Wednesday, August 31, 2011
Sometimes you just get down. Feel sad for yourself, annoyed with yourself, awkward with yourself. Sometimes you just can't stand your own skin and wish you could separate from yourself and get away. Yeah, well, if you don't feel like that, I do sometimes.
Anyway, how do you deal with such moments? Go for walks? Hunt for imaginary or mythic creatures? Dance naked or in your underwear to music? Cuddle with a teddy bear, pillow, that special someone, or your pet? When you're sad do you play sad songs?
I love this scene!
Or perhaps you prefer watching funny clips?
There are many ways to channel sadness, loneliness, or heartbreak. Grief, sorrow, and emptiness are feelings that you shouldn't run from. I take the view that you shouldn't try to escape how you feel. Trying to run from your feelings is like trying to escape from a falling anvil. It won't work. Or will it?
No, I'm afraid not. So instead of running from what you're feeling, feel them. Don't "turn it off" as suggested in the Book of Mormon Musical. Some emotions are pain. We all feel them. Feel them so deeply that it hurts and we wish they would stop. Eventually they subside and we feel like we can at last move on with our lives. Grief, in all its forms, isn't something you can truly run from. It's something you have to face. It isn't easy but that's because it's opposite emotion (Joy/Love/Companionship) is just as strong. If you ever wanted to advice from me (I know it's hard to want that from me), go for a walk and give yourself permission to feel grief, hate, anger, and sorrow.
The Declaration of Independence argues that men have the right to, among other things, the pursuit of happiness. That is a road that is filled with sorrow because in order to understand what truly makes us happy, we have to first understand what does not make us happy but instead makes us sad.
So go for a walk. Go for a run. Go for a swim. Listen to music. Sing to your favorite happy/sad songs. Dance like no one is watching or because they are watching. Scream. Yell. Cry. Sit quietly and just feel what you're feeling. Remember, also, that one day, you will feel happy again.
Or you'll end up like this:
Sunday, August 28, 2011
Saturday, August 27, 2011
Since coming out as a man in a transsexual body, I have had some male friends take up the task of teaching me how to “be a man”. Some of it has been very helpful, particularly in the beginning of my transition. It's helpful to have a friendly critique on what to wear or how to walk. But some of these tips have sometimes been a little over-the-top and gender role dependent. Eventually, I've come to the conclusion that at this point, as I am consistently perceived as male, I do not need to take an exorbitant amount of effort proving my masculinity.
Traditional gender roles put too much stock on something that is barely important in determining how we act day-to-day. It is almost funny to me how much we let this idea of gender rule our lives. How funny to hear a transgender person say that, right? But the keyword is “rule.” Gender has been conflated to be synonymous with gender roles, “masculinity” with being male, “femininity” with being female. It determines if we stay home with our children, or if we work to earn money to provide for them. It can determine our hobbies we choose, or don't, which magazines we aren't embarrassed to subscribe to, how we are taught to think about ourselves. And this is so engrained, because it starts from when we are born.
I attended my friend's homecoming talk a year ago. There were two babies being blessed, a boy and a girl. When the boy was blessed, his father blessed him with strength to care for his family and to be a good priesthood leader. When the girl was blessed, she was blessed to serve her husband, no joke, and to always be kind. All of these qualities are wonderful wishes to grant your children, but the gender role binary was definitely in play. Who would that baby girl be told she was? Who would her brother be told he was? What responsibilities would they be given?
Gender roles are continuing to break down in our society, which I view as a good thing. Women aren't as demonized for wanting a career. Men are encouraged to be more nurturing to their children. These are simplistic, but they show an improvement. Being a man, or being a woman, determines very little about our personalities and how we interact with the surrounding world, and we need to stop feeding this myth. Yes, I am a man, and, yes, somehow that is different than being a woman. But this determines very little in my life. I am free to be the person that I want to be, and to lead the life I want to live. As much as I can, in a world ruled by gender, I attempt to reject what is predetermined for me and what defines my “masculinity.”
