I Believe Standard Trans-Narratives and Question Outlier Trans-Narratives

I believe transsexual and transgender people were “born that way.”

No  bad mommy holding us too close, no weak father providing a poor male image.

No Satanic possession.

No autogynephilia/androphilia bullshit.

No bee stings or baldness pills suddenly causing some one who wasn’t transsexual or transgender to become TS or TG.

When I hear those stories I sort of go “Hummm…”  And think, “Take that story some where else and peddle it.”

There is a reason why transsexual and transgender stories all sound more or less the same.

As a writing teacher once said during a class I was taking on writing gay and lesbian memoirs, “All coming out stories are the same story.  Only the details are different.  This is because all coming to awareness stories told by narrators share a common structure.”

For those unfamiliar with this idea I suggest Joseph Campbell’s, “Hero with a Thousand Faces.”

Those of us born different all have that early epiphany, that single moment when we become aware of not being like other kids.

We may not immediately know what makes us different.

We may try to make that thing that makes us different go away.

Some people spend years trying to escape from that thing which they realized at that point of sudden awareness.

When they come to the realization that being transsexual or transgender isn’t going to go away the first thing most people search for is when they started feeling this way.  It isn’t so much a matter of looking for an acceptable narrative as it is looking for an understanding of self.

I read a piece by Zach McCallum

Transgender Narratives: Why We Lie

But as the cultural narrative expands to include ‘transgender person’ as a stock character, it does so in a way that’s, well, just a stock character. The trans* person in the public eye is almost always some variant on the woman who was born with a penis and just “always knew” she was female, or the boy born with a vagina who refused to wear a single dress and never touched a Barbie Doll.

It’s a nice, easily packaged, easily understood story, and sometimes it’s even true. Some of us do know (and as those recent news articles reported, some are even lucky enough to begin transition) before puberty. But others live entire lifetimes as one sex, and then at the age of seventy or eighty or ninety, make the change. Many, like me, transition in early-to-mid adulthood after months or years of soul-searching and introspection. And there are people who identify as something other than male or female, who don’t jump across the line from boy to girl or girl to boy, but take up residence in the broad middle plain known as genderqueer.

Before we transitioned, some of us were butch lesbians or femmy drag queens whose transitions were unsurprising to our friends and families, but others of us looked nothing like a Lifetime TV protagonist. I know a transwoman who is captain of a marine rescue company. Until she was in her late thirties anyone would have taken her for a typical manly sailor; now she’s an atypical, manicured sailor. I know a transman who describes himself in childhood as “a classic girly-girl.”

Even though I never felt particularly successful at femininity, I spent years wearing my hair long and dressing in dangly earrings and flowy fabrics before I decided to transition to male. I played with stuffed toys and dolls as a kid, even Barbie (although I did cut her hair short and send her rappelling down the stairwell tied to a jump rope.)

This is kind of missing the forest for all those damn trees.

It’s weird for someone like me who came out many years ago and who was a feminine transkid who was attracted to men.

Weird because the standard narrative one hears on the Internet is one of having been a heterosexual guy married to a woman and a father, often times with military service and a career.

While Zack tries to make as though my sort of narrative is the standard the one I mentioned actually seems far more common these days.

Never mind that neither my girlfriends, who went through SRS around the same time I did, nor I had the same narrative even though we all came out young and mostly were involved with men.

What our narratives had was a common structure with different details.

What I took me a while to figure out because I kept missing it for all those different details was that the life story of almost every transsexual or transgender person has pretty much the exact same narrative structure.

Early awareness of being trans, even though one may not have those words yet.

A period of asking why.

A period of trying to hid being trans, to cope with shame.

A period of looking for answers.

Coming out.

The only real necessary component is having that early self knowledge.


Because transsexual and transgender are something people are born, not something people become.

You don’t suddenly become TS/TG because of baldness treatments or bee stings.

You may have been trans all along and looking for a way to justify coming out, but being trans isn’t something people wake up one morning and say, “Wow gee, what a beautiful day. I think I’ll change my sex or live as the gender not commonly associated with my genitals.”

No…  This is why people describe years of feeling trapped in the wrong body or gender.  It’s why people who have made the changes they need to make physically or to their presentation of gender describe themselves as finally feeling at one with themselves.

The form of the narrative of journey to self is like the fucking 12 bar blues.  It has a structure and even a rhyme scheme but the words one puts in that structure can be unique.


Republican Candidate Doherty Doesn’t Want to Protect Transgender People

From RI Future: http://www.rifuture.org/doherty-doesnt-want-to-protect-transgender-people.html

By RI Democrats
on October 5, 2012

Amidst the diversionary tactics Republican congressional candidate Brendan Doherty attempted to perpetuate Wednesday, the root cause of his opposition to expanding and strengthening the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) for some of society’s most vulnerable populations – Native Americans, immigrants and members of the LGBT community – has become apparent.

