Monthly Archives: September 2013

An open Letter to Cathy Brennan

Edit: There have been a few updates since I wrote this. If you read this before skip down to the bottom for the new bits.

 

 

You know Cathy, i was very very close to hating you, I don’t take any pride in admitting this as its not really healthy to hate someone but today you wrote something that made me finally understand you, and that borderline hate instantly became pity.

 

“Pinocchio wanted to be a real boy.

When I was a little girl, I really related to this.

I wanted to be a real boy too.”

 

My god, you aren’t cis.

 

But instead of taking this realization that you don’t fit into the box that says “woman” you chose to attack *everyone else* who doesn’t fit into that box either, because you decided to bury that part of yourself, much like the “ex-gay” conservative christians we hear about in the media.

Your own self loathing and dysphoria was something you couldn’t unpack and handle.

 

“When I started developing breasts, and my mother made me shop for a bra, I refused to be in the “lingerie” department with her at the same time. She would go in and leave a pile of bras for my approval, and I would surreptitiously look at the lacey pile, quickly selecting the most un-bra like ones (this was before sports bras. It was not fun).  I refused to say the word “bra,” because I was so despondent over the state of my chest.”

 

 

Do you know how many times i’ve heard the same sentiments echoed by trans men and genderqueer CAFAB people i’ve met? It breaks my heart that your self loathing was so powerful that not only did you reject trans men as friends after they came out, you openly attacked the entire trans* community because you can’t bear to see us be happy , something you deny yourself.

 

While it wasn’t the place of your trans men friends to tell you what you should identify as, its pretty clear to just about every trans person who reads your story that you aren’t cis and you aren’t gender conforming. So from now on I will never call you cis again.

 

So i’m going to tell you what they should have.

 

Men can be pregnant and have children, trans men are allowed to do that. Thats a thing thats ok to do.

Perhaps you aren’t a trans man, perhaps you are genderqueer or gender fluid or something else entirely, but you certainly aren’t cis.

And that’s ok.

They shouldn’t have tried to pressure you into identifying a certain way, and instead should have just given you support in your self exploration, and i’m sorry that you didn’t get the support you needed and now you are alone and in terrible obvious pain.

You even admit you still at some level want to be a man.

Well I want to tell you its ok to want that and its ok to act on it. You don’t have to, but its an ok choice to make.

 

What isn’t ok is your continued attacks on people who have figured out who they really are and are living the life that makes them feel happier. You don’t have the right to attack the happiness of other people or inflict misery on them just because you had a bad time of it.

 

You have fought so hard to attack the very concept of transgender because you know at some level if you stop doing it and accept us for who we are you have to look in the mirror and face the reality of your own gender issues.

And that thought scares the living shit out of you, so you continue to attack what you fear, this is literal transphobia. You are afraid of the very concept of transgender because inside deep down you know that if you stop fearing it you just might fall under that umbrella.

 

If that happens you know that all of your current friends will turn against you as you turned against the trans men you had in your life.

 

But what you don’t realize is that these people aren’t really your friends, anyone who can’t accept you for you isn’t your real friend. Instead of seeing the inherent problems with the community you are a part of and either working to reform or dismantle it you cling even tighter to it out of fear, because you don’t want to be alone. Perhaps you think its too late to change.

 

What you also don’t realize is that once you shed off these fake friends and people trying to force you back into the box that says woman that you admit you don’t fit into you will gain real friends who will accept you for who you really are, yes it might take time for some of us to forgive your past, and some people might not forgive you at all. But some of us will. Some of us have a past too and are willing to give people a chance to grow and change. Its never too late to change, or to grow as a person. As long as you are alive you have a choice.

 

Wouldn’t you rather be at peace and be around people who accept you for who you are inside? Wouldn’t you rather just open up and let the real you out?

None of your issues however excuse what you have done and continue to do, this needs to stop. Even if you can’t handle your own gender issues you need to understand *other people can* and you don’t have the right to attack them for it or have the right to try to take away the civil rights of other human beings because they were able to handle something you can’t. You don’t have the right to try to convince someones doctor to take them off of hormones because you have chosen not to take them.

Perhaps you should put down your metaphorical sword and go see a gender specialist and talk about your issues, perhaps they can help you find the peace you are clearly lacking.

Perhaps you should stop attacking the things you have denied yourself, and instead work to dismantle the cisnormative structures that hurt all people.

So no Cathy, I don’t hate you. I feel sorry for you.

 

Updates begin here.

Seems bug and the TERFs read this and I seem to have hit a sore spot or two.

Bug is now claiming all lesbians are transgender.

 

 

Projecting much bug?

 

Oh and I appear to have struck a nerve in known transphobic celebrity Rosanne Barr.

 

 

Thanks for the signal boost you fucking bigot 😀

Why I am against transgender military service in the US.

Let me start off by saying that I believe that transgender people are just as capable and just as able to meet the military standards as cis people and in a lot of areas we would excel and exceed cis people.

My argument is not based on skill. Also i’d like to add that I know Dean Spade is a douchebag and i don’t argue against that.

