Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…

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guilty of child abuse? … *face palm* wtf! *head bang on desk*

before i get into my thoughts on this matter, which will be decidedly heated, please read this and the links included therein.

so to those who have read this blog before, a lot of this will be old news. still i feel compelled to include a bit of our journey, as a way to refute the ‘haters’ that deem me a child abuser.

i adopted my grandson and raised him from birth. it was exciting for me to have the opportunity to raise a boy, being a bit of a tomboy myself and having only raised daughters. i was looking forward to sharing the interests i’ve had that are thought of as ‘less than feminine’ by our society, things my daughters were never quite ‘into’.

i bought all the usually considered ‘boy things’, which were toys i had lusted over as a child but had to hope my brothers would let me play with, since they got the hot wheels sets and stuff i wanted, while i got dolls and such. altho, when ziona (zion at the time) requested things usually considered ‘girl things’ i bought them for him. the clothes i shopped for of course didn’t include dresses, or frilly items. altho even had i been buying clothes for a girl child, it wouldn’t have had much of that type. for the first 3 years of life i assumed i was raising a boy child and acted accordingly.

just before birthday number 3 when ziona (again, at the time, zion) requested a baby doll for a gift, i didn’t blink. already there was one baby doll among the many toys in our house. but there was a caveat in the request, it had to be a boy doll (by request). i was happy that (he) wanted an anatomically correct boy doll. i thought it was a sign of (him) learning to differentiate between boy and girl, so as to identify with (his) gender, as a boy.

the day came, but when ziona opened the present with the doll, and undressed it, there was not happiness i saw register on that beautiful face…there was dread almost.

fast forward 6 months. we are at the birthday party for his cousin and friend Lexi. people were saying what a big girl she was getting to be. ziona (zion) told me “someday i’m gonna be a big girl too”. at first i just thought it was jealousy about the fuss being made over Lexi. so i said, “you’re already older and bigger than her,” a big hug, then continued, “but you’re a big boy”.

this was sooo not what ziona wanted to hear. you see, she already knew that the body she was in was called a ‘boy’ body, because of the anatomically correct boy doll she’d gotten for her last birthday. now i was imposing upon her the reality that she wouldn’t grow into a girl, but would only grow into a boy. the next six months saw all manner of turmoil around our house.

included in her reaction to this news were many attempts to rid herself of the penis that marked her something other than she knew herself to be. she tried using her pretend scissors from her doctor kit, to cut ‘it’ off. she tried to pull it off, but cried her heart out because this method only made it ‘stronger’. she told me god had made a ‘big mistake’, that she should’ve gotten a girl body. she begged me to ‘cut it off’ or take her to the doctor to have things made right.

so much pain, so many tears…there was nothing i could say to make her feel better.

i knew she understood that she was allowed ‘girl things’ even to dress up like a girl was allowed. so it was confusing to me that she wanted to be a girl. since being one wouldn’t mean there was something she could have or do that she wasn’t already allowed. but all that didn’t matter to her. she told me “god made a big mistake. i wish i could die so i could come back in the right body”

when your 4 year old child starts trying to maim their body, or seriously entertain suicidal thoughts, you can’t just keep hoping it’s a phase.

i had the primary physician refer us to an endocrinologist to assess hormone levels…to see if something there was off and was the cause of ziona’s confusion. (there wasn’t). a scan of her abdomen was done to see if perhaps she had residual ovaries, there were none. i tried getting her into dance, since she had professed an interest…but as soon as the instructor divided the class and assigned ziona to the ‘boy’s group’, she refused to go any more.

then on my birthday, 20/20 aired a special with barbara walters called “my secret self”. it was about kids like ziona, who identified with a gender beyond the binary and outside of the body’s anatomy. especially interesting to me was the story of Jazz, a transgender girl.

armed with a new focus, i began to research this thing called transgender kids. i have friends who are transgender, so it was only a matter of realising that this knowledge of who one is with regard to one’s gender starts at a very early age. i searched the internet for any and all scholarly research on the matter (there was little at first that directly applied to children) and found articles and interviews with Dr. Spack of Boston’s Children Hospital. i found books and ordered them, i found websites and chatrooms.

in the mean time i acknowledge ziona’s gender identity, but was reluctant for the next couple of years to allow what is called “social transition” to her perceived gender as a girl. that mattered little to ziona, who would introduce herself as a girl/boy and would correct people who wrongly identified her as a boy. she would often ask me whether she could ‘share her secret’ when she met a new friend at the park or something. i could see that it killed her not to be able to reveal her true self.

