Break It Down, Butch.

April 8, 2011

[61] Moving house

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 12:52
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I feel like I should do a big thinky post about this Next Stage In My Fabulous Journey, or at least a post saying goodbye to Break It Down, Butch, seeing as I’ve been here for over a year and it’s been pretty interesting free-wheeling down the genderbrick road.

(Feel free to groan at that line.)

But really, I think I’m just ready to start fresh and move on. A good clean break, like a mature adult-thing. So I’ve started up a new blog, (L)earned Masculinity, for the next leg of the journey. Come and check it out, bring cupcakes, and enjoy the shiny new format.

It’s got an about section with pictures and everything.😀

March 26, 2011

[60] With a little more thought.

So that started out on a fail-note.

I just got bitched-slapped via email by a friend who read my last post and came to a screeching halt of WTF. She also congratulated me, which was sweet, but the fifteen paragraphs of ‘uh, dude, you’re kind of being a transphobic asshole’ undercut that quite a bit. And rightfully so, I reckon. Because on the (third? fourth?) re-read, that was a hell of a way to come out. So let’s try it again, with a little more thought this time.

For context, here’re my friend’s main points in her own words:

“You seriously hit a hot button with me […] if you hadn’t ended that blog post with, “I’m a transman,” I would be snarling at you now for being discriminatory and transphobic. Things you said about transmen:

– They are mono-gendered
– They buy into the binary gender system and (implied) promote the idea that anything else is wrong
– They buy into and promote the patriarchal system (and, by your tone but unstated, sexism.)
– They are unenlightened
– They are not worthy of friends/even genderbending friends will abandon them.

Best case scenario is that this is stuff you don’t believe, but you expect other people do and so you’re going to say it before anyone else can say it and hurt you — which is understandable but offensive in the context of your butch blog […] and makes me want to slap you upside the head and let you know that martyrdom doesn’t suit you.”

(And you thought I was kidding about the slapping.)

Funny thing is, I appreciate that this friend decided to that yank me up by the scruff for being an asshole. She’s done it a few times in the past, and I might not always enjoy it — who does? — but it’s a hell of a lot better than continuing to be an asshole. Plus, who couldn’t use a swift kick to the rhetoric now and then?

So yeah, she’s right. I was being defensive. And offensive. And badly phrased. It was unintentional, but it’s out there and — despite my desire to yank it down, toss it in the trash can and pretend it never happened — I’m gonna leave it there. Call it an example of how not to do things.

These are the problem lines:

“Which, yeah, I know [moving from a butch identity to a trans one] is mono-gendered and buying into the binary (and the patriarchy) and probably unenlightened, but fuck it. I’m tired of binding myself breathless and living in an awkward half-space. I want the chest-surgery, and maybe the hormones, and the ‘sir’ that people give me to feel like it’s right, not like something I’ve managed to steal.”

and

“And I want to keep all you fabulous folk around, but I’ll get it if some of you feel the need to jump ship. (Except, no, that’s a lie. I WILL BITCH YOU OUT LIKE HELL, ACTUALLY. And I will feel good doing it. How’s that for a healthy ego?*)”

The second one’s just pure defensiveness and worry, because this coming-out business is anxiety-provoking as hell. But I don’t excuse it. It was rude and unneccessary, and I apologize for it. We’ve all heard the horror stories about transpeople losing friends, relatives, jobs and homes and just about everything else you can think of because they decided to get out and proud with their transition, or because they couldn’t keep it concealed anymore. But I’d be surprised to find that attitude here. (And if it did surface here, I’m pretty certain there are several-dozen people who’d kill it with fire.)

