the funcrunch files
|Dec. 31st, 2020 11:59 pm Blog privacy query: please read!|
Edit, June 2010: I am reposting this entry, originally posted in May 2008, with a far-future date so that new readers of my journal will see it and can respond accordingly if they choose. Thanks!Make notes
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This message is public as it pertains to friends who read my journal but are not LiveJournal users. Comments are screened.
As most people who are more than very casual acquaintances know, I have what some call an "alternative" lifestyle. Specifically, I am bisexual and polyamorous (non-monogamous). I have become more open and vocal about these aspects of my life as I've grown increasingly frustrated and disillusioned with the status quo of acceptable relationship structures in American culture. Hence, I occasionally blog about events or parties I attend that cater specifically to bi and/or poly people, or dates with people other than my husband (boyziggy). Any explicit sexual content (text-only; I don't post porn) is always protected as friends-only (I have no specific filters currently, if you're on my friendslist you get everything), but other such posts may well be public.
As I have some bi and/or poly friends who are not out about their lifestyles, I generally do not mention other people by name in these posts, public or private, unless I'm quite confident they're OK with it. But I do enjoy it when other people mention me in their blogs (in a good way, at least!), and so I like to acknowledge spending time with others if they are OK with it.
So if you have any doubt about what I know of your status and openness thereof, or have any preferences as to how and if I refer to you in my blog, now's the time to speak up. Comments are screened. E-mail me if you prefer, especially if you want a reply.
|Dec. 8th, 2013 11:00 am Guys and dolls|
(Note: This is a public post)1 note - Make notes
So I had the opportunity to re-assert my nonbinary status in chorus rehearsal* the other night. We were rehearsing a number where we were separated into groups and singing a round while coming out onto the stage. Due to absences and other things the singers originally assigned to these groups were getting shuffled around. The singer who was put in charge of musical direction by our director (who could not attend this rehearsal) suggested, "Let's have two girls and one guy in each group." I said, "Well I'm neither, so where do I go?"
I pointed this out in a matter-of-fact way, not trying to act all offended. But I did recognize and point out that he was trying to create a ratio based on people singing the higher parts vs the lower parts. And for this particular song I was singing the higher part, but for the following song would be singing one of the lower parts. And neither of these songs had any gender cues in the staging or lyrics (and we were all wearing identical costumes).
I might be the only nonbinary-identified person currently in our chorus, but I'm not the only one whose ever sung in a section where most of the members are of a different gender. Our cis male director is a countertenor, a voice that fits in with the generally-female alto section, so he understands this, and is always careful to say "sopranos and altos" instead of "ladies" and "tenors and basses" instead of "gentlemen".
There are many cases like this where people make completely unnecessary assumptions based on gender. S. Bear Bergman's article about raising a gender-neutral child comes to mind. He relayed a story where he went to get lice shampoo from a pharmacist and the pharmacist asked whether it was for a boy or girl. Bear asked what could that possibly matter, and the pharmacist said that girls had longer hair so would need a larger bottle. Maybe because I've lived in the SF Bay Area for over 20 years the idea of assuming that hair length has anything to do with gender is completely absurd, but many people still make assumptions like this.
I'm certainly guilty of making assumptions and casual (mis-)gendering myself. One habit I'm trying to break is referring to groups of people as "guys" independent of their gender. I know "guys" is generally understood to be neutral, but it isn't really. Otherwise, I should also be able to refer to a mixed-gender group as "girls" or "gals". But "guys" and "gals" are both gendered words. It's just that the masculine version is considered neutral as masculine is seen as the default. That shouldn't be the case.
Saying "folks" or "friends" sounds forced to me right now. And as I've often lamented, there's no gender-neutral equivalent to Sir/Ma'am/Miss, but I rarely have occasion to address anyone with those honorifics. It pays to be mindful, but it's hard to break ingrained habits. I try to remember that when people mis-gender me too. Change takes time.
