So as I stop actively blogging on xxboy, which is more of a space for personal reflection and guidance (two things I think many blogs/ppl including The Art of Tranliness, Self Made Men, Annika at Transgender Express and Janet Mock do very well, by the way), I will be continuing to write for a new blog called Lost on Transition.
I was encouraged to start this blog by my girlfriend who suggested that rants to her and on facebook were hardly the most productive use of my brain power and energy. Check it out if you’re interested. The first article I critique will be the cover story from this weekend’s NYTimes’ T Magazine - a piece on gender-variant children and the growing movement to let ‘em be.
Introductory Post: What is This Blog All About?
Well mainly I am targeting journalists who have written, are writing, or might in the future write about trans* people and/or gender diversity. Journalists who, we might say, are lost when it comes to issues of gender transition…
[Trigger Warning for mention and some description of physical and sexual assault against women. There are also three disclaimers at the very end of this post that maybe you should read first..]
Yesterday I spent probably 3 hours obsessively reading about the murder of Yeardley Love. Love was 22, a senior and lacrosse player at University of Virginia, and in May of 2010, her All-American UVA lacrosse-playing boyfriend beat her to death. They looked like the it couple at every sports bar, and in fact many articles reported that they spent more time at their local UVA sports bar than they did in their own living rooms. They were the picture perfect poster image of upper-class educated dude bro culture and were plagued with the dark underside that has become a large part of that culture. Binge drinking, violence against women, blackout sexual encounters, and most terrifying – a perspective that these things are normal and/or inescapable.
I couldn’t tear myself away from the articles. I wanted every fact. I wanted to see pictures of Yeardley. Pictures of George Wesley Huguely V (as in “the fifth”). I wanted to see pictures of them together at frat parties. What high schools did they go to? Were they smart? What were their friends like? What did their friends say about them? And their families?
I have a strange relationship to what I’m calling “dudebro” culture.
Found this via the artoftransliness.
Ways in which the word “female” relates to me:
My body is not female. My sex is not female. There are parts of my anatomy and my chromosomes that people often assume are correlated with the word “female” and that usually accompany people who would describe their bodies as female, but they are parts of me so they’re male, because I’m male.
While I’m not suggesting it’s appropriate to go around talking about my body, I think that often times the term “female-bodied” is used in an attempt to include me in groups that it might be important to differentiate. So to that degree, I/my body fall in to these categories:
Does this make sense? What are other trans* people’s perspectives on the terms male- and female-bodied? I don’t like the terms as they suggest there are only two kinds of bodies and I think they are misused beyond that. If someone made me choose, without thought I’d say I was male-bodied. I’m male so my body is male. Beyond that, biologically, aspects of my brain, my hormones, and my physique and anatomy are even what the mainstream would label as typically male.
Janet Mock is pretty amazing, by the way.
It took Dateline NBC’s Hoda Kotb approximately 13 minutes into her segment - on medical treatments for trans kids - to ask 11-year-old trans girl Josie Romero of Tucson, Arizona: “Do you feel trapped in the wrong body?”
Whenever this question is posed, I find it to be more of a leading statement rather than a true inquiry or invitation for a trans subject to speak about their life experience or outlook on their relationship with their bodies.
Whenever it’s posed it never sits well with me. And here’s why:
It will remain up and online forever (I even have it backed up should tumblr ever crash or anything else unthinkable happen) as an archive and a resource, and I will try to keep links active and whatnot, but I will no longer be updating it.
I’ve made this decision for a few reasons.
I’ll be working on two final posts for the next week or so about how we can be good allies to trans* people and the responsibility of people on the masculine spectrum (no matter what you were assigned at birth) to challenge our concepts of masculinity and maleness and assigned gender roles. These will be very important messages and are in response to a number of things.
Regarding the masculinity post, it will be my contribution to a mainly-tumblr-based discussion of trans* masculinity and male privilege that began after we learned that a prominent “spokesperson” for the transmasculine community practiced poor consent and had used power over his partners to coerce them into sexual activities (read as: he raped them).
The ally post is one I should have written long ago. I have received a lot of “how can I be a supportive friend to a trans* person?” and “how can I show that I’m a good trans* ally?” questions and have usually responded in simplistic and far-from-thorough ways. In reality, being a good ally and being a good friend involves actively working against cisgender privilege and following some very specific rules in addition to the more general guidelines of “accepting them as they are and giving them the space to figure everything out.” And unfortunately, I don’t know many cisgender people who are great allies to the trans* community. And I think even most of my friends don’t know or do the work they need to to be active allies. And then I think there are a number of people within the trans* community who practice cissexism on a regular basis and even more of us (I am so guilty of this) of slipping up from time to time. So this will be a crucial post that I hope will be circulated around, added to, commented on, shared, discussed, etc.
Running and writing xxboy has truly changed my life. I think it got me through some very difficult times in transition. I also got to know so many of you and that definitely changed my life for the better. And knowing that I was helping people, that I could help people, gave me the inspiration and motivation I needed to decided to go into Counseling Psychology and focus on working with trans* and gender non-conforming people (particularly youth). Thanks for sharing these experiences with me. I will maintain a twitter (will post the new handle soon) to keep anyone who is interested updated on my professional and advocate/activist life. And at some point in August, I will make a new page with a list of other blogs and online resources that will be active when xxboy becomes an archive. Much love