The first one’s a little more complicated, and suffers more for bad phrasing. I do not think that transmen as a whole are mono-gendered, unenlightened, or buying into anything. I was trying to comment — badly — on seeing this attitude elsewhere, and not caring about it. It’s a pervasive and harmful holdover from extremist feminism that “butch flight” (someone who formally identified as a butch woman, and moves from that to some identification of transman — I am trying to be really careful with my wording here, but someone call me on it if I’ve got this wrong) is about the worst betrayal someone formally female-ish-idenfitied can do. There’s an implication that becoming male, or masculine in any sense (even if you’ve identified that way all your life, or most of your life) is grabbing hold of male privilege at the expense of whatever shreds of femininity you may still hold. That identifying as trans negates your entire former gender-experience. Or worse, that identifying as male and shunning the identity of female or trans is some ignoble attempt to squirrel into the ‘best gender possible’ and pretend it’s always been that way, adding injury to the people who do identify as female or trans.

As my friend also pointed out, there’s nothing wrong with being mono-gendered if that’s where you’re comfortable. She’s femme, that’s what she identifies as, and that’s all she wants.

Likewise there isn’t a thing wrong with binding and liking it, or enjoying ‘sir’ when you’re butch. Both of them used to work for me just great, and I didn’t mean to imply that anyone should find anything wrong with either of them. They just don’t work for me now. But that’s my issue.

*lets out a breath*

So, long story short, I got it wrong. I’ll very likely do it again, because I’m human and flawed and often susceptible to being an idiot, especially when nervous. (I’m 100% certain there’s some dodgy phrasing in this post, too, and I’m sorry if I still haven’t explained myself very well. I’m hoping the gist comes across, if nothing else.) And my sincerest apologies if I hurt anyone’s feelings.

So hey, who else made a fabulous balls-up of coming out? Share your stories. I’d love to hear them.

[59] Transdude.

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 13:16
Tags: , , , ,

I started this blog with the intention of using it to keep an account of my evolving gender-journey, so I could look back later and remember all the funny/cool/weird moments that usually fall by the memory-wayside. (And also because all the cool kids were doing it and I wanted to play, too.) But it turns out that I’m really bad about writing what I’m struggling with, because I don’t like to throw it out there half-formed and conclusionless. I want a concrete result before I let it go dancing in front of an audience.

Control freak much?

But radio silence is boring for you and bad for me, because evolution can’t happen in a box. And going round and round with the same ideas in my head is just going to tip me off a ledge.

So here’s the skinny: I don’t identify as female anymore. And to be honest, I haven’t in a while. I just haven’t had the backbone to admit it to myself. Even going back through this journal was a revelation — sure, there’s a whole lot of butch musings, but the really joyful moments were realizing I could use whatever pronouns I wanted, that embracing masculinity was A-okay and sexy to boot, that it wasn’t the rebellion of mixing male-mannerisms and female-body and making something new that I wanted, it was just being male.

Which, yeah, I know, is mono-gendered and buying into the binary (and the patriarchy) and probably unenlightened, but fuck it. I’m tired of binding myself breathless and living in an awkward half-space. I want the chest-surgery, and maybe the hormones, and the ‘sir’ that people give me to feel like it’s right, not like something I’ve managed to steal. I want to explore the idea of being a transman. I want to be a brother and a son, not a daughter and a sister. (Though that’s sure going to freak out the family.)

I want to keep writing, too, whether in this blog — which could probably use a rename, now — or a new one for the fresh start. And I want to keep all you fabulous folk around, but I’ll get it if some of you feel the need to jump ship. (Except, no, that’s a lie. I WILL BITCH YOU OUT LIKE HELL, ACTUALLY. And I will feel good doing it. How’s that for a healthy ego?*)

So here’s me, coming out.

Again.

Anyone feel like throwing a party?

*On the re-read, that’s a heck of a lot more asshole-ish than it originally sounded. Who knew an ego could get you in trouble? /wry

March 2, 2011

[58] People in glass houses should not whack-off in front of kidlets.

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 05:25
Tags: , ,

I am still alive! Here, have some irony:

Anti-gay pastor caught masturbating at a children’s playground.

February 14, 2011

[57] Valentine’s Day, 2011.

Happy Valentine’s day, guys!

I celebrated mine getting my American passport renewed. Dual nationality for the win.😀

There was a very cool moment at the embassy, actually. I was the first guy in line, thanks to getting there bugfuck early, and the lady behind the bullet-proof glass was eat-your-heart-out gorgeous. A proper double-take beauty. Dark hair, dark eyes, killer smile, coffee-caramel skin, and I don’t mean to get all objectifying here, but I would have happily created a small diplomatic incident if she’d let me take her out of lunch.

