To The FemmeMobile! Away!











I got an email from a friend this morning, an extremely awesome friend, that basically said this:

“You do realize that your post is like, “I’m not transphobic, but…””

It went on eloquently, but that about sums it up. (I have great regard for this friend’s ability to put things totally bluntly, without making me feel attacked, like a terrible person, and without her sounding like a bitch or condescending. I wish I had that ability, but I don’t think I do.)

Anyway, in emailing her back, a few things occurred to me.

1. I would have no problem with this if we were showing many types of bodies as beautiful, and this were just another one. But,

2. as I saw it, we were just extending the already-almost-unattainable body into a completely-unattainable-body.

As I was explaining this, I said that while I felt it was morally wrong to say what I was saying, practically speaking I didn’t want to be showing young girls something that they couldn’t possibly ever do on a skeletal level as the standard of beauty.

This is when somehting occurred to me. Except for the 5% of people who are born with that model body type, we are already showing young girls something they can’t possibly do on a skeletal level. We’re already having to play damage control because it’s already impossible. Not almost impossible, but totally impossible for 95% of the population. I’m sure there is another 5% of the population that has a very male body type; no hips, broad chest and shoulders, etc. (They still aren’t going to have the muscles along the abdomen that men have, but an MTF modeling is going to have issues a cis-woman doesn’t anyway, so it’s  a wash IMO.)  If we have an MTF modeling, then at least those girls (and also the other girls born in male bodies) have a representative, too.

What we need to be doing is adding more body types into what’s considered beautiful. While I wouldn’t have chosen a body type that’s an extreme of what we already have, that also doesn’t mean we should exclude it. This is one of those two-wrongs-don’t-make-a-right moments. Saying, “We need other body types but not that one” is bullshit. I call bullshit on myself.

I feel much better now. I have two centers of what’s right and wrong: my head and my heart. My heart always figures it out first, but until my head figures it out, too, things don’t work well. Now I’ve got both lined up. Woo hoo!

So I can say without reservations, go Jenna! (The model. Not me.) And also – Thanks, Momo. You rock my socks.

J

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Has everyone seen this? To sum up: a MTF model fought to get into the Canadian Beauty Pagent and won! (Won the fight; the pageant will have probably been decided by the time this posts, but as if this writing she’s in the top 5.)

The queer part of me is like YES THAT IS SO TOTALLY AWESOME (and at the same time, OMG I CAN’T BELIEVE I WANT TO GIVE DONALD TRUMP A PAT ON THE BACK), but the feminist part (the bit that’s not frothing at the mouth over the fact that we have these at all, and that 60% of the points are based solely on appearance) is kind of scared.

I do think transgendered folks ought to go into whatever beauty contests they like and whatever else they like as their correct gender.

I also think it’s kind of terrifying that the notion of womanly beauty is… a cis-male body. A surgically altered cis-male body, yes. An extremely lean cis-male body, yes. But it’s still a cis-male body. The muscle and bone structure are different than in a cis-female body — that little belly pooch that women have to hold reproductive organs, for instance, that pooch that we’re already taught is bad, is gone. The body fat percentage that covers those muscles is gone. The muscles themselves develop more obviously, the collarbones go straight across instead of angling downward, the shoulders are broader, the legs are longer, curves are less pronounced (ribcage is broader and pelvis is narrower), body fat isn’t distributed on butt and hips, the alignment of the stomach muscles is notably different, there are in fact muscles over the hips and below the obliques that women don’t even have — there’s  a bunch of stuff like that.

In short, the things we’re already taught are bad in women aren’t even there to begin with — because it’s not a cis-female body! Now we’re being told that really what we need to look like are lean cis-male bodies with boobs and vaginas. (Kudos to Jenna’s doctor, though, because they don’t look like Barbie boobs. Presumably good doctors can do that, now.) (I cannot believe spellcheck is telling me there’s no such word as vaginas. *sighs*) (Also, good name choice there, Jenna! :D)

So… yeah. It disturbs me that this is the person modeling for women as what we should look like, even more than cis-female models who’ve undergone surgery.

(Photoshop makes me just as disturbed as this does.)