Friday, August 26, 2011
I'm also glad that I saw previous posts written by transgendered people about themselves, transgenderism, and do's and don'ts. Thanks, friends!
Anyway, gender roles and sexual identity. I perceive at least three groups of people's attitudes toward gender roles:
1. Some people have fixed perceptions of gender roles, and feel comfortable filling the roles that they perceive are assigned to their particular gender.
2. Others have somewhat fixed perceptions of gender roles, but also feel comfortable (and more true to themselves, perhaps) breaking from those perceptions and acting in ways that do not fit with societal perceptions.
3. A third group has few expectations for gender roles, and is okay acting in whatever way they feel.
It seems easier to break from societally-based (or perceived that way) gender roles when one comes out ... or at least I've found that this is the case with me.
When I come out, I feel less obligated to watch sports and to be masculine all the time. For some reason, I feel like the burden of pretending to be a traditional man has been lifted. Or maybe it's just that I no longer feel like I ought to hide my sexuality behind a cloak of societally-defined masculinity.
It's as if when you come out, sexuality is what it is, and so are gender roles. How closely I fit the societal "man" doesn't affect (I don't think!) my sexuality. [Except that most gay guys seem to prefer more masculine men. But that's for another post.] My sexuality affects my attitude towards gender roles insofar as it helps deconstruct those attitudes and makes it easier for me to be who I am and participate in what I really wish to--not in what society expects me to.
I love powerful lesbian women and timid lesbian women. I love happily engaged career women and their housewife counterparts. Likewise, it's fun to think of a gay guy who wants to work in the home (as a house-husband), raise the kids, etc. Or to see a career man. To see a powerful, commanding gay guy and a timid one. And everything in between.
Thursday, August 25, 2011
Wednesday, August 24, 2011
Gender roles is something that never mattered. My only experience with it growing up was that boys have the Priesthood and girls don't; boys do outside work and girls do inside work when it's time for chores around the house. My dad taught my mom how to cook, my older brother was an old woman and a middle aged woman for two different Halloweens.
Growing up in California and Washington state, this idea of a fluidity of gender roles was further influenced. The idea that girls and boys were supposed to be or do certain things was alien or foreign to me. I found it funny and still do that gays and lesbians are supposed to have reverse gender roles. It's funny to me cause I never bought into the idea that straight people had gender roles. Why worry about making somebody act like something? I want to be great at gardening, I enjoy cooking, I love musicals, I love to watch action movies, I love comic books, I think aggression is normal for boys and girls and that fighting is sometimes the only way to work things out, and so on. Girls can wear dresses, so can boys. I think a guy is hot in a kilt and have never cared when a boy wears dresses.
It was only in coming to Utah and going to BYU that I started to see that gender roles really do matter. Girls and boys here have a bizarre need to segregate themselves and define their roles. It's a bizarre obsession to me. A friend of mine won't wear or do certain things if it makes him appear gay or not masculine. Such a strange idea to me. Why worry? Sexual orientation, gender identity, and such are all not important. You like who you like and you are what you are (as in identify). If you're attracted to the male body, great. If you identify as "butch" or "effeminate" or "lipstick" or what not, that's fine to.
Just be who you are, in my view. I think the obsession in Utah, and other parts of the country, with the need to reinforce and shore up American ideas of gender roles is a response to the growing visibility of gays in society. I have met plenty of "femi" straight guys. I have met plenty of "butch" gay boys. I have met every shade of women straight and gay. Why worry? You are who you are. Embrace that. Someone out there will be attracted to it.
My upbringing and mental and social development have all taught me that gender roles are fluid, social constructs, and nothing to worry about. I am absolutely confident that if I had a daughter and she wanted to play sports and kick the asses of annoying boys on the playground, she'd still have as much a chance of being straight (or gay) as any girl that grew up playing dolls, serving tea, and dressing in frilly pink dresses.
To all those caught up in fearing their children will be gay (or straight), I have advice for you: calm down and let your children grow up as they will. Help them develop their interests and be there for them. Don't worry if your son likes playing with Barbie dolls or babies. It won't make him gay or straight. It will make him more sensitive to the needs of babies and even what looks good on the human form. Don't worry if your daughter wants to play sports. Just worry if you can scream loud enough in cheering for them so that you can embarrass them with your enthusiasm and support for them. This is what counts. Love will always matter. Gender roles won't ever.
