sigh*

Hugs to you, Hyp. I'm sorry your family can't be quite as on board as you'd like and need them to be - but I am glad that you are doing what you need to do for you anyway. Your vision of who you are is clear - I hope their vision will catch up to yours.

As for the smoking - don't be too hard on yourself. That's a really, really hard habit to quit and I hear it's quite a soothing one when you're stressed out. It might take a few times of falling off the wagon before you've got a new stress reliever habit in place. Be nice to yourself; you've got a lot on your plate and are handling it all with an incredible amount of grace.

Yeah. I've actually been very careful not to pin myself to "I am quitting smoking by X date, by hell or high water!" with any of this—because I know that ultimatums that you miss repeatedly just turn into "why bother"s over time, which is no good. So it's more of a "this is what I'm aiming towards, and eventually I am going to get there, and all evidence suggests that eventually I will. If I don't do it today, I'll keep at it." But it's still good to have some goals on the way, like "If I can, I want to be smoke-free before seeing my doctor again and getting my prescription".

On family... *sigh* Some things my dad said just got me into a pretty bleak place, imagining that my immediate family might at some point just end up like "Nope, don't bother coming around here any more". And I really don't think that's realistic—sure, stuff's going to be complicated and messy, but I really don't think anyone's going to go that far. But... I can imagine it. And having a conversation with my dad lead me to imagining it was just... awful.

(And I don't really feel that I can go to my mom and sister right now in the hopes that they'd reassure me "no, that could never happen", because I know they've felt in the past that they can't express their negative feelings for fear of hurting me. So that's kind of a hard place.)

Mainly, I guess I wish I really understood what was going on in everybody's heads. What are they imagining, what are they hung up on? That sort of thing. I mean, my dad kind of danced around things when he got into the whole "I have somehow failed as a parent to let this happen" train of thought. I was like "No, I think you did a pretty damned good job. I mean, look at where I am professionally. At how I'm doing. At everything about my life. You seemed to think I was doing pretty well last year, so... ignoring the trans issues, am I not doing pretty well here? Am I not someone you can be proud of? So now that you know that I'm trans, what's different, what's changed?" He just wasn't able to answer that.

(Which, by the way: Yeah, never tell somebody that something that's important to them about them is all your fault. First off, their life does not revolve around you. Second, it's kind of sh*tty to matter-of-factly keep going on about something that they think is good about themselves and how its's a negative. Not so great, there. And this is why nobody gets along with my dad.)

He also just doesn't seem to get that being trans is not some thing I'm "doing" or "going to be", it's the thing I've been all along. I'm not "becoming trans", I [em]am[/em] trans, and I'm transitioning to hopefully some day live as a woman. If I wasn't transitioning? Guess what, [em]still trans[/em]. But when I explain that, it's like my words aren't making any sound at all, and just blow right by. Frustrating.

Bleargh. Well, at least I'll have something useful to talk to my therapist about this week instead of just talking about easy happy stuff.

On the positive side: I turned some of that "don't wanna think about it!" into cleaning energy.

I've finally cleaned up one room in my apartment to be almost 100% human habitable. (I'd say 100%, except my vacuum cleaner overheated and I stopped for the day).

All the floor-books are shelved again (or boxed up in the other room. I have waaaay too many books. I think I'd need at least four more big shelves for everything, maybe more.) The floor is clear, the floor is vacuumed and clean. The closet is emptied of accumulated piles of debris (like multiple old tower computer cases and giant pile of no-longer-useful cables). And tonight I'm cleaning similar detritus out of my dresser...

Which means I have somewhere to put my clothes other than hanging them from a light fixture in my dining room or folding them into a laundry basket and keeping them there. That feels awesome.

Edit: ObGaming: Oh! So [em]that's[/em] where my DS and my PSP got to...

Is he not proud of his other daughter for her accomplishments?

Well... let's just say that if he says something nice, you're immediately waiting for the other shoe to drop. And... you're never left hanging for long.

Which, of course, I knew going into this with him originally. I had pretty much gotten to the point where I could just let it roll off my back and then sigh and move on, but... opening up about this has made me more vulnerable. And, despite knowing that this is what he does and that I shouldn't expect more, I still can't help but want his approval.

I honestly don't know what he thinks about any of us, or if he realizes the way he never gives a compliment to someone without tearing them down in the next breath. He seems to feel like he's the aggrieved party, that we just don't understand him. But then he keeps going and says something tremendously sh*tty again, and you're like "Wait, what? You're being an asshole, and we're supposed to feel sorry for you because you're trying to be nice but nobody ever understands?"

I think that with him, I mainly just need to get back to that point of really knowing that he's not going to figure things out, and he's not going to stop saying hurtful things, and that it's best to just ignore him. I gave him his chance and, well, he could have gone Full Bigot on me, so I'll give him that. Instead of just having a new really big thing to be sh*tty about in the same old ways. It's just been a really long time since he's had any ammunition that could get through my defenses.

Ahh, well.

Edit: Just re-read what I wrote and blah. Ignore it. Totally ignores the fact that he's hurting you, and has a history of hurting people this way, and he should deal with it not the people he hurts. This probably has more to do with me than anything to do with your situation, which is, of course, very meta.

I can say, as someone who has unfortunately similar tendencies, that he most likely does not realize he is doing it most of the time. And the times that he realizes it he may be unable to stop himself. Any friends who complain or make things about themselves all the time are in similar situations... it's the main way in which they conversationally relate to the world. They might actually be that narcissistic, but they could also just have accidentally developed a one subject vocabulary and not know how to break the cycle.

It's an ingrained habit that is VERY hard to break given the constant reinforcement our brains are always giving us in conversations. I should read up more research on this, but you know how you've always decided on your response to someone's statement halfway before they finished talking? It's because we use the same pathways to generate our responses most of the time.

It's kind of a terrifying thing to realize as a person who does that because I realize I say hurtful things in offhand ways and hurt people, especially and in fact MORE likely the people I love the most, and it makes me feel like a monster. This may have absolutely nothing to do with your dad. He deserves no sympathy for saying hurtful things and not listening to you, but I felt like chiming in. :-/

It's tough when the people you want support, understanding, approval, and encouragement from the most just don't get it. I'm in a similar situation with both of my parents (though, more with my mother than my father).

It's incredibly frustrating and hurtful to keep sharing yourself with people who refuse to see you - really see you. Definitely talk to your therapist about that - I've been talking to mine about the same sort of things regarding my own parents. It helps a lot (and for me, it finally sunk in recently too! Huzzah!)

I'm hoping that Jolly Bill has the right of it - that your Dad doesn't realize he's doing it. Or that there is more behind it than just the desire to tear people down. It's still not right that he does it - not at all - but I hope it's not done out of maliciousness.

And +1 to cleaning all the things! It's so nice to walk into a room where it's well-organized and tidy. I love that feeling. And you can never really have too many books. I support your book addiction. I encourage it.