Friday, May 30, 2008

sometimes i hate computers

so i just had one of those great encounters with computers where you write a really lengthy, detailed, meaningful (i hope) blog post and then my computer decided to freeze up. well technically firefox did. and unfortunately no draft was saved on blogger. *sigh*

basically.. the gist of it was i can't sleep, so i wrote a long journal entry about commencement, my road trip to KC with friends, spending the last few days with my brother and sister, how i've recently become re-addicted to a computer game called caesar three, and how i really would love to feel tired. well i do feel tired. i just can't actually seem to drift off to sleep.

so yeah, instead of attempting to re-write the entry or writing something completely different i decided to post this instead because i wanted to at least have some record that i did indeed attempt to blog something more. oh well.

i should probably attempt sleep again, seeing as i am going to try and leave tomorrow around 6:30-7am in the morning.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

"Jane Doe" Rape Kits Go National

I found an interesting article over on the blog about how women who've been sexually assaulted and don't know if they want to press charges yet can now get free rape kits done nationally starting in 2009. Basically, the evidence is placed in a sealed anonymous envelope and if the woman decides to file a police report, can be brought forward. I know Iowa already does this, but it's pretty fantastic that it's finally going national.
Check out the link for more information.

Monday, May 12, 2008

insomnia strikes again

ugh. i've been trying to sleep since around 12:30. *sigh* I tried reading my social theory and praxis book. If reading durkheim doesn't make you tired enough to go to sleep I don't know what will. Honestly, I am tired. The problem is that my body just doesn't seem to want to sleep. Anyways.
Watched the movie Shortbus earlier this evening/last night with my cluster. It's a really great movie, by John Cameron Mitchell who also did the movie version of Hedwig and the Angry Inch. Shortbus has some cinematic similarity, which makes sense with it being the same director and all. The soundtrack was also amazing. The score was by Yo La Tengo, Animal Collective featured in the soundtrack, as did Bitch. Danielle Sea and Bitch were in the movie as well actually (well she wasn't a huge character but she was there with Bitch). Basically, the movie kinda follows these interconnected stories between people who find their way to this club called "shortbus." Anyways. There is some pretty graphic sex, so it's not for the faint of heart or those who get skeeved out by penises, vaginas, hetero or homo sex, or orgy-esque scenes. I really enjoyed it because it had a very clear queer sensibility, which I always appreciate in films. There was also an underlying message of connection between individuals, connection on a level deeper than the sexual, how sometimes sex can be shallow and a disconnecting experience, how sometimes we find connection most within ourselves, or with someone you meet randomly.
Anyways. I'm gonna attempt sleep again now that it's 5am. Here's to getting at least 6 hours of sleep.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

why being outed sucks, or, please respect my own body knowledge and experience thank you very much

Today I was outed for the first time in a really long time. I mean, I suppose I get "outed" in different ways all the time, people read me as queer, or people mention that I like girls. And that's fine and all. I've just never been outed as a trans person before and really, it was kind of nerve wracking and frustrating on several levels.

One of the placements I interviewed with for LVC called up one of my references asking about "Dylan." Now, it could've been worse. The person he called was luckily the adviser for the lgbta group here. However, she still was not aware that I am trans, and that I am going by Dylan. So I got a voice message from her during class asking me to stop by her office because she had an LVC question. I go by, and she asks me about it, I tell her that yes, I'm planning on transitioning. She proceeds to express shock and disappointment that I would give up being a woman, talking about how I am such a strong woman, that part of the reason she wants me to nanny for Rex is so that he has an example of a "strong, beautiful woman" around. *sigh* I explain to her that I've struggled with this for a long time, and that I am extraordinarily unhappy in my body. She suggested that I wait a few years after college to "find my voice" and that once I get away from "small minded Lutherans" I'll feel more comfortable being a woman, and that women go through cycles and transformations. She also made some comments about trust, and how I won't be trusted as easily as a man. *sigh*

I know she means well, and I know she was saying these things because she does care about me. But honestly I'm a little hurt and a little offended. I know that I am unhappy in my body, and that it's not about having low self-esteem, or wanting privilege. My identity is part of my bodily, lived experience, which is valid and a truth. The fact that I am trans doesn't change my queerness, my politics, my feminism, my activism, or who I am as a person. In particular I wanted to emphasize to her that my feminism is not implicit in having female secondary sex characteristics. I am still perfectly capable of transitioning and being feminist. Yes, I know that being read as a man in society will come with privilege. For me, I'm reading it as more subversive. I am not transitioning for the bonus perks of manhood. Transition can be seen as revealing how little there is between men and women. As I mentioned when I wrote about Max Valerio, transsexuality reveals the tenuous nature of the line between woman and man.

