Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…


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vested interests

been doing a lot of reading of all things transgender in the past few weeks.

there’s the case of the trans-woman jailed for murder having the state pony up for the appropriate treatment for her medical condition…boy, did this one stir up a powder keg online!

there was a blogger who declared that no lables are good…that using them segregates us as a community.

there was a woman who declared that she didn’t feel the need to have gender reassignment surgery to be the woman she is…what lies between the thighs doesn’t negate her womanhood.

there was a commentor on an article who claimed that there’s no such thing as cis-gender privelege, but the same person also didn’t think transgender people were ‘real’…just weird and confused.

there were a couple of reports and articles about transgender women being attacked by straight males, which brought up the whole issue of a little thing called ‘disclosure’ or ‘rules of engagement’ which ended up going to that familiar “she had it coming”, ‘blame the victim’ philosophy heretofore used by rape apologists.

on a support site i visit, usually lurking and reading but not posting too much, there have been instances of endocrinologists refusing to treat transgender children…in the middle of testosterone protocol.

there were cases i read of people fighting the school system to win the right for their trans-children to be called by their affirmed name, referred to in the proper pronouns and use the bathroom which is true to their gender identity.

as i read these various stories, i always have an opinion…something that perhaps is common to the human condition, having opinions i mean. and tho i surely have strong opinions about a number of issues, few of them are are held as adamantly, as those i bear for issues about transgender people. (that ‘mother bear’ thing again)

not for nothing, even before realising i am raising a transgender girl i had strong opinions about issues regarding trans-folk, having stood up for these, my sisters and brothers, on numerous occasions when their ‘validity’ as whom they believe themselves to be was held to scrutiny by others in the lgbt community. (prescient perhaps?)

but even tho in the past i had ‘strong opinions’ about their right to self-identification and self-determination, the plight of transgender people in general was usually out of sight and out of mind.

not anymore! my opinions are fierce these days!

of course the murderer spending the rest of her natural life in prison deserves to have the state pay for necessary medical treatment, just as the state pays for bi-pass surgery for murderer’s or daily doses of insulin. there should be no doubt that this person has the same right to gender reassignment surgery. damn it!

labels? yes, they are certainly used by some to drive a wedge between groups of people. but to others they are proudly worn! signifying who they are now and what they’ve gone through to be here. every label that can be placed upon me i wear and own, reclaim and redefine until they are no longer the labels put on me by others, but designed and embraced by myself to state my truth to the world. my daughter is glad of the fact that there is a word for her, one that separates her life-experience from those of other little girls: she’s proudly transgender.

the transgender folk who don’t feel surgery is necessary? more power to them! and how dare anyone try to tell them that they must go ‘all the way’ or they are somehow ‘less’ their affirmed gender! at times i wish that ziona didn’t feel so strongly about ridding herself of the “boy part”. she is every bit a girl to me even tho it still is there, but she will never feel right until the surgery is done. more power to her too!

as to non-disclosure being used to justify attacks against transgender people? i’m as outraged about this as i am when i hear ‘she was dressed like a hooker’ justifications of rape where the victim is likewise blamed for the evil that is done to her. what exactly must my daughter disclose? when? and why? she has been a girl all her life! the fact that she had to have surgery to undo a birth-defect is no more necessary to disclose, in my mind, than a person having surgery to mend a cleft palatte or remove a nasty mole, or colon polyp. and were there no stigma attached to a person’s choice of sexual partner, partners or the genders thereof, it wouldn’t matter in the least that one disclose who they were at birth. it’s outrageous!

primary care physicians, pediatric endocrinologists and school personel who are ignorant of the fact of transgender children, and the attending proscibed protocols and standards of care should be made to go back to school and catch up! they should not be allowed to bail on their patients or students! i think doctors actually recite a rather beautiful oath that would preclude them doing so. as for the public and private school systems, well, i’ll just say that i am grateful everyday that we don’t have to use them…that i can stay home during the day and teach my own child, with my own values, and that her ‘socialisation’ doesn’t include being bullied by other children, but rather sharing fun with the few friends that she enjoys.

i guess i’m much more strident in my opinions these days, much more likely to express them too! i have a vested interest in the world changing for the better…my daughter will have to live there!

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you say tomato, i say….

recently, at a forum to which i belong for parents of transgender kids, there has been a flurry of threads concerning ‘sensitivities’, sensory integration disorder, ocd and autism. being the parent of a child who is autistic and transgender, and experiences these things, my curiosity was piqued. i wanted to read what these other parents had to say. even more so, since i have read research that indicates a co-morbidity between autism and gender identity issues: research that has shown that children with autism present with gender identity dysphoria at a rate that is 10 times higher than that of the neuro-typical population.

autism is known to have some genetic components. identical twin studies and familial clusters of the condition have shown this to be true. a number of genes are suspected to play a role in this, tho none have been proven beyond a shadow of a doubt to be the culprit. gender identity dysphoria occurs at a rate that suggests a genetic component as well. and perhaps the higher ratio of autistic people who are also transgender being researched more intently will yield answers as to the underlying causes of both. who knows?

that being said, classifications of autism and gender identity dysphoria have both been in the news lately, because of controversy over how to present them in the brand spanking new DSM 5. on the one hand, the guidelines for an autism diagnosis are being refurbished, badly…in ways that would exclude the diagnosis for some who are now covered by it.
from personal experience with the american health system, i know how this can affect services approved by medi-caid, and probably other insurers. conversely, the very name used to describe transgender people makes the condition a mental pathology, which is not only an inaccuracy, but an open invitation for the system and the society to demonise folk for what will likely in the future be conclusively proven to be a medical condition, as it is even now considered to be, by cutting edge experts.