On the other hand… I can’t say it’s right not to allow transgender folks to model, either. It’s just very fucked up. 😦

J



{May 26, 2012}   Gay hair

So, I recently cut my hair (and put an awesome red stripe in the front, as well!). This happened about 3 months ago. Not too long after, I was standing in the midst of a party of mostly lesbians, and I realized… nearly everyone had short hair.

I went to Cancun on a lesbian resort, and… everyone had short hair.

I have gay hair.

It needs to be long again.

Don’t get me wrong: I have no problem with gay hair, and my haircut is super cute. But you know what? When it was chin-length it was longer than almost all the other gays I hung out with, and it got comments ALL THE TIME on how cute it was. Now I get compliments from straight people, and occasionally gay people, but mostly I think it looks like a lot of other gay haircuts so we’re used to seeing it. I don’t do well blending with the crowd.

I need a new haircut. It can’t be too long because I don’t want to deal with long hair (and Quin really doesn’t like long hair; since she has to look at me, I figure it’s only fair to take that into consideration!). I’m thinking chin-shoulder length. I have no idea what beyond that, but clearly I need a new cut. My life. She is hard. 😉

Hilariously, it does occur to me that I’ll likely be missed as gay again, if I grow my hair out. I mean, I’m still missed half the time now, but I’ll REALLY be overlooked. Oh well. It’s worth it!

J

I can’t believe I have a hair tag…



{May 18, 2012}   The hero archetype

I can’t believe it’s been over a month since I’ve posted here. Good golly, Batman! Um. Sorry about the sporadic posting. I have thoughts to say, but not as many or as insistent as they once were, and everything is so busy…

For instance: Last fall, a boom month meant I made about $3800. In January I made $7000.  That was my biggest boom month to date (Jan is always a busy month — I blame new years resolutions to get the dogs trained, and all the puppies that were bought from fall onward that no one had time to train with the holidays, but NOW THEY DO), but things haven’t slowed down much since then, honestly. Average right now seems to be around $5000 a month. In some ways this is awesome (MONEY!) and in others, less so (time), but it is what it is, and I’m not about to look a gift horse in the mouth… even if it means less time for blogging.

Speaking of blogging…

Not too long ago I was sitting at a girls’ night with my girls, and somehow for some reason my sexuality came up. I think my friend Cullen said something about hating the term bi, and I laughed and pointed out that she WAS bi (which then led to a discussion of why we — because me, too — hate the term anyway), and I think someone asked me what my sexuality was. I said, “Well… I guess lesbian. I used to think I was bi, but I don’t anymore.”

My friend Kristin responded with, “I’m glad you figured it out and I didn’t have to tell you,” which might sound wrong to some people, but was actually really freakin’ hilarious. (Kristin and Cullen are my two best friends. If anyone’s going to know something about me before I do, it’s them!) Then I was laughing and saying I was masculine-sexual, as long as there was no cock involved, and it went downhill from there, as conversations soaked in wine tend to do.

Anyway. Jump forward to last week! Last week I was on a lesbian resort at Club Med in Cancun. IT WAS AWESOME. Tangent: if you don’t already know, you SHOULD know that Olivia Cruises is an all-lesbian cruise line. They rent out an entire cruise ship or, in this case, a resort and stock it full of lesbians. The Club Med staff was amazing and fantastic, and being surrounded by that many lezzies was a kick and a half. Though there were many other butches, I couldn’t help but notice that Q was the only one who wore men’s clothes, something that was commented on (favorably) by another lesbian there. Q thinks it’s because it’s an old school crowd, for the most part, but I’m not convinced. I see lots of old school butches at Sundance and whatnot. Maybe the San Fran area has more genderqueer butches in general? Maybe genderqueer butches aren’t comfortable with the term lesbian and therefore don’t go on lesbian cruises? Maybe genderqueer butches see all the other non-genderqueer lesbians and un-queer? I don’t know. Either way, she was the only one in a suit and tie on the fancy nights!

But all this is a tangent. Back to the point! While I was there, I went trapezeing! IT WAS AWESOME. More so because I’m terrified of heights, but one of the trapeze artists, S, took me under his wing and did the whole big brother schtik all week to help me along. It was perfect!

