Five years ago a lovely young woman walked in front of a truck. She felt hopeless… without a future or an accepting family. Her name was Leelah Alcorn, something her family couldn’t accept even after death.
Don’t just love your children, accept them for who they are. It can be one hell of a ride but they’re taking that ride regardless of whether you’re with them or not and it’ll be easier on them if you’re with them.
Leelah will never have her chance but there are countless Leelah’s out there if you listen. Please support the kids (and the adults for that matter). Let them know you stand with them. Give them a chance to live. Leelah asked for this world to be fixed. Support will go a long way. And if you want to read my original post from 2014 you can find it here.
Guess what day it is? No, sadly, it’s not Free Pizza for Everyone Day. You can put down the pizza cutter. Instead it’s National Coming Out Day! It’s a holiday, albeit one with no food, that was started by the Human Rights Campaign thirty-one years ago. I’ve been coming out every year for four years now but there’s always new readers and the possibility (not likely) that someone might have missed my posts.
Alright, so I’m a demiromantic, panromantic asexual. That hasn’t changed since I’ve come out back in 2015, no matter what someone who’s close to me seems to think. Demiromantic means I become romantically attached only to friends. Panromantic means I’m romantically attracted to all genders. Yes, even your gender. And asexual means I have no sexual attraction to anyone. While you’re thinking “look at those blue eyes… I wish we could bump uglies” I’m thinking “look at those blue eyes, I could stare at them for ages”.
I ran into a friend today. She said “hi” enthusiastically then gave me a hug and a kiss on the cheek. We did the usual “How are you?” then she looked uncomfortable.
“I saw Colin at the bus stop recently and he, umm, started talking about stuff. Gender stuff.”
“You mean he said he was a girl on the inside and a man on the outside?” I asked and she nodded with visible relief.
“I didn’t know what to say,” she concluded.
“I’m sure you did fine,” I replied then she started talking about a trans aunt of hers. At first she started using he/him pronouns but I keep using she/her and soon she flipped to the female pronouns.
All the while I kept thinking of Colin. I know this lady because we were in the mental health ward of the hospital together, which means lots of time for conversation there. And she lives barely a block away so we bump into each other every once in a while. However, I think Colin’s only seen her twice and for a couple of minutes at that. It makes me wonder how many strangers are wandering around wondering who “that guy” is and why Colin was talking about being a woman.
I’ve offered to help him get a free therapist and to join, not one, but two groups dealing with gender related issues but he refused. I guess he’ll keep coming out to strangers and hope someday he comes out again to himself and those he loves.
Colin and I at the Pride Parade June 2015
The conversation came out of nowhere. One minute we were getting ready to catch the bus and the next Colin was talking about whether trans people should out themselves to prospective dates. I was on the side of no and Colin, surprisingly enough, went for yes.
“It’s no one’s business what’s in someone else’s pants,” I said as I locked the front door. “Genitals are private.”
“What about you and L?” he asked. “You must know about her.”
“No,” I replied. “I’ll probably find out if we get serious but right now it’s none of my business.”
“Well it’s not right,” Colin loudly insisted. “I don’t want to find out my girlfriend’s transgender after I’ve been dating her for a while. I don’t want to find out we can’t have kids together. Not when I’ve given up my own happiness for a kid.”
Those words free fell from his mouth to crash onto the tiled floor.
“Given up my own happiness”
I couldn’t cry, I just couldn’t. He didn’t need that. His pain was his own and I couldn’t add to it.
We were halfway to the bus stop when I casually commented, “Did you know disabled kids are the least likely to get adopted?”
I tried to keep my tone light and non-committal. We’ve already had the adoption talk before and it wouldn’t help to go through it twice. But I was talking to the person who asked the store clerk if they had any special needs guinea pigs. Luckily I succeeded and he proceeded to talk about special needs all the way to the bus stop. Hopefully I’ve planted a seed.
I wish he’d put his own happiness ahead of a baby that doesn’t exist and a girlfriend he has yet to meet but that’s got to be decided by him, not me. So I’ll just keep remembering “given up my own happiness” and let the tears trickle down on the inside where he can’t see.
This post is a long time coming, it’s not something I’ve suddenly realized in the last day or two. But three incidents happened this week and they pushed me over the edge. So here I am.
I’d been enjoying some Instagram on my cell phone before I got up one sunny morning. Pictures from friends, cute shots of animals, and then a picture Alok Vaid-Menon came onto my screen. I started reading… started discovering what their day’s like. Being verbally harassed. Being spat on once or twice a day. The realization that no one would come to their aid if they were attacked. People taking pictures of them to post online and mock and they’ve done nothing except being themself. They’re not hurting anyone. I cannot understand why someone would go out of their way to harm someone who is doing nothing wrong. What is the reasoning behind this? Sigh, I’m not sure I even want to know.
