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Cissexual and bigendered.
08 July 2010 @ 01:30 pm

And, though clichéd, decidedly not soft:


We're not motherfucking tissues.
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Cissexual and bigendered.
Has been making the rounds. Much like the story about the reduction of clitori a few weeks back, it's about intersex people and has less to do with lesbianism than with intersexuality and one scientist being a confused ass. Well, she's not alone, I'm increasingly confused, too,  and irritated at the level of conflation that's been going on here.

The confusion stems from the transphobic asshat scientist apparently spouting off some nonsense about how people affected by CAH don't behave in a way that she considers to be proper for womenz (apparently, a larger number of them than she's comfortable with don't want children and aren't interested in men. Rush them to the ER!!), and that makes her all worried and want to fix things. for which, if this source can be trusted with this quote, she phrases in the worst fucking possible ways:

“The challenge here is... to see what could be done to restore this baby to the normal female appearance which would be compatible with her parents presenting her as a girl, with her eventually becoming somebody’s wife, and having normal sexual development, and becoming a mother. And she has all the machinery for motherhood, and therefore nothing should stop that, if we can repair her surgically and help her psychologically to continue to grow and develop as a girl.”

Also, she seems to think that there is a connection between masculinisation and lesbianism, which makes me squirm. There is so much that is dodgy about that statement. What is "masculine behaviour" in this context? Is it really simply the absence of expressedly feminine behaviour? Come to that, what's a "lesbian"? A women who behaves in masculine  and is not maternal? Really?
Why the hell does a pediatrician think that she has any authority on what constitutes proper "masculine" behaviour in the first place? 

This is damn confusing and leaves me nauseous.
Cissexual and bigendered.
20 March 2010 @ 11:40 pm
I am sometimes profoundly uncomfortable with specific relationships dynamics within the BDSM scene, even though I am a domme and think that YKIOK is vital and part of The Rules. I never thought that it was particularly hard to grasp that people can be triggered by things that happen in BDSM, in fact, I'd find it kind of "Eh?" if I met someone who insists this can't be the case, given the nature of BDSM, even within SSC limits. Of course there are people who think that BDSM is icky in general and people need to be careful around it, but I am not sure that I don't prefer those guys to the mainstream wannakinksters who accept everything and don't bother stopping to think about consent and other pesky things that really, really matter in BDSM but rarely seems to be addressed in vanilla relationships, or at least not enough, IMO.

I personally don't have any triggers that are BDSM-related, but some things do get my hackles up, make me profoundly uncomfortable and borderline aggressive. When I see a male dom dragging around his female sub by her hair, slapping her, making her crawl, undressing her, calling her his bitch and other kind of degrading language, etc., etc., I am chilled to the bone - yes, even if we're in a dungeon, yes, even if it's a play party, yes, even if I've seen the two arriving together, obviously both happy to be there, yes, even if I see the two being loving during aftercare.

And I'm lucky because I've never actually been in a similar situation, albeit in an abusive context, IRL, in contrast to many women who have, even women who are also at that play party. I admire their ability to get what I can't make myself realise - that this is play. Maybe it is because I'm not a female sub, but seeing things like these makes me loathe, loathe the male dom in question initially, afloat in wave of repulsion and How DARE he, that fucking bastard, before I calm myself down. Given the fact that I have seen many people in relationships that involved emotional abuse, it's curious that I have such a problem with specifically physical abuse, but it's still hard for me. Given the fact that most play parties are populated by a majority of M/f couples, I'm not generally very happy there.

So, I'm into BDSM, I love and enjoy and treasure most of this, I get most of this, and there are still things that piss me the fuck off, and I don't have triggers. Given the fact that many, many practices in BDSM involve and specifically invoke situations and actions that would be considered violent and abusive in a non-play context I don't understand how people can not get that people not into BDSM who have been in similar situations can find fault with that, especially given the fact that BDSM can mean so very many things.

It's funny how most people get that POC might not to be comfortable with colonial-themed slave play involving a white male dom and a POC female sub, but not that in general, there are many people who are uncomfortable with aspects of BDSM that are more pervasive and "mainstream", like emotional abuse, using stereotypically female roles and femininity to degrade people, and that entire pervasive mainstream notion that most women are submissive, and that if women are dominant, they're doing so to sexually service their men.
If I hadn't discovered kink early enough I'd be probably as pissed off, given how media portrays women in BDSM, dominant or not. Ah, let's face it, dominant women barely even exist in the media.

There are so very many reasons to be pissed off with mainstream kink (and fandom BDSM seems to be mainstream kink, really) alone that I'd get if someone asked for an LJcut because otherwise they'd feel the need to go and strangle someone, and triggers are so much more serious and on a completely different level, but seeing as how BDSM toys with things that would be considered abusive in a non-play setting, how is it hard to understand that these might be triggering? 
Cissexual and bigendered.
20 March 2010 @ 08:46 pm
Holy shit.

I like reading fanfics occasionally. It's fun, and relaxing, and steering clear of anything dear to me that ignorant idiots can get wrong (kink, LGBT characters, LGBT relationship, trans characters, non-conforming gender roles... ok, admittedly, I read pretty much only het genfic because that's the one thing that ignorant idiots can't fuck up for me).

Lately, I've been reading extraordinarily bad fic.

Turns out that there is a community for that on here, fanficrants .

Aaand what's the first entry I find on there? Something about kink and fandom. D=

There's a reason that I stear clear of kink in fandom. What the fuck was I thinking, reading that?

Not only did I learn that BDSM and D/s are different things now, also, "topping from the bottom" apparently means something magically different in fandomland, namely that the bottom penetrates, which is accurate in gay subculture, but really, really not in BDSM.

This can only get better...
Cissexual and bigendered.
19 March 2010 @ 12:54 pm
I find myself more religious than I used to be.

Specifically, I pray a lot more.

Usually, I pray to either wake up as a woman or not wake up at all.

It's against my religion which condemns despair and suicide and advocates trust in god, but I am so disgusted with myself and what I consider to be my profound wrongness that I just can't handle it any more.

I want to be a woman. I crave that security that other people seem to have, that deep conviction, instead of this dithering in-between, this "sometimes" state of being a woman. I hate this bothness. I hate being a man disguised in dress and make-up, I hate being a woman disguised in trousers. I hate not passing as a man and staring with revulsion at my pathetic attempts. I hate not being brave enough to even try binding because of my conviction that my cup-sizes would just render me ridiculous, a joke, a fake. I hate myself for my internalised transphobia and the inability of seeing my own valid maleness when it's so easy to see and accept it in other people. I hate the nagging doubt that my perception of myself as male, as Richard, is just being brainwashed by society. I hate all of this, and yet, I can't help it, and there is nobody I can talk to about this.

I am scared, pathetic and alone. The local transgroup I mailed whether they accepted non-transsexual members said that I, as a "mere curious biological woman" had no business joining and it made me feel like a fraud. I can't talk to my therapist about this because she is an airhead. I can talk to my partner but she doesn't really get it, even though she tries. I can't talk to my family about this at all, and my best friend would completely dismiss my concerns, too.

So I pray to god, and hate myself for the content of those prayers.
Current Mood: depressedcaught in a vicious cycle
Cissexual and bigendered.
27 February 2010 @ 11:51 pm
Whenever I see people talk about being queer or trans enough, what individual terms mean, etc., I want to go hide in a corner. It seems as though the only way to validate your experiences as a non-cis person is if you have impressive battle scars to show, and because I am shy and non-confrontative, I don't have many battle scars. The only ones I do have are personal and are all related to my father at some point deciding to treat me like a girl and my brother like a boy, because of my physique and some of my interests.

The fact that I liked books obviously meant that I could not be interested in anything to do with technology ever. The fact that I grew breasts meant that I should be treated as a daughter. The year I graduated my father gave me nail polish. I took the present, completely dumbfounded and stared at the little bottle, incredulously, while he smiled down at me, pleased with himself. He had no idea what my final grades had been, he had barely even registered that I graduated, and had only decided after lengthy prompting from my mother to get me anything because she felt he should. I would not have expected anything, and if it had been anything other than this, I'd have been very pleasantly surprised - marks were not rewarded with presents in my household.

But there it was. In a colour I wouldn't have ever picked even in my most  hardcore nail polish phase. At the time, I read Romantic poetry and was a shy, bookish young man. I didn't have many friends, I was introverted and very curious. I dreamed of hiking through North Wales, and after reading Thoreau and Marryat I idealised a simple life in the midst of nature to a rather foolish extent. I was Richard.

I am stressing this because reading people fight about who is trans enough for this or that community and who shouldn't be let in makes me panic. It makes me withdraw and be afraid that because I look so female and am partly female this means that all I once was and still am does not exist for these people, that they'd think it's all in my head. 

It scares me to come out and talk to people in those communities out of fear of being accused of not being trans enough to be there, not one of them enough to contribute. Instead, I try to be as good a cis ally as I can be, keep quiet, and don't talk to people about gender and their feelings about gender.

I am so insecure about this entire mess that I am not sure how to respond to it. How can anyone be both? How do I know it's not all in my head? How do I know that the young man that I was was not a figment of my imagination? If anyone were to ask me these questions I'd falter, cave, and probably cry.

It embarrasses me not to be cis. It embarrasses me not to be either one, or genderqueer. It makes me feel like a fucking mess.
Current Mood: crappycrappy
Cissexual and bigendered.
06 February 2010 @ 09:07 pm
My passport says I am a woman. My family treats me like a woman. My friends treat me like a woman. My students react to me as they would to a female rather than a male teacher.

Why am I supposed to be a woman?

I don't know. There seems to be an easy consensus that decrees my breasts and my vulva are female. They don't feel female to me. To me? My arms are female. I'd love to have strong arms like the ones my father and my grandfather have and had. The strength to lift my partner, to carry heavy things, to shape things with my fingers, to haul a heavy load across town, happy and sweating, my knees protesting, because I don't have a car. That's what makes me feel emotions which make me feel female. My family, up to the generation of my mother, were smiths, and I begrudge them their strength and their upper body strength, their ability to ride (I can't ride, and I'm too fat to be willing to inflict my weight onto a poor, unsuspecting horse).

My breasts don't enter the equation at all, nor do my genitals. I think of my eyes as feminine because they are something that is considered pretty by people, and I know that female people are supposed to be pretty. I'm not, by and large, because I am large. My eyes are also large, and dark, and they have the shape my mother's eyes have, and I know through reading enough books that that means they're a feminine thing, because eyes are female. The fact that they, like most of my face, behave like my father's eyes, does not seem to matter for this. None of the shrewd contemplating look my mother has, or the way her eyes can smile or freeze and glare at someone without really changing their shape at all - instead I squint an awful lot and glare with my lower eyelids half-covering my eyes like my father does. And yet, eyes are what I pay attention to when I try to make my face look as feminine as possible.

My voice is female, but only by  pitch and sound. I don't like my voice, it's probably the strongest sign of my femininity. It sounds strangely high and hollow on tape, and in my head it lacks the roundness and fullness that I'd desire my female voice to have. I don't know how to put it without sounding crazy - to me, it sounds an awful light shade of pale orange, when I'd like a deeper, darker colour. Does that make sense?

My personality? Caring, working with children? Those are traits that don't make me feel either gender. Teaching? Makes me feel male. How my students react to me? Makes me default to as female as I can be on a good day. Writing? Male. Tastes in poetry? Male. Music? Male. Drawing? Male. Most of the things I do, most of the things I find enjoyable are coded female by society and feel male to me. I don't feel like a woman when I am doing my "woman" act. I feel like a woman when I am doing things, creating things, or while volunteering or activism-related work. My anger is integral to my feeling female in a way that my body never could be.

