Graded heteronormative crap…

This gem showed up in my Facebook’s newsfeed today… a grade eleven AP honours assignment. What the class is, I don’t know. Do they have a class called “Heteronormative 1950’s Bullshit” in Utah?

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He even gets to sign for her grade

My first thought was for the bullied and shy students in the class because you know there’s going to be someone in the class who is absolutely everyone’s last pick. You know someone’s going to be saying, “Well I guess I have to date you.” And what if the class is uneven? Is there going to be a student-teacher date? Does one poor sod date themself?

Plus what about the kids who aren’t interested in the opposite binary gender? Judging by this sheet, the school’s answer is “fake it till you make it (to heterosexuality)”.

My last thought was $5? Where are they going with five dollars*? Are they splitting a burger at McDonalds? I can’t remember the last time I was at McDonalds but Emma pointed out that they’d have to order from the dollar menu, even with splitting a single burger. Then she went through the list, point by point, and made her own comments.

Here they are:

-If I say I don’t want to go out with you, don’t be pushy (and don’t shoot me)
-If I say I don’t care, don’t push for an answer, because I probably actually don’t care
-Don’t expect a second date if your budget is $5 (money isn’t super important, but I do value myself enough to know that anything fun is going to be more than $5)
-Don’t get pissy if the serving size is too much for me to finish, I’m not going to gorge myself and feel like crap, so you can feel better
-Don’t assume I only care about money, I’ll go dutch no problem, but you have to be willing to spend enough that we can actually do something enjoyable
-If I’m spending the whole date thinking I look like crap, something has gone terribly wrong (ie. you said “dress casual” then surprised me with a fancy restaurant, you’re making me feel ugly (did you criticize how I look?)
-I’ll comb my hair if it needs to be combed, fuck you
-Why do you assume I will, or am, fishing for compliments?
-The only reason I can think of my body weight coming up on a first date, is because it was mentioned first. Unless you mean the “does this make me look fat?” stereotype, which doesn’t usually happen until well past the first date
-If I’m enjoying myself, you’ll know, if I look like I’m not enjoying being with you, then I actually am not
-I’ll sit next to you if it’s appropriate to do so (i.e not at a restaurant, that’s weird, but at the movies for sure)
-I’ll be in the bathroom for as long as I need to (how do I go in a group? How many people are on this date?)
-If I’m talking to the girl we’re doubling with, instead of you, then it’s because she’s got a better personality than you
-What’s considered appropriate for a $5 date? I’m thinking sweatpants.
-Fuck you, and fuck your “lady-like” standards, I’ll say whatever the fuck I want, and you can sit down, shut up, and appreciate it, you pile of shit.
-I show respect, where respect is deserved
-Why do you assume I won’t be?
-If I feel the need to flirt with/text/check out other guys, you clearly aren’t that fun to be around (and you better hold to the same standard for yourself and other girls)
-Seriously? Why do you keep assuming I’m a psychopath? If this is how you feel about me, the date isn’t even going to happen.
-So you not only are trying to dictate my personality now, but my feelings? I’ll have a good time, if you’re fun to be around.
-Again with assuming I’m not going to be a civil human on this date, why are we even going on it?
-It depends on the personal habit, if you’re habitually shoving your hand down your pants to scratch your balls, I’m telling you to stop. If you’re being gross, you’ll be told.
-I’ll compliment you if I think you should be complimented, but based off of this list, you probably shouldn’t be.
-How long do I stare at the door, before realizing you aren’t opening it?
-My standards mean this date isn’t happening. If by some miracle it does, however, are you going to respect the fact that my standards mean I’m not screwing you at the end of the night?
-I’ll criticize you’re driving if it needs to be. Bad driving isn’t always obviously unsafe, but any form of bad driving is unsafe in even subtle ways (also, what if I want to drive? Why are you assuming I want you to drive?)
-You made a giant list of rules for me, then told me to be myself? You just tried to dictate my entire personality (and feelings) for the night, I can’t be myself at that point. I also can’t relax, because this sounds like a dude who will murder me at the end of the night.

She also did some digging and found out the class was an “adult roles and financial literacy class” which I’m pretty sure is a euphemism for “heteronormative 1950’s bullshit”. Plus she found the boy’s side of the assignment…

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Sorry about the blurriness. And look, there’s mutual signage.

Girls like flowers and little gifts? Umm… that’s sweet. It’s a five dollar mandated date. You’re lucky if you get a bouquet of dandelions and a ring from the bubble gum machine. Go buy your own damn flowers.

I am so glad I’m not raising kids in Utah! I hear there’s nice mountains but holy hell!

*it looks like they’re each spending $5 so at least they can both order their own burger from the dollar menu.

New York blues…

The older Jeremy gets, the more his opinions on just about everything differ from mine. So you can imagine my trepidation when he said he wanted to talk about the New York law regarding misgendering people intentionally and as the result of willful, wanton, or malicious conduct.

I don’t agree with it,” he started out firmly and then he went on with his usual flights of fancy.

“What if the person doing the misgendering is working three jobs to feed their family? They won’t be able to afford a twenty-five thousand dollar fine*. Especially if they’re working as a waiter or something. What if that means their children are going to starve?”

How on earth was I supposed to answer that? Do I offer Monopoly money to feed the imaginary starving children? Luckily he didn’t expect an answer. He certainly didn’t give me enough time for one.

“And what about made up pronouns?”

Made up pronouns? You mean like your old pronouns zie and zir?” I asked with a hint of anger in my voice.

“Yes,” he replied flatly. “And I would have felt that way back then too.”

“Back when you felt-”

“I didn’t just feel,” he snapped. “I was that gender.”

I nodded and he continued. “There are so many pronouns. How can people be expected to remember them all? Like, zie and zir are good pronouns, they’re used in Canada and England, but there’s so many more. And what if someone’s pronouns change regularly? Are they supposed to know them from day to day.”

As he calmed down, he circled toward his real reason. “A fine isn’t going to solve anything. Someone misgenders someone else then they learn more and stop doing it. But a fine is just going to make them angry and they won’t change.”

All I got was my mouth open before he plowed on.

“Just think Mom,” he continued. “That’s a big fine. When it goes to court they’re going to know each other’s addresses, that’ll be on the court documents. Someone’s going to get killed over this. There’s lots of guns in the States. Someone’s going to say screw it and grab their gun, go to the address, and then the person’s dead.”

“Hon, we can’t make laws based on what people might do later. You could say this about any fine-“

“No! Because it’s not the same!” he interrupted. “Those people don’t even think trans people are human. They’re not going to care. And if they have a gun…”

With that, he wound down into silence.

What on earth could I say to that? I mean I must have said something because he stopped talking about it but really… three trans people have been murdered already in the States and it’s only the 12th of January. Trans people have a 1 in 12 chance of getting murdered. And, while I still think the law is a good idea, he is right too. I hope nobody’s looking for an answer, because quite frankly I don’t have one, but he did make me think.

*I know he got the amount of the fine wrong

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!

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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.

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.