trans talk

A variation

variation

 

on an unrequited love theme:

Him: I like her.  A lot.  And the fact that she has a penis?  Hotttt.
Her: How do I know I’m not just a fetish object if he’s so damned turned on by my penis?

A conundrum, indeed.

It’s not just about the body parts, it’s not objectification but a turn-on is a turn-on.  Historically, it seems that anything that deviates from the publicly broadcast hetero-norm (ahem homosexuality) is quickly labeled deviant or a fetish.
How conveniently dismissive.
How fucking willingly ignorant.

I sit at a trans bar as my friend crushes on this beautiful-cute woman.
“So…how do you describe your sexual identity these days?”
“I say I’m bisexual.”

I look at him, confused, and we simultaneously blurt:
“But I—you’re not.”

“Right?”
“Right.”

“But what do I say?”
“Hmm…you’re not gay.”

“I’m not gay.  I like women.  I just, you know…”
“Yeah, I know.”
“So do we say transwoman-oriented?”

It’s a tough, lonely world for transsexuals.
But.
In a sad twist of irony, it’s pretty lonely for those who are trans-oriented as well.

I hold this thought and questions happen.

Then I hear S in my head: What’s the point, if he wants me pre-op and my entire aim is to eventually have SRS?
He wants her to stay as she is, honing in on the one thing that causes her enormous grief.

Okay, so probably she ought not date a pre-op-trans-oriented individual but to assume that those who show interest are probably fetishising her for their fun time isn’t the fairest attitude.  People want romantic relationships and usually it’s best with those who turn us on sexually.

And what about the inevitable pre/post-op question?
(Or is she undecided?)
Asking this upfront is an awesome way to lose and get dismissed as a prying fetishist.
Besides, it’s really about getting to know her.
A-n-d…sometimes, say, even though pre-op is usually his type, it doesn’t matter so much when he discovers she’s had SRS.
Because he likes her.  A lot.

They don’t know about lasting into the future but in the here and now, they’re happy.
Maybe they’ll try a happily ever after, maybe it’ll be a damn fine chapter, maybe they’ll make each other shudder in the next six months.

Either way, the romantic in me wants them to have the story.

 

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random love, trans talk

A simple come on

come on
Sometimes it’s like this:
The woman carefully examines the art on the walls of a classic, white gallery cube-style room.  There’s no perceivable order to her perusals but from time to time a smile breaks through as her eyes dart across the canvas, stopping for seconds at particular points of interest: brilliantly saturated color contrast, curious manipulations of media, abstracted sex.

She doesn’t fit in with the usual museum guests; she’s not here killing toddler time yet it’s in the middle of a weekday afternoon…what kind of work does she do?  Does she work?

It’s a quiet day, she’s the only one in this room and there’s something about her that compels me to say something.
Anyt-h-i-n-g.

“Where are you from?”
“Oh…hi.  I’m from around here but I don’t live here anymore, just visiting.”

She holds my gaze for a second then goes back to the work.  She really digs this guy’s art; she must, as she’s oblivious to everything else around her.  I try to take my eyes off her but the floor vents make the hem of her dress flit and tease up, which makes me need distractions, bodies squinting and peering too close to wall labels, daring to touch frames and beyond.  Basically, I need to be working the Van Gogh room.

She’s disappeared into another room and soon she will have gone through this exhibit.
Shit.  Why do I need to talk to her?
I just do.

“My name’s Mike.”
Why I’m reaching out to shake her hand, I don’t know.  Except when her cool hand clasps mine, it’s awesome and her smile is everything.  I want to take her out but that’s out of the question.  I’m lucky she doesn’t see me as a creepy museum guard with stalker potential.

“I just need to tell you how beautiful you are.”
The words that make me sound like a maybe-douche just fall out, I never come on like this.  Maybe it’s knowing that she’s just passing through town, maybe it’s something about her that reads detached openness.  At least I know her name.  And making her smile is incredible.

***

And sometimes it’s like this:
I sit in café.  I don’t give shit for coffee but inside, there is A/C.  August heat makes me sweat before I leave apartment.  I look at people, of course the women.  No one here is my type: too skinny, too much make-up, too much trying to be perfect for fun, I think.  Then I see her— curls, dark brows and beautiful eyes.  I study her, try to catch her eye.  I smile.

Nothing.
Damn.
I try again.

This time small smile.  Good.  I go to her table and try small talk.  I look closer at her and I start wondering…
“Maybe this is odd question, but are you shemale?”
Uh-oh, she doesn’t like this.  But it’s just wondering.

“I don’t mean it bad, I think you are pretty.”
I have offended her?

 

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trans talk

Standards of the Double Sort

In an effort to mix things up and maintain the original focus of this blog, Rumi and I have decided that I should be a guest-writer for every 50th blog post. Kudos to Rumi on her dedication to maintaining this blog on the regular as well as clear improvement in her writing as a result of it. Happy 100th post, Rume!*


The title of this post stems from the blooming of my awareness of all of the double standards that exist between men and women, and how much more perceivable they are on one side of the path than the other, as well as how I feel about those differences. On the one hand, everyone should be treated equal, right? Well sure…but is being treated the same the same as being treated equally? I’ve come to realize that while some of the double standards that I had an active disapproval of when living as a male, are actually some of the very things that tickle me pink and bemuse me on a regular basis.

