Thursday, July 31, 2008

Genetics, showers and woolly eyes

A lot these days trans conversations seem to circle round the issue of showers and toilets.

Propaganda of the most absurd sort is being made by people opposed to equal rights for transgender people centred right on this issue.

It's stupid. And by stupid I don't mean that it's neccessarily inneffective, but that it is only effective because of transphobia. It's message is irrational, based on false fears not real facts.

The why is really quite simple.
The basic logic behind it is that some transgender women still have penises (true), penises mean they are men (false), men are all predators (false), predators could use this right to get away with crimes (false).

Ok. To start with transgender women going through transition neccessary to get sex-change surgery must first liive entirely as women for a reasonable length of time, during which they will still have penises (often non-functional ones due to hormone therapy) and have to use womens toilets. Those people are not men and even if all men were predators these wont be.

Now not only are all men not predators but not all predators are men. Our sexist society has been in denial about this for quite some time but women are also perpetrators of murder, rape, child molestation, domestic violence and sexual harassment. Victims can be male or female. I know personally victims of some of these. Currently these seem to be significantly less commonly perpetrated by woman than men. That could be for several reasons. What is important is that it does indeed happen.

Now the idea that keeping transgender people (and men who might disguise themselves as transgender people) out of womens amenities keeps them safe requires several things, that currently there are no such people in those amenities, that those people coming into those amenities will increase the harm to women in those facilities.

Now transgender people (and fake ones if they exist) who pass as women sufficiently already can (and do!) use those facilities. Not showers much to my knowledge but toilets and changerooms certainly. Also anything sexually improper done will be so regardless if transgender people are allowed use of such facilities.

I'm unaware of any decent comparison study of sexual predation per capita between non-trans women and MtF transgender people which would indeed be interesting. Anecdotally I've seen far more media reports in the last few years of women pedophiles and murderers than trans sex-offenders. Quite a number of places have allowed transgender people to use the appropriate facilities to their gender presentation, no reports of massive rises in sexual predation have come of them, that alone suggests this is all a storm-in-a-teacup.

Even the suggestion of men pretending to be trans for access to such amenities for 'peeping' ignores that every day bisexual and lesbian women use them. There are a lot more bi and lesbian women than there are transgender women. Why are people using amenities where they could be naked and seen by people that may find them attractive complaining that other people might do the same? Surely it's absurd to have areas where strangers see each other naked right now when a simple door gives privacy!

So right now those amenities are not safe and allowing transgender people access to them does not, going by results, raise the level of unsafeness.

It's nohing but an attempt to pull the wool over peoples eyes, using the basic transphobia and sexism of people who don't know much about the truth.

Are there any alternatives? Well we could build additional showers and toilets for TG folk at great expense. Of course straight women will still be naked in front of bi and lesbian women. I wonder why the opponents of gay rights aren't worried about that? What about the straight men showering with bi and gay men? Maybe it's a case of what happens in the locker room stays in the locker room?

How about we just put decent stalls and doors in toilets and showers so people can't peak?

What happens though if these people get there way?
Where else can transgender people go? A transexual, regardless of their genital status, will not be welcome in the toilet opposite to their presentation.

Picture this: A guy with a beard goes into the womens toilet. Does anyone check to see if they have a vagina in their pants before they start screaming?

A woman in a skirt goes into the mens. What do you think happens next? What happens if they discover she has a penis?

Or these people have to stay trapped indoors at home like caged animals. Ostracised by society, made invisible, prevented from taking part in normal daily life because they have no safe place to pee. That will assuredly drive many into depression and suicide. Those MtF who follow the law as it would stand risk their lives to transphobic violence and those who disobey such a law would risk jail and being treated falsely as sex offenders.

Those people who aren't happy with the idea of sharing amenities with transgender people simply need to call for the expensive seperate amenities option. Calling instead for trapping people in their homes is immoral, unethical and dare I say it quite unchristian too! There are two moral options, two ways of treating transgender people as equal. Opposing their very existance, that is not moral not ethical.

And then we come to the genetics...

So for female-to-male transexuals it seems we have found a genetic component.
Just one of many factors that seems to be part of the phenomenon, a phenomenon likely to have more than one causation anyway.

But every piece of medical evidence means another nail in the coffin of excuses to treat people as second class citizens. There was a time when the law seperated people with another genetic variation in showers and toilets... genes for skin colour!

I wonder then how long till a transexual armed with the latest expert testimony in the field sues a city or company for unfair discrimination on medical grounds? It's only a matter of time before there is enough evidence to do so. Once such a case is won somewhere it will precipitate a landslide of similar cases, all calling for damages too I suspect.

That'll sure cost a lot more than setting up a few decent doors and stalls in toilets and showers.

