I wrote a post last year about a speech I did in front of my classmates regarding the difference between sex, gender, and sexual orientation. The differences between the three have become an even stronger passion for me since I took the Sociology of Gender in the winter semester. I have learned so much and have so much more respect for people of sexual and gender minorities now.
First of all, WAY TO GO ALBERTA, CANADA FOR ACTUALLY NOT SUCKING!
Also, way to go humanity! More than 70,000 people on the internet liked a controversial status about a specific case of transgenderism posted by a queer identifying celebrity! This makes my heart smile.
Of course, there was a lot of hate. At the time of writing this, there were over 3,000 comments, and so much of it was ignorant people who believe that your chromosomes determine your gender (for those of you who don’t understand how this works, please watch THIS VIDEO RIGHT HERE THAT IS VERY, VERY IMPORTANT). I made a few comments on this status about gender and sex organs not being mutually exclusive while replying to some of the positive messages, thanking people for being human…and for a few days following, I received a lot of messages in the “Other” folder on Facebook that was telling me how I was wrong.
(Because, you know, I didn’t just spend the last three years of my life looking extensively into LGBT*Q issues in a degree program that I am almost finished. No big deal.)
I don’t typically feed the trolls. In fact, I tend to just ignore them, delete the comments, and carry on with my day oblivious of the stupid, but unfortunately I actually looked at some of these messages and found one that I just couldn’t ignore (please ignore the terrible scribbles. I am getting used to my new Galaxy Note 3 and the S-Pen):
PROPAGANDA, LADIES AND GENTLEMEN. Propaganda.
When I type the word “TRANSGENDER” into the keyword search on PsychInfo, just over 2,000 hits show up. This means approximately 2,000 research articles were peer-reviewed and posted for the psychological community to use in their own literature reviews before conducting research. If I type in “SEX” and “GENDER”, just about 55,000 peer-reviewed articles come up.
I tried to find an accessible source that was reliable since I was at work and couldn’t access the PsychInfo or the science database from my work computer. (To be fair, I made the error of assuming his bigotry was due to religion, but apparently I was wrong.)
Actually, in hindsight, I could have brought up the question of why it can’t be taught in schools because he feels his kids shouldn’t be taught about a human rights issue. I was so set off by another person using the mental illness thing again.
Mental Illness: Where everyone that doesn’t fit into the societal expectation gets dumped into.
White men who are violent have mental illness.
People who are born with the wrong body parts suffer from mental illness, blah blah blah.
Yes, gender dysphoria is a real thing,however, BEING TRANSGENDERED DOES NOT MEAN THAT YOU ARE IMMEDIATELY LABELLED WITH GENDER DYSPHORIA!
This condition causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
Note: I found this really cool response to someone on YAHOO ANSWERS who asked about the difference between Trans* and Gender Dysphoria (though they use the DSM-IV term of Gender Identity Disorder) if you are looking of a great explanation.
Now, gender dichotomy is the assumption that there are only males and females, and there can’t be anything in between. This, combined with sex dichotomy (which ignores interesex people completely) creates these boxes that leaves out anyone who isn’t cisnormative. Fun fact of the day: two-spirited people have been on this continent (North America) longer than the Caucasian people have…but what white privilege has done to Native American culture is another story.
I always wanted to be an asshole! The whole Male/Female thing is grounded in the idea that there is Adam and Eve and nothing in between, but apparently Andrew didn’t know this…
My dear friend Andrew seems to believe his tax dollars (specifically) are the reason why there are unisex bathrooms.
Also, his experiences are obviously how ever other person experiences life. Obviously. I should note that Andrew sends a message about how I should read up about hormone blockers and I missed it. I have read extensively on hormone blockers. Actually, I wrote an entire essay on the use of this medication on trans* identifying children…if you get a chance, it is a fascinating read.
Children know as young as 18 month as to how they want to identify on the gender spectrum. Look at cases of Josie, Jazz, and Ryland as examples of early transgendered expressions in children. These three are glowing examples of children who know they don’t feel comfortable in their bodies. They aren’t afraid to express it, and all three of them have faced oppression based on their desire to be whole they feel like they should be. These kids aren’t doing it for attention, they aren’t doing it to be famous…they just want to be happy.