one day she took up a scissor’s again. and came to me saying she couldn’t wait for a doctor to ‘make it right’. tearfully and hysterical she begged me to help her ‘be a girl’. i grabbed the scissors (which were a relatively safe pair of kid’s craft scissors) and cried right along with her.

it was at this point, when she was 6 years old, a full 2 and 1/2 years after she had revealed to me her dilemma, that i knew that she must be allowed to live as the girl she knew herself to be. dresses and all. even tho she wouldn’t be able to lose ‘the spare part’ (her words) until she was much older, at least her true gender would be what the world saw. altho, she still can’t bear to see or have others (even me!) see that ‘spare part’, the difference in her self-esteem was almost immediate.

today know one who sees her would suspect that she isn’t all girl. my family have all finally learned to use the correct pronouns when referring to her, and to consider that she is a girl when gift-giving times come around.

child abuse? hardly! rather those who would deny a child’s pain, the trauma they suffer from being certain of their gender despite what their bodies and society insists, those are the abusers!

we parents, who have agonised with our children and seek to alleviate their pain, supporting them in their perceived gender know only too well how, despite the encouraging media and changes in attitudes surrounding transgender issues, their lives will never be easy…never a simple walk in the park…never without danger of oppression or outright attack. that our actions to help our children grow and thrive would be deemed abuse belies the fact that the real abuse comes from outside; from societal exclusion or prejudice, from religious judgments to physical assaults that are too often shrugged off as justified.

it isn’t the case that we parents of transgender kids simply acquiesce to some random phase our child is going through. it isn’t the case that we jump at the chance to find doctors to act on a child’s idle whims. we are instead the only voice a minor child has, their ‘gatekeeper’ to getting the intervention necessary to ensure that puberty as the ‘wrong’ gender doesn’t mark them forever with irreversible traits, many of which all the cross hormones and surgeries in the world won’t get rid of were they to wait until adulthood to transition.

far from child abusers, we are their foot in the door, their best hope, their champions and the ones who love and understand their needs better than anyone else in the world.


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reblog:Why I Changed My Last Name When I Got Married–Even Though I Have A Penis

i simply had to post this…

i remember when john and yoko got married and what a big deal was made of the new names they chose to reflect their union. it was awesome for a young feminist to see a strong woman and a real man not afraid to claim and name their own reality.

i never understood why a woman should have to lose her name too, along with all the other things it seemed to me she would forfeit on that fateful day of wedded bliss. her independence, her private moments, her separate space…to mention only a few.

of course, a woman’s name is in our society is the patriatchal “proof of ownership” handed down through all the generations of a woman’s maiden name being doffed, so really, what to do?

my second daughter, who is now raising three children of her own, wears her very own name…not my fathers, nor my mother’s father’s name. when filling out her birth-certificate i gave her a name completely her own. as a single mother there was no one to second guess my decision.

but even years later, when i try to explain my daughter wears her very own last name, people are still a bit confused,,,they ask, “well, who was mr. freeborn?”

that’s just the point, of her name, i patiently add…free born? get it?

Why I Changed My Last Name When I Got Married–Even Though I Have A Penis.

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rape is war!

there have been absolute horror stories of late in the news. terrible things being done to women. this is not something new. women have borne the brunt of such acts of violence for as long as both women and violence have existed. or at least since patriarchal times. rape, domestic violence, assaults of varying degree are common enough, but when i was studying at university, we learned an even more disturbing statistic. it was this, that there seemed to exist a direct correlation between a rise in violence committed against women and the advances in women’s rights within society.

just let that sink in for a moment.

that seems to imply that even as we win, we lose. but what it really showed was how much rape is about power.

to demonstrate this relationship the professor had visual aids including graphs that mapped out the dual, nearly parallel lines of ascent. the higher the place women were able to claim within society, the higher the incidence of assault and violence perpetrated against them. a very euro-centric lens was used to make these broad (forgive the pun) assumptions.

women in other cultures that don’t enjoy the same advances in the rights they possess, in countries where they aren’t allowed to go to school, much less learn to drive, or participate in a vote, are they any safer? the graph didn’t speak for them…how could it?

for clarity, it should be understood that this women’s studies course was way back in the late 1970’s, at a time when i was only with women, and part of a community of radical lesbians, with whom i would commit routine acts of graffiti on walls and highway underpasses plastering angry messages such as “all men are rapists”. (i have since had a change of heart)

these were the kind of women who would later reject me, for having actually had sex with someone to become pregnant rather than employ a ‘turkey baster’, the kind who put me down and avoided me when they learned i was actually bi-sexual, the kind who fought to exclude some of my ‘girlfriends’ from ‘all woman events’ because these friends had started out life as a male. did it matter to them that these late blooming women no longer had any of their original equipment? no, it did not.

