Love · Positivity · Relationships

Excuse me, Cis, Let’s Chat.

As I started writing this, it first began as a rebuttal to JK Rowling and her terrible, fear-mongering views, but the more I wrote, the more I realized I didn’t want to talk about her. Because it’s not about her. She has a huge platform, and on the subject of transgender people, she uses it extremely poorly.

I’m writing this to bring light to a subject that some struggle to cope with or understand. More so, this blog is for people who don’t know anyone who is transgender. I’m going to do my best to give factual information, but please feel free to reach out and correct any mistakes/misunderstandings.

Although I am not transgender, I do have a perspective that I would like to share. My last ex boyfriend was a transgender man, and while I will try not to speak for the trans community, I do want to use what privilege I have to speak out on how we treat the trans community by discussing my first-hand experience and what I learned.

First and foremost, I never discussed this before because, to me, it was a non-issue. I felt it was important to talk about now because there are so many misconceptions and ridiculous thought processes around trans people. When I met him at work, he had already been transitioning for more than a year before we started dating, and I never knew him as anything other than a man, though I knew he had transitioned.

Within the first meeting, I asked him what his pronouns were. He was flabbergasted, but answered me with he/him. Then, he followed it up by telling me he had not come out to our co-workers, so they always referred to him as “she.” This took an emotional toll on him, and after several more months, he came out to the team. Some handled it well, others not so well. From that moment on, I made a point to correct pronoun issues and problematic language when I heard it. Most people had not met a transgender person, so it was not necessarily out of anger or hatred but confusion and misunderstandings.

Our relationship began as a friendship. Because he felt comfortable with me, he talked about his feelings surrounding his transition, and how he was worried about his family finding out because they were very religious. There had already been some backlash to the beginnings of his transition.

His first stage was binding. This means, he wore a heavily compressed shirt to give him a flatter chest. This is one of the fastest and most dangerous ways to help FTM (Female-to-Male) feel more aligned with their physical appearance. The danger arises when people do not bind with correct garments or they leave the garments on for too long throughout the day. It can cause lifelong health issues when done improperly.

Once he decided that taking his transition further was right for him, he was required to attend therapy before initiating HRT (Hormone Replacement Therapy).

Note: Though many people decide to surgically transition, many others choose not to take that path. Many stop at HRT, some find they are comfortable simply by binding, packing, tucking, etc. This is their choice, and no option is better than the other for the whole group. It depends on the individual and their wishes. This does not change who they truly are.

When I realized I was attracted to him, I told my friends. Some sat with me and asked me questions about whether this made me a lesbian or bisexual, but I told them no. I was attracted to him. He is a guy. Many times, I sat with people and discussed the implications of sexual orientation… not just for me… but for him. Most of my friends had never met anyone who was transgender, so they were unsure of what terms to use. So, I want to break it down:

Trans woman who likes women — Lesbian
Trans woman who likes men — Straight
Trans woman who likes men and women — Bisexual
Trans man who likes women — Straight
Trans man who likes men — Gay
Trans man who likes men and women — Bisexual

I found that many people were surprised to learn that orientations remained the same when concerning trans people, but I think it comes down to what you truly understand and whether you accept trans people as a whole. Trans women are women. Trans men are men. From there, it’s the same that you would use for any grouping, but it is also up to them. Some people identify as Queer, Asexual, etc. Straight is not the default setting, and unless they tell you their orientation, it’s none of your business.

Much to the chagrin of many a trans person, the first question many people ask is what’s in their pants. 1. It’s none of your business. 2. Don’t do it. 3. Again, it’s none of your business.

If you want to ask a trans person a question, first think of them as a human that you’re interacting with, and remember that what’s in their pants is none of your business.

I will not be discussing that aspect as it, again, is none of your business.

Let’s talk about fear.

Right now, many people around the world are in fear of sharing a bathroom with a transgender person. They worry they will be watched, assaulted, harassed, murdered, etc. Fear without willingness to educate only breeds more misunderstanding and hatred.

If a transgender person is going to the bathroom, chances are, they need to go to the bathroom. If they’re changing clothes for the gym, chances are, they need to change clothes for the gym.

You know what I feared? Every time he went to the bathroom in public, I feared someone would kill him. I worried that someone would beat him up. I worried that they would kill me for being with him. I worried that I would have to choose to step in and defend him if they started beating him. You know what? He worried the same.