Tuesday, August 23, 2011
I graduated from BYU with a degree in anthropology, which has a good chunk of the entire field dedicated to gender roles in different cultures. To summarize, there are different genders and gender roles everywhere, and not all of them are just male or female. There are forms of being transgender and different forms of intersex across the world, and to say that only the western form of male and female is valid is a rejection of the validity of belief of millions of people across the world.
That's the strange thing about our current sociocultural atmosphere of our generation. We are not afraid to build up our own definitions of what culture and love and civil rights and tolerance should be, and we're not afraid to take those definitions and use them in our daily lives. We could have waxed soulful and longing in our coffeehouses and hidden ourselves away out of fear of the thoughts of our fellow men, but no. No, we said. Our ideals of individualism have gone so far and so strong that we can go ahead and start changing the very framework that directs our daily lives.
Why not, you ask. This is normal, why bother explaining it?
It's not normal for everyone in the United States, and it's certainly not normal across the world. While living in India, I realized very quickly just what kind of reaction and what public abuse I would receive if I came out as bisexual there. My project would be compromised and my translators would have refused to work with me. At worst, physical abuse from the community was possible. However, this little story about a couple just twenty miles outside of the town I lived in (Visag) reveals that things are changing across the world, and that the globalization of our ideal of individuality is spreading.
I think the fight for and against gay rights and for equality of genders is only going to get harder. The economic struggle we are all facing isn't going away anytime soon, it seems. As the economy falls, and the ideals of how the markets and wealth should grow fall away in turn, there will be a greater and greater call to return to religion. We may even see a decline in the realism of national art and art that represents the government--as was the case in the empires of the world such as those of Rome, Egypt, Persia, China, not to mention the Ottoman and British empires. Falling from near-perfect realism that reflects the realized dreams of the economy, we would see slightly more and more abstract work that reflects the ethereal nature of what was once ours and no longer is. In the United States, the biggest call will be to return to Christianity and what is considered extreme now may become moderate over the course of the next twenty years if things keep up in the direction they are going. I pray that it's not the case.
All of my life, I have desired to not bear the label of male or female.
With that said, I have never considered myself girly or a feminine woman, not of the thin-boned, transcendent, cute sort that need physical protection and could have a bisexual like me falling head over heels for their lovely graces. I never got to be that girl, physically. I'm built like a giant--with biceps, calf muscles, and a belly twice the size that of my boyfriend. I'm overweight and I'm quite brawny. My dad quickly attained morbid obesity while working hard to keep my family fed while I was still a fetus. I caught that genetic trait, and now in turn, it's hard for me to shed pounds as well. I was a fat little kid in elementary school, and I'm certainly overweight, now. My height makes up for some of it, but there's no denying that I've got rolls where I don't want them to be. I walk with my boyfriend before he goes to work, and while I certainly could be more active, I've gotten more used to the skin I'm in.
It's also forged my personality and my gender expression, in a few ways.
Before I go further, I should explain my interpretation of gender theory. You have gender identity, which is what gender you consider yourself to be. Thanks to my generation's respect of individual self-discovery, this doesn't have to correspond with any label whatsoever. It can be female, it can be male, genderqueer, or whatever you feel is your gender. I personally made up my own gender label, and tell people off the cuff that I consider myself psychologically genderqueer and biologically female. I have lived through many forms of abuse for transgressing against traditional female roles, and that likely won't change. Why I don't psychologically consider myself female will come in another post.
Besides gender identity, there is also gender expression, and sexual orientation. I have friends that identify as males for their gender, express their maleness in stereotypical Anglo-American ways, and have a sexual orientation for other white men. I express my gender in fairly gender-neutral ways, sometimes going a little more butch or a little more lipstick, to use lesbian terms. It's pretty fluid. My sexual orientation is equally bisexual, a three on the Kinsey scale. Some days, I feel more lesbian, and other days, I feel more straight. It's fluid--likely because of the tendency of people raised as biological females to associate sexual relations more with emotional connection thanks to social conditioning.
