trans talk

Stare a little harder

Everyone's feels guiltywhy don’t you?

Or you could be the asshole on the train who yells at S, “Are you a man or a woman?!”
And keeps at it*.
She lets him know— in his native Japanese— that he’s being offensively rude**.
Then puts in her earbuds, volume high and tries to ignore his bulging frog-eyes and limpdick stare.
He comes closer.
She changes seats.
He follows.
She walks to another train car.
This dude is an insistent fuck.
She keeps walking.
He stops.  And stares through the sliding door glass separating the cars.

S went from holding the highest seat of privilege— white, heterosexual male to bisexual transsexual, which is about as drastic a drop as possible on the sexual-gender identity hierarchy.  As S goes from looking unmistakably male to slightly androgynous to very androgynous to fairly female to undeniably woman, visibility is an unexpected but oft-mentioned word in our household.  It’s amazing how visible she feels and how it highlights and detracts from her goal of invisibility.

I remember a time in the States when S said a friend of hers had stopped by my vintage pop-up shop.  She was with her boyfriend and S proceeds to describe them.  I have no memory of this couple.  She keeps describing them and I think I remember the guy.  But her friend, his girlfriend?  No recollection.  S smiles, satisfied.  Her friend has attained the ultimate goal— to go unnoticed or in this case, to simply be a woman in the background.

Transition is hard and the hate— wow.  The true feelings behind curious looks, stares and gawks are easily felt.  I’ve discerned the varying degrees of judgement over the years, stemming from racial, homosexual or most recently, transsexual prejudice.  And over the years my danger radar has been honed—it’s a matter of safety after identifying this bigotry.

How safe am I?
Is she?
Are we?

*Of course no one pipes in and gives support because that’s Tokyo hesitation and apathy for you; this happens in many scenarios, whether the person is a victim of harassment or physical injury.

** A tough thing about Japanese being my non-native language in this mostly polite society: I do not have an arsenal of situationally appropriate comebacks.  This drives me mad at moments.  Because sure, a cutting look can shut down many assholes but there are moments where there is no substitute for whip-smart articulation.

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about Japan, trans talk

This is reality:

The other day

S goes through multiple stages of the interview process and people want to hire her.
Potential employers talk salaries, start dates and contracts.
Great!
Last thing is proof of ID.

Fuck.

One detail.
Sex: M

Will they call back?
Most don’t.

Names can be legally changed, no problem.
Sex…at minimum a doctor’s note is required.
In Japan, three conditions have to be met: SRS (sexual reassignment surgery), be unmarried and have never had children.

This little detail is the difference between protection and endangerment.

A man is pulled over for speeding and hands over his ID.
The cop doesn’t miss that sex reads F.
Wow, how quickly attitudes change and the harshest penalty is enforced.
And when hateful young, drunken men approach the car, law enforcement turns a blind eye as violence erupts.

A woman is pulled over for a busted headlight.
Her license reads Sex: M.
The cop raises his eyebrows more than a little but says nothing and slowly nods.
Her out-of-state license is expired.
She is padded down and put in the backseat of the cop car while he background checks.
It turns out that she has a valid in-state license in the system.
She is let go with a ticket for the headlight and told to be careful.
(Meanwhile her friend in the passenger seat has been sweating massive bullets through the brick of weed that’s been the albatross around his neck during this exchange.  His first weed deal, by the way…oh memorable virgin shenanigans.)
Phew.

Sometimes the world is the most dangerous place in the face of law enforcement.
Sometimes those who get pulled over get really lucky.

But.
Human protection ought not be regulated by luck.

The world is not a safe place.
If one’s livelihood is greatly dictated by natally matching sex and gender— and it is— then Japan is not an idyllic safe haven as reputed.

The transgendered among us have no protection.
And it’s damn hard to witness.

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about Japan, trans talk

Are you…

The other day

a regular woman?

Or at least that’s what the question literally translates to when I’m at a trans party.

