Tuesday, December 26, 2006

The Truth About Matts and Dogmas

"I like your Christ, I do not like your Christians. Your Christians are so unlike your Christ." -Mahatma Gandhi

Disclaimer: It is not my place to convince anyone that their religion is wrong. If your faith is shaky, I'd prefer you didn't read this. Nor do I want you to read this if you're going to retaliate by trying to convert me to your religion/denomination/cult/wireless plan. I was raised Christian, I've read the Good Book from cover to cover, I've studied it in countless Bible classes, and I've attended service in at least five different churches. And in my experience, I usually know more scripture than most of the Christians who try to convert me.

If there is a god, then I thank him very much for my existence. Which is pretty appreciative, I'd say, considering how much time I spend wishing I'd never been born. I consider myself agnostic, which means that I try to keep an open mind, and I don't rule anything out. Considering how much humans have learned about the universe just in my lifetime alone, it would be complete idiocy to rule out anything at this point, including the concept of a supreme being.

But I can't believe in a god whose doctrines would advocate cruelty for my fellow human beings, or one who would condemn people to eternal pain just because of the way they were born. I can't believe in a god who would sculpt something as artistic and beautiful as the human body, and then tell us it's a sin to see it. I can't believe in a god who would tell his followers, "don't think for yourselves, just read my book and follow it word-for-word, because after all, thinking too much gives you wrinkles." And I flat-out refuse to consider a god whose average followers are as mind-bogglingly stupid as the ones I see here in the Bible Belt.

It's not that I require proof of God's existence. I understand that believing in God is a test of faith. However, there's dozens of religions/sects/denomination/etc that say the same thing: "You have to take us on faith." What, do I just throw a dart and pick one at random? "Take it on faith" is a cop-out, pure and simple. It's a way of saying, "We've got nothing to go on but the beliefs of people who lived 2000 years ago, and articles that were written before science had been discovered. But... but... but... that's our proof! Since our religion is based on faith, then the fact that there's no proof is proof in itself! In fact, God took away all the proof on purpose, just so he could find out who really believes in Him! Yeah, that's the ticket!"

Christianity is full of cop-outs like that. Like if someone finds a contradiction in the Bible, the nearest Christian will point out that "even the Devil can quote scripture, and will do so in an attempt to trap you." Which is cop-out-ese for, "If you find any damning mistakes in our doctrine, it must be because the Devil was making you think too much." How can you argue with that?

It's funny, with so much rationalization going on, that more Christians can't accept the idea of evolution. The two theories go right together; if anything, evolution supports the Christian bible. Both beliefs present fairly similar ideas about the order in which animals started to appear on Earth, etc. If creationists would just get past the whole "7 days" thing, and rationalize that each "day" was several million years long, and most importantly THINK, there might be fewer picket lines at our high schools.

From my POV, I really don't see any compelling difference between the Christian Bible and Greek mythology. Both use fanciful speculation to close the gaps that were waiting to be filled by science. You'd start with a mystery, like "what's the deal with that big yellow ball in the sky?" People would scratch their heads and shrug, then some egotistical Cliff Claven type would stand up and say, "Well, there's this guy named Apollo who likes to fly around in a flaming chariot..." Or he might just say, "Well, God said 'Let there be light', and then He separated light from darkness." Either way, he was just talking out of his ass, because it made him feel smarter.

In my opinion, Christians would have a lot more credibility if they would actually read their Bible, and follow it as a whole. As opposed to what they really do, which is pick out their favorite verses, misinterpret the rest, and plow their way through life doing whatever they were going to do anyway, their natural hatreds now reinforced by divine approval. Because that's how religion works - it doesn't change beliefs, it strengthens beliefs people already have, and grants assertiveness to people who really don't need to be assertive.

Why do so many people focus on certain verses? For instance, if your Bible tells you that homosexuality is a sin, then fine, believe it. But why center on it? With such a long list of sins in the Bible, many of which are committed by everyone, including you, every day, why should you single out gay people as being evil sinners, when you're just as much of an evil sinner yourself? "Let he among you who is without sin..." yada yada yada. Even if I was mentally-stunted enough to believe that homosexuality is a choice, it's not like they're actually engaging in homosexual intercourse 24 hours a day. To flat out hate them, you're condemning them for their state of being, not for their individual sins.

The Bible may or may not actually condemn the act of homosexuality (I'll save that debate for some other time), but I swear to you, sinners or not, nowhere does the Bible instruct you to HATE these people (or anyone, really). And if your copy does, then I implore you to find a new copy, a new religion, and a new brain. Possibly a new planet as well - with attitudes gradually improving, it won't be too long before homophobic rednecks are such a minority, they'll be afraid to open their mouths for fear of being beaten to death by purses. It'll be a good day.

So.....

In the interests of keeping the peace between the religious and the not-so-much-religious, to bridge the gap between different denominations (split because people found two ways to interpret a vaguely-written verse), to help the "it's-easier-to-do-whatever-my-preacher-says-than-to-think-for-myself" people get along with the "God-likes-people-who-can-think-for-themselves" crowd, and possibly to save the planet itself from total destruction, I have decided it's time to start my own religion.

Introducing... (drum roll please)...

>>> The First Church of DOYC <<<

The name "Church of Bob" was already taken, believe it or not. Anyway, for those unfamiliar with internet lingo, "DOYC" stands for "Deity Of Your Choice". In my church, you will be allowed to worship any god (or gods) you wish, or even none at all. Our sermons will preach about nice things people can do for each other. We will include inspirational stories from all sources, including the Bible, as well as the bibles of other major religions. Think of it as more like a "comparative religion" course, combined with an ethics class.

For the first few years, worship service is going to be sort of abstract. Meaning we won't actually meet, we'll just all stay home and visualize going to church. If we make enough money from our imaginary collection plates, we'll start visualizing a much larger church. Obviously the concept of "tithing" is going to be a little different in this respect. If (and only if) you can afford to give away 10% (or any amount) of your earnings, then let's just skip the middle man. Give your donation straight to charity. Preferably something to do with education. After all, what good does it do society for me to spend your donations on more comfortable pews?

Our Ten Commandments:

1. Thou Shalt Not mix religion with politics.
Morality and legality are both important entities, but should be kept seperate. Save the government for important things like murder and property theft. Things that hurt you. There's no reason to call the police because you're offended by someone else's favorite TV show. If you're so sure your neighbor's being immoral, then trust your god to handle that one in the afterlife. If you don't think your god can take care of a little matter like that, then why do you go to the trouble of believing in him? He is the "supreme being" after all. In fact, your god is probably highly offended that you think so little of him. "Hey, 911? I was peeking into my neighbor's window with a telescope, and I noticed that he's masturbating to an issue of Cat Fancy. I find this highly offensive, and I think he should be punished, but my god has a small penis and just isn't powerful enough to send this guy to Hell later. Can you send an officer over to arrest him, so I'll feel like justice has been done?"

2. Thou Shalt Not push your religious views onto other people.
If they don't want to hear it, don't make them. People will be more likely to follow your example if you're not actively trying to piss them off. Why in the world would I want to join your church, when everyone in it is obviously such an annoying prick?

3. Thou Shalt Not use religion as an excuse to hate people or groups of people.
Religion is just a more active version of philosophy, and the nature of philosophy is to question your beliefs from time to time. Philosophical disagreements are an invitation to think, not a reason to hate. Some people have a tendency to reach a certain age, and decide that they now know everything. Then when they're presented with something that challenges their set beliefs, they immediately go on the offensive.

4. Thou Shalt seek peaceful solutions to your disagreements.
If someone slaps you, turn the other cheek... then sue them. But don't get yourself in a fight just because you're afraid of looking like a sissy. For the love of DOYC, you're just going to make matters worse. What do you think's going to be solved? After a fight, the two guys still don't respect each other, only now they both have broken bones. All they did was give in to their emotions... the same thing these "macho" men constantly accuse women of doing, and try to use as "proof" that men are superior. Bottom line: People who get into fist fights are pussies.

