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Things should get better now.

September 6, 2009

I haven’t been posting lately because I’ve been feeling pretty down. School has been awful: my classmates haven’t understood that I need to be called by my new name. This week was the worst — on Wednesday, the very second I stepped foot in the school building, I felt tears of frustration welling in my eyes. I spent the whole day trying not to cry, and since then I’ve constantly felt on the verge of a nervous breakdown.  Even the librarians have learned my (legal) name, so I’ve lost my favorite hiding place. Today was much better, though — it’s only going to school that makes me feel so bad.

But this could be a good thing. I’ve reached a point where going to school feels so bad that something has to give. I know I’m not going to ditch school –the school year finishes in only three months– and I know I’m not going to spontaneously combust. That only leaves one option: my classmates have to start using my new name and pronouns. So, I have to convince them to do that somehow.

I think I’ll need to enlist one of my best friend’s help to achieve this. I hope I haven’t lost her friendship yet — I’m sorry to say I’ve been kind of hostile to everyone recently. Feeling like your identity is being constantly ignored doesn’t help to put a smile on your face. And I hope I can explain my emotions well — I tried to tell her, once, how I felt about my name, and did an awful job. I might have said the opposite of what I really meant — I can be that bad at explaining things out loud. Writing is easier because there’s less pressure and you have a chance to reorganize your ideas. Maybe I should stick to writing letters when it comes to clarifying trans stuff.

This could be a huge chance for learning how to stand up for myself. I could regain some of my old friends. I didn’t lose any friendships because of coming out, but several people simply couldn’t get their names/pronouns right, and I couldn’t bear to be constantly surrounded by people who ignored my identity — so I eventually phased them out of my life. Maybe, if I had clearly stated my position, I could have saved my friends.

All in all, I could get a lot out of this lousy situation. I included a description of my negative feelings in this post because I want to remember how bad it feels to be called by the wrong name. I know that, when the going gets rough, I tend to wonder why I’m transitioning at all — wouldn’t it be easier to be a butch woman? At those times, I need to remember why I started to change my name and pronouns, why it would not be easier to “just be a woman”. If I don’t remember, I might enter a loop where I start transitioning, reach a roadblock, go back to “female”, feel awful, move towards “male”, etc.

Plus, I’ve found some really awesome laws which should protect my gender identity at school. More on that later. I’d like to start posting some actual, thoughtful content again — I’ve sure been thinking a lot.

8 Comments leave one →
  1. September 6, 2009 8:46 pm

    hang in there buddy. i hope things will be looking up soon – keep your head up. i agree with you that this is a great chance to stand up for yourself. i as well had difficultly standing up for myself when i began transitioning – but once i began putting my foot down i understood how important and empowering standing up for oneself is. demand the respect you deserve from others and the respect you show to others. and something to keep in mind is that who is going to stand up for you if you don’t? the way i see it personally is that if i don’t stand up for myself, no one else is, so it is vital that i do. maybe typing out a small paragraph on the importance of proper name and pronoun use would be helpful when you feel tongue-twisted and you can instead hand that out…?

    this quote came to mind: http://www.history.ucsb.edu/faculty/marcuse/projects/niem/niempix/NiemollerQuoteMonmouthNJ580pxw.JPG

  2. September 6, 2009 11:59 pm

    Aw, so sorry to hear that : ( As Luke says, hang in there! You’ll make it through and someday you’ll look back at this and see that it made you a stronger person. I know it doesn’t make it any easier now though. Hopefully, there is no actualy bullying going on.

  3. gunk permalink
    September 7, 2009 6:13 am

    oh matey. i feel for you. i do not have particularly fond memories of high school; it can be such a difficult place to be, and i think everyone’s really struggling for a sense of identity, and feeling frustrated and alone. it’s awesome that you’ve decided to be strong and be more pro-active about getting people to use your preferred name and pronouns. that’s a really big thing, and you should feel proud of yourself! it sounds like you’re starting to see a way out of the current hole you’re in, which is really great. i’ll be sending you lots of solidarity and awesomeness and strength.
    take care of yourself.

  4. genderkid permalink*
    September 7, 2009 4:09 pm

    Thanks for the support, guys. And Luke, typing up a trans-101 handout is a great idea! I’ll do that if I find the courage.

  5. September 8, 2009 10:09 pm

    Hey man, I’m sorry it’s been rough for you. I’m glad you’ve been able to find some positive out of the situation.

  6. September 9, 2009 8:13 am

    Thank you for sharing this troubling story. It is an honor you trust us who follow your blog with this narrative. I will try to send positive energy your way as good thoughts and good energy from those who care is always necessary in times like these. I do hope it gets better. The rest of this post is going to be in Spanish, if you don’t mind, because I am trying to figure out with whom to speak because it’s been raised in other conversations–has averiguado cuales pronombres se puede usar en espanol para alguien que ni se identifica como mujer u hombre? hay alguien que trate ese tema en blogging o en teoria porque no he encontrado nada…

    • genderkid permalink*
      September 9, 2009 3:36 pm

      I haven’t found any non-binary pronouns in Spanish, except maybe “el/la” (similar to “s/he”). However, there is a discussion on gender-neutral word endings. I think @ is used around the world (latin@s) as a way to avoid using masculine endings as a norm. Around here –I don’t know about other countries– there have been suggestions for non-binary symbols we could use instead of @: e, x, * (contentxs, enojades, atlétic*s). I’ve been following this conversation through a magazine called “Soy”. Here are a couple of articles:
      @x* Todos los nombres, ¿o todes?
      Tomá la “o”, dame una “e”

      You mentioned having conversations about this; by any chance, have they happened on blogs/websites?

      Thank you for reading.

  7. SociologicalMe permalink
    September 15, 2009 12:45 pm

    Have you seen this?

    http://katebornstein.typepad.com/kate_bornsteins_blog/2008/06/healing-time-ne.html

    At the bottom of the entry, Kate posted a cartoon she drew up to explain trans issues to doctors and nurses. It’s really clever and apparently did a great job of putting people at ease. I don’t know how artistic you are, but it could actually be fun.

    Also, if you’re up for a little unasked-for advice… you might want to try reconnecting with the friends you phased out. Ask them for a chance to try explaining again, if you’re stronger now and can handle the discomfort. I know if I was one of them I’d appreciate the chance to try again.

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