kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
it's just about exactly a decade since I started binding. As of about six months ago -- counting the post-surgical binder -- I stopped, again, for good. It's lovely.
kaberett: A drawing of a black woman holding her right hand, minus a ring finger, in front of her face. "Oh, that. I cut it  off." (molly - cut it off)
A few years back, CN Lester gave a talk at the University of Oxford on trans histories,[0] containing the first reading from their excellent book Trans Like Me.[1][2]

During that talk, as you'll see if you watch it, they demonstrated the technique of assuming good faith almost ad absurdum -- well past the point at which any reasonable person might conclude that their interlocutor was hostile or indeed malicious, they maintain openness and curiosity and inquiry.

Since then I have taken a number of Very Deep Calming Breaths and done a bunch more learning about effective ways to engage in Debate should one wish, out of a sense of pragmatism, to Change Hearts And Minds, and this is one of the best tools I have.

I dither, still, over whether I'm comfortable describing something I'm consciously weaponising as "good faith"; over whether it still counts as "engaging in good faith" if I'm really very sure that the other party is in fact prejudiced, or bigoted, or wrong; if in fact the "show of good faith" is not about being open to having my mind changed, but about it being the most effective way to change theirs. Over and over I'm coming down on the side of "yes, more or less", because if nothing else I'm keeping hold of the idea that people might, that people can, change; that people are not condemned to be for ever their worst selves. I dither, but this is where I land.

And sometimes, just occasionally, the result is incremental change. At the moment -- in a general climate of the most 2018 thing I've heard in at least a week or so -- incremental change is what I'm hanging onto. So: here we are.

[0] Content notes for the introductory speech containing misgendering (emphatically corrected by the audience), trans history including 1930s Berlin, and cis audience members asking... questions.

[1] Interestingly reviewed by DRMaciver and subsequently referenced in a discussion of queer life as combat epistemology; relatedly, I've set up [syndicated profile] drmaciver_feed.

[2] I recently saw an analogy for gendered experience of self and proprioceptive sense of body that was new to me but which feels very compelling: how do you know if you're left- or right-handed? What happens when you try to use the "wrong" hand?
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
[Content notes: UK politics, disability, gender]

Read more... )


[Content notes: state violence, policing, incarceration, white person discovers racism]

Read more... )


I've had time to read because I am fairly emphatically Taking This Week Off in the Peaks, after three frustrating days on the mass spec last week (resulting in 0 usable data). I am fairly shortly setting off to spend the afternoon at Biddulph Grange Garden; I found it by looking through National Trust properties within striking distance of the cottage we're staying in, and then realised it was ringing a faint bell. I eventually recalled that [personal profile] nanila had been singing its praises remarkably recently, and thus the decision was made.

I have also been playing some more board games; less than I expected but more than zero, with the big obvious progress being that when Our Host expressed doubt over whether I'd get on okay with Avalon I checked in with A, and then pushed to play it anyway. (My side lost! But I did well at my role.) The less-obvious progress is that I'm reaching the point where I'm not spending new-to-me games mostly focussed on managing my anxiety, and consequently am beginning to very tentatively build a model of why People In General enjoy board games. In particular, I'm tentatively beginning to see how people might enjoy them in a way that isn't centred on self-aggrandisement and competitiveness; instead, I think I am beginning to understand the use of games as combination social vehicle and, mmm, experiments in collaboration and problem-solving and exploration: collectively enjoying investigating How This Works, and How It's Different, in a similar fashion to talking about what Interesting And New things a given book is doing.

I'm not certain about this yet! But it still feels like progress to be moving from "panic" to "tentative modelling", and I suspect that once I'm secure enough in my modelling I'll be able to start working out whether I enjoy the games.
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
So I considered attempting to do this in a way that ~laid my soul bare~ and was deeply personal and assumed good faith and tried to Achieve A Rapprochement or whatever, but actually, no, I can't quite believe this is a thing I have to say:

If you want to hang out cheerfully and happily with TERFs or "gender-critical feminists" or whatever the fuck you want to call them this week, I cannot cheerfully coexist socially with you.

It is really very simple.