5. Thou Shalt Not be a fuddy duddy.
I can't tell you how many times I've seen one person tell a slightly off-color joke, and then watched the nearest Christian try not to laugh. "Oh, I can't find that funny, or God'll get me." Dude, if it tickled your funny-bone, the damage has been done. Laughing isn't going to make it any worse. Have fun with life, for DOYC's sake. What fun is heaven going to be if everyone there has sticks up their asses? But this really goes back to my previous blog on "offensensitivity". If you're so easily offended that every casual conversation leaves you fuming, then you're no fun to be around. And if your friends and co-workers don't want to be around you, what makes you think God will?

6. Honor Thy Father and Mother, but not to the point where you forget they're human.
So many people pick the religion their parents worshipped. Of course, if they'd been born in the house across the street, they'd worship a different god, and would still be claiming that proof didn't matter, because they have faith. In fact, people base lots of their beliefs on that of their parents, under the assumption that they're older and wiser. Which is forgetting that their parents' beliefs are based the beliefs of their grandparents, the same grandparents who still buy them Garfield underwear for Christmas and call them by their dog's name. It amazes me how many other beliefs - not just religion - start out as, "because that's how my parents did it." Do you realize that if everyone thought this way throughout history, we still wouldn't have electricity?

And that's the type of rationalization that really makes Baby Doyc cry - everyone believes themselves to be the perfect human being, and therefore the way they were raised must be the perfect way to raise a child. I can't tell you how many times I've heard someone say, "I support child beatings. My daddy beat me every day growing up, whether I'd done anything or not." ...and I'll reply, "Yeah, but you're an asshole. I don't want my kids to grow up to be assholes." It's particularly hard growing up in areas where racism is considered acceptable. I had several friends growing up who were decent, smart kids, but whose parents were trying their damnedest to raise their children racist. Some of my visits didn't feel so much like "play dates" as they did "damage control".

7. Thou Shalt Have No Other Blogs Before Me.
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9. Thou Shalt Not Notice I Skipped #8.
I only have so much time on my hands. What, you think I get paid to make up commandments all day?

10. Thou Shalt not be an asshole.
This is just in case I missed anything. Basically, don't kill, steal, rape, molest, punch, kick, torture, vandalize, or incinerate anyone or anything that oughtn't be killed, stolen, raped, molested, punched, kicked, tortured, vandalized, or incinerated. Heck, most of the original Bible's laws could have been summed up as "don't be an asshole".

For your reference, here's a handy Good-to-Evil chart. Note that "well-meaning" Christians fall two notches below average citizens.

GOOD
God, Jesus, DOYC - Good-aligned deities, whether fictional or real.
Ghandi-types, Heroes, Martyrs - People who risk their lives for the sake of others.
Good Samaritans - People who donate to charities, help the downtrodden, etc, whether they do it for religious reasons or not.
Average citizens - Athiests, Agnostics, and Religious people who don't rub your face in it.
Petty Criminals - Those who would steal property, but wouldn't want to hurt other people.
"Well-meaning" Christians - Those who feel that homosexuality is evil, "immoral" should be illegal, nudity is disgusting, etc.
Hitler-types, Serial Killers, Sociopaths - People who cause pain on purpose, or have no qualms about taking human lives.
Satan, Anti-DOYC - Evil-aligned deities, whether fictional or real.
EVIL

Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Offensensitivity

I believe there is a direct correlation between how intelligent a person is, and how difficult it is to offend them. To put it bluntly: Stupid people are easily offended. I like this theory, mostly because it makes me look smart.

Often, people who are being offended are actually displaying cultural intolerances. For example: Bill grows up in the small town of Duck Nostril, Tennessee. Jill grows up in Squidlips, Utah. In Squidlips, the word "flurfle" means "to roll a ball". In Duck Nostril, "flurfle" is a vulgarity that means "to copulate". The two meet, and Jill uses the word in casual conversation. Bill is shocked and outraged. Jill realizes her mistake, and decides not to use the word in his presence again. But it's too late, Bill has already filed a suit for sexual harrassment.

A more realistic scenario: In Bill's hometown, the word "girl" is used interchangeably with "woman". There is no disrespect meant by the term. Children are "boys and girls", and adults are "guys and girls". Jill, however, feels that the word "girl" diminishes her, and is used by men to treat women like children. And in many cases she's right, but even so, Bill has the highest respect for Jill as well as all women. He simply thinks that "girls" are females of any age; that's simply what the word means to him. If Jill decides to correct him, that's fine. But if she is offended right away, then she is refusing to see other cultural variations of language.

I was at a restaurant one time with my stepmother. Our waitress kept calling me "Honey" and "Sweetie". After the waitress was gone, my stepmother asked me, "Doesn't that bother you? Don't you find it disrespectful?" I replied, "No, I'm not insane." I understand why some people would be offended by that sort of thing... I guess... but so what? This woman obviously meant the words as compliments, so why should I take them as anything else? The waitress must have grown up in an area where that was considered acceptable and complimentary. My stepmother obviously did not. And I was raised in some third place, possibly an alternate universe, where children are taught to consider the context more than the actual words.

But my stepmother is also very religious. That has little to do with the conversation above, but there does seem to be a connection there. Over-religious people are more easily offended than sane people. And having rejected science, over-religious people also seem to be a bit less intelligent. Okay, I'm overgeneralizing. Believe it or not, I have no problems with religion in and of itself. That's why I say "over-religious" - these are the people who not only worship a higher power, but also insist that everyone else do the same. These are the ones who go to church twice a week, listen to their pastor read Bible stories about loving your fellow man, then somehow turn that message into "why gay people should be killed."

But they're not the only ones. Everyone has thick skin these days, hence "Political Correctness". Thanks to PC, I have no idea how to describe someone. Like, "differently abled" - when something is bad, people don't like to talk directly about it, so they dance around the issue. So the more syllables a description has, the worse the condition sounds. That's one reason I don't like terms like "people of color" and "african american"... it makes it sound like there's something wrong with being black.

Question: in the "flurfle" scenario, did the genders sound reversed to you? You sexist pig :)

So, what offends me? Censorship. Sexism. Racism. People who put their own preferences above that of all others. People who burn books. People who think all TV shows/movies/books/video games should be wiped clean of anything they consider offensive, just in case a child should happen to watch one of them. People who think that this country should be ruled by religion. People who are offended by the nude human body (to clarify: it's okay if you don't particularly want to see nudity, or don't want kids to see it, or find certain bodies a "turn-off", but being "offended" by non-sexual nudity is unnatural and mentally unhealthy, IMO). But the bottom line is, what offends me most is people who are easily offended.

The difference between what is offensive, and what should be offensive, lies in the heart of the offender. Often the people who try to say something diplomatically, do so because the subject matter is offensive in itself. If you ever find yourself saying something like, "I'm not racist, but..." ...don't even bother finishing the sentence; you're about to say something racist. Heck, once in college, I overheard someone say, "I ain't racist or nuthin', but I just think all those n*****s should go back where they came from!"

Some other examples I hear a lot:
"I'm not racist, but I just don't think whites should marry blacks."
"I'm no homophobe, but I don't think they should show two men kissing on TV."
"I've got nothing against fags, as long as they stay away from me."
"I'm not sexist, but I think a woman's place is in the home."

So in cases like that, I'm offended. But I'm not offended by what was said; I'm offended by what was felt. Words are just words; it takes an entire idiot to offend my sensibilities. If you disagree - if you've said one of the above examples and feel totally justified by it - feel free to post, I'd love to discuss it further.

Wednesday, November 8, 2006

Transgenderamblings

Note: This blog entry was moved from another site, and a lot of the formatting didn't quite follow.

Why is gender is an issue at all?

Why let gender define me?
Why not just be "Matthew",
And do whatever feels good at the time?
Can one be "somewhat transgendered"?
And if so
Is it the "best of both worlds"?
Or the worst?


