Pastiche Foundation

Gender Variance made Simple

Bryan Fischer disses Autumn Sandeen

Browsing what’s fun and new this morning, I found yet another verbal (textual?) assault on the trans issues front. Bryan Fischer, formerly the executive director of the Idaho Values Alliance (position papers here), starts his article by personally insulting Autumn Sandeen, a veteran and a hero of mine. Not only does he straw man her refreshing discussion on the realities of ObamaCare’s relation to Gender Confirmation Treatment, he goes on to refer to everyone undertaking this difficult journey as

“confused Americans who want to surgically mutilate themselves…the attempted suicide rate among transgendered individuals is many times higher than among the heterosexual [sic] population, certainly a reflection that the inner dissonance they live with is terribly self-destructive.”

Right and wrong in one: suicidality in transfolks is an unfortunate reality, but the APA knows reparative therapy isn’t the answer. So does the AMA–who say coverage for treatment is medically necessary.  So Fischer harasses people, and makes the wrong recommendation–which is to be expected–but he’s categorically insulting all of us–gender-matched folks too. After all, if you’re not transphobic, you’re enabling.

So here’s how you can speak up on the issue: Get yourself a Reality Check from Whitehouse.gov. Then Contact Renew America, the blog on which he posted this opinion piece, and share this article with others. Talk talk!

(thanks to [transgendernews] for the tip)

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August 10, 2009 Posted by | constitution, Gay LGBT GLBT Christian Jesus God Equality Compassion Diversity Respect Conscious Conversation, LGBT GLBT Christian Jesus God Equality Compassion Diversity, Transition Ftm Transmen Transman Transgender Transsexual, Uncategorized | 2 Comments

First Fundraiser wrap up and thoughts

I didn’t do a proper blog post on Friday, just a promo for a spur-of-the-minute fundraiser inspired by discovering TipJoy via Twitter. I will return to regular blogging shortly, but I wanted to discuss what I did right and wrong during this first cyber-push.

I confirmed some suspicions I had about fundraising, people and Project Pastiche itself these last few days. I had a feeling that this would be great for Project Pastiche’s visibility, and I was absolutely right. I gained new members for the Project, and got donations from absolute strangers thanks to a key set of awesome people. It also confirmed my personal opinions that positive language is the best way to go, and that no matter how positive you are, people will help you out with what you can do better.

For example, some of the things I say on my site make me uncomfortable. The specific quote is

“The surgery is life-preserving and very necessary.”

It’s kinda sketchy, but I couldn’t think of a better way to say it. I knew that at some point, someone would criticise it, and they did:

I have a problem with his claim that this surgery is “life-preserving and very necessary”. The only “risk” is that he might get depressed and commit suicide if people don’t give him money for a sex change.

That’s just juvenile. Lots of people want things really, really badly. Unless they’re under the age of 12, they don’t threaten to kill themselves if someone else doesn’t buy them what they want.

I responded with backup evidence (including a statement from the AMA) and asked the commenter what he would say. Unfortunately no response has been offered, so I’m opening this up for you, gentle reader. How would you say it?

Other things I did right:

  • Repeated requests for retweets
  • Keeping people updated on the status of the drive (on Twitter and Facebook alike)
  • Keeping these posts minimal–counter-intuitive to many Twitterers, but quite frankly, I don’t want to see 5 posts on the same thing in a row. I’m likely to unfollow or leave an email list because that person starts to look like a greedy gus to me. I’ve got my own bills and so do you.
  • I have to hat-tip to Save Karyn once again, because $1 is not intimidating. Some give less, some give more, but no matter how little people do or give, it means a lot.

Things I could have done better:

  • Made sure I knew TipJoy’s technology before I tried to use it, but I got a laugh out of my own shortcomings!
  • Done some kind of warm-up to let people know this was coming.

Some things that surprised me:

  • Just how effective this was for publicity and funds
  • TipJoy’s fee for service? 1.05%. Paypal is nearly double that, so I may transfer everything over.
  • I really need to up my comprehension before I do that.

Either way, I came away from that event really excited for the future of the Project… it only reinforced my belief that Project Pastiche will succeed. As always, I would love your feedback and suggestions… and by all means, the donations still coming in to my TipJoy Account are still welcome!

May 18, 2009 Posted by | Fundraising, rights, SOFFAs, Transition Ftm Transmen Transman Transgender Transsexual | | Leave a comment

Transsexual Metaphor

Imagine being a record player, and everyone that ever interacted with you tried to get you to play CDs. Depending on who your friends and family are, they may get the message and adjust their expectations… or not. Whether or not it’s intended as abuse, it can have that effect.

Even if your friends and family stop, there’s still strangers wandering by putting CDs on you (bosses, coworkers, teachers, classmates, random public). You can stop seeing who you are. You can stop knowing who you are. Stop believing in yourself. Transition is a recognition of this disconnect and a start to approaching the truth.