classification can be tricky. linaeus’ system for classification of life forms, for example, was very useful, and is in use to this day. altho with a few updates. but separating creatures into kingdom, phylum, family, genus and species could never have told us that two of the primates in the animal kingdom, humans and chimpanzees, share all but 2% of their dna…phenotypically we are drastically different, but on a genetic level, sooooo close!

some of the parents posting threads in the above mentioned forum seemed to equate autism with inability to speak, or with severe mental deficits. they took issue with others who mentioned that sensory integration disorder and ocd are often associated with autism. for some of the parents only the ‘rain-man’ level of ability constituted autism.

but autism is a spectrum disorder. there are those who are at the lower functioning end of the scale, those at the higher functioning end of the scale and a thousand shades between the two extremes. just as there are varying degrees of gender identity dysphoria. ( altho, i would argue that for ziona she has body part dysphoria, she is fine with her gender identity of being a girl…she’s uncomfortable with the body parts that belong to a boy.)

when trying to classify things there is often a tendency to use either too fine or too broad a brush. straining at a gnat to define who is or isn’t autistic overlooks those who don’t fit the assigned pattern and can result in reduced benefits. broadly stating that anyone whose body doesn’t align with their gender identity is mentally ill results in further stigmatisation in a society where there is quite enough of that already (thank you very much), and furthermore is simply untrue.

neither is it merely a case of you say tomato, i say tomahto.
some quidelines may be necessary in order to create benefit and opportunity, but none should ever be instituted that might rob the person defined thereby of these.


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Time to Refine the ‘Transgender’ Label

i found this article very interesting.
mainly because my own daughter doesn’t really relate to the ‘transgender’ label…
in her mind she’s just a girl…whose body needs some serious tending to in order to
reveal that fact.

Time to Refine the ‘Transgender’ Label.


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thoughts on butch

this morning i treated myself to reading the various entries for the ‘butch symposium’ that were posted at lesbian neurotica.

i say treated because whenever i avail myself of the opportunity to expand my awareness it is like dark imported chocolate and merlot on a moonlit night.

expanded awareness into the realms in which one is a stranger isoften a tenuous one tho.

perhaps one can only truly understand butch from the inside.

folk, even my own lovers, have accused me (sorry about the word choice here) or perhaps flattered me by labeling me butch. an assignation that truly befuddled me.

were they responding to the outward appearance
clothing:
pants (because having legs bare up to there just seems wrong   so no dresses.)

and baggy ones at that (because it is easier to move)

shoes, probably ugly (if i knew what that means_to me they’re comfy)

hair often very, very short…(who wants the bother of combing           and styling, keeping it out of the face.)
mannerisms:
no affectation of what are allegedly feminine wiles. (who has time for them?    even if i knew what they are…)

no fear of spiders, snakes etc.

no swaying hipped walking

hands often in pockets

no make-up obsession (my face looks fine thanks, but on occasion i do carnival   type face-painting or during high rituals).

based solely upon such externals the term ‘butch’ has been applied to me.

but upon reading the entries from all the beautiful butches and those who know and love them, i come away with a much clearer idea of why the label, applied to me, isn’t quite right.
i am only queer.

a fifty five years young queer person raising her transgender adopted child.

i am one who dresses and behaves in ways that are most comfortable and natural to me.

one whose desires transcend gender where relationships are concerned.

this description falls far short of the title of ‘butch’.

reading the posts to the symposium has given me insights into the insides of butch people.

my world is richer for having read them.

and i have a new and improved knowledge of those in my world who are butch-identified.

.
anyone who reads me and is curious about this discussion, go to

http://lesbianneurotica.wordpress.com/2010/12/18/butch-identity-a-little-catchup-ketchup/


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check the boxes that apply


lately labels have been a source of musing for me…
especially ones that tend to bring up certain pre-conceived images or notions about the ‘group’ labeled.

a recent blog request for submissions about ‘butch’ caused the re-emergence of this trend of thought for me.

my favorite word to describe myself is ‘queer’.
that seems to take it all into account.
not just my sexual tendencies which being bi might nicely fit into an “all of the above” category…but with regard to almost every aspect of my being. from choice of dress, to mannerisms (or lack of manners) to lifestyle and philosophy of life.

the word ‘queer’ has come to mean something different through the years to various folk.

the american heritage dictionary definition goes along the usual lines
…odd, unconventional, deviating from the expected or norm…

.(i also like to proclaim myself a deviant)

reclaiming words can be very powerful. the word dyke which is often intended as a slight is a source of great pride to many women. i only aspire to being as lofty as a true dyke!


the word queer,  times past meant only strange, or eccentric then came to be used to put down homosexuals…but now we chant “we’re here!~we’re queer!~get used to it!”


it’s powerful to own the sticks and stones once lobbed at us to our injury, and use them instead to define ourselves on our terms.

the word ‘queer’, like so many words in the english language, can be traced to indo-european, through the germanic languages from there.

having majored in linquistics once upon a time and still maintaining a healthy interest in etymological roots of words (entymologists are the buggy ones) a favorite hobby of mine is to read the dictionary…to discover the furthest known root of a word
and what it meant at the time.

for queer it is traced to a root that meant to turn, or turn away, or around. that seems apropos… the same root gave rise to torque, torticullis, torch…and other twisted things.

other interesting word roots to check out to their furthest known use are the ones that over time morphed into the words love and friend…

i’ll give you a hint,
love = freedom
friend = loved one.

reading antique dictionaries, from over a hundred years ago is also illuminating.


for example, the word ‘slut’ used to describe a man with no visible means of support, – a bum…it is short for slatternly…or slattern. it was never thrown out to disparage a woman.

much of the zeitgeist of an era, or the culture of a people can be gleened simply by becoming familiar with the true meanings of words used…

wonder what generations to come will make of us from our language

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