Sex, Autism, Gaming and Feminisms.

Gender

Psych Ward: DAY 7

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Note: All entries typed on my phone. Entries will be brief because of this.
A: Recap
Back on ward after 3 and a bit years, I wasn’t coping well and it took me a long time to settle in.
I’m somewhere new this time D20 psych at Charles Gairdner Hospital.
Was planning to be shifted around but I’m being kept here long term.

I will blog at the end of each day.
I didn’t for the first six so from now on I will try.

Anxious about new nurses and facility but settled in quickly.
A bit lost, acting Very autistic.
Often feel unable to communicate and trapped in my own head.
Bad serious anxiety and panic attacks.
Sensory problems at maximum. Everything is too loud or too bright.
A slammed door can make me fall to the ground. Slowly getting better.
Met with psych team briefly.
Prescribed rest, therapy and drugs. Asked to participate in group program as of monday the 1st.
Diagnosed : Aspergers possible bipolar.
Drugs: Seroquel and Lorazepam
Lorazepam is PRN to take when needed seroquel 50mg at night.
This is on top of my hormones.

Day :7
Woke up in a total mood shift today
Felt angry frustrated for no real reason
Punched a wall and kicked over a chair
Given seroquel and lorezepam.
Rested for awhile. Did alot of reading.
Naomi Klein’s Shock Doctrine.
Southern Theory by Raewyn Connell
Sat in the courtyard and listened to Nirvana.

They have a good piano here.
Great sound and action.

Other residents from every spectrum:
DID, Bipolar, Borderline, Schitzo, Auties, PTSD, Drug Abuse rehab, Brain Damaged. Fun lot. Makes dinner times interesting.

Breakfast: Toast & Cereal with Orange juice
Lunch: Grilled Chicken and veggies, Ice Cream!!!!
Dinner: Eating at hospital cafe

I have been given hospital grounds privileges. Allowed off ward but not off grounds.

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Sex: A Discussion.

Dialogue

(Trigger Warning: Transphobia, sexism, frank discussions of sex and institutional violence.)

As a Trans-Woman who often dates other Trans-Women, I’m often asked.
What is it like for me to have sex?

This is one of those all too personal questions that comes down to the wire depending on how you feel about your own privacy.

There is a certain mythical quality to the collective representations that are The Bodies of Trans People.

Society tends look down on us as freaks if we don’t pass their guidelines for how women should look, or as sultry deceivers only out to undermine patriarchal views of masculinity and enforced heteronormativity, it seems even the news often tells us we deserve anything we get if we choose to violate those bounds.

Outside of traditional media and news reports lies the heavily fetishized version of our bodies depicted by the transsexual pornography industry. In this vision we’re labelled as ‘she-males’, ‘trannys’ and ‘sissies’, once again labelled as imposters, made to show what we ‘really’ are.

There have of course been a few positive depictions of our bodies in pornography, but those are few and far between.

With all these forces seemingly arrayed against us is it possible to have a dialogue about the bodies, sexual identities and practices of Trans people without resorting to fetishization or demonizing.
The answer is of course yes, and relies on the common telling of stories.

The ability to talk about sensitive issues from a place of safety, anonymity and empowerment is key to having this discussion.

Within the feminist community there is an ongoing dialogue about women’s bodies that talks in a positive manner about the lack of presentation of a wide range of bodies in the media, this lesson can be taken up within the trans-feminist community to help discuss these issues.

It’s no huge secret that I as an author was heavily influenced by the Riot Grrl scene of the early 90s, despite attitudes held by some of the women involved, I still find looking back to that era hugely empowering. The radical in your face performances of the time had an effect on popular culture at the time has never really been achieved since.

We can look at what was most important about that era and say with ease that it was the way equality, diversity and voices were shown through art forms.  The wonderful thing about presenting a subject through art is that it will generally leave a lasting impression.

Some of these radical discussions are already happening from the incredibly recent Girl Talk event (which sadly being a country away I did not get to attend) to awesome online projects like Fucking Transwomen.

I believe deep down that trans-women are beautiful, we’re shaped by our personal struggles and histories, beaten down at every turn and yet we survive. Because we must and because we are strong.
We come in all shapes, colours, sizes and sexual preferences. Our stories must be told if we are to ever be treated on our own terms, I firmly believe that they are also the key to escaping the false dichotomy that is ‘passing’.