My body does not stand in the way of my richardness. As I said, I am a rather content man and a very discontented woman. Of course I would like to be thinner and more androgynous to actually express both sides the way I'd like to, but since this is not the case, I don't mind my body and the parts that come with it. 

What I do mind is the reactions to it. I am a fat female-bodied person with short hair. That alone seems to inspire a whole lot of comment that used to rather bother me until I really was in a relationship with a woman. When my facial hair started appearing, I was terrified and proceeded to go through extensive hair-removal rituals very often to rid myself of all the body hair I could find. When I meet with friends who do not have facial hair I often fear that they'd see it and see me for the hairy creature that I am.

Since fat women especially are stigmatised as unkempt, dirty, unhygienic, sweaty, and unfeminine and pig-like I would never dare to leave the house without my war paint, as impeccable an outfit as I can find, I walk as upright and straight as I can so as to look as erect and healthy as I feel. When talking to people, I force my voice into a soft pur, or force up my pitch in surprise or at the end of sentences, completely different from the way I talk when I am talking to friends. When I feel comfortable, I force my voice down and talk with a more level pitch that sounds forced, but the way I hear it, it sounds closer to the voice I'd like to have.

My way of presenting myself? My movements change as soon as I feel someone is watching. I've watched myself walk through the town. As long as I know for sure that no one can see me, I slump, my steps quicken, I stride along, looking ridiculous - my legs are too long for my short, stout torso - but as soon as someone does watch, I default to a more dainty way of moving that is more in keeping with my gender presentation.

My reactions and facial expressions change, too. When I meet people I have not met before, I watch their reactions and take my cues from them. Usually, I opt for "jolly fat person"; I smile a lot, I laugh, I move in a way I have seen work on other fat women, and I try to appear more confident, I am patient and kind to people- more so than I'd usually be. I am trying to be nice. I am not nice, in real life. I am condescending, I am impatient, I think too highly of myself, I am ball of insecurities, I am quickly angered when I think someone is not making an effort to understand. With a certain brand person I opt for "nice girl" - my eyes get big and round, my voice softer, I adopt a behaviour that makes me appear shy, I bustle with activity a lot and spend a lot of time seeming eager. People tend to like both takes of me, so I am happy with them, they get the job done and ensure a minimum amount of discomfort while dealing with others.

So, it's not my behaviour, seeing as how I am acting a whole lot of the time. When I am alone, I default to richardness in a female body. I think of myself as male-ish. I don't really personally identify with women as much as I do with men. I can empathise with women, most of the dearest people in my life are women, but they're not like me. I've spent eternity thinking about this and pondering about the fact whether this has something to do with me only reading books with poor female characters and well-rounded male heroes, but even earlier, when I was five or six, I can remember not being able to get what feeling like a girl meant. Something was different in me from other children, and I never figured out what that might be. I still haven't.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Cissexual and bigendered.
26 January 2010 @ 11:05 pm
In short: it is still too easy for me to fall into the trap of, "I loved it back when I read it and can't remember anything being wrong with it, therefore, it must be flawless"- regardless of when I read it and who I was back then. Having been on the other side of that conversation often enough I really ought to know better.

Navel-gazingCollapse )
Cissexual and bigendered.
26 January 2010 @ 10:51 pm
Repeat after me.
Femininity does not imply weakness.
Femininity does not imply stupidity.
Femininity does not imply vapidity.
Femininity does not imply submissiveness.
Femininity does not exist solely to please men.
Femininity is not merely the absence of masculinity.
Femininity is not restricted to any kind of body type.
Femininity is not exclusive to women.
Femininity is not a weakness in women.
Femininity is not a weakness in men.
Femininity is not a character flaw.
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Cissexual and bigendered.
25 January 2010 @ 09:57 pm
During all the discussion on M/M and reading through reasons people have for liking M/M I find that some of those reasons I do understand. Emotional restraint can be incredibly attractive.

For me, it is one of the points of doing D/s scenes. I love fighting for control over my partner, and I love seeing her fighting for control over herself. During our sessions, I love going against the grain, humiliating her, ridiculing her attempts of keeping her cool and feigned indifference. I love that small, irritated frown she gets in the beginning, and the way her eyes start glowing with suppressed emotions. I love reaching the breaking point and teetering on the edge of real harm. I love pulling back, and pulling her into safety before the annoyance reaches real life.

In real life, I wish that the people I do know who exhibit exactly the kind of emotional restraint that my partner and I like to play at in our scenes were more comfortable with their emotions. I can't imagine being like that while being healthy, it limits so much that I can't imagine living like that, and it does make me worry for my friends who are like that.

Emotional restraints being one of the main traits associated with masculinity in the western world even today it's no wonder that I am drawn to submissive people who have that quality. My partner is female, and all other people who have this quality I feel drawn towards are also women. All of these women also have some decidedly masculine traits, too, and I don't doubt that I would find this as attractive in male masculine people - although male masculine people often show other gendered traits I tend to find off-putting.

Ironically, my partner is not emotionally restrained at all in real life, and nor do most of the other people in whom I find that particular trait so attractive when they do show it. Still, in fictional novels, I am always drawn to characters who have a tendency to show emotional restraint to an almost pathological extent. My favourite scenes of course include the scenes in which that restraint is cracked, although I am not so much a fan of the inevitable comfort scenes.

If more women have this kind of kink, it does explain the popularity of this kind of scene in M/M - two masculine people being emotional, two restraints being cracked, twice as hot. It does make sense. Still, I don't see why the same kind of scene is so unimaginable with a man and a woman or two women unless you have dramatically limited views on gender.

If for you the only person who can be emotional is a woman, and the only person who can try to restrain their emotions at all cost, even to the point of damage, are men, you are denying an awful lot of people for whom this works the other way around or completely different, and people who identify as neither, and people who won't let their gender interfere with how and when they express their emotions.

it means denying a part of yourself who does not conform to this binary view, and I don't doubt that the people who have this kind of rigid idea when it comes to one gendered trait have it in other areas, too. This is one of the reason why I think this kink is dangerous for the women who like M/M as well as the men who sleep with men who are hurt by it.
Current Mood: flirtymissing her
Cissexual and bigendered.
24 January 2010 @ 05:02 pm
In the last three months, I have seen a marked increase in "how do I get my partner to dom me"-posts on LJ, fetish forums I read, fetish mailing lists, and the SZ. Where does that suddenly come from? I've been finding itching to reply, "not at all, prince/ss, and why don't you discuss with your partner instead of us?!" I really wonder how these wannasubs would feel if their partner was trying to coerce them into trying out something that squicks them, even though it involves no physical harm ("But poop does not hurt! Come on, let me poop on you! Just once, for me. It'll be hot!").

Even if there is no physical harm involved and no backstory of abuse in the family, the "sexual favour"-thing completely eludes me. I don't see why anyone should be coerced into agreeing to trying something out that they are really, really not into. It is fine not to like bondage, or spankings, or ageplay. It's also fine not to be turned on if your partner pretends to fight you off, or just lies back, tied to the bed, and lets you do the work while they are blissfully in subspace or trying to get there.

It's just as fine if you occasionally want to try that out to do your partner a favour, but seriously, are a constant exchange of sexual favours really a solid basis for a relationship? I wouldn't want that for mine, I know that much. Of course people can do what they want, but is it really realistic to assume that it's a good basis for a relationship if one of the partners has to work really hard to get them to be more dominant  if that's not what they are into?

I've seen this often with female het subs who got together with a man who they thought would be into being dominant because he is domineering in real life or has a dominant streak that turns out not to reach the bedroom. At some point, after hints and discussions have not been fruitful, they post for advice. Curiously enough, I have yet to see a dominant asking for advice about how to get their partners to ok being tied up, being raped, being spanked. It just never happen seems to happen, and I suppose that is because it is pretty clear how bad it is for someone to be spanked if they are not into that. For one thing, it really fucking hurts, and not in a sexy way. It can also be really humiliating and horrible. It is clear that there is not  much room to experiment there.

How come that people seem to think that there is such a greater flexibility on the part of the dominant side?

It is not that easy to spank someone, if you have any concept of decency at all and it does not turn you on. It is not a good feeling to have sex with someone who is rendered helpless if that does not turn you on. While these things do not have physical implications - no bruises, no rope burns- they do have psychological and emotional implications.

I love spanking my partner. I love being dominant. Still, especially in the beginning, I found that aftercare was almost more important for me than for my partner. I do not have a history of physical abuse, but even without it, our occasional maintenance spankings were hugely daunting for me and left me with an ashen feeling of regret, guilt, and shame, deeply in the pit of my stomach, for hours afterwards. The only reason why I kept at it was because I knew it was consensual, and because of the way I felt during the spankings. My partner's enthusiasm became my excuse to permit myself to do things that I secretly wanted to do myself; during the first weeks, it allowed myself to mask my own enthusiasm for these scenes and allowed me to introduce new toys, scenes, and situations "for her", when it was, in reality, for my own curiosity. It took me months to get over these initial feelings, and there were several times at which I was not sure at all if I could continue spanking my partner, regardless of whether she wanted me to or not.

So today, I fully own and enjoy my love for spanking, dominance, rape scenes, bondage, and mindgames, but there are several others that still are not a turn on or are actively repulsive for me that my partner is into. Emotional abuse is one of those. It leaves me with the same dull, sore feeling that spankings initially left me with, and it feels shitty while we do it, too. There are also a number of things that I'm fairly indifferent towards, occasionally do to do her a favour, but mostly don't, because I don't think about them.

I can't imagine anyone being indifferent towards hitting someone they love, tying them up, or in any other way hurting them. I'd find that very disturbing. I know many men who would not even voice these concerns because dominance is such a large part of the culturally accepted masculinity package, and that is what worries me. Of course it is necessary that men explore their own feelings when it comes to sexuality and learn to voice concerns, but I also know that many people have the view that if you are not the spanked person, you are not being harmed by what is happening.
This is not true.
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Cissexual and bigendered.
21 January 2010 @ 04:40 pm
This is a rather hurried and consequently half-assed opinion piece without any kind of theoretical backup which is the direct result of perusing the latest GLBTQ linkspams on this issue - I'll try to get to the backup later, but right now, I don't have the time.

Sexuality, power, and female sexuality
Maybe it's because I am a domme and for me, sex is always to some degree about control and power, but it makes sense to me that those scenarios favoured by many of my romance-loving friends are porn for them. My idea of porn is that it is about possession and altering a character's behaviour in a way that affords sexual gratification for the viewer or reader. In comparison to that, romance is also possession and altering a person's behaviour, in a way that affords another sort of gratification to the viewer or reader, which, to my mind, also has a strong sexual component.

One of my main premises is firstly that it seems as though sexuality is much more complex than what porn makes it out to be, and secondly that female sexuality in specific evolved around cultural constrictions and is thus more difficult to characterise. It is not culturally acceptable for many women to discuss their sexuality without experiencing some sort of negative backlash, either from their peers, or their internalised view of what sexual morality for women should encompass. This often seems to mean to look, but not to touch, to be stimulated, but not to stimulate for own gratification. This means that I expect many women can identify with a submissive viewpoint of sexuality, because cultural output at least in the western cultures suggests that female sexuality must be in some way submissive and concentrate on either pleasing and being pleasured by a partner, anyway.