In response to a media inquiry from Ian Donnis, a political reporter for WRNI, regarding concerns related to VAWA, the Doherty camp told Donnis:

“To the extent that federal funds are directed to investigate and prosecute violence against male transgender individuals, it should not be part of VAWA.”

“Every victim of domestic violence deserves equal access to services, regardless of ethnicity, gender, identity or sexual orientation. A victim is a victim; and all individuals should be treated equally,” said RI Democratic Party spokesperson Bill Fischer. “Expanding and strengthening VAWA would extend protections to domestic violence victims who are most vulnerable.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rifuture.org/doherty-doesnt-want-to-protect-transgender-people.html

Protect Yourself… Vote Democratic This Election…

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A transgender story: My daughter, my son

From The LA Times:  http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-paul-trangendered-child-20121007,0,3214612,full.story

By Ann Whitford Paul
October 7, 2012

Sarah, once my daughter, is now Finn, a member of the transgender community. Those are hard words to write.

I want to love the man my daughter has become, but floundering in the torrent of her change and my resistance to it, I fear I’ll never make it across my river of anger and sorrow.

I think about Sarah growing up, how she always acted with courage and fortitude. In junior high she studied Russian because it was “a challenge.” In high school she proved she wasn’t too small to play water polo goalie.

VIDEO: Living with a secret

In college she announced she was gay. I hoped her lesbianism might be a passing phase, but instead Sarah began to dress in male clothes and bind her breasts. On her Facebook page, she announced she’d changed her name to Finn.

Trying to be supportive, I called her SarahFinn.

Then one December day, just before her father and I were leaving on a vacation, a handwritten letter on lined paper ripped from a notebook arrived in our mailbox.

“I want to be completely honest about who I am and what’s going on in my life,” our daughter wrote. “I went to Florida, had my breasts removed and am now taking hormones.” She said she feared being rejected but told us our relationship meant a lot to her.

Continue reading at:  http://www.latimes.com/news/opinion/commentary/la-oe-paul-trangendered-child-20121007,0,3214612,full.story

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Mitt Romney and the Middle Class

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Supreme Court Looking At Affirmative Action In College Admissions

From Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/08/supreme-court-affirmative-action_n_1948767.html


WASHINGTON — Nine years after the Supreme Court said colleges and universities can use race in their quest for diverse student bodies, the justices have put this divisive social issue back on their agenda in the middle of a presidential election campaign.

Nine years is a blink of the eye on a court where justices can look back two centuries for legal precedents. But with an ascendant conservative majority, the high court in arguments Wednesday will weigh whether to limit or even rule out taking race into account in college admissions.

The justices will be looking at the University of Texas program that is used to help fill the last quarter or so of its incoming freshman classes. Race is one of many factors considered by admissions officers. The rest of the roughly 7,100 freshman spots automatically go to Texans who graduated in the top 8 percent of their high school classes.

A white Texan, Abigail Fisher, sued the university after she was denied a spot in 2008.

The simplest explanation for why affirmative action is back on the court’s calendar so soon after its 2003 decision in Grutter v. Bollinger is that the author of that opinion, Sandra Day O’Connor, has retired. Her successor, Justice Samuel Alito, has been highly skeptical of any use of racial preference.

Justice Anthony Kennedy, a dissenter in the 2003 decision, probably holds the deciding vote, and he, too, has never voted in favor of racial preference.

Continue reading at:  http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/10/08/supreme-court-affirmative-action_n_1948767.html

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Truth About Jobs

From The New York Times:   http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/opinion/krugman-truth-about-jobs.html

Published: October 7, 2012

If anyone had doubts about the madness that has spread through a large part of the American political spectrum, the reaction to Friday’s better-than expected report from the Bureau of Labor Statistics should have settled the issue. For the immediate response of many on the right — and we’re not just talking fringe figures — was to cry conspiracy.

Leading the charge of what were quickly dubbed the “B.L.S. truthers” was none other than Jack Welch, the former chairman of General Electric, who posted an assertion on Twitter that the books had been cooked to help President Obama’s re-election campaign. His claim was quickly picked up by right-wing pundits and media personalities.

It was nonsense, of course. Job numbers are prepared by professional civil servants, at an agency that currently has no political appointees. But then maybe Mr. Welch — under whose leadership G.E. reported remarkably smooth earnings growth, with none of the short-term fluctuations you might have expected (fluctuations that reappeared under his successor) — doesn’t know how hard it would be to cook the jobs data.

Furthermore, the methods the bureau uses are public — and anyone familiar with the data understands that they are “noisy,” that especially good (or bad) months will be reported now and then as a simple consequence of statistical randomness. And that in turn means that you shouldn’t put much weight on any one month’s report.