* Dance-Along Nutcracker 2013, Dec 14-15. Get tix here.
|Nov. 10th, 2013 02:03 pm Race report: DSE Embarcadero 10K|
Today boyziggy and I ran the DSE Embarcadero 10K race. This was the fourth time I'd run this particular course, but was a first for Ziggy, and also the longest race he's done to date. It was great that he had today off so we could participate together.Make notes
As I was still unhappy about checking either the "male" or "female" box, I opted to be a self-timer for this race. I was handed a green tag, as opposed to orange for female or white for male. I filled out my name and age but did not check either box. That felt good. I'd been very out of practice and had let my club membership lapse anyway, so I didn't care about being listed with the official finishers.
I had no time goal for this race, though this was the course where I set my current 10K PR, 1:02:50, last year. I'd long since abandoned last year's goal of running a sub-60 minute 10K, though I challenged Ziggy to do so.
I had no particular trouble with this run. Though I felt sluggish at first, the cool weather and flat course helped offset my fatigue and lack of training. I picked up speed around mile four. Forty minutes seems to be the magical time where I get into the groove when running. This is why I prefer to run for 60-90 minutes in training even though I don't need to go that long for general fitness.
Finished in 1:05:17 by my watch (looks like a couple of seconds slower by the clock in Ziggy's finish line photo). Ziggy finished in 56:47, which is especially great given that this was his first 10K.
Some photos here (can't seem to embed them at the moment), plus one on Facebook from the race photog, Paul. Happy to have Ziggy as a supportive running and racing partner.
|Oct. 29th, 2013 03:37 pm Fitness update|
I've decided to drop Sunday's half marathon and focus on building my fitness level back up safely. I worked with boyziggy on creating workout schedules for the next month. I'm going back to creating and printing these monthly plans (using the excellent site RunningAHEAD) and posting them on the bathroom wall for motivation. Ziggy is taking on an ambitious schedule of cycling, running, swimming, stair climbing, and yoga. I'll be joining Ziggy on the running, stair climbing, and yoga, and adding weight training back in for myself, along with additional solo running and yoga.Make notes
While weight loss is no longer a concern for me, I'll be continuing to monitor my weight and waist circumference weekly and have encouraged Ziggy to do the same. My average (both mean and median) weight over the last 12 months was 116 lbs, 19.9 BMI. I plotted a trendline which was slightly upward for that time period, which is to be expected considering the serious drop-off in training since June. Plus I dipped down to a low of 113 pounds (19.4 BMI) on a couple of occasions early in the year, which is too low for me to maintain comfortably. I haven't kept track of my waist size as meticulously, but it's remained roughly in the 26-27 inch range (measured at the navel).
I'm really proud of Ziggy for his commitment to getting in shape, and we're both excited to have each other as workout partners.
|Oct. 19th, 2013 08:48 am Fitness status|
Encouraged by his newfound love of cycling and my success in marathon training, boyziggy has decided he wants to get in really good shape. So at 6 a.m. today we went out to do a stair climbing workout. I hadn't done one of these in over a year, and it was really hard for me because it was dark out and the stairs are uneven so I had to go much more slowly than usual. Previously I could finish a complete lap of the 180 stairs - up one side and down the other - in under three minutes, this time it was well over; I managed only seven laps in 23 minutes. But it was good to get in an early workout and support Ziggy at the same time. Daylight savings ends in a couple of weeks so that will make early morning workouts more feasible.1 note - Make notes
The day standard time begins, November 3, is also the date of the US Half Marathon. I'm very undertrained but I think it's still possible for me to do it. I ran nine miles yesterday. If I run 12 miles next Friday and survive, I should be OK to race. This is definitely not my preferred training schedule, which would have had me do a 14 mile run this week and then taper down to a six mile "long" run the week before the race. I don't have time for that now. It's not critical that I match or exceed the race distance (13.1 miles) in my training this time around since I know now that I can run double that. But I am concerned about finishing within the three hour time limit given how little long-distance running I've done since the marathon in June. I'll make my decision next weekend I guess.