Some "normal" people will tell me that
at any given moment,
That's not a universal truth. they don't feel particularly male or female.
Many people relish their gender.
There's millions of manly men,
and gaggles of girly girls. are probably better off.
but those who don't care as much
I don't know which is the majority



Wearing pink doesn't
Being bored by Basketball make
Playing with dolls you
Not caring for cars transgendered

...but this isn't a mystery to be solved.

Mountains of evidence, or nary a clue, it's all the same.
It's my SENSE OF SELF that matters.



Sense of

Sense of sight
Sense of hearing tells me
Sense of touch tells me that isn't me in the mirror.
Sense of taste tells me that's not my voice I hear.
Sense of smell tells me my hands should be softer.
Sense of balance tells me I like fruity drinks, not beer.
Sense of time tells me I sweat like a brute.
selftells me I was born to walk in heels.
tells meI've been robbed of my youth.
who I am, what I am, how I feel.
My mind
spins
unravels
swirls undecided decisions
with unexpressed feelings conflicts of interest.
The thoughts
the wants
the needs
change with the tides.
If I stop to think about it,
I am once again, inconsolable.
And so
I stay busy
and try not to think.
I avoid pondering
what could be
and I am calmed
for another month.

? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?
? ? ? When Where ? ? ?
? What will am Why ?
Who Am it I me? How
Am I? get going did
I better? with this
really? this? happen?
Can I learn to
live with this?
Can I get
used to it?
Do I have
to feel
this way?
I've lived
with it
this long,
there's no
reason I
can't go w
w another w h
w h 33 years h e h
h a like this. e r o
o t Except that n e w
why why It gets harder why why why why
why why Every year. And I why why why why
why why just don't know if why why why why
why why I can take much why why why
why why more. why why why why why why
why why why why why why why why why why

Everyone is created I have never been so ashamed of this country.
equal. We are endowed We tell the world that we are all about
with unalienable rights freedom. Freedom of speech, freedom of the
including life, liberty press, even the freedom to wear plaid pants
and the pursuit of with polka dot shirts. And though it took a
happiness. Assuming you long while, we eventually extended the basic
are a "good Christian." rights - those involving working, voting and
so on, to minorities and women, thus giving every adult American an
equal opportunity to make their dreams come true. So what happened?
Why do we let religion dictate our laws? Why do we show preference
to Christianity, when this country was founded on religious freedom?
Why can't laws stick to property and safety, and allow citizens to
decide for themselves what is or isn't "moral"? Equal rights? Not.


There is no point to this blog;
I'm just playing with the pretty colors.
When I'm done here I'll just log
off and then go eat some Krullers.

why, Why, WHY?

The Bigots Have Spoken

So, "No. 1" has passed. 1,382,671 to 334,641. 81% to 19%. This means that the vast majority of Tennesseans are bigots. Not only that, but a lot of states had their own version of "No. 1" this election, and most of them (from what I've seen so far) voted down gay marriage as well. So most of America is bigoted.

To recap: "No. 1" was not about the legalization of gay marriage. Had it lost, nothing would have changed; same-sex marriage would still be illegal in Tennessee. What "No. 1" did was make it not just a law, but a TN constitutional amendment. In other words, those who voted for No 1 not only want same-sex marriage illegal, but want it to stay illegal even when their grandchildren are in power.

Generally speaking, I don't let political matters interfere with my friendships. Usually, I don't care what my friends believe. They can be any religion, they can have whatever opinions they like on abortion, capital punishment, flag burning, or whatever. Diversity makes friendships interesting. It invites fun debates.
And I do like to argue, just ask my wife.

But - and this is highly unusual for me - I feel too strongly about this one to just let it go. So listen up: If you voted against same-sex marriage in this election, feel free to remove yourself from my Friend List. As all of you know, I'm transgendered. I'm also attracted to women. Though I have no plans at the moment, it is conceivable that someday I will have the surgery, and will be 100% female. Therefore it is remotely possible that someday I will be part of a lesbian relationship.

By voting Yes on "No. 1", you are basically saying that I shouldn't have the same rights as you. You are treating me like a second class citizen. Would you have voted on an amendment that prevented blacks from marrying? Jews? Left-handed people? So why is my minority any different?

Would you also like to take away my right to vote? My right to own property? What else would you like to take away from me? Bottom line is, if you don't believe in same-sex marriage, then you don't believe in my basic human rights. How can I possibly be friends with someone who feels that way?

So that's my ultimatum. While I always try to see both sides of an issue, on this one I simply can't. There is simply no way I can tolerate an opinion that takes my rights away. So if you truly don't think I should have the same rights as you, don't bother speaking to me again.

Now begone, and sin no more.

Sunday, November 5, 2006

My Parrot Ate My Watch and Now "Polly Ticks"

Warning: Psychotic Political Rambling Ahead

I'm sick of seeing the word "Liberal" used as an insult. There's a commercial on TV right now where the announcer says something like, "Bob Corker doesn't share the liberal views of his opponents." The announcer spits out the word "liberal" as if it were a stinkbug stuck in her teeth. By her tone of voice, there's no doubt that she believes word "liberal" means "drug-addicted puppy-kicking child-molestor", and the commercial also assumes that the viewer feels the same way.

There's an old saying, often misattributed to Winston Churchill, "Show me a young conservative and I'll show you someone without a heart. Show me an old liberal and I'll show you someone without a brain." I fall somewhere in between, as most real people probably do. Very few people are so polarized in their beliefs that they're 100% "Left" or "Right", and the few freaks who are usually end up being radio talk show hosts or mass murderers. But I probably lean a little more towards Liberal than Conservative, and apparently that puts me in the minority.

And speaking of Bob Corker, there's another commercial out right now, that for me achieves exactly the opposite of what it intends. No, it's not the racist one, where it plays African jungle drums in the background when his opponent Harld Ford is mentioned. No, in this one, the announcer goes to great lengths to explain why Corker is a more loyal Tennessean than his opponent. According to the spot, while Corker's opponents were out and about in Washington learning how to be better politicians, Corker was rotting here in Tennessee. ...And it tries to USE that as a reason to vote for him! I've heard of Tennessee Pride, but I can't believe people here are so proud of this state that they want all their politicians to be 100% Tennesseans who never set a foot outside this state. Why not just phrase the ad, "Bob Corker is a true Tennessean: that is, an uneducated redneck hick." Honestly, if Southerners were smart enough to realize how dumb they are, they'd import their politicians from all over the northern half of this country. I can't believe there's so many "Vote for Corker" signs on my street. Wait, yes I can, this is the South. We reward stupidity here.

Okay, I'll admit it, I'm a bit biased. I was born in Tennessee, and I've been a Southerner all my life. But I've really never connected with the place, and if it's ever convenient, I'll probably move farther north. The downside is that I'll go from always being the smartest person in the room, to always being the dumbest.

Well, I can't vote this election anyway. I registered too late. Actually, I registered on time, but the people I registered with turned the cards in too late. A few weeks ago I was in Centennial Park with some friends, during some sort of art fair. I saw a couple of people walking around with a clipboard, wearing T-shirts with the "Vote No on 1" logo.

Note - For you non-Tennesseans, "No. 1" is a proposed amendment to Tennessee's constitution, intended to forever take away the right for same-sex couples to marry. Same-sex marriage is already illegal in Tenneessee, so if "No. 1" loses, nothing will change. Which also makes "No. 1" a bit pointless. However, if it passes, it will make it much harder legalize same-sex marriage in the future. Basically, the point of "No. 1" is to insure that future generations are just as bigoted as this one. Personally, I can't understand why anyone is against same-sex marriage. If you're not gay, then the law doesn't affect you. Either you should be for it, or just not care one way or the other. How does other people's relationships hurt yours? If you don't like it, then don't marry someone of your sex. But telling other people what to do just makes you an asshole.

