20 and a bit questions

I found this list of questions on tumblr, and felt like answering them, so I did. There were originally 30, I’ve skipped the ones that didn’t apply.

1) When did you realize the term trans* referred to you

(Sixth form) College. I was part of a very gendered group of friends, where the males made 90%+ of the decisions and offensive jokes about everyone – except white middle class males. It made it very obvious that I do appreciate being lumped in a binary category.

2) Have you ever been outed

I  was asked ‘are you bi?’, which left me with either the option of lying and making it difficult for later, or being obvious. It would have been fine, had it not been for the outpouring of bi-phobia that followed.

4) How did your family take it when you came out/ if you are not out why aren’t you

I’m out as pan, because that had to be explained when I told them I’m dating a girl. They don’t know about my being trans* because I didn’t want to overload them all at once. The response was surprisingly positive.

5) Are you active in the trans community or LGBT community

Yes. Aside from blogging here, I’m also a part of my universities LGBT+ society. I also went to NUS national student pride this February, and intend to at least attend Mardi Gras later this year in Cardiff.

6) Who was the first person you told about being trans*

My ex, who was also trans*

7) Who do you look up to?

Right now, my girlfriend, for her continuing strength in coming out and living as a trans-woman.

8) How do you deal with being read mis-genderd in the beginning of transitioning by people?

By being very, very used to it, unfortunately. As a genderfluid person, ‘she’ doesn’t entirely bother me, it’s more that I’m neutral about it.

9) What is something positive about being trans*

Feeling more free to play with gender expression, through being more aware of them. Even if it means that ad breaks are infuriating.

10) What are some of your fears in regards to being trans*

Needing to start T.. and being unable to due to medication I have to take.

Transphobia.

11) How do you manage dysphoria

By causing all my jeans to have inappropriate holes because they’re not meant for someone using male body language.

12) Bathrooms

Female only, so far.

13) What are some of your passing tips or things you do to pass

Heh.. I wish.

14) How have you embraced your trans identity

With great difficulty, really. Being non-binary has been really hard for me to understand, and the only thing harder is feeling like no one else ever will.

15) What’s your binding choice and why

Currently non-binding. Partly money, partly I don’t wish to risk harm for very little effect.

16) How do you feel about the trans laws where you live

Upset that laws so lacking have to be some of the best in the world.

17) Do you want to be a parent why or why not

I do not want to be a mum. Ever. Not even to an adopted child.

Frustratingly, my girlfriend does- and I could handle being a non-mum parent.

18) Your views on the cis-gender community

Full of many a wonderful person. Just needs to work on it’s transphobia a little.

19) Do you feel being trans* holds you back from your career choice

No more than other issues I have might.

20) What stereotypes are put on trans* people

That we deceive cis-people. That we’ll never look normal.

21) Who is your favorite LGBT actor/musician/director/artist etc and why

Currently Sophie Ward for her comment about the Daily Mail and marriages at student pride.

22) Doctor visits

Best avoided, if possible.

So, being trans*, having a spinal deformity, and bipolar was a great set of ‘life choices’..

23) Do you feel comfortable answering questions about being trans* if say your teacher/friend/stranger asked you

About transgenderism in gender, yes. About myself, not so much.

24) What goals do you have

Becoming a clinical psychologist. Becoming a better person. Becoming better at writing. Becoming better at sleeping.

Blogs I follow, part II

I think it’s about time I wrote about the blog that first introduced me to blogging in general: Whatever.

It’s the online home of author John Scalzi. He’s the only author I’ve ever become a fan of because of their online presence and his blog is still my favourite of his writing.

Posts that I really think need reading include: being poor, when the yoghurt took over and shut up and listen.

Aside

I’d love to be asked the question ‘are you a boy or a girl?’ and to answer ‘does it really matter?’.

Hearing ‘No, I guess not’ would just be the icing on the cake.

Student Pride

I think right now there’s simply only one thing I could possibly blog about:

NUS Student Pride, Brighton, 2012!

This was our first pride event, which is somewhat late for me, and amazingly soon for her. Both of us had a fantastic time, as did everyone else from LGBT+ Cardiff.

The very, very best part was the fact that not once did she revert into what we’ve named ‘boy mode’. The not so wonderful part was the way she looked better in my clothing than I do, but then that’s hardly the most terrible of complaints.

A close second was the moment a guy working behind a stall went ‘girls, would you mind..?’ to me and her, without a moment’s hesitation. Apparently, she would have done almost anything he asked after that one.

Further highlights involved: Brighton and Hove’s gay mens’ choir, Sophie Ward saying ‘I can’t wait for it to be a marriage that the Daily Mail can’t put quotes around’, an interview with the cast of My Transsexual Summer, and a late night walk along the promenade (a much preferable idea than clubbing).

Lily currently has all our photos (and videos), I’ll share a selection of those when she sends me them later on.