Monday, August 22, 2011
My mom is awesome. She has since proved to me her awesomeness by being way more accepting than I ever thought she would since I came out. She's read most of the books she can find both on homosexuality by itself and within the church (including Brent's and Brad's). While I've been visiting home before school starts up again we've talked about it on several occasions. She's become way more aware of how other people treat the idea of homosexuality now, but also the double standard for people who don't think it's the best thing since sliced bread. (Everyone at work gives her grief and says she just hates gays because she's Mormon. She wants to yell "my daughter's lesbian for crying out loud", but she respects my privacy).
- Have you ever wanted to change yourself to better fit a stereotype or gender role?
- Why do the roles and stereotypes even exist?
- Do you think there's a statistically significant difference between the amount of straight girls that can change their car brakes and the amount of gay girls who can? If so, why?
Sunday, August 21, 2011
Thursday, August 18, 2011
This comparison between the Gay-Rights movement and the Civil-Rights movement has been made quite a bit actually. It's a major stance taken by politicians (like our president for example):
(I hope that link works... embedding was disabled)
His actual words are much more eloquent than my shabby paraphrase, but the sentiment is there - that civil unions with all the rights of married couples certainly gets the job done; let the churches and voters decide what to make of the attitudes towards same-sex couples, but "my job as president" is to enforce laws and protect the actual rights of people.
What I take away from this is just how the Gay-Rights movement is comparing itself to the Civil-Rights movement. Whether or not that's a smart move, I don't know. But it's worth noticing.
Again, I hope someday we look back on all of this hullabaloo about sexual orientation just like we look back on the Civil Rights movement and say "What were we thinking... Sexual orientation shouldn't have been such a big deal."
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Have you ever gone on an amazing date with that special girl or boy and just wanted your parents to call (or you call them) to ask how it went and what you thought and what you two did? Have you ever wished you could be able to have a long drive with your father or mother and tell them about a person you like and how you're not sure to react or what to do and then listen to them give advice and relate their own experiences from when they dated?
I have also pondered what it would have been like to have family that treated their gay children as one of their own. The brother that stands up for their gay sibling when they're being picked on. One of the most painful things I ever and still experience is the shallow nature of my relationship with my family. Conversations are forced at times and avoid the heart of normal healthy conversations. I think, however embarrassing, that asking such questions about the person you are dating or someone you're interested in are important and questions that help lead to a closer relationship.
I have been very fortunate that I have another family in my life that are not bound to me legally or biologically. The parents and child in that family have just been great friends that see me as their son. They ask those questions. They want to see me be happy. They don't care who I marry or like so long as I treat them well and that person treats me well.
And let's be honest here for a moment. All this hating of gays, "love the sinner, hate the sin," and actually being grossed out by expression of love between two people of the same gender is juvenile. I think the last time I thought two people kissing was gross was when I was in the third or fourth grade. Seriously, why freak out? Should I organize a posse of gays to gather around straight couples when they kiss and boo them down? That would be ludicrous! Love is beautiful in all its forms! If I could ask bigots and homophobes one question it would probably be this, "Don't you ever get tired having to hate people?" Oh all right, I'd probably ask, "Don't you hate being wrong so often?"
So, I say to families with gay children, get to know them. Don't get all held up by the gender of their lover. Don't even worry about when they kiss. It's really sweet to watch to people in love kiss. Worry about them being happy and what's going on in their life. Worry about the more important things than the gender of the person. We have more important things to worry about in this life than that. Why not worry about whether the people in your city are eating enough? Why not worry about people suffering from depression or feeling alone?
Love those gay kids. Hug a lesbian! Hug a gay! Group hug/tackle a transgender person. Listen to a bisexual person talk about their life. Honestly, it's better than judging. Soooooo much better. Have a great week, everyone!
