Saturday, May 31, 2014

Round-Up of Awesomeness- May Edition

My favorite finds from the Interwebs this month:

TRANSGENDER AWARENESS


Laverne Cox on Time Magazine Cover
This is groundbreaking for transgender awareness. After being snubbed for Time's 100 Most Influential People list despite being one of the top voted candidates in the poll, Cox is on the June 9th cover, The Transgender Tipping Point

Ryland's Transition Story
An accepting family helps their young daughter become their son in this poignant video. Watch when you feel like having a good cry.

Agender Portraits
Young people who identify as neither male nor female

Upworthy Trans Spoken Word
Her mom wanted her to wear a dress to prom. Here's what she wanted to say but couldn't.

WOMEN SPEAK OUT


#YesAllWomen
A national conversation about misogyny erupted online after Elliot Rodger's killing spree in Santa Barbara. Within a few days over a million people posted tweets with the #YesAllWomen hashtag: Not all men harass women, but all women have been harassed by men.
Not all men are rapists, but all women are afraid of getting raped.
"Men are afraid that women will laugh at them. Women are afraid that men will kill them." (Margaret Atwood)
Men showed their unity with #AllMenCan
#YesAllWhiteWomen drew attention to the intersection of race and gender. When feminists site statistics about domestic violence and the wage gap, we should acknowledge that these are WAY worse for women of color.

Let's Talk About S-E-X to Kids
What if we admitted to children that sex is primarily about pleasure?

The Lizzie Project
At seventeen, Lizzie Velasquez found a YouTube video of herself entitled "The Ugliest Woman in the World," with four million views and comments urging her to kill herself. She has since become a motivational speaker and author. Her Kickstarter campaign The Lizzie Project successfully funded this month.

Re-Writing Stupid Sexist Headlines
The Vegenda hosts a contest to re-write sexist headlines

POLYAMORY


Were Christians Right About Gay Marriage All Along?
The Daily Beast on the Potential Rise of Non-Monogamy

Progressive Christian Debates Polyamory
John Shore started an inclusive dialogue about polyamory on his blog post Dancing cheek to cheek to cheek, and a number of polyamorists left comments defending the lifestyle. My dream is that one day we can stop debating monogamy versus polyamory all together, and everyone can just accept any loving, consenting relationship arrangements that make people happy.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Boy Fail

This story made my day:

The Woman Within: Are You Calling Me a Lady?

For trans people, there is nothing more validating than having a stranger address you by your real gender when you're not even presenting as such. There have been a couple times when my wife has gone out in guy-mode-- no make-up, masculine clothes (did I mention she's 6 feet tall?), and still been called "ma'am." This affirms the progress she's made with her transition. She no longer needs to dress hyper-feminine and try so hard to pass. She is simply acknowledged as a woman because she is one.

On second thought, after reading the above blog, there is something even more validating: when people who deny your true gender seem downright mentally unstable.

I heard a trans guy talk about how his mom insists on calling him by his female birth name. Given that he completely passes as a dude and everyone else uses his male name, his mom sounds ridiculous and crazy.

When Jake's mom said, "You'll always be my little guy," my sassy wife retorted, "Good luck with that when I show up with boobs and long hair."

Whenever someone in our trans circle of friends has a boy fail (everyone is about a year into transition), the whole group reads about in a text message or talks about it over dinner. The story usually has a tone of mortification due to an awkward social interaction, or just the shock of being publicly identified when trying to hide. Although we empathize with the discomfort, the reaction is always the same:

Congratulations!

Congratulations that your hormone therapy and agonizing hair removal treatments have paid off.

Congratulations that after tremendous anxiety about whether you will ever pass as a woman, you can longer pass as a man.

Congratulations that after a lifetime of repressing your gender identity, now people see the real you (whether you want them to or not).

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Thank You, Laverne Cox*

My wife says it's only her responsibility to educate one person a day.

By telling her story and explaining what it means to be transgender, my wife humanizes the trans experience and helps ignorant people become more understanding. Educating people is a self-serving necessity to gain the most basic respect and courtesy that cisgender people take for granted. It's also a noble endeavor to make the world a teeny tiny bit more trans-accepting, one person at a time.