Yes.
Yes, I was born with a vagina.

Which is met with with sighs.
These boys are not so interested in cisgender ladies.
But they are NOT GAY, they tell me.

Okay.
Got it.
You’re not gay.
You just like women who have breasts and a penis.

So how about rather than the binary gay, straight or bi (which still revolves around gay and straight as the defining center), sexual attraction be described as male, female or trans-oriented?

It’s interesting that so many guys give such a rat’s ass about being labeled gay.
At first I think the implication is that it’s less of a social stigma to be into transsexuals than to be gay.
But after a hard think and a talk with S, I conclude that maybe those guys don’t want to be labeled gay because they’re attracted to women.
Which would make them not gay.
They’re straight.
Or female-oriented.

The guys also want to know WHY I’m at a trans party.
If I’m not here to pick someone up, get hit on or freely be the woman I was meant to be without the genetic advantage, what gives?
They don’t get it.

The women are less confused and more, “Let’s talk heels and get drunk.”
And I’m like, “Yes, drinks and how are your lashes so amazing?”
So we chat about cars, nature, various trans scenes in Japan while commenting on bearded ladies in scandalous bikinis and Pippy Longstocking wigs.

Simply put, it’s a fun time, visually awesome and I always love to see my homefolk without their well-worn masks of social conformity.
The vast majority here freak out and/or don’t accept non-traditional lifestyles that aren’t meticulously closeted.  Just the other day, this young kid proudly displaying his many tats (which still carry a social stigma) probes me about my personal life.  I answer matter-of-factly and when I reveal that my ex still lives with me, “What the fuck?!” is his response.

Dude, you asked me.
I’m tempted to mindfuck him a bit more with the I married my trans ex-girlfriend bit but decide to keep mum.

There are pearls and swine and at this point in my life I don’t cast those strings so carelessly.

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random love

It’s not fair

This is personalthat it costs this much for me to exist.

No, it’s not.

She means it’s not fair to me and our joint finances.
I mean it’s not fucking fair that the world we live in is such a place that her transition and maintenance costs what it does.

I feel ranty.

Here we go:
The crossroads of cancer, mental illness, ERs, ambulances, lab fees, hormones, disability, coverage, prescription medicine and freedom of choice have left me incredibly pessimistic about health and care and democracy.
In America.

Terminal illness with ‘awesome’ insurance means the drugs that could prolong death for a few weeks still cost $500/pill.  The system is one where disability can go through…just doesn’t mean it will happen before the applicant dies.
Go bureaucracy.

S’s monthly hormones become an increasingly uphill battle; because it’s not difficult enough living in a world with zero laws protecting transsexuals, let alone rights.
LGB……………………T

Emergency medicine is a scary Medusa-head all its own.  It really sucks to have a monetized statement that makes one feel like they’ll be paying for their life for the rest of their life.
Existing=living above one’s means?!

And that’s not even mentioning health maintenance.

Motherfuck y’all, I don’t believe in American health insurance.
I have zero trust in medicine, which is really sad as I believe in science and technology but those pharmaceutical companies feel so damn dirty.
I believe in x-rays and sonograms and the more dimensions of the latter, the better.
I believe in keeping stress at bay and vitamin-B shots.
I believe in hydration and safer sex.
I believe in exercise and education.

I don’t even believe in lab results.
They test my urine and say it can only be classified as NON-HUMAN because there aren’t enough proteins.  They ask/accuse me if I substituted my urine.  Jesus fucking the Virgin Mary because it hurts so good, NO.  I did not trap my dog’s urine.

And no, life isn’t fair.
If life were fair, there wouldn’t be blind people, said one of the most smart(ass) men I’ve ever met.

But isn’t that why this democracy thing exists?
To help balance the naturally occurring challenges that happen to every single one of us?

I feel so 1984 pre-bubble bursting optimistic but we’re only as strong as the weakest among us, right?
And so many are in a weakened position.

Fuck the marginalization.
Fuck fucking each other over.

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