He went to the bathroom because he needed to. He changed in the gym because he needed to. But everytime he was in there, he kept his eyes down, stayed submissive and quiet. Not because he couldn’t have handled himself, but because all it takes is one ignorant person to realize he is trans and his life could be over.

I know I said that I wouldn’t bring up she who shall not be named, but this is the space I feel like it’s appropriate. This particular quote is imperative for you to understand why this is damning to trans people:

“So I want trans women to be safe. At the same time, I do not want to make natal girls and women less safe. When you throw open the doors of bathrooms and changing rooms to any man who believes or feels he’s a woman – and, as I’ve said, gender confirmation certificates may now be granted without any need for surgery or hormones – then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside. That is the simple truth.”

I’m going to break this down:

  1. On the discussion of making girls and women less safe–They are safe. As safe as they were previously. If a person has it in their mind to murder, rape, assault, etc. another person, they will do it. Nothing will stop them. The majority of people are not out there murdering, raping, assaulting, etc. By specifically casting that fear toward trans women, she is heightening the risk for them to be murdered, not cisgender women and girls.
  2. “Man who believes or feels he’s a woman”–this is SPECIFICALLY a TERF statement. Trans women know they are women. To refer to them as “men who believe or feel they are women”, is cruel and dismissive on a number of levels. Think of it this way: say for one day, you were a man. A magical spell turned you into one for 24 hours. In your mind and heart, you would know that you were female, even if you were in a man’s body. I am not a woman because I have boobs or a vulva. I am a woman because that’s part of who I am. If I somehow woke up as a man tomorrow, I wouldn’t feel like a man. Instead, I would feel trapped in a body I don’t fit in. Many trans people feel exactly that. Just because of an X or a Y, they’re stuck in a body they don’t feel right in.
  3. “Then you open the door to any and all men who wish to come inside.”–This is a scare tactic, and a TERF statement. This tactic is used to bring up an extreme example of what *could* happen if we progress further. This particular quote takes the extreme by doubling down that trans women are, in her opinion, men, and that their only interest in coming into a bathroom would be to attack other women. And that cisgender men would live a life of being humilated, harassed, beaten up, and possibly murdered simply to take a peak at women peeing on the toilet. This technique has been used throughout history to dredge up fear and build a resistance to progression. They prey on the narrow-minded and uneducated… the easily swayed… and very often, the religious.
    • Marriage Equality: “If we start letting people marry whoever they want, what happens when someone wants to marry a goat?” (this one I saw online often)
    • Women’s Right to Vote: “It would mean a degeneration and a degradation of human fiber which would turn back the hands of time a thousand years.” -William T. Sedwick
    • Interracial Marriage: “Interracial Marriages are unbiblical and immoral. God created different races of people and placed them amongst themselves… There is nothing for [W]hite Americans to gain by mixing their blood with blood of other peoples. There will only be irreversible damage for us.” (for context)

You see, as it happens with many of the LGBTQIA+ community, people relate them to perverts, pedophiles, and acts against God. Not everyone accepts that LGBTQIA+ people are still human. It’s both ignorant and insulting to them and makes you nothing better than a bigot and trash human.

One of the topics I used to discuss with my ex all the time is why straight people thought men would dress up and live this life of pain and misery if they didn’t have to. It’s hard on trans people. It’s not a choice they wake up to and think, “Today, I’m going to be a man.”

I say all of this to show that there are bad takes throughout history, and because of how we’ve grown and progressed, we are able to see them as truly bad takes. This is exactly what will be happening for most everyone years down the line with the trans community. JK’s (and others’) bad views will be recognized for how truly terrible they are.

I read the article she who shall not be named posted about a Lesbian saying the discrimination has only increased over the years because of attacks about whether or not she is trans. Lesbians feel erased, and many of them blame trans people for this erasure. But that’s not accurate.

In reality, it’s cisgender people who erase them through fear and ignorance. Because cisgender people are more aware of trans people now (because they’ve always been around), the ones that are going to lash out at them will lash out toward most LGBTQIA+ people simply because they view everyone as the same “sin.”