But back to my story. Since I'm a big fan of "Vote No on 1", I approached them and asked if they had a petition I could sign. No, they told me, they were registering people to vote. Well, I've never voted before. *gasp!* The fact is, I've never felt strongly enough about any particular issue, to make voting worth my time. KJ would say it's because I'm a Libra, but on many issues, I'm a lot more "middle-of-the-road" than most people. And to be fair, I'm somewhat divided on the same-sex marriage issue as well... Yes, I think gay people should have the same rights as straight people, but sometimes I wonder why the government recognizes marriage at all, when it's considered by many to be a religious union. But I am definitely against this "No. 1" amendment. It's made specifically written to keep gays from having the same rights as straights.

But, uh, back to my story. Again. The "Vote No on 1" people told me that it was the last day I could register to vote. It was like fate - I happened to be in Centennial Park (which is pretty rare), and I happened to run into these people on the day it mattered. So I filled out a registration card, and gave it to them. A few weeks later, I went to an early voting center, and found out that my registration hadn't gone through. Apparently my card was turned in late. I asked if there was anything I could do, and was told to register earlier next year. Gee, thanks.

Needless to say, I was annoyed. It's not just that I wasn't able to vote, I'm looking at the bigger picture. Was my registration card alone? Probably not. And since it was the "Vote No on 1" people collecting these cards, then that means that all the lost votes would have been from people who agreed with me. This issue has been running pretty close in the polls I've seen, what if it only loses by a handful of votes?

There is a bright side, sort of. When I was filling out the registration card, the "Vote No on 1" people mentioned that they hadn't been having much luck that day. So maybe it wasn't that many lost votes after all.

I really can't see why this issue is cutting so close. When I first started hearing about "No. 1", I was pleased to discover that some of my neighbors had "Vote No on 1" signs in their yard. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I saw my first "Vote Yes on 1 (Protect Marriage!)" sign, in front of a house on my street. A couple of days later, the next house had a similar sign. And a couple of days after that, their next neighbor had one of those signs. It was kind of creepy, like a virus that was spreading.

I firmly believe that everyone has a right to free speech. I shouldn't be angry with these people for their personal beliefs. But I seriously want to knock on one of their doors and ask, "Why, why WHY? How does it hurt you? Why can't you just let other people be? Why must you go out of your way to tell everyone that you're a bigot? You wouldn't put up a sign supporting the KKK, so why is it okay to tell people you hate homosexuals?"

...And they're likely to reply that homosexuality is "immoral". Okay, I could argue with them on that one for weeks, but it's beside the point. Even if it homosexuality was a question of morality, what does that have to do with the law? If laws were meant to be based on popular morality, then it would be illegal to curse, drink, have unmarried sex, lie, or write this blog. And everyone's ideas of morality are different. Should we arbitrarily pick somebody and go by their morals? No. There is a huge difference between immoral and illegal, or at least there should be. Laws should be limited to things like property and personal injury. People should not be allowed to harm or steal from other people. Beyond that, let them do what they want.

I'm a huge believer in the seperation of church and state, and it always surprises me when I find people who believe otherwise. As I mentioned in a previous blog, would God rather have followers who worship from their hearts, or followers who never had a choice? But I do know some people who would like this country to be a total Christian nation, and who want to make anything not approved by the Bible to be made illegal. Yikes.

Anyway, lest I lose any more cohesion, I'm going to close with an oldie but goodie. You've probably seen this one before, but for those who haven't:


10 Reasons Why Gay Marriage is Wrong

01) Being gay is not natural. Real Americans always reject unnatural things like eyeglasses, polyester, and air conditioning.

02) Gay marriage will encourage people to be gay, in the same way that hanging around tall people will make you tall.

03) Legalizing gay marriage will open the door to all kinds of crazy behavior. People may even wish to marry their pets because a dog has legal standing and can sign a marriage contract.

04) Straight marriage has been around a long time and hasn't changed at all; women are still property, blacks still can't marry whites, and divorce is still illegal.

05) Straight marriage will be less meaningful if gay marriage were allowed; the sanctity of Britany Spears' 55-hour just-for-fun marriage would be destroyed.

06) Straight marriages are valid because they produce children. Gay couples, infertile couples, and old people shouldn't be allowed to marry because our orphanages aren't full yet, and the world needs more children.

07) Obviously gay parents will raise gay children, since straight parents only raise straight children.

08) Gay marriage is not supported by religion. In a theocracy like ours, the values of one religion are imposed on the entire country. That's why we have only one religion in America.

09) Children can never succeed without a male and a female role model at home. That's why we as a society expressly forbid single parents to raise children.

10) Gay marriage will change the foundation of society; we could never adapt to new social norms. Just like we haven't adapted to cars, the service-sector economy, or longer life spans.

Forward this if you believe love makes a marriage!

Monday, October 30, 2006

This'll get me beaten up for sure...

I got this in my inbox at work the other day... Listen, I love America. I really do. But the idea that this country is the BEST IN THE WORLD, the Golden Land Of Opportunity That Can Do No Wrong, the Epitome of Perfection in every way... that attitude is both egotistical and lazy. Egotistical because US citizens think they're better than everyone else, simply because they had the random luck of being born within these borders. Lazy because they use the "perfect status quo" to prevent progress, using the argument of "traditionalism" to mask their fear of change and the work that would go with it. Uber-Patriots, seriously, do I HAVE to hate all other countries in order to love America?

Anyway, first is the original text, then is excerpts with my rebuttals.

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Original E-Mail:

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I am sorry but after hearing they want to sing the National Anthem in Spanish - enough is enough. No where did they sing it in Italian, Japanese, Polish, Irish (Celtic), German, Portuguese, Greek, French, or any other language because of immigration. It was written by Francis Scott Key and should be sung word for word the way it was written. The news broadcasts even gave the translation -- not even close. Sorry if this offends anyone but this is MY COUNTRY - IF IT IS YOUR COUNTRY SPEAK UP ---- please pass this along~

I am not against immigration -- just come through like everyone else. Get a sponsor; have a place to lay your head; have a job; pay your taxes, live by the rules AND LEARN THE LANGUAGE as all other immigrants have in the past -- and GOD BLESS AMERICA !

PART OF THE PROBLEM

Think about this: If you don't want to forward this for fear of offending someone-----YOU'RE PART OF THE PROBLEM !!!!

Will we still be the Country of choice and still be America if we continue to make the changes forced on us by the people from other countries that came to live in America because it is the Country of Choice??????

Think about it!

All we have to say is, when will they do something about MY RIGHTS? We've gone so far the other way, bent over backwards to not offend anyone, ! that I am now being offended. But it seems that no one has a problem with that. This says it all! This is an editorial written by an American citizen, published in a Tampa newspaper. He did quite a job; didn't he? Read on, please!

IMMIGRANTS, NOT AMERICANS, MUST ADAPT.

I am tired of this nation worrying about whether we are offending some individual or their culture. Since the terrorist attacks on Sept. 11, we have experienced a surge in patriotism by the majority of Americans. However...... the dust from the attacks had barely settled when the "politically correct! " crowd began complaining about the possibility that our patriotism was offending others.

I am not against immigration, nor do I hold a grudge against anyone who is seeking a better life by coming to America . Our population is almost entirely made up of descendants of immigrants. However, there are a few things that those who have recently come to our country, and apparently some born here, need to understand. This idea of America being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity.

As Americans.....we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom.

We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Greek, Polish, Italian, French, or any other language. Therefore, if you wish to become part of our society, learn the language!

"In God We Trust" is our national motto. This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women.......on Christian principles............ founded this nation..... and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home.........because God is part of our culture.

If Stars and Stripes offend you, or you don't like Uncle Sam, then you should seriously consider a move to another part of this planet. We are happy with our culture and have no desire to change, and we really don't care how you did things where you came from. This is OUR COUNTRY, our land, and our lifestyle. Our First Amendment gives every citizen the right to express his opinion and we will allow you every opportunity to do so! But once you are done complaining....... whining...... and griping.......about our flag......our pledge......our national motto.......or our way of life...I highly encourage you to take advantage of one other Great American Freedom....