There is of course the never ending pressure to conform to social expectations of how women should look, as well as the dysphoric feeling brought on by the simple fact of being a transsexual.
That dysphoria has a whole language of its own that needs to be written.

I love my body, despite its flaws it is mine and I would never trade it for another.
I spent so many years to get to this point, and will no longer pander to society by allowing myself to be forced into a position of hatred.

Every Trans-woman will have a different dialogue to bring to the table, and while we will all interface with this issue in varying ways, we are united by a common stance of mutual understanding.

The discussion needs to begin at the basics to define a language of expression, we use words like ‘dysphoria’, ‘cis’, ‘transgender’ and ‘transsexual’, words that are common place for us and yet outside of academic discussion and the feminist community, barely understood.

So it comes back to that question.

What is it like for me to have sex?
How I behave between the sheets is highly dependent on who I’m with, their sexual preferences, feelings on kink and issues of consent.

Before I have sex there is always a discussion of comfort zones, of what is on the table.
What can be touched, what can’t and how.
I have never been comfortable with penetration, so often sex with me comes down to somebody being able to move beyond the power dynamics involved in that act.

Sex is more than just orgasm; it is an act of mutual sharing and passion. To lie in bed and be truly comfortable with a partner is for me a lovely experience. That said I am comfortable enough with other people giving me orgasms, and no I don’t cum like a boy.
That is another myth that needs to be told, hormones make powerful changes to the body and most people have no idea what they are beyond the more obvious external changes.

At the end of the day sex for us is more than just genitals, the assumption that sex has to involve genitals or even penetration is one of the most horrible assumptions placed upon sex by the collective standard of heterosexuality.

There is no one way to have sex, just as there is no one way to love.
We as a community are in a position to be able to have this discussion, to dispel the myths of trans bodies, we just need to do it.

Who is Samantha Razor?
Samantha is a 26 year old trans-woman who studies sociology somewhere in Australia.
She has Aspergers, bipolar and many other labels. In her spare time she writes and plays piano.
She thinks she can change the world.


The Riot Grrl Manifesto

RIOT GRRRL MANIFESTO
By Kathleen Hannah (lead singer of Bikini Kill and feminist activist)

BECAUSE us girls crave records and books and fanzines that speak to US that WE feel included in and can understand in our own ways.

BECAUSE we wanna make it easier for girls to see/hear each other’s work so that we can share strategies and criticize-applaud each other.

BECAUSE we must take over the means of production in order to create our own moanings.

BECAUSE viewing our work as being connected to our girlfriends-politics-real lives is essential if we are gonna figure out how we are doing impacts, reflects, perpetuates, or DISRUPTS the status quo.

BECAUSE we recognize fantasies of Instant Macho Gun Revolution as impractical lies meant to keep us simply dreaming instead of becoming our dreams AND THUS seek to create revolution in our own lives every single day by envisioning and creating alternatives to the bullshit christian capitalist way of doing things.

BECAUSE we want and need to encourage and be encouraged in the face of all our own insecurities, in the face of beergutboyrock that tells us we can’t play our instruments, in the face of “authorities” who say our bands/zines/etc are the worst in the US and

BECAUSE we don’t wanna assimilate to someone else’s (boy) standards of what is or isn’t.

BECAUSE we are unwilling to falter under claims that we are reactionary “reverse sexists” AND NOT THE TRUEPUNKROCKSOULCRUSADERS THAT WE KNOW we really are.

BECAUSE we know that life is much more than physical survival and are patently aware that the punk rock “you can do anything” idea is crucial to the coming angry grrrl rock revolution which seeks to save the psychic and cultural lives of girls and women everywhere, according to their own terms, not ours.

BECAUSE we are interested in creating non-heirarchical ways of being AND making music, friends, and scenes based on communication + understanding, instead of competition + good/bad categorizations.

BECAUSE doing/reading/seeing/hearing cool things that validate and challenge us can help us gain the strength and sense of community that we need in order to figure out how bullshit like racism, able-bodieism, ageism, speciesism, classism, thinism, sexism, anti-semitism and heterosexism figures in our own lives.

BECAUSE we see fostering and supporting girl scenes and girl artists of all kinds as integral to this process.

BECAUSE we hate capitalism in all its forms and see our main goal as sharing information and staying alive, instead of making profits of being cool according to traditional standards.