Since transitioning, I’ve put a fair amount of thought into both the blatant and more subtle ways in which I’m treated differently by the people around me. While some of the changes are welcome, some others I’ve encountered have elicited reactions within me which range from mild surprise to outright disbelief. One thing that certainly bears mentioning is the dichotomy of treatment I received while actively and openly transitioning at the school I attended here in Tokyo as well; a sort of elective recognition of sorts, both frustrating and validating at times.

As for some of the more subtle differences, I would have to say that most have been pleasant, if not necessarily positive. People from all walks of life began to smile at me as I walked by. I started to get heckled by certain types of men. Compliments about my outfits and style from women were received. I also found that getting ready (for work/to go out/to go on a date) was no longer a chore but an adventure, and while that is more of a personal revelation, it’s worth it’s weight in typeface.

After having reached the somewhat rocky plateau of being ‘mostly’ recognized as a woman in public, it seemed that I had never before realized the divergent nature of people. Women became simultaneously more open and accessible to approach and speak to, as well as seemingly less interested in me, while being far, far more critical of my appearance. It was a strange sensation to have women smile at my approach and face me as opposed to being ‘on guard’ for harassment, undesired flirting, or fear of some form of physical ill-treatment, while watching their body language shift to the defensive and exclusionary. Men, on the other hand, became much, much more polite. When they weren’t being obscenely direct and inappropriate, that is.

Perhaps the most acute feeling I’ve experienced in regards to this has been the loss of my male privilege coupled with the major backslide into perceived hedonism and outcast status, to some. Fortunately, most, if not all of that has run its course at this point, although I have no way of knowing if that would remain the case were I to return to the West. During transition, or at least the more obvious physical portions of it, I was the subject of many a stare, gawk, and double-take. Then there were  the looks I received when I handed my ID over for various reasons, and the inevitable questions that followed. Let’s not forget the flak I received at the airport and the looks of disapproval and outright disgust from elderly people, either.

The individuals who operated my school in Tokyo, to their credit, made several successions on my behalf that they had no precedent for at the time. They allowed me to not only use my chosen name on all of my school work, but even went so far as to have a small meeting with all of the teachers to ensure that they used the proper pronouns and called me by that name only in class (this was kind of big deal as many other people requested to be called by various nicknames, but were denied, even to the point of a shortened version of their actual names). After I stopped wearing men’s clothing completely, I was allowed to use the women’s restrooms. Occasionally, some teachers attached ‘-chan’ (a suffix used for women, girls, very young boys, pets, and all things cute) to my name. Conversely, there were moments which truly made me feel left out and less-than. When I signed up for a soccer ball kicking competition, after being pressed because there weren’t enough people signing up, my name was placed on the men’s list (after leaving school in the middle of the day crying, I was later allowed to kick with the girls and was given a formal apology by the staff member who placed me there). I was told that I should join the tea ceremony class, but when I asked if they actually had a kimono(the female garments) to fit me, there were pressed lips, shared glances, and was told perhaps I shouldn’t do it after all (don’t mess with their traditions!!).

As strange as it may sound, as a transsexual woman, although I feel it is very nearly my ‘duty’ to oppose the very idea of social gender roles and expectations, I coincidentally subscribe to those very concepts. Whether this is a product of my very nature, or my desire for social validation, I can’t properly say. What I can say is that I enjoy being treated ‘like a woman’, and all that entails. I enjoy when men offer to carry something for me, or any other common chivalric behaviors. I enjoy, in a strange way, it being assumed that I am going to take forever and a day to get ready (this is actually true). I enjoy having my appearance complimented first and my skills and aptitudes second. It pleases me when other women ask me for appearance checks or fashion advice. I even find it pleasant when my general way of being loose with my affections has garnered me a reputation of being a certain level of slutty.

A thing that I can say with certainty though: While I have endured much pain, self-loathing, despair, listlessness, and a slew of other negative emotions in regards to my transsexualism, I have come to realize that I wouldn’t trade it for being cisgender. This is more of a recent revelation, although one made with conviction. I can honestly say that very few individuals in this life are given (take?) the experience of walking on two very distinct, and yet surprisingly similar at times, paths. The strange and entirely unique spin it has given my perspective is…priceless. I mean…how many people do you know that have had the opportunity to sashay into a party in a little black dress and towering stilettos and also play Offensive Tackle?

 

*Thanks S!  I appreciate your enlightening share and am curious as to how your perspective will continue to shift.  Cheers!

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relationshipping

I lose

my best friend every time a major relationship ends.

They’re kind-of annoying as shit to deal with— as am I— because we’re simultaneously trying to sort our own shit with our heads pretty far up our individual asses.
And those lingering details…

Who gets which car?
Joint purchases?
Debt?
Ha.