THE RIGHT TO LEAVE.

It is Time for America to Speak up If you agree -- pass this along; if you don't agree -- delete it!

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And My Rebuttals:

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"I am sorry but after hearing they want to sing the National Anthem in Spanish - enough is enough. No where did they sing it in Italian, Japanese, Polish, Irish (Celtic), German, Portuguese, Greek, French, or any other language because of immigration."

So... you want people from other countries acting more like what you consider "Real" Americans... but you don't want them singing the National Anthem. Interesting. Don't you get it? They WANT to sing the National Anthem. Instead of sneaking across our borders laying low, they want to actively participate in our patriotism. It's a step in the direction you've been wanting for a long time. What's next? You don't want them displaying American Flags? You don't want them saying the Pledge of Allegiance? So what if they say it in Spanish, it's the meaning that counts.

"The news broadcasts even gave the translation -- not even close."

Probably not. The original lyrics wouldn't mean as much to them. They faced their own challenges in order to find a home in the Land of the Free, and it is a victory they should celebrate in a way that applies to them.

"It was written by Francis Scott Key and should be sung word for word the way it was written."

Not that it's not a beautiful tune, but... Okay, a couple of centuries ago, a POW writes a nice little poem about a flag. Then he sets it to the tune of... a British drinking song? Is this how we assert our independence? Regardless, Key was not the reincarnation of Jesus, and his word is not sacred. People respect the Star Spangled Banner not because of the lyrics or the tune, but because of what the song represents. Let's face it, if the song were written today, it would not rise to the top of the charts. But people hear the song, and they are reminded of evertything that is good about this country. They remember the people who fought and died for the freedoms we enjoy, and are moved with deep respect for all those who made America possible. The song itself could just as well be "Oops, I Did It Again", it's what the song represents that's important.

"Sorry if this offends anyone but this is MY COUNTRY"

I'd like to see a deed, please.


"AND LEARN THE LANGUAGE as all other immigrants have in the past"

ALL other immigrants have learned English in the past? Really? All of them? Seriously?

"Think about this: If you don't want to forward this for fear of offending someone-----YOU'RE PART OF THE PROBLEM !!!!"

Actually, the only problem I see is people taking patriotism so far that they become racist.

"Will we still be the Country of choice and still be America if we continue to make the changes forced on us by the people from other countries that came to live in America because it is the Country of Choice??????"

Even more so.

"Think about it!"

I am, but you aren't, and there in lies the problem.

"This idea of America being a multicultural community has served only to dilute our sovereignty and our national identity."

This idea of America being a multicultrual community IS our national identity. We're the "Great American Melting Pot", remember?


"As Americans.....we have our own culture, our own society, our own language and our own lifestyle. This culture has been developed over centuries of struggles, trials, and victories by millions of men and women who have sought freedom."

And like all cultures, it continues to change and adapt over time. Those who refuse to evolve will be left behind, to wallow in their antiquated ideals.


"We speak ENGLISH, not Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Greek, Polish, Italian, French, or any other language."

No, YOU speak English, not Spanish, Portuguese, Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, Russian, Greek, Polish, Italian, French, or any other language. It is more difficult for a Spanish speaker to learn English than it is for an English-speaking person to learn Spanish. But at least many of the immigrants TRY to learn English. And while we're on the subject, this country's original language was not English, but various Native American languages. Tell you what, we'll make them learn English if you promise to learn Apache.

" "In God We Trust" is our national motto. This is not some Christian, right wing, political slogan. We adopted this motto because Christian men and women.......on Christian principles............ founded this nation..... and this is clearly documented. It is certainly appropriate to display it on the walls of our schools. If God offends you, then I suggest you consider another part of the world as your new home.........because God is part of our culture."

Do you honestly think this honors God? To put his name on money, the root of all evil? To force his religion on America's citizens, causing them to attend church without question, never to experience the personal epiphany that comes with discovering Christ? Religion must be a personal choice, giving your soul up to your diety. Do you honestly think God wants follwers who were forced to follow Him, rather than those who came to Him willingly? Brainwashing people into your religion does not create true followers. These people end up following Christians, not following Christ.

And let us not forget that America was founded on the idea of religious freedom. This means ANY religion. If you want to argue that America was founded by Christians, fine, but you also have to realize that what passed for Christianity at the time was VERY different than the religion as it stands today. Shall we go back to treating women as property? What other regressions should we make in the name of God?

"Our First Amendment gives every citizen the right to express his opinion and we will allow you every opportunity to do so! But once you are done complaining....... whining...... and griping.......about our flag......our pledge......our national motto.......or our way of life...I highly encourage you to take advantage of one other Great American Freedom.... THE RIGHT TO LEAVE."

You first. One of the great thing about America is that everyone has different opinions. What makes you think that people who don't agree with your opinions should leave? Should we really let our stupidest citizens make all the decisions? (On the other hand, that would explain the last couple of elections...)

But is this the American attitude now? What was once, "If you don't like a law, you can lobby to change it," has been reduced to, "If you don't like it, leave." That's not a democracy, it's a dictatorship. I'm sorry, but if you're a true American, then it is not only your right, but your DUTY to challenge unfair laws. Has everyone forgotten this? Remember that this country was founded by REBELS who fought against the established order, who wanted the freedom to change whatever laws they didn't like.

"It is Time for America to Speak up If you agree -- pass this along; if you don't agree -- delete it!"

Oh, that's mature. You're so unsure of your own beliefs that you won't even allow them to be challenged. Not, "if you don't agree, let's debate it", just "delete it". Nice to know that your entire belief system is a house of cards, fearing every strong gust of wind.

Thursday, July 20, 2006

Regarding my Transgenderism

For the most part, I'm out of the closet now. So you may commence talking about me behind my back; you won't be giving away any secrets. For any of you who don't know, I'm transgendered. To recap:

I have been in therapy for well over a year, to help me deal with several issues, most significantly gender dysphoria. This is the same as being "a woman trapped in a man's body" (though generally I don't care for that term).

I am not gay, but I strongly identify with the opposite sex, and I strongly wish I was a woman. I have known this on some level all of my life, but I suppressed these feelings because I didn't know what they meant. I had always assumed that the desire to be female was part of being gay, and I knew I wasn't attracted to men. It just a few years ago that I found out that a lot of transsexuals are straight (at least before the operation), and with that discovery came a floodgate of realizations about myself.

So what does this do to my marriage? We're not sure yet. We have discussed this subject at great length, usually until both of us are in tears. We love each other very much, and we never want to be apart. But she doesn't want to be married to a woman, or even a man who perceives himself to be a woman. And while I can't bear the thought of losing her, I also can't go through life pretending to be something I'm not.

I can see myself as female, and I can accept myself as gender-neutral, but I simply can not see myself as male. Perhaps if I can come to terms with these feelings, and learn to be happy with myself the way I am in a gender-neutral way, then I won't have to pursue this any further.

Tuesday, July 18, 2006

Had a Letter Printed in KODT

Nothing big here...

I have a subscription to Knights of the Dinner Table, but I don't actually read it every month. Since I like it mostly for the strips, I don't bother until I have several issues to read in a row, so it lasts longer. The strip is generally an ongoing story, and reading a single issue by itself just doesn't go anywhere.

So typically, I'll let the issues stack up somewhere for a few months, then take them with me on a long car trip or something. Which is what we did yesterday - we took an overnight trip to Evansville, Indiana. KJ got to go gambling, and this morning we went to a really nice zoo. The Mesker Park Zoo, to be exact. It's a great place; I highly recommend it. It's part park, part zoo, and it lets you get a lot closer to the animals than most zoos I've been to.

Anyway, back to KODT... So here it is, mid-July, and I just now notice that they printed a letter of mine in the march issue. I made a KODT reference in my Itropa mod, and I couldn't resist sending them a pic. From Knights of the Dinner Table, Issue 113 (March '06), page 8:




Here's a better view of the picture I sent them:

Monday, July 17, 2006

Some TG-Related News Articles

Woman's Gender Change Shocks The Man She Dated
A Dear Abby column. It shows how little people understand transgenderism. If she has a woman's mind, and she now has a body to match, she's a woman. I understand why it creeped the guy out. A sex change is something that's hard for some people to wrap their minds around. What I just don't get is why he got so mad about it. It would be one thing if she was still pre-op, but she is a woman now, by nearly every definition.