I've also almost totally dropped weights and yoga. I need to start making an actual written monthly schedule again to make sure I stay on track. This will help Ziggy also as his schedule is much more constrained than mine. I have been doing a lot of walking, but unless it's fairly brisk and long in duration (like walking an hour and ten minutes or so to weekly chorus rehearsals to avoid being on MUNI at rush hour), I don't really count it as exercise. I only record running, weights, and stairs workouts in my exercise log. Yoga I should be doing daily. I'm very sorry about dropping that New Year's resolution so early along with the daily music and Spanish practice. I really need to get my life back on track.
|Oct. 11th, 2013 11:14 am Happy National Coming Out Day|
Today, October 11, is National Coming Out Day. This day was traditionally when I would post my annual reminder that I'm bisexual, an identity I claimed for over 20 years. As of this year I realized that label no longer fits, but I'm still quite definitely queer; for purposes of sexual orientation, I'm basically a gay man. Changing my name and asserting a preference for gender-neutral pronouns were my new "coming out" as a genderqueer transmasculine person. I am fortunate that I feel safe enough in my community to be public about my gender and sex identity, when so many people are harassed, threatened, and discriminated against for failing to conform to their assigned birth sex. I hope for a time when we can all live and love as our authentic selves.Make notes
In addition to my postings about gender and sex on LiveJournal, I'm now using Tumblr to post exclusively about genderqueer and transgender issues. There's a large population of genderqueer and nonbinary-identified people on that site, though I'm 2-3 times the age of most of them. :-P Do check it out if you're interested.
|Oct. 7th, 2013 05:05 pm Invisibly trans*|
I was trying on new glasses today for the first time in over four years. I brought boyziggy with me for a second opinion. I had originally intended to get squarish black Buddy Holly-style frames to try to make my face look less feminine. But everything in that style I tried on looked horrible on me; they just overwhelmed my face. I eventually settled on roundish silvery frames instead. Still different from the rimless style I've been sporting for most of the last decade, but not particularly masculine.9 notes - Make notes
And you know what? That's OK. Because frankly, I like what I see in the mirror, and I don't particularly want to change my appearance. Forcing myself into clothing, hairstyles, or accessories that society deems more masculine just doesn't seem worth it when those things aren't what define sex or gender to me. The only parts of my body I'd like to change are ones that are normally seen only by doctors and sex partners.
So at least for now I will remain invisibly trans*, always reading as female and deciding on a person-by-person basis whether or not to insist on gender-neutral pronouns. It's uncomfortable, but I have it a hell of a lot easier than many trans* people, for example those assigned male at birth who read as male but like to wear dresses and makeup. Most of the discomfort I currently deal with (besides my genital dysphoria) is due to perfectly innocent misgendering, not outright harassment. Though there's still the issue of gendered public restrooms... *sigh*
|Oct. 6th, 2013 11:37 pm Race report: Bridge to Bridge 10K|
This morning I ran the Bridge to Bridge 10K race. This was the fourth or fifth time I'd run some version of this race. It's usually a 12k/7K, but the 12K got shortened to a 10K last year due to Doyle Drive construction, and then at the last minute this year the 7K was shortened to a 5K due to the federal government shutdown (the closing festivities were moved from Crissy Field to the Marina Green). You don't have to choose which length you're doing until you're literally halfway through the race course, but I'd planned to do the 10K, despite being ill-prepared; I hadn't run in two weeks and slept poorly the night before.3 notes - Make notes
Fortunately the race didn't start till 9 a.m. I walked to the Ferry Building, arriving much too early as usual. This was the first race since my name change/gender transition, and I was trying not to think about how much I disliked participating in a gendered event and having my previous name and "F" marker on my race bib. I ran into the photographer from my running club and he greeted me by my old name, so I told him my new one, and when he asked why I changed it I explained it was because I identified as gender neutral. He said something like "so you're some of both" and I said no, I'm neutral. He said "so you're in between the two", I reiterated "No, I'm really not either one." I didn't go into the whole male sex identity aspect because it would have just confused him even further.
Then a woman came up and struck up a conversation (we both complained about the pace markers going directly from 9 min/mile to "baby joggers/walkers"). She asked if I was running the Nike Women's Half Marathon. I just sighed and said no, without explanation. I wouldn't have participated in that race even before I transitioned, but it didn't seem worth getting into another awkward conversation with a stranger. We talked about other running-related stuff and the issue of gender didn't come up again, thankfully.