I don't care how polite you're being about implying or outright stating that I'm deluded or lying or dangerous or, somehow, being disrespectful to nice "normal" people.

It's okay for you to go "I don't get it, can I ask you more questions?" It's better for you to go "I don't get it, but I don't need to" (see also: I fundamentally do not have any intuition for or gut-level belief in angular momentum but that doesn't mean it isn't real).

I am actively not okay with sharing social space with people who are willing to extend infinite sympathy and compassion and ~understanding~ to folk who are loud and vocal and proud about wanting me to not exist, without even doing me the courtesy of admitting that these people they are so friendly with are deliberately setting out to harm me.

Just... no.
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Here's the actual consultation on reforming the GRA.

Facebook-based resource #1. Facebook resource #2, which links onward to a key-points summary. The detailed response of someone I know. (To be clear, I haven't actually read any of these in detail yet -- I just want to consolidate links.)

ETA GenderBen provides an overview

I categorically do not have the cope to think about actually responding to this properly, yet, For Some Reason That Inexplicably Escapes Me, but:

Would it be helpful for me to host a response-writing session? My usual attitude to overcatering, solidarity, etc. (I'd pretty much definitely find it useful, but I'll cope better with organising it if there's other expressions of interest.)


Jun. 5th, 2018 10:38 am
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
1. Singular they is well-attested, as we know, but I find myself wondering whether the appearance of they with the singular verb form in modern low-prestige grammars ("they was doing...") is part of what drives the prescriptivist sneering, consciously or otherwise.

2. I sincerely hope that today's Strong Female Protagonist is going to get narratively called out for the bullshit it is. I do pretty much trust the creators so my hopes are high, but I am bracing.

3. Body positivity: I keep on being frustrated by mainstream presentation & understanding of it as "ISN'T YOUR BODY GREAT DON'T YOU LOVE IT :D" where "love" means "have unambiguously solely positive feelings about", and I keep wanting to wade in to conversations about same with "okay but this is a ~MISCONCEPTION~ it's actually about COMPASSION and KINDNESS and UNDERSTANDING THAT IT'S DOING ITS BEST and d'you know what all the studies show this actually really helps" but I recognise that wouldn't actually be useful, so, you know, you all get a grumble here instead.

4. How To Tell If You "Need" A Mobility Aid: if, in spite of all the structural and systemic and social barriers, using one (part-time! full-time! whatever!) makes your life easier and more pleasant, you need it. That's genuinely it.

5. I swung by the local cheap gym the other day to scope out their level access or absence thereof; as I was giving up, the person at reception who'd seen me wander past and then back out came out and asked if they could help me. Oh yeah, they said, we can do that, let me just come and open the side door -- obviously we'd need to get a ramp but this is how you'd get in. And, you know, I can't get into reception with level access, but the way it's set up I'd be passing reception at eye-height with whoever's on front desk so could get their attention pretty easily. Anyway, I then e-mailed to say "recently post-op, would like to join up with my partner once I'm cleared to return to exercise BUT I'd need level access as discussed last week, here's some eBay links to examples of the types of ramp you could get"... and a few days later got the response "we've just placed the order, should be arriving in the next few days, please sign up whenever!" So that was vastly easier and more positive than I expected.

6. I appear to want to do more reading about thinking about anger, as an emotion, as it's experienced in my social context and consensus reality. For me it's basically always an expression of being scared, and if I can work out why it usually redirects into a different emotional experience; I'm curious about how other people experience it, so here's a placeholder note about that.
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
So this afternoon I phoned up to pay for some theatre tickets I'd previously reserved pending actually joining the theatre-in-question's access scheme (feminist... witches... modern dance... at Sadler's Wells, suggested by a friend who works there, we're going on Friday), and the staff member was all "... what is this Em Ex, I have never heard of it before, should it be Ms? or Mr?"

Whereupon I, naturally wishing to avoid this conversation, responded something to the tune of "no, Mx is correct" and breezed on to the next bit. My interlocutor, however, was not to be deterred, and a little while later revisited the theme of "I've never heard of it before!"

