Pastiche Foundation

Gender Variance made Simple

My Feminine MANifesto

Taking notes from TakesUpSpace‘s Cis Privilege Checklist (and relevant Introduction), I would like to point out that this MANifesto represents me and only me. Anyone else whose need is met by this may ascribe to any part of it that they like, but I am only defining my own views and values.

  1. As a human,
    • I deserve dignity, equal access, and respect.
    • I set the boundaries on what I will and won’t discuss dependent on how I see you.
    • I will be as humorous, gentle, angry, quiet, outspoken, or silly about my life as I see fit.
    • I will revise and reword, add and take away from this MANifesto as I see fit.
  2. As an activist and educator, don’t ask or I will tell you and expect you to listen.
    • I won’t expect you to understand, but I will expect you to think deeply about it.
    • Speaking of my experience/those of others/medical knowledge is not coercive. It is talking about life. There is no agree/not agree. There is only understand/not understand, similar/different experience.
  3. This is a medical condition with social ramifications, not the other way around.
    • Sexual Reassignment/Transition are cis-centric language that implies reaching toward being something I’m not.
    • Gender Confirmation Treatment is the appropriate phrase to use because it honors the fact that I’m becoming and reflecting who I am.
    • Taking testosterone is not to be equated with rogaine or diet pills. It is a life-preserving treatment taken by males to fight illnesses such as cancer and hormone imbalances.
    • Reconstructing my chest is not plastic surgery. It is a life-preserving treatment that men with gynecomastia get all the time.
  4. I do not claim to represent or be homogenous to:
    • people whose authority-assumed sex/gender does not match their self knowledge
    • men who go through Gender Confirmation Treatment
    • queer men
    • white-appearing queers
    • queers in poverty
    • queer parents
    • any other label to which I may ascribe/you may try to ascribe to me.
  5. I do not identify as ‘transsexual’.
    • Transsexual is a label that denies my maleness.
      • It also implies that I’m reaching toward something. I simply Am. No special language required.
      • No 2 males (even in the same family/school) have the same experience, my male experience is just another version of growing up.
      • I will use the term ‘out transman’ as useful but inaccurate language for purposes of activism and support. It is not Who I Am.
      • I refuse to go stealth. It would be a disservice to my goals.
    • Biology has known for years that neither sex nor gender is binary. Culture Lies.
  6. My gender is Male. The definition of what makes me male is up to me:
    • I’m not doing this because I was abused, or because I hate my mother, or because I’m unable to deal with my own or cultural misogyny. I’m doing it because I’m not a woman.
    • I am not ‘a man who used to be a woman’. I am a man who was RAISED as a woman.
    • Don’t ask me to use the womens’ room. You may use the bathroom as you please and I expect the same.
    • Don’t call me she. My belongings are not ‘hers’. I am he/his/him, 100% of the time, 100% of places.
    • I refuse to be monotone, expressionless, or careless about the feelings of others. Don’t push your misandry on me! Life is bright and colorful and meaningful, and I WILL celebrate it!
      • I will not stop my Gender Confirmation Process because you think I’m not manly enough.
      • Preferring Fashion and Tea to Sports and Alcohol are personality, not gender.
    • I will not adopt hyperfeminine behavior. That is not who I am either.
      • I will not be a twink to make you comfortable.
    • Marrying a man is not evidence that I’m ‘really a heterosexual woman’. Men who sleep with other men are no less male.
    • If you misread my gender, that’s your own fault:
      • I am more than the sack of meat I inhabit implies.
      • Your reading of me is based on your own take on family, sexuality, and gender.
      • It doesn’t change who I am.
  7. ‘Passing’ is a cis-centric concept implying that I desire to ‘fool’ you.
    • There is nothing deceptive in me dressing, talking, or styling my hair as the man I am.
  8. I support neither feminism nor patriarchy, I’m egalitarian.
  9. I’m not gay, I’m QUEER.
  • I’ve seen Lesbians marry men
  • I’ve seen Gay men marry women
  • My husband’s gender does not define my sexuality.
  • I’m still not interested in your (insert genitalia here), ESPECIALLY if you worry that I am.
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    April 24, 2009 Posted by | Transition Ftm Transmen Transman Transgender Transsexual | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

    New Theme (Tech Geek!)