Trans Candidate Takes Aim At Political Barriers
I hope this is a sign of things to come. I'm not much of a voter - I've just never seen a candidate who I really thought shared my beliefs. Most elections seem to involve two stick-in-the-mud idiots. For instance, I'm very much against censorship. Last presidential election I paid attention to, both candidates were in favor of censoring the internet more heavily. I'm a big believer in the seperation of church and state, but every candidate I see wants to improve the "moral climate" of America. And so on. At least with this woman, I know we share some opinions. Too bad I don't live in her district.

Transgender Child to Enter Florida School
This one bothered me a little. While I applaud the progressive attitude, I do worry about making decisions so early. A lot of trans children don't really feel "wrong" until they hit puberty. While many others feel it much younger, there's just so much sexual ambiguity in everyone before their hormones kick in, that I'd hate them to make these kind of decisions too early. Still, the child has been examined by the experts, so if they're sure, then more power to them.

Transgender Firefighter's Discrimination Claims Valid
Same $#!T, different day/job/minority/etc. Yet another person discriminated against for things they can't really control. Believe me, nobody wants to be a tranny. If it were a choice, we all would have simply been born the gender we were meant to be. Having people hate you, thinking you're evil, is just adding insult to injury. Many of us hate ourselves more than enough already, we don't need help, thank you.

Monday, July 10, 2006

It's Written All Over My Face

Right now, I've got a cute little webtoy on my page, that lets you draw on a picture of my face. Of course you've probably seen it, but I described it anyway because I might have to take it down soon, if this becomes a problem. Okay, so over the weekend, I changed my profile photo from a "Matt" pic to a "Christine" pic. Not even 24 hours later, someone had written "FAG" in big letters across my face.

Now, the opinion of a bigot does not bother me. Heck, he doesn't even know the difference between transgenderism and sexual orientation. I'm not a "fag", I'm a "tranny". If you're going to insult me, at least be accurate.

Besides, it's going to get so much worse than this. Everyone I've told about my gender issues has been so supportive; it's almost disappointing. (Note, I said, "almost"). Heck, most people I've told weren't even surprised. ("What do you mean, you already knew? I didn't even know! When were you going to tell me?") I am extremely lucky that this is the first negative feedback I've had to tolerate. But let's face it, sooner or later I'll be the target of insults, scorn, mocking, and probably even rocks. I'm going to have to develop a thick skin eventually.

Really, I'm kind of proud of the insult... it's like being initiated into some sort of club. Now that I've been insulted, I'm a "true tranny." In a strange way, it validates my existence.

However, there is one thing that really bothers me. The simple fact that someone out there hates me. Even though we've never met, and I've never done anything to him, he just hates me for who I am. Okay, okay, that's nothing new. People hate other people all the time for stupid reasons. There are people who hate certain races, religions, countries, etc. If you have a pulse, there's someone who hates you. But still, this is more personal. It's one thing to say that you dislike left-handed Hungarian ice skaters, but it's quite another to actually send a note to one.

And it's not like I want everyone in the world to like me. Heck, I'd rather most people not know I exist. To some extent, I even respect people who think I'm a sinner. I can't understand their beliefs for the life of me, but at least they're following some sort of moral code, and sticking to it. But I don't like being the direct target of hate. Hating a group is one thing... it's easier to hate groups because you don't see them as individual people. That's almost instinctual - "birds of a feather" and all that. But I'm not condoning racism, I'm just saying I understand why people (especially the dumber ones) are so prone to it. But singling me out personally, I just don't get. Yes, I know I'm reading a lot into three letters.

I'm not actually afraid, though... Yes, I know people like me have it tough. I know they can get into some pretty bad situations. Anyone who's seen that recent Lifetime Movie ("A Girl Like Me") or even "Boys Don't Cry" (pretty much the same story, but reversed), both of which are based on true events, knows that I could be killed just for being myself. But you know what? That just doesn't really frighten me. Considering the amount of time I spend contemplating suicide anyway, why should I be afraid of someone beating me to it? I'd rather die as a young woman, than as an old man.

Wait, wait, don't go calling the police or anything. Let me expand on what I meant by "contemplating suicide". I promise you, I'm not suicidal. Some of the pills I'm taking for depression/social anxiety do have "thoughts of suicide" listed as a side effect, a fact which I find hilariously ironic. But as my psychiatrist explained to me, I might think about suicide more often, but I'm much less likely to actually do it. The point is, I'm not trying to find ways to kill myself, but I'm not currently afraid of death. I'm much more afraid of "not living" than I am of dying.

Friday, July 7, 2006

MySpace and the Art of Knowing Who Your Friends Are

This is not directed at anyone in particular, nor is it only referring to the "bye" post that's been going around... but that was what sparked it, so I'll repost it here, in case you want to know what I'm talking about:

For those who are on my friend list...I totally have to agree with all of you who say people are getting fake In here. So I gave in and let's see who really reposts this. This is a test to see who's paying attention. It serves to eliminate people who are desperately trying to add "friends" like its a popularity contest in High School. This is a test to see how many people in my friends list actually pay attention to me. Copy and repost in your own bulletin. Lets see who the true friends are and I think I know who you are.. Repost this if you are a friend.. if you don't, you get deleted.. Don't reply... just copy and paste this in a new bulletin as "Bye Myspace

Okay, first observation. Saying people are getting fake in MySpace is like saying that all the professionalism has gone out of midget bowling. MySpace isn't supposed to be deep, it's just a fun way of sharing a piece of yourself with the rest of the world. Also, not everyone reads the board... I'd hate to be knocked off a friend's list just because I don't use every little feature of MySpace.

But more importantly, I hate this post because it puts the viewer in an awkward position, presenting them with a sort of logic puzzle. If you follow the instructions, and repost it as-is, then you are obligated to remove the friends who don't do the same. If you ignore the post completely, the person who originally posted it might remove you as a friend. Look how carefully it's phrased. "Don't reply... just copy and paste..." That way you won't add anything to let people know you don't mean it. With people afraid not to repost it, the post spreads like a virus.

Not everyone views MySpace the same way. Some want to have as many friends as possible, so they can share their posts with lots of people with similar interests. Others want only to list people they know personally. There are advantages to both. But the "bye" post forces people with both views to treat their friends lists the same way. This is unfair. In effect, the original poster is saying, "I don't want anything but true friends on my friends list, and I also don't want any of my friends to have oversized friends lists either."

But it's not just the "bye" post... I see lots of unrelated posts by people saying they're going to be trimming their friend lists. Let me say one thing plainly to everyone: Nobody cares how you organize your friends list. Listen, kiddos, you don't need a "bye" post or anything similar to know who your friends are. If you want someone off your list, remove them. I've seen at least one person basically say, "I don't know if my MySpace friends are really paying attention to me, I'm going to remove the ones who don't love me enough." If you don't know who your friends really are, then maybe the problem lies with you.

I realize this is whole blog is an oxymoron. I make a big long post about not telling people how to organize their friends lists, when in effect I'm trying to tell you what to do myself. But organizing your friends list is a personal thing, and it doesn't need to be broadcast to the world.

Monday, April 17, 2006

"Men Have It Easier"

I received this in the e-mail today, I've received similar ones before, but it's still cute...

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Men Are Just Happier People-- What do you expect from such simple creatures? Your last name stays put. The garage is all yours. Wedding plans take care of themselves. Chocolate is just another snack.

You can be President. You can never be pregnant. You can wear a white T-shirt to a water park. You can wear NO shirt to a water park. Car mechanics may tell you the truth. The world is your urinal. You never have to drive to another gas station restroom because this one is just too icky.