Toward the end of the week Q said, half jokingly, that I had a crush on S. I said I didn’t, which I don’t, but it did get me thinking. I like male friends. I have very few, mostly because I don’t make friends easily, I make male friends with even more difficulty, and my old ones have moved away. (I have a new one I’m striking up with, and an acquaintance I haven’t made friend with yet but would like to.) But I like them. I like the joking, physical banter you get with male friends that you don’t often get with female ones. I like the push to do new things. I like the sheer physicality — the go-out-and-do-it that I don’t see in my female friends often, as much as I adore my female friends. (There are pros to female friends that I don’t get in my male friends, so it’s equal. ;))

I also realized, when I knew I was leaving and would likely never see S again, that I was grieving. I was grieving the loss of this guy that I knew little to nothing about, because he pretty exactly fit what I look for in a male friend — which I realized is also exactly what I look for in a SO. Along with the usual ‘must be a decent person and must get along with them,’ stuff, I look for hero archetypes. S had it in SPADES. It’s what made him step into that big brother role — which even I could tell was only a big brother role because he knew I wasn’t interested in his bits. But he was rescuing and supporting the damsel in distress — me — and I totally am drawn to that. Q has it, but not as vibrantly as S does. (This is a good thing, as I’ll explain momentarily.)

The problem is that — and I know this intimately, because I always date heroes — they get stuck playing hero, and I get stuck playing damsel in distress, whether or not we want to. When it’s friends it seems to work out; if I don’t want to, I don’t visit for a while, or I whack them on the shoulder and say, “hey, I can do this, stop protecting me” and we laugh about it in a way you can’t with an SO, because you can’t be so blunt and … and blase with a SO’s feelings. I know that I make excellent friends with hero archetypes. It fulfills something in me, it creates a fast and lasting bond, and it strengthens both parties (me because I have the net, the hero because they have something that makes them feel strong and powerful).

I look for the same thing in romantic relationships, but it crashes and burns if it’s too strong. Q has it to a lesser extent, which means that sometimes we connect there and give each other what we need on that level, but it’s not so strong that it overwhelms/overshadows everything else and leaves us stuck in a power dynamic we don’t want to be in.

So when Q mentioned I had a crush on S, and it made her nervous (she’s been cheated on), I pointed out that he’d make an awesome friend and a lousy boyfriend for me, even if I were interested, which I’m not. But I do miss having a friend like that…

In the meantime… oh, hell, I forget what I was going to say. I got distracted by facebook. Anyway, those are my musings for the day. I pick friends on some of the same lines I pick SOs. Interesting.

J



{April 7, 2012}   Just a wee bit broken.

When I was sixteen (maybe seventeen?) I had my arm in a sling for six months. We couldn’t figure out what the heck was wrong with my shoulder. We finally decided a rotator cuff tear, and treated it with physical therapy knowing that someday I might need surgery.

For that six months, I learned how to do things with one arm. I could type one-handed like a demon, I’m telling you! I could mount a horse, ride (even somewhat direct reining — where you use two hands) with one hand, do homework with one hand, everything. Which isn’t to say it was the easiest thing it the world, but I figured it out.

The sling was great for attention, too, and sometimes I loved it. I decorated it with buttons that said things like “I am eruditer than you.” I was happy to tell people, in gruesome detail, about my shoulder injury. I even learned how to turn a conversation to it, if I was feeling ignored.

It also hurt. I wasn’t in a sling for nothing, and ironically it turned out (when we finally figured things out) that the position the sling held my arm in made it worse. I had muscle cramps so bad from pain that it pinched the nerves, so I’d get sensations like a hot brand down my arm and into my hand and fingers. It was Not Pleasant. There were times I couldn’t sleep, and times I couldn’t think because of the constant ache. I still live in fear that it’s going to come back. (For good reason; it occurs occasionally — and when I say ‘occassionally’ I mean “it hurts a few times a day, but only really gets annoying a few times a week, and every few months it ramps up to I-can’t-sleep-because-it-hurts for a night or two — despite the fact that I’m anal about my PT. It’s been about 14 years.)

