The making of a new word: Oddism

Trollhare made the word in Swedish, Uddism, and I defined it:

Oddism: The belief that all people are odd, strange, un-normal and unik. Normality is destructive and repressive, mostly self-repressive. Normality is our enemy; a ruling system that must be overthrown.

There is no normal human beings! Ergo normality is a fraud.

My post in Norwegian Damned be the demand of normality!

Why I'm not a feminist

I’ve discussed this a lot during summer. I believe that every human being have equal rights. I’m against opression on all grounds, including gender and sex. I find conservative gender-roles repulsive. But I do not want to call myself a feminist. Feminism is a set of theories of what is wrong with the world and what to do about it. So of course men can be feminists.

And still I don’t label myself a feminist. Les videre

Why did it take me so long?

Aaron H. Devor has written an article called Witnessing and Mirroring: A Fourteen Stage Model of Transsexual Identity Formation in Journal of Gay and Lesbian Psychotherapy, 8 (1/2), 41-67. I recommend it. It’s well written and quite easy to understand.

The article got me thinking again about why I didn’t realize my transsexuality at a younger age. I try not to regret it, not to be bitter, but it’s hard. Time after time I was told at the Norwegian Gender Clinic, that if I just had realized throughout my childhood and at least puberty; then I would have fit the transsexual box. Then I would have gotten the treatment that I need. So why was I so stupid that I didn’t understand what was wrong with me?

1. Cildhood. Nobody ever tried to push me into a girl-role. I was just me and didn’t get much trouble for it.

2. Puberty. Too much happened at the same time in my life. My family moved when I was 12 and I didn’t make any friends. I’m still not sure as to why, but probably my failure to be a proper girl did have something to do with it, along with a lot of other reasons.

3. Books. So for the next 6 years I lived my life in the books. I forgot I had a body. That didn’t matter when reading anyway. A Norwegian author named Elin Brodin had a lot of «female» protagonists falling in love with gay men. I identified strongly with those «women» and bought their rejection of altering their bodies in any way. If they could live like that, I could too. As soon as I grew up and could move away to a city.

4. Sexual orientation. I always knew I liked guys. And for a long time my sexual identity overruled my gender identity. At the same time I was unable to see myself as a straight girl. I felt like a gay man, but everyone and everything told me that was untrue. All the transmen I saw in the media was really macho and presumably heterosexual. If I had to like girls to be a transsexual man, then I had to be a girl, although I didn’t feel like one. Thanks to Lukas for revealing that transmen can be gay too!

To deal with this I have two options:
1. To blame myself and my past. I should be angry at my parents for accepting me as a child, be angry at myself for taking refuge in the books and hating myself for being gay.
2. To blame the image for transsexuals that I was presented and still have to fulfill to get diagnosis and treatment.

I’ve always preferred outward anger to inward anger; hate the world rather than myself. Until I can get to a point of peace, I will continue so. Inward anger is the path to destroying myself. I refuse to blame myself for not having enough problems in my childhood and puberty. Outward anger is hopefully the path to destroying the GID-clinic and the narrow concept of transsexualism.

See also:

Reasons I once had not to transition

T-boy Jacky: I was never  tomboy

Matt Kailey

Stealth for a day

I met an aquintance of a friend of mine today. Usually when I meet new people, I drop some comment, a hint, that I am trans. Today, after realizing that nobody questioned my maleness, I decided not to, even when we talked about how I was always reading when I was a kid, or when we talked about my book.

It was nice to get to talk about something else for a change. Usually, my hints and comments result in a lot of questions, and I am usually ok with that. I like to enlighten people about trans-issues. I guess I just have had enough with the speak I gave at Jafnadr (Nordic Queer Youth Festival) this week and the speak I will be giving at EuroPride.

I recent the opinion that transpeople have a duty to reveal our past to everyone. It should not be a duty, but something one does out of conviction, a step in trying to make this a better world for all trans-people.

This day gave me a peak into the world of stealth living. Les videre

Caring about this moment

Jacky and Ryan writes about how it shouldn’t matter if being queer or trans is a choice. And I agree. His bottom line is this:

I’m not that concerned about the WHY of things. I am more concerned with my life as it is right now.
Why I’m trans doesn’t matter. Whether or not its a product of nature, or nurture, or just a particularly convincing delusion I am under, it really doesn’t matter.
My choice is all that matters.