Tuesday, August 16, 2011
With a little bit of trepidation, he started to explain that he still believed that Packer was right in a controversial talk last October--that being LGBT was all psychological and a choice. I wanted to shut him down, and I wanted to just tell him to not be so judgmental on things that he knew nothing about and to leave my judgment alone. In retrospect, that would have been a logical thing to say, but it would have just started up more anger between us with six hours of driving left to go, less than a foot apart from each other in the gray interior of our little silver Honda Civic. We were separated by little more than water, pretzels, bananas, and our MP3 players.
I sighed, and let out something that I hope I can always remember. "I know your views on it, and you know mine. You know that I don't agree and I know that you don't really want to know much more than that. I would never want to put my beliefs down your throat, and to do so is something that neither of us believe in. Let's just move on, because I don't want to have this argument."
To my surprise, nothing more was said, and I inwardly exhaled a massive sigh of relief.
It's reflective of what my personality and self-expression has been like over the last year. I do my best to avoid fights, confrontations, and anything that might provoke my bottled-up anger to rip out at someone.
I've been very angry at various things for a very long time, and it's all I can do sometimes to just be snarky and to just be sarcastic and grin like I know everything that's going on. I managed to get out of school with few prospects, an intense desire just to run away from everything, and huge frustrations over various things. One thing that frustrated me was that I hadn't found any peace concerning my sexuality. Some days, I'm a nymphomaniac, and others, I feel like a total asexual, and I feel that it could be that way forever. Despite hours and hours of psychotherapy, the thing that brings me peace over getting sexually abused as a small child and being emotionally abused for a good portion of my life is having a boyfriend.
Yay! Sounds like another typical LDS student here in the valley, right? God forbid I go without one, that might mean I'd have to WORK for myself or risk a lower rank in heaven when my mortal coil wriggles off of my iridescent, flamboyant soul!
Man, I gotta lay off the sarcasm thing; it tastes worse than vodka in my mouth.
Being autistic does lead to a lot of problems with self-expression, due to the fact that self-expression is a two-way street. You've got to have an audience for your questions and wondering and yearnings.
But then again, I've just shut myself off in many ways--telling myself that I don't care because I've had so many things happen when I've ended up getting arguments when trying to figure things out or in getting advice.
I moved back here because I wanted a place to call home, not to call 'my folks' house' or 'that house on the curvy street at the bottom of the hill.' I wanted a place where I don't walk on eggshells or kowtow to a god and religion I don't believe in. Somewhere with understanding, acceptance, and care for more than just your dishes or your outfit that you're wearing--real concern for the person next to you simply because you live with them. Some may say that I'm describing a family, but I feel that the family I was raised with was bound by duty and fear--more so than love. If that's what a family is like, yes, I want to have a set of roommates that can resemble a family. I wanted a place to be myself, and I'm just two days away from moving into a place where I'll have my own room and my own silence to question and conquer.
Many of us LGBT people will be stuck in various forms of liminality many times over until we find a place that's safe, warm, joyous, and good to be in. Not only that, there will be many more times where we're travelling in harsh conditions (of various sorts, physical and emotional and otherwise) to keep those places. For some, that may be the house and household of their biological family. For others, it's friends, and for some, colleagues. For my mentor in college, it was his home in Orem, UT and his home in Vishakhapatnam, India that he built brick by brick with his own hands. For some of my best friends over the years, it has been in the locales of internet forums and in quietly sent messages across the wired and wireless expanses.
Good luck in finding and keeping that place that you call home.
