New Years…

I found myself at Wal-Mart on Boxing Day with my Christmas money and a complete lack of exercise clothes. Gaining fifty pounds in half a year will do that. Thanks Abilify. Finding a top turned out to be the easy part. I also needed pants in size “I ate Christmas dinner and all the baking”. What I found were pencil thin exercise pants (even in XL) and shorts shorter than my underwear. The latter would probably look amazing on someone who’s fit but on me it would look like my crotch was eating them. Which is never a look I’m aiming for. Luckily I found some comfy yoga pants at Penningtons, a Canadian chain for fat people. They have great clothes.

Fifty pounds is a scary amount of weight to gain all at once, especially when it happened so fast. Literally, one week I could wear my favourite jeans and the next I couldn’t pull them past my hips. I was out of breath yesterday on a walk I did with ease this fall. So, naturally, my resolutions this year are health centred.

Our local gym offers a discount for people on disability so I signed up to start in January. They have all the usually equipment but what I’m really happy about is their indoor track. My iridescent rhinestone headphones and I can listen to music and walk without banging my knees around on a treadmill.

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So sparkly!

I told Jeremy that I’m going on an apple diet, which is kind of true. I’ve decided that every time I’m having an absolutely irresistible craving for junk food, I’m going to eat an apple. Plus I’m centering my diet around beans, legumes, and vegetables. Hopefully this will make a difference.

Jeremy and I are on wait lists for our own separate apartments and, while that’s not happening this year, we can downsize while we’re waiting. Not only will it be cleaner but it’ll make the eventual packing that much easier.

Both of us can’t wait until we have places of our own. Me because it’ll be so much cleaner and Jeremy because he won’t have to hear me complain about cleaning up. I’m not sure how he’s going to end up once he’s on his own. He’s either going to be the sort that cleans dust before it falls on his furniture or I’m going to show up one day to hear a muffled “I’m over here” from under a pile of junk. There’ll be no in between.

One big resolution is getting out of my comfort zone. My comfortable New Year’s Eve would be sitting at home with Jeremy. We’d watch a video together and end up in our own rooms on separate computers… in quiet… only getting together for the count down. Instead, I’m going to my parents’ house for dinner and to my sister’s house for a big New Year’s Eve party. It’s going to be loud, crowded and definitely out of my comfort zone.

And, how about you? What are you doing for New Year’s Eve? Do you have any resolutions?

There is no agenda…

Anti-trans people seem convinced there is an agenda to make kids transgender. That a little boy picked up a Barbie just once and his Mom (it’s always the Mom) immediately stuffed him into a dress and decided he was trans. Or that she wanted a little boy so badly she made her girl act like one. These people have never actually talked to the parent of a trans child and especially have never listened to one.

Jeremy picked up a Barbie when he was a toddler. I didn’t think he was trans and I certainly didn’t put him into a dress or pick out a girl’s name. I simply figured he liked Barbies. When he was six, he stole one of his sister’s nighties and wore it for months. It stayed in his dresser for several years after he outgrew it. I still didn’t think he was trans. I figured he just liked the way it swirled. He started playing online games around eight years old and played as a girl every single time. I figured it was a novelty for him. It took one thing to convince me he was trans and that was him saying, “Mom, I feel like I’m a boy on the outside and a girl on the inside. I’m half boy and half girl.”

The fact is, every narrative I know has started with the child (no matter how young). The child repeatedly wants to know when her penis is going to fall off, or if he can crawl back into Mommy’s tummy to get his boy parts, or when God is going to fix them so their insides match their outsides. Almost every narrative has confused and bewildered parents wondering what is going on and why their child is asking these questions. What can they do? How can they help? Is it all right to mourn the child they thought they had?

Parents do not want or choose this for their child. They don’t want the risks of violence and sexual assault. They don’t want the misgendering, the misinformation, the teasing, the legal loopholes, and bathroom headaches. They don’t want to argue with doctors and insurance for reasonable health care. They don’t want the potential of being ostracized from their religious community. They don’t want to lose family support. They plow through anyhow because this is their child but this isn’t what they sought.

Then there’s the fear people have of “what if the child changes their mind?” that’s brought about by misinformation or simply fabricated from a wild imagination. No one is “chopping the dick” off of any child. Children don’t get hormones either. If a child changes their mind, they simply change their clothes, pronouns, and name back. That’s it.

