The Trans Experience

But I have burnt within thee as a pure flame without oil. In the midnight I was brighter than the moon; in the daytime I exceeded utterly the sun; in the byways of thy being I flamed, and dispelled the illusion. –Liber LXV V:9

Do what thou whilt shall bet the whole of the law.

This was originally written as various responses to messages.

Anyone who’s to the point where they’re about to get the surgery have already had to deal with so much gatekeeping and hoops to jump though. Generally the only people who regret it are the ones where it’s botched and there’s certain surgeons we’re warned to avoid because they’re known to do that and also not listen to the patient.

Wanna get on HRT? Go to a therapist first and get them to send us a letter. Want to get SRS? Go to two different mental health professionals and get letters plus your PCP. Then good luck actually affording it. Oh you got the letters? Ok well now you have to get perminent hair removal for the entire genital region. Oh the places near you refuse to help trans customers? Oh well, figure it out. Oh great you have your hair removal done? Ok now you have to loose 50 lbs because reasons. Oh it’s hard to lose weight because of the side effects of the testosterone blocker? Tough. I don’t care you have to figure it out anyway. Oh you want facial feminization surgery and a tracheal shave? Well your insurance doesn’t cover it so you’ll have to pay out of pocket. Good luck affording it since trans people make way less than cis people doing the same job and we’re often locked out of promotions and the like just because of our gender, and often the person making the decisions doesn’t even realize they’re doing it because it’s just so normalized that it happens on a subconscious level. If I had the power and the ability, I’d make every cis person have to live a week as trans so they can appreciate just how privileged they are to be cis.

Kids who are trans know it even if they don’t know how to express it. I knew at 6 years old. For kids, they don’t do anything. For themselves they put them on puberty blockers which simply delay the effects of puberty until they turn 18 and can make the decision to go further with care. I wish that had been an option when I was in school. Instead I had to deal with years and years of testosterone poisoning which made my second puberty not as effective as it could have been if my first was delayed long enough to start the second as the first and only. But honestly that’s not good enough. Being the weirdo on puberty blockers is gonna cause social isolation. If it were up to me, you’d be able to start the transition care therapy during the time when you’re supposed to start puberty so the child can grow in pace with their peers and not to suffer as much dysphoria. Again, I knew at 6 years old. I also knew that talking with it with my parents was not safe because of how they’d treated me up until that point. When they’d tuck me in for bed I’d pretend to fall asleep until they left the room and were out of earshot I’d get back up and pray desperately to be made into a girl. The thing about transition people like to forget is that it’s a medical issue; it’s called gender Identity disorder. The symptoms are primarily the presence of gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is a feeling as real and physical as pain or orgasm. It centers on anything about their body that conflicts with their true gender. Untreated, GID has an extremely high mortality rate. The longer the patient experiences that dysphoria, the worse it gets until you can’t ignore it or otherwise make it go away so you get desperate and in far too many cases the only available answer to how to make it go away is suicide. They’ve tried to treat GID with every thing you can think of and many things you didn’t and the only treatment that has any degree of meaningful success is transition and the earlier the better. So remember that before you think of anything related to trans healthcare. Gender dysphoria is a ticking time bomb. There’s a reason we don’t have a trans pride celebration but rather trans day of remembrance where we morn or many dead from the past year. Ourb bodies are actively trying to kill us and society only seems concerned with making it worse.

I can’t help but be incredibly jealous of cis women. They were just born with everything I should have had and they just take it for granted. I have to go through this really obnoxious process to get even halfway there and with technology where it’s at, that’s the best I can do. So many stupid-ass hoops to jump through. First you gotta find a sympathetic therapist and get them to give you a letter. Then you then have to find a doctor willing to prescribed them and give them the letter. Then you have to live full time for a year or two on the hormones before they’ll give you a referral to a surgeon. Then you need 2 more letters from medical professionals. Then you gotta meet this arbitrary set of criteria. For me the thing that’s in my way is I haven’t finished hair removal and my weight I have to loose down to 190 before they’ll do my vagoplasty. Then I also have to do voice surgery which means I won’t be able to talk for several months. Then there’s other surgeries insurance won’t even cover; tracheal shave and facial feminization surgery. And even then after all that there’s people who will discriminate against you for being trans. There’s people who would kill you for it given the opportunity. (and it happens all the time) Dating is a nightmare because people have all kinds of fucked up biases about it. Plus tons of friends and family will cut you off when you finally come out. There’s nothing fun about being trans. Most trans people are suicidal. There’s no silver lining. It’s living life on hard mode until you die and hopefully reincarnate into someone cis. Hopefully, though, that time bomb won’t go off for me in the meantime. I hope that for all trans people out there. We all deserve better. May we all see days when the timer can be stopped and the bomb dismantled so it can hurt us like it has for far too many

Love is the law, love under will.

