Paranoid Locker Room Fantasies (mostly about naked Trans bodies)

Remember the 80’s sex comedy? This is where men learned what girls did in the locker room (or conversely where women learned what men fantasized about what girls did in the locker room). I always think back to the scene in “Stripes” where John Larroquette is using a spyglass to watch female recruits taking a shower and says

‘I wish I was a loofah‘.

Such sexy fun times the girls were having where the men were not allowed to go! In these movies, men would go to great lengths, including cross dressing, to catch a glimpse of this sacred palace of sexy fun. And so you get an entire generation that has a very specific reference point for what locker room life is for women…what bathroom life is for women.

methinks the tiger may have a penis

methinks the tiger may have a penis

And you know what ruins that fantasy for them? The thought of a trans girl in their presence with, what one Daily Kos commenter called her “dangly bits” showing. Now for some men, this is their perfect fantasy. Many trans women have encountered these men. When I was pre-op, I was the object of affection of a gentleman who later showed no interest in me once my “dangly bits” were removed.

Many other men have reached the age of having daughters or having hypothetical daughters – I kid you not – and are very uncomfortable with the idea of penises in their fantasy locker rooms. There is this liberal fellow from said Daily Kos comments section:

I’m all in favor of people being allowed to use the locker rooms appropriate to their gender (and have no idea what locker room my sibling uses). I also live in this HS district though the news coverage today is the first I’ve heard about this.

That said, I feel that a penis in the high school girls’ locker room is just as inappropriate as a strapon would be, regardless of the gender identity of the person it’s attached to.

If this student has had SRS, then it’s absolutely inappropriate to bar her from the locker room. Until that time, I feel like my right to not have my (theoretical) 13-year old daughter exposed to male dangly bits trumps the right of the transgender person to be naked in the locker room.

If the class isn’t showering after PE or if the locker room provides private curtained off changing rooms for the students I’d be happy to change my stance on this, but in the open locker rooms I remember from my youth this would be inappropriate.

I like how he references the open locker rooms he remembers from his youth. Now to be fair, men’s locker rooms are pretty wide open. I hated them and even when I was on the swim team, I had a really hard time changing in front of guys. I was not alone in this. Most on the team tried really hard not to be seen naked. It’s a really uncomfortable environment. But women’s locker rooms often have a different layout than men’s, including private changing areas. I know the women’s locker room at the pool my daughter used to swim at had them and the locker room at the fitness club where I went once – before feeling really uncomfortable and not going back (and no, not because of the working out…my confidence in being in that space at that time was very low) – had them.

But this is not about reality. This is about the fantasy that men have, men like Presidential candidate Mike Huckabee:

“Now I wish that someone told me that when I was in high school that I could have felt like a woman when it came time to take showers in PE,” Huckabee said.

“I’m pretty sure that I would have found my feminine side and said, ‘Coach, I think I’d rather shower with the girls today.’

It’s this really paranoid notion that teenage boys would endure the heavy social stigma of coming out trans, would pay the cost of therapy and the many associate family traumas, to “shower with the girls.” There is no reality in this statement. Just the fantasy that boys will do just about anything to see a real live naked girl.

In a strange way, I get these folks. We have been trained by media to think this is what boys want and so it is not a far stretch of the imagination to think that some boys would try to take advantage of policies designed to make life better for a marginalized minority. I keep waiting for it to happen, for some boy to live out his father’s high school sex comedy fantasy

From the movie “Sorority Boys” Oh, come on! He’s not even trying!

But I think what gets to some of these people who fancy themselves progressives and not at all transphobes, who are totally good with trans people so long as they don’t actually want rights or to be considered the gender they are. And they worry fiercely about the idea of a penis near young girls:

  The struggle is how to deal with a 16 y/o (3+ / 0-)

transperson who has not and who may never undergo gender reassignment surgery.

How do you deal with a penis in the girl’s locker room.  If it was attached to a guy, you’d never allow it in the locker room, as that would be disrespectful of the other girls.

Tough call.  I think the District is in a real bind, and I don’t get why the student is not more willing to work with an obviously sympathetic administration.