Several of ex’s friends (many of whom were lesbians) treated him like trash because they couldn’t even accept him as who he was. They treated him as a leper in many cases and made it seem like because he was living as his authentic self they couldn’t remain friends in the same way they had been. He struggled with non-acceptance from his friends and his family. Some even refused to use the proper pronouns.

It’s not just straight people who can be bigoted. It’s a human trait that you must work and fight against at any chance. And that is why it is so important to take a stand. Not just against the very direct transphobia you may see, but the microaggressions, the small things that people do daily to discriminate and assert their prejudice.

Comparing trans women to predatory men is a direct example of transphobia. Refusing to use pronouns is a direct example IF the person has been educated on said pronouns.

If you want to help, help. Stand up to those spreading lies, micro-agressions, and blatant bigotry. It’s hard to stand up, but it’s even harder to be at the receiving end of that hate. Educate, learn, grow. That’s how this gets better.

Finally, for those who are unfamiliar with terms, I came to know the picture (fromhere) below during an activity at work. It’s a good guide to start with. From there, more research and and open mind will allow you to understand and learn about the different lives that people live.

Screen Shot 2020-07-08 at 8.18.37 PM.png

 

Dates · Love · Positivity · Relationships

One is the Loneliest Number

Wow. So it’s been a long time.

I was typing this all out on a post, but then, 10 posts in, I realized it’d probably be better just to write in my blog. So, here we are.

Now.. why are we here?

My bestie and I were chatting about marriage the other night, which isn’t so crazy for her as she’s in an LTR.

Maybe it’s the quarantine, maybe it’s just dating in general, but the idea of finding someone to marry just seems so far-fetched at this point in my life. Most days, I feel like I’ve accepted this. I’ve accepted that there may not be someone out there who can put up with me, and there may not be someone out there that I can put up with.

But every now and again, I feel a pang of sadness. Not that I won’t get married, because that is of little importance to me, but that I won’t find companionship.

Honestly, I haven’t even felt the excitement of getting to know a guy in.. God… forever. Well, at least not one that was an available option for me. It’s not that I don’t try. I swipe, I message, I text, I go on dates.. I’ve even attempted to flirt in public (in the before times, of course). But everything fizzles out.

Sometimes, I feel this little hope inside me that thinks, “Oh you never know!” But as I get ghosted or chats are stuck on the “hey wdu?” train, that hope dims until I stop swiping or messaging.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I love being single. I love doing whatever I want without having to consider someone else. If I remain single, I’ll live a happy life. I have no thoughts otherwise.

But still.. sometimes it sneaks up on you. That lonely feeling that catches you unawares, and you find yourself crying at the end of a perfectly good romantic comedy. Then you start thinking up ideas like throwing a wedding reception just for yourself… or buying a triplex with one of your best friends so you can both support each other. Each week that passes really makes the latter sound more and more appealing. Just have to convince her to move somewhere fun with me.

But, until I convince my friend to move, I’m going to try to keep a little hope in my heart. Keep that hopeless romantic inside me going for a just a bit longer… Just have to keep her in check or she starts professing her admiration for strangers thousands of miles away. Bit of a loose cannon, that one.

How about you lot? Any of you out there feeling the same?

Dates · Getting to know me · Positivity · Relationships

You Only Fail if You Don’t Try.

Coming up with solid openers on a dating app are difficult. Say too little and the conversation goes nowhere. Say too much and you get unmatched. No matter with route you go, you risk being sexually harassed.

A few months ago (or maybe a year.. who’s keeping track?), one of my favorite women in my life, Sarah, showed me what she was doing that had not only increased the number of messages back, but also elicited more thoughtful responses:

Hi ____! Choose your own adventure time! You can choose:

  1. A cheesy joke
  2. A random fact about me
  3. I get to ask you any question I want

Choose wisely!

Before we delve further into the discussion of why this blog post is even necessary, let’s discuss the reasoning behind this question and the observations we have made since beginning to use this.

Continue reading “You Only Fail if You Don’t Try.”

Dates · Friendships · Love · Positivity · Relationships · Sex

Shame Me? Shame on You.

I think there’s a lot to be said about dating and sex as you get older. I, unfortunately, don’t believe that we grow up much from high school when it comes to that sort of conversation about other people.

What am I talking about? Slut shaming. 

