A life on stage

Yesterday I was part of a show at the House of Literature (Litteraturhuset/Literatur Haus) here in Oslo. I read a few of my new poems. They are funny and easy to read. The audience was nice and I got more praise afterwords than I’ve ever gotten before. My old poems tend to leave people confused and full of thoughts, and people often don’t know how to respond.  These new ones are different.

Last weekend, as I anounced here on the blog in Norwegian, Peterson Toscano visited Oslo. He is a comedian, actor and performance activist (among other things). As I helped him prepare for the show on Saturday, we talked about being on stage, how things cease to be personal once they become a text or part of a show. Les videre

How do you know if transitioning is right?

One person I feel a deep connection with, athough I have never met him, is Matt Kailey. His book Just add hormones made a huge impact and I am forever thankful. I missed gay transmale idols and humour, and he filled that gap. On Mondays he posts answers to questions from his readers. There is always a lot of food for thought there, and I really recommend reading his blog. The quotes here are from his post Ask Matt Monday: Is This Enough Reason to Want to Transition?

I subscribe to the philosophy that transition is a necessity, and that if you need to transition, you will, and that if it is right for you, you will know.

I tried for years to define male and female, gender and sex, thinking that I needed to know what these were before I could do anything about how I felt. No one has ever been able to define these concepts in simple ways without excluding several groups of people or their experiences. And neither could I. This made me more and more depressed. When I finally decided to follow my gut feeling instead of my head, I felt extremely relieved. Les videre

The irreversible(?) changes of testosterone

The doctors usually have high reservations on prescribing testosterone to transmen. Female hormones do not cause as much irreversible changes as testosterone does.

I had a really hard time getting a prescription for testosterone because of this. Because I was not approved by the Norwegian gender clinic, I would not get testosterone from them either. I was ready to start hormone treatment when I went to the clinic the first time, fall 2006, but knew it would not happen.

Les videre

Madonna and me

Here I would insert the non-existing picture of me and the pop star.

Years ago, before I started my transition, I wrote a blog post in Norwegian with this same title. I had just heard Madonna state that she was a gay man in a woman’s body. I had also heard Annie Lennox statement about being reincarnated in her next life with a penis.

Both these statements by well known musicians made an overwhelming impact on me. At the time I knew I was gay and that my body felt weired, but I had not yet taken any steps to transition. I felt very alone, very depressed. I thought I was the only one feeling this way about gender and sexuality. All the transmen I’d heard of was very masculine and straight. Les videre

Happiness ruins blogging

I really shoul blog more often. I have a lot to blog about – actually so much that it’s totally overwhelming to start. I’ve passed my one year on testosterone and will probably go to Thailand for surgery within a year. I have kind of a job – a very interesting transactivist-job. And I found a boyfriend – the most wonderful man on earth. No, I didn’t hit him in his head and drag him back to my cave. I am not that violent and I tried to be more subtile than my instincts told me to. Les videre

"Passing" too much? (Son of a preacher man)

It is kind of funny, but I guess I have a strange sense of humour.

I recently got a letter from the GID clinic explaining that they have done nothing wrong in denying me diagnosis and treatment. They still won’t accept me as a man. As expected, but still a bad christmas gift.

I am visiting my parents’ and today I went to church with them. My father is a reverend out in the countryside. After church, a woman came up to me and said «You must be the reverend’s son. You look so much like him» and introduced herself.

Later, while I was outside smoking, a man walking his dog stopped and started talking to me. I soon realised that he was mistaking me for my father, but had only seen him at a distance.

I feel like I am at a turning point. It is still more important to me to be seen as male, than vanity regarding my age. But I feel that it is about to change. I know I look a lot like my father, but I am not happy to be mistaken for him. After all he is 24 years older. I guess the man didn’t know that. At least I hope so.

(I am not very fond of  the word passing and usually use it in an ironic sense.)

I came, I saw, I left

I have spent the past week in Italy. My publishing house rents two appartments in Terracina, a small town between Rome and Napoli. The authors can spend a week here for free. Travel expences are not included, of course.

Terracina is great in the summer, I have heard. Here is a nice beach and a pittoresque old village. This week, on the other hand, in the middle of the winter, it has been raining most of the time, with thunder and lightening.

We spent most of the time indoors. The appartment is in itself an historical site; originally a monastery with paintings on the walls from the 18th century.

But you can’t stay one hour from Rome without wisiting. So we went on a one day trip. Originally, we planned to see the Vatican museum and Colosseum. Of course that was too ambitious. We didn’t have time for more than the Vatican museum.

Walking through the halls filled with art and artefacts from all times, I got kind of numb. The roman statues made the most impression, because they have very small penises, kind of the results of metoidioplasty. On some of the statues, the sexual organs are actually gone, leaving a hole in the marble where they used to be. Very trans-ish.

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

Almost ready for Transfabulous!

I’m very excited! This weekend will be my first trip to London. I’m invited to keep a workshop (actually a speak and reading poetry) at this fabulous festival for transart. The title of my workshop is «My body is my logo», a quotation from Framandkar.

I’ve worked on translating a lot of my poems the past few days and realize that I should have done it a long time ago. As you may have discovered; I don’t write english flawlessly… I’m doing my best. Hopefully someone will see the need to make better translations and publish some of it in english. And actually, I’m doing better at the translations than I thought I’d do originally.

Les videre

Femininity/masculinity

I really thought I was going to be a feminine man. After all, I enjoy looking good, nice clothes, identify as queer and I’ve always been attracted to feminine men. It turns out I might be quite regular. And it bothers me.

Les videre

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

And they ask what's wrong with USA?

This is the moving story of the last months of Robert Eads’ life. He died of ovarian cancer because hospitals refused to treat him. Why? He was a transsexual, a FTM just like me. His story makes me very happy to live in Norway, where I don’t have to pay for my medical treatment and where I will not be turned down because of my biological history (at least as long as I’m white – see the horrible story of Ali Farah). To get registered legally as male, I have to get my overaies removed. Although I believe it should be elegible (forced sterilisation is something that don’t belong in an enlightened, modern society), I’ll be happy to get rid of them.

Southern Comfort (1999) – In Memory of (FtM) Robert Eads

FtMs: Please help me documenting trans-language!

I’ve created a survey to collect words we use about our selves and our bodies. The questions are very private, but the survey is completely anonymous, so I hope you are willing to help anyway.

I’m going to use the results in an article I’m writing for my social anthropology class, and later plan on having published as part of a book. I think it’s valuable to document how we re-scribe our bodies to feel more comfortable with them.

Unfortunately, the article is going to be in Norwegian, but maybe I’ll get around to translating it some time. Both english and scandinavian replies are welcome!

The survey 

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.)