Thoughts?

How do you deal with a disrespectful penis? And why isn’t the trans girl to whom said penis is attached playing nice with everyone and keeping that naughty, dangly bit away from the other girls? (she is, actually, because she is probably grateful for the private changing space because nothing says “I’m different from the other girls” as loudly as a disrespectful penis). What the commenter doesn’t get is that she just doesn’t want to be singled out as having to do it when no one else does. It is like wearing a scarlet P.

scarletP

I always knew there was something different about that Hester Prynne!

There is really this notion that a trans girl in a locker room will go around exposing herself to other girls. It always makes me wonder if these men that are having this notion are projecting what they would do if given the opportunity to let it hang with the girls…

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All the Money! (Tran$ isn’t cheap!)

So The Advocate writes

Undergoing all the procedures listed by the Philadelphia Center for Transgender Surgery would total more than $100,000, Reuters notes.

Wow! That’s a lot of money! Not many of us have 100K taking up space in our pockets. This is pretty dire and if you are thinking about being trans, you just forget it now. You can’t afford to be trans. You’re too poor and are probably “four times more likely than other Americans to live in extreme poverty.” That’s, of course, if you are already living the life transtastic. I wonder if the same goes towards people who have been circling the gravity well of trans, hanging out on the event horizon and not quite fully committing. Are you also living in extreme poverty?

Event-Horizon

Statistics…generalities. We are painting dire pictures of our realities, dissuading you cosmic travellers reticent to get fully sucked into the trans money pit from committing because even after you’ve lost all your friends and families and jobs and stuffs, you will be faced with impossible transition costs and it’s not like you can take out a personal line of credit to pay for this stuff (well, actually, there are ways…). In any event, or at any event horizon, it is good to know what you are up against.

Now the Advocate writer blindly quotes a Reuters article who haphazardly calculated the costs of transition based on Dr. McGinn’s MTF price list (because we all know that FTM transition isn’t worth talking about, amirite?). So I went on over to Dr. McGinn’s site to have a looksee at the high costs of trans, because I didn’t pay 100K for my surgery (I only had the one…there are so many more I could have…I need to get Ubering!). Here’s the list:

Facial Feminization Surgery

Description Surgery Hospital/Anesthesia Total
Blepharoplasty (eyelids upper and lower) $ 6,000 $1,700      2.0 hr $ 6,700
Blepharoplasty (upper or lower)   3,500   1,400      1.5 hr  4,400
Rhinoplasty   5,500   2,000      2.5 hr  7,500
Rhinoplasty  w/Septoplasty   6,500   2,300      3.0 hr  8,800
Facelift (Rhytidoplasty)   8,000   2,600      3.5 hr 10,600
Mini Facelift   5,500   2,300      3.0 hr  7,800
Liposuction of neck   1,500   1,100      1.0 hr  2,600
Chin augmentation   2,500   1,100      1.0 hr  3,600
Cheek augmentation   3,500   1,700      1.5 hr  5,200
Forehead/brow lift with brow bone
    reduction and hair line advance   4,500   1,700      2.0 hr  6,200
Thyroid cartilage reduction   2,500   1,100      1.0 hr  3,600
Upper lip shortening   3,000   1,100      1.0 hr  4,400

Top (Breast) and Body Surgery

Breast Augmentation $6,500 $1,700      2.0 hr $8,200
Liposuction 1,000-1,500/area varies w/ size &  # of areas
Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)  6,200  2,300      3.0 hr 8,500
    mini-Abdominoplasty (tummy tuck)  2,500  1,700      2.0 hr 5,300
Buttock Augmentation (implants)  7,500  2,000      2.5 hr 9,500
Buttock Augmentation (fat transplant)  4,500  2,000      2.5 hr 6,500
Calf Augmentation (implants)  5,000  1,700      2.0 hr 6,700
Orchiectomy  3,500  1,100      1.0 hr 4,600

Bottom Surgery (GRS/SRS) 

Vaginoplasty (one-stage with penile inversion,  clitoroplasty, and labiaplasty)  12,600  7,150*       5.5 hr $19,750

*(Anesthesia $1,800;  OR $2,350; 3 nights in hospital $3,000.)

