Friday, February 28, 2014

Passed with Flying Colors

I spent last week on a wonderful ski trip with Bradley and 20+ members of his family. I passed three crucial tests:

1. I missed my spouse.
This sounds like a no-brainer and I knew that I would miss Jake. It was the longest we'd been a part in over a decade. However, Jake wanted confirmation that I actually still need zir* and that Bradley and I wouldn't default into a happy-hetero-normative-monogamish-twosome given the chance. I missed Jake worse every day (we wound up talking for two hours/day by the end of the week!), and Bradley missed zir too.

2. My boyfriend and I can spend a week together without driving each other crazy. 
Bradley and I were practically joined at the hip for eight days, but we didn't get on each other's nerves one bit. Not even during a fifteen hour travel day following zero hours of sleep. We spent a lot of time gazing googley eyed and dreamily at each other while professing our love. Sappy but true.

3. I get along with my boyfriend's family.
I adore Bradley's whole huge boisterous family. I was grateful that they warmly welcomed me, even though I'm a (gasp!) married woman. Bradley had given everyone the scoop on Jake's transition and our poly lifestyle, so I could show up and be myself without worrying about hiding anything. Bradley was the one who brought up Jake in almost every conversation.

It's official: This triad is solid!

*I am experimenting with gender neutral pronouns, because I don't know what to call my spouse anymore and ze hasn't expressed a preference. It was simple when Jake was either presenting as a man or a woman, but now ze is almost perfectly between genders: a woman hormonally, wearing guy-ish clothes, with androgynous hair and makeup. Ze prefers going by Jake, unless ze is super femmed out or hanging out with a specific group of trans friends who know her as Jasmine. It would be easy enough to stick with "him, my husband" when using the name Jake, but that just feels wrong now. She is my wife.

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Round-Up of Awesomeness- February Edition

Stuff from the Interwebs that made me smile this month:

Janet Rocks the Colbert Report
I love Colbert and I can't wait to read Janet Mock's memoir, Redefining Realness. Her Colbert Report interview was delightful.

Sex at Dawn TED Talk
If you like the premise of Sex at Dawn but have trouble slogging through the book, this 14-minute Christopher Ryan TED Talk is for you.

Beyond Women Laughing Alone with Salad
Whether you're a Sheryl Sandberg fan or critic, you gotta appreciate that LeanIn.org is partnering with Getty Images to create a collection of stock photography that better represents women.

Trans-Friendly Bathroom App
The ability to pee safely is one of the many cisgender privileges that I took for granted before my spouse came out as transgender. Refuge Restrooms is a new bathroom finder app.

And Baby Makes 4
B.C. has a new law allowing three or more parents on a birth certificate. This poly news blog has the story, along with a compilation of recent similar legislation in the U.S.

Ethically Slutty Videos
The Ethical Slut changed. my. life. I'm looking forward to watching the new web-series with my polycule.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Out

From Left to Right: Me, My Husband Jake/Wife Jasmine in "Girl Mode", My Boyfriend Bradley
  
I am posting a photo of my happy little poly family, to celebrate the relief of coming out to almost all the key people in our lives. There are still a few folks left to tell, but Bradley and I have met each other's immediate families, and the three of us have even been to a work-related function together. We're pretty darn out now.
 
It feels liberating to live openly and authentically, with no shame for our alternative lifestyle. When we're in public, we don't hold back our affections or hush our voices when talking about poly or trans issues (we're lucky to live in a safely liberal area). This is our life, and we're going to live it.


Sunday, February 23, 2014

BlogHer Here I Come!

I registered for my first blogging conference, BlogHer '14, which happens to be in my neck of the woods this year. Let me know if you're attending, so we can meet up in person! Early bird pricing ends Feb 28.

Wednesday, February 12, 2014

But I Support You

My blog feed has been buzzing with commentary on Piers Morgan's insulting interview with trans author and advocate Janet Mock. Trans*forming Family posted a great roundup of the interviews and reactions, along with links to blog posts about how to be a true ally (not just say you're one): "On being a cisgender ally to the transgender community".

