Category Archives: Random

The Joys and Perils of Love

Love is risky. Love is beautiful. Love keeps you up at night but also helps you sleep when you need to. It’s paradoxical – being rational and emotional all at once. And the feels. It feels so good. The reciprocated affection, the longing in your eyes, the companionship, friendship, and the sex! Love fueled sex is heavenly. Heaven on earth is what love is all about. Is it available to everyone? Or only a select few. We have to find out for ourselves. That’s the journey of life.

Never let people reduce love to the shallow depths of mere feeling. For one, no feeling is a mere feeling – feelings are always intertwined with thoughts, beliefs, hopes, dreams, plans, imagination, memory, and everything else. Love digs deeply into our brains. It makes the world spin in its grave. Love is special. Is it rare? Hard to say. True love cannot be measured. It cannot be seen. And yet it’s real, oh so real.

Love is risky. You open yourself up fully. You expose old wounds. Old memories. Trauma. Everything gets opened. You put yourself out there. Who says “I love you” first? Will it be reciprocated? How will they react? And when they return the three words – oh my how that feels! Love can happen slowly. It can happen fast. It can sweep you off your feet like an avalanche if you’re not careful. But when it hits you finally it is all encompassing. It takes over your mind – shaping your thoughts, your feelings, your energy, your desires.

Love is fickle. Love fades and hence the ultimate risk. How to keep the passion alive? Hugs, kisses, affection – they all go a long way but it’s often not enough. Love ends. Love hurts. Love is tough. The knots in your stomach – that sinking feeling when things are over. The psychic pain is just as real as physical pain – perhaps more real in fact.

Is the pain worth it in the end? Ultimately, yes. Yes it is. There’s an old cliche: better to have love and lost than never have loved at all. Some cliches end up being more true than the most insightful prose. And yes it’s absolutely true. The risk of love is outweighed by the sheer joy. You never plan for heartache. It happens – such is life. But what would life be without love?

Love is risky. Love is beautiful. Fall in love and you will see: it’s worth it all.

Advertisements

Leave a comment

Filed under My life, Random

Some Quick Thoughts on “Passing”

In a recent interview Janet Mock talks about the concept of “passing”:

I have such a difficult time with the concept of “passing” because I feel it gives this idea that there’s some kind of deception or trickery involved in our identities. I am a woman, people perceive me as a woman, and when I walk on the street, I am not “passing” as anything. I am merely being myself. Often, my trans-ness does not lead the way when I walk into spaces and that allows me safety and anonymity. And because trans people are marked as illegitimate, our bodies and identities are often open to public dissection – and this is a major burden for many trans people, a burden that I often do not have to carry in every space I enter because of the way that I look. Our safety should not be based on the way that we look.

What I find interesting in this passage is the idea that the very notion or phrase of “passing” is problematic.

If it’s so problematic, why are so, so many trans people seemingly obsessed with the idea of passing? Why is /r/transpassing one of the most popular trans-related subreddits on reddit? If a trans woman cares about passing, does that mean they believe they are interested in being deceptive? I think the problematic nature of passing is more complicated than Mock suggests because trans people seem to have a love/hate relationship with the whole idea of passing. In my limited experience. trans people seem to recognize the problems built into the concept but nevertheless the concept has a central place in many trans’ people’s heads. This is an interesting tension.

On the one hand, I have seen plenty of pre-transition trans people say they will only transition if they believe they will fully pass. This suggests that for some trans people passing is not just some accidental side-effect of transition but rather their whole reason of transition, the telos or purpose of transition, to pass as a cis person, to not be noticeably trans. If they cant pass 100% then they would consider their transition a “failure”.

On the other hand, Mock is right to point out the cisnormative assumptions built into the concept of passing. I think she is right that the concept of passing implicitly assumes that being cis is “good” and being noticeably trans is “bad” when in a perfect world it would not matter if someone could tell you were trans just by looking at you. But as it is we don’t live in a perfect world – we live in a world where being read as trans can expose you to violence, harassment, and discrimination. It’s not pretty. So passing is not just a side-effect – it’s a defense mechanism against our transphobic society. If society was less transphobic then I would bet that trans people would be less obsessed with passing.

Mock points out that our safety should not be based on how we look. Correct. But unfortunately our safety often does depend on passing. Until it doesn’t, trans people will have a complex relationship with the idea of passing.

Some days I feel very bad about myself because I have my doubts about if I will ever pass due to my face and my voice. Other days I develop a more “fuck passing” kind of mentality where I try to refuse to accept the cisnormative imposition telling me I need to look a certain way or sound a certain way to be accepted by society. It’s hard to know the deep rootedness of my dysphoria because of this tension. Do I care about passing so much because my own body dysphoria is telling me I am intrinsically unhappy with my body/voice? Or do I only care about passing so much because I want to fit into society without having to deal with the anxiety of being read as trans everywhere I go? Honestly, Im not sure. I think it’s probably a mixture of both.