 

Next I want you to read what I write very carefully because if you become reactionary about this article and you haven’t actually read the words i’m just going to tell you to go fuck yourself. Disagree with me, thats fine but for fuck sake read all of what I write first. Argue based on what I wrote not what your brain put there.

 

I also don’t think transgender americans are any less or more patriotic than cisgender americans.

I also don’t think we should be denied the right to serve our country. In the long run.

I do however think that focusing on military inclusiveness right now is a bad tactical move for us for multiple reasons.

One, the fact that targeting an oppressed group like us for recruiting into the armed services is fairly exploitative considering how hard it is for a lot of us to find employment, instead of say solving the civilian employment issues we face you want to add even more economic coercion and bad choices to an already oppressed people. The day all trans people have the same employment opportunities cis people have in the civilian world is the day I will fight for transgender inclusion in the US Armed services.

 

That being said any trans person who winds up economically coerced into service does not deserve any scorn for this, doing what you must to survive is no dishonor. Nor will I try to tell any trans person not to join the military if they allow this. Those of you who might join because they lack any real opportunities elsewhere deserve our compassion and respect, they took a tough situation and tried to make the best of it. Your service is honorable in my eyes.

 

 

I also have empathy for service members who are still closeted with their trans status, I was one of those people myself for some time and they deserve every ounce of compassion for living through that hell.

 

My fight is not with you, nor the other people on the extreme edges of marginalization who don’t see any other way out. Do what you must to survive and feel no shame in doing so. I sure didnt feel any.

My fight is with the military industrial complex that seeks to exploit our marginalization to put warm bodies in front of enemy fire. The most marginalized among us are trans women of color and that is who is most likely to be affected by this. Racism intersecting with transphobia makes life as a trans POC very very dangerous and the Army by comparison will seem safer by orders of magnitude. A guaranteed paycheck, free medical care, housing, clothing ,food, and training all are attractive offers to any people who don’t have many civilian opportunities due to discrimination.

 

Think about who is funding this initiative, a white wealthy trans woman, is putting her millions she made into encouraging poor trans women of color to join the armed services. All the while she only came out long after she had made her money and gained power for herself. Her initiative is coming from a place of privilege.

Does that seem right to you?

yes she has done other good things for transgender people, but that doesn’t make everything she does right.

What focusing on this will do is not lead to more transgender rights but less, most Americans think that trans discrimination is already against the law, Gay INC.  worked to make sure we were not included in those new laws. Yet most people believe we are already protected by law. 90% of Americans believe trans discrimination is already illegal.

 

Ninety fucking percent.

 

My own mother believed this was the case until 2 weeks ago when we argued about transgender rights on the phone. She also loves dan savage.

 

Adding this will in the eyes of cis people be “equality”

They will point to that and say “see we included you stop asking for special treatment”, this will be the end of the road for us in the eyes of cis people.

 

“You can be in the army and you can get gay married what more do you want?” is what they will say and we all know this.

It will turn into another method to silence and oppress transgender people in the US, it is only a token effort meant to silence the voices of the oppressed so they can be fed into the war machine without protest. it creates the appearance of progress without actually addressing the massive social ills we face.

 

Because once you have completed your service (if you even survive) you get a GI bill you won’t be able to use, you won’t be able to use it because it requires you to pay the college costs up front and then the military reimburses you after you pass the course. That’s right, you have to already be able to afford college to get college from the military.

 

Now some people might say “well you can take classes while you are in the military it says so on the pamphlet”

Ok, yes that’s technically true you can, but it requires your commanders approval and you have to re-enlist for the option. This is a reward commanders hand out very rarely and only to the biggest ass kissers. Chances are you aren’t getting any college in while you’re enlisted.

So that GI benefit is practically useless to people who came from poverty. There is a reason why most people never use this benefit, and it isn’t a lack of desire for higher education.

Another point I would like to make is the fact that the oppression axes we face will continue to follow us inside of the military, racism, sexism, homophobia and other bigotry run rampant and unchecked. In fact they are encouraged on an institutional level.

The racism was painfully obvious, all you had to do was look at the chain of command photos of most units.

 

Most of the NCO’s were people of color and most of the officers were white, whites were encouraged to attend OCS (officer candidate school) and mentored more often than POC soldiers while often given time off to take night classes to meet OCS requirements. POC soldiers were encouraged to take the NCO route, while being discouraged from taking higher education on their own time and dime, all while the army proclaims diversity. Good enough to hold a gun for uncle sam but not good enough to be an officer giving orders. Fucking disgusting.

The officer corp has its roots in the US’s white landed gentry class and still strongly echoes these roots today.  I don’t often talk about racism because i’m not a person of color and i don’t want to appropriate or put my foot in my mouth, the racism in the Army was so painfully obvious it slapped you in the face regardless of who you are so i’m speaking about what I saw.

Sexism ran rampant also, so painfully obvious it slapped you in the face. Women either had to act like the stereotypical male or they were treated as less than human. God forbid you are a woman in the army with a healthy sex drive too, because if you were liberated about your own sexuality you were less than human too. Lots of slut shaming on against women, while pushing the men to fuck everything that walks whether they want to fuck or not.

