Transversal revisited

In 2013 I participated in a project that some art students in Trondheim had. They asked for contributions to a zine called Transversal with the theme gender and art. I always intended to post my contribution here, but never got around to it. Now I’m using the two poems in a little animation that I hope to exhibit with the Queer Artists here in Oslo in June. So it seems about time to finally publish the originals here.

transversal

Other contributors were BANG Magazine (SE), Ane Lan (NO), Karolina Bang (SE), Christine Jentoft (NO), Constanze Ruhm (DE), Tobias Bernstrup (SE), Kakan Hermansson (SE), Wencke Mühleisen (NO), Luca Dalen Espseth (NO), EVA & ADELE (DE), Kate Bornstein (US), Renate Lorenz & Pauline Boudry (DE), Yvonne P. Doderer (DE), Tiina Rosenberg (FI), Synnøve G. Wetten (NO), Deniz Akin (TR), Nevruz Ebru Aksu (TR), P*fect (SE), Andy Candy (SE), Stine H. B. Svendsen (NO), Ane Gabrielsen (NO), Roxy Farhat, EJ Hill & Sara Cromarty (SE/US), Fender Schrade (DE), og Micheline Bjernudd (SE).

(I’ve neglected my English speaking friends for too long, sorry. I chose to write this post in English also because the poems here are in English (for this occation at least).)

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

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

To be taken seriously… or not?

I’ve recently had some experiences of being taken seriously and listened to in situations where I don’t expect to be. It puzzles me. Is it because my voice is deeper? Or is it a result of finally growing up? It might have something to do with the publication of my second book this year? Les videre

Fra noter til visuell poesi

Det hele begynte med at jeg lette etter måter å lære dattera mi å spille keyboard uten at jeg må lære det selv først. Etter å ha funnet noen tips, søkte jeg videre etter tips til stemmebruk og deretter til diktopplesning. Det var slik jeg havna på One Night Stanzas og etter hvert deres innføring i visuell poesi.Sjekk også ut Fluxus.

Les videre

Transgender Day of Remembrance i Oslo 20. november 2009

Om Transgender Day of Remembrance

Dagen ble opprettet for å minnes ofre for transfobisk hatkriminalitet. I Oslo markeres dagen for aller første gang i år. Vi ønsker å fokusere på de utfordringene som transpersoner møter her, men med et internasjonalt bakteppe.

Dagen har vært markert i USA siden 1998, da transkvinna Rita Hester ble myrdet i november. De seinere årene har markeringen spredt seg til Europa og andre deler av verden. På www.transgenderdor.org kan du lese mer om markeringen og hvem vi minnes i år.

I Oslo er Transgender Day of Remembrance et samarbeid mellom:

LLH – landsforeningen for lesbiske, homofile, bifile og transpersoner

Skeiv Ungdom

Oslo Kristelige Studentforbund

Åpen Kirkegruppe

Program
16.00   Demonstrasjon mot Rikshospitalets diagnosemonopol, Eidsvolls plass (foran       Stortinget)
Appeller ved Justus Eisfeld, Tarald Stein og Knut Hermstad
17.00   Seminar, Universitetsgata 20
«Transgender Rights and Human Rights» av Justus Eisfeld
«Avvist av Rikshospitalet – hva gjør jeg nå?» av Eva Michelson                             Lett servering
19.30   Gudstjeneste, Universitetsgata 20                                                                                                   Prest: Knut Hermstad

Om foredragsholdere og appellanter
Knut Hermstad er prest og sexolog, tidl. formann i Norsk forening for klinisk sexologi (NFKS), bosatt i Trondheim
Justus Eisfeld er internasjonal transaktivist, co-founder of GATE – Global Advocates for Trans Equality, bosatt i New York
Eva Michelson medlem av LLHs transnettverk, bosatt i Sandefjord
Tarald Stein er transansvarlig i LLH – landsforeningen for lesbiske, homofile, bifile og transpersoner og forfatter, bosatt i Oslo

Politikk og identitet

Hvilken identitet jeg har, formidles til omverdenen gjennom mine handlinger. Uten at jeg gjør noe, vil ikke min identitet få betydning for noen andre enn meg selv. Identiteten er privat.