That’s what’s happening with Jeremy right now. He’s always been on the feminine side of the gender spectrum and, over the past year, he’s slowly drifted closer to the male side. His perfume sits unused, he wanted (and got) his hair buzzed short, he’s drifted to darker and plain clothing instead of bright colours and silky material. And none of this would make him cis. What makes him cis is that he came up to me and said, “Mom, I feel mostly male and only a little bit female. I think I’m cis now and I want to be called he and him.”

There isn’t an agenda with raising a trans youth. There are no awards, no medals, no ticker tape parades. It’s just like any other child. There’s Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and, if you’re lucky, someone will wash the dishes and remember to shower without prompting. For all people complain that kids are forced to be trans, I’m living proof that’s not the case.

I don’t have a crystal ball. I have no idea if he’ll stay cis or if he’ll end up gender fluid and, honestly, it doesn’t matter. I’m not raising the Jeremy of the future or the past. I’m raising him now and right now he’s cisgender. We’ll deal with tomorrow when it gets here. Either way he’s fabulous just as he is.

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Jeremy and his new drone from his grandparents

Christmas Eve…

It’s quiet at home. I’ve packed the stocking stuffers, presents, and clothes… and made the filling for tonight’s vegetable pie. The cats have extra food and water and Lucky the frog’s been fed. I’ll feed him again before we go… he’ll eat at any and all times (anyone who’s had an African clawed frog will know what I mean).

Jeremy’s downstairs washing their laundry while Emma’s chatting online and sending me cat videos (which is still pretty quiet).

Christmas is my absolute favourite holiday and this one is shaping up to be amazing; three days filled with family and friends. I hope everyone here is having a wonderful weekend, whether they’re celebrating Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, or a holiday that’s already past (or nothing at all). No matter what it is, I hope it’s fabulous. And, remember, if your family is unsupportive, that’s a reflection on them NOT on you. You are still amazing, worthwhile, and deserving of happiness and joy!

merry-christmas

On doxxing and reading comprehension…

Nothing good ever comes from a message at 1am. That’s when I woke up and found a note from a friend warning me that I’d been doxxed. Apparently a small horde of them lives hangs out at a website where they have nothing better to do than spend their days anonymously mocking people.

All they managed to do is discover my real name (Kathleen) and the names of Emma and Jeremy. Oh and our Facebook pages. Emma alternated between furious and laughing at the irony of these people outing us while hiding behind their pseudonyms and cartoon pictures.

“Mom, they don’t have any personal information about themselves at all. It’s all fake names and pictures. When you click on their names, they have nothing.”

If you get doxxed, be prepared for a whole whack of misinformation. They skim through posts and only seem to read about every second or third word (if that). They have a habit of making stuff up whole cloth too. None of them correct each other’s errors either, presumably out of a fear of being seen as supporting the person they’re doxxing. Which is understandable, it’s not like the lot of them have an ounce of empathy combined.

Right now they’re claiming Jeremy functions at about the age of 7 or 8 years old, which would make them severely developmentally delayed. I’d love to know what 7 year old makes their own computers and sets up networks. Jeremy is delayed emotionally, but only by a year or two. Otherwise they’re mainly severely learning disabled. And the trolls are raking Jeremy through the coals as some major abuser.

*looks at Jeremy asleep with two cats*

Yep, they’re terrifying all right.

I think the most hilarious part is the pearl clutching over brightly dyed hair. They literally call it “Danger Hair” as if it’s going to jump up and bite someone. It’s coloured, not radioactive.

The second funniest is the general poor comprehension and their inability to realize this. At one point someone finds my post in which Jeremy talks about a nonbinary character in a cartoon called Gurren Lagann. Someone claimed that’s their favourite show yet had no idea that the flamboyantly gay character Leeron exists. Instead, they gravitated right to Nia, an extremely feminine (and female) character. Almost as if they have a huge bias.

If you have a blog that centres on LGBTQ issues (especially trans issues) it’s important to keep yourself as safe as possible. Use a fake email address for your blog, complete with fake information. If I remember correctly, I’m 73 years old according to my information. Setting up the blog with fake information helps too.

The part I slipped up on is pictures. When I first started out, I made sure to keep every picture under false names because the picture name shows when you open it in a new link. I got lazy after a year or so because “who was going to go through that much effort”. TERFS, that’s who (remember they apparently have loads of free time). So rename your pictures before you upload them.

If you have a Facebook profile, lock it down. That part is so easy. Just go to the privacy settings  and make sure you have your phone number set to friends only and your other information to “friends” or “friends of friends”. The good news is privacy settings confuse the hell out of them. They’re still trying to figure out why I don’t have photos from 2011 onward (other than profile pictures). So far they’ve determined I’ve deleted them all, something that would make my friends laugh out loud. I’m known for being a little snap happy.