Due to these constrictions, romance makes more sense as a genre by women for women to deal with female sexuality and female domestic problems. It is not directly sexual, which would make it unfit to be socially acceptable for women to read, but it does permit a lot of situations which I perceive to be very much sexualised. I'll offer a few examples of tropes that I see as sexual below, with a focus on female sexual agency and power.

The wolf in romance clothing: H/C and fetishized emotions
An incredibly popular scenario is hurt/comfort, with one character being the gloriously injured party, often suffering silently for a while for added potency, the other coming to their rescue, providing medical help and often an emotional outlet instead or in addition to that. Now, considering the rather limited agency of women in relationships in heterosexual power dynamics, gaining and exercising power over the emotional state of a person is a way of getting in control and making use of another person's vulnerability. In romance novels as well as porn, sexual relationships seem to focus heavily on getting the partner into a position in which they are at the other person's mercy - in porn as a willing sperm receptacle and being a slave to their own emotions and whatnot, in romance at the mercy of a loving woman to bring the man out of their emotional shell.

What makes this interesting for me is that while porn is obviously more emotionally detached from the characters involved than romance, similar power dynamics seem to be in place. Male characters are gaining control over a female character to screw her lights out in various uncomfortable looking ways, causing her to half-close her eyes and emit grunting noises. The focaliser of the movie, the male character, is clearly affirmed as being the dominant party and in control of his object of desire, the female character. In romance novels, female character exert power over male characters too, usually, with different ends, but I'm proposing that their power has an effect which might be less directly arousing, but serves the purpose of arousal nonetheless.

Character alteration stories and power
One particularly popular motif seems to be the conversion of the asshole character. This is a trope that has been forever popular and can most famously be encountered in the Beauty and the Beast. Bella manages to change the Beasts monstrous, abusive ways and is rewarded with a handsome prince and through him a castle as well as apparently a financially sound future and a social standing above the people in her village rather than below them. Needless to say, in reality, this does not work like that, and yet, even in romance novels, this tradition lives on. This, too, in my opinion, shows a desire for control - in plots to which this motif is central, it affirms the power of the heroine to work miracles and turn the abusive character into a perfect lover.

It is deeply tragic that this fantasy speaks to so many women. The only person who can change an abusive bastard is the abusive bastard himself, after realising that s/he needs therapy, and I'd like more women using their control to get up and go off to find someone more worthy of their attention. Still, it does show a level of female agency and power that is left to be desired in many real-life relationships and the same kind of unrealistic, intrusive character manipulation that are so characteristic for porn movies. A chaste schoolgirl will not suddenly become a lusty vixen at the entrance of the most alluring male actor, and an asshole character will not suddenly change his ways just because his love says so. Still, both scenarios seem to be deeply satisfying on the level of a power Fantasy. In character-alteration stories, this also creates a special emotional bond between the heroine and her asshole, which I'd say serves a similar purpose as the dependency that a sexually satisfied female character has on the stud in porn movies.

In porn movies, the main discourse revolves aorund sexual practices and sexual gratification - male sexual gratification being the main purpose, female sexual gratification a prise for the studly hero. The focus of romance novels seems to be the obtaining of a stable romantic relationship in which the heroine has agency and emotional power over the male hero. Once the heroine has altered the character of the male hero, her goal is met - she has reached power.

Depressingly and obviously, the agency and power that the heroine has still does not leave the rather tight and limiting box of a stereotypical heterosexual relationship, which is still maintained as the ideal relationship. Female power is limited automatically by and in this setting, and yet, both reader and author apparently choose to adhere to it and buy into the notion of traditional heterosexual relationships being an ideal instead of exploring new modes of relationships. Still, within these limiting structures, women can subvert the official power structures in place by exerting indirect control over a part of the main prise, the dominant male - his emotions and his character. For this to be a successful read, it seems to me that the reader has to be steeped in rather traditional ideas of a rigid gender binary that allows only a certain set of behaviours to members of the two genders respectively, and a very traditional view of relationships.

All exploration of female agency and power therefore has to be done within the confines of these premises - heterosexual monogamous relationships are desireable, and there is a definite set of behavioural and physical traits that make a character "female", being female defines the role a person has in a heterosexual relationship.

M/M, gender subversiveness and fetishised emotions
With the above in mind, it makes sense why women, especially from older generations, would see M/M as liberating. In spite of the fact that many slashers are my age and younger, from what I can see, the staunchest supporters of M/M are the generation of my parents or between me and the younger slashers.

Male-on-male romance allows a woman who was raised to buy into the premises detailed above therefore would find a m/m setting liberating and emotionally enticing for several reasons. On the one hand, the fetishised emotional vulnerability of male characters is doubled because of the two participating partners. It is possible to explore overtly sexual practices without having to fear negative responses because there are no female characters that might be identified with the author by readers or the author herself. Thirdly, it is possible to circumvent the expected paradigm of relationship roles the author has bought into because of the presence of two active characters with greater agency than female characters even in romance novels.

What this means for me for M/M- female sexual agency, repression, and romance
With those reasons in mind, I don't see why anyone should condemn M/M, even though I see the obvious problem of the fetishisation not only of gay men as a whole, but also of male emotions. It seems to be a very necessary step for many women to come to grips with their own sexuality, exploring what comprises that sexuality and what they desire in a relationship outside of gendered expectations. Of course the feelings of fetishised gay men should be taken into consideration, but since it is very obvious that M/M is written mostly for women by women, I don't see how actual gay men should be harmed, especially since their own real-life concerns are so far from the ones detailed in the books, just like male stories of lesbian women are far from realistic.

The purpose of both genres is to entice, to arouse, to explore fantasies. They are offensive for those whose minorities are depicted, but at this point, I feel that it is very necessary for women to find out what arouses them, what sexuality and relationship mean to them, even if it is damaging individual gay men. This is not ideal, but discouraging even more women from exploring gender, relationships and sexuality is not right, either.

How deep the urge to disassociate yourself from the female gender in any open discussions about sex is also quite apparent in the numbers of queer women who write male-on-male sex, even though nothing could be further form their own lived experience. It is apparently bad enough for women to address sexuality openly at all, but deviant sexuality is still impossible, especially for women whose gender presentation is not the norm in addition to their queerness. While there is not really a space that caters to them, nor a genre, M/M is a natural outlet for their self-exploration. Femmeslash exists in fandom, and there is lesbian literature, but it is obvious that for many, it is much more satisfying to join the social writing going on in the fanfic communities in many fandoms and discuss issues relevant to their lives through the guises of male characters, or pre-existing characters. If this is empowering to women anywhere, I have to say that while I genuinely understand the pain of gay men who see yet another fetishised, horrid version of themselves, I have to side with these women.

Slash fanficwriting is a forum which makes it broadly acceptible for women to talk about sexuality in a frank and free manner which has been unknown (at least to me) before. This of course becomes problematic because it once again highlights the sexual nature of samesex relationships, and I understand the misgivings people may have with . It does not only focus on the traditional sexualities presented by porn movies, it also allows for the exploration of other sexualised situations explored in romance stories, like h/c, which highlight agency in a romantic relationship more known to women, with the added benefit of being able to voyeuristically enjoy the emotional opennes and vulnerability of two men instead of one.

Of course, writing yourself completely out of the picture while exploring yourself is not an ideal solution, and it alarms me. Still, if this is a step that needs to be taken, I can't blame anyone for taking it.
Current Mood: contemplativecontemplative
Cissexual and bigendered.
08 January 2010 @ 11:08 pm
I know that people can't argue with sexual preferences, but the fact that so many female bisexual subs I meet online and offline have a very pronounced preference for male doms as opposed to dommes really bugs me.

I know that people can't help their preferences, but I doubt that that many people can have a completely individual interest for men as dominant partners, even though they may usually also pursue relationships with female partners. It reminds me of my own, wonderful partner, who is also bisexual and also has a thing for dominant males, and it has its toll on my self-confidence. Of course, the people who say that they prefer male doms I will never have a relationship with, so I might as well not care, but this rigid categorizing according to gender really ticks me off.

I have seen more and more people saying that within lesbian relationships "it does not matter who is more dominant" - be it because people are "more flexible", or because there is no point because there is no penis and therefore it is not as interesting as in a male-on-male relationship. Apparently, men are inherently dominant, and for many people, especially voyeuristic women, the idea of male-on-male submission has a thrill of its own. Well, more power to them, but I am just fed-up with people categorically dismissing female dominants.

"More flexible" here seems to be more and more code for "women just are not dominant", or "women could never convincingly dominate me". Well, why don't you give it a try?

Of course there are not as many frameworks for female authority as there are for male authority, hence it is easier to read male behaviour in any situation as dominant; even the most conventional acts can be read as male dominance by a willing partner as long as the male partner is assertive and they stick to the most conventional rules of heterosexual interaction in bed.

And I know that many of the "first submissive experiences" I've seen people write about on the web were, in fact, experiences in which a vey willing partner interpreted everything that their assertive male partner did as "dominant". How can that be more erotic? Of course the idea of physical restraint is undeniable, but there are strong women out there, too. I can barely subdue my partner, it is true, but I can still manage. And I am not even in very good shape right now. Also, there are so many other ways one can beautifully force a partner to submit which are so sexy and have so little to do with brute force, but with skill, with subtlety, with reading your partner correctly.

Of course male doms can do that, too. Still, it pisses me off that there aren't more situations which automatically mean women are framed as authority-having, or scripts that automatically place them in a position of power over another person.
Current Mood: angryangry
Cissexual and bigendered.
08 January 2010 @ 12:31 pm
My bra colour?
Because posting colours is going to raise awareness of my bras being the item of clothing that carries the parts of my body in which might grow cells that may kill me?
Is that really what you are saying?
Well, all I am hearing is this: 

Not only women get breast cancer.
Breast cancer is not an invitation to talk about breasts.
Cancer is not sexy.
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Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Cissexual and bigendered.
07 January 2010 @ 02:30 pm
In dreams, sometimes, the pictures come. Heather, moorlands, mountains rushing past. Rivers lazily meandering through lush grass, or white spray rushing down grey stone cliffs. Clouds so low that it seems as though you could hold your hand out of the car and catch a handful of the sinister, grey candy floss. Birds being quiet as you pass, the slick sound of the mud as you squelch up hiking trails filled with the smell of rotting plants and wet earth alike. Then, it was autumn.

And then sometimes, there are pictures of places we have been together, names that ring a faint bell, and they bring back a tangible, physical memory of my body climbing those hills, of my lungs breathing that air, of my skin feeling that cold and that wet. Of my feet being covered in snow, colder than I have ever been, me feeling a fierce, fierce joy of being, and being there.

When memory alone is like a punch in the gut and a picture makes you become a  weepy bag overflowing with longing, maybe it is time to go home?
Current Location: Glen Coe, in my mind
Current Mood: listlesslonging
Cissexual and bigendered.
04 January 2010 @ 10:29 pm
I discovered you before I discovered music. I always liked feeling things with my fingertips, touching, exploring. For hours, I could get wrapped up in simple sensations like my hand in a jar of dried beans, closing my eyes, being only with my fingers, in the feeling of rain or the shower on my hand, on my naked shoulders, shivers running down my spine, each touch of dried bean or drop pressing against the nerve endings on my skin.

With you, there is the same kind of absorption. I could spend hours with your skin, exploring, stroking, feeling, watching the way the muscles change under your skin as you breathe, watch goosebumps appear and disappear, watching the colour change with the blood circulation, depending on what your capillaries are doing. When I hit you, they appear red on your otherwise yellowish white skin and slowly lose their glow, fading back into yellowish white. When I scratch you, there are searing white lines that cool into red lines which finally turn a rosy shape and then disappear entirely.