BECAUSE we are angry at a society that tells us Girl = Dumb, Girl = Bad, Girl = Weak.

BECAUSE we are unwilling to let our real and valid anger be diffused and/or turned against us via the internalization of sexism as witnessed in girl/girl jealousism and self defeating girltype behaviors.

BECAUSE I believe with my wholeheartmindbody that girls constitute a revolutionary soul force that can, and will change the world for real.


Protected: Misconceptions.

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When friends come out.

Yesterday a close friend of came out as trans.
Honestly I was a little shocked, I’ve known her for a long time and never suspected a thing.
She’s got support for her parents, her girlfriend, as well as some of her friends.

But this isn’t about her, this gave me a bit of a shock.
I had assumed little behaviours just meant she was a ‘bit femmy’ and put down her quirks like me to her autism.

You build up this image of somebody and then they still manage to surprise you.

The human race is remarkable that way, well I’m being fully supportive of her and her goals in life.
She will still be my friend, if anything we have more in common now.

It often makes me wonder why people freak out when friends transition, I’ve done a lot of gender theory  hell one of my old partners is trans. But I never reacted negativity the first time, what drives family members or friends to push away people when they transition?

I imagine being their Mother would take its toll even a little, deep down if you raised this person, spent hours in labour to see their face. Raised them from a tiny baby to a strong empowered adult.

When you assume they are one gender and raise them as such you get overwhelmed by their desire to be another.
On the other side of the coin though, it would give you time to get to know that person better and better to see all the little pieces add up, put together the signs. Thankfully the latter is what happened for my friend.

Imagine if it had been the former, imagine if she had been kicked out of her house or shunned and abused like so many others.

Where does transpanic come from?
I’m not talking about, the OMG YOUR A WHAT murder that happens when guys attack trans women.
I’m talking about parents and friends.

Why would you push away somebody you care about when you learn something new about them?
Is it really all about built up perceptions of that person or is it something deeper?
Society in general doesn’t like it when gender barriers are blurred or crossed.

Sure we can provide equality between men and women, even pay gaps, crack the glass ceiling (go Julia),  but when people genuinely decide to cross those barriers society explodes. The reasons behind this are numerous , but the most important one is that of power.

Men are given in general more empowered positions in life, they are seen as more headstrong, tougher, capable, they get payed more, and are seen as breadwinners. Women are considered to be child bearers, housewives, we are payed less and generally find it harder to get through life without a man to help.

Men and women are considered to hold different kinds of power, in this instance though only one kind of power matters.
And that is the power of self expression.

Now it’s easy for a girl to wear men’s clothes and not get shit, hell I wear baggy jeans every day, boys t-shirts, and have a lot of hobbies that are considered ‘guyish’, but if anyone of you know me I’m far from Male.

However, for a man to wear women’s clothing is a HUGE act of rebellion, it’s considered a complete deviation and something to be shunned. Why you ask?

This has everything to do with femininity and and masculinity.
Mainly how femininity is something of a scapegoat in today’s society, another word for ‘powerless’.

(check out Julia Serrano’s book for more on this)

When a man expresses femininity he is putting himself into a position of relative ‘dis-empowerment’
By shedding masculinity or exploring feminine behaviour,  a man is considered to be a ‘pussy’ and stripping himself of power and status.

He becomes weak. Because society can’t stand femininity and any possible expression of it.
You can use the biological deterministic argument and say that, men are simply stronger and better equipped to deal with the harsh challenges of todays world. Now of course that’s a load of rubbish, neither sex these days is that much stronger than the other, and if they are they generally make up for it in other ways.

So what of sociological reasons, what of societies desire to crush femininity?
Is it wrapped up in a Patriarchal fear of of being ‘less than a man’, being ‘feminine?’ or being Female.

Does the reason so many trans women are alienated stem from Patriarchal fear of the feminine? of the female.

Food for thought.


‘Oh Janice’ Or Uni low stakes writing week 2.

Gender is a fickle thing immediately obvious to all and yet invisible to most, only to be revealed when boundaries are pushed and certain taken for granted assumptions challenged.
How would it be best to define gender? With sex?
Or should we choose something even simpler, something more concrete than simple chromosomes?

I say we start with genitals.

Vaginas and Penises, those things on our bodies which determine who we are and some would say even how we should interact and behave.
But there’s something not quite right with that.
It really doesn’t cover all the bases.