The shit overwhelms at moments and I deal by listening to band du jour on repeat and smoking dope until the banking day is over.  I procrastinate until I can’t, otherwise I’ll bust a vein in my pretty face from a massive panic attack threatening coronary.  I breathe, get my coffee and pull up the calculator.  Let’s go.  Okay, not so bad.  These digits aren’t too bad.  Oh fuck.  There’s another set of cards.  And loans.  And car payments.  And insurance.  And just…more shit.  Life costs.  Ten years of shared life is damn expensive.  Oh crap this is going to take— just add.  Keep adding.  Finally.  Moment of grand total truth.

So I suck at math.
I don’t really know what a budget is.
Whenever I’m at break up point, I have left the finances in the hands of the other so I have NO IDEA what debt situation awaits me.
My saving grace is I hate being ingratiated because that makes me breathe not so well, my brain gets spinny-cloudy and I’m incredibly impatient about getting my freedom back.

My real saving grace?
We didn’t buy a house together.
In America, getting divorced is so much easier than unjoining a house purchase.
We did one undeniably smart thing— yea!

You’d think I’d learn from the first time around.

I repeat my mantra, not only to myself but to him:
No cohabitating, no joining finances.
No cohabitating, no joining finances.

No cohabitating, no joining finances.

I maintain this.
For three months.

Then he falls on hard times and it’s easier to stay in the same house but more than anything, I can’t see past love, laughter, commitment, and an ever tightening vision of a permanent future.

I tell myself:
Even if it all goes to shit, I’ve done this before.  If I can untangle 10 years, I can work through however this may end.  But he’s also really kind and I know he won’t lie to me or screw me over financially so…what’s there to fear?

Not shit, really.
The headache and annoyance of separating seems like a disrespectful and shallow thing to consider when there’s true care, consideration and love present.

Years pass.

Then we break up.

When we’re young we hesitate to date our best friends because the potential double loss of best friend and lover is a big risk.
But I tell myself the greater the risk of hurt and loss, the greater the love.
So of course I run that risk.

Then I realize there’s even more to lose: we had become each other’s family.

The ending is damn hard.  And lonely.
But always worth the risk.

 

 

 

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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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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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random love

I love

Jealousymy bitches.
My right-hands.

ARGH.
I can’t fit it all in one post.
There’s too much- chats, saving my ass, working, sharing, bitching, whiskeying.
Too much fun, crying, laughter.
Too much love.

So.

It’s cold in February.
Tokyo’s chocolate heart explosions have come and gone (by the way the focus here is chocolate from the females on Valentine’s and the guys reciprocate on White Day, next month.  This country loves hetero-consumerism).
Which reminds me of my favorite V-Day tradition…

My bitches and I wear unglamorous but soft, flannel-y, fleece-y things and cheers to brown drinks on the rocks.
The oven is preheating and we do this:

Um…I’m in love with an alcoholic.
You used a condom right?

Did you use a condom?!

The one who can cook (motto: no babies, only beards) puts cookie dough on baking sheets as my young, pre-professional right-hand and I peruse the containers of magical toppings that will turn simple, golden sugar cookies into delightfully inappropriate treats to be shared with our work family in a number of hours.

We have red, pink, purple gel and cream icings.
Multi-colored sprinkles, red and pink glittery sugar dust.
Cookie dough goes in the oven.

I’m excited and feel the whiskey gently warming my cheeks…cozy times.

I blurt:
I think I’m pregnant.

These two are my damn truth serum, as my worry thought just spills out of me.

Really?
When are you supposed to bleed?
Not soon enough.  Fuck.
Plan B time.
Sigh.  I know.
Want me to go buy it for you now?
Damn they’re so sweet and waste no time taking care of fucking business.
Basically, they ROCK.
Nah…I’ll get it tonight and take it.

Ding!

As the cookies cool, we test out different icing tips and ready all the little containers.
And the fun begins.

V-A-G
CUNT- yes.
I think my penis looks weird.
I can’t fit the balls on this thing.
Uh…this tip is messed up.  I think I broke it.
It’s too big!
God, this gel icing is gross.  EW.
Chlamydia or gonorrhea?
You can fit that shit on there?
So…the nips are melding into each other.
Just sprinkle a shit-ton of glitter on it.
How do you spell—
Boobs.
Just boobs.

We turn into Valentine’s elves, gleefully creating dirty sweets that taste like total crap but will get eaten nonetheless because: the love, people.
Who doesn’t want to eat some sweet cunt on this lovers day?

More than a few 2.14s have passed since we’ve baked cookies and goofily giggled like pubescent tweens.

We’ve gone from living in the same house and/or across the street to different states and continents; we see each other a fuck of a lot less but they’re still my truth serum.

We witness big and little changes of the work, heartbreak, marriage, graduation variety.
We take pregnancy tests together, 7,000 miles apart.
We grow some and stay the same.
When I’m broken, they help.

And even though we 10,000 word-text each other and have marathon video chats, sometimes I just want a fucking whiskey with my bitches.
At a table.
In person.

Love y’all.

P.S. Also, shout out to my bitches in SF/Oakland, DC, Spain, Bahamas, Colorado, SoCal, Cambridge/NYC, Montreal, Memphis and Tokyo…thank you.

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