In high school (or before), girls are made fun of it they sleep with a guy, by wearing clothes, by suggesting they might considering any sort of sexual activity, etc. Guys, on the other hand, are patted on the back and earn more “masculine” points for bedding a girl.

You’d think we would leave that sort of attitude back in high school with all the other regrettable choices and silliness that happens.

But no. Still, to this day, women are constantly judged and harassed for their sexual (and even non-sexual) choices and are deemed sluts. Why?

Continue reading “Shame Me? Shame on You.”

Relationships

Dark Side Cookies are Stale

There has been quite the discussion recently about how to handle harassment via dating apps. Some believe the best thing to do is block and move on with your life. Others believe that something needs to be said, and I’m sure another group out there couldn’t care less about what is happening.

Let me make this clear from the start, I am on Team “Report Them.”

I think that as the internet gained momentum, people began to realize that anonymity could be a blessing. You could be anyone and anything you wanted to be. Just like the Star Wars universe, there is a light side and a dark side (and some neutral ground for those just floating around). Everyone chooses their persona online. You can choose to be a good person who doesn’t go around harassing people, or you could be a complete asshat and harass people (trolls fit into this group).

This behavior has trickled over into the online dating sphere. Though many people use these apps for good, there are Sith underlings out there simply to harass others. This is unacceptable. Not only are these people wasting our time, they are treating us in a way that society has deemed socially unacceptable in real life. So, why don’t we take them more seriously online?

Continue reading “Dark Side Cookies are Stale”

Breakup · Love · Relationships

I Bid You Adieu

It’s been almost 3 months since I’ve seen 12. We past what would have been milestones for us (1 year, etc.). It’s been a quarter of the year without him, which is something I never thought would happen… at least not this soon.

But it has, and I have endured it.

The past few days, I’ve been thinking a lot about him. I think because I’m seeing a lot of similarities to other relationships (and breakups) on Twitter, and my heart hurts for those people.

Continue reading “I Bid You Adieu”

Love · Relationships

OMG. #Relationshipgoals

The internet is truly a wonderful thing… for the most part. However, on the flip side, it does opens doors for lies, misinformation, and jealousy.

One bit of this that has frequenting my feed more and more is “Relationship goals.”

These are stories and pictures of what we all wish to achieve in our relationships, but sometimes it goes further than that.  We start comparing our relationships to these pictures and stories. They look and feel inferior, and we find ourselves wanting more. Sometimes we push forward; other times, we look elsewhere.

Continue reading “OMG. #Relationshipgoals”

Friendships · Love

Raise Your Glass, This is a Toast.

Three weeks ago, I drove 14 hours up to Delaware to begin a girls’ weekend with friends that I had only spoken to through text and Twitter. It was something I had never done before, and honestly, I was beyond nervous. What if we all ended up hating each other? It was seriously the worst first date nerves ever.

After meeting them, it felt silly that I was ever nervous. On Saturday, we were three women who were being absolutely ridiculous exploring Philadelphia. On Sunday, there were four of us brunching and bonding over our minor (major) obsession with dogs. It was a close second to best weekends of the year. (First will always remain my week in Scotland)

Anyway, long story short, all went well. The three women were amazing, and I had an amazing time exploring cities with them. It was honestly the first time since the breakup that I felt happy again. I felt like myself.

Continue reading “Raise Your Glass, This is a Toast.”

Dates · Relationships

40 minutes

Forty minutes means a lot of things in my life. It’s the time that it takes to wash a load of clothes, the time it takes to straighten my hair, and more importantly in this instance, it’s the time I spent driving to my date tonight only to get stood up.

No.. that’s not right. Stood-up would imply that he didn’t show up. What he did was much more evil than just not showing up. This guy, who we shall forever call “Dickhead,” texted me a few times throughout the day to update me on the status of what time would be best for the date (because he had been asked to do volunteer work).

Yes, Dickhead, by all stretch of the imagination seemed like a really nice guy: Talkative, flirty, had a dog, and was getting a degree in Psychology. I thought even if we didn’t hit it off romantically we’d have a few good intellectual conversations. I should have known. He broke my “John” rule. *

*His first name was John, and I have long since sworn off Johns because every single one I’ve dated has treated me like trash. Like seriously.. every single one. This will need its own post.

Continue reading “40 minutes”