Privilege is more often than not taken for granted, and can be difficult to recognize without a few hints. We aren't used to consistently thinking “How would [minority group] feel right now?”. Privilege, or a lack thereof, has the ability to seep into every part of life- individual, legal, societal. Having privilege is automatic: it doesn't make you a bad person. This quote from “Fannie's Room” puts privilege in perspective:
“Having certain privileges isn't about being a "bad" person. It's about being aware that your experience in life is largely seen as a norm, as the standard, even though other people have equally-valid experiences in life. It's about being aware of how some people are the statistical norm, other people are made to feel pathological, wrong, immoral, and unwelcome in certain places because there are fewer of them. We aren't part of the problem just because we're privileged. We become part of the problem only when deny our privilege while promoting the idea that there is only one correct, non-pathological way to live and be in the world.“
Some privileges intersect. For instance, you may not feel the threat of death for being transgender, but you might for being gay. In the process of transitioning, I have both gained and lost privilege. At the beginning of my transition, I still looked female (at best, androgynous), but the more I have transitioned and the more I look male, the more privilege I gain. I gained heterosexual privilege (as an individual, and with my relationship with my female partner.) I gained male privilege (but only so long as I am not out to the group as transgender.) I have also lost certain privileges: I have lost any cisgender privilege I had in the past since I have come out as transgender. How I am treated can depend on how “out” I am as transgender.
For many transgender people who are transitioning to the 'opposite' side of gender-- female to male, male to female-- it is a question of how “out” they want to be, how “out” they should be, and how “out” they need to be. Presenting as male and having an “F” indicate my sex on my identification automatically “outs” me. Having a legal name that is obviously female, and consistently going by an obviously male name has the ability to “out” me. I do not have a fully transitioned body, so this makes it necessary to be out to my sexual partner. While studies have found that glb people are happier and eventually safer in their life while they are out, there are indications that trans people are not always happier or safer while out. Trans people are very aware of the privilege they gain when no one knows they are trans.
Takes Up Space has an excellent cisgender privilege list.
Here are a few cisgender privileges from the list:
Information important for me to keep private will not be revealed by:
Pictures from my childhood
The language used to refer to me
I expect the privacy of my body to be respected. I am not asked about what my genitals look like, or whether or not my breasts are real, what medical procedures I have had, etc.
I expect access to healthcare.
I expect that medical therapies offered to me have been the subject of rigorous medical studies & approval processes.
Treatments which are medically necessary for me are generally covered by insurance.
A side note about medical necessity: Often the reason used by health insurance companies for denying coverage of any transition-related care is that it isn't medically necessary, despite both the American Medical Association and the American Psychological Association affirming that these treatments are a medical necessity for transgender people who wish to transition. (Also, often insurance companies will deny any treatment that has a possibility to be related to transitioning- not paying for a prostate exam for a male to female transsexual, or not paying for treatments for ovarian cancer for a female to male transsexual claiming it was a result of taking testosterone)
So, now what-- what can you do if you are cisgender and share in cisgender privilege?
You can try to be more aware of your privilege.
Being aware means making room for people who are transgender, in your language and your actions. It means you take certain actions that recognize the privilege you have, and attempt to afford the same for others. (Perhaps by sticking up for a transman that uses the men's restroom) For cis privilege, it means respecting a trans person as their gender identity, using correct pronouns and names and other gendered language. Because of the nature of transgenderism, there will always be cisgender privilege, but if cisgender and transgender people made an effort to make the world more trans-friendly, my belief is that there would certainly be less of it.
Roz Kaveney has six axioms of trans activism:
1) Display solidarity with all our trans brothers and sisters
2) Build alliances by getting involved as ourselves in other areas of politics
3) Refuse to let journalistic and intellectual attacks on our community go unanswered- we can have and keep the moral high ground
4) Be creative, be smart, be ourselves, and don't let anybody tell us who we are and what we do
5) Refuse the pathological model- we are not sick, just different
6) Refuse those politics- heterosexism, body fascism- that work against all of the above, but especially #1.
Monday, August 15, 2011
Sunday, August 14, 2011
Saturday, August 13, 2011
It isn't easy to explain being transgender, even though this isn't the first time I've done it. It can be very difficult for many people to understand, because for most people, gender is something we take for granted. Gender is complicated. So, I hope I am here to help along the process. Keep your ears and eyes open and all hands and feet within the cart.