Prices above are current and may vary depending on which hospital is utilized and if hospital or anesthesia fees are changed.

DISCOUNTS ON SURGICAL FEES FOR MULTIPLE PROCEDURES.

 The bolded text is their emphasis, but do note that there are discounts for multiple procedures. 

Wow! That’s a lot. There are so many procedures I didn’t even think of getting, such as a $6,700 Calf Augmentation! Now I added all these procedures up and got a grand total of $140,450. Now remember, there will be discounts on multiple procedures, so…

But wait a second! Do you really need that calf augmentation? What about the $17,000 worth of Kardashian Ass Plumping? Now you certainly don’t need a $5,000 orchiectomy if you are getting GRS. Testicle removal is free with every new vagina! (and no, you cannot sell them for $50,000). Perhaps you can avoid the $18,400 facelife and mini-facelift combo (do you need both?).

And you see where I’m going with this. That $100,000 price tag begins to shrink when you get rid of some of the luxury items. Yes, some FFS might be necessary and perhaps a breast augmentation might be nice. Heck, this doesn’t even have hair transplantation, which is often more expensive than GRS (I know this from pricing…).

I don’t want you to think I am making light of the costs of being trans (okay, I’m making a little light…so much doom and gloom needs a little bit of sunshine…and we all should spread a little sunshine). It is really expensive and painful and will make you feel amazing and not fix all your problems. Seriously, don’t go under the knife if you think a new vagina or bigger breasts are going to make everything better, because it won’t. Life gets better, yes, but not all parts of life. For one, try peeing to discover no toilet paper…grrrr!

What the surgeries do (for those who have many…some of just have the one) is unmask all the other problems that were hiding out behind the trans. All the other crap that you didn’t deal with because trans was demanding all your time. And yes, I’m speaking to the binary and for you folks who live outside of the binary, well, you just go on and do that and you probably aren’t spending as much money on surgeries anyhow, so stop hassling me, ok?

Oh, and none of this takes into account the money spent on hair removal or voice training or hormones or clothes or shoes (clothes and shoes are different categories, thank you!), or make-up or all the various costs of replacing one gendered life with another. But life isn’t cheap and trans life certainly isn’t cheap and you will probably be in debt at the end of the day, which will depress you some more (because you need more reasons to be troubled) and you may wonder at the end of the day if it was all worth it…

I can’t answer that for you. That’s a you thing. For me it was. but’s that’s me.

(oh, and for those of you wondering, the costs of FTM procedures will run you $115K if you select the whole menu)

On Being Offended (Stop dragging my Trans around)

I’m allowed to be offended.

I just want to state that off the bat because I’ve heard it told that I should not be offended by things that offend me and if I am offended, I should at the very least keep my mouth shut about it because the act of taking offense can make people not offended feel uncomfortable because they were not offended.

Like when a TV show reinforces trans stereotypes, I should bite my tongue when others around me chuckle lest they be forced to confront the fact that I and those like me are worthy of ridicule by the media at large. I should just smile and reduce my presence so as to make everyone around me feel better. The needs of the many to laugh outweigh the needs of the few or the one to not be dehumanized. And too often, like the good girl that I am, I sit quietly and smile through the pain and try not to let my discomfort spoil everyone else’s good time.

But I’m allowed to be offended by the trans woman at the bar who the main character mistakenly hit on. I’m allowed to be offended by the trans woman in the documentary staring at herself in the mirror longingly (and all the other items that make up the drinking game often played when watching these shows). I’m allowed to be offended and to voice my offense and to make others uncomfortable for finding humor.

I’m also allowed to not be offended. I love the Rocky Horror Picture Show. It was a huge part of my life once upon a time and while I recognize that the film itself is pretty terrible, it’s still a whole lot of fun to be a part of in the performance space. This article from The Mary Sue rightly takes issue with the remake with Laverne Cox (because this is a bad idea for many many reasons most notably that RHPS should exist entirely within the midnight movie space is occupies), but goes a step further in the belief that this cultural thing should fade away because the author, who has never actually been to a live performance of the film, thinks it should. I think it is because she is offended and she wants everyone to be offended even though she says that she understands that people like it, but she knows people who don’t, so it should just go away.