If there was a way to draw the texture of your skin, I could build one from scratch. I know where your skin is soft and smooth, where it's rougher and less flexible. I can map the parts of you that give you goosebumps blind, I know the trails my fingers have to take to send fingers down your spine, and the exact amount of pressure that I need to make you smile with your eyes closed.

This, too, is a form of manipulation. This, too, is part of being the dominant part in a D/s relationship. I must be able to control your body and its reactions at my will. I can also cause you pain -  stinging, unfriendly pain, as well as deeper impacts that cause the deep pain on the surface grow into a glow of warmth and a dull pleasure which spreads out, one after another. I can do that in my sleep. I can calm you down with a touch, I can send shivers down your spine, I can make you feel warm and cared-for, you are mine.

Today, I played the piano for an hour, eyes closed, thinking of you. My fingers stumbling along the keys remind me of the first weeks with the two of us - I had to learn movements, impacts, angles. I had to learn rhythms that work, movements, when to put strength behind a touch, when to hold back, when to let my hands move on their own accord. I am not good with music, and I can't read very fast, but the sensation of my fingers on the piano keys, the sounds that vibrate through the air at each touch, the feeling of the smooth surface of each key as I press them, the soft sounds - it is like learning you all over again.
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Cissexual and bigendered.
03 January 2010 @ 05:56 pm
I sometimes daydream about waking up with a male body, but that is the same kind of daydream I have about waking up and being taller, waking up and having a slimmer waist, waking up and having long hair - or so it used to be. Last night, I really did dream I had a male body, and I felt a horrible sense of loss when I woke up and it was no longer there. It was not even much different from the body I have now, just... male. I looked a lot like my brother's, who does look like me, just male. I did not feel a whole lot different, everything just clicked into place and was good.

I know that a lot of FAAB bigendered people pack and bind to express their male part, but because of my chest size, I ruled out the first option. The thought of packing causes a feeling as though I walked down the stairs and inadvertently skipped a step, a sensation of falling, of slipping out of control.

It scares me.

It's a step further than I dare to go. I have never looked much like a girl is supposed to look where I come from, and I was always the odd one out for some reason or another, so I had to fight to keep people acknowledging my humanhood by dressing up as a woman.

The thought of my gender being ambiguous or called into question scares me deeply. I know the sense of unease I sometimes can't avoid when I talk to someone who has characteristics that are strange to me - very deviant gender expression or extremely masculine men or feminine women belong to that category - I become careful, I feel weirded-out, I lack scripts based on the gender of the person I am talking to to guide my moves; again, it is like falling. I am not very good company in that mood, so I would not wish to bring it upon anyone else.

It is much easier to do what I have always done, to stick to my gender role, to avoid that sensation of falling. It saves me from having to struggle to have other people accept me as valid, see me as a human being and not as a strange aberration. I know that not all people do, but I am scared that someone might. It has happened to me - I was not always the kind of person who knows how to behave like a girl, or, later, like a woman - I was odd, and the backlash that had still scares me.

It made people invade my personal space, touch me without my consent, shove me around, make jokes about me, at best, abuse me, emotionally and physically, at worst. I would not want to repeat that experience, even if that means pretending to be a woman for the rest of my life, even though that's only fifty percent accurate.

It was not even that my gender was that strange, it's that my surroundings were so bigoted. As an overweight girl with short hair, slightly off behaviour, and no apparent interest in boys or girls during my teenage years, a loner, a dreamer I learned quickly that I, as I was, was wrong, and that to be like that, strange, weirder than the others, a non-girl with breasts, meant painting a giant "kick-me" sign on myself, that it invites abuse, and I learned to become an actor.

I also learned that it is fairly easy to convince people that you are a tragic, not entirely convincing woman - as long as you wear nail polish and make-up you can get away with short hair, and as long as you stick to the outskirts of fashion that accommodate fat bodies you can get away with being seen as an odd kind of dyke instead of a weird, non-human thing.
Current Mood: scaredscared
Cissexual and bigendered.
03 January 2010 @ 02:58 am
When I am a woman, there is longing. There is that moment of hope when you realise what is there and what you hope it to be. To become.

When I am a man, it is easier. It is easier to pretend, to don a dress, to put on my war paint, to go into the world, sleek and adapted, unnoticeable- A gay woman with short hair in feminine clothing. There is no struggle, it is an act that I am used to. I realise more and more that I have been Richard ever since I had any kind of awareness of myself as a gendered being. I don't mind this body, I am not very physical, and I have grown up in it and have become used to it, but when I trawl through online pages with information on surgery there is longing, too, desire. The desire to be different, to be more male. This desire is, curiously enough, rooted deeply in the part of me that is female - and I am not sure where that comes from. It seems that I am happiest being a very butch woman or a very feminine man, but not anything in between.

Torn between the two, I am lodged firmly in the status quo without being able to go into either direction. I am stuck.
Current Mood: blankblank
Cissexual and bigendered.
26 December 2009 @ 05:41 am
The church is catholic, universal, so are all her actions; all that she does, belongs to all. When she baptizes a child, that action concerns me; for that child is thereby connected to that head which is my head too, and ingraffed into that body, whereof I am a member. And when she buries a man, that action concerns me; all mankind is of one author, and is one volume; when one man dies, one chapter is not torn out of the book, but translated into a better language; and every chapter must be so translated; God employs several translators; some pieces are translated by age, some by sickness, some by war, some by justice; but God's hand is in every translation, and his hand shall bind up all our scattered leaves again, for that library where every book shall lie open to one another; as therefore the bell that rings to a sermon, calls not upon the preacher only, but upon the congregation to come; so this bell calls us all: but how much more me, who am brought so near the door by this sickness.
Cissexual and bigendered.
Porn negotiates power. Erotica negotiate power. The writer's fantasy, the kind of space created, the objects arranged for what kind of viewer, the way they are placed and the way they are treated, they all are factors in the creation of pornography. Maybe this view says more about me as a dominant person than about the people creating erotica, but in the end, it all seems to boil down to shoehorning characters and situations to custom-tailor needs and desires of the creator and/or the intended audience.

And all is fair in the mind, but too often, the frames and scripts which are created take on a very dangerous life of their own, the most important of these being the male gaze that reduces women to the amount of flesh on display, uncovered and arranged for a male viewer. The more nakedness, the more powerful the male, it seems to say. Women's bodies belong to men in porn. They respond, they yield, they are filled, pushed, opened, shoved, forced, covered, coated, convulse, empty, spew, take up. No orifice, no bodily function stays unexplored, and the more extreme the reactions yielded, the higher seems the score on an imaginary billboard.

In mainstream het porn, it is clear who has the power and who writes the scripts. If a female were to insert herself into the proceedings she could only take the space of a willing recepticle, or find other niches which allow her agency and control. Evoking pleasure and responses in a male onlooker seems to be a source of female power allowed within the frameworks of the porn genre. Willful submission and holding out even uncomfortable positions and pain to reach more pleasant sensations, in short, resilience, seem to be the only ways females can express power.

Outside the porn genre, in the romance genre, which seems to evolve as a female-associated alternative to the male-dominated and connotated world of mainstream porn, scripts which allow more agency for female characters have evolved, even though they also ultimately tend to revolve around a central male figure. Usually, the heroine has to undergo a series of trials to marry or win her loved one. If this does not invovle outside forces which do not allow the lovers to be together, initial resistance (Ugly Betty's boss) or the wrong kind of interest (Mr. B in Pamela) on the part of the love interest are a common pattern. Here, female agency with regards to the furthering of the plot are usually associated with resilience and patience while molding the male love interest into acceptible shape or waiting for the love to be reciprocated. In early models, this took the shape of a sturdy Christian virtue which would not allow the suitor to be successful in his quest for erotic exploits - a script which was adapted from mostly male-composed literary scripts. In modern Fantasy literature with female heroines this trope remains fairly common (Kitty in the Bartimaeus Trilogy immediately springs to mind, but also Katsa in Graceling, Kira Nerys on Deep Space Nine).

Especially patience with regards to the emotions of male figures is a common source of agency with regards to the partner for female characters. They are charged with "taming" their love interest (The Beauty and the Beast), turning him into a gentle, nonviolent partner, to support and heal their partner (The English Patient). Often, the climax of a romantic story is the revelation of the male character's emotions for the heroine (Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet) or his emotional weakness (The Phantom of the Opera) so the heroine can prove herself to support him in his hour of need. While the climax in porn and erotic movies revolves around the yielding of the female body into nakedness and being filled and physically subdued, in female-composed erotica this story arc concentrates on the revelation of male emotions.

The common factor is that the extasy of love forces the characters out of their corset of gendered behavioural norms which would otherwise receive negative sanctions from society - women's acting sexually, men being emotional - only when forced by love or sexual desire brought about by the right partner can these reactions be realised.

In fanfiction published on the internet, these power dynamics become especially apparent. Especially in fandoms which seem to be largely populated by female writers, the concentration in erotic writing is not on the male body, but on male emotions and emotional vulnerability. Mirroring the rare scenes of female agency with regards to a dependent male character, many writers have their male characters share very emotionally intimate moments with each other and often show a very uncharacteristic emotional openness even with former enemies. Instead of writing scenes in which emotional male characters are supported by strong female romantic love interests, the female love interest is exchanged with a similarly emotional male love interest. The attraction of two men being emotionally vulnerable together is very clearly on the same level of voyeuristic interest that straight men have for two women being ostensibly and visibly physical with each other.

The rather annoying by-product of this development of female agency as creators of erotica and the development of strong fetishistic preferences is the absolute eradication of female sexuality out of the story. Actively sexual beings in many erotica writings are male characters, while female characters remain in supporting roles or the roles of jealous antagonists to the main male-on-male couple, and the role of both reader and writer, watching the spectacle of male-on-male throes of passion and emotional declarations of love or angst.

As annoyingly, and paradoxically, it seems that while these couples usually comprise of two men (though, of course, het fiction exists, even though it does not seem nearly as popular), these male-on-male couples are very seldomly referred to as gay, while, given the high availability of knowledge and terminology about male-on-male contacts and the position it takes in our culture (the products of which many of the stories the fanfics are set in are, after all), thoughts about gayness would be expected in the characters rather than cheerful, carefree sex and emotional sharing. What remains is the culturally accepted idea of virile sexuality combined with role dynamics that are not seldomly taken directly from the gender stereotypes of heterosexual romance novels (rigidly binary assigning of top/bottom roles which are character traits within the relationship, etc).

While women writing is positive, the fetishistic treatment of emotional vulnerability in men, the erasing of female sexuality, internalised misogyny disallowing interest in female characters and causing the vilifying of female characters in the story, the silencing and erasing of gay experience in favour of string-free, non-challenged male-on-male sex and romance are highly problematic in my eyes and could be indicative of problematic patterns which are a result of symptoms of said internalised misogyny and also, in some fandoms, the genuine lack of strong female characters - though, given the nature and creative freedoms of fanfiction and the zeal with which even very minor characters without speaking lines are "explored", there is no reason why these shouldn't become strong female characters.

If male preference for the visual objectification of females in porn movies are problematic because of the unreflected objectification they imply, as well as because of the view of female-on-female sexuality as existing only for the male viewer's pleasure, then the fetishization of male-on-male romances must be as problematic, as well as the self-erasing of female sexualities from the texts.