SRS soldier

Just a quick post for tonight, because I’m actually quite tired (slight rarity these days, thanks to insomnia).

I think this video, whilst not perfect, is definitely worth a watch if you wish to begin to understand trans issues. If you’re a little more knowledgeable, you’ll probably spot the inaccuracies in the phrasing used by the narrator. For example, trans people don’t transition from one gender to another, they were always just one gender. In my opinion however, all of those flaws are compensated for by Janet’s expression of her experiences.

Blogs I follow, part I

I got into blogging from reading other blogs. I stumbled across a couple, found them interesting, kept checking back, and ended up reading them as much as I might read books. Eventually, I decided that blogging seemed like the perfect way to do something creative, and write something I wanted to write without taking too much time away from my studies (even if right now, I’m writing this instead of going over lecture notes).

So, I thought I’d highlight a few of the blogs that really got me hooked. This first blog I’m going to link to isn’t the first blog I started reading, but as that blog hardly needs the publicity, I think I shall include that one later.

For now then, I’m going to focus on supermattachine.

If you’ve read any of the rest of this blog, it’s probably rather obvious why the subject matter of this blog is important to me. It’s distinguished from the many other blogs on the matter for me by the depth of the  analysis provided by its author, Stephen Ira. Gender is a topic that is most complicated, and yet somehow he manages to get to the heart of an issue and make it perfectly understandable.

In particular, I think this piece illustrates that: http://www.lgbtqnation.com/2012/02/its-2012-do-you-know-where-your-transgender-children-are/

For me, the idea of policing young children’s bodies in this way is truly awful. I simply can not imagine how a grown adult can be so afraid of a child self-defining their existence- I very much hope it’s not because it makes them too painfully aware of their own constraints. That would be sad (or rather, sadder than the situation is already).

Metropolis II

I absolutely love this piece of moving art. It’s so simplistic in concept, presumably quite complex to create – and incredibly elegant in execution. It’s such a shame it’s on display in Los Angeles, I’d love to see it in person.

‘was not alive at the time of testing’

As a psychology student, I have to spend an awful lot of time reading psychology articles and reviews. Some of them are incredibly boring, others are more engaging (for example, a review of what was learned from the case of HM).

One, however, stands out as particularly interesting. Also amusing, which is unusual.

It would be the study of a singular, dead Atlantic Salmon.

Yes. You read that right: dead.

At this point, you would be more than forgiven for going what on earth is any area of psychology interested in studying dead salmon for?!

Well, it turns out that the MRI reported brain activity in this salmon.

This actually has some rather important ramifications for the use of MRI’s in brain study, which is why psychologists are interested.

Mostly though, as a 1st year undergraduate, I’m just amused by the poster reporting the study: http://prefrontal.org/files/posters/Bennett-Salmon-2009.pdf and the story behind how this came about: http://prefrontal.org/blog/2009/09/the-story-behind-the-atlantic-salmon/

Gone Fishing

I suppose it’d be about time to make the post I alluded to the other day. Unfortunately, the subject matter  this time is somewhat less happy.

I am the one out of the four: I am mentally ill. I have rapid cycling bipolar disorder.

This makes being a student very, very challenging. It’s hard writing up an essay when your moods have changed like quicksand underneath you, and you now either have no motivation – or alternatively, you can’t begin to focus, nor take in meaning from a page of text. Or maybe you just can’t work because your medications are scrambling your brain.

Thankfully, I get an awful lot of support from my university and the government. I’m able to claim Disabled Student’s Allowance (DSA). The main benefit of this is my lovely mental health advisor, who I jokingly refer to as ‘my Cardiff mummy’ when talking to my friends. I never expected to have someone who’d be able to talk to me for 2 minutes within the first week of term, go ‘you’re manic’ and have them call my old GP, my new GP and both CMHT’s in order to co-ordinate everything. Thanks to her, I got seen by my new CMHT only a month after starting university.

I also get extended library loans, a study skills adviser, extensions on work if needed, a voice recorder, software and a computer capable of running them. All of this is incredibly useful to me, and I’m very grateful that I have it.

Unfortunately, there’s only so much it can achieve. Very little helps when it’s hard just to get yourself to go and food shop. Daily functioning takes an awful lot of effort for me, and a lot of willpower.

My sleep has also been fairly ruined by my moods. Right now for example, I’ve spent the entire day exhausted but I now can’t sleep because I wake up at 8pmish. I’m hoping that tomorrow my psychiatrist can sort that one out.

In general though, being a student is so worthwhile for me, even with all of these problems. Absolutely no way any of this is going to stop me.

read your email. the way …

Quote

read your email. the way we see it, is it is your life. we respect that. are you thinking of coming home for the whole of the easter holidays. i think two nights would be ok for lily to visit, that would be the same for anyone as the house is so small. Is it ok if i tell Linda obviously Lyle would have to know

My mum’s response to my email. 

So happy!