In that case, however, what is the somewhat longer-term trend? Is the U.S. employment picture getting better? Yes, it is.

Continue reading at:  http://www.nytimes.com/2012/10/08/opinion/krugman-truth-about-jobs.html

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Gov. Gregoire Reveals Obama Secretly Supported Her Gay Marriage Push

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Hugo Chávez is re-elected in Venezuela

From The Guardian UK:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/08/hugo-chavez-wins-venezuelan-election

Venezuelan president retains power after 14 years in office, recording 54.5% of the vote against rival Henrique Capriles

and in Caracas
guardian.co.uk, Sunday 7 October 2012

Venezuela‘s Hugo Chávez has once again defied his doubters by winning a new term of office in the presidential election after what had been billed as the closest race of his political life.

To the euphoria of supporters in and around his campaign headquarters, the National Electoral Council announced on Sunday the president had secured 54.4% of the votes, while his rival Capriles was behind with 44.9%. Some votes were still to be counted, but the council said the result was not in doubt.

Pumping his fist in the air, Chávez address his supporters from the balcony of the presidential palace as a barrage of fireworks lit up the sky. “The revolution has triumphed!” Chávez told the crowd, saying his supporters “voted for socialism.”

“Today we’ve shown that Venezuela’s democracy is one of the best democracies in the world, and we will continue to show it,” he shouted, waving a replica of Símon Bolivar sword.

As the result was announced, his supporters burst into cheers and songs of “Viva Le Patria” and “Ooh Aah, Chávez won’t go.”

“I’m crying with joy,” said Alirio Guevara, a fisherman from Vargas, who came to Caracas to vote and joined the joyous crowds at the Chávez campaign headquarters. “In the next six years, we will deepen the revolution.”

In accepting defeat, Capriles took solace in picking up more votes than any previous challenger and restricting Chávez to a single-digit margin of victory.

“In order to win, one must know how to lose. For me the people’s voices are sacred. For those who feel sad, I tell them, ‘we started to build a road and there it is’. We have 6 million people who want a new road.”

Underlining the intense interest in the campaign, the turnout among the 19 million registered voters was a record 80.4%.

Continue reading at:  http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2012/oct/08/hugo-chavez-wins-venezuelan-election

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Catholic boarding school ‘torture’ of thousands of children uncovered in Switzerland

From Raw Story:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/10/08/catholic-boarding-school-torture-on-thousands-of-children-uncovered-in-switzerland/

By Kay Steiger
Monday, October 8, 2012

Thousands of children fell victim to violence and abuse in Catholic boarding schools in Switzerland up until the 1970s, according to a recent study decrying “sadistic” practices resembling “torture”.

“There was always this incredible fear, fear, fear, fear,” recalled a former student of a Catholic boarding school in the German-speaking central Swiss canton of Lucerne.

The former student, whose name was not given, was one of around 50 former boarders at 15 different boarding schools in Lucerne between 1930 and 1970 who in chilling detail testified to their experiences in a report ordered by the canton.

“These interviews were very important for the people in question, because finally their testimony was being taken seriously,” said Markus Furrer, the lead author of the report and a professor at the PHZ Lucerne University of Teacher Education.

“Many boarding school children long felt guilty over the experiences they had. Some managed to move on, others failed and some committed suicide,” said Furrer, who along with two colleagues had spent a year and a half delving into the murky past of these establishments.

Some cases of violence and sexual abuse were already known, he told AFP, but “we were not expecting it to be this large-scale.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.rawstory.com/rs/2012/10/08/catholic-boarding-school-torture-on-thousands-of-children-uncovered-in-switzerland/

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Sally Quinn’s Bullshit Is Why Sane Americans Hate What The Religious Right Has Done To America

From The New Civil Rights Movement:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/sally-quinns-bullshit-is-why-sane-americans-hate-what-the-religious-right-has-done-to-america/news/2012/10/05/50397

by David Badash
on October 5, 2012

Sally Quinn, longtime Washington Post writer, today claimed that you can only be an American citizen if you believe in God. Yes, you read that right. Quinn, who decades ago famously was hired having never written an article in her life, pens the Post’s “On Faith” column, and included this rave review of Mitt Romney‘s debate performance in her column, “Romney captures the God vote at first debate,” yesterday:

This is a religious country. Part of claiming your citizenship is claiming a belief in God, even if you are not Christian.. [sic] We’ve got the Creator in our Declaration of Independence. We’ve got “In God We Trust” on our coins. We’ve got “one nation under God” in our Pledge of Allegiance. And we say prayers in the Senate and the House of Representatives to God.

“When Mitt Romney mentioned the ‘Creator’ in the debate Wednesday, he owned it. ‘We’re all children of the same God,’ he said,” Quinn adds.