It would be  rather interesting to explore whether male writers in the male-on-male-romance genre deal with this subject, if their techniques at creating romance are the same and whether they differ greatly from those of gay writers, as opposed to the  slash fiction writers. Another question of interest would be how female writers deal with the insights into the female psyche - whether they are also explored with as much voyeurism and obsession to emotionality and signs of what has been constructed as feminine traits in het fanfiction and femslash.
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Current Mood: pensivepensive
Cissexual and bigendered.
22 December 2009 @ 05:13 am
I am in YET ANOTHER discussion with a stupid, stupid fanbrat about "homophobia" and how it means what it means and is not wrong just because it has "phobia" in it, which apparently ONLY EVER MEANS FEAR, as in the psychological condition, don't you know.

Where do these people get their information? Even the Wiki page on the term is more informative than their arguments, unless they only hang out on Conservapedia. The entire argument is bullshit, quite apart from the fact that in the majority of cases it does not even matter which term is used.

After explaining over and over again, I made this:

Very cathartic. The main problem people seem to be having with the term IS that it comes too often, to their mind ("What do you mean, I have to watch what I am saying? Outrageous! My freedom to spew bigoted bullshit trumps your freedom to stay free from harm any day, you uppity little queer!"), and that it is an unjust accusation with regards to the "phobia" part ("I am not psychologically unhinged and DON'T CALL ME A COWARD!" *channelling Snape here*).

Oh, also:
Cissexual and bigendered.
30 November 2009 @ 10:57 pm
The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we'll both be lonely.

And tonight, I feel very lonely. I don't feel as though I fit in anywhere. When I was younger I could run and hide in books and stories, and now that doesn't seem to work any more because my new situation has left me coverless and naked in front of the analysis-reel that's running inside me, all the time. There is no hiding in books anymore.

When I was younger, I couldn't really see that there were no people like me in books. I saw the characters and their stories and never tired of reading about new worlds. Now, I see the gaps where people like me could be, and I lost the ability to pretend that a definitely young, straight, male hero who has definitely never had to deal with breasts becoming too big and stretch marks whipping my body somehow red represents me.

For me, realising that I am considered a lesbian was like a second eviction from paradise. The first one came when I realised I was supposed to be female and stopped simply thinking of the male main characters as people like me and my view of the novels shifted my position, shoved me to the sides, to the sidelines of the cheering and waiting and captured princesses or other victims. The second realisation just left me staring at the blind, closed covers of volumes in the library. I walked down aisles and aisles filled with books, spine next to spine, no place left to go in them, haughty and silent and accusing me of existing wrongly.

When I first discovered sexuality I first noticed that most of the books I read got there first and gently allowed me to make the first fumbling discoveries between their off-white pages, red with shame. When I found that I am a lesbian there was no being caught, being gently led, it was as though they all fell silent and looked the other way.

I tore through the library, looking at, staring at spines next to spine, pages upon empty pages, and only snatches of sentences remained relevant for me. Here a glance, here a careless word, and only very few stories filled with feelings like mine and always insular, isolated.

I have never felt so betrayed and so alone in my life. I was so happy when at last, at last, I found them, the sentences about the loves and the glances and the feelings like mine, usually stowed away, hidden from view somewhere, books whose pages were not empty to my eyes and I felt caught and safe again.
Cissexual and bigendered.
28 November 2009 @ 12:39 pm
I've got a confession to make.

I am pansexual.

No! Stay!

It's fine, I'm not a chaser.

I hope.

I adopted the term in reference to my sexuality because I doubt that I, someone who is not really a woman, can be a lesbian, especially if her partner is not really a woman either. Since she's not that sure whether she's a really butch cis woman and a butch genderqueer person and I'm happily male and female but not really genderqueer, we're just not really a lesbian couple. I did not feel that "bisexual" fully describes our gender weirdness, so I gladly went with "pansexual".

Apart from my being a member of i_am_pansexual I rarely ever describe myself as anything and I'm fine with being identified by others as a lesbian because I am fine with being assumed a woman even though I am not. As sad as this is, for the most part, I am glad that I am mistaken for something that I am not, because everything else would scare me. Not the thought of having the many benefits cisprivilege affords is damn scary, and since I have a FAAB body (though not a fab body, unfortunately, I'll need to lose weight for that) and am a woman roughly fourty percent of the time, anyway, it does not seem to be too great a sacrifice to be considered a woman by other people, if, at times, a rather awkward one.

Still, I think that really, I am pansexual, and it kills me what people make of this term, when they point out that they identify as pansexual because they're "attracted to men and women, but also to trans people".Especially among cisfemale queers there seems to be a trend to creepily fetishize gay men and transmen while treating trans women like icky subhuman creatures, and I don't want to be associated with these types at all.

Did anyone else have similar qualms with this?

And what do I do?

Do I change my label?

Do I introduce myself as "Hi, I am cister, a cissexual, pansexual -Iamnotachaseripromise- and bigendered. Thanks for having me in your LGBT group!"?
Current Mood: worriedworried
Cissexual and bigendered.
Sometimes, I am Richard, sometimes, I am not.

I have been horribly confused lately, my identity switching back and forth between male and female, confused, female and male. The pills that prevent the local trains from delays have caused my body to balloon up a sizeable amount. I hate shopping for this bloated female body, and the things that I would like to see myself wearing do not fit it and never will. I am looking at French highwayman coats, Australian-style raincoats and similar things that would never fir on this body, which is shaped like a chubby, not unattractive eight.

Not unattractive for a woman, that is. I am a dissatisfied woman, most of the time. I usually am a woman who is trying to be a man. When I feel female, I am grumpy, don't like my breasts, and feel like cutting out most of my stomach with a carving knife, pressing in this useless flesh that is sporting angry red lines as a punishment of my sudden ballooning size.

But sometimes, most of the time, these days, I am Richard. When I feel like a man, it is much easier to accept this body, curiously enough. When I am a man, I like dressing up, I like cross-dressing, I like investing in girlish, playful clothes that actually look good on this boody. Babydoll tees, knee-length godet skirts, going for a look that says playful and soft, yet tasteful instead of seam-bursting and bloated. I enjoy my skirts and dressing more feminine than I feel. I become a man in a dress and those are probably the only moments when I feel comfortable with my body.

Back as a woman, back as Birthname, the attacks on my body start again. I go for a stern, business-dykish look that is awkward and strange, with waistcoats, jackets, suits and short hair, cropped to the scalp. I feel female, but also a stranger to this body. I don't feel at home in skirts and abhor the frilly dresses that only a day earlier seemed as though they were made for me. I go for heavy boots and hate looking in the mirror. The softness is back to being useless flesh and I feel awkward and wrong.

I am a hot mess when it comes to gender identity, and my relationship to what I wear seems to sum it up the best. My feelings towards myself are even weirder during the times when I don't know what I am and don't know what I want to be perceived as.

I am scared of telling anyone about this Richardness, this richardmessiness because the thought of losing my cis privilege scares me deeply. When people found out that I am a lesbian they were not surprised because of my short hair and went with it. If I told anyone about my being bigendered they would think I was not right in the head, think that I am a freak, that I have done it, that I've gone insane.

Maybe I am a freak and insane and all that, too, I don't know. Maybe it is all in my head, I never know. Maybe I am a cis woman who defaults to traits that make her feel male, who has been raised with fictional role-models who for most of all replaced her peer group and who were all male, with the sole exception of her sharp-witted, science interested mother who did her PhD in a male-dominated field, too and has similarly traditionally masculine characteristics.

Maybe the ideas of woman that I was raised with were so alien to me that it was utterly incompatible with how I see myself and, because I am not that invested in my own gender or sex, I got it into my head at some point that if people like me were male and people who were sexual and emotional were female I had to be female. Internalised misogyny at its finest, and I can imagine it well.

When trawls on the internet into the realms of other people who believed that there was another identity living inside them lead me to the discovery not only of otherkin, but also of transgendered (I was what, fifteen? Older? It kills me to think that this was the first time that I ever heard of the existence of transness today) and, at last, gendervariant people, they provided me with the vocabulary of expressing non-cisness, my richardness for the first time.

I am still uncomfortable using their terms for myself. I feel as though I might be misusing them without knowing, and I feel as though I am stealing, a magpie going for the shiny concepts and labels she spots in other's nests. I am just a girl from the suburbs, maybe, brought up to search for and proclaim similarities. To compare the things that makes other people considered "weird" in the eyes of people who consider themselves "normal" with the experiences I have, being considered "weird" myself. To think thoughts and think these are profound thoughts and have the urge to share them with other people from the suburbs who will pat my ego and say that indeed, they are profound thoughts. I might be appropriating other's fought-for identities like crazy without realising. Accessoirising again.

Still, I am convinced that somewhere inside me there is an identity that is male, an identity that has been there ever since I was five. I attributed all the traditionally masculine traits to him, too, so maybe he is just a mental construct, like so many of the other mental constructs I have. Still, he is there, and he does not go away, and with the time, I have taken to calling that part of myself Richard, and the other part Birthname, or varieties thereof.

So, sometimes, I am Richard. And I don't know what to do with that information apart from smile like a girl, put on a dress and be feminine, so no one sees him.
Current Mood: confusedconfused
Cissexual and bigendered.
05 November 2009 @ 10:39 pm
My Blackness My Cloak

My blackness is a beautiful cloak
of Selfhood that permeates my soul

So sister – white feminist

When you see
a bit of sun

Don't come
rushing to me

To say
"Look, I'll be as brown
(never black, God forbid)
as you soon"


also common
"I get even darker
than you"

Don't show
your peeling red flesh


I couldn't give a damn.

~ Maud Sulter

In many ways, I am not a very good sister. My relationship with my own brother has always been strained, my relationship with some other women has been full of incomprehension and a complete lack of understanding due to personal failings and a privilege-induced blinkers that I was not aware of.

Ever since my brother reached puberty and I reached young adult-hood, I became a better sister to him, at least. I lost my inherent conviction of my omniscience when it came to matters that were about him. I stopped unthinkingly mothering and started respecting him as a person and stopped seeing him as, well, my baby brother, the person I needed to take care of, the person dependent on others to tell him what he should be doing.

Even later we'd sometimes end up fighting, and then staring at each other in helplessness, willing the other to understand one's own position in life, and yet failing completely. We are still living in different worlds, with completely different attitudes to life, completely different ways of going about things. It was only when we had both matured considerably and done our own thing for a couple of years that we started building trust, mutual respect and appreciation.

The poem above I first encountered in a lesson about otherness and othering, and like all students in the room I wished I would never be the white sister in that poem, the one addressed in such a way which appears exasperated and angry that the words come out only chopped and hasty, between angry breaths. No one wants to be this white sister, who celebrates sameness and conveniently ignores important, defining differences, denying an aspect of self that is of crucial important to this woman who calls her sister, completely down-playing an identity-shaping part of her identity as an accessory.

Throughout reading I hope that the form of address, this exasperated, angry, tired "sister" is sincere, that sisterhood is possible, that it is possible to respectfully acknowledge and to celebrate the differences in each other. I would like to think that sisterhood is possible, that those things that we do have in common can be a foundation for mutual understanding and respect. Still, like in those days when estates of the realm were more important than gender and class, sexuality, being physio-and neurotypical, race and other things eat away at the common ground and tear open gaps which quickly fill with prejudices and misconceptions and stupidity.

I am still learning to be a better sister, every day. It's a slow process for me with many setbacks, shallows to navigate and shallowness to deal with. I hope that one day I can be convinced that I will never be the white sister in that poem, and that I am a good sister to my brother. I owe it to myself and to the people I deal with to be as good as I can be, as aware, as respectful as possible.
Cissexual and bigendered.
04 November 2009 @ 02:37 pm
I come from a German middle-class family. Like my friends, I was raised in the eighties and nineties in one of the villages on the suburban fringe of a bigger city, and like my friends, I felt rather culture-less.

