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

She gets jealous

jealous post

and it’s really fucking cute.

But also, the fuck?!
This is unexpected.  When she was my boyfriend, he didn’t have an iota of jealousy in him.  I tested his J-meter: nada.

So what gives?
Becoming female.  With boyfriend.

He’s a really good guy, one who doesn’t shy from expressing feelings of love and hurt.  He freely compliments her physical and mental everything as he feels it, which is pretty damn often…so sweet, new love.  Insecurity doesn’t exist, yet as soon as she hears another female in the background, a knee-jerk response articulates: Who’s that?  She surprises herself with this iteration— a serious first— but in that moment her heart can’t help but feel a possessive tug and a quick flash-beat of disquiet.

As she tells me this, I can’t help but quietly wow at the psychological change I’m witnessing; for a split second my emotional whirlpool produces a thin line of sadness, reminiscing that I never did trigger this kind of possessive want from him.  But that was a different time, a different relationship, a different person.  I snap out of my flashback moment and smile; the woman before me is a changed individual, indeed.

Which leads me to another funny-cute moment of late.

S is really popular with the boys, especially Americans from the West Coast.
“So he’d fly me out to visit him.”
“Wow, S…he’s really into you.”
“Yeah…but I’m not so into him.”
“Oh?”
“Umm…squirmy gaze avoidance…”

I wait.
This is going to be good as she’s rarely shy around me.

“He’s trans.”

Oh.  Interesting.

“Except he doesn’t even fully realize it yet but he totally is.  I think that’s partly why he likes me so much.”

Head cocked, slow smile, raised eyebrow.

“Shut up, Rumi!”

I continue to look at her, put my hands up and shrug to show amused non-judgment.

“Look, I can’t be with a transsexual.  I have no interest.  Plus…he has the whole coming out and transition process ahead of him and…I just…can’t.  He needs so much support, I’d feel like I was his…mother.”

At this point I’m outright smirking as S tells me to shut it for the nth time.
We can’t help but bust out laughing as she’s heard those exact words come out of my mouth when we were going through a painful break up.

“I get it, Rumi.  I thought I did then but I really get it.”

I get that life is often full-circle but shit, I wasn’t expecting that one just yet.
Sure does give me a smile moment…significant changes.

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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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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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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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