Not all gender bending children are transgendered. I really wanted to be a boy growing up. If I was a boy, I might have been more popular (thus, less bullied), and it would have been okay for me to like girls so I wouldn’t have to hide it anymore. I dressed like a boy, played with the boys, and cut my hair short…but I didn’t identify as a boy. I still enjoyed playing with my dolls with one of the neighbourhood kids occasionally, and I still enjoyed wearing dresses when the situation lended itself to being pretty. I was a girl, who looked like a boy (until my breasts grew in), and that was okay. The whole point to this story is the acknowledgement that some kids are not as compulsively cisnormative as others. Not every girl who likes to fight and play with trucks are boys and not ever boy who likes to play with dolls and wear dresses are girls. Our society puts rules on what colours, toys and clothing children can(not) appreciate…
…which causes the gender bending…
…which causes the bullying (from peers and adults)…
…which can lead to the depression…
…which can lead to serious consequences…
So why do we put so much emphasis on hegemonic masculinity and male privilege while kids are so little and trying to figure themselves out? Why do we push boys and girls into boxes that may not fit them? Why do we freak out when these kids rebel just a little bit? If we didn’t put such intense rules down on these kids, we wouldn’t have the fanfare about a child who feels like they weren’t born in the right body. We could let them grow up without rules about males or females, and explain to them about the reproductive organs they were born with, but no pressure. Be who you are comfortable being child because we love you…
No. This whole idea of gender being a social construct that we provide our children (much like religion, dear Atheist Andrew) has exploded into something it never should have become
…because society can’t seem to accept that boys can wear dresses and not everyone born with ovaries are female…
…because society can’t accept that girls can like football/hockey and not everyone born with a penis is a male…
Originally posted on Edmonton Slut Walk:
As the organizers of this year’s Edmonton Slut Walk, we were initially delighted to hear that you would be covering the emergence of posters which mock a well-established and successful anti-rape campaign. Upon reading your article, those feelings quickly changed to horror, that an ally would use their large platform to spread misinformation about rape and false rape allegations.
Though your piece did appear in the “opinion” column, that isn’t license to spread an opinion that makes the world safer for rapists, and harder for victims. Inevitably, that is what you do when you focus on the behavior of the victim, versus the intent of the rapist.
In a piece by the CBC, who showed demonstrably more responsibility in reporting on the posters, acting Insp. Sean Armstrong from the serious crimes branch of Edmonton Police Service said that false allegations are “extremely rare”. Armstrong goes on to say “I…
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I wrote this a month ago and it has been sitting in my files since then. I have been trying to decide whether or not I needed to post it (avoidance of drama is my #1 priority lately), but I have learned through experience, therapy, and friends that sometimes things need to be put out into the Universe to finally feel the closure you need most.
So, here is the first instalment of my Healing Letters. I want to send a very special thank you to Yoshi for looking this over and making sure that there were no “glaring errors to take my power away”.
All this time I blamed HIM for driving a wedge between us, but recent evidence has proven the contrary.
With the recent evidence, I am finally able to close the chapter between us and move on to something better. You have taught me so many lessons about what I should expect out of my friends, and for that I am forever grateful.
I must say, I am disappointed in you. For years you led me to believe I could trust you, and as a result I kept your negative comments about people behind their backs to myself despite the internal conflict it caused. I kept my mouth shut, and let you complain about the people you were nice to, and I let you contradict yourself for as long as I was humanly able. This was my first mistake.
I watched you cycle through friends, one after another. I grew cautious, worried when I would be next, though I took relief in your expressions of sincerity towards what we were. You promised to be my “best friend for life”, and I believed you, even when things became crazy. This was my second mistake.
I went through a very dark time because I was exhausted from people using me, walking all over me, and disrespecting me. I let people destroy me, and you lead me down the path of disillusionment that you were holding me up. I discovered very late in our friendship that, in fact, you were putting on a face, and really couldn’t tolerate my darkness anymore. Instead of telling me, you told everyone else, and slowly pushed me out of your life. Despite seeing you do it to others, I ignored the signs. This was my third mistake.
I brought you to my family’s second home, hoping that tranquility and heat during those cold, dark winter days would help reconcile our friendship from the crumbling situation we were in. I believed that some time away from everyone else would give us a chance to be best friends again, and help both of us heal from our different situations. Taking you there was my fourth mistake.