The second incident happened on Facebook. A friend of mine shared an article about a study that had been done regarding pronouns and I discovered that three people out of five will deliberately use the wrong pronouns for a trans person. Excuse me but really? You’ll apologize and make sure you use your friend’s cat’s correct pronouns but you can’t offer the same kindness to a fellow human? For fuck’s sake, the cat doesn’t even care. But the human certainly does. What is wrong with people that they can’t extend common courtesy to another person just because they’re perceived as different? There is nothing wrong with being different.
Then a page named Kialo showed up in my newsfeed with a discussion on whether trans women should have the same rights as cis-women by entering women’s only spaces. I know better but I still clicked on the link, commenting on the most egregious posts. It’s still going on (and on) with the usual arguments. Genitals trump all and trans women must be men. Trans women grew up with male privilege and therefore aren’t eligible for women’s spaces. Some cis-women have been assaulted before and trans women might trigger them – ignoring the fact that trans women get assaulted more than cis woman. And, of course, one lone idiot bleating “I’m not a cis woman. I’m just a woman”. Because Latin prefixes are so scary. I gave facts and rebuttals but I’m sure most of them went unread. Hopefully someone who’s wavering took a look and gained some knowledge. Who knows.
And I am so tired. I’m tired of the same damn arguments. The same lame “I identify as an apache attack helicopter” as if two hundred other assholes haven’t already used the same line. I’m tired of my friends being narrowed down to nothing more than their genitalia… being stripped of their humanity. I’m tired of them being nothing more to a whole swathe of people than a topic of discussion on a Friday night. I don’t want to have another discussion like that again. But I will. You know why? Because my friends are the ones being attacked and if I’m tired, they’re beyond tired of arguing their very existence. Because friends stay there for the hard times, they buckle down and say “I’ll help”. I can’t do anything physically or financially but I can be supportive and I can throw fact after fact at the bigots in hopes that one will stick.
Trans people are your family, your friends, your neighbours, your store clerks. They’re in the line up behind you. They buy their gas at the same station as you. You might not think you know someone trans but in reality you do. What are you going to do about this? Would you give a tissue to Alok and sympathize that they’d been spat on? Would you use the right pronoun if asked? Would you stand up via internet or in person for a trans person’s rights? It’s really scary standing up in person but it’s something you can do. Or are you going to be on the wrong side and ignore someone’s basic humanity. It’s up to you.
This video was taken back in 2015, back when Colin was going by Jeremy. I talked about the video but didn’t share it since I used his real name. Today it showed up in my Facebook memories and I decided it was time to share. My apologies in advance for the volume. I tend to be very soft spoken.
It was New Year’s Eve 2014 when I first heard about Leelah and how she’d chosen to walk in front of a truck instead of continuing to be ignored and misgendered at home. Colin was still non-binary, feeling like both male and female and the thought that he might end his life was chilling, even though he was being supported at home. I felt overwhelmed and the only way I could think of calming down was to write it out, and so I did.
I’m not going to write a whole new post. I’ll just leave the link to post right here. And remember, Leelah is just one of many who have taken their own lives due to lack of support. If you have a trans person in your life please, please support them and let them know they matter. It makes a difference.
I woke up this morning to a call from my daughter Kait and, while we were chatting, Colin woke up and sleepily leaned against my door frame.
I loved the way he looked and managed to get a shot of him, which was nice because he’s usually not fond of having his picture taken. I guess the promise that he just had to stand there and do nothing was a bonus.
Kait and I commented he’d look so much prettier if he shaved his face and he immediately went to the washroom to do just that. I’d love to have a shaved version of the photo but he was too awake by the time he finished shaving. The picture still looks good though. Trans is beautiful.
Colin and I had a little talk yesterday after he said he wasn’t trans, which would definitely be a surprise. Obviously nothing would change either way but it’s nice to know if something that integral to his identity was still a thing. It turned out he thought you were only trans if you were actively transitioning but he still was female. I explained that if he still was female and was born with a penis, he was trans whether he was transitioning or not. It was the feeling female and being perceived as male that made him trans, not the act of taking hormones or having surgery. That sense of disassociation when he sees himself in the mirror… that sense of joy when he’s seen as a woman. As he subsequently explained to me, he feels female but is upset he’s never going to transition.
Colin’s getting tested for ADHD this month and, hopefully he’ll get put on a medication that will help him keep his scatterbrain in check. This is something he’s looking forward to. It’s not just missing part of the definition of transgender, it’s keeping track of his teacher’s lectures and remembering the information long enough to finish homework and write tests. It’s hard to be in school and miss half of what the teacher’s saying, even when he’s concentrating.
As usual, gender is not the forefront of our lives. Colin is much more interested in anime and computers. And now is time to combine both. We’re going to watch an anime called Planetarium on the computer he just rebuilt. I hope everyone has a wonderful weekend!