I was careful of it. Bumping it hurt. Jigging it hurt. Leaving it too still for too long hurt. I was constantly aware of it, and constantly careful of it.

I was broken. Not broken in the hand-wringing, despairing sort of way. Broken like, “Gee, this doesn’t work so well. Hmm. Let’s do the best we can, and be aware that it needs a little extra time and care. And sometimes sit down and be sad, but other times show it off. But always, always, have it on your mind and be aware that it’s not like everyone else, and everyone else will probably forget and might occasionally do something really stupid, like clap you on the back. So be wary.”

I’m feeling that way a lot lately. Broken. It sounds melodramatic, but I can’t think of a better analogy. I don’t feel like my life is terrible, or that I need to sit and weep (though I am a little emo from being overworked). Sometimes I show it off, and sometimes I need TLC, and all the time I’m aware of it and wary of what people are going to do, themselves unaware or forgetting it.

I’m remembering things lately. They’re on my mind. Like my awesome cousins who were so great about me bringing my girlfriend to Christmas dinner, knowing the rest of the family would Not Be Okay With That. Like my mom, who really couldn’t care less what gender I date (OMG she LOVES Q, which is vaguely terrifying to me), but is also sometimes casually — and in a way, I suspect purposefully — oblivious. Not like, “I don’t want to deal with your gayness,” but like, “I’m going to pretend like I don’t see why you’d even care to hear this and isn’t your aunt so silly for even saying it, but I’m still going to tell you your aunt says you’re welcome to come to Thanksgiving dinner and they love you regardless. Isn’t she silly? Of course you know that and/or don’t care.” (This from the Baptist aunt, if my mom can be trusted. Which… she can’t always. I swear, she hears the most interesting things that people didn’t mean, and she honestly believes she heard it…)

Articles and things on acceptance are making me cry regularly. I always think that things like that are an indication that I have something I need to deal with, and sort of I do. But it’s not my immediate family — they’re awesome — or my friends — also awesome — where I feel the lack of acceptance. Or maybe it’s just that stories about people being supportive make me cry. Or maybe the lack of support in society makes me feel unacceptable. Or– I don’t know.

Part of it is me. Ever since I was a little kid, stories about people being supportive have hit me really hard. REALLY HARD. I don’t know why. I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s hardwired into me. Maybe I had a non-supportive past life. I dunno. I just know that they’re like crack for me. They fill something that feels unfilled. They put paste over something that feels broken.

Right now, that sense of broken-ness is coming in the form of gay stuff. I’m not sure if I like this. I mean, before it’s always been a nebulous thing. Now it’s specifically gay stuff.

It’s still a muddle in my head. I know this: I feel broken. I always have. Now I can put a finger on the spot and say, “Here. This sexuality bit? This is what makes me feel broken.”

I’ve learned to work with it, and I’m good at it. Sometimes I show it off to people, to make them coo or to piss them off. Sometimes I give myself extra pats and TLC. I’m always aware that some people don’t know and others don’t remember, and will say and do stupid things that I have to protect from, never meaning harm. They don’t understand what it feels like, because they’re not broken in this way.  Which is funny; everyone has something like that, but I often think we aren’t careful about other peoples’ broken bits. It really is just like that sling.

I have to remind myself that everyone has things they feel broken about. Things that don’t fit what society says we’re supposed to be. They’re not skinny or not Christian or not white or not male or not not not… I wonder if they feel as broken as I do, or if they shrug it off. (Of course, I imagine they shrug it off, and I’m the ONLY PERSON WHO FEELS THIS WAY. Riiiiiight.) Though I know the answer to the question, I still find myself wondering: if we’re all broken in some way, why is it so hard to be compassionate for others who are broken in ways we might not understand?

I’m ready for this ache to go away. I am overworked and running too much lately. I’m hoping next week, which should be calm, will help. But in the meantime, the ache in my broken bits is keeping me up at night.

J



{March 7, 2012}   Trans and sexism

I’ve been thinking about that last trans post I made, and the comments (which I thought about a great deal, and started a hugely long post on, but… then I got busy and never finished it, and it all boils down to what I’m about to say, anyway).