So morally, sensibly, logicly the arguments against transgender people having access to the basic amenities everyone else takes for grsnted just don't stack up.

The cost of not supporting Trans access to appropriate amenities, either current or new ones for their use is choosing to ruin innocent peoples lives. That is the moral cost. The risk is illusion, lies. And in the future the potential cost to the taxpayer could be far greater than that of giving some people who are just a little different the same right to pee as everyone else!

Sunday, July 20, 2008

Recent Lessons

I have learned some recent lessons. Here are some of them:

1. Insomnia + Brain Fog + Gary Numen = amusing bad blog posts (see last blog post)

2. Reactions of people to some issues can never be accurately predicted. Two friends I thought would be the most likely to be transphobic are amongst the most accepting while one I thought would be less of a problem is the most problematic.

3. There will always be new surprises. I've been running games of Conspiracy X (a roleplaying game involving conspiracies, ufo's, the paranormal etc) for years. No two groups of players have been alike but it still ends up with some degree of cliche's in the characters people envision. This genre has it's commonalities, the tough cynical ruthless spook, the compassionate investigator, the slightly quirky psychic or mystic.. but I was unprepared for the Amish Carpenter! Yep, a game about high-tech espionage, cloak and dagger conspiracies threaded through governments, aliens and monsters and secret societies... and one player decides to create an amish carpenter for that game! A delightful circumstance that really allowed for a lot of depth and exploration of political, social and cultural issues.

4. No old wound ever heals completely. It's the nature of human thought I think, the way our conciousness is built up of interconnected patterns or habits of thought, that results in old wounds reopening from time to time. Some things always will hurt, rejection always sucks, but the emotional callouses we build up over time peel away over time too leaving us raw and freshly vulnerable.

So where to from here? Well I'll try to remember these lessons to start with. I'll try and improve in the struggle of managing my symptoms while trying to fit in some quality of life. I'll try and ponder how to try and help my friend deal with his issues with crossdressers. And at some point i'll try and get back to where I left my last writing and sculpture projects.

And I'll smile. Because the best lesson is that just when you think you have the world mapped out, that you can predict it successfully, along come some wondrous moments of being delightfully proven wrong. Being wrong means there is more to learn, there is newness, difference. And difference is valueable.

Now I have no idea what the future might bring and that is glorious.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Are 'friends' electric?

Somethings are worth knowing thrice.

Well may they say that any nation is just three missed meals away from revolution, and sometimes they'd be right and sometimes assuredly wrong.

But no matter how old you live you may still find yourself up at 2:22AM listening to Gary Numan and both wanting and not wanting to go to sleep.

So I will try and get some sleep soon because I will be running a game of the roleplaying game Conspiracy X tomorrow. What truth will I impart in allegory to my more 'normal' friends tomorrow? What of this sound can I convey in words, though the truth is not in the sound... no music is more nor less than a set of triggers. Echo's of the past. We play on our own instincts. We speak in a forgotton language to a sleeping ear to stir the dreams of our own inner gods.

And no matter how old i get there will be a season for this sort of place, this particular room of the mind. Only it's shifted back to Gary Numan from Curve, Sisters of Mercy, Shriekback and various other musics that have occupied it.

If I was less tired I'd be impelled to write some more of my novel or work on my last unfinished sculpture.

And the words echo my loneliness but the synth feels strangely warm and strong and energetic.

And I remember the future, as it once was dreamed.

Sometimes the best things get forgotten and the worst are remembered.

Sometimes we let idiocy go unchallenged for expediencies sake.

Sometimes we need something to fight against, but all too often we fight for what we should fight against and against what we should fight for.

And here i write, casting out my zombie wisdom of my hypnopompic mind in it's somnambulant housing.

Floating in my state of half-awareness. Illness imposed, free of any drug-taint but trapped in that strange state between microcosm and mesocosm. My creativity wasted.

For i am weighted down, by a curse like that of sysiphus and prometheus. Struggling to talk in human languages when the natural language is sinesthetic.

I recall a day, as a very small child, before I could speak, thinking without langauge by thinking in memories of sensations. I wondered what i would be eating soon by replaying tastes and smells in my mouth and nose.

Sure i'm weird. From language in sensation-memory to complex sentences, reading at a young age. Is it any wonder I struggle with thinking down to so many people, yet up to others. for intelligence isn't stacked in neat hierarchies but on variable planes. More like different 2d forms in a 3d world occupying the same coordinates but creating very different intersections which themselves create different shapes, thede shapes being new forms of intelligence which exist only, in the 4th dimesnion of temporality as our conversations, bubbles that form by our interaction and burst, notions partially cipied like rna copying faulty dna stacked with plate-shift molecules.