The following summer, when things between First Boyfriend and I came to their peak, I trusted you to help me. I, in a moment of desperation, sent an email to First Boyfriend detailing an ultimatum that would make or break our romantic relationship. I sent it to you for guidance, figuring that what I sent you stayed between us. A week later, HE confronted First Boyfriend with the details of my email, asking him if he was happy. I packed up everything I had in our camper and ran to my car. I almost left First Boyfriend because I assumed he told HIM everything. Luckily, a family member stopped me, dragged First Boyfriend to my hiding place, and we talked out what happened. He thought I had sent the email to HIM for an opinion…which only left one other person who could have shared.
When I confronted you, you said, “I don’t remember”, and then later “HE dragged it out of me, HE does things to me.” I believed you, and started to grudge HIM for my problems with First Boyfriend and You. This was my fifth mistake.
When school started a few months later, while driving to the school hockey game, you told me that our employers were “pissed at me” and that because “[our boss] hadn’t spoken to me, [I wasn’t] getting in trouble”. Seconds later, you told me that our hockey boss was angry with me because of an event that had happened a week before. These two statements had my anxiety so high that I could barely function. I knew I had to reconcile with the people who were “angry” with me, so I confronted them about the situations.
I spoke to our hockey boss first, pulling her aside during the intermission between periods. When I asked her if she was upset with me, she looked at me like I grew a second head. She told me that I did what I had to do to get the situation under control, and while it could have been handled better, it was fine. I trusted you, so, on the way home, I asked you again what she had said to you. Your response: “I don’t remember”…
Alarm bells chimed in my head; those were the exact words you had sent to me during the fiasco with HIM. Things were falling into parallel again, and you were becoming defensive…
I contacted our boss next; I asked him what was going on. I was in complete tears since I didn’t know what was happening, or how to deal with it. He was in as much shock as I was, so I told him everything you said. He became just as upset as I was, and he promised me that everything would be fixed as soon as he could get things under control. He told me I was doing an amazing job, and that he couldn’t think of anyone else who could do the job better than I was.
With this information in hand, I contacted our co-workers who you said were mad at me. I was told that what you said had been a complete exaggeration to the point where it wasn’t even truthful anymore. There was some disappointment that things were not being put on the website within a set period of time, but otherwise I was fine. I wasn’t getting fired, and I wasn’t losing any pay.
My head was wheeling.
I didn’t know what to do.
After the situation with HIM that summer added to the recent events, I did the only thing I could do to protect myself. I cut you out of my life.
The funny part of it was how little you actually tried to fix it.
We fell into the pattern of ignoring each other, and our “friends” were stuck between us. I don’t fault them for taking your “side” since you were not so distraught with the loss of your best friend on top of major depression, the death of your horse, and a relationship that was falling apart again. They practiced self-preservation, and I am okay with that.
Now, I should probably tell you about that recent evidence I have stumbled upon…
Last weekend, I was partying with First Boyfriend, HIM, and their boss for a birthday party. You came up in conversation, and HE and I started talking about what happened. HE asked me what happened between you and I, and because I had so much angst towards HIM after everything that happened, I told HIM that HE was the problem. HE was what caused the canyon between us.
HE showed me that my belief was inaccurate.
There, in HIS messaging history was you complaining about me, telling HIM that I was going to “drive you to drink”, and that you couldn’t handle me “whining” about my life anymore. When HE asked you what you meant, you willingly sent him screenshots of the email I sent you in confidence.
My heart dropped.
It turns out that everything you told me was a lie. It turns out that all my negative emotions towards HIM were misguided. Everything I “knew” was false.
As devastated as I was, I am happy that I finally have the closure I desperately needed. I am finally over what happened between us.
I can finally move on.
The next time I say the words “best friends”, I am going to make damned sure that I will never make the same mistakes I made with you.
I haven’t been keeping up with my blog and I am sorry. Things in life seem to catch up with me every once in a while, I end up losing my place, and I fall behind.
Right after I had a conversation with Scarlett about how great I was doing, my brain said “haha, just kidding!” and everything fell apart on me.
