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Make a wish

I always knew I wasn’t like the others. I didn’t want a boyfriend, and I wore clothes that the other girls called. “Boy’s clothes.” all the time. I played in the mud, ran after soccer balls, and climbed trees. Tomboy, they said. I knew I liked girls, and I swore if I did enough wishing I’d wake up and just be a boy already. I knew I preferred boy’s clothes, and I kissed my first girl that Summer. Why did I always wake up wishing I had a different body? Why didn’t I like what I saw in the mirror?

Luckily for me, I soon got my answer. My school had a group of amazing people come speak to us about gender and sexuality. They told us about things like being genderqueer (I almost fell out of my chair. They were talking about me!!) and transgender, and that it was okay to be these things. That it was okay to feel confused, and that no matter what—We were still loved and accepted. It was the best I’d felt in years.

I still dress in masculine clothes. However, sometimes—I feel like putting on a dress, and I do. The best part about identifying as genderqueer, is that there is no right or wrong. There is a lack of labels, and you aren’t pressured to be anything but yourself. I’m not saying it’s right for everyone—But for some of us, it’s perfect. For me, it’s perfect. Never doubt that you will find your way, even if you decide that genderqueer isn’t what suits you.

Someday, you are going to fall in love. Hopefully, the person you love will accept you regardless of how you identify. Never settle for anything less. I am lucky in that the person I love respects me, genderqueer and all. She doesn’t mind if I wear my boxers, or bind my breasts. If I go by a different name, or different pronouns. She doesn’t mind at all if the next day, I’m in a dress and heels. (Although she has been known to laugh at my sad attempts to walk in them.)

Being transgender or genderqueer is amazing, and you should never be ashamed of who you identify as. I am blessed to be who I am today, and I promise you that there are other people out there just like you that are happy, successful, and are looking forward to meeting you! Never give up hope, and never stop wishing.

Speaking of wishes, I’m still waiting on that pony and the monster truck…

Now go out there and change something. You have the power to do amazing things, just the way you are.

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I am not invisible.

Or, why does the trans community forget we exist? A little blog about how identifying as genderqueer has shaped my perspective, and how the GLBT community at large tends to gloss over our existence.

http://www.urbandictionary.com/define.php?term=genderqueer in case you’re curious.

We’re all part of the same family, but why oh why do more than a few FtM communities on the internet shame and marginalize their brothers for falling under the GQ or non-op/no-hormone route in their transitions?

To understand this we have to get into some pretty uncomfortable territory, meaning looking at culture and gender and assigned sex at birth, among other issues. What’s in your pants being another. Most if not all FtM men that are doing this glossing over and shaming, do not in the slightest wish to acknowledge their past as females, and perhaps to accept their genderqueer brothers—they would have to stare androgyny in the face. That might be uncomfortable to them. Perhaps they are afraid of seeing their own past mirrored back at them? Maybe they genuinely believe they are right, that identifying this way is the ‘easy way out’ and that genderqueer bois, female-bodied men, genderqueer people in general are not wiling to face the harsh reality which is medical transition.

I cannot speak for MtF genderqueer or male-assigned female-identifying individuals. I can only speak for myself. Some days I identify more male, present as such, use my pronouns to reflect that, etc. Some days it is the opposite end of the spectrum. I am female-assigned in my physical gender, but oftentimes will use packers, prosthetics, etc. depending on my presentation at the time. I do not generally use neutral pronouns because they don’t feel comfortable to me. They work for some people. I’m not one of them.

My point being, the FtM community cannot gloss over the fact that we who are genderqueer and identify as men, dress as men, bind, pack—etc…We are not less than because of the lack of testosterone. We are not less than any man because of our choice not to have surgery or HRT. Nothing makes us less than the sum of who we are at that moment, which is men—Through and through. One chemical does not a man make. This leads to the question what does make a ‘man’ and not a ‘woman’? Can one person truly say, “You are not a (trans) man, and here is why I think so?” no. You can’t. Or, you shouldn’t. Because it’s unfair and cruel to dismiss anyone’s identity or anyone’s experience simply because it is not the same path that you have chosen.

I am not less of a man for choosing not to transition. I am not less of a man for not using testosterone. I challenge anyone to say to my face, “Kiran, you are not a man because you’re not on HRT/having top surgery/etc.” Bring it on. I’ll deny that every time.