The race began. I had no time goal, knowing I wasn't anywhere near ready for the 60 min PR I'd hoped for since last year; closest I'd come thus far was 1:02:50, on a cool day and a perfectly flat course. Today was warm and I was tired and very under-trained since the marathon in June. I settled into a pace of just under 11 min/mile. It was a beautiful day and I enjoyed the run and the scenery despite the fatigue. There was only one uphill segment, from Aquatic Park to Fort Mason, and I was very familiar with that short ascent. The organizers provided sufficient water (though I brought my own as usual) and the mile markers were fairly accurate.
Finished in 1:08:19 for a pace of 11 min/mile. My field placement was 1748 out of 2488 (70.3%). Slowest 10K finish since last March, but at least I showed up for it. It's been increasingly hard to drag myself out of the house for anything I'm not preregistered for or otherwise obligated to do, lately.
The only other race I'm preregistered for is the US Half Marathon, November 3. With less than a month to go I have barely enough time to prepare for it. I haven't run more than nine miles at a stretch since June, so it will be really tight, and as with today's 10K I'll have to abandon any hopes of setting a PR at this stage. But I'd feel bad backing out of it, especially as the entry fee wasn't cheap (though I did get a discount for signing up very early). Hopefully preparing for this race will get my regular fitness program back on track.
|Oct. 5th, 2013 10:38 pm Cooking and singing|
boyziggy and I went to a farewell party today for The Free Farm, where I've been volunteering since last August. We're not actually closing the gates permanently until the end of December, but it made sense to have the party now before the weather turns rainy and cold.1 note - Make notes
And was it hot! I was sweltering in the mid-afternoon sun at the farm. I'd spent most of the previous day and part of the morning baking and cooking for the party, so was quite tired. I made vegan fudge brownies, carrot cake cupcakes (which boyziggy decorated with fun peace signs and hearts), and oatmeal muffins, all from the Happy Herbivore cookbook and web site. And I helped prep veggies and tofu for the shepherd's pie main course. We did that cooking at Martin de Porres; it was great to use an industrial kitchen where there was plenty of room and equipment, compared to the cramped quarters of my Food Not Bombs cooking days.
So in addition to helping with the cooking, I'd volunteered to sing and play the bass. Following a ceremony and blessings, we had some music at the farm itself, but my set was scheduled for the dinner which was being held at a nearby church. Despite the heat I spontaneously decided to sing (a capella) a couple of songs from the hippie musical classic Hair at the farm, asking others to join in on the choruses for "Good Morning Starshine" and "Aquarius". Good times. (The first song performed at the farm was "Big Yellow Taxi", which was sadly appropriate considering our beautiful free farm is being replaced by an apartment complex.)
After we moved to the church for the evening portion of the festivities, I performed a three-song set. I'd originally intended to do the same three solo bass/voice pieces I'd performed at Ziggy's birthday party, but at the last minute decided to scrap one of them ("Soda Shop", the most difficult) and sing an a capella number instead. I kept the two Nick Drake arrangements: "Know" (below, from last year) and "Black Eyed Dog".
Then I sang "Summertime" from Porgy and Bess. People seemed to really enjoy it. I got lots of praise afterwards. Felt great.
Another farm volunteer did a lovely set on piano, including challenging Chopin, Brahms, and Liszt pieces. I felt bad that she didn't get the nearly undivided attention that was accorded me and her young students who performed a short set before mine. I was listening with rapt attention myself, particularly to the Brahms Intermezzo in A major which I'd also worked on but never performed.
I really want to do more singing. Having several difficult pieces to learn for the chorus (next concert November 16, save the date!) is helpful to keep me practicing, but I most love singing solo or with a small group. I need to find more outlets, besides karaoke, for that.
|Oct. 3rd, 2013 09:41 am In a bind|
Summer in San Francisco. This time of year, the fog finally relents and lets the warming rays through. The temperature can soar into the 90s, even the triple digits on occasion.11 notes - Make notes
As one who gets cold easily, I welcome the sun. I enjoy feeling it on my skin. In fact, I enjoy feeling it on as much of my skin as possible, so I dress minimally when the weather allows. This also keeps me cool when the weather gets too hot. Unfortunately, my desire for comfort means that I will forever be misgendered as female.