Homophobia was so thick you could cut it with a knife, repealing DADT didn’t change the culture, it just changed a law. When I was in i had NCO’s and officers tell me that if DADT was ever repealed they would do their utmost to drive out homosexuals from their unit, and most people seemed to back them up vocally.

 

Other forms of bigotry ran rampant also, ableism is institutionally acceptable and the stigma for mental illness is so strong human beings in pain will refuse treatment because they fear the harm it will do to their careers often causing themselves more long term harm in the process.

So when you join the military you are not leaving your oppression behind, you are bringing it with you and putting it in a microcosm. And when you leave you will likely wind up right back where you started, plus with a good chance of having PTSD or some other untreated mental illness. Oh and chances are you are going to face the same kind of violence inside the military as you would have in the civilian world, the military already has a rape and assault problem against cis women thats near epidemic levels, with trans women  it would turn into a blood bath and i can’t even imagine the horrors trans women of color would face.

Oh and you still won’t have any civil rights when you get out.

You still won’t be able to use public restrooms.

Jobs still won’t hire you because you are trans.

You are still going to be the butt of every joke.

You still risk being murdered and raped, your veteran status will not protect you from racism or transphobia.

Bigots don’t ask for your fucking DD214 (discharge papers) before they beat you to death.

 

Activism isn’t a zero sum game but strategy is a real thing and putting military inclusiveness before civilian protections and opportunities are acquired will only hurt us as a movement. We need housing and employment protections , we need healthcare equality, we need protections for trans youth. We need social changes to occur. We need to end white supremacy and cis supremacy first.

 

What we don’t need us the US government using us as weapons of war while they deny us our civil rights.

So no i don’t think we should be focusing our energy on getting transgender people in the military in the US right now. Perhaps when we solve basic equality in the civilian world and when our military is no longer the worlds bully, then perhaps. Until then i don’t want to see transgender people dying for a country that denies them the right to use public restrooms and won’t even acknowledge the fact we exist in a lot of places.

 

 

Commander X , My Friend, My Compatriot

Commander X made the announcement that he was disbanding the PLF  and leaving activism and anonymity behind him.  When he made this announcement on twitter I was shocked, and a bit worried. But reading the indybay article I realized that while Commander X is invincible, Chris Doyon was human just like the rest of us. I know all too well the pressures of being “invincible” and the psychological and physical toll it can take.

 

Chris has paid a heavy price for being a man of conscience and a man of integrity, he can no longer return to his country, or see his family or friends. Some of you might want to debate me on the character of this man and to you I say this.

 

I have never met anyone besides Chris who acted as a leader and was still able to hold himself to the same rules as everyone else under him. I once even saw him ban himself from his own twitter account because he broke a rule he created.

He is what I looked up to in Anonymous, the ideal made flesh. In my opinion if more Anons…no if more human beings were like Chris the world would be a better place.

Chris is one of the most kind and understanding cisgendered people I have met, a person who has compassion for all living things, animal and human. To him all suffering matters. He understands oppression and bigotry  and he always did what he could to fight it. He would always stick up for me when others in our mutual circles would call me slurs or attempt to dehumanize me.

I actually cried when i wrote that last paragraph.

It’s entirely unfair for him to be branded as a criminal , a man whose empathy drove him to sacrifice everything in his life to make the world a better place. If exceeding the minimum standards of decent human being makes you an outlaw and an outcast I do not want to be accepted by that society, I would take pride in being reviled by it. And I often do. As did he.

I first met him through Ryan Ackroyd (AKA kayla) and we worked on op tunisia together, he and Ryan were instrumental in sparking and assisting the peaceful revolution in tunisia ( i can’t get into details so take me at my word please) and I was proud to have been a part of that. Chris helped liberate an entire nation from oppression, and while tunisia of course still has its own problems now they have a path forward to solve them.

We became fast friends and stayed in contact through various communication channels, mostly to keep in touch or to find out how his day was going.  I learned a lot from him, while our conversations were not often verbose, they are heavy with meaning and impact.

He may have given up activism (for very understandable reasons) but to me Commander X will never die, Commander X is an idea now, a meme. A symbol with power and meaning, something that will live beyond Chris and echo into history. As Jake Davis once said, you cannot arrest an idea, and to expand on that, you cannot kill an idea either. Commander X is a symbol of hope and compassion to me and one of strength and determination.

 

If you ever wonder what inspires me to push forward with my activism through all the hell and all the shit day after day, it was Chris, under the banner of Commander X.

Chris has decided to go back into robotics and is recreating the Machine Life & Artificial Intelligence Foundation, I highly recommend we follow his new account @M0RPHE0US and support his efforts as he once supported ours. Please though, if you do this respect his wishes, no politics or activism. I have followed his account and I will respect his desires. I will be happy to be there for him in this.  Show him you are his true friend and support his new mission. 

Though the man behind the mask has moved on to new projects and new chapters of life, he is my friend and I will be there for him.

So, goodbye Commander X.

 

Hello Chris Doyon, my friend.

 

With all the love I can bear to hold.

 

Laurelai Bailey.