You are not an ally…

You are not an LGBTQ ally if you can explain gay or lesbian relatives to children with ease but decide it’s too complicated to explain a trans relative.

You are not an LGBTQ ally if the trans relative’s chosen, real name and pronouns are too hard to remember so you go back to their old pronouns and name.

You are not an LGBTQ ally if they’ll always be deadname* to you

You are not an LGBTQ ally if you accept bisexual people but figure they’re really just confused.

You’re not an LGBTQ ally if you assume bisexual people are natural cheaters

You’re not an LGBTQIA ally if you figure the A stands for ally

You’re not an LGBTQIA ally if you complain there’s too many letters. It’s the length of a phone number and people aren’t crying those are too long.

You’re not an LGBTQIA ally if you figure asexual people are straight but confused.

You’re not an LGBTQIA ally if you decide asexuals are simply prudes

Go back to grade school and re-learn that a word can have two meanings if you think asexuals have to bud in order to reproduce.

You are an ally if you listen to your trans relative and follow his, their, or her narrative to explain to younger family members.

You are an ally if you use your trans relative’s name and pronouns as often as possible, apologizing if you forget.

You are an ally if you realize bisexual people aren’t any more confused or promiscuous than the rest of society, they simply happen to be attracted to two or more genders.

You are an ally if you learn the acronym without complaining.

You are an ally if you listen to the LGBTQIA community and learn about their various orientations without judgement

You are an ally if you stand up for the LGBTQIA community and correct any misunderstandings you hear.

If you are an ally, I thank you!

Selfie filtered

Emma’s self portrait last summer

* deadname equals birthname

Anxiety…

It’s late and you’re alone watching a horror movie. The music starts. Something is going to happen. The protagonist bravely sets forward. Your heart starts pounding, you feel weak and trembling, your stomach churns.

Except there’s no horror movie, no late night, and you’re probably not even alone. Yet the racing heart, weakness, and stomach churning continues.

That’s what anxiety is like for me. It’s hard to breathe, hard to think, and the anxiety sits there like an unwelcome guest. The most minor chore makes me want to curl up like a pill bug and hide. The major chores are beyond me.

Counting breaths doesn’t help. I end up worrying I’m counting too fast or too slow and end up hyperventilating, which is so not the goal. Reassuring myself helps a bit. Sleeping helps a lot but is a huge inconvenience. And Ativan helps, but brings along a worry of addiction.

I wish I had some amazing ending to this, some great way of alleviating anxiety, but I don’t. In fact, I’m rocking while I write this and thinking about curling up for a nap. What triggered this bout of anxiety? I don’t know. Maybe the fact there’s dishes to wash? But probably not. It just seems to show up like an unwelcome house guest and never knows when to leave.

If you’ve got a great way to decrease anxiety, please feel free to leave a comment below.

“I’m transitioning”…

“Well hello,” said the elderly man from our UU church. He smiled then turned to Emma. “And who might this handsome young man be?” he asked jokingly.

“I’m Emma,” Emma replied. “I’m transitioning.”

The man looked bewildered. “Erma?” he asked.

“Emma,” both Emma and I replied.

“Alma?”

“Emm-mma,” I said slowly.

He smiled and went on with his conversation. I wondered if he thought we were joking.

Emma tells everyone she’s transitioning these days from her cousins to the cashier at the grocery store and every one gives her the same blank look. We belong to online groups and PFLAG, to us it seems like half the planet is either in transition or related to someone who is. I’m guessing, judging by the blank looks we encounter, that’s not the case outside our little circle because no one seems to have a clue what she’s talking about.

I wonder how people’s reactions will change when she eventually starts taking hormones and begins to look more feminine.

Disposable friendships…

We were friends for twenty years. Twenty years of birthdays, dinners, movies, outings, laughter, and games. And we stopped being friends over an internet meme.

We’d been friends for six years. Our kids played together, we went out for lunches, we could chat for hours. And we stopped being friends because I suggested a dog trainer before abandoning her dog.

We’d been friends for three years. Just online friends, as people say, but we messaged regularly and often. The last I heard was a message “I’m going to take my medication” then a notice that I could not respond to her conversation. She blocked me, so I heard, because I reminded her in some way of her ex. I have no idea how. The day before she’d told me I was like a sister to her. There was no warning.

I was chatting with a friend of mine a few days ago and she commented on how much friendships seem to break these days. I had to agree. My parents have friends that go back for 50/60 years. My longest friendship, one in which we actually talk more than once a year, is now fifteen.

Somehow we’ve reached a point in our society where friends have to agree about everything. And, while I agree that some lines that are deal breakers, some are just plain ridiculous. I had a friend block me once because I prefer door to door delivery over big box mail services. I refuse to believe this is a hard line ethical issue.

At some point we need to give in on the minor issues. We might not agree with religious beliefs or eating habits. We might not approve of all parenting styles. But as long as no one’s getting hurt, is that the hill we want to die on?

And, as much as I love the internet, I have to wonder how much of the disposable nature of friendship is because of the ease of online communication. You can delete someone from your life without ever seeing the hurt on their face. It’s a lot easier than saying “I don’t want to be friends with you” and dealing with the aftermath. Every friendship of mine that’s ended has been through social media. Cold, clean, swift, and remorseless.

I went through my block list a few days ago and unblocked about thirty people, none of whom I know, all of whom had irritated me on Facebook at some point. Chances are I’ll never even see them again. The next step is unblocking the two people I do know. I have no idea if I’ll see them online or not, we don’t (as far as I know) have mutual friends. But it’s a start.