The above photo (by my partner boyziggy) was taken five months ago, at The Free Farm where I do volunteer work. I happened to be wearing the identical outfit yesterday. In May I had not yet changed my name and was not identifying as gender-neutral, though I was heading in that direction. The differences between the way I looked then and now are very subtle. I ditched my omnipresent fanny pack and stopped shaving my legs and underarms. I got my hair cut shorter, but you can't tell with the hat. That's basically it.
I hate that I now hesitate before putting on an outfit like the above, because I happen to think I look good in it. I was at the peak of marathon training at the time of this photo, and my strong leg muscles are in evidence. Those call out to me much louder than the spaghetti strap tank top which screams "female" to the rest of the world. But that style keeps me cool while allowing more sun on my shoulders, since society has declared that I am not permitted to go in public topless, which I'd strongly prefer.
I don't see breasts in the same way as most of society or most trans* men. They're a secondary sex characteristic which vary in size greatly amongst all sexes. Some cismen with gynecomastia have breasts as large as mine, but you don't usually see them because they often hide them out of embarrassment. In fact, some of the most popular binders are designed for cismen, not transmen. And I recently discovered that men can even lactate under certain conditions, which was the last nail in the coffin for me as far as distinguishing "male" from "female" chests.
Many transmen and some gender-neutral people bind or get top surgery because they look in the mirror and expect to see a flat chest. This is not the case for me. I'm fine with what I currently see in the mirror, but I'd be fine with a flat chest too. If I woke up tomorrow and my breasts were gone I'd celebrate, but only because I could finally go outside topless without harassment, and might have a better chance at reading as something other than female.
But that miraculous nonsurgical transformation isn't going to happen, and I don't think I should subject myself to the risks and expense of an operation if I don't personally have a problem with the body parts in question. And I don't want to subject my chest to the discomfort of binding when I can't even stand wearing bras. It's society that has the problem with (and assumptions based on) my breasts, not me.
What gives me dysphoria are the body parts that aren't publicly visible: my uterus, ovaries, vagina, and vulva. I find it ironic that primary sex characteristics such as these are not what people look for when deciding what gender you are. They look at breasts and facial hair, clothing and mannerisms. None of which are reliable indicators of male-ness or female-ness. Penises and vaginas aren't either, but for me personally, they are a much more essential part of the sexual identity, which (unlike my gender identity) is male. I have one set of genitalia, and want another. My breasts are just along for the ride.
So I will continue to dress as appropriate for my comfort in this hot weather, which means tank tops and T-shirts. No bras or binders and little or no layering. As a consequence I will continue to be misgendered as female by strangers. And that's not OK, but the alternative (dressing uncomfortably and/or having unwanted surgery) is less OK, so this is the unhappy choice I make.
|Sep. 25th, 2013 10:39 am Disclosure|
I read with interest the post Disclosure is a Spectrum, published yesterday on the neutrois/nonbinary gender blog Neutrois Nonsense. I've been fairly public about my gender transition process, but I respect that not everyone would feel so comfortable posting publicly about such a controversial decision (and many could lose their jobs, relationships, or even lives by doing so). My reasons for doing so are in part because I've always been public about the significant ways in which I deviate from mainstream society. I'll give a few examples.3 notes - Make notes
The first is being an atheist, my most longstanding non-mainstream identity, over 25 years and counting. In the San Francisco Bay Area, being an atheist is hardly unusual or even worthy of note, so most of the time I don't bother to mention it. Many of my friends are atheists or agnostics, and those that aren't don't push their religious beliefs on me (or we wouldn't be friends). If the topic of religion comes up or is relevant I will mention that I don't believe in any god/desses, but I haven't been an activist about it. Sometimes I think I should be, given all the damage I've seen inflicted on people in the name of religion. But it isn't a top priority for me right now.