(Those who follow me on Twitter know I live-tweeted the debate, and when Romney uttered that offensive falsehood, I responded:

“We’re a nation that believes we’re all children of the same God.” No, that’s Iran and North Korea, Governor.

Atheist and agnostic Americans, did you catch that?

“Part of claiming your citizenship is claiming a belief in God, even if you are not Christian.”

So, all those who either don’t believe in God, or aren’t sure about our degree of faith, are hereby not American citizens.

Continue reading at:  http://thenewcivilrightsmovement.com/sally-quinns-bullshit-is-why-sane-americans-hate-what-the-religious-right-has-done-to-america/news/2012/10/05/50397

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Bill McKibbon on Bill Maher Oct 5 2012

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Wall St.’s Next Profit Scheme — Buying Up Every Piece of Your Home Town

From Alternet:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/wall-sts-next-profit-scheme-buying-every-piece-your-home-town

Across America, schools, roads, and water systems are for sale to the highest Wall Street bidder.

By Michael Hudson
September 27, 2012

The pace of Wall Street’s war against the 99% is quickening in preparation for the kill. Having demonized public employees for being scheduled to receive pensions on their lifetime employment service, bondholders are insisting on getting the money instead. It is the same austerity philosophy that has been forced on Greece and Spain – and the same that is prompting President Obama and Mitt Romney to urge scaling back Social Security and Medicare.

Unlike the U.S. federal government, most states and cities have constitutions that prevent them from running budget deficits. This means that when they cut property taxes, they either must borrow from the wealthy, or cut back employment and public services.

For many years they borrowed, paying tax-exempt interest to wealthy bondholders. But carrying charges on these have mounted to a point where they now look risky as the economy sinks into debt deflation. Cities are defaulting from California to Alabama. They cannot reverse course and restore taxes on property owners without causing more mortgage defaults and abandonments. Something has to give – so cities are scaling back public spending, downsizing their school systems and police forces, and selling off their assets to pay bondholders.

This has become the main cause of America’s rising unemployment, helping drive down consumer demand in a Keynesian nightmare. Less obvious are the devastating cuts occurring in health care, job training and other services, while tuition rates for public colleges and “participation fees” at high schools are soaring. School systems are crumbling like our roads as teachers are jettisoned on a scale not seen since the Great Depression.

Yet Wall Street strategists view this state and local budget squeeze as a godsend. As Rahm Emanuel has put matters, a crisis is too good an opportunity to waste – and the fiscal crisis gives creditors financial leverage to push through anti-labor policies and privatization grabs. The ground is being prepared for a neoliberal “cure”: cutting back pensions and health care, defaulting on pension promises to labor, and selling off the public sector, letting the new proprietors to put up tollbooths on everything from roads to schools. The new term of the moment is “rent extraction.”

Continue reading at:  http://www.alternet.org/economy/wall-sts-next-profit-scheme-buying-every-piece-your-home-town

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Arctic Ice Melt, Psychopathic Capitalism and the Corporate Media

From Truth Out:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/11970-arctic-ice-melt-psychopathic-capitalism-and-the-corporate-media

By David Cromwell and David Edwards,
Saturday, 06 October 2012

Last month, climate scientists announced that Arctic sea ice had shrunk to its smallest surface area since satellite observations began in 1979. An ice-free summer in the Arctic, once projected to be more than a century away, now looks possible just a few decades from now. Some scientists say it may happen within the next few years.

The loss is hugely significant because Arctic sea ice reflects most solar energy into space, helping to keep the Earth at a moderate temperature. But when the ice melts it reveals dark waters below, which absorb more than 90 percent of the solar energy that hits them, leading to faster warming both locally and globally.

Peter Wadhams, professor of ocean physics at Cambridge University, warns that the Arctic may be ice-free in summer as soon as 2015. Such a massive loss would have a warming effect roughly equivalent to all human activity to date. In other words, a summer ice-free Arctic could double the rate of warming of the planet as a whole. No wonder that leading NASA climate scientist James Hansen says bluntly: “We are in a planetary emergency.”

In a comprehensive blog piece on the Scientific American website, Ramez Naam points out that:

The reality of changes to the Arctic has far outstripped most predictions. Only a few years ago, in the 2007 Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change report, the bulk of models showed the Arctic ice cap surviving in summer until well past 2100. Now it’s not clear that the ice will survive in summer past 2020. The level of sea ice we saw this September, in 2012, wasn’t expected by the mean of IPCC models until 2065. The melting Arctic has outpaced the predictions of almost everyone – everyone except the few who were called alarmists.

Continue reading at:  http://truth-out.org/news/item/11970-arctic-ice-melt-psychopathic-capitalism-and-the-corporate-media

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