She is allowed to be offended, as are others. She is allowed to voice her opinion as I am allowed to when I am offended or when I am not and I want to dance and sing along with Tim Curry (not Laverne Cox, though…at least not in this…I’ll happily dance and sing with Laverne elsewhere). And I suppose people are allowed to laugh at stereotypes of all flavors, as they do even when I am offended or others are offended. And sometimes they should be made to feel badly about it if the offended party feels that lines have been crossed. And if they are offended by my being offended, perhaps it can open up a line of dialogue about what it means to take offense or to just laugh at the absurdity of a thing.

Because really, being trans is terribly surreal and absurd in all of the best and worst ways. Unless you are trans, you don’t know what it means to be trans. You can’t hang out with us and get a sense of what our lives are really like. You just can’t. Our lives are often too weird and indescribable for you to get from a conversation. But I suppose you could say that about any group that you are a part of and others are not. Except seriously, trans is weirder.

And we trans take offense or don’t and you don’t know which way we think because we are not all the same and so if you are worried we might, you should probably just assume we are.

Am I woman enough yet? (You Don’t Know Trans, Noob!)

kd

Some question of trans life back some six years ago or so when I began this phase of my existence with a pill or two and a thought about who I was…

I used to keep another blog called “Always, No Something” (completely erased from the interwebs as far as I can tell) where I would espouse an ever changing ideology about the transiness of life and I met some good folks through it and some weird folks, and some very opinionated folks, too. And I blogged every day, sometimes twice so and held court over a very active set of comments. I’d comment on lots of other blogs about what trans was and how I could be trans but different or what it meant to be a woman after having lived as a man.

Inevitably, some old timer would tell me how wrong I was or how not trans I was. I was sometimes called names. I was sometimes accused of being intolerant or worse. Sometimes I was told I was a man and that I couldn’t really ever be a woman. I was told there was a right way to be trans and I wasn’t it or that there was a right way to be trans and I was it and should turn around and tell others that they were wrong.

Sometimes I thought I was helping and sometimes I knew I that I wasn’t. I trolled with the best of them and flamed better than most. I know what words can do and know how a simple twist of a sentence can chap hides. It was all in service to my identity and the growth from who I had been to who I would be and in my search for what that was, I pondered what it all meant and when it was ever enough. Would I ever really know what trans meant or what it meant to be a woman.

It’s been over half a decade now and half of that time since my surgery and I have thought about all that interaction and all those words spent on this journey, many of which I consigned to the garbage bin of my personal history…regretfully in some cases, I miss being able to read what I wrote and thought about. And though I try, I cannot remember in any real sense what it was live as a man. I remember things, but not the experience. Images, but not the feelings. I wonder if I put on men’s clothes and tried to pass as a man, would I be believable to myself (others are easily fooled). Would I look in the mirror and see the man I once saw or feel foolish, as I did when I first began to transition?

I wonder what the Sisters who once chided me for not being woman enough, not knowing what trans was, would say to me now? The Miz Know It All’s and the Annie Ro’s. How would I measure up to their high standards? All these years later would they still accuse me of playing at trans (which they did at times, accepting me at others) because I still think on what it actually means?

When I encounter trans newbies, I try to remember what that was like, thinking I would be different or having no real idea of what I would become, but knowing I would become something. I’m not a butterfly…more of a koi dragon, having fought up the river and been transformed into something far more powerful than an ephemeral bug.  I want them to be koi dragons, too. To make it through this difficult test and become more powerful and beautiful from the challenge. I don’t want to tell them things I know they are mistaken about because I am wrong when I think it. My journey was mine and theirs will be theirs and while I might think I know more than they do, while I might actually, I also cannot tell them not to make mistakes or that what they are making are mistakes. It’s just not my place.