But that’s not the cool part. The cool part was after she’d called me ‘sir’, like pretty much everyone else ever these past few months (that’s a post for another day), and then got a look at my old American passport. The one that has the photo of skinny little seven-year-old me in a dress.

I was expecting the double-take, and the embarrassment, and the flustered apology. What I wasn’t expecting was the carefully worded inquiry about whether I was changing my legal gender.

“Nope,” I said, with a wry kind of grin. “Still legally female, if you want to be technical.”

And this is the cool bit: she gave me a thoughtful once-over, embarrassment falling away, and then smiled beautifully. One of those light-up-the-room smiles. Then she called me ‘sir’ for the rest of the exchange, perfectly naturally, like it was just the thing to do. Like she’d seen a little piece of me, and understood it, and was happy to share it.

That made my whole day, pretty much.

January 2, 2011

[56] The week of rest so far continues on course.

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 02:28
Tags: , ,

Today, I have done almost absolutely nothing of use. It was wonderful.

In fact, the list of my achievements includes: making four sandwiches, eating cold spaghetti out of a can, laughing myself breathless when the cat attacked the christmas tree, watching lots of TV, and writing with a friend.

It’s almost three a.m on the first (well, technically second) day of the shiny new year, and I have done NOTHING OF NOTE.

I love holidays.

January 1, 2011

[55] New Year, 2010/2011.

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 03:05
Tags: , ,

Two a.m.

Flew home down the freeway, singing loudly along to Aerosmith and ABBA and Blue Oyster Cult, still happy-hot from midnight hugs and kisses. Parked up a mile from home and walked the last bit. Saw a guy being piggy-backed home by his mates, too drunk to stand. Wished them a happy new year. Saw a lady staggering around in the middle of the street, hair wild and heels gone, chased by half a dozen friends. Lots of laughing.

Thirty people in a queue outside a taxi rank, half of them sitting right on the sidewalk. Bloke with a black eye and a reel in his step called me a fucking asshole, apparently for existing. Wished him a Happy New Year, too.

Cat at home, leaping madly around the apartment. Dragged around a shiny thing on a bit of string for him, gave him a good ruffle. Put the heating on because it’s cold. Flicked the TV on for a minute.

Basked in the glow of a good time.

We had a costume party — Star Wars dude, Catwoman, Blackbeard, Poison Ivy, two members from Kiss, a golfer in Union Jack pants, Captain Kirk, girl in a Guinness costume, guy from The Hangover, and Cleopatra. I went in a shirt and jeans and stole Blackbeard’s pirate coat. There was cake and beer and nibbles, bad music, lots of cracking up. We watched the countdown live on TV and switched the lights out for the final thirty seconds. Popped poppers, had champagne, played limbo with the golfer’s putter (I fell over first), threw streamers, teased the hell out of each other, hugged and kissed and complained about 2010, took pictures.

Photobucket

Generally behaved like dorks.

Happy New Year, y’all! I hope yours was just as great as mine.

December 31, 2010

[54] Just a quickie.

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 00:03
Tags: , ,

I’ve deleted about six attempted posts in the last few days because they were a) boring, b) irrelevant, c) miserably self-indulgent, or d) all of the above.

Here’s the good stuff going on in my life right now:

– I AM NO LONGER A CARER.
– I have until the 5th of January entirely off work.
– I am playing hotel to a two-year-old, neutered, male tomcat for the next six months.
– My apartment is slowly becoming clean and organized again.
– My haircut remains awesome and I’m starting to feel somewhat like myself again.
– There’s a fancy dress New Year’s Eve party tomorrow that I’m really looking forward to.
– I have new glasses, a new duffel coat made of sheer win, and new boots. (Pictures soon!)