You know what I’ve realized? I don’t think this is a trans reaction I’m having. I think it’s a sexist reaction. Now, I do my best not to be sexist, but cultural sexism is rampant in everyone. Including me, much as I try to keep purging it. I don’t think it’s so much that I look at types of trans and see different genders, as it is I look at “man” and have specific, sexist ideas of what that is. If something doesn’t fit it, it is therefore “not man” and needs another category.

Now that I realize that, I can start working on it.

It does make me wonder, though: how do we define gender? Most definitions say something along the lines of, “Gender can be identified by the dress, behavior, and speech of an individual.” But we’re breaking those rules, now. So… what DOES make a gender? The way someone feels? I mean, that’s how I define my gender… but then, most people have no clue that my gender is femme, as opposed to woman. How do you differentiate femme from woman? Heck, most femmes I know can’t. It’s a feeling.

So if gender is a feeling, and there are no definitions, then how does one say, “I’m attracted to women” or “I’m attracted to butches”? If the ultimate goal is to break down the definitions, then we’re also breaking down an important way to navigate the world. But if we don’t… then you get problems like mine, above, where the ‘man’ gender has gender rules, and if someone doesn’t fit them then I’m not categorizing them correctly, and sexism is born.

This is what I’ve been mulling over.

J

 



One of the things about being femme, and being not-particularly-high femme, is that I blend. It means I come out a lot, to both gays and straights. Somtimes it gets annoying, but mostly I don’t care. (Q seems to enjoy it; it makes us blend when she doesn’t want to be noticed, she gets a kick out of it when I tell people I’m gay — usually by mentioning my girlfriend — and I think she likes that I’m so willing to be out when I could as easily fake straight.)

Anyway, I had a hilarious moment in my dog class the other day. One of my straight clients, Bev, is in her 60s or 70s. She wears brilliant blue contacts and dyes her hair jet black. She’s the epitome of eccentric in clothes, mannerisms, speech, etc. The woman has Flair. I have no idea if she knows I’m gay, but I don’t make any secret about it. Several of my clients know that my assistant trainer is also my girlfriend.

Anyway, we were just winding up class, and I mentioned that I was going to Cancun in May.

Bev: Oh, how fun! Where are you staying?
Me: I have no idea! Some resort. There’s this group called Olivia, and they rent out a whole resort or a whole cruise ship and stock it with no one but lesbians. *big grin*
Bev: Oh, you’re going to have fun!

And then she gave me this saucy, knowing look. I nearly killed myself laughing! (So did everyone else, though the couple from Iowa, who hadn’t known, gave me a double take before they chuckled! It’s impossible to tell if they were surprised I was gay, or surprised that I, specifically, with my lack of gaydar-waves, was gay. They didn’t seem terribly alarmed, so I’m guessing the latter.)

I had another coming out moment, as well. I’ve been asked to guest lecture at the Los Gatos High School a couple of years running now, and every year Steve asks me, “Have you ever used positive reinforcement on people?” To which I say, “Yes!” And think up a demonstration. Now, mostly I think of Q, since I’m around her the most, and the past two years I stumble over that. “I was out with my — er, uh, friend, and we were…” I know high schools can be funny about gay stuff, so even though Los Gatos is lesbian mecca, I didn’t want to get Steve in trouble.

Well, I have another client who’s a teacher there, and I saw her a few days ago. So I told her what was going on, and said, “Paris, I have a girlfriend but I don’t know what the policy is and don’t want to get Steve in trouble. Would I? I also don’t like censoring myself, and generally don’t bother to; I’m not interested in hiding this aspect. What can you tell me about school policy?”

Paris was hilarious. She said that, like anywhere, they had their intolerant people, but that school policy was progressive. They have a Gay and Straight Alliance, diversity and tolerance posters all over, “Safe space” triangles, and the teachers and staff have all been coached on what to say if they hear someone using the terms “fag,” “faggot” or “gay” in negative settings. So, she said, I should be perfectly fine in saying anything I’d like.

Then she got excited about it. “In fact, if anyone said anything to you, they’d get in huge trouble. We have — do we? We do have other out staff, and if they’re comfortable with it we encourage it so the kids are exposed to more types of people and have role models. And you’re successful and happy and top in your profession, so that’d be great!”