The second is being vegan. Though I've only been strictly vegan (other than honey) for a couple of years, I've been vegetarian since '92, and had been trying to go vegan that entire time. Again, veganism and vegetarianism are hardly unusual in the Bay Area, but it does come up on social occasions, much more frequently than religion, obviously whenever I go out to eat. Few of my friends are vegan, though many are at least semi-vegetarian. I've been reluctant to be a vegan activist for various reasons that are too complex to go into in this post, but it's a very important part of my lifestyle.
The third relates to my sexual orientation. I came out as bisexual in '92 and have never made any attempt to hide that orientation, even marching with the bisexual contingent of the Pride Parade on several occasions. As I posted earlier this week I've come to realize that "bisexual" is a problematic orientation for a person of nonbinary gender, so I'm tempted to say I'm pansexual or polysexual. But given my much stronger attraction to men and my masculine sex identity, I'm essentially gay. In any case, in the Bay Area many sexual orientations flourish, and people probably feel less need to be in the closet here than anywhere else. It's a large part of why I love living here.
The fourth is being polyamorous. I've been poly since my first marriage in '97. Even in the Bay Area this is not a mainstream lifestyle, though many of my friends practice it. I've been much more public about being poly than some of my friends, and have strongly preferred to date people who are public about being poly because I really don't like keeping that aspect of myself hidden. I respect people who wish to stay monogamous, but monogamy feels so unnatural to me that I couldn't be that way without major distress, and I want polyamory to be recognized as a legitimate, healthy lifestyle for those who choose it.
So when it comes to being genderqueer, transgender, or trans* if you prefer, I feel this is just another part of my essential makeup; it just happens to have taken 43 years to realize it. I'm no more ashamed of being genderqueer than I am of having brown eyes, and feel no more need to hide my gender (or lack thereof) than my eye color. The problem is that if I don't speak out about it, my trans* status is invisible. Making major physical changes might make me look less female, but nothing other than repeated explanations, in person and in writing, will disclose my nonbinary status. And like polyamory, pansexuality, veganism, and atheism, I want to make it seen that being genderqueer is a valid identity and lifestyle choice, and hopefully make it safer for others who reject binary gender to speak out.
|Sep. 23rd, 2013 11:26 am Thoughts on Celebrate Bisexuality Day|
Today is Celebrate Bisexuality Day, a little-known holiday even amongst people who claim that orientation. This year it is a bittersweet occasion for me. Though I identified as a bisexual woman for my entire adult life, over 20 years, I've recently come to realize that neither of those terms fit me anymore.Make notes
I explained in my post about preferred pronouns that I no longer identify as female, and prefer gender-neutral pronouns, or ones normally used for men when no neutral options exist. As I've been discussing in mostly friendslocked posts, this change is because I've come to realize that my gender identity - my beliefs, actions, style, and mannerisms - is neutral, but my sex identity - what primary sex characteristics I'd prefer to have - is male.
As to orientation, the vast majority of my romantic and sexual partners (and I've had a fair number) have been men. I've had a number of sexual encounters and some short-term relationships with women, but have never felt very drawn to women emotionally. As time went on, I realized that my sexual attraction to women had dwindled to the point where I might be more honest identifying as "heteroflexible" than bisexual. But the words "hetero" and "straight" just seemed flat-out wrong for me.
It was when I realized that it was my gender, not just my orientation, that was queer, that I could make more sense of my feelings. Essentially, for sexual purposes, I'm a gay man. I don't have a body that most people would consider male (although that might change in the future), and that would be a problem if I were trying to find dates exclusively amongst gay men. Fortunately I have boyziggy, as well as friends with benefits.
But the more important reason I feel the need to reject the "bisexual" identity is that this label presumes there are only two sexes, or that one is only attracted to men and women. As a genderqueer I'm trying to get away from binary thinking wherever possible. I could label myself "pansexual" because I'd like to think that I'm capable of forming a sexual or romantic partnership with anyone, depending on chemistry. "Polysexual" is a word that might fit better in that regard, as it means attracted to more than one sex, but not necessarily all. But I think that term is too little-used to be understood.