I can share, though. The river is big enough for us all to swim in and up…

Floating

Is it floating or is it ennui? I’m not sure right now. I’ve been under the weather consistently as of late, suffering pains of aging and misuse, and generally feeling run down and uninspired.

Uninspired. This is it. I am uninspired by life at this moment. Every project, artistic endeavor or whatever is just another thing and it’s hard for me to remain excited about any of it. It’s all just so…blah. I’m not sure why I’m doing any of it right now. I’m finishing my novel series just to finish, but it doesn’t excite me. I’m writing a play and a short story just to write a play and a short story, but neither project keeps me up at night contemplating the success of the work and what I can do to make it better. It’s all just words.

Days just roll on by and soon another round of whatever will pass and there will be highlights, but they won’t seem all that high really. I don’t want to see people anymore. I don’t care about the media I study or the news I read. It’s all just there and I have no connection to it other than disinterest.

And this seems depressing and I suppose I am somewhat depressed by it all. But I’m not even passionate about the depression. It’s simply a shrug like the pain in my elbow. It’s there and whatever. I still have to get up in the morning and make coffee and walk the dog and go to work.

And when I go to sleep at night, I imagine this amazing city where I ultimately isolate myself. I don’t like people all that much. Recent events seem to bear that out. People are disappointing. I want them to be better and they just aren’t. They have sapped my passions.

I see people who are far more passionate than I am. I tried to be passionate and it didn’t turn out well. I’m not sure why I should ever really try again because ultimately I feel doomed to some level of mediocrity. Even if I’m not mediocre, I will never life the life I really want, which is to be able to live in celebrated isolation. I suppose I admire Salinger for having done that.

I hope I find a reason to enjoy the world soon. I’m not planning on leaving it, so no worries. I just want to enjoy it and want to want to engage with it. Right now I don’t. Right now I’m just floating…

Science Projects and the Problems with Believing

For the record, I’m an atheistic humanist who holds that science will someday work everything out, including the “spirit world,” which may or may not be the result of quantum entanglements and residual energy (my current unproven/untested theory of choice). I’m not a Bright. But I get them.They make a lot more sense to me than theists.

And also for the record, I generally have no issue with theists. When they pray for me or mine, I thank them. It is a positive thought action and I’d rather the world be full of positive thought actions than negative ones.

Where I do have issues is this:

I am supposed to accept that their beliefs are as valid as my reality. I do not accept the Bible as anything other than a collection of words written by a lot of different people for a lot of different reasons, many of them synchronically political, and finally compiled by a collection of clerics to reinforce their primacy in a regressive society. Anytime anyone tells me that they believe it is infallible or the literal “Word of God,” I know who I am dealing with and act accordingly. More often than not, to disengage from conversations about religion, which are dodgy at best and mostly belligerent because even Atheists fight over what it means to not believe in a deity (see the Brights).

I am supposed to accept that they can believe I am some sort of science project or my existence as a woman in negated because their deity is infallible and made men men and women women (and we won’t ask these folks to think too long on intersex people or any other non-binary, non-image-of-deity way in which people are born). I am supposed to accept their beliefs about me and other Trans folk because they are allowed to believe what they believe and I am supposed to smile and continue to have them in my life in any manner when their belief is a fundamental denial of who I am based on nothing more than their intractable position that someone who read an old book told them the old book said something that they should believe.

Sorry. You don’t get to be in my life. I accept that you have beliefs, but I don’t have to accept you in my life.

I accept that people have superstitions and need the comfort of religion. And I love many folks who are believers in deities and it may seem like I am being a judgemental ass or that I feel that I am superior having achieved a deity-free enlightenment (for the record: I am a judgemental ass and do feel that I am superior, but not because of my lack of deity-dependencies…just because I’m particularly awesome), but I can love them and have them in my life because they do not use their beliefs as an excuse to negate my pain and what I have had to do to live as authentically as I can. I also don’t talk about religion with them. It not my job to convert people to humanistic atheism (although if you are interested, message me and I will share the good word) and as long as it is not their job to try to make me believe in whatever they do, I can enjoy their company and friendship. It’s what I love about humanity at its best.