Mom and R saw it coming long before I did, and I think they tried to show me the signs, but I completely missed it.
Three days after talking to Scarlett, I had a complete mental breakdown in the parking lot of my former University. I was (unknowingly) self-sabotaging my relationship with First Boyfriend (again), I was struggling with not continuing my job with the school (though I kept a strong appearance despite my disappointment in a few decisions made), I missed Bails, and my birthday was a few days away.
It is funny how a few things can pile up on you when you are strung out from school anxiety.
It is not funny when everything dawns on you all at once.
I had conversations with some of the most important people in my life (mom, First Boyfriend, the school Psychologist – who had supported me through everything over the last two years-‘ Bails, and R), and everyone agreed that it was time to tie off anything holding me to that school and find something that will help me grow more as a person.
The day I signed the withdrawal forms was the day I found out I had injured my knee again.
Nine and a half years after my surgery, I heard a pop from my knee while I was laying in bed watching Thor on our television. I winced, but thought nothing of it since my knee has clicked since the surgery was done.
I did two days of volunteer work in the residential areas around my former University following that pop, and climbing up and down stairs became more and more challenging as those days passed by. I wrapped my knee in a tensor bandage for the second day, but by the end of it, I could barely walk.
This same scenario has happened to me before, so I made sure I didn’t use my leg much for a few days, kept my knee wrapped, and I iced it as much as I could.
Two weeks later, I had enough of the intolerable pain.
My doctor is hard to get into sometimes, so when I booked the appointment and found out that it would take a week to get in to see him, I decided to be proactive and go to a Walk-In Clinic to get an x-ray requisition. I wanted to get into physiotherapy as fast as I possibly could so I could go back to working out. I had just bought roller blades that I desperately wanted to try out! The x-rays came back showing my cartilage in my knee is severely degenerated, and they need to see what is actually going on inside before we can start taking steps to get me back to a normal life. I have an MRI next week to figure out our plan of action.
My lack of mobility (though I try really hard to push through the pain) has been a huge downer for me on top of everything else I was going though. My knee blew out on the same week I dropped out of school (for the second time), almost lost First Boyfriend, ended the job I loved with the school, and turned twenty-six, and while trivial, it all felt like life was a mess. I was scared about gaining weight again (and I put on 20 lbs), I was scared about having surgery booked during a semester in my new school and not being about to move it so I would fail classes or take longer to finish my degree that I already have, and I was scared that “karma” was fucking with me again.
I spiralled into a deep darkness that had a few people (including myself) concerned for my well being. I contemplated hurting myself once, and that was the moment that drove me to seek help again. I started therapy within two weeks of telling my doctor just how bad I was, and I saved my own life again by making that step.
I am so much better now.
I can see things clearer.
I have an appointment with a psychologist who works in the hospital next week through a referral program that my doctor put me though. I am going to get a complete psychological assessment (again), and possibly get another, better, diagnosis.
I will have a stable support network consisting of one therapist for as long as I need her, so I won’t have to tell my story over and over at the start of every school year.
I will be able to seek out some kind of accommodations to assist me in my classes for when I am having a bad day and need to tape my lectures, or when I am writing exams and need to be alone and not distracted by who is finishing their exams first.
I am making steps to get better.
Things are not perfect, and I am becoming more and more okay with that.
Since the beginning of August, I have been able to see things in a happier, more positive light, and I feel like I can now say
“Depression be damned! Life is awesome.”
I am past the point of being addicted to the darkness again, and that is an amazing thing.
I am going to continue moving forward, despite the occasional steps back, and I will be a healthier person.
Before I close out, I just want to say thank you to my followers who contacted me to see how I was doing as my blog posts became less often. You are superstars!
One day, after I am finished this healing journey, I will be stronger, healthier, powerful, courageous, and wonderful.
It’s not like I’m not already all of those things, but they feel trapped deep inside myself. I am working to release them, free myself, and be everything I want to be. I am working my pretty little bum off to get to where I want to be.
I want to change the depression and anxiety.
I want to change the flashbacks.
I want to change the sadness.
These are all parts of who I am, and they make me the person I am. Changing them would change me, so I don’t want to lose them forever. I just want to get to a place where those things are not negatives in my life.
I want to change the negative to the positives.
Happiness is what I’m working towards.