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Tag: queer

Laney Queers

Tabling at Club Rush

This time last year I was on campus feeling very alone. I learned that there wasn’t a queer club before I started and decided that I wanted to make it happen. 

Right before I got on the plane home from YIMBYtown on Tuesday, I got an email from the club advisor saying that the Laney Queers has been officially chartered! 

Bathrooms are going to be in my building on campus very soon, and we’re going to have 4 dedicated all gender bathrooms in trades department buildings by the end of the semester. 

I have a list of almost 50 people on campus who want to be part of building something and making it better. I’m working on bridging the gap in communication between faculty staff and students and when I stop to breathe and look around for a second, I’m really proud of myself.

I honestly don’t know what I’m doing. I’ve never been part of a school club. I don’t know what you can and can’t do with them. I don’t know. I’m just a trans boi who wants to make campus feel less hostile.

Apparently I’m doing something right? 

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Semester 1

Tomorrow I start school at Laney.

 

I took the compass test and will be taking the Technical Math (which is designed for people in any of the trades programs) course instead of arithmetic. I’m also taking Welding, Shop, Spatial Reasoning, Engineering Drawings, and Electricity. I’ll be at school from before 8am until 5 or 7pm Monday-Thursday.

I am the only visibly queer & not male person in my cohort – thus far I’m the only visibly queer person I’ve seen on Laney campus but I feel like that can’t possibly be true. I’m hoping that will change now that school is actually starting. There are no queer clubs on campus (but two christian fundamentalist ones) which has me worried, a bit, to be honest. There is a socialist club on campus though, so maybe there?

The only all gender bathroom on campus that I know of, I found by happenstance on the 3rd floor of Laney tower (where the counseling offices are). But my classes are all…too far away to make that feasible.

I have my work cut out for me, but my instructors are all happy I’m there. My therapist altered her schedule around mine, so my support system is strong at least. First class in the morning is Spatial Reasoning, and then Welding, electricity, and then therapy.

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What I Need From You (When I talk about gender)

It’s pride month, and I have a new comic project in the works and somehow it just felt fitting to write about this. Whenever I tell people (or write) about my gender identity and preferred pronouns I always worry – because I don’t know how people are going to react. It’s scary to…even think about asking someone to change how they refer to you, especially when it goes against everything we’ve been programmed to accept.

When I talk about gender identity- about using hen, or they, as pronouns instead of she/her…the reaction I don’t need is one that goes like this:

“But <your pronoun of choice> doesn’t fit well in english!”

“I could do this if only it fit into the language better”

“you know this doesn’t work grammatically, right?”

“but I can’t deal with using a plural pronoun for a single person!”

“How does that even work in a sentence?”

Even if/when your intentions are completely innocent…having my pronoun choice (and by proxy, my identity) questioned or treated as invalid, just hurts.

I am aware that changing pronouns from the binary involves grammatical reconstruction and a rephrasing of sentences. I know it doesn’t fit into the english language as nicely as we think he & her do. But language evolves constantly.

When I broach the subject and talk about my preferred pronouns, all I really need in a response is something like this:

okay, cool. I’ll try to remember that.

I don’t expect perfection, I’m not going to police your use of my pronouns, I won’t be upset if you call me she/her sometimes (I still use female pronouns for myself more than I want to, because in some environments it’s easier than explaining everything, and sometimes invisibility feels safer) – as long as you accept and respect my identity and don’t try to argue or protest or complain about my word choice to me. 

When in doubt, you can never go wrong by just using my name.

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Spirals

Sometimes, weird – minor, normal, human things happen and they send me into a spiral.

Sunday we tried to un-wax my ears and I’m on day two of stuffy sinus pressure and weird wax extraction cycles that involve a lot of uncomfortableness. According to my primary care doctor, I have the tiniest ear canals they’ve ever seen on an adult, which means my ears get clogged pretty easily, and it builds up and I eventually stop being able to hear as awesome and it’s annoying and getting it out involves pouring one kind or another of liquid in my ear and trying to flush it out and it just sucks.

I remember everything about me is tiny, and I remember that’s a problem. I remember that causes pain, and anxiety, and nothing good. Being cute doesn’t really actually make up for it.

It quickly descends into hating everything about myself, hating everything about having a body because I quickly remember just how foreign my body tends to feel to me.

I feel like people talk about being at one with their body – like they are their body and their body is them and I don’t understand that feeling. I feel like I’m an identity trapped in a fleshy cage that fits awkwardly and mostly gets in the way. I feel like, I don’t and wouldn’t fit in any body, regardless of gender assignment because I don’t feel like I am a gender, and maybe that’s what the problem is. And maybe that’s why little things not working and being painful remind me of it and remind me of how disconnected I feel because I am very strongly not my body, and it’s awkward.

Because when people try to tell me my body isn’t out to get me, or that my body isn’t it’s own entity, I don’t understand, because that’s all I feel, that’s the only relationship I’ve ever had with it. Sentience trapped in a cage, a cage that tends to actively limit my ability to live unrestricted than not.

It’s frustrating, because when people see me they see my body, I’m treated like people with my assigned-female body are treated, I have to work harder and prove myself more because my body is assigned female, I choose not to go places I would otherwise love to because I know how I’ll be treated because of my body.

I can’t just exist in a genderless state, even though that’s where I’m me.

I can usually keep that from getting to me too much by mostly ignoring it and, in my mind, making assigned gender as little of an issue as I possibly can by trying to not focus on it too much (but that’s hard because there are a lot of things, a lot of bad things, that affect or can affect me directly because of my body and I can’t escape that, and I deal with being a disappointment to people because I don’t respond the way someone with my assigned gender and upbringing “should”). I generally try not to bring it up too much in my work, though, I guess it’s not really something that needs to be brought up – like the one most-unhelpful judge in NCFCA when I was 13 said “my voice is too girly”.

Usually I get by okay. I hit F on the boxes because that’s what people have decided to call this body and it doesn’t get to me too much. I do what I can to feel as good about myself/this body as I can, and sometimes the gap between me and my body is less vast and abyss-like than other times, but it feels more like I’m just at terms with my identity not hinging on my anatomy and both of them existing on relatively different planes except for when they crossover and then it sucks (but birth control and antidepressants have fixed a lot of that).

Until, suddenly, I’m reminded that I am physically human, that I do live in a body and not separately from it, and my ears getting clogged will make me grumpy and there is not currently an exchange program to make it better. When I’m really low, when things like this happen, all I can remember is how having this body makes it harder for me to do what I want to do, and even the perks have disadvantages, and even if there were an easy body-swap-shop, swapping wouldn’t fix the problem – I would feel just as trapped if I had to be a man. I’m sure there’s something good about having a body…

hard pressed for determining what though. Pizza?

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