Pasupatidasi's Blog

thoughts, poetry, life as it is…

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The Queer Community Has to Stop Being Transphobic: Realizing My Cisgender Privilege

another gem of a post that i discovered at a wonderful blogger i follow…

altho it links to the huffington post article, this and many others i have first stumbled across by subscribing to this blog…

in honor of that and in order to share my first source, enjoy:

The Queer Community Has to Stop Being Transphobic: Realizing My Cisgender Privilege.

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my heroes: the supportive parents of trans-children

this article is reblogged from a site in cyberspace that i frequent for the awesome articles dealing with issues of importance to the lgbtqi (did i get them all?) community.

the articles at “the serpent” never disappoint and have helped me to help my beautiful 10 year old trans-daughter.

if knowledge is power (and it is) then sites like these and bloggers like the ones who submit their articles therein, are the juice…the batteries…the jumpstart as it were, generating that power.

raising awareness is raising power. they are my heroes.

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rites of passing vs rights of personhood

there are alot of words that have specific meaning to those who are transgender. like ‘passing’ and ‘disclosure’. i dislike both of these words. as the parent of a transgender daughter, and the long time friend to a couple of transwomen, the import and impact of these words is clear to me.

passing means being judged to be ‘feminine’ enough in appearance to have some modicum of acceptance as female. unfortunately, this ‘modicum’ is not the same as real acceptance as a woman, but only a grudging allowance that one looks ‘good enough’ to be deemed feminine.

the rites of passing for transgender women are very detailed. there must be a ‘feminine’ voice, no visible ‘adam’s apple’, a feminine walk and poise, make-up and clothing. in addition, in order to be thought ‘passing’ validation must be awarded by the cis-gender, male-dominated societal norms that dictate and oppress cis-gender women as well.

the rituals and necessities to achieve ‘feminine appearance’ are time-consuming and expensive. as every cis-woman knows, in order to be deemed ‘feminine’ the body must be ridded of hair, smooth as a pre-pubescent girl. one must attend to details such as applying mascara and lipstick, and learn to negotiate one’s surroundings in shoes that are uncomfortable and unhealthy, while donning ‘appropriate’ gender-specific attire. i wont go into all the particulars of poise and composure here, as i presume that my readers are familiar with western patriarchal paradigms for acceptible female behaviour and appearance.

for transgender women all these rituals must be accomplished without the slightest error in order to be judged by others as ‘passing’. and then, should a girl be particularly good at ‘passing’, she had better also be very good at knowing the unwritten rules about disclosure, lest she be deemed ‘deceitful’ or blamed for her own attack or rape. in other words ‘passing’ results in responsibility to ‘disclose’. but not ‘passing’ is unacceptable…it’s a trap either way.

as a cis-woman, despite my unconventional appearance, my non-traditional way of dressing, my habit of neither shaving my body hair nor applying make-up, i ‘pass’. there’s no judgment of my personhood as a woman, although it may be decided that i’m not ‘feminine’. a transgender woman who affected a similar self-expression would not be considered ‘passing’, would be denied personhood on her terms and not accepted as a woman.

the terms masculine and feminine are by-products of a binary mindset. they are the result of a long history of patriarchal values imposed upon society. they say much about what the dominant culture thinks of women and their place in relation to men but do little to define actual persons. they are masks given each to wear dependent upon one’s genital presentation at birth. terms such as these are meant to put us each in our place, in much the same way that other assignations lock one into their proper ‘class’ or race.

where in all of this can the ‘rights of personhood’ be found? how can it be that in the 21st century society is fraught with ways by which it can deny self-definition and self-determination to its members? how can we begin to extend rights of personhood when there is so much of judgment and reluctance to accept what is deemed as ‘strange’ or ‘other than’.

the vice-president recently made comments that subject of ‘transgender rights’ is the civil rights issue of today. no doubt this is true, because whereas lgbt rights movements have made many gains for the other folk represented by the letters of that acronym, the T folk continue to struggle for the most basic rights of personhood.

i have no answers.

my daughter doesn’t seem to be anymore interested in wearing make-up or jewelry than am i. she doesn’t like to wear frilly attire, isn’t afraid of spiders and wants to marry a woman someday. i would like to imagine a world wherein she wont be denied her right to personhood simply because she rejects (as do i) the parameters of what it means to be feminine, a world wherein ‘rites of passing’ are inconsequential to her being accepted as the girl she’s always been.