You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt. Wrinkles and gray hair add character. Wedding dress $5000. Tux rental-$100.

People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them. The occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected, as is the fart. New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet. One mood all the time. Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat. You know stuff about tanks.

A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase, sometimes none! You can open all your own jars. You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness. If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend. Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack. Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.

You almost never have strap problems in public. You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes. Everything on your face stays its original color. The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades. You only have to shave your face and neck. You can play with toys all your life.

Your belly usually hides your big hips. One wallet and one pair of shoes one color for all seasons. You can wear shorts no matter how your legs look. You can "do" your nails with a pocket knife. You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache. You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives on December 24th in 25 minutes.

No wonder men are happier. Send this to the women who can handle it and to the men who will enjoy reading it.

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Heh, the Monty Python song, "Isn't it Awfully Nice to Have a Penis" keeps going through my head.

Yes, it's just humor, but it does bring up some valid questions. In the past, when I've mentioned wanting to be female, I've been accused of thinking that women have it easier. Some people say, "You just want to be female because you want to stay home from work and have a man provide for you." On the other end of the spectrum, some ask, "Why would you want to be a woman? Man have it so much easier!"

You know what? I do believe women have harder lives than men. I do believe they have fewer advantages. I believe that women aren't respected enough by men, and I believe that women are often treated as if they were children. I believe that a woman has to work twice as hard as a man to achieve the same status. And I don't believe any man in his right mind would want to change sexes just to make life easier.

Whatever you are right now: If you were in some spiritual waiting room, with a completely gender-neutral mind, waiting to be born, and you had the choice... you'd probably pick male. Assuming you'd done your research.

But all that's beside the point. I don't have a gender-neutral mind, I have a female mind. And it's pure torture to be in here. It's like putting the brain of a squirrel in the body of a dog... its instincts would keep telling it to climb trees and forage for nuts, but its body wouldn't be able to comply. It would probably go crazy.

But that's how I feel. I know it's odd to wish for a harder life, but I have to be me. I've spent 30-odd years (some of them VERY odd years) trying to get comfortable in my skin, and it's just not working.

Anyhoo... a little update... I told my brother about my gender issues, and he was very supportive. My mother is next.

Monday, April 10, 2006

Depression and Family

Things are getting out of hand with my family. They know I'm seeing a psychiatrist for depression, but they don't know why I'm depressed. So now, whenever there's bad news, they send it to my wife first so she can break it to me. She's getting tired of it; especially since our relationship is a bit strained as it is.

The latest bad news is regarding my Grandfather. He has been diagnosed with cancer, and he's decided not to fight it this time (he already survived it once). He is quite old, and he doesn't see the point in drawing things out. Of course I'm saddened by the news, but I also agree with him. My family was probably hoping I would side with them, and try to talk him into fighting the disease. But if I were in his shoes, I would do the same thing.

I also recently found out that my mother-in-law knows about my gender issues. My wife needed someone to confide in; I can't blame her for that. I've seen my MIL since, and she hasn't said anything or treated me differently. This is somewhat surprising, since my MIL is extremely religious. She hates homosexuals with a passion, and while I'm not gay, I'm pretty sure she would put me in the same category. I'm fairly certain that she hasn't told my father-in-law or my brother-in-law, because neither one has tried to kill me yet.

Of course I don't think homosexuality is a sin, but even if I did, I feel that transsexuals are in a different category. To me, trangenderism is more like a birth defect. So hopefully, if my MIL does bring this up, I'll be well-armed enough intellectually to make her understand and accept my issues. I wish I could get her to accept homosexuals as well, but that would be a miracle.

Friday, March 3, 2006

Laser Hair Removal - First Session

Yesterday I had my first laser hair removal session. It's the first of five, so I'm not expecting a huge difference yet.

Note, even though I preface this one with "TG", remember that I'm getting it for a lot of other reasons too. To recap (from an earlier post):

I've always wanted my facial hair gone. The only thing I hate worse than shaving my face, is having a beard. And I always have 5 o'clock shadow, even immediately after I shave. And my skin is so sensitive, that I always cut myself no matter how good the razor. I've tried electric razors, but they just don't shave close enough. The point is, the appointment has nothing to do with my transgender issues. At least, that's what I keep telling myself.

So anyway, if you're wondering what laser hair removal is like, here ya go. After filling out some paperwork, they led me to a room where I had to put some numbing medicine on my face. Then they stuck some plastic wrap on my face, until it looked like I had a clear plastic beard.

After that, I sat in a room for an hour, so that the medicine would have time to completely soak in and start working. The plastic wrap was to keep the medicine from evaporating. Then they led me into the laser room, which looked like a typical doctor's examination room. The laser device itself wasn't very obtrusive, it looked like a standard piece of medical equipment. No giant laser gun like you'd see in a James Bond movie. (In case you were wondering.)

The nurse put little plastic goggles over my eyes, like you'd wear at a tanning bed. She gave me a test jolt to show me what it felt like. It wasn't bad, it was like being pricked by several pins at once. Then she started going over my face, one jolt at a time. Each jolt, she said, covered an area about the size of a dime, so it took a little while. While jolting, I was simultaneously being blasted by very cold air, which helped with the pain.

Some areas, of course, were much more sensitive than others. The worst was the moustache, particularly directly under the nose. That felt pretty much the same as using tweezers to pluck out nose hairs, and it made my eyes water. Other painful areas were the jawline, and the adam's apple. But some areas I didn't even feel at all.

Afterwards, she had me put some lotion on my face to make it feel better, and sent me on my way so I could get my next appointment scheduled. The entire visit took about two hours. I had the option of taking some of the numbing creme home with me, so I could put it on myself one hour before the next visit. But I don't feel like driving there with saran wrap on my face, so I'm going to keep waiting until I get there to put it on.

Afterwards, my face felt sore, and was a little swollen. It still feels sore when I touch it. I have some red splotches on my neck, that are gradually fading. I have a list of rules in front of me that I need to follow. For one thing, I'm not allowed to shave today.

Also, I'm supposed to avoid the sun as much as possible for the next 14 days, and really I'm not supposed to tan at all during the treatment. With five sessions, six weeks apart, we're talking about the entire summer. But I've never been much for beaches and outdoor stuff anyway.

Anyway, my next appointment is in mid-April. The bad part is that I might be taking a trip to Florida the week before. I'll have to make sure I wear strong sunblock the entire time.

Overall, I'm very glad I'm doing this instead of electrolysis. Even if it turns out not to be permanent, and some of it grows back, the eventual electrolysis should be much easier.

Monday, February 27, 2006

And the Poodoo Hits the Fan

I believe it's over. After two years of going back and forth between "I want to live as a woman", and "I want to stay with KJ", it's finally coming to a head. I hate to say it, but I think our marriage is over. And our friendship looks a little iffy too.

I have seriously screwed her over, and I don't know what to do about it. She has no real friends right now, and no prospects for another relationship. She has a skin condition that makes her feel less attractive, and other medical conditions that require my insurance. She has a stress condition that prevents her from working full time hours. We don't make enough money for her to get her own place. Which is fine with me, I have no problem supporting her for as long as she needs. But I don't know if we can live together as friends, when she can't stand the sight of me. She doesn't even have any family she can stay with.

But that's the way it's been since the problem began. My biggest reason for trying to stay male has always been, "KJ needs me". And on some level, I've known for quite a while that whatever I decided, only one of us would be happy. I just can't make a decision that I know will destroy KJ's life. Which it will on so many levels. However, I don't consider it a "decision", but a resignation. This vicious cycle is going to eat at us both until we deal with it.

But after the talk we had this morning, I don't think there's any going back to the way we were. Which might be a good thing in the long run, but it sure is painful now.

I honestly have no idea what to do next. Neither of us really have anyone to talk to. Sure, I have several online friends, and some boards where I can vent, but it's not the same as speaking to someone face-to-face. Even my next therapy session isn't for three weeks. But as bad as I feel for myself, I feel twice as bad for KJ, who's the real victim here.