surely transgender women have just as much if not more danger of rape in our society. surely these champions of women’s rights and safety, these knights in shining ‘hermour’, who saw so vividly the fact that it is men that commit almost all acts of sexual assault, who would paint that message in letters three feet tall in public places for all to read and consider, surely these bastions of womanhood, these amazons, would be considerate of the fact that transgender women are as much at the mercy of such violence as are women who were born in little baby girl bodies!

but they were not…

i have raised two daughters, both of whom are grown and living on their own at this time. neither has been raped, that i know of. but i have been. i know this pain, this shame, this rage, humiliation, the wounds that never heal to scars. each rape that happens is a fresh assault, i feel everything all over again. i will be that knight in shining ‘hermour’ because, having survived and having managed to process the horror so that my self esteem survived with me, i know how to do this battle.

some who pretend to engage in this war do not.

some will try to understand rape from a purely socio-economic point of view and imagine that it more frequently occurs in cultures where women are absolutely disempowered. some will correctly argue that it is not a problem of promiscuous cultural paradigms blurring lines. most understand that the rapist is not simply looking for sex. he (and yes, it is almost always a ‘he’) is turned on, not by the act of copulation, but by the thrill of exercising power over another person, to the point of robbing them of their humanity. it is so much worse than sheer lust. it is evil.

but of the women with whom i used to vandalise walls and highway underpasses, only a few would include my lovely youngest daughter, the one who started life with the ‘wrong equipment’ for her beautiful feminine spirit, among the community of women whose rights must be protected. their rapes, the ones against transgender women will seem less important in the estimation of these vanguards of female-ness …i know, i’ve been privvy to their conversations as they blatantly exclude all but ‘womyn-born-womyn’ from their realm of consideration and empathy.

this oppression, this exception made by one kind of woman against another kind of woman, seems just as stupid as say, thinking that a woman from saudi arabia being raped is any more horrible and odious than the rape of a woman on a topless beach in jamaica. it isn’t that the rape of a transgender woman, or of a man for that matter, is less important to them …it just isn’t on their radar. (gaydar)

and it isn’t only radical lesbians that have this penchant to place less value on transgender women, the cis-priveleged society is largely still of the mind that people like my daughter are just weird. the rape of a straight, cis-gendered woman is going to be harder to ignore than just another ‘tranny’ getting assaulted (don’t they all work in the sex-trade anyway?)

yes! rape is evil…it is evil when a woman on a bus in india is gang raped, it is evil when it happens to a high-school girl unconscious and being dragged from party to party getting raped all along the way, it is evil when the president of a bank calls it consensual sex after raping the maid who cleans up his hotel room. and it is no less evil when a transgender woman, whatever her employment may be, is raped, or knifed, or assaulted, or killed.

a problem as ubiquitous as is rape cannot be solved by divvying up the victims, or only condemning certain rapists. when society learns to cry foul as readily over the rape of someone like my beautiful transgender daughter, then, and only then, can we hope to win this war,


new world or newtown?

today, for our homeschool lessons, my beautiful daughter and i explored societal propaganda. the kind that comes from advertisements, from pop-culture and other sources. the curriculum included the movie “branded”, which is great by the way, and other videos that correctly define propaganda, and the purposes for which it exists and the corporate control of culture and reasons for it. a most enlightening day, altho we often talk about ‘mind-control’ methods used to manipulate people, including religions and t.v. programming.

then came the news. another school shooting. another episode in america’s history of reaping what it has sown!

yup, i said that…
too soon?

it is indeed sad that the parents of some 20 kids will have to mourn their children. but american foreign policy regularly deprives parents of their children, and vice versa, with few tears in the eyes of the one who sends out the drones, or orders the actions. so all the high-minded rhetoric and crocodile tears from our ‘kill-list’ president seemed totally disingenuous to me. my daughter too couldn’t help but note the irony of this commander-in-chief responding the way he did.

i teach my daughter at home so that she will not suffer bullying and other insults for being “different”. i teach her the truth about america, as painful as it might be. because to sugar-coat such actions as land theft, genocide, torture and wars for resources and geo-political advantage is unforgivable in my opinion. she doesn’t think columbus was a great man, we don’t celebrate thanksgiving because we know it has been white-washed (literally). we learn american history from howard zinn’s “people’s history of the united states” and things like oliver stone’s new 10 part series about america’s history from world war II to recent years. our current events lessons involve talking about american imperialism and the role it has played in death, war and destruction around the globe.

