This is a beautiful little book of poems, published by A Midsummer Night’s Press. I didn’t expect to be so breath taken by these poems, and that it would provoke such feeling of recognition and new thoughts in me. It is often hard for me to get something out of poems in English, because I often feel that I lack knowledge of the finer tunes of the language. But Raymond Luczak’s poems got through that barrier of language. I want to quote some verses from «Instructions to hearing persons desiring a deaf man»: 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
The decade without a name
Where was I ten years ago?
I was living in a pecieved heterosexual relationship, and had been for the previous 3 years. I was studying creative writing (the first of two years), struggeling to write a novel that nobody liked but me. In between, I wrote short prose. A year ago, I looked at some of what I’d written and thought it was really scary. Les videre
Coming out – again and again and…
I took the interview at excloset.wordpress.com, so now you can read about my coming out at http://excloset.wordpress.com/2008/10/10/tarald-stein/
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.
The week or so before I told my best friend about my transition, we discussed the film Transamerica. This was back in the spring of 2006, when it was released. He said that he thought that the next fight for human rights in the western world would be about gender and transpeople.
Yesterday, the swedish newspaper SvD published an article about public awareness of trans-issues. It lists a growing number of public performances by transgender and transsexual people. Thanks to Trollhare, who directed me to it!
–Transfrågor och kulturen syns mer i medierna nu för tiden för att det är sensationellt och en av de sista gränserna som finns kvar att bryta, säger amerikanska transförfattaren T Cooper som skrivit boken Lipshitz six, or two angry blondes och var gästredaktör för Outs historiska transnummer.
Jens Rydström, center for gender-studies at the University of Lund, Sweden, offer several explanations to why transpeople are more visible in the media: The internet allowing people to play with gander in new ways, the end of the cold war and it’s segregation of the world in several domains, and most important; the vacuum left by the women’s movement and gay movement of the 1970s. Rydström goes on to underline the positive aspects of transpeople being more visible in media and hopes it is a sign of increasing equality and diversity for everyone:
–Om det är någon minoritet som fortfarande utsätts för diskriminering och trakasserier så är det transpersoner. Det här kan hjälpa till att avdramatisera könstillhörighet och jag hoppas det är ett tecken på ökad jämställdhet, mångfald och likvärdighet för alla.
Today I’m pleased to see an interview with Jonah Nylund, who I met at the conference in Poland earlier this year, titled «Pride general with a capital T» (my translation). Jonah is the new major of Stockholm Pride, Europride this year. He openly identifies as transgender (transsexual FTM) and gay.
It makes me wonder if it’s possible to have a transsexual as the head of anything GLBT in Norway. It would cause a big fight with the «national asociation of transsexuals» (LFTS). They actually recent labelling themselves as anything other than men or women and have previously tried to impose a great divide between «trangsender» and «transsexual». At the moment, the National Asociation of Lesbian and Gay Liberation (LLH) tries to respect LFTS, but it’s getting harder as the awareness of trans-issues rises within LLH.
At the moment there would only be room for a transsexual as head of anything this big LGBT-wise if the person consequently refused to talk about being transsexual. I hope to attend Europride in Stockholm to talk about my book and how it’s been to meet the media as a open transsexual, and to arrange a course in creative autobiographical writing for transpeople (in cooperation with KIM).
I participated last year and loved it, so I hope I’ll be able to do it this year too. The parade was the largest in Stockholm ever, and will probably be even larger this year!
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)
“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.)
I’ve written enough erotic short stories to fill a book and I’m now searching for a publisher. Writing erotica seems to be a habit that goes in periods. I’ll write story after story for several months, and then suddenly I can’t do it any more.
It’s been some time since my last erotic period and I think it’ll soon be time for it. This post could be a way to renew my interest in the genre. I’ll explain how I write my stories and what I like about it.
Erotic short stories are what I call literature with a purpose. It’s supposed to turn people on. I think that’s the reason why the composition is quite strict and kind of classic. You have to raise the tension according to people’s arousal.
Maybe what I write would be considered porn, and I usually use that term for it, mainly because it seems more honest and fair. I’ve never understood the difference really.
In the magazine where I’ve gotten my stories published, they want stories of a higher literary level. They’re supposed to be both pornographic and literary at the same time. Now, that’s a challenge: How to write about sex without clishés? How to write a story with the purpose of turning people on, but make it a good story too? I love challenges!
Ususally I start off with the main character feeling really bad. His wife, girlfriend or boyfriend has left him, he’s lost his job or he’s experienced some ther kind of loss or defeat. Then he meets this man, often someone he knows, who he sees in a new way, and gets attracted to. Yes, my stories are usually gay, but some are also transgendered.
I need to use my own sexual fantasies, and that made me feel vulnerable in the beginning. That was back in 2004, when some friends asked why I didn’t write erotica, since a lot of my writings were about sex. So I started and really liked it. Now I don’t feel so vulnerable anymore. I’ve realized that my fantasies aren’t just mine, that other people have similar fantasies and that my stories can help them come to terms with their sexuality.
I’ve tried to write plain staright stories too, but they never work. There must be some gender bending involved, or at least some uncertainness around how the persons define themselves and their sexuality.
I’ve also tried to explore BDSM, but have given up. Some light bonding is ok, but everything else in that category is more of a turn off than a turn on. And then it is impossible for me to write sexy about it. The same goesfor fetishes. So my stories are kind of vanilla actually.
When I tell people that I write this kind of stories, they’ll often ask if I get inspiration from my own sex-life. I always disappoint them. I write about the sex that I can’t have or don’t get. And it works for me.
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.
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