You can hide your friends list as well but that’s not in the privacy settings (of course). You need to go to your profile page on the desktop and click on Friends (right below your banner picture). Your friends list will pop up with an edit pencil on the right. Click on the picture to change your friends list settings (mine is set to just me). You can also hide the people, places, and lists you follow from there as well.

I live in Canada, the land where LGBTQ rights are protected and our prime minister marches (under glitter no less) in pride parades. But if you live in Trump Land (or somewhere more restrictive), don’t mention where you live. Or just drop a random city in. It’s not like they’re going to check.

And, if they do dox you, take a deep breath. It’s not the end of the world. In fact, you can think of it as a badge of honour. They only dox the people who are out there making a difference.

Closing a chapter…

It’s easy to say it’s over. The hardest part is finding all the little bits of a relationship and separating them from my life.

One year ago today was one of the happiest days I’ve ever had. It was less than two weeks away from my favourite holiday and I was chatting, once again, with my best friend. It couldn’t get much better, then this happened…

Michelle: (((hugs))) He flat out said, “I like you. Do you want to be my girlfriend?”. I need blatant information like that. Subtlety confuses me.
L: are you asking me to ask you?
Michelle: I’m asking if you’re interested or if I’m just wildly missing something.
L: yes, I am, yes I’m kinda shy, no I don’t want to lose my best friend somehow
Michelle: Aww you’re not losing me (((hugs)))
Michelle: I love you
L: I love you too. Would you do the honour of being my girlfriend?
Michelle: Sure 🙂 Thanks

Suddenly things were a whole lot better. After almost 15 years of being single, I was dating my best friend. Soon we were making plans to get married in Cardiff, followed by a hot air balloon ride overlooking the ocean and pictures at the Doctor Who museum. I even picked out my wedding dress, which needed some alterations and a handful of butterflies but was otherwise perfect for me.

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We were going to move to Richmond, England together, which I found a tad poignant seeing as my Mom grew up in Richmond, BC. All my life I’ve lived in the same two cities, both side by side. This was my chance for adventure and I’d be doing it with the one I loved beside me. I just needed to hold on.

That was the hard part. I’d been depressed for over a year and it was getting worse instead of better. Plus I was finding it harder to cope at work. But I needed to hold on… I had to. L couldn’t move to Canada and I needed to be sane and employable to move to England. There wasn’t any other way. I just needed to hold on.

And the more I tried to hold on… the more L stepped back in self preservation… and the deeper I tumbled. I didn’t realize I was holding on too tight. I just knew that I couldn’t let go or else I’d fall. And he let go.

I spun into a free fall of suicidal depression that spring, one that ultimately ended up with me in the hospital. The night I got home, I sent L a letter, begging him for our old friendship back, and got this in return.

“Your idea of being friends is hiding from issues instead of dealing with them or letting them go. I don’t need to have a pretend tea party every time something bad happens, I need to deal with it. I have changed, and you can’t accept that so I guess things will be very quiet for a very long time because you don’t accept the type of grown up friendship I can give – the only type of friendship I can give. take care.”

I was blocked shortly after.

I look back at L’s initial nervous fear that he’d lose his friend and it brings tears to my eyes. He did lose me barely half a year later… and it was of his own free will. I don’t think either of us got what we really wanted. How do relationships end up so tangled anyway?

I’ve been slowly letting go. Changing passwords and secret answers so he no longer was entwined in them. Deleting monthiversary notices off my phone. Removing email addresses, phone number, and his snail mail address from various locations. Taking the charm off my keychain… the one I kept there to remember him by. Putting away the postcard he mailed me so I could see his favourite cafe. Removing… deleting… hiding. And now it’s been one year.

The last connecting piece was L’s blog. He started blogging before me and I was one of his first followers (just as he was one of mine). I’d tried to unfollow him before but he wasn’t on my list of email follows. It wasn’t until now that I realized I’d have to log out of my blog in order to remove him. Deleting him reminded me of all the times we spent working on blog posts simultaneously, sharing in the excitement of posting and seeing the stats go up as people read.

And it’s now done. I don’t want to be that person, the one who won’t let go long after a relationship is over. I loved him, and I miss him as a friend, but it just plain didn’t work out.

Someone we both know assured me that if our friendship was meant to be, we’d find each other again and, hopefully, we’ll have kept up with each other. All I can do, in that case, is hope he keeps up because 2016 is almost over and my 2017 is going to be fabulous.

