Pastiche Foundation

Gender Variance made Simple

Reporters and Laymen II

Something I neglected to mention in the previous post:

Reporters and bloggers, use your pronouns wisely.

Q. What guidance does AP Stylebook give about the use of pronouns in stories about transgender persons? Should the pronoun reflect the gender with which the person identifies or the person’s actual sexual anatomy? – from Greensboro, N.C. on Wed, Jan 17, 2007
A. See the AP Stylebook entry on transgender: Use the pronoun preferred by the individuals who have acquired the physical characteristics of the opposite sex or present themselves in a way that does not correspond with their sex at birth. If that preference is not expressed, use the pronoun consistent with the way the individuals live publicly.

In other words, the pronouns are he/him/his in an article about Lucas Silveira, Chaz Bono, Diego Sanchez (Democratic Representative Frank’s employee), Loren Cameron (artist and speaker), Jamison Green (author, speaker, and mentor), and thousands of other out transmen. She/her are reserved for Diane Schroer, Charlene Hastings, and other ladies.

If you think about it, it makes sense–after all, it’s difficult to comprehend a complete stranger’s identity, trans or not. Before starting my transition, I never realised how central gender is to identity here in the US, but it is. Think about it–even a person whose sex and gender are completely in alignment may be upset at being called the wrong gender.

As any author or musician knows, media is the mythmaker of society. You guys now set the terms of how Joe Q. Public (Or should I say, Joe The Plumber?) sees the world. Anyone who’s been on a non-trans website with articles knows the ignorant and sometimes hateful things being said. You’ve got a chance to make the world a better and safer place, simply by respecting our names/pronouns and refusing to validate ‘tranny panic’ defenses and the like.

Are you going to take the chance?

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June 24, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 1 Comment

A Transman’s Answer to Transman Invisibility

Is this what the transsexual community looks like to the media?

Is this what the transsexual community looks like to the media?

Science News’ recent article “Sex Change Operations: The Science, Sociology and Psychology” is at best, laughable, and at worst, misdirection that keeps transmen invisible and underserved.

I can’t tell you how many articles briefly mention us, claim our numbers are lower (figures I’ve heard lately peg guys like me at about 50% of transsexuals, just less likely to participate in the community), then go on to discuss only the treatments pertinent to the ladies (who are awesome! But us guys deserve recognition and awareness too.).

Needless to say, when they lead off with Chaz Bono, Transman Nouveau, I thought ‘finally, they’ll talk about us guys in a trans article!’. I hoped too soon–Not only did they not discuss our medical treatments and needs, they rehashed the same slanted information all directed at women.

Some of you are probably wondering why it matters. It matters because guys like me need insurance plans, doctors, therapists, teachers, employers, family, friends, and lovers with an accurate idea of what we’re going to go through, what our medical and social needs will be, so that they get where we come from. It matters because these same treatments are paid for by insurance to ‘cisgendered’ men and women (people who are not transsexual) for other conditions, while ours are considered ‘cosmetic’ (Despite what the AMA says) and must be paid out of pocket. It matters because society’s reactions to gender variance can be just as life-threatening as cancer. It matters because we pay taxes and buy papers like anyone else. It matters because we’re just as much citizens, so we deserve the same rights as our feminine counterparts. “All… are created equal”, right?

I call on Science News to read this article on non-trans writing about transfolk and redact their article, using the proper pronouns and either dropping the reference to Chaz Bono or be inclusive of transmen’s needs, indicating comprehension of the issue. I also offer the following information, pieces of presentations I’ve given  at colleges as well as public conversation:

Transmen: A 101 on Medical Needs for Laymen and Reporters, too

Does he look like a girl to you?

Does he look like a girl to you?

  • This is not a ‘choice’. Gender lives between the ears, not the legs, and ‘reparative therapies’ are harmful.
  • No-Ho Transmen: Not all transmen take Testosterone–and some of them still look like the men they are! A celebrity example: Lucas Silveira* of the Cliks. In fact, I know two local guys that have better beards than I do.
  • Hormone therapy: Testosterone is given in several ways. It provides facial, fat distribution, muscular, and vocal masculinization. It’s safe and healthy. It’s administered as follows:
    • Testosterone Cypionate/Enanthate : Injected every 1-2 weeks, depending on dose
    • Sustanon/Reandron: Injected every Twelve weeks
    • Gel/Patches: Daily
  • The surgeries we need may include:
    • ‘Top Surgery’, or bilateral mastectomy.
    • Hysterectomy and/or oopherectomy (removal of the ovaries)
    • Metoidoplasty or ‘meta’, which releases the tendons holding in the clitoris to form a small neo-phallus that functions independently
      • This may include urethral extension, see below
    • Phalloplasty, which takes skin from the arm or side to create a longer, thicker phallus which depends on a silicone pump for erection
      • This includes vaginectomy, which is exactly what it sounds like
      • This includes urethral extension, see below
    • Urethral Extension, which may happen as part of either of the above, reroutes the urethra through the neo-phallus. The surgeon often uses lining from the inside of the cheek.
  • Not all transmen have surgery. I know a guy whose breasts are so small that he doesn’t even bind in an athletic top.