To discuss transgenderism, it's important that you know a few definitions:
-Birth Sex-- Usually male or female, based on your genitals, assigned at birth by a doctor
-Intersex-- Someone who is intersex has a combination of male and female primary (genitalia) and/or secondary sex characteristics (facial hair, breasts, etc)
-Gender Identity-- The gender we each identify as, usually male or female
-Gender Roles/Norms-- Expectations we have for men and women, rooted in a dichotomous understanding of gender
-Sexual Orientation-- The gender(s) we are attracted to, in correspondence to our gender identity
-Gender Dysphoria-- Classic trans symptom of feeling severe distress over having a body that does not match their gender identity
-Cisgender-- Birth sex matches their gender identity
-Transgender-- Birth sex does not match their gender identity
So, my name is Jack. My birth sex is female. As far as I know, I am not intersex. My gender identity is male, and, like most men, my gender expression is male. (I like to say, “The only thing female about me is my body, but even that's changed since I've been on testosterone.”) My sexual orientation is heterosexual since I am a man that is attracted to women. My girlfriend is cisgender because she was born with a female body, and identifies as female. Because my birth sex does not match my gender identity, I am transgender.
Trans issues and transgenderism doesn't get explained all in one blog post, so it's likely you will have questions. I hope to be able to follow up to this post in the future. In the meantime, I'm going to stick to definitions and a few basic do's and don't's.
DO use the name and pronouns you are asked to use.
DO respect their privacy
DO educate yourself about trans people
DO be aware of any privilege you may have
(If they want you to know, they'll tell you)
DON'T ask invasive questions
(How many strangers do you want asking about your genitals?)
DON'T out a trans friend. Never. NEVER, EVER, EVER.
(unless they ask you to)
DON'T offer suggestions to a trans person on how they could look more masculine or feminine.
(If you are asked for advice, it's fine, but otherwise, it's rude. You wouldn't want people offering suggestions on how you could look more masculine or feminine, and trans people are usually acutely aware of how they look and act.)
DON'T police bathrooms/locker rooms
Friday, August 12, 2011
That's a paraphrase from something I read in an essay once. I'm not sure, but I think it was a black person sharing his experience in the Church.
I was at BYU when this happened:
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
One of my favorite poets is Sappho from the island of Lesbos. I love the poem for the broken way she speaks from it. In all of the surviving parts of Sappho's poems, I feel I can just get lost in her words and imagery. She speaks in such a way that I cannot help but heed what she says. One of the poems that she wrote speaks accurately of how she has become immortalized:
I have no complaint
the golden Muses
gave me was no
delusion: dead, I
won't be forgotten.
Nearly twenty-five centuries later, her words still affect those that read them. She is still known in the modern world. The poem I wish to share is one that catches my heart and holds it still. Sappho speaks in a way that I feel like I can understand. To pine and yearn and yet be happy is something that seems to happen to me a lot these past couple of years.
He is more than a hero
He is a god in my eyes--
the man who is allowed
to sit beside you--he
who listens initimately
to the sweet murmur of
your voice, the enticing
laughter that makes my own
heart beat fast, If I meet
you suddenly, I can't
speak--my tongue is broken;
a thin flame runs under
my skin; seeing nothing,
hearing only my own ears
drumming, I drop with sweat;
trembling shakes my body
and I turn paler than
dry grass. At such times
death isn't far from me
The last poem I wish to share is hymn, written by Lowrie M. Hofford, that I fell in love with as a teenager while still believing in the LDS Church. It was one that I had asked to have sang at my Farewell. When I read the lines of this poem and listen to it sung by choir or individual, I am still carried back to those years and to that point of my life, a point that seems like a lifetime ago.
The day is past and gone;
The shadows of the evening fall;
The night is coming on.
Within my heart a welcome guest,
Within my home abide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.
And lone will be the night
If I cannot commune with thee,
Nor find in thee my light.
The darkness of the world, I fear,
Would in my home abide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.
Thy walk today with me
Has made my heart within me burn,
As I communed with thee.
Thy earnest words have filled my soul
And kept me near thy side.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.
O Savior, stay this night with me;
Behold, 'tis eventide.
So what poems affect you (whether through music or by word only)? Why does it move you? Why does it make you feel or think or act that way? For me, it taps into that part of my being that longs and loves to connect with others, to be understand people around me. What about poems for you?