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Chicago’s first transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex pride

how beautiful!
and i believe necessary for transgender, gender variant folk to have their own acronym! because it isn’t about sexual orientation after all, like the lgb part of the lgbt acronym is. (altho people like my daughter belong have a part in the sexual orientation, the L)…it is about who they are NOT who they love!

so excited about this…and such nice videos and photos! click the link

Chicago's first transgender, gender non-conforming and intersex pride.


look to the lizards

on my front porch are many different life-forms. some animal, some plant, even some fungi! among the animal kingdom residents are anole lizards. these lovely little green lizards, besides ridding my grapevines and other plants of nasty little insects, offer hours of entertainment watching them.

they manoeuvere the tangle of grapevine branches, leaping from leaf to leaf with all the ease of a marvel superhero at once astounding and comical. their swiftness when lashing out to capture a fly or other insect that dared be in the proximity is amazing.
the males bloat their brightly colored throat pouches whilst showing off their prowess with a serious of push-ups. the females put on their most aloof attitude, glance at them, then scurry away. whether for pleasure or pure necessity these creatures loll around, basking in the sun without a care in the world. or so it seems.

actually, they do have a few worries. – predators! – for which reason they have evolved a most effective weapon.- hiding.

while perching upon the broad grape leaves, they are the beautiful green color normally associated with their species. while resting on a branch of my red,ornamental japanese maple they assume a dull henna color, and clinging to the privacy fence that surrounds my yard, while in the shade while taking a breather before moving on, they attempt to mimic the reddish-brown color it appears in shadows. a more lovely grey i’ve not seen!

in the human world there are predators, so people have their own camouflage too. especially people who are different. like i was, like ziona is.

as a bi-sexual woman my gayer sisters and brothers in the community often accused me of being a chameleon. of having it easier because i could blend in if i wanted to. in reality, my sexual preference only served to make me misunderstood in both worlds, gay and straight.

transsexual women who “pass” easily are often hated. those who don’t are hated as well. ziona may never have to disguise the ravages of testosterone since she will have never suffered its effects, but she realises, even at this young age, that she may have to hide some facts of her life-story from the world at large and will have to share these same facts with the women to whom she is attracted, before becoming intimate with them.

it’s wise of her to already know these things, to understand that in our society there are predators, and therefore reasons to hide. like our front-porch denizens many of us can bask in the open light of day only with risk of peril. our predators are the reason we feel the need to hide, to change color and melt into the background at times. still the so-called normal world takes this survival technique as evidence of shame.

we are not ashamed! but we will not be victimised by those whose ethics and values, falsely so-named, allow for predating upon us. if we seem to hide, it is only because we well know how to spot the shadow of a vulture passing overhead. like my lizards.

i hope for a tomorrow that has grown in compassion, understanding and tolerance. a bright world where being who we are, whatever that is, doesn’t mean risking our lives. but until then, i look to the lizards…they seem happy enough, and they survive!


do you feel safe?

it’s a simple question, right?

last week was one of the rare occasions that my body has need of a visit to my doctor. he always jokes that it’s been too long (usually two years lapse between times when my lupus affects me enough to require attention. there was a new nurse taking my blood pressure, temperature and jotting notes in my chart about the ‘reason for the visit today’, when toward the end of her intake interview with me she posed the following question:

do you feel safe at home?

i must’ve looked suddenly plexxed but managed to sputter out a confused “yes”, then shaking my head slightly, trying to imagine what the heck that was, i interrupted her notations and asked her why she’d asked the question.

she explained that they ask all of their ‘senior’ patients the same question, especially the women.

two things came to mind. the first was, “wow! i’m old!”

at fifty-seven years old i don’t expect to be carded for buying alcohol or asked for i.d. to purchase smokes. my long wavy hair is a nice silver color and since i don’t wear any make-up, none of the lines that crease my face are camoflauged. still, i’m not fragile in appearance. i smiled inwardly and felt proud that i’ve lived long enough to be recognised as a senior…an elder!

after all, i had a horribly misspent youth which included illicit substance abuse,opiates, intravenous even; a habit which haunts me to this day not because i’ve still any desire for heroin, but because i managed to contract hepatitus C as a result. truth be said, i never thought i’d live to see my hoary-haired golden years!

the nurse, as an addendum to her explanation that they ask all seniors that question asked if there was anyone else (besides my daughter and i) residing in the home. i knew without asking that this question, coming immediately on the heels of the ‘do you feel safe at home’. it was intended to suss out whether there was domestic abuse that might not be disclosed.

at this point, i answered her that it was only myself and zeeona. then i asked her if anyone ever answered the question ‘do you feel safe at home’ with a “no”.

she looked at me and said, “not even when they should.” a hint of regret in her tone.

after she left placing my file on the door, alone with my thoughts while waiting for the doctor, it occurred to me that there are many instances in which we of this ‘modern’ world don’t feel safe. that this is more true of lgbt and especially true of transgender children or youths.