Realistically, I think gay male is a more accurate representation of my sexual orientation. I've talked with some gay male friends about this and they were understanding, but I don't think the larger society would accept me with that label given my current appearance, hence I haven't posted or talked about this identification publicly much yet. (There are also some relevant specific sexual/body issues which I've been exploring, but won't go into in this public post.)
For one person's thoughtful explanations of the differences between gender identity, sex identity, and sexual orientation, I recommend reading Gender in 12 Dimensions. For another person's more in-your-face critique of binary gender and sex, I recommend reading Not Your Mom's Trans 101.
|Sep. 17th, 2013 01:02 pm Sometimes you're just a jelly donut: A nonbinary gender political allegory|
I've been stressing out over gender issues lately, and decided to come up with a lighthearted story to try to explain my frustration about being nonbinary in a binary world. Feedback welcomed. If enough people like it, I'd love to find an illustrator for it. I release this text as Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 for that purpose, with a request that any links or adaptations link back to this blog entry. As my name change is not yet legal, I can be credited as simply "funcrunch".5 notes - Make notes
( Sometimes You're Just a Jelly DonutCollapse )
|Sep. 13th, 2013 10:50 am Update on preferred pronouns|
In my name change announcement, I stated that I was fine with people using either "she/her/hers" or "he/him/his" to refer to me, and that gender-neutral pronouns were not necessary as none other than possibly "they/them/their" had been widely adopted enough to be understood. I have been regretting this part of my announcement for weeks because the truth is that I die a little inside anytime someone refers to me with traditionally-female pronouns. Because despite not taking dramatic steps to adopt a more masculine appearance, I no longer identify as a woman.Make notes
I've concluded that I want to join the groundswell of people using gender-neutral pronouns so that they will become more widely adopted. As my friend plymouth said in their post, "if you only have that one friend who wants those weird pronouns it is hard. But if you have 3 or 4 or 7 it starts to seem more normative."
So from now on, I'm requesting that friends and acquaintances please refer to me with the pronouns they/them/their. The use of singular they as a gender-neutral pronoun has been increasing to the point that I believe it can be understood without lengthy or awkward explanations.
Pronouns don't even begin to cover all of the instances of gendering in the English language, unfortunately. For those forms of address where a gender-neutral option does not readily present itself, I would prefer to be identified with words traditionally used for men: Sir, Mister, etc. I will probably not be correcting sales clerks, waitstaff, and other people I only have brief interactions with, and do not expect friends to speak up on my behalf in such situations.
I realize that changing pronouns is difficult. I don't expect perfection, only effort. Just as I will simply gently correct a friend who refers to me by my previous name, I won't be offended by a friend who forgets and uses traditionally-female words to refer to me (unless they do so willfully and repeatedly), but I will gently remind and correct them. Thanks in advance for helping to make our language and culture more inclusive of all identities.
|Sep. 6th, 2013 07:12 pm Trying out Tumblr|
Not that I need yet another social network to occupy my time, but it seems that a lot of genderqueer people are hanging out on Tumblr, so I decided to create an account there. Not sure what or how often I'll be posting (I'm really not happy about Tumblr copying entire images and stripping metadata, similar to Pinterest), but feel free to follow me on there if you like.Make notes
|Sep. 2nd, 2013 11:19 am Make money on war!|
I usually ignore spam, but when my filter doesn't catch it and it gets in my inbox, I'll scan it briefly before deletion. I've been getting quite a few ads for stocks and bonds lately which have evaded my spam filter. This one happened to catch my eye, despite an unassuming subject line:
You can make money on war!!! It`s right time to realize this! As soon as the first bombs get to the earth in Syria, petrol prices will move up as well as [name of bond fund]...