There’s nothing wrong with being queer… so why does it matter if I choose this path?

We choose to act or not to act. I’m not concerned either about the why. It also reminds me of something the psychiatrist at the GID-clinic said. They were not convinced that my gender identity will stay male. I am convinced, of course, but that doesn’t matter to them. And who can predict anything about the future with certainty? Me neither.

But if I choose to change my body to make it look more male, I know that will feel better than to have a female body. I never wanted a female body, I just accepted it as my destiny for far too long. I can’t imagine that I’ll ever want that body back, but if so, I should be mature enough to take responsibility for my own actions. Judging from my experiences, that won’t be a problem. Feelings of regret are almost non-existant in my life so far. Not because I’ve always taken the best decisions, but because I’m able to see that I didn’t have the means to handle the situation  better at the time. I intend to keep it that way.

What I care about is making the best possible decisions today so that I can have a better life in the future. And, yes, it should be mine to make.

TransPride-poem

I found this over at Ryan’s blog and liked it so much that I’ll add it here too. Most of all for myself to see when my existence is being questioned.

If ever a real man existed
He was trans

You know why we rock YOUR world?
Because we’ve seen the best and worst of both

We are fighters.
Champions
Survivors
Lovers
Listeners
Boulders

Not just because we were made this way
But because we chose to carry on

We don’t need your pity
We don’t need your accusations
Or your psychological analysis

We know who we are
And we’re probably a lot more stable than you will ever be

If you had the power to stand
When chains were dragging you down
The power to survive alone
When no one was around
If you had found compassion
In no one other than yourself

You have become a real man
Without the pity of someone else

just gimme some freakin T.

From The Hottest Transbois

Organisations

I’m thinking about starting a new organisation, but beginning to have some doubts. My recent experiences with organisations are not good. That’s why I want to start a new one in the first place. But I’m starting to wonder if any organisation can be a positive experience. I’ve seen an organisation almost destroy the people who most believed in it’s good causes and did the most to achieve it’s goals. I’ve seen organisations refuse to listen to it’s memebers and be marginalized because of it. I’ve seen people dissapointed in organisations, I’ve seen it leading to isolation and depression. I’ve seen an organisation destroyed by roumors and personal disagreements turned into hate-campaigns. Right now, almost all the organisations I know have left nothing but despair in their trail. I don’t want to contribute to another personal or organisational disaster.

Will there always be hurtful fights that result in people loosing their energy and faith in people?

Is it possible to create a true democratic organisation that actually gets things done and not bury itself in boring paperwork?

I’m really not sure any longer. Maybe I’m better off on my own?

Can I change the world on my own?

Les videre

The nearest book

I found this at Anginae’s blog and thought it would be fun. Especially since the pile of books beside my couch consists of books I’ve not had the time to read yet.

1.  Pick up the nearest book.

2.  Open to page 123.

3.  Find the fifth sentence.

4.  Post the next three sentences.

The book on top of the pile was Transgendered – Theology, Ministry and Communities of Faith by Justin Tanis.

Discuss this issue thoroughly with program leadership and with transgendered people within the community. Where the group intends to include transgendered people, say so explicitly. Transgendered people are accustomed to being excluded; you need to make your inclusion as broad as possible and obvious to all participants.

The title of the chapter is Creating a Genuine Welcome for Trans People in Communities of Faith, but judging from these few sentences, it might be a good idea for any organisation or meeting to read it. I actually look more forward to reading other chapters, like «Gender Variance and the Scriptures», «Gender as a Calling» and Transgendered Body Theology». If I just had the time for all the things I’d like to do!

Society of Friends – Finding my religion?

I’m very excited! This weekend I’ve managed to organize a retreat with the Quakers/Society of Friends here in Tromsø. It’s gonna be real interesting and hopefully thw Society will provide me with a home for my religious belief.