not only do transgender people have to suffer the oppression of a society that really affords them no place, they must worry about discrimination, ostracism, assault and rape. tho some may feel safe at home, there’s a good chance that there are few other places where that can be said.

i have mentioned before that my friends who transitioned late in life, didn’t just wake up one day and decide that they were transgender, but rather lived with the knowledge of who they were and necessarily hid it from others. from their earliest childhood memories, they have felt fearful of revealing who they are, even or maybe especially ‘at home’.
they knew, either by trial and error, that certain sorts of behaviour wouldn’t be tolerated, that certain ‘notions’ had best not be spoken of.

a good friend of mine suffered beatings at an early age at the hands of his father, when he discovered his ‘son’ playing dress-up with his sister’s clothes. this friend knew he should’ve been a girl, but accepted that perhaps he was gay instead. neither option was allowed by his father, or even siblings. my friend was beaten either way. and disowned by his family.

did she feel safe at home?

there are many young trans people today who don’t ‘feel safe’ at home, whose parents wont support them and often disown them. these minors, not empowered to seek their own therapeutic remedy through the system, which requires parental consent for such things as hormonal treatments must often get black-market supplies. a dangerous alternative at times. many young trans people find themselves either ‘thrown out’ on the streets or running away from home because they don’t ‘feel safe’ there.

it seems to me of paramount importance that one feel safe at home. i’m not alone in this, and i know this is true because there so many more children these days that feel confident enough in the love of the people in their life, comfortable enough ‘at home’, to declare who they are. a generation ago not nearly as many transgender children were apparent, were out in the open. but if those who have only just transitioned as middle-aged adults are any indication, we can assume that there might well have been as many transgender children then, just terrified ones, ones scared out of believing in themselves, ones who waited until the could ‘feel safe’, to follow their own truth.

it’s a simple question…a good question…one that should be asked more frequently perhaps.

do you feel safe at home?


very inspiring blogger

it’s an honor just to be nominated (eyes tear up, sniffs)

so, in keeping with the way of the game…seven things about me, followed by seven bloggers who i nominate.

in lieu of a list of seven things, i offer this summary.

who i am
i cannot say.
it wouldn’t matter
less of nows,
than yesterday.
less tomorrows
than today.

and even i
don’t realize
how much of me
is alibis,
or blatant lies,
masquerade or

nor can i
pretend to know
(outside of how
i come and go
or memories
i tend to grow)
just what of me
is me to show.

so who i am
i’ll simply be
and ’til i solve
the mystery
of just what is
and isn’t me
i pray for authenticity
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does stealth = shame?

does stealth equal shame?
this point is moot where my daughter is concerned.

before i realized how badly she needed to live as
the girl she is, zeeona felt compelled to tell folk
who saw her as a boy, (she had short hair, didn’t wear
dresses) that she wasn’t really a boy. she called it
‘her secret’ but didn’t keep the secret very well.

one day, at the opening of a new lgbt community center
in a nearby town, the local tv news wanted to interview
me. because i am a queer woman who has adopted a child,
and the laws against this in our state had recently been

altho i had adopted zee long before moving to florida, i
agreed to speak on camera about my feelings and thoughts
since the repeal.

zeeona had already been living as a girl at this point,
and identified very much with this community of lgbt
people. she even initiated conversations with some of the
folk who were there about the fact that she wasn’t just
the adoptive child of a queer parent, that this was her
community in her own right as well.

i feared that the reporters would hear this and want to
interview us further about this other twist. it wasn’t
that i was ashamed, it was something else that i couldn’t
quite put my finger on.

fast forward a year, and once again because of a totally
different sort of news story, we find ourselves being
interviewed on camera for a tv story. it was one about the
toll of foreclosures on neighborhoods becoming veritable
ghost towns, with banks not taking responsibility for empty
property upkeep, and so many vacant homes.

zeeona drew me down to her and whispered in my ear that she
wanted to tell the newscaster about her “secret”. once
again i felt that uneasiness i’d felt at the lgbt community
center’s grand opening.

i told her that this story was about something else.

it isn’t that i have ever felt the slightest inkling of re-
gret for allowing my daughter to be who she is. it isn’t
that i have ever felt that her being transgender is a cause
for shame. it isn’t that i felt that the information is not
hers to share. or that the subject is too private for sharing
with others.

it was all about my fear that in this homophobic, transphobic
judgemental society the repercussions of this admission had
far more consequence than a young child could comprehend.

lately, especially since the high profile transitioning of
chaz bono, i have wondered about just how much more damaging
being stealth can be.