In a spirit of freedom,
Vanessa

Barbie is Kinda TERFy

Do what thou whilt shall be the whole of the law.

Fellow stars,

Well I watched it. The big movie that everyone is talking about bringing waves of pink into your local movie theater. I looked very out of place compared to my peers, wearing nothing but black without even a splash of pink anywhere, as is my want to do. I didn’t do that to make some kind half-assed statement. It’s just how I usually dress and I don’t think I even own anything pink that still fits.

It was very gender essentialist. Absolutely no trans or non-binary representation at all. The feminism was definitely there but in a very brain dead sort of way. If this had come out in the early 00s it may have been more meaningful but these days it just felt very paint by numbers. Lots of fan service; they represent the toys in a very literal way which gave the little girl in me (who didn’t really get to be) a smile. Overall it was just more forgettable than anything else.

So the Barrie movie opens with a parody of 2001: A Space Odyssey, which was an odd choice given the target audience. I’m pretty sure that went over the heads of most of the audience. Then it was a silly little bit about Barbie having an imaginary perfect world, except not that perfect because the men were taken for granted and got ignored by the women. Then Barbie starts having dark thoughts like thinking about death, as well as physical symptoms like her doll high heel feet flattened to be more like regular humans. Etc She goes to “weird Barbie” who tells her that the reason this is happening is because the girl playing with her doll is sad. So then she pulls out a matrix parody with a high heel shoe and a more normal pair of sandals. Except Barbie picks the heel- the blue pill, but weird Barbie doesn’t let her pick that and sends her off to the real world to find that girl and make her happy. Ken, having this far been most ignored by Barbie despite his many attempts to romance her, stows away in her car. At some point she finds him and lets him come along. Then when they get to the real world they split up and Barbie goes to find the girl and Ken goes to the library. The girl turns out to not be the one who was playing with her sad, it was her mom. Ken learns about how male dominated this world is yet completely misinterprets it and gets absolutely none of the subtly. He goes around town demanding to do “man jobs” only to be told he doesn’t have the qualifications to actually do said jobs. Then, frustrated he goes back to Barbie Land with a book on patriarchy. He turns out m Barbie Land into the Kendom and makes it all about the men without any subtlety at all. Then Barbie ends up going back to Barbie Land on her own with the mom and her daughter. When they get there they find out what the Kens has been up to and are horrified. All the other Barbies were essentially brainwashed to be maids at ever beck and call of the Kens. Alan, the other male doll in the line that gets ignored by the Kens decides he wants to help them take back Barbie Land. They find out that talking about how hard it can be to be a woman in the real world and somehow that breaks them out of the trance in a way that’s never explained. After they have all the Barbies back on their side, they each go to a Ken and pretend to be wanting to just go on a date with them, then they switch Kens to make them jealous. The Kens have a very cheesey war on the beach while the Barbies take the Barbie Land government back over for the Barbies and Allen. Then the Kens realize what happened but instead of being mad they’re just confused. Then Ken talks to Barbie about how it actually sucks to be a Ken because they’re essentially defined by their Barbie. Barbie is sympathetic and Ken misreads it as romance and tries to kiss her. She declines and tells him to figure out who he is for himself and stop identifying his life by Barbie and just be himself for himself. Then the creator of Barbie meets them and she tells Barbie she created her to be full of potential and how she was based on her daughter Barbara. They have a little paint by numbers dialogue about how being a human sucks and she’ll have to get old and die if she decides to become human. Barbie accepts those terms. Then the Moon and daughter drop her off at a place and she goes in to the front desk and refers to herself as Barbara with the creator’s last name (I forgot what it was) and they ask why she’s there and she says she’s there to see her gynaecologist. Then the movie ends while the credits show off the dolls from the movie.