I’ve been a member of the Norwegian Church all my life but  I’m finding it more and more unfulfilling and less satisfactory. I’m tired of fighting the right-wing and do not believe in the sacraments any more, at least not the baptism of children. My father is a reverend there, and I’m rebelling against the thought that any individual is closer to God than any other just because of it’s education and occupation.

So it’s not far fetched to think that the Quakers would be my cup of tea. In addition, I find the thought of «that of God within us all» very empowering and true. They are also the only christian society who want to marry gays. I don’t want to fight to get into a church with all of myself. I just want to find a place where I can have peace with God and a community that respects me. I don’t think that’s too much to ask for. I want to find a society of friends and hope I’ve found it.

What if I was born with a male body?

Cheerful Megalomaniac wrote earlier today: «I have to be honest, I wish with all my heart that I could have just been a normal guy, but I know that if I had been a normal guy, I probably would have been an entirely different person… and I kinda like me how I am.»

That reminded me of some things people have told me, like jokes, but serious deep down:

  • «If you had a penis, you’d be at home wanking all day long», my ex-boyfriend used to say – yeah, I guess. In stead I’m involving myself in queer politics, writing and a lot of other more productive activities.
  • «You know that you can get away with that just because you’re a girl? If I did that, people would think I was a misogynist macho-prick», a friend of mine said. – I’m afraid it’s true. I do a lot of things that are considered cool for a woman to do or say, but a sign of less intelligence if a man does it. And now I have to re-think some of my habits and ways of expression. If I’d been born a boy physically, I guess I’d never had to think about this stuff, and I would probably be really unconcious towards sexism.
  • I also have some typically male flaws that get balanced by my female upbringing.

I actually don’t think I would have been a very nice person if my body matched my soul and mind from the start. As I’m getting older, I’m beginning to like who I am. After I started my new life as a man, I feel more secure, happier and more social. I’ve gotten new friends who I love, and my few old friends have gotten closer. There’s also many things that I would never fully apreciated, things I would have taken for granted, if my body had been right from the start.

After all, I’m not really sure if I would have been born any other way. I would have been a very different person. Being male in a female body is quite a big part of what makes me into me. And I am learning to like the person I’ve become. Sometimes I’m actually happy.

God makes no mistakes – kind of a sermon

I usually avoid reading stuff that I know I’ll find repulsive, sick and frightening. I don’t think that’s unusual for any person. To make this post I felt forced to do some research.

I started out googleing the phrase «God makes no mistakes», because I’ve come across it several times in relation to transsexualism. I had the notion that it’s being used as an excuse for christians to judge transgender people.This is some of what I found: (WARNING: Do not click those links unless you are over the age of 18 and have access to valium or other sedatives)

http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/february/26.56.html
http://www.christianitytoday.com/ct/2008/february/25.54.html

“If you talk to your typical person across America, they would be appalled,” she said. “God made us male and female, and God makes no mistakes. To teach a child at an early age self-hatred, and that’s what this gender variance is, is very sad.” Andrea Lafferty, executive director of The Traditional Values CoalitionIn short, the argument is that transsexualism should not be cured, because it’s against God’s will. He supposedly created the body, but not the mind and soul. And these people don’t seem to care if the only other option is to kill oneself, although I thought that to be against God’s will as well?

Of course, there’s several problem with such an argument, the inhumanity already mentioned. Does God only create our bodies and not our minds and souls? Is He stuck in the middle ages or in the year his son was born on earth? Is He really evil?

I’ve never questioned God’s existance. I’ve been brought up in the Norwegian church with the notion that God loves everybody, that He is pure love and that He has not left us to our selves. And I’ve kept that conviction through some pretty dark years of my life. I did at some point question if He really is good. With all the people doing evil in His name, I have wondered if they might be right; maybe God really is evil. But they never managed to convince me.

I believe in a God who is pure love, a God who made the human race in His image to reflect His own magnitude and diversity, a God who knows so much more than we do – everything. We have no way of knowing for sure how He thinks.

To put oneself in a position to judge the moral and christianity of other humans and to think oneself able to lable other people’s faith as wrong, is to put oneself in the position of God. Jesus told us to recognize wrong teaching for it’s fruits. What would he make of the trace of suicides and grief that follow in the trace of so-called conservative christians?