there can be no doubt whatsoever that in order for society to
come around, there must be exposure to the things it judges
and fears. the refusal of closets and subsequent visibilty of
the gay, lesbian and bisexual community has done much to win
long sought after rights and respect. quite probably then, a
similar time for visibility and pride need occur with regard
to trans-people in order for injustices to be identified and
turned back.

in the queer community, there were always some who felt the
need for privacy as regards whom they chose for love and sex
partners. after all, what business is it of anyone else? do
heterosexual people have to declare themselves?

but there were far more of us that felt that the dominant
cultural paradigm had to be openly challenged if we were ever
to attain equal standing within society. that it was unfair
that blatant display of heterosexual love and intimacy was
okay but to walk down the street hand in hand with our lovers
was not.

i would never presume to tell the transgender community
that it perpetuates prejudice against them to be ‘stealth’,
that “secret” often translates “shame” in the minds of
“normal” society. because this allegedly normal society has
few qualms about discriminating against any and all that run
contrary to their established rules. just look at ‘dont ask –
dont tell’ or ‘defense of marriage’ legislation for proof of
this well known tendency.

but can i continue to tell zeeona when it is okay for her to
share ‘her story’? where does my protecting her against an
irrational society end? does my protection translate as shame
in her young mind? dare i impose my fears upon her young mind
by letting her know the horror stories of hate-crimes, of
things such as ostracism and discrimination?

she’s only eight!!!
so how can she make the decision to not to be “stealth” when
she’s scarcely old enough to understand the repercussions?

as with most things concerning her well-being and safety, i
find myself walking a tightrope between supporting her and
shielding her. tho as i said earlier, the stealth controversy
is a moot point with her. she has no hesitance to declare that
she is transgender.

so no matter what i feel, no matter my justified fears or my
feelings that society needs to be awakened to the presence of
people who are ‘other than’ in their midst, this is her story,
not mine, to tell or not to tell.

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brave new world? – NOT!!

this article infuriated me on a number of levels.
the most glaring of these was the cis minded supposing to know what gender might be! of course, the ‘gender’ to which the article refers, is the XX vs XY natal sex.

the second most disturbing thing about the article is that a not-to-subtle trend toward eugenics, albeit ever-so scientific and progressive! facts remain that in many cultures infanticide for a first born XX newborn is understandable. in our own culture certain disorders, like down’s syndrome (or even autism) among many for which a screening might be available, might mean that beautiful children like my own gender-variant, “high-functioning person with autism” daughter might be scarser since one could simply terminate the pregnancy.

in many respects the ability to ‘select’ for the absence of certain disorders seems appropriate, even compassionate in the event the disorder would mean undo hardships financially and otherwise. or perhaps a parent ‘knows’ they couldn’t rise to the occasion of raising a ‘special’ child.

but where does it end? where’s the line in the sand? who gets to decide the parameters? do we begin to create a future like the one envisioned by mr. hitler of pale skinned, blonde, blue eyed offsprings with NO abmormalities? and what outcomes might we alter for our shared futures just because we can? who is wise to play god?

the point was made in the article for knowing the XX or XY-ness of the fetus in order to prevent things like turner’s syndrome or ducheyne disease. but one of my lovers had turner’s syndrome, she was beautiful, creative, intelligent and my life was fuller for having known her. this article seems to allow for her not to have been born. and altho there are indeed other diseases that are either XX or XY expressed, there are many examples of folk born with some of these disorders who lead productive and socially full lives, members of the same society as those whose ‘genes’ would not have given pause to consider termination.

but the real outrage is that it purports that the XX or XY-ness of a baby is indication of gender. because the natal gender of my beautiful daughter is XY, the article was flawed from the outset.

how could gender binary mindsets be so strong today? when there are so many people living their gender variant lives? how can gender be seen as black or white? when clearly that isn’t true, there are intersex children born as a testimony that gender is beyond the binary even in terms of the strict physical sense. and with functional mri scans exhibiting an actual variance in the way transgender folk think, in this the 21st century, how can such a black and white system continue to be used.

and then there’s this problem: who among humankind can claim the wisdom to know which ‘traits’ should be encouraged and which disposed of? in the event that a gay or transgender gene should be definitely identifiable, would our society suddenly find itself without great poets, writers, scientists, philosophers, philanthropist? how many buddha or jesuses would make the cut?

my daughter has autism, is an XY natal transgender girl, she has neurological deficits, and many anomalies as regards her genetic profile, including a transfer of genetic material between the third and fourth chromosomes. she has intermittent seizures and an often pre-cancerous condition of the bowel called juvenile polyposis coli. all this, and yet my life is only blessed by her!

so how can i feel good about a scientific discovery that might lead to fewer of people like her?