    I liked the colors of my last theme but the functionality was lacking. I could work on the CSS myself, but right now there’s no time. Maybe when school wraps up I can mess with that, but for now at least you can see everything on the blog!

    So, hope you like this one for the time being.

    Other tech plans for summer:

    My site needs an upgrade like whoa. I know the theory of what I plan to do and all, just need to get it done:

    • Tighten up the links/remove spaces
    • Formalise and render visible the RSS, Digg, Del.ici.ous, etc
    • Find and implement further tracking abilities
    • Cross-implement across all sites
    • Hosting change that will allow combining WordPress with my site (Current Hosting wants more $ to do it, I Don’t Think So)… this is dependent on my dear friends at Memento Projects (incidentally, see Marketing below for more plans with them!)
    • Design, encode and provide banners of multiple sizes

    Marketing Plans:

    • Develop and Refine Branding
    • Products via Spreadshirt
    • Sponsors page (already have one or two; talking to more, plans to contact more)
    • Cross-promotion with Memento Projects re: Tech sales, also adding them to the Sponsors page
    • Concerts/Parties to raise funds for the Project
    • Media contacts and exposure (nothing solid yet–until then, my lips are sealed)
    • Banner trading
    • Blogroll

    A lot of these ideas (how to market, what is branding, etc) came from unwitting mentors:

    Each of these ladies are incredibly talented,  multidimensional artists that maintain multiple projects and Get Things Done. Check them out, they’re amazing.

    April 21, 2009 Posted by | Transition Ftm Transmen Transman Transgender Transsexual | , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

    Violence and cross-responsibility: A Personal story

    Recently, I have had stories of violence and violation shared with me by others, including Gadfly‘s “My Rape Story“. I thought I’d share mine.

    A year ago (end of April 2008), my life was pretty rough. I had been ignoring my need for Treatment since 2002 and it had broken me in every possible way. My physical health had progressively degraded to the point that I couldn’t hold a job, finances were mad and I was beginning a dependence on alcohol. Between these and my angst over my body, I was in a baaad place.

    We were kicked out of our apartment due to the poverty my health had caused, and lived for a month with some friends which Did Not Work Out. Found a new place with a member of one of the communities in which we participated (not queer).

    I was juggling parenting, partnership, school and student senate during all this, and dropping the ball on a lot of things.  I didn’t want to deal with the social aspects of treatment but it was becoming more and more clear to me that I had to face it or there would be nothing left. Parts of me were leaking out that i was struggling to contain.

    I was in the closet to our roommate, and thus I have empathy for her rage on the hot, summery day I walked around our house in an open dress shirt in front of her son. I agree, retroactively, that my choice was inappropriate in the context of the way that I represented myself (I was closeted like whoa at the time).

    However, the way she handled things was uncool. As adults, we must handle disagreements and misunderstandings with a certain level of calm panache, a choice she did not make. She started off by screaming and it got worse from there.

    Keep in mind, I was not completely reckless–I may not have acknowledged why I was doing what I was doing, but I did check for decency. The shirt was large, and no more than 1” of my skin was exposed. I walked carefully, so the motion would not disturb that balance. However, this act was not interpreted that way. I was codified as female and thus, to her, my chest should not have been exposed.

    I had mentioned my health before–I’ll be more specific. I was diagnosed with Fibromyalgia at the beginning of 2007, and had been taking medicine and attending physical therapy. For all that, I was constantly dizzy. I lost my balance every time I took the stairs, and couldn’t stand upright for more than a minute, let alone carry a bag of groceries. Bad thing worse, Fibro destroys the immune system and a simple cold had turned into double pneumonia during our stay with our friends. THEN I caught strep from my roommate’s son. After this and all the moving, I was little more than a zombie.

    My roommate was a cancer survivor, strongly on the mend. She couldn’t work yet either, but was doing 30 minutes of cardio and 30 minutes of weight lifting every day.

    I was terrified by her anger and the way she went straight to blasting me. I tried to talk to her calmly but that didn’t take. As her son watched, she was in my face, screaming, and I started to panic. David took our little one downstairs, a wise choice in my estimation. My roommate demanded I go to our room downstairs, and I asked her to step away so I could do so. I was afraid of stairs as it was, and in her state, I thought she might push me.