After all if penises and vaginas make us male or female, then how come we do not display them all the time. Who’s to say that cute androgynous guy you saw walking down the street last week didn’t have a vagina.

You never looked.

‘But surely our genitals are what define us! And how we behave and how we act! They make men and women what they are! You can never change that!’ cry the likes of Janice Raymond.

Oh Janice, I’m afraid these things just don’t work that way; no matter how hard you agree that biological determinism makes us men or women, It simply isn’t so. You can argue social constructs to if you like, but then you’d be arguing in favour of the very thing you’ve been trying to change, which is that idea that men and women have to act a certain way!

More recent respected gender theorists such as Julia Serano and Kate Bornstein discuss what is known as ‘Gender Identity’ also sometimes called ‘Subconscious Sex’. This is the concept that gender is something far more complex linked to both biological status (our DNA) and our subconscious mind.

When you were born a girl, you were brought home from the hospital and you were dressed and given the things which girls should have. You were bought Barbies and dresses, your room was painted pink and you went on with your life. You considered this normal.
But where did you get the idea you were a girl? Nobody told you.
It’s not like somebody said to you one day ‘you are a girl, here is how you are’ and then handed you an instruction manual.

No nobody ever did, this was just something you knew. It seemed correct. The way of things.
And that is gender identity, that distinct inner sense of knowing who we are.
That certain je ne sais quoi of our identities.

The inner sense of knowing deep down if we are male, female, both, neither, other or just fluid.

Gender is a complex topic that you can’t define as easily as you might first imagine. I hope this brief intro encourages you to think more every day about how you perceive gender and the world.


Gender Identity 101

Lets talk physical.

Lets talk bodies.

On top of this, lets talk about you.

Lets talk about all of us.

A sex, everyone has one.

Be it a vagina or a penis or some combination of both determined by chromosomes we all baring unforeseen circumstances, have a physical sex.

Regardless of race, class and hell even species , we all have one.

When you look in the mirror you see yourself.

Everyday we put on clothes that match our bodies, we go out and do the things that Men and Women do.

Wait. Hold up. What.

Do we? do we really do that?

Who told you that because you have a vagina, you wear a dress?

Or because you have a penis you wear those new cargo pants?

Oh wait, hang on.

Thats just the way things have always been.

You grew up that way.

Like everyone else.

But wait. Did everyone else grow up that way?

Like everyone else in the world you’ve been gendered. Oh snap.

What the f**k does that mean, you ask me?

I’ve been wondering that myself a lot lately

When you think about yourself what do you think and I’m not talking about wether you’re good looking or wether you’re smart, or funny or any of that business. More basic. When you put on that skirt this morning or those heels for that party last weekend, did you stop to think about WHY you put on those things?

Why didn’t you wear a pair of cargo pants, or a nice suit to the party?

Because over the millennia it has somehow become engrained into society that there are things women wear, and things men wear. And thou shalt not deviate from them or else face the consequences.

Which must be dire indeed, because honestly nobody wants to talk about it.

Just how did this happen?

Well the answers to that, are all wrapped up in the question of what ‘Gender’ is.

Are gender and sex the same thing? What’s your gender?

You have a vagina? you’re a girl?

You have a penis? you’re a boy?

It’s pretty simple stuff.

Does the fact you have male or female genitals determine your gender?

No. No it doesn’t.

Why you ask?

Well think about it.

If in your head you are a girl, and physically you have a vagina.

Surely somewhere out there must be somebody who has a vagina, but in their head see’s a boy?

Or has a penis, but their whole being screams to them they are in fact a girl.

This comes down to Gender Identity, which I’ve come to believe is a fluid concept.

In our heads, we’re either male, female, neither, or anything else we choose.

How masculine we are or how feminine we are are also part of this.

Of course as we grow up, most of us have a firm sense of this.

We know just ‘how much’ of a woman we are, or just ‘how much’ of a man.

Our whole lives we have had Parents, peers, the media and hell even our clothing tell us how Masculine and How feminine women and men are supposed to be.

So gender Identity explained in a nice easy to digest healthy snack sized sentence would be:

Our own sense of being Female or Male.

Whether we have a penis, or a vagina doesn’t determine how we should behave or express ourselves.

That’s up to us, and only us.

No matter what an article on a specific 18 year old south african sprinter might have said.