It’s the same way with genital confirmation surgery (GCS) for trans women. I’ve heard some trans women say that they do not have real genital dysphoria (meaning their genitals do not cause them distress) but that they nevertheless want GCS because of fears of dealing with the medical establishment or the TSA and the problems associated with having breasts and a penis simultaneously. So it is the transphobia of our culture that can directly impinge on our bodies and affect our dysphoria. This is what makes passing so complicated. It’s the intersection of the individual and society.

All I really hope is that as more people are being made aware of the existence of trans people we will start to see more media representation of “non-passing” trans people so that we can start to undermine people’s expectations of what it means to be trans and eventually trans people will feel less pressure to pass as they decide whether they want to transition – we need to change the “conditions of satisfaction” of what it means for a transition to be “successful”. How many super tall trans women are discouraged from transition because they think they will never pass? How many people are going to have to live with their dysphoria for the rest of their lives untreated because of the worry that they will never pass? While I am skeptical trans people are somehow going to simply move away from the concept of passing being central to everyday trans-narratives anytime soon – I am glad to see more and more discussion of the problems of the concept of passing – which hopefully will translate into more trans people accepting themselves as they are.

Leave a comment

Filed under Random

Coming Out

Big news. I came out to my parents yesterday about being transgender. Since they are very conservative Christians I expected the worse but it wasn’t all that bad. I softened the blow by first just sending a text message and then later they called me on the phone. They were surprisingly calm. No yelling. No loud voices or getting upset or calling me names. They were mainly just confused. I was surprised I didn’t have to explain what the term “Transgender” mean – they were already familiar with the term and in fact already knew a transgender person. I told them they didn’t have to understand why I am transgender – they just have to support and love me.

Their main concerns were my mental health, safety, and whether this was just a phase or “How do I know I am trans”. The question of “how I know” is complex and not easily answered. I think self-knowledge of trans-ness comes in degrees. Some trans people know they are trans from a very young age. They know that something is wrong. That they don’t feel like they were born in the right body. Other people such as myself never experienced intense dysphoria as a young child and still doesn’t experience super-intense dysphoria. The dysphoria is more targeted towards particularly features like my muscles, shoulders, and my beard shadow. I’m still happy with my genitals for the most part. And I have slight dysphoria about my chest – I kind of wish I had breasts. But my dysphoria has been intensifying since I self-identified as transgender. I may not feel 100% like a woman but I intensely desire to be more like  a woman. I don’t know how far my transition will take me right now but I want to stay open minded and not make any big decisions right now.

Part of my knowing has come in stages. It’s been a gradual process of self-exploration. Two years ago I was married and my wife asked me if I wanted to transition or if I was just a crossdresser. At the time I tried to reflect and answer honestly. I said I didnt want to transition. That it wasn’t for me. Was I deluded? It’s possible I was just saying what she wanted to hear. But for years I just thought I was a crossdresser. But I entertained thoughts of dressing feminine more and more. These thoughts become more or less intense over time but starting a few months the intensity really ramped up as to where I was thinking about crossdressing and transitioning quite a bit. And then I watched the Bruce Jenner interview with Diane Sawyer. What an inspiration! That really got me soul-searching. I started asking myself. Am I trans like Jenner? Why did I never realize it until now? Am I a fraud? Am I less trans than other trans people? Does trans-ness come in degrees? Where do I fall along the spectrum? I started asking myself these questions and soon enough I started become comfortable thinking of myself as transgender. It’s actually way more liberating than just calling myself a crossdresser. Transgender is a better explanation for my behavior and my feelings. It makes me reexamine all my memories in a new light.

There is more to say but I will leave it for another post.

2 Comments

Filed under Random

Hello World This Is My New Blog

I’m a 5th year philosophy grad student and recently discovered I am transgendered, specifically transfeminine. I’ll be getting more into what that means as this blog progresses. For now I just want to write a quick introduction and test out this new wordpress blog.

I want this blog to be a testimony of what it will be like as an academic philosopher starting to making a transition to living as a woman. I want to document the trials and tribulations as well as the joys and successes. I’d like to post and discuss research and articles or videos related to transgenderism and generally make this blog both autobiographical and educational. I will also share whatever tips or advice I come across for mtf trans people.

This blog will just be one narrative. I won’t pretend to speak for all trans people. I can only speak for myself. But I have a voice and I want to make it heard. Thank you allowing me to express myself.

Ok I don’t have a lot to say for this first post but stick around more will be sure to follow!

2 Comments

Filed under Random