    But she wouldn’t back off, she instead started slamming the door into me. I blocked it as best I could, and I think it bounced back and hit her, too, which sucked. This amplified things to the point that I ran the other way toward the phone and dialed 911. The phone was removed from my hand and hung up–then her fist came toward me and I pushed her away with the palm of my hand. I don’t know how, but suddenly I was on the floor with a bruised back, a broken finger and a very angry, very strong woman over me.

    As she advanced down toward me, I did the only thing I could think of to protect myself–I raised my leg, trying to get some distance between us. Maybe I could get away. Maybe I could stop this and get the safety to go downstairs where i belonged. Later papers claim I struck her in the one place I’m loathe to strike anyone, ever, but I wasn’t thinking at this point, only reacting, only trying to get away.

    I don’t remember clearly what happened next… I know this ended somehow, and that I wound up downstairs, shaking and in pain. The police came eventually and gave us a choice: they could walk away, or we’d both go to jail (no adult witnesses not involved in the altercation).

    The terror didn’t end there, but to shorten things, I’ll simply say the next day we began packing to move. We sold off or donated 90% of our possessions, shipped the books that were left, and overpacked our car for the drive to WA. We had been planning to move here anyway–David goes to school here, and I will be transferring to his college in the Fall.

    Things are better now. All three of us are doing well in school. I’m getting Treatment, and I have moved beyond the PTSD this incident invoked. I feel for my former roommate. I don’t know why she was out of her own control, but I wish her and her son the best and occasionally, in my dreams, I make peace with her.

    April 17, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

    exes and Gender Confirmation

    I strongly prefer the term Gender Confirmation Treatment to refer to hormones and surgery we undergo; I’ll write an entry on that another time, this is simply a reference point.

    Having spent a lot of time reviewing my life, I am wondering about the social ramifications of GRT. For example, when I was 20 I married and had a child. My ex-husband is now a dear, dear friend… but what am I in relation to him?

    The way I see it, all attempts at being female were masquerades at best. I can’t retcon history itself, and people did see me as a female. Strange, but female.

    I know for purposes of my identity, that I have always been male, even though I didn’t understand it at the time. I know that i see myself in my relationship now as David’s husband. But socially, should my first husband refer to me as his ex-wife? Ex-husband? Simply his ex?

    Incidentally, I asked him about this and he said he just refers to me as “The Ex.” I told him it sounds ominous, and he laughingly agreed.

    So tell me… if your ex went through GRT… what would you call them?

    April 15, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 8 Comments

    A beautiful moment in my life

    me: OMG OMGOMG
    gorewh0r3: yes?
    me: so i am taking Family Communication and I write a weekly essay for it
    Last week’s essay, I came out as a transman to my professor
    her feedback:

    Pastiche,

    You can’t know how much I appreciate your candor. I’m sure this was not an easy essay for you to write and I applaud you for it. You have done an amazing job describing the process of this conflict. I’m so happy to hear that David is such a wonderful support for you! I wish you nothing but the best and hope your journey is filled with joy.

    Thanks again,

    Tina

    gorewh0r3: wow
    HOLY SH!+ THAT’S AWESOME
    me: I KNOW!!!!
    esp since i had constructed my essays previous in ways that reframed experiences
    gorewh0r3: d00d
    me: i know right?!

    April 14, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

    When you call me ‘she’

    When you call me ‘she’

    When I stopped pretending to be the girl you thought you knew, I traded despair for hope. When I started Testosterone, I began to feel comfort and joy in my body, instead of disgust and horror. When you call me she, her, miss, dyke, or mom, you are not supporting me, you are tearing me down. When you call me these things, here are the statements I hear:

    • You do not know yourself; I do.
    • I refuse to see you for who you are.
    • The thing that makes you most miserable in life has the greatest value to me
    • You do not deserve the positive things you’ve discovered on this journey:
      • Hope
      • Joy
      • Peace
      • Stability
      • Kindness
      • Love of Service
      • Passion for Life, and
      • A Desire to Live it
        • I don’t want these things for you.
    • I don’t care about you.
    • I don’t care about you.
    • I don’t care about you.
    • I don’t care.

    April 12, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | , , , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

    YouTube!

    I’ve got subscribers already my YouTube channel! Guess I better make more videos 😉

    April 1, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | | Leave a comment