Why am I man? What makes me a better man than you at that moment? Because I am not judging you as you are so cruelly doing to me and my brothers. I am not looking down on you and shaming you simply for being who you are. Because I am classier than that. Because I’m better than that. I provide for my family, I provide emotional support for my partner, I will provide for my children, I will be a loving husband and a loving father—Despite my lack of a beard, chest hair, or a deep voice. I will be chivalrous, respectful (ahem.), polite, and teach my children empathy and kindness toward others.

That’s what makes me a man.

Glad we got that settled.

I’ll Make a Man Out of You

Culturally, socially, and physically, we assign humans a gender based on appearance. Popular culture has very rigid definitions of ‘male’ and ‘female’ and imposes them on today’s youth at any costs. Seventeen, Teen Beat, the list goes on. How to make the cute boy in homeroom notice you with this new pair of jeans, this new brand of makeup, and so forth. Or, for the boys…If you buy this fancy car/watch/gadget, you’ll get her attention. However, GLBT youth and trans/gender non-conforming youth are ignored in mainstream media.

Where is the message for transgender or non gender-conforming youth? It’s not. There is, quite literally—No mention of gender variant youth in popular culture. These children can’t open a magazine, read a book, watch television (okay, maybe TV—but then one would have to consider is said gender variant youth portrayed in a way that is mentally stable, non-stereotypical, etc.) These youth are often ignored or made to feel inadequate or damaged by adults and their peers. If a child that is a girl, born in a male body—Attends school as a girl, often there is an outcry. Why? Underlying transphobia, homophobia, etc. Just because a little girl (yes, she is a girl. Despite her physical gender.) wants to be able to use a restroom in peace without her entire school knowing she has a ‘special situation’ means nothing. It does not mean this child is going to endanger other children.

Why does society see transgender and gender variant individuals as somehow ‘bad’, ‘sick’, or wrong? Do we need to go back to the phobia of the unknown? The homophobia that, “Oh, no, a trans woman said hello to me! She’s going to teach my 16 year old son to do body shots off another boy in a leopard print bikini if I dare to let her speak to my son’s class about her journey!” or, “That’s not a man, that’s a woman. What could she possibly have to teach my daughter besides how wrong she is for mutilating her breasts with surgery?!” I have seen this reaction to so many of my transgender brothers. It hurts.

Yes, things are getting better. Schools are more open, some even have policies in place to protect their trans kids. Some, however…Don’t. Are we going to let these schools and these kids slip through the cracks because their demographic and geographic locations will “Never change?” are we not going to march into the backwater places in Texas, in Kentucky, in the bible belt, the third world countries and the hovels. The ghettos and the barillos, the hollers and the mountaintops. and yell “Bring me your sons, that you force to wear suits when they would rather wear dresses! Bring me your daughters who hide in shame because they cannot escape their own bodies and the sexualization of a body part they quite possibly never wanted in the first place! Bring me your children, that desperately wish for you to see them as they see themselves!!” Yes. Yes we are. Why? Because these children need to know there is HOPE. They need to know that there are others out there like them, championing and supporting them. That they are not sick, not damaged, nor broken.

They need to know that it’s okay to feel this way. That it’s normal and safe.

We need to become a caring and informed populace with the tools to enable today’s youth to safely transition. To turn miserable young sons into confident and beautiful daughters that make their parents proud.

To turn daughters into sons, strong and efficient young men that will grow up and accomplish their dreams.

These children need to know there are others like them. In the media. Portrayed normally, just like everyone else. At home, they need to be accepted and loved, not forced into a role they can’t fit. In schools, they need to be treated with respect and dignity.

I challenge you to reblog this. To spread the word. Silence is deadly. I will not be silent any longer.

Call for Submissions!!

Hey all!

Are you a member of the GLBTQ spectrum, or a straight ally? Do you want to get your voice heard on topics such as advocacy, sex, gender identity, stereotypes, GLBTQ youth in mainstream media, and more? Just a Bit Radical is looking for submissions that fall into their first theme: ‘Silence’ Whether you submit a piece of artwork, an article, or a poem–It’s all welcome.

The zine will be published monthly online, and quarterly in print to the New England area.

For some ideas:

How has the media ignored GLBTQ youth today?

If we don’t come out, who will?

How non conformist gender identities are ignored and made to feel invisible by society

Why speaking out can save lives

What I wish I could say to _________

Draw an image that represents GLBTQ silence to you

The world is your oyster!!

Please email submissions to: justabitradical@ gmail dot com.

Submission Deadline: 4/15/2012