So basically the plot is “being a woman sucks” but also “don’t forget about the men.” I don’t know how any of the headlines I’ve seen about it make any sense what so ever in light of the actual movie. Like it was subtle but the whole sequence of Ken trying to do jobs in the real world and being denied for not having the credentials was super important to understand his motivations and interpretation but also the message. Yeah men have a lot of privilege but they also still have to work really hard to get there. He goes back to Barbie Land to realize his patriarchal Ken utopia because nobody needs any credentials there to do any job. He explicitly states that to Barbie.

Like he also admitted he didn’t actually care about running the world as a Ken world and he actually didn’t like doing that part of it, he just wanted to matter. He wanted to be important. So if someone gets an anti-men message from it they either haven’t actually seen the film, or are too stupid to pick on the barely even subtle Ken story. The message of the film boils down to “Yeah there’s a lot of male privilege in the world today but also we need to remember to include them in our feminism or were doing them and ourselves a disservice”

But they completely left out including LGBTQIA people at all. At one point in the theater, I had an ADHD moment of impulsivity and I actually said that out loud. “Where’s trans Barbie?”

…and you know what? The more I think about it the more the damn movie starts to feel pretty TERFy. They depicted the most stereotypical gender essentialist world they possibly could and didn’t even bother to lampshade the lack of LGBTQIA representation*.

Saying X thing is not ladylike is a very common thing for a girl to hear constantly growing up. That’s why men tend to see women as sort of enigmatic and hard to read, and why women have so many expectations that aren’t directly expressed; they’re raised to think just being direct and saying what they mean around men isn’t ok. It’s a huge problem in marriages these days from what I hear but I digress.

Little girls don’t know any better than to take that message to heart and then they grow up to raise girls the same way because that’s how they were taught. It’s also why the pink and blue aisles even exist the way they do; little boys are forbidden anything that isn’t considered boy enough, while girls are restricted in the same way for their gender. If we did away with sorting toys by gender, and stop putting that kind of arbitrary barrier up, I’m sure you’d see a lot not boys playing with dolls and dressing up and whatnot, and girls into cars and whatnot, assuming parents didn’t get in the way. Gender essentialism is stupid. The real world doesn’t work like that and the illusion that it does isn’t caused by biology but by strict control, from parents, from bullying, by systemic inequality, and from violence. Currently in a lot of places it’s common practice for a doctor to just look at the baby’s genitals and decide which category to put them in and if there’s any ambiguity, which there is way more often than you know, they mutilate the baby to which ever they think is the more dominant at that time. They make them look “normal”. And usually they don’t even tell the parents they did it out of fear the parents would treat the child different for having been born hermaphroditic. There are documented cases of this ruining their lives as they grow up but nobody’s really talking about it or doing anything about it. And it’s speculated that a goodly number of trans people were babies who the doctor picked the wrong one. And there’s one really well documented case which is a big part of why trans healthcare is what it is. It’s a big part of why the idea that gender identity being a choice has been rejected in the medical community, and a big part of why they stopped trying in vein to fix dysphoria with therapy (it didn’t work). It’s also part of why I think circumcision on a child should be a felony, not a common practice but I digress. This boy was born as a typical male child with unambitious genitalia. Then they botched his circumcision in a big way. The doctor, probably thinking himself clever for thinking it, decided to just make this baby boy into a baby girl with impromptu surgery. So then the kid was raised in the typical way for girls and he was never told any of this, but the older he got the more he objected to being made to be a girl. Ultimately it got bad enough that they took him to a different doctor who did his best at corrective surgery. The boy then grew up to be a mostly normal man after that. That case was so well documented and was accidentally perfect proof that their idea of what gender is was absolutely wrong. Going from that, trans people saying they’re actually what their current gender is isn’t what they’re being forced to be, it’s not a big leap to say hey maybe they know what they’re talking about and actually know more about themselves than you can ever know, so they’re allowed to transition. Of course now years later our understanding of what makes someone trans has expanded, like that brain scan thing. But thinking of that boy who was forced to be a girl due to a botched circumcision, imagining after the correction surgery, a girl he’s interested in turns him down saying his medical condition “wasn’t her type”. Think of how awful that was for her to say. Think about how horrible he would feel after that kind of rejection. That’s exactly what the trans experience is. All of us grew up knowing something was wrong, that the gender we’ve been assigned isn’t the one we actually are. There’s a lot of reasons why some people take longer to come out and seek care then others and each is an individual situation, but we have one experience in common; gender dysphoria. When I look at a woman in a leotard dancing or doing gymnastics, know what goes through my mind? “You’ll never be like her, even if you get the surgery, you’ll be at best a facsimile of what she has. She was born with it and takes it for granted. She doesn’t know how lucky she is to be born cis. I might as well give up. I’ll never be the woman I was supposed to be. I should just kill myself.” And then we have society, which treats us horribly, like less than human.