I had a good crack up (and was flattered). And she was even more excited that I’m comfortably out and talk about it casually. I couldn’t decide if she was proud of me or if she was excited that the kids would have a good role model/stereotype breaker. I’m not sure SHE knew which was true! Likely both.

It always cracks me up in a strange sort of way when someone is proud of me for being out and honest about it. I mean, I’m so divided. It’s totally ego-stroking to be praised for it and have someone be proud of me. It’s amusing that they’re proud, because it’s not like it’s something they helped with. It’s frustrating that they’re proud, because it shouldn’t be a big enough deal to be proud over. It’s distressing, because it’s a sign of how much even straight people realize that it’s difficult and scary to be out, and it shouldn’t be. Such a maelstrom of emotions.

Mostly I let the happy ones surface and try to acknowledge but let go of the less happy ones.

J



{February 13, 2012}   Eggs

So there we are, Q and I, in the middle of sexyfuntimes, and… the egg on the vibrator stopped working. At just the wrong moment.

Is it bad that I couldn’t stop laughing, as Q held it at Just The Right Angle to try and get it running again? (She did find the right angle, and it did run again. It only took some minor, but HILARIOUS, contortioning!)

J

 



{December 26, 2011}   Trans and Gender

I’ve been watching my trans friends and acquaintances lately (it strikes me that I know FAR more trans folk than femmes, and I can’t decide if this is annoying or hilarious), and noticing something else: some of them seem to be men. Some of them seem to be trans.

Did that make sense? Every time I see my acquaintance S, I’m surprised to remember he was born female. To my knowledge, he’s entirely pre-op, but everything about him screams, “MAN.” (“Dick,” also, but that’s because I know what he did to my friend. >.>) It’s the way he moves and the way he talks… right until he says something that throws me for a loop. Usually some great excitement and he’s suddenly not-man for an instant, only I don’t think of him as feminine because it doesn’t quite seem feminine, either, I think of him as trans. (This is happening less and less over the last six months. Of course, I haven’t been talking to him much over the last six months, but… I can still hear him laugh when we’re in a group, and even that sounds more masculine.) Anyway; in my head, he’s a guy.

Then there’s the friends who are just starting their own trans process, and they have moments where they seem very masculine, and moments where they seem very… trans. Does that make sense? I think it might be insulting, and I’m extremely sorry if that’s the case. I think it’s probably one of those, “They say they are men, ergo they are men,” moments. Which I completely agree with. And at the same time, in my head their gender is transman.

Sometimes I feel a little crazy. It always makes me feel a little bad.

But then there are the transmen who seem to glory in being transmen, and have no interest in being men. They refer to themselves as transmen and they’re in that in between gender state; neither man nor woman, but something else entirely. That’s what I think of as trans.

I don’t know. It makes my head hurt. It kinda makes my heart hurt, too, because I suspect it’s disrespectful in some way, shape, or form, even if I don’t quite understand it. But I can’t understand it if I never talk or ask about it, can I? Cripes, this is like asking people to shoot me down… BUT… talk to me, folks. Is this normal? Can trans people out there tell me what’s up in my head in regards to gender and transman vs man? Or are there more genders being created that I don’t know about? Or is it just a learning curve? Because I definitely don’t know.

On a much funnier note, Q had shoulder surgery (it’s all good now!), and we got come on her sling. *snickers* It’s a black sling. Hilariously, it says “hand wash only,” and given whoever wearing it apparently has only one working hand… I think it’s a cruel joke!

J



{December 22, 2011}   …Whoa.

Totally unrelated to the last post, I just realized there have been almost 12,500 hits to this blog since I started it.

…holy shit. That’s a lot of people looking at my stuff. o.O

Uh… Here! Have my favorite Christmas song!

(These are not the Irish Rovers. These are young guys being funny. So just don’t look at the video if you want to hear the song; you can laugh at the video after. ;))

And, uh, My Drunk Kitchen! She’s lesbian. And seriously cute. 😀 (Oh, Q, she doesn’t hold a candle to you, dear. ;))

J



et cetera