Less good stuff:

– The cat has tapeworms*.
– I am stunningly behind on all my emails and general correspondence.
– I haven’t managed to read anything butch- or gender-related yet this week — but there is still time!
– I seem to have gotten so good at feeling CONSTANTLY STRESSED that, now, despite an actual lack of stress for the first time in six months, I’m still reflexively tense. Which is deeply uncool, because I used to be so good at that whole chilled out thing. But I figure that’ll get better with time.

Okay, so this post is still a bit d) all of the above, but eh, good enough.

[*If you just spent a moment doing flaily hands and saying ‘EW’, you are not alone. He was whisked down to the vet first thing this morning and has been thoroughly checked out and dewormed, but I still need to bleach every inch of my apartment, wash the hell out of all the soft furnishings, and scrub my hands every time I pet him — which is a little awkward, because he’s a very friendly cat.]

December 28, 2010

[53] Car conversations.

I’m out of touch with gender-theory.

I haven’t cracked a book in six months, since I wrote my dissertation. Oh sure, I picked up the new Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation collaboration between Kate Bornstein and S. Bear Bergman, and skimmed through it, but I didn’t really absorb anything. I just read it and thought ‘huh’ and went back to work and forgot about it.

There is so much suck in that sentence I’m not even sure where to start.

So, I was giving my brother and his girlfriend a lift back home today and the suject of gender came up, as it sometimes does around me, and the girlfriend (who was also my best friend back in college; long story) started asking me the standard questions. You know, things like ‘So what is the difference between gender and sex?’ and ‘This MtF you know, he-she-it, was she a guy or a girl first? What is she now?’ and ‘D’you reckon there’s a genetic cause for gayness?’

(Okay, that last one’s a sexuality question, but it led me onto a whole ramble about social gender cues and how sexuality and gender aren’t the same thing, so I’m counting it.)

Six months ago, I was really good at these questions. Or at least passable. Today I totally choked.

Like, choked. Badly.

(Part of that was probably being exhausted and frustrated and a little ‘whoa, weird’ with the whole quitting-my-job-today thing. And, y’know, being slightly nettled at the questions, because there was a whole wealth of misunderstanding going on there that I couldn’t even start to tackle in a 45 minute car journey.)

I need to get my reading back on. I’ve done my Bornstein and Butler and Bergman; I’ve read Female Masculinity backwards and forwards, and a lot more besides. I’ve been in the blogsphere for, what, a year? I should know my stuff by now.

But still, choked. And I can feel my thinking about gender getting fuzzier and vaguer the more time I spend in the working world, away from academia, and I don’t like that.

I promised my friend I’d lend her some Bornstien, because she is genuinely interested in learning about the weird wide world of gender, but I reckon I need to read it again first. Along with the rest of my shelf of books. And then I need to re-engage my brain.

Here’s my new challenge for myself: a piece of gender-related reading at least once a week, and a thinking-thoughts type post along to go with it.

What are your favourite gender-writers?

December 25, 2010

[52] Soap and Glory.

Filed under: Uncategorized — DK @ 23:16

Okay, so, because the gift of pink bath things I got for Christmas are amusing me so much, I have to write about them.

For posterity, I have been given the Pink Big, which is like a supersized tote-bag full of girly soapy things. (And, wow, now that I’ve googled it, that’s seriously expensive for Christmas bath stuff.)

(Mental note: send thank you card.)

Anyway. Inside the ginormous pink tote bag, I have received:

Clean On Me™ Creamy Clarifying Shower Gel
The Righteous Butter™ Body Butter
Flake Away™ Body Scrub
Girligo™ Scented Body Moisturising Mist
Glad Hair Day™ Ultra-Shine Super-Shampoo
The Breakfast Scrub™ Body Smoother
Hand Food™ Hydrating Hand Cream
Scrub Your Nose In It Face Scrub And Mask
Super Colour Sexy Mother Pucker™ Lip Gloss in ‘Pink Apricot’
Off Your Face™ Cleansing Wipes
Giant Super Sudsy Shower Puff™

I swear, the more you read that list, the funnier it gets.

(I just tried the lip gloss. It’s making my lips tingle weirdly. I suspect, ironically, I may be allergic.)

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