I've witnessed during Jake/Jasmine's transition that those who proclaim the most that they're supportive are actually the least supportive. If you're a genuine ally, you don't say it, you show it. If you find yourself repeatedly saying you're supportive, then perhaps your actions don't reflect your good intentions and you should ask:

  • What have I done to show my support, beyond just stating it?

  • Have I been declaring my support as a defense for behavior that my trans connection has labeled offensive or hurtful?

  • Do I know what my trans connection wants for support? Have I asked? If so, have I followed through on what they requested?

  • Have I been thinking about my trans connection's feelings and putting myself in their shoes, or have I been focusing on how I feel about their transition?

  • If I stop saying that I'm supportive, how will my trans connection know that I'm an ally?

Jasmine's supportive family members declared their support only once- when Jasmine first came out. Since then, they have demonstrated their support in simple ways such as asking for updates on name and pronoun preferences, engaging her respectfully in discussion about transition, forwarding her links to news and resources about trans issues, and generally treating her like a normal and accepted part of the family.

The family members who keep repeating "I support you" or worse- "But I support you," have refused to educate themselves in any way, make passive aggressive comments to negate Jasmine's progress, alternate between completely avoiding discussing transition and inquiring about genital surgery, and generally keep her at an awkward distance as they wallow in obvious denial and self-pity.

I asked Jasmine the last time I declared my support for her transition, and neither of us could remember. Sure, I say things like "Ohmygod your cooking is so orgasmically good; reason #250 why I'm never going to leave you!!" but I no longer make any overarching statements about how I'll stand by her side through transition. I don't need to. She knows because I bought her a necklace with "Jasmine" engraved for our wedding anniversary. She knows because I tell her she's beautiful, and I mean it. She knows because I'm proud to take her out and show her off when she's presenting as a woman. She knows because she can talk to me about everything she's feeling, and I listen and care. She knows because I read trans books and blogs and share what I've learned. She knows because I'm still here, treating her like the same precious spouse she's always been.

Monday, February 10, 2014

Non-Monogamy is Still Hard; Here's a Song About It

Since I'm new to poly, every milestone (the first time a partner falls in love with someone else, has sex with someone else, etc.) is a big adjustment for me. Intellectually I feel awesome, emotionally I feel shitty.

Left Brain: I am thrilled that you finally found a connection like the one I've been enjoying for the last 6 months. It's been so hard to see you lonely, I've been wanting this for you for a long time, and I couldn't be happier.

Right Brain: Nooooooo! WTF!!! %&#*!!!

Left Brain: High five! I want to celebrate with you and show my support. I want to throw a party.

Right Brain: I want to throw a tantrum.

Left Brain: I understand what this new connection means to you, and feel secure in our relationship.

Right Brain: Blah blah (rejection), blah blah (irrational insecurity), blah blah (animosity to new person), blah blah (crazy crazy).

I wish my left brain could knock out my right brain in this battle, but I've learned that I can't just intellectualize away my emotions. The best I can do is give my right brain time to feel, take a step back and try to get to the core of what's bothering me, talk about it, heal and move on.

The video below is a perfect representation of what I've been struggling with. Admission: This blog post is partially an excuse to introduce you to Bo Burnham, who I recently discovered. If you haven't seen his brilliant musical comedy, check out his hour special "what".

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Reason #107 Why I Love Polyamory

The sweet thrill of a kiss at the end of a good first date

The giddy post-kiss high as I walk back to my car

The instant urge to text an update to my partners to share my excitement

The overwhelming desire to go home and hold my partners tight, and shower them with affection

The liberation of knowing that even though I'm married, I can experience this beautiful first-kiss cycle over and over again


Conventional monogamous wisdom would have us believe that being excited about someone new automatically means being less excited about someone old. I've found the exact opposite to be true.

Titillating newness has the downside of uncertainly. After first meeting someone, everything is still unknown, from interest on either side to compatibility to what type of relationship might evolve (or not) from the connection. In sharp contrast, my existing relationships are comfortably stable and secure. I know that we love each other unconditionally, can count on each other, and have a future together if we just keep treating each other well a day at a time. In other words, making out with hot new guys makes me appreciate my existing relationships even more.

Poly gives me the best of both worlds- the intoxicating pleasure of new possibilities, and an ever-deepening gratitude for the established loves of my life.