so today, when i read the news on one of my twitter feeds (that’s right….we don’t have television) i had yet another reason to be glad that i am able to teach my child at home. pretty sure no one’s gonna break in our front door with rifles and start shooting.

but the events of the day fit in well with the lessons we had been engaged in. because we began exploring other aspects of conditioning, about the effects of a culture that glorifies war and violence, not only through the actions justified by our government’s foreign policy, but also by violence that is portrayed in the movies and even video games. we talked about the fact that these things, coupled with an insane gun control policy (i.e. the lack of control) most certainly play a part in the horror-show happening that was america’s most latest wake-up call.

and we hugged…alot!
she was saddened and angry, all at the same time.
i felt a twinge of real fear…anxiousness at our doomed culture, worried about the future.

i’m getting close to 60 years old. i wont always be around to protect this beautiful child. i can help her to raise power in her own right by teaching her to reject the conditioning of this culture in decline, giving her the tools to see through attempts at mind-control via media,and encouraging her to stand for what is right not just what is popular. i can to a certain degree keep her safe for this briefest stretch of her life, these first couple of decades but i can’t make her bullet proof.

hopefully humankind’s better angels will one day prevail and set aside all the evils have plagued civilisation since we began settling into agricultural society.

hopefully. but i’m not holding my breath.

the 21st of december, according to the mayan calendar, is the beginning of a new cycle. the birth of the fifth world…best case scenario, we human beings turn over a new leaf, make things better for the whole of the world and really start being human!

so what’s it gonna be? new world? or more newtowns!

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A line in the sand drawn with a chicken beak

because it ISN’T just about ONE man’s words…it is about people lining up to ‘appreciate’ the culture of inequality and hate that are symbolised by this man’s words….people lining up to support denial of civil rights to a group of people…no different than people lining up to support white only restaurants a few decades ago.

a kiss in is a good response, but more than that a boycott by all queer and queer-friendly people…by pflag, by every lgbt person in america.

it will probably be more healthy for us in the long run. but it might hit this asshole and his hate sponsors (of the chick-fil-a franchises) where it hurts…in the wallet!

read on

A line in the sand drawn with a chicken beak.


surf’s up

yesterday i posted two things on this blog.
one was a video of a transgender girl named jazz, whose story on a barbara walters special in 2007 started me on a path of research and understanding for my own transgender child. jazz’s story is a positive one; one that has encouraged me and given me hope.

the second thing i blogged about yesterday was the death of my friend and canine companion, benji. it was such a sad post that my daughter, who usually likes me to read her what i write on this blog, said “i’m glad that was a short poem, mom…it was making me sad.

life is like that.
it has those moments that bless us with hope and happiness and those that touch us to loss and sorrow. like the waves on the ocean that rise and fall, just so, our lives have their own waves. they buoy us up one minute, then wash over us the next, til it feels we might even drown.

altho this is completely normal, there are corporations that try to profit off our moods by convincing us we need to buy their latest product to be always feeling our best. big pharma, with its tentacles in every corner tell us that the natural lows are depression, and need to be medicated. the waves we experience are called ‘bi-polar disease’. but not to worry, there’s a drug for that.

children being children are diagnosed adhd and medicated to make the classroom tolerable for the teachers, and yesterday i read an article about the higher than usual percentage of foster kids that are on ‘something’ or the other, as a way to chemically restrain them. the article was about floriduh (intentional misspelling) but it goes on all over the place. and of course, nursing homes are excellent examples of the use of big pharma’s wares as a way to make their residents a more controlled population.

but life is ups and downs.
it is feeling, experiencing, processing and learning.
how can we grow our hearts if we shy away from these offerings, these boons, turning instead to a drug to dull our senses? how do we begin to know our innermost self if we are frightened to embrace our emotions? how will we ever learn to like ourselves if we are always accepting the message of corporate driven media telling us that we must be younger, thinner, cooler, richer?

the metaphor of a surfer comes to mind as i ponder my own ups and downs, the waves that course my own seas. with my back to the oncoming swells i ride them to their zenith then plunge down their depths to shoot the curl, and let the waves carry me, then wash over me and bring me closer to my own shore.

i am not sad today.
benji died, everything that lives dies.
i have said the same goodbyes to friends, lovers and elders.
someday, folk will be saying goodbye to me.

but death is only one small part of life.
its bittersweet taste becomes lost in the next ecstasy.
without valleys, no mountains.
without waves, what would the ocean be?