It’s not child abuse…

A friend of mine was accused recently of child abuse by someone she knows. Her child is loved and supported, disciplined fairly, has a clean and safe home, and plenty of food. The child is not abused by any stretch of the imagination. And most people would agree with this statement… right until they learn the child is trans. Then everything falls apart.

Some people argue it’s abuse to let a child transition because “what if they change their mind?”. Okay, so what if they do? There is no surgery performed on children. No hormones. If a child changes their mind, all that’s involved is clothing, a hair style, and some paperwork. Know how I know? Because it happens. Not nearly as often as some organizations claim but it does. Sometimes the child turns out to be between or beyond male and female… sometimes they turn out to be cisgender. And the parents do another wardrobe switch and let the kid change hair styles. And that’s it, it’s that simple.

Others argue that it’s abuse because the child is too young to know. How many people here have ever met a toddler who didn’t know their own mind. They know what they want to wear, what they want to eat, how they want their hair, and they know their gender. Most of the time people have no problem with this. They aren’t concerned when a child with a vulva says “I’m a girl” because she’s old enough to know that. It’s only if she has a penis that she’s too young.

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Jeremy at three years old

Then there’s the people who have the best of intentions. What if the child gets teased? I hate to break it to them but all children get teased at some point and it can be over anything (or nothing). You can’t prevent teasing by restricting your child. You prevent teasing by teaching children kindness, coping skills and how to handle social interactions.

Jeremy went to a birthday party when they were four years old. The girls all got princess Barbie napkins and the boys got plain blue ones. Jeremy immediately asked for a Barbie one, which surprised the mother of the birthday girl.

“I thought the boys would rather have blue,” she said in confusion as she handed Jeremy the coveted pink Barbie napkin.

Every other boy in the room immediately asked for one too. It’s easy to say that gender stereotypes are inherent but it’s hard to judge considering how we ingrain them from before birth.

What I don’t get is how people can denigrate a little boy (or a child perceived to be male) for acting feminine, for being a “sissy”, or for liking the colour pink. They consider it okay to make their child cry over their personality or preferences in order to “toughen that child up”. Even though that attitude comes with a 75% chance of suicidal depression and a 58% chance of that child attempting suicide before the age of 24 years old. Yet they’ll claim allowing the child to be well adjusted and feel happy and supported with their gender expression is abuse.

Listen to your child. Love them. Trust them. They know who they are.

It’s the most wonderful time…

When I was very little, my parents used to ask me what I wanted for Christmas and my answer was always the same. A pretty tree with lots of sparkling lights. Things haven’t changed. Christmas is my absolute favourite time of the year. I love it all. The lights, the decorations, the glitter, the music, time with family and friends, pretty cards, baking, presents, and an ever present feeling of hope and goodwill. This holiday is me.

This is also the time of year I started writing this blog… three years ago. So much has changed since then. Back then Jeremy identified as a femme, bisexual male (who felt a bit like a girl on the inside) and I was completely and totally straight (and deep enough in the closet I could hang out with the lion in Narnia). Now Jeremy’s straight, agender and alternates between masculine and femme while I’m a demi-romantic, pan-romantic asexual. So the fabulous has broadened to include both of us.

Three years ago Jeremy wanted a hair straightener and Jaffa cakes. This year I got them a strand of light up mirrored disco balls and a big stuffed Freddy Fazbear from Five Nights at Freddys. Meanwhile this is what I want for Christmas…

  1. Self-cleaning kitty litter boxes
  2. Self-washing dishes
  3. Magic refilling fridge
  4. Copious amounts of writing time
  5. A huge green space beside my building
  6. Endless supply of free books on my e-reader from my favourite authors
  7. Winning lottery ticket for $15 million dollars
  8. A stay at a tropical resort

Pretty much the only one that can fit under the tree is the lottery ticket. I’m looking forward to seeing it on Christmas morning 🙂

This year we’re staying overnight at my parents’ house, which is new for us considering we live a 15 minute drive from their place. It means we can hang out on Christmas Eve and open stockings with them on Christmas morning. Plus it’s more like the Christmas I was used to growing up, when we stayed at my grandparents’ house with a bunch of relatives. I’m looking forward to hanging out with them, Karen and her family, and my cousin and his fiance.

Three years ago Jeremy and I would be watching Doctor Who on Netflix but they’ve taken it off the Canadian line up. I did promise them that I’d watch Supergirl with them as soon as they finish the dishes. I hope the show’s good.