God sent His son Jesus Christ to our earth to re-establish the broken link between us and God. The conservatives try to push people away from God because of who we are and who we love. For their own sake, I hope and pray that they have no idea of what they are doing and may be forgiven when they realize what they are doing.

I’ve listened to so many people struggeling with their faith in God after being told that God only loves the heterosexual or the single-sexed. They experience every day how «fellow christians» try to exclude them from the love of God and manage to take away their ability to experience christian fellowship. I can’t see how this could possibly be in line with the Bible or the word of Jesus.

And what about the Holy Spirit? I believe in it’s guidance in every person’s life. The Bible is after all written by men, who we can only hope were guided by the Holy Spirit. God has not abandoned His creation and continues to create through people guided by the Holy Spirit.

Conservative «christians» seem to put themselves in the position of God and to reduce God to make Him resemble themselves. They claim to believe in a God they cannot see, but reduces people to bodies and biology. In their trace grows only death and despair. To me, this comes very, very close to blasphemy.

Let’s go back to the phrase that God makes no mistakes. No, I don’t think He does. I’m certainly not a mistake. So my body and mind/soul got a little mixed up and does not fit our present notion of only two sexes/genders, and that these doesn’t change with time. I don’t blame God. If there’s one thing He could not be held responsible for, it’s how we arrange our societies. I also believe that I’m placed in this position because I have a mission: To spread the word of a loving, accepting God and to speak up for a powerless group so that His will can be done on earth as in heaven. I do not say that this goes for all transsexuals and trangendered out there. I do recognize that not everyone believe in God or that He has a plan for their lives. I also know that I have more resources than most in so many ways, and I believe they are given to me so that I can help others. And I will do my best, so help me God.

(Although I’ve used the pronomen «he» about God, I believe Him to be above the two-gender system of our world. As a female to male transsexual, I do prefer the male pronomen in an attempt to set up some positive models of masculinity.)

My voice

Thanks to my friend Mette, I’ve been able to record some of my poems in Norwegian. She gave me a microphone for my computer, so I could install skype and talk to her for free. One of the first things I used it for, was to record some of my poems. They are now uploaded to my website http://www.tarald.net. Go directly to http://www.tarald.net/framandkar/opplesning.html Each number is a link to a reading of one poem. The numbers signify where you’ll fint the poem in my book. I guess they don’t make a lot of sense if you don’t understand Norwegian, but at least they document my voice before starting testosterone.

It’s strange how one percieve one’s own voice. I’ve always been surprised when I’ve heard recordings. It’s nothing like how it sounds in my head. OK, I know that is pretty normal. But to me, it resembles how I see my image in the mirror. I’ve always thought I looked more like a boy than a girl, and for a while I tried to cover it up with makup. Now, after realizing that I am a boy, I’ve discovered how much my self-image differs from the image others see. It’s just so strange.

Want to see my secrets?

I’ve made a blog of taboos and secrets. The access is very limited because I don’t want anyone I know to read it (Fredrik is an exception, as usual). But if you have a wordpress-blog yourself and are absolutely sure you don’t know me or are getting to know me for at least the next decennium, then you could leave your user name in a comment and I’ll give you access.

The T.S.blog is where i write about sex and people I know, people I love and people I hate and about troubles that I otherwise don’t share with anyone.

I think it is good to get feedback from others on my most secret thoughts, and people who don’t know me are more likely toprovide a fresh view on things.

Reasons I once had not to transition (warning: sexist etc.)

1. A woman is a woman is a woman. The notion that your sex is your destiny. Biology is everything.

2. All women want to be men. Feminism is just a way to cover this up. Those who transition is just weak. All female femininity is just an act. We all have penis-envy.

Of course, this was true for me, but not everyone else – far from it.

3. A femalebodied person who wants to be a man and have issues with her body is just a victim of the patriarchy and the beauty industry. Feminism will teach her how to achieve inner peace.

4. Transsexual men are all heterosexual (as in attracted to women). That means I’m not transsexual. They are also very macho and into cars and beer. I’m an intellectual with a taste for white wine and books.

5. Transsexuals don’t have kids. Transmen would never be penetrated by another man, and certainly not in their vagina. I’ve no problems with that, and got a child that way. So I couldn’t possibly be trans.