And it gets exhausting.

I am grateful to trans celebrities like Laverne Cox who use their spotlight to spread positive awareness to millions more people than we can reach in our daily lives. I had the great pleasure of hearing Cox speak live at a university this month. Her presentation was part advocacy speech, part spoken-word memoir, and all fabulously dramatic and empowering. She said (I hope I'm quoting her accurately) that she strives to "amplify the voices of those who don't have a platform."

And for that-- thank you.

*My wifey, the ever-irreverent jokester, wanted me to title this blog post "Trans Girls Have the Best Cox."

Sunday, May 11, 2014

I love my mom!

Thank you for having the courage to share your blog with me.  I am happy for you that you are getting your sexual desires met, and doing it in a safe way.  You just didn't know what you were missing!  Great sex is mind blowing and a fantastic part of life!
Love,
Mom


That's the email my mother sent after I told her about my sex party adventures and forwarded a link to my blog. No matter how determined I am to NOT tell her something, whenever we get together, the intimate details of my life spill uncontrollably out of my mouth. I can't keep anything from that woman!

My mom is the single most kind and compassionate human being I've ever met. Her eyes well up with tears when she reads the daily newspaper. She has a keen ability to put herself in other's shoes and feel for their struggles. She passed on to me her capacity for empathy, and so I credit her with the ease at which I accepted my spouse's gender change.

I expected that my mom would be supportive when Jake came out as transgender, but I never dreamed that she would embrace my whole unconventional lifestyle. She says, "You guys are living outside the norm of what people are comfortable with, but you're still good people, you're not hurting anyone." She frequently checks in for updates on pronoun preferences, posts transgender articles to her Facebook page, and welcomed Bradley to the family when she met him.

My life changes the past year have shocked my mom; shaken her to the core and flipped her perspective upside down. Yet when she asks me questions about my choices, they are from a place of curiosity and a genuine desire to understand me, never from a place of judgment. There have been multiple occasions where she's looked like a deer in the headlights and said, "I'm going to need some time to adjust to this," but then she comes right back with the same unconditional love. I am floored by her open-mindedness.

My mom is also spunky and a truckload of fun:

"Hey mom, I'm coming by to grab some packages."
"What are they?"
"Um just some stuff from Amazon."
"Oh...?"
"Do you really want to know?"
"Of course!"
"Lingerie for me... And doctor's scrubs for Bradley." (I start giggling devilishly)
"Oh my! You two are having some fun."
"Yeah, we're too goofy to improvise role playing, so I'm going to write a script."
"Can I borrow it when you're done?"

Happy Mothers Day, Mom! I adore you.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

It's my birthday and I'll blog if I want to

Every birthday it's my highest priority to craft the ultimate day of relaxation-- dance class, massage, a good book, dinner with family, some kind of special dessert... It has to be perfect; no stress, no fuss. This is MY one day each year, and it's got to be the pinnacle of happiness.

For my 32nd birthday last week (coincidentally this is my 32nd blog post!), I didn't care about carving out a singularly flawless day. I didn't cry over having to miss my dance class and massage due to sinus problems. I didn't mind that I spent most of the day doing chores and running errands. I wasn't particular about the menu for my "Friendship is Magic" My Little Pony themed party (don't judge, I love kids stuff). I didn't feel a desperate need to make this one day special, because everyday is already enchanted.

I was recently explaining to a friend why this is the happiest I've been in my whole life:

"I was happy before Jake came out as trans, because we've always had an awesome marriage- we're great partners and best friends. Now on top of that happiness, I have this extra layer of fun and excitement from being madly in love with someone new. But it hasn't taken away anything from what I had before; all that deep love and stability is still there. I've just added another level of happiness to my happy foundation. And on top of that, we have the most loving and accepting group of trans and poly friends who have become our second family. It's like all these layers of love and joy that I couldn't even imagine were possible, and I'm blissed out all the time."

I don't need any presents this year because my whole life is a gift.