What do people in the possession of excess money and in want of heritage do?


They go shopping.

Back in the day, I started obsessing with early modern Europe and medieval Britain, because countless Fantasy novels had whet my appetite for that. Curiously enough, have never been as interested in German medieval culture, even though there are many similarities. It did not have the glamour, it did not have the prevalence in Fantasy stories, and the names sounded strange to my ears and painfully old-fashioned, whereas the British counterparts were romantic and promising. Also, there were no accessories that I associated with what I thought was authentic for the German middle ages, without quite realising that it was a popculture version of the Romanticist image of the middle ages rather than medieval.

There was nothing I could do to express my mental belonging to this culture, there were no accessories, nothing I could buy, nothing I could hang on the wall or buy - especially given that my parents are literal-minded scientists who think of medieval authenticity today as crumbling ruins and museums and rightfully dismissed my idea of the medieval as fiction. Ren faires were not as common as they are now, and at any rate, I was too shy about my conviction that I would have fared well in this particular period of time that I would have joined.

By the age of ten, when my first English lessons started, my love for the medieval branched out and encompassed the image of Great Britain that German school books used. I fell in love with the cute school uniforms, the dainty hair, the strange obsessions with odd multiple meals, the houses, the culture we read about. I knew I would be disappointed when I first met people from Britain, but this was not the case, my love for their odd-sounding names and their strange little ideosyncrasies like their odd love for really soft toilet paper and candy only grew.

In many ways, I was lucky, because my passion for the British is a passion shared by a lot of people, and there are diverse ways to express your wish to belong to that culture. I started working on my accent until I had lost my German vowels and I could easily pass for a native speaker, if not one from around the area. I copied British appearances and read up on what the British liked doing with fierce devotion. Only when I had completed my intermediate degree of English literature I realised that what I was doing was assimilating, that my passionate love for this literature also meant I was being what a good white person was supposed to be - well-versed in English literature and culture.

Discussions with people from other cultures about culture was always strange to me because I did not realise myself as having any particular culture, as my understanding of culture went. There were no ancient traditions handed down from generations, there were no folk songs that were particularly meaningful to me, my family did not have traditions rooted in any particular area of Germany - everything had to be reinvented after the war, anyway, and in a way, everybody in my family was isolated and on their own, groping for context and belonging.

At the same time, when she was eleven, my best friend had found a mental home in the German portrayal of native Americans. For years, she read up on native Americans and the various peoples and white people's accounts of their customs and the meanings of these, and she collected meaningful jewellery and cultural symbols, wishing herself over there on occasion, far away from the boredom of culture-less suburban middle class Germany. When I visited her once, she had covered her skin in patterns painted in bright colours, and she explained to me the significance of these as deeply spiritual. I thought she was nuts, but then, she was twelve - and an element of that conversation stuck and is present in every discussion I have with fellow-white people wearing bindis or tilakas today.

I imagine that the excessive interest in cultural heritage that I see in many of my US-American friends today was not possible in Germany because being too interested in specifically German culture was looked down upon (racial issues absolutely verboten), and thus, we turned to other cultures in search for culture, for a context, a rhythm, belonging, because we did not feel we did. German traditions, especially in the North, did not seem to be fit to be kept alive, and we could not understand the people who went for the awkward traditional clothes and themed dances in our area we could recognise as cultural. Culture, for us, was not day-to-day experience, being raised on German stories, being raised with my mother tongue, it was peculiar local habits that belonged to the region rather than the people. We did not feel connected to them, and we also did not see why we should be expected to be connected to them, given we had access to what we considered a variety of other more popular, appealing cultures we could choose from.

So I went for the middle ages, and my friend for native Americans, like people fastidiously choosing from a salad bar. I would still like to think that our interests were more refined than those of people who visit actual members of these cultures, gape at them, and take home nice souvenirs because we were feeling a lot of respect for these people, but I realise that we probably were not. We were - and in many ways, we still are - idiots with too much money.

Even later, when I started valuing knowledge above bought objects, I craved belongings that were not mine to have from other cultures - most often their literature. I read everything about Britain and from the British Isles I could get my porky fingers on, I changed some of my habits and started furnishing my speech with references to British cultural artefacts, assimilating nicely.

My best friend still has her dream catcher and her fierce, protective love for some of the religious concepts she read up on back in the day which she still lectures people on, given the chance. She has given up trying to belong and has rather taken up becoming a good German woman, which means combining a successful career and a family, and she is still as politically minded. I am still a dreamer who venerates the British and likes to think that I would be a better, happier person if I had been born on the British Isles. We have changed our accessories, but we are still, at heart, accessorising.

My masculinity feels a lot like that to me today. I have no idea how to express the male part of my identity apart from with the help of objects, as though the objects - masculine clothes, a certain type of shoe - help me truly be male, when everything about my body screams "female" to the cis-centred world around me. Even though the idea of wearing "male" clothes makes me feel comfortable, my body does not look comfortable in it, and it does not even begin to cover both parts of my identity. I don't know how to go about that, what configuration of accessories to use, so I go with my heels and my tie and my waistcoat, feel and look uncomfortable, but manage to signal to groups around me that I identify as genderqueer at least, for gendered clothes are an important and defining accessory in my culture.

I wish I had a different way of relating to concepts, one more centred around experience and performance and less on purchases and accessories, one that guided me to do rather than put on, and I don't even know where to start getting that.
Current Mood: discontentdiscontent
Cissexual and bigendered.
31 October 2009 @ 11:06 am
There are a couple of general assumptions on the power dynamics in a BDSM relationship and gender that drive me up the wall. Online, I participate in discussions with local Germans who are into BDSM rather than with English people, and most of the discussions I have on English sites are on kink rather than BDSM.

The difference between the two of them was not always clear to me and still is not. It seems to be that kink is a more flexible term, encompassing all manner of sexual practices, some of which are also common in BDSM. It always seems to be ultimately sexually oriented, though, whereas BDSM seems to encompass acts which are not immediately connected to having sex, too. Kink seems to have become mainstream, and while BDSM and BDSM communities always had their problems, there are some mainstream assumptions that seem to infiltrate kink as they go along.

The first, most often-encountered assumption is that: 

dominant = doing the penetrating.
Which is puzzling. Of course, this comes from a bastion of heteronormative cisfolk in M/f relationships, so they probably don't give any "exceptions" from this rule the time of day. Still, does that really mean that women submit to male dominance when they are penetrated during vanilla sex? Does penetrative sex always reinforce the binary that the power is with the person who penetrates?

I've seen it a lot, especially among people who are kinky, that when people refer to submissive people in general, they will use female pronouns to refer to them and male pronouns to refer to dominant people. I've challenged such things before, and usually they do switch to other pronouns as an afterthought, but the absolute conviction with which they chose these pronouns before still bothers me. Often, they are repeat offenders, too, and it doesn't just seem to be a linguistic problem rather than the view that,

feminine = submissive
masculine = dominant.
In general, feminine people apparently can't be dominant, unless they are male-gaze-catering and their actions are oriented to be visually pleasing for a male audience, and masculine people can't be submissve, especially not if they are male. This is a part where BDSM mirrors real life power dynamics that I really, really have problems with, and what bothers me is not so much that people actively use the present power structures in play, but rather the all-pervasive, underlying assumption that this is always true.

Something about being submissive seems to be in-built in femininity and damaging to masculinity for many people. It  makes sense, seeing as how the traits commonly associated with being dominant are also associated with being male, and given how male people are brought up to protect, with violence, if necessary, their masculinity, how a loss of masculinity is being associated with a loss of face and dignity in a way that I don't think a loss of femininity could ever imply, especially given how perversive femmephobic tendencies are.

I would have never believed how pervasive these traits are even during sexual play, given how many other things are reversed or changed. For example, I am a non-violent person when I am not playing. I am a pacifist, I am against violence, and against violent language. It is a vital part of my identity. In play, I am a rapist, a torturer, a violent parent. I would be mortified if anyone mixed the two, and seeing people (especially certain anti-BDSM radical feminists) proclaim that I must be a violent misogynist upsets me deeply. This not being a gendered trait, it's possibly a bad example, but even gendered traits can be changed during play. Being brought up as a girl, if not a very feminine one, I was required to be pleasant, passive, and friendly to everybody, to be quiet and gentle, receptive. In play, I am active, controlling, and definitely not gentle, though I remain receptive, friendly, and quiet.

It baffles me that what occurs during play constitutes such an active threat to masculinity, even given that it is play, if it does not incapacitate my personality. Play is a place outside the rules of the real world, where rules that have been previously agreed on apply, after all. I suppose that my gender expression must have been more liberal, that cisfemales are maybe allowed greater flexibility in their gender presentation that results in fewer negative sanctions from their peer group and society in general when they go against them.

Still, I want that people are aware of all the femme male doms out there, of the het butch male submissives, the het femme male submissives, of femme female doms, of all the other people who do not fit into the neat binary that common kink assumptions allow. Surely, if you can broaden your mind enough to allow the idea sexual practices that are not the norm, taking it a step further to encompass kink in people who have gender presentations that don't fit the norm can't be too hard?
Current Mood: annoyedannoyed
Cissexual and bigendered.
26 October 2009 @ 10:02 pm
There are statistics that give me nightmares, especially those relating to suicide, suicidal behaviour, and LGBT youths. As a future teacher who has done some training as well as a former student I know how unhealthy schools can be as an environment, how clueless and cruel students can be, and I have no doubt that, given the amount of time students spend in school, school has to factor into the reasons why people attempt suicide.

I have an inkling of what it's like as a gay youth, only an inkling, seeing as I was not even certain of my own sexuality back in my own school days, and I can't imagine what it is like as a trans* youth. My not very stereotypical gender presentation was a reason why I was harassed, though, and the one trans guy I knew back then was tortured relentlessly. No one should have to go through what he went through. And even without the mobbing is the ignorance I see in so many cisfolk, even the well-meaning ones are prone to get things horribly wrong, causing harm as they go along. If what they do is comparable to well-meaning hets, I think I can imagine how frustrating and horrible it can get at school.

The thing is - everyone makes mistakes. Especially with regards to areas of life with which you haven't previously been confronted, you are prone to error and to fuck up. As a person working in education, I know this, and I know it takes a while for people to take up new ideas and fit them into their heads in a way that fits, usually feeling them and turning them and sticking them in their mouth or banging them against things before they finally fit the right idea into the slot where it's supposed to be in. I know that making mistakes is necessary. They are simply a by-product of education, of a person's process of growing. The problem is that the process which leads a person to extract valuable input from any sort of input and allows them to fit it into their system also means that a lot of shit is produced along with that.

School serves as a moratorium in which experimenting, making mistakes, is allowed, in which these do not have the same consequences they would in the real world. However, when lives are on the line, as is clearly the case, considering the statistics, there is no room for these mistakes here, and education has to happen, and soon, and school must never educate at the cost of others, and many education programs seem to consider othering a good way to educate.

I do not know how to educate my students about their cisness without causing them to fuck up, without causing them to be ignorant and hateful towards those who are not cis*. I don't know how to educate students without effecting that students who are not considered normal are singled out in yet another way, without handing the people torturing them yet another set of weapons. I have seen similar things happen after LGB educating sessions - instructors from the local LGB center would drop by (Ts have their own organisations where I come from, the two don't always mix), and immediately afterwards, the information leaflets were all cruelly handed to one guy, whom all suspected to be gay. The weeks after that event were not fun for him, a quiet guy who was more feminine than his peers. 