At this point I was, unsurprisingly, Bracing For A Fight, but I am also (albeit inconsistently) attempting to apply the maxim of Assume Good Faith mostly for the sake of watching people flounder around in being apparently misunderstood. So: I launched into "well, you know how Ms is for people who don't want to say whether they're married or not?"

"Yes!" said my interlocutor, "that's what I always put down."

"Well," I said, "Mx is like that, but for if you're even more, you know, and you don't want to say..."

"— there's a TITLE FOR THAT?"

"... yeah, the NHS and a bunch of banks and a bunch of charities use i--"


"... ye-e-es, of course you can...?"


(I paraphrase slightly -- somewhere in there I made the joke about "you know, if you don't want to join the military or become a priest" -- but this is very much the sense of the thing.)
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
1. Mr Men In London (press release); official merch; Londonist.

2. The Tube is dropping "ladies and gentlemen" as a passenger greeting.

Ergo: 3. Who do I gotta hassle to make e.g. "Mx Cool" and "Little Mx Stubborn" etc happen?
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Prompted by having received an utterly anodyne response from the party that completely ignored all of the actual issues I raised.

So, with content notes for transmisogyny and transmisogynist violence, here's the very brief summary of why -- regardless of party leadership's opinion on that matter -- that poster is Not Okay. (Yes, I have explained this in painstaking detail in reply to the e-mail from the party.)

Read more... )
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Tomorrow lunchtime (I know this is late notice sorryyyyy if it helps any I haven't really done my other prep yet either) I have the opportunity to provide a high-profile medical school with advice on how to make their OBS&GYNAE teaching more inclusive of and welcoming to trans patients.

I think I've got the factory-default uterus setup pretty well covered, but I want to make sure that I am representing (as best I can) trans people who *don't* have that set of factory-default anatomy, and their/your concerns about accessing gynaecological health care.

If you would be willing to drop me a line about your thoughts, in comments here or in private message or in e-mail, I would be super grateful. <3
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
(content note for mention of misgendering with a happy ending!)

Popped in today to talk about additional paperwork for academia purposes. He's perfectly cheerful about writing a letter to the effect that I'm well enough to resume studies, but the amount of physio/medical appointments/etc I have to do isn't compatible with working full-time.

We also got chatting about sports wheelchairs and The New Chair (I've just booked train tickets to go and pick it up and I am so excited) -- I get the impression he's a cyclist, and therefore goes oooOOOOOooh when you point out you've got Spinergy wheels on, and that wheelchair wheels are basically the same thing as high-end bike wheels.

And while he was distracted by all that, he referred to me using an inappropriately gendered pronoun in the notes he was making, caught himself, apologised appropriately, and rephrased entirely without input from me.

I genuinely hadn't even noticed that he'd spent the past however-long-it's-been carefully making sure that he doesn't misgender me in my medical records.

I am doing a small good cry about it, okay.
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
I've put together a petition requesting that government bodies include a non-specific gender-neutral honorific such as Mx in all preset lists of titles. I'll be very grateful if you sign & signal-boost.

The very short explanation is that I think it's ridiculous to have a list that includes "Wing Commander" but not "Mx" (as is the case when using the fill-in-on-a-computer version of the ESA application form).

The slightly longer version is that applying for benefits etc ends up with me being misgendered a lot, which is rather uncomfortable, and last week ended up with me being addressed by my grandmother's name (I am not Mrs B. My mother is not Mrs B. That's... very much my deceased grandmother, thanks.) On top of that, a lot of places -- including banks -- make the (completely spurious) claim that they can't offer Mx as a title because HMRC doesn't: if the government can be persuaded to set an example, a whole lot of other institutions and organisations are suddenly going to have to fall into line.

(Last week I realised, slightly to my astonishment, that I hadn't seen this done; and a trawl of petitions.parliament.uk didn't show anything up. So here we are.)
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Just about all of you have pointed me at Translating Gender: Ancillary Justice in Five Languages, for which I am grateful! But having told [personal profile] jedusaur I'd liked it give or take disagreeing with a couple of the approaches taken, I completely failed to actually elaborate on what those points of disagreement were.

Read more... )
kaberett: A green origami stegosaurus (origami stegosaurus)
Caffeine: still, as it turns out, a bad idea. Probably. (Semi-accidentally had caffeine yesterday evening; was up ridiculously late in quiet tears about largely-disconnected-from-reality anxieties.)