There are literally social media groups that exist just to make trans lives harder. There’s people trying to pass laws against us every fucking day. There’s people who go out of their way to kill trans people, and worse – they often get off with a slap on the wrist because of something called the “trans panic defense” It’s horrible but it’s something we always have to be worried about. Recently there was a trans high school girl who got popular on TikTok advocating for trans rights. She was murdered in a public park in broad daylight by two of her fellow students. We get rejected by family, we’re discriminated against for employment. We have excessively expensive medical care on top of anything else we have going on. We have a high suicide rate, which means we lose friends all the time and there’s nothing we can do. And it’s worse for people who don’t have passing privilege. They’re often assaulted in public. And even worse than that, there’s the “trans broken arm syndrome” where medical professionals will tell you that whatever problem you’re having is because you’re on hormone treatment no matter if that’s actually relevant or not. It got its name from an incident when someone went into the ER for a broken arm and was told her problem was her hormones. Like how does that make any kind of sense!? Her hormone treatment didn’t break her arm you idiot. There’s another recent case when the medical workers just refused to treat a trans woman on the grounds that she was trans and they just let her die right in front of them. Now Florida is trying to pass a law to make that legal. There’s no upside. There’s no winning. There’s just pain, and sadness, and loss, and abuse, and expenses, and poverty, and other things I can’t bring myself to type out.

Love is the law, love under will.

I’m out,
Vanessa

*Note: Apparently Doctor Barbie is played by a trans woman but I didn’t know that at the time of this writing. Also there’s a Laverne Cox Barbie apparently as well which I also didn’t know about. However, the way I’m looking at it is a little girl isn’t gonna know all that, she’s gonna know her dolls and she’s gonna know what’s in the movie itself. If it’s not part of the movie itself then it may as well not exist. If a little trans girl watched it, she wouldn’t be like oh Doctor Barbie is like me, because there’s nothing in the context of the film to let you know the actor is trans. She’s just gonna see another cishet pretty face.

Rick Will Never Be Free

(Originally written as part of a conversation.)

Do what thou whilt shall be the whole of the law.

Earthlings,

In the show Rick and Morty, Rick says this:

“Listen morty I hate telling it to you this way but what people call ‘love’ is actually a chemical reaction that drives animals to procreate, it’s strong and before you realize it you’re in a terrible marriage.” –Rick

He said shit like that to deflect from his deeply broken heart when his wife and daughter were killed in his “whiny baby backstory” That’s an example of what’s called “shadow projection”. He just happens to be good at putting it into seemingly scientific terms. Blame the concept of love because what you love was taken from you.

The scene in the toilet episode when Rick talks to Tony in the giant Rick robot.

“You know what shy pooping is, Rick? It’s a pointless bid for control. You wanna take the one thing in life that you think is truly yours and you want to protect it from a universe that takes whatever it wants. It took my wife, it clearly took something from you. We can spend our lives fighting that, or we can be free.” –Tony

It’s my favorite line of the entire series because it’s the only time someone tells Rick how it is without restraint or remorse. In a different show it would be the big moment where Rick finally gets it. In his case though, he knows all of that already but he doesn’t care because he has decided that his life is already meaningless so he wanders the multiverse filing his time with cheap joys until it eventually kills him. His tendency to build suicide devices and then whimp out at the last moment, and his constant drinking, are unhealthy coping mechanisms he’s built up because he knows he’ll never really escape those feelings, emotional epiphany or no, so he doesn’t bother. He will always miss his wife and child but he also has the power to see what might have been and that hurts him more than anything, because that will never be him. It will always be another Rick living the better life. All that talk of the “Rickest Rick” is ego inflation. The Rickest Rick is the one where that guy never showed up at his house with the portal gun. And yet even that isn’t bad enough; there’s a Rick out there that’s living that life for all he knows, but instead it’s a simulation being used to take the essence of that, simplify it down into an edible form, and made into pieces of food. In a world where you can do anything and nothing truly matters, why do anything at all?

Love is the law, love under will.

Shwifty as ever,
Vanessa