6. Transsexuals verify gender roles and sterotypes. Of course, that was not my cup of tea.

7. A gay transman would be of no interest sexually to other gay men because he lacks a penis.

Happily this is not the case. Especially bi-sexual men seem to be more open and able to percieve you as you do youself. And even some gay men won’tbe discouraged by your lack of penis, or later; the size of the one you have.

8. The first words of a transsexual boy is «I’m a boy, not a girl. And I don’t like to wear dresses».

That last one still bothers me a bit, mostly because it seems to bother my therapists…

The rest of the reasons turned out to be misperceptions and bullshit. I really want to be out in every setting possible to prevent anyone from believing those half-truths, like I did for many years. I was misinformed, also by other transpeople, and it caused me a great deal of pain. It takes some effort not to be bitter about this. I really try.

I’ve discovered that the only thing of importance is that I percieve myself as a man and wants to be one. Transmen come in a great variety.

Do women have a harder time accepting transsexualism? And why?

This turned out to be the subject of a discussion with one of my mates the other day. He stated that many of the women he knows have negative responses to me being trans and «changing sex». He found this strange, because it’s common to assume that women in general are more relaxed  towards gays and lesbians. So you would think that they would feel the same way about trans-issues. But according to him they don’t.

Instead they react with fear and hostility. (I must mention that the women he referred to all have higher education and often don’t come forward as traditional women, some are rather masculine.)

We tried to analyze this reaction to try to figure out what causes it. We have previously talked about the fact that women discovering their partner to be trans*, tend to end the relationship more often than men in the same situation do. We then concluded that most women base their relationships on trust and honesty. A partner coming out as trans would then signify an emotional betrayal, that is very hard for a woman.

My friend said that this would be the case also when there’s no intimate relationship involved. I disagreed. I think the reasons lie deeper and has to do with how women identify themselves.

First of all, women are used to being identified by their sex much more often than guys. The women we know are more likely to have had issues with that growing up. My guess is that they’ve all been through a process of accepting their femaleness and fight for their right to be the way they are and still be women. They identify as feminists. I’ve been through that myself, but without the happy ending.

For most women, and especially the ones we know, sex and gender are at the core of a person’s identity and personality. I think that’s why women partners of transpeople take it harder than the men.

Second, the idea that one can change one’s sex reviels the insecurities of these women. My guess is that «What if I too…» is one of the first thoughts that goes through their minds. And then they feel they have to distance themselves from it. That someone transition from female to male becomes a threat to their own identity.

At the same time most men don’t seem tho have these issues. Of course, they don’t identify with their sex at the same level and do not feel compelled to do it. I must say that feminism and women’s liberation might have contributed to women identifying so deeply with their sex with the focus on sisterhood. I really don’t see how having a female body and identifying as a woman should mean that you have much in common with half the world’s population and ought to treat them as sisters. But that might be part of my trans-issues.

Anyway; men don’t identify with other men the same way. In this context it comes out as trans-positive. They don’t feel treatened, even if the case is a male to female transition. In addition, men are more likely to accept what they see instead of what they feel. In other contexts that can be a problem, but in this one it leads to accepting transpeople, at least when we pass or express gender in a way they can recognize.

I think that men often are being portrayed unnecessarily negative by some feminists. There are so many nice men out there, gay and straight, and I think they deserve more credit.

When I think about it, the women’s day is maybe not the best time to post this reflection. I do it anyway.

Holocaust

When I read about this topic last year, there was one thing that made the most impression on me: The fact that if a gay death-camp prisoner actually survived the war, he could be imprisoned by the new regime to finish his conviction-time, because the law against homosexuals still existed.
We learn to consider the fall of the nazis and the end of the war as a great event. But some kinds of evil just continued.
Another thing that has made me think, is the fact that some of the nazis were gay. And still are. One of the leaders of the patriot party, who’s only goal is to stop immigration and expell as many «foreigners» as possible, is gay. His argumentation is that especially muslims don’t tolerate gays, so they should be banned from the country. That scares me. I guess it’s part of realizing that no human is only good or only evil, and that we all have potential for both.

Written in response to Jacky’s post The Pink Triangle