For some guys, their bodies and social misunderstanding are only mildly distressing, others can be driven to addiction, high-risk sexual behavior, and even suicide. We need federal provisions in place for these gentlemen’s needs so even the severely afflicted can move on to be healthy, productive members of society! This is why Transmasculine accuracy is needed in the media. Ignoring the issue or spreading misinformation will only hinder society as a whole socially, economically and, dare I say it, spiritually. Choose wisely, folks.

*It disturbs me a bit that a man is listed as a ‘lesbian musician’… for my own peace of mind I’m going to assume this is because they were on the L Word or because some of the ladies in the band are lesbians.

June 22, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 10 Comments

From our Facebook page – New New NEWS!

Project Pastiche is now Pastiche Foundation… we have filed for Washington Nonprofit Corporation status and should hear from the Secretary of State’s office in a few days. We’ve got a Federal EIN and it looks like the next step will be to get Federal Exemption.

This is really happening, people! We are blowing up like woah! We’re going to keep raising funds for surgical and hormonal treatment for Gender Variant individuals.

Other goals include establishing consulting practices for academic/business/communit

y/human services/mental health/municipal/religious/social organizations on Gender Variance. This will not only create a more just and safe world for Gender Variant folks, the funds obtained will create a drop-in center for LGBTQQIA adults in Olympia. We’ll also be able to provide crisis/preventative referral services for our clients, as well as provide peer counseling that can ease feelings of isolation.

One of our next steps involves obtaining grants for Pastiche. Do you have grant request writing experience, or know someone who does? Please contact me and let me know.

Do you know any Event Insurance providers? We need insurance for an upcoming Fundraising event. Please give me the person’s information!

Thank you again for being part of Pastiche!

June 10, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 4 Comments

transignorance is not transphobia.

Let me explain. No, there is too much…let me sum up.

Most people in our culture view transsexual and other gender expressions as “freaks”, “weird”, “ill”, whathaveyou. Television has far too frequently portrayed us as such, and let’s face it–some of us have not been Our Own Best Representatives. And how many people that do not participate in Queer Community can actually say, “I have a friend who is trans”?

So how are they to understand? How easy is it to assume that the Television is true? How easy to be misinformed? Though biologists have known for years it’s not true, we still teach kids that penis = male and vulva = female. If my position is unclear, let me say directly:

THERE IS NOTHING TO FORGIVE WHEN SOMEONE DOES NOT UNDERSTAND WHAT THEY ARE SAYING.

An example:

My wonderful aunt L and I had a discussion the other day about things I post on Facebook and how they bother her… she was very disturbed by a joke logo i made at the suggestion of a friend. With the colors of the Trans flag in the background, the bold, all-caps text reads “BOOBS-B-GONE”. That really disturbed her and made her uncomfortable. In fact, a few of my female relatives have expressed upset specifically at my work toward top surgery.

I could be wrong, but I get the feeling it is something like “i identify with my breasts” + “i identify you as female, so you should too” = “you’re insulting me by wanting them gone.” I think because they would be very upset to lose them, they are upset I won’t have any anymore. Auntie L, if you read this, please confirm or correct.

If I’m right, that’s an example of transignorance: The assumption that despite my statements, I am female because that’s what they always thought; and that therefore, I should feel the same toward my body as they do about theirs.. Consider the ratio of folks whose sex and gender do/not match and it’s a reasonable assumption, just incorrect.

It’s possible that as we get to know each other (provided I manage not to act like some self-entitled, whiny moron), her discomfort may cease. It may not, but it’s certainly not worth fighting over. After all, it’s not as if she said something like these words from Sacramento Shock Jock Arnie States:

ARNIE STATES: If my son, God forbid, if my son put on a pair of high heels, I would probably hit him with one of my shoes. I would throw a shoe at him. Because you know what? Boys don’t wear high heels. And in my house, they definitely don’t wear high heels…You know, my favorite part about hearing these stories about the kids in high school, who the entire high school caters around, lets the boy wear the dress. I look forward to when they go out into society and society beats them down. And they end up in therapy.

So a kid oughta be beaten for being trans. Nice. I don’t care if they’re ‘shock jocks’, it’s bull to write this off. Late last year, a transwoman named Ruby Molina was killed in their town, and I would hazard this was another aquaintance murder like Angie Zapata or any of many other cases. He may not understand trans issues, but he knows what violence is. Saying things like that, you know someone will be naive enough to take him seriously and think this is acceptable.

*ahem* Anyway, so we have someone who doesn’t really accept or understand the identity of another… versus someone who (regardless of whether they were being literal or not) expresses a hope that violence will visit the life of another.

Get the difference? Thanks, Auntie L, for being on the positive side of this spectrum.

June 5, 2009 Posted by | Uncategorized | 7 Comments