I don’t have any answers but, what I do know, is life’s too short to end friendships over trivial matters. Friendship is too important for that.

P and Jeremy

P and Emma sharing a quiet conversation.

Cisgender…

When I was little I thought that words were carefully thought up and voted on by a group of old white men, all seated along a table. They’d weigh each word ponderously before voting. Then we could finally use it. It wasn’t until I was older that I realised our language evolves, taking words from other languages and sometimes creating words as needed.

As gay people became more positively talked about, a new word evolved to explain people who aren’t gay. Straight. People have no noticeable problem with being called this. Then transgender people became more positively talked about and a new word evolved to explain people who aren’t trans. That word is “cisgender”, using the Latin prefix meaning “on this side of”. And people lost their freaking minds.

For some reason people seem to think cisgender is an insult, some nasty slur being tossed at them, instead of a simple description. The same people who have no problem being called white, straight, their nationality, their religion, male/female etc suddenly don’t want or like labels when it comes to cisgender. Hell, someone named Olivia even wrote a “poem” about her hatred of the word.

Cisgender.
This is your term for me.
Your stereotype, your aggression
When you have been called it all
Fag queer whatever.

Well now i speak

I am not gay.
I am not bi.
I am not a man.
Or unsure.
I am not your words.
I am not “cisgender”.

I am a woman.
I love a man.
But that doesnt matter.
Because my name is Olivia.

~blogged by aliceoblivious~

I’ve come up with two theories for why so many people dislike the word so much. The first theory is that, unlike straight, which has positive connotations (such as straight as an arrow), cis sounds too similar to sissy, leading people to think of “crybabies” or “whiners”, even if it’s more unconscious than conscious.

The second theory is that some people dislike transgender people so much, they don’t want a word labelling them that has anything to do with trans people, even if it does mean the exact opposite.

Or maybe it’s a mixture of the two.

Whatever the reason, the word cisgender is not a slur. The only time it becomes a slur is when it’s transformed to cishit and, in that case, I don’t want to know what you said, and chances are you probably deserved it.

But cisgender is fine.

Thank you Dad…

Thank you for horsey rides and piggy back rides
Thank you for around the world kisses
Thanks for teaching me how to ride a bike and to stand and pedal
Thank you for family bike rides
Thank you for sharing chips with malt vinegar
Thank you for letting me ride in the truck with you to the Motorola picnic
Thank you for teaching me how to skate. I might skate like a hockey player but I skate.
Thanks for our cat Spotty
Thank you for toboggan rides
Thank you for scratchy kisses
Thank you for swinging with us, even if the swing broke once (darn cheap swing)
Thank you for letting us put barrettes in your hair, you looked so pretty at the gas station
Thanks for walking with us on Hallowe’en
Thank you for the camping trips
Thank you for explaining glaciers and why bedrock has scratches in it
Thank you for campfires
Thank you for barbecue dinners
Thank you for your motor-sickle song
Thank you for nights watching tv in the bunny hole
Thank you for taking us to work with you
Thank you for teaching me how to dance
Thank you for listening
Thank you for teaching my kids how to ride a bike
Thank you for being there for us
I love you Dad

Happy Father’s Day

Dad and I

The near birthday fiasco…

I’d say it started yesterday but it really started just over a month ago when my ex-husband had his birthday. Ever since we separated he’s insisted he wants no birthday celebration at all. No calls… no cards… no presents. He doesn’t want to remember he’s ageing, leave him alone. Then, after the date, he’s mad because no one remembered his birthday. General cognition and cause and effect are not his strong suits.

This time he decided to get back at Emma for not calling. Never mind Emma never calls anyone. Never mind she’s having problems with her phone. Never mind she doesn’t keep track of dates. He was mad and he was retaliating. So he called Kait and told her he was going to deliberately misgender “Colin” in a birthday Facebook wish to get back at her. A) because that’s what loving and kind Fathers do and B) because there was no way posting his ignorance on Facebook could blow back at him…

exbirthdaywish

Emma knew just what to say

The first thing that confused James was absolutely no one wanted to here his side on why he’s misgendering his own child. So he explained anyway…

exbirthdaybirthcertificate

Then my friend Robin told him to step on a Lego and he literally took that to be a death threat…

exbirthdayfreehugs

And my friend ran with the Lego death threat. Because we all know how deadly a block of lego is when you step on it…

exbirthdaylegodeath

It’s funny in some ways but this is a grown man, Emma’s father, on her Facebook page the night before her birthday. And here is when he really started showing his true colours. First by using gay as an insult, then his above comment about not supporting “lgbt crap”, and finally by deciding Robin must be trans and referring to her as “it” and that “trans freak”. Along with this…

exbirthdaystraight

Kait finally had enough of him, after being on the brink for months, and blocked him…

exbirthdayrainbow

… and her post whooshed right over his head

Then it just got plain pathetic…

exbirthdayend

My ex and I talked a lot about being parents, when we were young and engaged, and how we wanted to raise our kids. He wanted to be a hands on Dad, something he hadn’t much experience with (as much as he loved his father). It’s like he set out to do the exact opposite.

I almost never mention my ex-husband on the blog and this thread is exactly why. He’s a living train wreck of a man, a person who lives solely to tear down other people.

Today is Emma’s birthday. She played Undertale before school while I watched then we went out for dinner with her Nana (mmm… potato curry), and now she’s heading out to Value Village to look for computer parts and/or a phone… as happy as can be. Then she’s having birthday pudding, since she decided it was too hot for cake. There was no mention of her Dad, he’s a non-existent part of her life and, sadly, that’s how it should be with him.

Emma and her new purse

Emma with her new purse and sucker