Why doesn't life come with an instruction manual? And why can't we return it when we discover it's defective?

-Update-

Back to Normal?
I may have been hasty in my last post. Things are gradually returning to normal between me and KJ, and I'm back to "I want to stay with KJ." It's nice to be comfortable again, but the whole thing is just a vicious cycle. Am I going to obsess about this forever? Maybe it would be better if we just split; then I could figure out my gender issues without outside temptations. Meaning, if I choose to stay male, I would know that I'm doing it because I really am male at heart, as opposed to doing it just to stay with KJ. Of course, if that happened, I don't know how I'd live with myself.

Friday, February 24, 2006

She Says / Memories

She says: "Up until two years ago, when your father died, you never had a female thought. You never wanted to be female, you never thought about it. Now, all you want is to live a different life, since you can't cope with this one. So you picked a life that is as different from this one as possible."

That is the bottom line of her POV, and she can't get past it. She believes that my mind has invented false memories just to support my current decision. I don't know how to react to this.

On the one hand, I have the natural desire to prove her wrong. On the other hand, I have to consider all possibilities, even if I think they're crazy. The memories aren't made up; I could probably even dig up witnesses. The real question (to me) is whether these memories are actually significant, or just the type of things that all little boys go through. And besides, you could pick and choose anyone's memories and use them to prove anything you want, maybe I'm only remembering what I want in order to prove my point.

Otoh, I don't know if my past is important at all, since the important part is how I feel now. To me the proof that I'm transgendered is the simple fact that, while I've spent a lifetime trying to find my identity, the thought of being a woman is the only fantasy that has ever given me real joy. I can think of nothing else I want more out of life. I simply can not imagine living the rest of my life as a male. Even if I'm wrong, I'm going to obsess about it until I know for sure.

But still, my past does help explain my present. So I'm going to sort through some of my memories, and organize them here. I'll probably going to keep adding to this list as I think of things. I dwell a lot on the fact that I played female characters during playtime. Personally I think that it fulfilled the same emotional needs that most transsexuals achieve through cross-dressing.


> I have several memories of my mother telling me not to hold my hands in certain ways, or sit certain ways, etc, because it made me look effeminate. Of course, lots of little boys act effeminate. But to me, the behaviours my mother tried to prevent seemed exceptionally natural.

> Video games. My favorite video games were the ones where you could select your character. I would always pick a female. Some examples include Gauntlet, Quartet, Street Fighter 2, Super Mario Bros 2. My all time favorite video game series is Metroid, which I probably never would have even played if I hadn't heard that the main character was a woman.

> I remember one time when I was a child - I don't remember how old, I was probably still in elementary school - my parents and I were eating dinner at the Golden Dragon. I don't remember what my parents were talking about, because I wasn't really listening, but I remember my dad saying, "I believe that above all else, homosexuality is a sin. If you can't accept who you are..." etc etc, that's all I remember. I didn't yet know the particulars of homosexuality, but I did know what I thought to be the definition: "A homosexual is a guy who wants to be a girl." My Dad's statement really made me angry, but I didn't say anything. At the time, I wasn't completely sure why I was mad. On some level I knew I wanted to be a girl, even though I also thought it was a silly idea. But I sure didn't want my dad insulting my personal feelings that way.

> In elementary school, when all the other boys were shunning the girls, I was their friend. I naturally made female friends more easily than male ones. Probably second grade or so, I remember the boys saying, "Hey, if you keep hanging around the girls, you're going to turn into one!" I replied, "I want to be a girl, because they mature faster."

> Barbie Dolls. Of course I never had them. I sometimes played with them at my cousins' house, and secretly wanted some dolls of my own, but I never did. I did have the Star Wars 12-inch Princess Leia doll, which I loved to dress in different outfits. Which is why all my other 12-inch Star Wars dolls spent all their time naked.

> The first time I specifically remember role-playing a girl (other than just playing around with balloons as breasts as a joke), was in probably third or fourth grade. I was playing GI Joe with a bunch of boys. I wasn't even into GI Joe yet, but the only other thing to do was play an actual sport, and I hated sports. These boys were acting out specific issues of the comic book. In this issue, a female character (the Baroness) is riding in a tank which gets blown up. For the part when they acted out that scene, they had me play her part. They weren't thinking about the gender, they just need a warm body for a couple of minutes. Part of me felt weird that they were asking me to play a girl, but just for a second. I remember trying to get "into character" by trying imagine a female's motivations (I was a bit more into RP than the other kids). After the scene, which was mostly me standing there for a second while my tank exploded, I felt different. For the first time I knew that it was _okay_ to pretend you're a female. It's like the first time you use a curse word, and realize that the ground didn't open up beneath you dropping you straight into Hell.

> I had a next door neighbor, "CB". He was a couple of years younger than me, but we still played together a lot. I remember I gradually started playing female characters more and more often. We played "Voltron" a lot, and sometimes played the princess character. At first I felt embarrassed about it, and would sometimes play the other characters just so he wouldn't think I was weird. But I don't think he had a problem with my playing female. We also sometimes invented our own characters to play, and I would make up females ones there, too. I specifically remember one called "Malta", based on a character from a bad animated movie. My version of Malta was a sci-fi fairy. She had wings and a laser gun, and blue hair. Anyway, Chad moved away shortly after that.

> Other friends & female characters... I couldn't get away with it with all my friends. Either I sensed it made them uncomfortable, or it made me uncomfortable acting that way around them. My friend "SO" didn't even want female action figures around him. He wondered why they even made female figures. After all, he said, GI Joe is for boys, right? Why would any boy play with a female figure? But "SO" was the worst of them. With most of my friends we would each play with three or four figures at a time, and I'd just have one of them be female. If any of them noticed I favored the female figures more, they never said anything. As far as live action playing went, I would force myself to play a male on those occasions.

> Playtime with "JS". My childhood friend "JS"and I often played female characters, both as action figures and as ourselves. Some of the standouts:

- Boushh (Star Wars). Our play was a lot deeper than that of most children. Instead of just running around shooting at each other, our stories would have complicated plots, romances, and so on. It was with "JS" that I started playing the character "Boushh", the bounty hunter Leia disguises herself as in Return of the Jedi. In our version of the Star Wars universe, Boushh was her own character, and Leia had just stolen her outfit when she went to Jabba's Palace. My Boushh was a female bounty hunter in a universe where male hunters were the norm. She wore the disguise to hide her gender, so that she wouldn't lose the respect of other bounty hunters. "JS" would play as Boba Fett, and over the course of play Boba would somehow find out she was really female, and eventually they would fall in love. We played that same scenario over and over, in many different ways.

- Lizard Woman. This was a "Flash Gordon" figure of a reptilian woman. I don't know how this started, but we would pretend she owned a gas station for spaceships, on a backwater planet somewhere (we used the Star Wars Dagobah playset for the station). I loved that action figure, and would often make clothes for her out of balloons.

- Cat Club. Something I made up. It was like GI Joe, except the good guys were cats, and the bad guys were dogs. All our characters were original creations. "JS" and I each had a male character based on ourselves, but we also each had a female character we would sometimes play.

- Diana (V). For a while, our favorite TV show was "V". We especially liked the two evil ladies, Diana and Lydia. I would play Diana, and Jason would play Lydia.

- GI Joe - Several good female characters to choose from here. I especially liked the Baroness, Jinx, and Scarlett. However, remember that these are selective memories. I also spent a lot of time playing Snake-Eyes, who was male. However, what drew me to Snake-Eyes was that he wore a mask and couldn't speak. There was a lot of mystery about his character. He could be anyone under that mask.

- Pathfinder (GoBots). I always loved Transformers and other robots, but it was hard to find a female role in the genre. The GoBots cartoon, despite its stupidity, still attracted me because some of the robots were female. My favorite was Pathfinder, who could change into a UFO. Generally we preferred Transformers to GoBots, but I would still use Pathfinder when we would play with Transformers.