May 15, 2009 Posted by | LGBT GLBT Christian Jesus God Equality Compassion Diversity, SOFFAs, Transition Ftm Transmen Transman Transgender Transsexual | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

An Open Letter To My Pastor

This post is a continuation of some difficult conversations I’m having with my pastor. I love my church–I see God transforming hearts and minds, but the  plaque “Be Patient–God isn’t finished with me yet” would be a gift I would give to many members of the congregation. I am proud of this email, and felt it might be helpful to other Trans/Gay Christians.

Awhile back, I misstated that god wants us to be happy. What I was attempting to reference was this:

John 10:10 (The Message)

6-10Jesus told this simple story, but they had no idea what he was talking about. So he tried again. “I’ll be explicit, then. I am the Gate for the sheep. All those others are up to no good—sheep stealers, every one of them. But the sheep didn’t listen to them. I am the Gate. Anyone who goes through me will be cared for—will freely go in and out, and find pasture. A thief is only there to steal and kill and destroy. I came so they can have real and eternal life, more and better life than they ever dreamed of.

God wants us to have ‘more and better life than we’ve dreamed of.’ Jesus said so. He said that his death and resurrection made a new covenant:

Luke 22:20 (The Message)

20He [Jesus] did the same with the cup after supper, saying, “This cup is the new covenant written in my blood, blood poured out for you.

So we’ve got this new deal. What does that mean?

Galatians 3:28 (The Message)

In Christ’s Family
28-29In Christ’s family there can be no division into Jew and non-Jew, slave and free, male and female. Among us you are all equal. That is, we are all in a common relationship with Jesus Christ. Also, since you are Christ’s family, then you are Abraham’s famous “descendant,” heirs according to the covenant promises.

With me so far? Good.

From http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trajectory_Hermeneutics :

Trajectory hermeneutics or redemptive-movement hermeneutics is a liberal teaching in postmodern Christianity that parts of the Bible can have progressive, different meanings as a culture unfolds, advances, and matures.”

One teaching under this view is that homosexuality was once a sin but has become acceptable due to cultural changes and advances in understanding of psychology and the social sciences. Proponents of trajectory hermeneutics may point to Romans 1:18-32 [1] and explain that Paul has always been speaking to those who violate their sexual orientation, those that go against their natural desire. But a homosexual’s natural desire is for the same sex, which is now defended as natural.

I should point out the above was written by a personal friend years ago… he’s a heterosexual Christian man who is neither a proponent of Trajectory Hermeneutics nor has personal comfort with homosexuality and Christianity going together…. however he’s rather a scholar and I go to him often because he’s able to discuss things from a fact perspective without getting too heated.

I do support Trajectory Hermeneutics, at least as I understand it. Consider the Leviticus controversy: Shrimp cocktail, polyester, casserole, touching menstruating women. We know that these things are perfectly safe with modern hygiene and food safety, and that polyester’s a crime against fashion, not against god–I KID! Seriously, though, God wants us to have life in abundance and logic dictates that the ‘abominations’ were primarily health-related (except for meat of idols, which was also undone due to famine) in nature.

Referencing the Trajectory Hermeneutics reference: if I understand my biblical anthropology correctly, the only reason a man would sleep with a man or boy ‘against their natural desire’ would be to please the Romans, which is contrary to:

Romans 12:2 (The Message)

Romans 12

Place Your Life Before God
1-2 So here’s what I want you to do, God helping you: Take your everyday, ordinary life—your sleeping, eating, going-to-work, and walking-around life—and place it before God as an offering. Embracing what God does for you is the best thing you can do for him. Don’t become so well-adjusted to your culture that you fit into it without even thinking. Instead, fix your attention on God. You’ll be changed from the inside out. Readily recognize what he wants from you, and quickly respond to it. Unlike the culture around you, always dragging you down to its level of immaturity, God brings the best out of you, develops well-formed maturity in you.

Well, the only reason I can see for homosexuality being an abomination (besides the example above), is hygiene. We now have condoms that help to prevent disease, hygiene and medicine that reduce infection, and ease of monogamy (assuming this is a defining characteristic of God-led relationships). Success of long-term monogamous relationships is increased by acceptance and equality–after all, if enough people tell you you’re bad to feel the way you do, you’re only going to act on it in secret, am I right?

Anyway, my point–and I do have one–is that biblically speaking, no one may consider me inferior in the church by virtue of either my gender or sexuality. Therefore I deserve equal protection, access, and dignity in the church. I am not asking to be set above, and as I said, I will use the unisex loo for now… but I do feel that there needs to be some conscious conversation about respect for diversity of all sorts as well as, perhaps, some sort of ‘comprehending diversity within the Church’ initiative as part of the love and compassion we must develop as followers of Christ.

May 1, 2009 Posted by | Gay LGBT GLBT Christian Jesus God Equality Compassion Diversity Respect Conscious Conversation, Transition Ftm Transmen Transman Transgender Transsexual | , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

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.

    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