It only helped to make people who were likely to mob and harass others more conscious of more ways in which to mob and harass, and this is a problem that I don't know how to prevent. If mobbing and torture at school meet ignorance and hostility outside of school, I don't see a lot of hope for people who are not part of what is considered the norm to be accepted, to get comfortable, to stay healthy emotionally.
Current Mood: worriedworried
Cissexual and bigendered.
25 October 2009 @ 10:52 am
I don't believe for a minute that anyone would choose to transition simply based on a paraphilia, even if they are steeped into it to any extreme, but I also don't doubt that it exists as a paraphilia (and what doesn't?). 

While there are so many studies on trans women and their supposedly paraphilic ways and also, thankfully, studies of ciswomen who are also surprisingly steeped in the delusion that being a woman can be sexy, what I'm really interested in is whether any of those fandom cisgirls who fetishize gay guys are affected at all. I would not be surprised if there was some sort of correlation there. Especially among some ERPGers it wouldn't surprise me.

Own tendencies, cut for innocent eyesCollapse )
Current Mood: curiouscurious
Cissexual and bigendered.
23 October 2009 @ 08:59 pm
I am convinced that if I was a guy, I'd be a "Nice Guy". Well, that is the worst case scenario, in the best case scenario, I'd be like Jeff in Herland. I'd fancy myself chivalric, I'd be devoted to the woman I'm in love with, and I'd feel a gratified little submissive twitch whenever the woman of my dreams asked me to do something for her. I can see myself now, doing her a stupid little favour and feeling all soft and melty inside because this means that I was of use to her in some small way, and that gives me a strange sort of power over her, and her over me. She'd have the power to use me, to send me on errands, and I'd have the power to do things for her, and I'd be useful and empowered.

I'm glad that I am not a guy, because this sort of thing paired with male privilege would have resulted in me being a total and utter creep.

This may mean that I don't give myself a lot of credit, but I suppose without being female I might have never noticed that I am gender deviant. I might have reasoned away all the things that are not quite cis about me. My female side I'd have interpreted as a Romanticist streak, a being-in-touch with my softer side. My desire to be a woman sometimes I'd probably have thought of as an active imagination and a desire to "understand better".

I am convinced that I am a better person because I was born female. Given my xenophobia and social inhibitions when it comes to unknown parts of the population I would have had a hard time relating to women, and I would have been much happier with my image of what a woman is supposed to be, keeping them on a mental pedestal, as an idea rather than as people.

Maybe I don't give myself enough credit, but I am fairly convinced that the circumstances that led me to think about gender were all directly related to me being a woman. This is sad, and I wish I could say more positive things about me, but it's true. It is of course possible that, as a guy, similar reactions and feedback would have made me consider gender, that my Nice Guy- paired with my submissive streak would have made me read up on feminism to understand the objects of my desires better, but I am quite sure that ultimately, I would have remained clueless, because I am convinced that whatever negative feedback about my own gender expression I could have received, I would have never been hard-pressed to find a sound role-model encouraging me to keep being me, and nothing to make me question my gender.
Current Mood: disappointeddisappointed
Cissexual and bigendered.
22 October 2009 @ 09:54 pm
I am all cissexual and mostly cisgendered. Mostly, but not entirely. Half and half.

During most situations on most days, if you'd meet  me, you'd meet a cis-ish woman being open as and friendly as possible. I smile at people. I nod, I chat, I listen attentively. If I like people, I might add some of the jolly fat girl. Then, depending on the occasion, I am someone with stern eyebrows and a stern look. I can be quite dominant, too, but usually, I make a point of being nice, just nice, with large, brown eyes and slightly raised eyebrows so I look non-threatening and quiet. My voice  usually gives me away. If I am being a nice girl, my voice is higher than it is at home. When I am less concerned about being nice and more concerned with making a point, my voice is sharp and authoritative, but still female; then, I am being dominant and assertive. It's a mode reserved for my job, mostly, and adult entertainment, but that is another matter entirely.

When I am thinking of nothing, like before I fall asleep, or when I am concentrating on other things than social situations, when there is no one around I have to perform for, then I am male. I am male, a quiet guy, who reads a lot and submissively dreams chivalric dreams, who adores strong, masculine women and quietly melts when he gets the chance to help one of them in even the most insignificant ways. This is the most private layer of myself, and it does not have a voice, the part of me that hardly anyone has ever seen, because as soon as someone else joins me, there are always a myriad of cunning reflections and roles that I put on to provide them with a few footholds and clues to pigeon-hole me effectively.

I find myself doing that for everybody. My fiancée probably sees more of me than anyone else, and yet, there is a prism of situations through which she usually can only catch broken glimpses of me in my natural state. When I am with my students, I find myself stern and female. When I am with older people, like my grandparents' friends, I suddenly find myself being more girlish and feminine. When I am with men of roughly my age, I am awkward, always sounding how they treat me, and usually I go into buddy mode and my voice becomes deeper and raspier. When I am with other women, I am suddenly a jolly fat girl or a good listener, my voice either becomes quiet and soft, or significantly higher.  When I am with people who take my short hair more seriously than others, I find myself suddenly being a very out lesbian and my voice goes rough and deep again. When I am with other gender variant people, I usually withdraw into myself, ashamed of myself because I don't know how to give that what lives inside me any kind of expression and become longing and mute.

I have taken to call that part of me Richard and had various names for the female parts of my identity, but so far, he is only the product of my head. Maybe, I think, maybe, he is only there because I lived in a world and was raised on stories that had male characters as role-models and could only ever identify with male characters. Later, I was subtly given to understand that male characters were the norm, and that women were strange and exotic creatures - all the poets I loved, all the authors I adored wrote as though this was truth, so it had to be, surely? That as well as the fact that I was never very invested in my gender as a part of my identity to begin with must have left its mark, and maybe this is what happened.
Current Mood: confusedconfused
Cissexual and bigendered.
21 October 2009 @ 06:12 pm
When I think about my gender today, I still don't know what I am. I always thought that it would sort itself out when I grew up, that things would suddenly click into place and I would get an idea of what it meant to be a woman, if that description fit me.

Then, I met a guy who was dealing with problems that struck me as similar to mine - and he thought he was an alien. Back then, I was sixteen, and the idea had a strange appeal to me. It fit so neatly. Even though it did not, strictly speaking, fit my world view that there might be an alien living in my head, how else could I explain that when I was alone, I felt as though I would grow up to be a stuffy, pipe-smoking guy rather than a woman? It could be alien influence.

It could mean that it was someone else's fault, and did not mean that I was wrong, it could be something that someone had done to me rather than my own inability to grasp what it means to be a woman, or even think of myself as one.

I tried making up names for that alien part of my identity, but it did not work. When we started covering the Romantics and Neoclassicism at school I noticed that The Female was supposed to be about irrationality and emotion and nature, and The Male about creation and activity and being rational and thinking, and I felt around inside of me and tried to see if I could split myself into those two parts, if I could just assign my maleness all in me that was rational and my femaleness all my emotions. It did not work.

By that time, I was getting desperate, and I did not have many friends, so I did not have many role-models for either of my genders. The guy I met did not seem a very good role-model when it came for men, because he was an alien, but one of my friends' brothers was so tantalisingly close to what I wanted to be that I decided to be in love with him. I adored him with pathetic devotion. I hoped that he would choose me to be his girlfriend so I could learn how to be his complement, because that's how I understood men and women to work, as complements, how to be part of him if I could not be him. I suppose it is lucky that he never did and that half a year after I decided to stop thinking about that guy and briefly dated another man.

I was so scared of the first date (I was nineteen) that I got my mother to drive me because my knees would not stop shaking. That ought to have been a sign that it was not a good idea to go in the first place. I felt oddly female that day, but I also felt wrong in my skirt, dressed up, in drag. I was convinced that there was something wrong with me afterwards. Had I not just turned down a beautiful man because I was convinced that what he wanted was all girl and what I wanted was not a man who wanted a girl? That was sick.

I drove home on the train, having fled from the cinema before the movie was over and before midnight, but in full possession of both my boots, and was convinced that there was a man with me in this dress, a man who was me, who did not like men that way.

I stopped thinking of myself as alien at some point because the metaphor had worn thin and did not fit any more. I was also shocked, because it transpired that the guy who introduced me to it really meant it. His parents put him in therapy and after a lot of deliberation he started transitioning to what we had always seen him as. I saw him happy, for the first time in his life, and he seemed to stop wishing he could go back to his planet when he got his passport changed to his name.

It was his sister who later said I might be transgendered or genderqueer, and it would take me years to see the truth in that conversation. At first, I was just offended. Couldn't girls have short hair? Did it mean that my performance was wrong in some way? Where had I made mistakes? Was my clothing not appropriately feminine? Didn't I wear enough make-up to draw attention from my short hair to my large, brown eyes? Didn't I do everything I could to evoke the impression that I was a helpless, little girl, charming, studious, inoffensive, a teacher's pet? 

My daily performance was a collaboration. I was an old man, who was possibly an alien, inside a girl's body and my friend saw right through us and saw, too, what would take me years to find out - that there was no "us", that there was only a very lost "me" who had no templates to fit into to realise the truth of that, too.
Current Mood: blankblank
Cissexual and bigendered.
20 October 2009 @ 01:22 pm
Pleased to meet you!

Growing up I was careless. I did what I liked, read what I liked, was shown the wonders of nature and maths and languages by my parents and grandparents. Neither Kindergarten nor school did anything to change my carefree attitude towards my identity.

And then, I turned seven. One day I looked in the mirror and saw something weird - I saw that I was female. I had not realised this before, even though I knew that I was not a boy, that I was a girl. It was the first time I attached any kind of meaning to this distinction. This realisation and what it meant was strange to me, because I had been growing up with the feeling that I would be a man, I had been utterly convinced I would be. I had no idea where this knowledge came from, it was just something I had always known.

After that point, the conviction did not change, but it had to make room for another part of me, the part that was apparently female and belonged with the other girls. Even in my teens, in my head, I still thought of myself as male, but I responded when I learned I ought to be more female. I invested in make-up and tried to fit into the "female nerd"-stereotype to make it easier for others to deal with me. It worked, they still disliked me, but they did not torture me anymore.

I grew up to be a woman. Maybe. Or a man. Possibly. Or something else entirely.
Current Mood: excitedexcited
Cissexual and bigendered.
I've only recently found that the term "bigender" describes my gender identity best. I always thought I was genderqueer! Well, not true, throughout my teens, I was convinced that I was overall "weird" in some undefineable way. My weirdness was in part due to my being a man for as long as I can remember, and then later also a girl or a woman on occasion. I grew up to be both, but most of the time, I am a man, presenting female, because my body doesn't lend itself to passing as male.

The question in the title line is taken from a rather unpleasant discussion I had with the leader of a local transgender community which, in spite of its inclusive description, is geared at transsexuals only, which I did not know. When I asked if I could join, I was told that it was a space exclusively for transsexuals, and when I apologised and said that I had not wanted to invade their space, but had thought that it was a space for people from the transgender spectrum, too, she asked me to explain what I identify as and when I explained, asked the above. How do you know it's not all in your head.

My answer ("Well, er, I just, er, know?"), while lacking in eloquence, sums up my view of this, and I have been pondering the question ever since. How do I know? What if I am just a terminally confused and mentally ill woman trying to take on a male identity?