Now let’s speak for a moment about science projects.

Is my current state of being the product of scientific advances in medicine and body modification?

Yes.

You know someone who has had chemo and then a tumor removed?

Them too.

Cataracts replaced by IOLs?

Science!

Root Canal?

Yup.

The point being that medicine is the product of scientific advances that often require body modification to achieve the desired effects of a longer, healthier, happier life.

There’s a silly meme about a rapper bringing solar power to poor folks in Africa being more newsworthy than the very public transition of a formerly feted Olympian and reality show star whose primary occupation for the last decade has been to be the subject of media attention. In that meme, Jenner is referred to as a “science project” and people were offended. I was also offended, but more because a friend of mine shared the meme (he has since taken it down). The point was that there are more important things to focus on in the world than Caitlyn’s clothing choices and hair style. We should instead focus on famous people are acting more in the service of others.

Yeah. Okay. But seriously. We live in a tabloid world that revels in distractions…where people are killed because of paparazzi and those who invited paparazzi into their lives in their quest for the benefits of fame trying to escape from those people who make a living helping the famous make theirs (don’t try to make a living from fame if you’re not willing to accept that fame comes with camera-wielding lampreys who make their living from you).

I wish we lived in a world where people were more concerned with what is actually happening than what the media is doing to distract them from what is actually happening. If the media circus bothers you… If the inconsequential lives of the famous (although to be perfectly fair, for Trans folk, the coming out of a major personality is a big deal for the non-famous among us because it brings us that much further in from the fringe and more likely to be accepted without worrying about troubling legislation…baby steps). I’d rather people focus on the very terrible lives of most Trans people, especially those without privilege…heck, the pretty awful lives of most people without privilege, Trans or Cis.

If you’re truly upset that Caitlyn Jenner is pulling pop media focus from another famous person who, in an action apparently out of character for famous people, did something altruistic, then you are spending too much time looking at pop media. And, yeah, it shows up on your FB feed, but so do adds for cars or shoes or whatever else it was you were looking at and accidentally moused over a tracking pixel. You can take the click-bait or ignore it. You live in this social media world. To paraphrase Rush:

You can choose a ready guide in some commercial voice.

If you choose not to engage, you still have made a choice.

Choose free will.

True Words from Josh Duggar

Star of reality freak show, 19 and Counting, says:

“I believe everyone deserves equal treatment under the law and that’s what we’re here standing for,” he said. “Right now in America there is an agenda to silence … those who hold a dissenting opinion. That’s not what America was founded on. America was founded on respect, tolerance, and really not discriminating against people based on their religious convictions.”

I also believe this. My religious convictions, or shall I say my convictions as a Humanist – not a religion, but a belief system none the less that is every bit as valid as whatever it is that the Duggerpeople believe in…probably more so because mine is based more on the words of Bill S. Preston Esq. & Ted “Theodore” Logan: Be Excellent To Each Other – allow for every to believe as they will so long as those beliefs do not infringe on the beliefs or practices of others. 

It is here where Mr. Duggar and I diverge because in my America, he can believe that same sex couples shouldn’t be married if it helps him sleep well at night, but same sex couples can still be married because their marriage does nothing to discriminate against his religious beliefs in any way that keeps him from having them. Whereas his beliefs display no effort to respect, tolerate or really not discriminate against people like me who just want everyone to be excellent to each other and, maybe every so often, party on, dude.

Anyone with a reality show about their parents insane fertility is not allowed to complain about an agenda of being silenced. When a family of Humanists, perhaps with two kids, gets a show about their less resource-intrusive life which does not require a school bus to get them from here to there and their beliefs about being excellent to each other and partying on from time to time, then we can talk.

The fact is, anyone can have a dissenting opinion just so long as that opinion does not infringe on the rights of others to believe and live as they will. Everyone is protected from everyone else’s religion. Not having everyone be forced to live by the rules of your religion is not silencing you or discriminating against you. You go on believing as you do and making too many babies if that’s your thing. I haven’t heard anyone trying to legislate against that (which would constitute systemic discrimination, btw).

Just saying…