The whole situation reminded me of reading about bodies in Eli Clare's "Exile and Pride." In particular, his discussion of bodies, and how bodies can be home. I understand Eli when he says "home starts here in my body, in all that lies embedded beneath my skin," when he talks about how our culture and class and background are all aspects of our bodies as home. My body was home in my childhood, I felt comfortable and safe in my body. It was at puberty that my body turned on my, and started changing and that was when my body ceased to be completely home. Even today, I fight with my body as home. I know my parts of my body as home, I've learned that directing my frustration at my body itself isn't effective and is detrimental to my health.

I would be remiss if I didn't admit that the mere fact that I will be able to afford transition has class implications. I am white and upper/middle class, and educated. I don't know what it feels like to grow up in a rural community, in a working class community. The fact that I will be able to make my body home, to make my body that bridge, is evidence of my class standing, and I will need to deal with that.

My interaction with the pride adviser was frustrating because I didn't know how to explain to her that I want to be fully home in my body again. I want to be able to look at myself in the mirror and not feel a disconnect between my image of who I am in my head. In the end, I wish I could explain to her that I will finally feel at home in my body when I can take hormones and have surgery, and that it has nothing to do with wanting to not be a woman, or wanting male privilege.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

back pain

Today my back hurts. A lot. This is mainly because I've been binding on a regular basis, and apparently the muscles in the human back are not meant to stand up to being compressed every day by the binder. I think it's only aggravated by the fact that my binder rolls up and pulls right across my lower back whenever I engage in anything more active than sitting. Unfortunately I haven't figured out a good way to keep it from doing this yet. If any of you have suggestions, I will try them and let you know how it goes.
I think the back pain isn't helped by the fact that I'm currently being visited by my monthly nemesis, menstruation.
In other news much happier news, I've been doing some research, and I think it's possible that I'll be able to afford hormones next year. It will depend on how much visits to the endocrinologist are, how often the endo will want me to come back to check my levels, and how much (if at all) my insurance or job will cover/reimburse me for medical stuff. So the next step for me is to make an appointment at the tranny clinic and start getting answers to such questions. And really, my quality of life will improve. It's become abundantly clear to me that try as I may, I can't really be completely happy living with tits and hips. And I do think that LVC would be a safe place to start hormones, which is also important.
So yeah. If anyone has any binding suggestions, let me know. Happy trails.

Friday, May 2, 2008


I saw the theater/dance piece "paperweight" this evening at Luther, and it was fantastic. The piece really illustrated a lot of the concepts we've been discussing in class, which is expected really since Amanda, the director, has been in class with us. She did a really good job I think of tying the theories and discussions to the movement.

One evident theme in the piece was borders. Crossing physical borders, the borders in the piece change as the performers raised, lowered and shifted paper columns and screens. One scene in particular reminded me of crossing through customs, where there is a doorway of sorts and the performers needed to be inspected before they passed through it.

In addition, a lot of the different sections could be interpreted as different types of border crossings. Crossing deserts, boat crossings, sneaking across borders. In addition, the different types of barriers, from other people, from the environment, from within were evident in the movement. Sometimes the performers would stop one another, slowing each other down, sometimes they would run into walls, sometimes they would stop themselves.

The piece also was open to a lot of different meanings. I interpreted one scene where the performers put on and took off layers of clothing as trying on identity, seeing what fits and what doesn't, trying to fit with society's expectations of how we were supposed to be. On the other hand, I know from the talkback that other audience members saw that as a "preparing to cross into the United States" section.

That example illustrates how the piece was open to a multiplicity of meanings, that there was no one "right" interpretation of what was going on in the piece. On the whole, I could tell that a lot of thought and exploration had gone into the piece, and it was exciting to recognize aspects of our class discussions in what was going on in the performance.