For me, it was simply a feeling that I am not like other girls that I remember having as early as with four years of age. I was always convinced that I would grow up to be a man. My image of myself was always that of a man, and I also always had a vague notion of how I would ideally look like, and even though I knew that would not happen, it was what felt right. I still feel like that person, even though I look completely different. 

The question made me wonder- what if I have simply been so influenced by outside circumstances that I don't feel like a girl out of a deeply internalised misogyny? What if I was just so exposed to media without a female point of view that I simply took on a male one for my own? What if I am really just a confused woman? 
Cissexual and bigendered.
25 January 2009 @ 12:42 pm
On one of my local BDSM newsgroups, a woman has recently told us the story of her coming out. She is a young single mum, lives in a tiny village next to a bigger, but not particularly liberal city, and she told some of the parents she was hoping to befriend at the kindergarten her daughter goes to. They reacted very disturbed and now their relationship is changed completely. She has lost all people she has had contact to previously, and it seems as though one of them is spreading the news around, as other parents have started giving her funny looks and avoiding her, too.

While I think that her situation is horrible, I do not understand, for the life of me, why she felt the need to tell these people, people she did not really know. She could not understand their reaction, as she is not hugely involved in the lifestyle and her preferences are pretty much limited to the bedroom. She just wanted them to know, felt the need that she should tell them - it seems that she sat them down and explained rather than mentioning it in a conversation. I do not understand that.

"Coming out" is of course a big topic in my other minority community. The pressure to "come out" is something that has been driving me crazy within the LGBT community in recent years, as it has become something that is almost expected of LGBT individuals. When they do not come out, they are ridiculed as closet cases, when they do, there is a huge amount of I-always-knew and told-you-so among the LGBT and straight community. People who perceive their sexuality as non-heterosexual are so pressured into "coming out" and sometimes come out twice when they find out that they are, indeed, not lesbians, but bi- or pansexual. I hate the pressure that is put upon people and I had no idea that it had reached our BDSM community.

Now, with this poor lady, had she told her friends because she wanted to I would have still found it difficult to understand her decision, but what throws me is that she felt the need that she had to tell these people. 

Why is there this feeling that those who are not sexually normal have to declare that they are different? It does not seem to happen for the benefit of the person revealing the news. In her case, so far, it cost her all the contact to people she had before. Maybe she is helping the understanding for BDSM folks a lot, because everybody perceived her as normal before her revelation, and she continues being herself, so they will eventually grow back together, possibly, but right now, she is putting herself through weeks of being ostracised because she felt she had to tell them.

With LGBT folks as well as BDSM lifestylers and, indeed, those who belong to both groups, I can see the need to explain some things to people as soon as it becomes apparent that it is a large part of their life. If I am walking down the street, hand in hand with my fiancée, that is a statement about my sexual preferences. It's the same when a friend of mine takes her pet for walkies on a lead. It is extremely visible, it cannot be explained away, and it makes a coming out inevitable. It does mean that the "coming out" part is skipped and people fast forward directly to the explanation.

With people for whom parts of their sexuality is not that visible, I do not understand the need to "come out" to anyone apart from prospective partners. I would never talk about my strap-on and the joys of flogging my fiancee with people I have just met, as I do not feel that it is necessary for them to know intimate details about my sex life.

Why do people who belong to minorities feel so pressured into revealing their deviancy to those who appear to belong to the norm? It does not seem to be about visibility or freedom, but rather about warning others, spreading gossip, appearing special. Those who are pressured into coming out before feeling comfortable or having established that their environment is so supportive that they won't be ostracised are driven to stigmatise themselves through this pressure.

While I hope that the stigma is ultimately changed through the increased visibility, I just don't see that happening.
Current Mood: worriedworried
Cissexual and bigendered.
16 January 2007 @ 02:58 am
I have power. Only ever the power you give me, even though I take it. I am living with the consciousness that I am able to deal with that power, too, that I want to be the one in control, need to be the one in control. Or not?

Is this my role? Am I really able to do this? Do I really know how to deal with this kind of power, or am I too understanding, too social, too cooperative? In the end, too comfy, too cozy, too nurturing, too female? And yet, can you be too understanding when you vow to discipline someone?

All we have done has been restrained, restricted, ordered.
There was always a reason to be extremely careful, there was always a thin wall, sleeping relatives, neighbours, settlements nearby, people who might hear and think god-knows what. Even in the forest. Therefore, there have been few moments when I felt I could grasp the extent to which we might go. There is a point at which the only thing that satisfies me is hurting you just a little bit more, and to hell with principles and even self-control. Just a little more, just a little more control, and then the world turns red and hot and there is only you and me and the pain I am causing.

And yet, I do not dare to explore that right now. Whenever I have caught sight of that edge, I have panicked, backed away, backed down, denied. Denied you and me. I do not know how to handle this part of me yet. It is there, and yet I always feel as though I was unworthy, not humble, not knowing enough to claim that control, that power, and part of me wants to step back and retreat and do another scene instead of this that shows me a part of me that I do not feel ready to see yet.
But how can I find out? How do I go there? Where is the path? There is no precedence. There is no advice. Those who have found their role are secure and safe in it and seem so unwavering, more unwavering than I could ever be.

Is this carefulness silly and cowardly or sensible? I feel it would do damage to go this far just yet. I do not feel comfortable with the thought that hurting you as much as I would be in order, would be good, for you and me. Whenever that edge appears I suddenly start feeling unworthy of my role, I feel like an amateur, a small girl playing, a cheap charade of the Domme you deserve. I become aware of the fact that you are taller than me, and have more strength than me, by submitting. Is bearing responsibility for you and leading you strength, too? Is running from that edge strength?

I fear that intensity, that heat. I fear not being able to stand it. I fear a destructive emotion so strong. I fear becoming like my father, who abused the emotional power he had over us so, so often. What if I am not the Master I thought I was? What if I am a slave in spite of everything? Is it a lack of trust that makes me take control instead of submitting? How do I find out?
How can I be whole, be one?

I want to be a chivalric knight, a mother, a Master, father, a Mistress, a Gentleman, a servant, an owner, a whore.
I want to take, control, bind, strike, beat, caress, massage, order, serve, fill, feel, master.

Right now, I am a ridiculous patchwork of roles and identities. Something tells me it should be difficult, but not impossible to be one, to control oneself and thereby control others. Am I a "real" Master? What is a real Master? Do "real" Masters tire of their Mastery and long for nothing more than to not be in charge anymore for once?

Should I walk to that edge and see what happens when I go beyond it? Would that answer my question of whether I am a "real" Master or not?
Current Mood: confusedconfused
Cissexual and bigendered.
04 January 2007 @ 10:11 pm
It is spring.

Outside, the birds have told each other, themselves and me so for the last month, even though there have been bouts of frost now and then.
Don't you know it is spring?

They say, in their tcheeping and their singing and their building nests. Plants suddenly start blooming, being noticeable to people who do not usually watch plants.

Look, it is spring.

They say as they and point to the brightly coloured, plasticky flowers of the croci around them. Spring, the world's favourite image of growing and positive change. Goethe and hundreds of amateur laureates come to mind.

And they are right, it is. Things all around me are changing, growing, and the scents in the air and the strong winds sometimes move me to think that there is something growing, changing in me as well. Parts of me I have ever known were there but never really paid attention to, being worried of what might happen, are being inspected now, the potentials explored and noted, like the bulbs of a plant. Possibilities are permanently in the air for those who have learnt or not yet forgotten to expect them. The empty flowerbed might produce brightly coloured flowers the other day, the birds might build their nest in that tree over there.

What can I be?

Where can I go? It has become clear that whatever I am, I am nowhere near finding my role, what I can be, what I am. I want to see that edge I so fear, and see what effects it has on me and you, and yet something holds me back. It is not even pleasant to think about it, the feeling itself is not entirely blissful, either, it is mainly heat, although a lot of it seems like a cold, controlled rage. This heat, so intensive that it no longer feels good but almost destructive for me as well as you?
I have wondered whether this is what it "is supposed to" feels like, but since it is so different for everyone it is hard to share experiences.

Do I even want this to be part of my identity?
Has it ever been NOT part of my identity?

And what is identity and role, these mutable, unfixed constructs? I want to become, and fear that I find out that I cannot because I have never been. I want to be, but fear that I cannot for the simple reason that I am not, the potential I feel turning out to be imagined.
In these thoughts, thoughts on the psyche of my father and its effect on me ever mingle with my feelings for actions and planned actions. What if I become like him? I know that I am not, but I fear that this heat, this intensity is what constructs his uncontrolled cold rage at us back then. I do not want anything of that sort in me. I have felt the damage it can do, and I do not want to have to watch and cage my feelings on a permanent basis, because what happens if I do explore this, and then suddenly my mood changes? What if I do become irascible, violent?

I want to be ever controlled, and I am, but I fear that if I go to that edge I have not seen I will lose that control and turn into him. But without having seen that edge, I do not feel I can be much of the Master I want to be.  Can I change to be that person I want to become?

Dare I?
Current Mood: confusedconfused
Cissexual and bigendered.
Not even the remnants of the good old days, the golden MOO and MUD days, are safe any longer! Even the LambdaMOO... I can remember the place being fairly harmless and PG-13.  

I walked in and ten minutes later I have been deeply immersed in a conversation about canings. Goodness... They are everywhere! Tell someone you've cained someone, and they immediately tell them about the fact that they have been harbouring exactly that fantasy for years. Of course, they might all be just making things up, but things like these have happened far too often for that being the case.

The person I met also told me they were in a school in which corporal punishment was still being used, and that they were looking for someone to cane them - a man in his forties, or pretending to be, from London, or pretending to be, a switcher, or pretending to be. Very weird. 

I am not sure if this mainstreaming of my pet subculture is a reason to be glad or weary. Especially gothy teenagers who pretend to be Subs because they allegedly "love the pain" are not only getting on my nerves, but make me fear for their safety as well.

In the last year, I have heard from friends twice that there have been incidents in which teenagers have built up wrong impressions of themselves online, to meet doms whom they had met online before, and to break down completely after what happened  because they never believed it was going to become serious, or had never really thought about what the pretty fantasies they had invented meant in real life.

Maybe I have just become more sensitive to the subject, but it also seems as though that's getting more and more frequent, and I don't like this trend at all.
Current Mood: amusedamused
Cissexual and bigendered.
09 September 2006 @ 12:04 am
you are fragile, too fragile, too fragile even to hold. Let us turn the tables and

See, I want to be slave of your hands, your beauty, want to serve your eyes, your intellect, your body, your wishes.

I want to give you all you ever need, you want, you lack, lift all balefulness, all those little inconveniences of daily life, want to stroke, massage away all those worries, fears, tear you out of your wanton timeliness, whose slave you are like all, want to give you back a piece of
untimeliness, a piece of your lost eternity, a piece of rest, in love, in warmth, in soft, warm, caring, carrying, bearing emptiness of thoughts.

Only feel.
Only be.
Cissexual and bigendered.
11 January 2006 @ 12:04 am
Being your slave, what should I do but tend
Upon the hours and times of your desire?
I have no precious time at all to spend,
Nor services to do, till you require.

Nor dare I chide the world-without-end hour
Whilst I, my sovereign, watch the clock for you,
Nor think the bitterness of absence sour
When you have bid your servant once adieu;

Nor dare I question with my jealous thought
Where you may be, or your affairs suppose,
But, like a sad slave, stay and think of nought
Save, where you are how happy you make those.

So true a fool is love that in your will,
Though you do any thing, he thinks no ill.

-- William Shakespeare, Sonnet LVII