I have just received an unambiguously helpful response from the Yellow Card folk, on two counts: first, they've added Mx as a title and updated my report to use it; and second, they've asked me for some more details and have passed on my specific query ("can you look into whether this side effect is associated with weird lung shit to do with connective tissue disorders as well as COPD, because that was an unpleasant surprise") to the scientific assessment team, who will apparently be getting in touch with me sometime in the next fortnight. So: huh.

Rivers of London: really enjoyed book one, was seriously hacked off with the gratuitous cissexism in book two, am still mildly grumpy halfway through book three -- but I am still reading, so.

Here is an essay: On Conflicting Emotional Needs In Relationships.

Here is a recipe I haven't yet tried: mulled wine plum crumble.
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
(Cis friends, by all means ask me questions to clarify, but maybe consider sitting out of actually having an opinion in comments on this one. Anon comments are permitted but will be screened; I expect to unscreen unless otherwise requested.)

Read more... )
kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)
Two clinicians at CHX GIC have approved me for top surgery, no-hormones, in spite of everything that's physically wrong with me, even though I have been absolutely clear and explicit and unflinching about being genderqueer and having retained my given names as forenames despite their being gendered and my mental illnesses and autism.

If I'd been definite about which surgeon I wanted to see I think they might actually have referred me today, after my second appointment. As it is I get to go away and think about it, and let them know where to send me after my third appointment.
kaberett: Blue-and-red welly boots on muddy ground. (boots)
Item the first: insofar as context permits I reject gendering of clothing and presentation, helped in large part by being extended-family-of-a-sort to [tumblr.com profile] stammsternenstaub, who are pretty much never-endingly fabulous.

Item the second: context, unfortunately, is often not terribly permissive. (In the land outside this social scene/the streets are filled with the gender police/I guess the streets are no place for kings and queens...)

Item the third: up until I was about sixteen I thought I gave no shits about clothing qua style (as opposed to practical considerations) and mostly used it to hide in, as disguise and camouflage (at which I was not very good). Between sixteen and eighteen I got one of the best compliments I've ever had, presentation-wise, from a school friend: there's masculine, and there's feminine, and then there's you, and it's kind of disturbing when you cross over into either. Aged 18 I started binding regularly, and also began developing what has (slightly to my horror and definitely to my confusion) morphed into An Aesthetic, or possibly a set of styles.

Read more... )
kaberett: a patch of sunlight on the carpet, shaped like a slightly wonky heart (light hearted)
First Charing Cross appointment survived as of Wednesday lunchtime! Barrett did an excellent job of walking the line of the non-actionable; he was determined to tell me lots of incredibly irrelevant anecdotes about his time working with youth offenders, but fundamentally I treated him like an incompetent and irritating supervisor who considered me incompetent and irritating, and this worked well. (Case in point: I successfully rendered him temporarily speechless by telling him very politely that naturally I understood that he had to take a conservative approach...)

Outcomes: I now ~understand~ that ~gender neutrality~ is like ~anarchism~ in that it is inherently unstable and will inevitably collapse into one of democracy or dictatorship (YOU'RE WELCOME); I note that "people find it too difficult to present as gender neutral in ~~~real life~~~" is not in point of fact an argument that gender-neutral identities don't exist, and you position yourself uniquely to believe that in fact they do not; "but what if in a decade's time you don't feel comfortable taking your shirt off on a beach!!!" is not in fact an argument against giving me top surgery now; etc etc. Not dreadful, nothing I couldn't cope with, and next time I possibly get to see Lorimer.

My mental health has improved markedly since starting the vitD, which is extremely pleasant. I am so, so much better; it's a great relief - I'm back down to PHQ-9 score of 8 (from 18 when we tested my bloods). (8 is operating-within-normal-parameters for me -- I am scoring quite highly on the fatigue questions because I've had a long lab stint, and have been in work every day yes-including-weekends since sometime early last week.)

The rest of the ten good things! )


kaberett: Trans symbol with Swiss Army knife tools at other positions around the central circle. (Default)

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