I think this is more offensive than all the viagra and mail-order bride ads I've received put together.Make notes
|Aug. 24th, 2013 02:37 pm Suiting up|
As much as I hate shopping and would prefer to wear T-shirts every day, I need to get some formal and semi-formal menswear. I solicited opinions on Facebook earlier this summer, and got some useful suggestions, including a tip to avoid Tomboy Tailors, which from their scathing reviews on Yelp looks like a wise choice.7 notes - Make notes
I've realized that another obstacle I face beyond size and cost is that most suits, jackets, and ties are made from animal products, including wool and silk. I have fewer problems with these materials than with leather and fur, but still prefer to avoid them. It's practically impossible to live a life completely free of animal products; as this article points out, suits often have buttons made from animal horns, and many glues are animal-based as well. I'm fine with some compromises (I still eat honey, for example), but I do want to live more consciously and ethically, as ahimsa is now literally my middle name.
So if I want to get a suit that actually fits me and contains no animal products, basically I need to go with something custom-tailored (bespoke?) which can be super-expensive. I don't think I can justify that expense right now considering the only money I'm earning is $17.50 per day while my jury service lasts. I guess I can look for a used suit for now, feeling somewhat less guilty about wearing wool if it's used, and have it tailored. At least I've found a couple of places online to get decent quality silk-free ties...
|Aug. 23rd, 2013 05:42 pm Name change|
After months of careful contemplation, I have decided to change to a gender-neutral name to align with my shifting gender identity. My new name is:12 notes - Make notes
Pax Ahimsa Gethen
I am just starting to use this name socially this week. I will probably not file legal paperwork for some time yet, and my birth name, Julie Bernstein, will still appear in numerous places online and elsewhere as I transition.
My criteria for choosing a name were, in approximate order of importance: Gender-neutral, personally meaningful, relatively easy to pronounce, and relatively easy to spell. I rejected several candidates based on one or more of these criteria, and compromised on others, but believe that at least my new first name meets all of them.
( Etymology of my nameCollapse )
As far as the reason for this change, I have been experiencing growing discomfort with my assigned gender and sex which has peaked over the last several months. (A primer for those not already informed: Sex is what's between your legs, gender is what's between your ears.) I've been exploring these feelings in detail in mostly friends-only blog entries, and will continue to do so. But I am going public with the gist of this information, as it's critical to the reason for my name change.
I have decided my gender identity is neutral: Neither male nor female.
I do not expect people to use gender-neutral pronouns to refer to me, as I'm not satisfied that any, other than the plural "they/them", are in wide enough use to be understood. Though I personally see myself as slightly more "m" than "f", I am fine with either she/her/hers or he/him/his. Just not "it", please. UPDATE 9/13/2013: I now prefer the gender-neutral pronouns they/them/their. I am not undergoing any surgical or hormonal treatments to alter my body at this time. My sexual orientation, bisexual with a definite preference for bisexual men, remains unchanged.
Whether I should use the term "transgender" to describe myself is unclear, but I certainly fall under the category of "genderqueer" even though I'm not particularly fond of that term. In any event, I was very moved by Chelsea Manning's announcement yesterday of her transgender status, an act I see as even braver than the Wikileaks disclosure considering her prison sentence, and the timing is fortuitous for me to disclose my own status in solidarity.
|Aug. 9th, 2013 05:50 pm Gender personality test: The Bem Sex-Role Inventory|
I just found out about this personality test: The Bem Sex-Role Inventory. Following my poll on gender presentation, I was interested in seeing what this test would reveal about my gender identity. Fortunately someone coded it up so I could get immediate results.14 notes - Make notes
As usual with these types of tests, it was often difficult to assign a score without further context. I did appreciate that the scale went from Never to Always with seven gradations. Some were quite clear-cut for me, like affectionate (always) and loves children (never), but others were highly context-dependent and I had to make my best estimate.
Given those caveats, here's my score:
42.5 out of 100 masculine points
44.167 out of 100 feminine points
51.667 out of 100 androgynous (neutral) points
From what I can understand of the Wikipedia entry, it appears that scoring below the median for both masculine and feminine traits would mean that my gender identity is "undifferentiated" rather than androgynous (which would make a good amount of sense at this time), but given the separate androgynous points score, I'm not really sure.
Warning: If you take the test at this site, before and after you click "What's My Score?" take a screenshot or your results will be lost. (Hey, at least it's free.) Feel free to share your score and/or thoughts in the comments (keeping in mind that this is a public post).
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