And only I really understand how much I have gained by this greater access to unconcious cognitin, only I can understand how much i have lost by not having access to what I used to have perpetually at my disposal. Oh mathematics, oh reliable recall, I miss you so.

16 years ago i wrote by memory in the darkness, unable to see the pencil marks on the page but confidant in my writings legibility. I sat on my bed in meditative contemplation, mind pouring, gushing, bursting in imagery. Even then the shroud was falling, like a current of aether in my mind.

So hear I am again, Gary Numen and the rain on the roof. Late, cold. Holding in my mind notions that human words cannot quite express. Knowing that my potential to contribute to society, to my own success is minimised.

A classmate whose name I can't recall once suggested god made me ill to avoid competition.

It makes my inner megalomaniac beam. But the fact is though that I will never get the chance to fully realise my potential. I will be lucky to get any novels finished let alone published let alone more widely read than my short stories are so they can reach an effective audience. and writing down to communicate to the right common denominator is painful.

And an army of the strange, while beautiful, while the lifeblood of culture and of our advancement as a species will not effect change, just shine and burn and be remembered only by their own kind.

But what else can I do? How can I find a way to show to others what is so simple, so clear, to my strange eyes?

It is the burden. Atlas is misidentified, it holds not a globe on it's shoulders, but a head in it's hands and must whisper endlessly to the dead brain via the dead ear that some little wisdom might pass beyond.

The creative minds pass through the populace, tainting the masses with meaining and being revered and reviled on the same account.

But these storm tossed Mimir's are anchored and weighted by their own half-humanity. That which allows them to communicate just that little shred to those around them. It also blights them though with the very flaws within that smite them from without.


That's the trouble with stream of conciousness writing, it's honesty to the self makes it so personal that it loses most of it's meaning for others. We communicate through blurry shared allegories and nebulous guesses of meanings. Green to me is similar to green to you, but never the same. No two people speak exactly the same language. To communicate we need to try and speak to the shared understandings.

But to really evoke, to communicate at the deepest levels we need to trigger our ancient language receptors, often speaking more loudly but to fewer. Because for most of us those are sleeping ears.

It's time, for a time, to sleep but briefly.
Perhaps to dream of futures past, futures forgotten, futures half-remembered.

To wonder at the beauty unseen.

Friday, July 11, 2008

You win some you lose some

So it turns out a good friend has issues with trans. Not transexuals but with drag queens and crossdressers.

And one i thought wouldn't be such a problem too. Sigh. I'd dropped plenty of hints over a long time with him, I'd hoped he'd already cottoned on.
I don't think he completely got that I actually am a crossdresser even after I said it though, I think a little denial kicked in and he responded as if I'd said it less than entirely seriously but confessed his issues with DQ's and CD's. The rest of the visit went well but...

And there's me wearing eyeliner (admittedly mostly worn off) and nails painted dark red a half inch longer than my fingertips (a lot more obvious).

And as I only see him every so often trying to slowly get him used to the idea is not going to work very well. That's a 16 year old friendship right there that I might not be able to preserve.

To understate: that does not make me happy.

This however comes on the heels of another good long-term friend that I had been worried about coming out to taking it really well.

I also find out that some of the folk I've been gaming with every week for months now are a bit transphobic. Looks like being a goth has helped me out there. Hopefully a bit of time and gradual exposure will work on them too.

But I knew my run of luck with accepting folk would end and I can only move at a pace comfortable to me.

I don't think the full enormity that i very likely might lose this good and dear friend entirely has really hit home yet. I haven't started crying yet, I just have that horrible hollow feeling in the top of my chest.

And PhyllisMs got banned at Pam's House Blend.
I honestly tried to get through to her plenty of times. I tried logic i tried reason and rhetoric too. No matter what though she was just pushing her agenda and coming up with excuses to justify it. She just went too far, she went back to being insulting again and ended up being called out on it.

It's a win in that I won't have her accusing me of attacking her by disagreeing with her or of ignoring the issues and attacking her while I'm actually addressing the issues and she's just restating her base views and attacking me. But it's a lose in that not only did I not convinve her of my argument (or find hers convincing, that too would have been good) but now she's gone there's a missed opportunity to try and show her I'm not the ogre or monster she seemed to think I am. I just thought her view on one issue was both unsupportable and disasterous and was compelled to point out it's flaws and possible alternate solutions everytime she started preaching on the subject.

And the temperature here is freezing. A bit of snow, some wind and even sitting next to the heater I'm cold. And to top it all off a few late nights has messed up my sleep patterns again so I'm up still a 1:16, horribly cold and typing this.

Oh well. There is yet time to change minds and educate. I may still figure out a way to reach some of the harder-to-reach folks yet.