En handling i denne sammenhengen kan være å kle meg på en måte som signaliserer en type identitet. De fleste mennesker vil ha behov for å bli sett på en måte som samsvarer med deres identitet. Dette er også privat.

Noen mennesker vil føle sterkt ubehag over at kroppen signaliserer en annen kjønnsidentitet enn det de oppfatter som sin. Dette sterke ubehaget kan kureres gjennom hormonbehandling og kirurgi. Forutsatt at ubehaget ikke har andre årsaker, vil personen oppleve økt trivsel og bedre psykisk helse.

Samfunnet er tjent med at sykdom behandles og funksjonshemmede får hjelpemidler, slik at størst mulig andel av befolkningen kan bidra i arbeidslivet eller på andre måter. Med et sosialt system som det norske, er det altså et statlig ansvar at befolkninga har tilgang til helsetjenester.

Legg merke til at jeg så langt ikke har nevnt mann eller kvinne. Etter mitt syn er det totalt irrelevant hvorvidt en person oppfattes eller oppfatter seg selv som mann, kvinne, tredjekjønna, mellomkjønn, tokjønna o.s.v. Retten til kjønnsbekreftende behandling bør være lik for alle, enten man befinner seg innenfor eller utenfor to-kjønnssystemet.

Samtidig vil det være idioti å kreve at alle gjennomgår samme behandling. Alle personer med behov for kjønnsbekreftende behandling (uansett kjønn) bør selv få avgjøre hvilken behandlingsform hin trenger for å fungere optimalt. Det er altså styrken og omfanget av ubehaget ved den kjønna kroppen som bør legges til grunn for evt. behandling, ikke identiteten.

Dette er bare uttrykk for min personlige mening, som jeg gjerne vil diskutere med andre

På vei til EuroPride i Stockholm

I morra drar jeg til Stockholm og EuroPride! Jeg gleder meg så sinnssykt! Og begynner å bli en smule nervøs. Jeg har ansvar for to greier:

  • Et foredrag på engelsk, kalt «Transwriting» der jeg skal snakke om skrivinga mi, Framandkar og hvordan jeg opplevde mottakelsen. Se beskrivelse her.
  • Et skriveverksted i to deler, der første delen er like etter foredraget på PrideHouse på mandag og den andre er på RFSL-huset på torsdag.

Nok en gang; tusen takk til Punkfairy som ordna det og lar meg sove hos seg! Ei hel uke i ei gay/queer/trans-boble! WOW! Det skjer så utrolig mye i løpet av uka. Her er ei lita liste over det mest interessante:

  • Aktivistisk entreprenørskap
  • Aspiequeer – en sykdomsforklaring av heteronormen (der Fredrik er med)
  • Aseksuelle: Trans + aseksuell = sant?
  • Makten over våre kropper – makten over våre liv
  • Hvordan kan man tenke rundt HIV-prevensjon som FTM?
  • Making it – Or just being out there
  • Gendered bodies – my genetalia and my brain
  • Transdans – Kreativ dans for transgruppen
  • Queering the Bible (Transpersoner i Bibelen er dessverre avlyst, men dette virker som en ok erstatning)
  • Kjærlighetsmesse (jeg gikk glipp av den i fjor, men i år skal jeg absolutt få den med meg!)

Og dette er bare det jeg oppfatter som aller viktigst å få med seg! Det blir ei veldig hektisk, spennende og interessant uke!

Going to EuroPride

I’m leaving tomorrow, heading for Stockholm and EuroPride. I have responsibility for two events:

  • A session in english called «Transwriting» where I speak about my writing, how I was met by the media and society at large. Included reading some of my poems in both Norwegian and English. See description here.
  • A writer’s workshop in two parts, where the first will be held at PrideHouse on Monday and the second at RFSL on Thursday. This will be in Norwegian/Swedish, unless someone  english-speaking  wants to attend.

I’m so delighted to have this opportunity, thanks to Punkfairy! It is a bit scary, but mostly exiting. I get to spend the week at his place. There are so many interesting workshops and other events going on that I like to attend!

Klar for London!

Jeg burde vært i seng, men der er altfor mye jeg burde gjort og jeg er altfor spent til å sove helt ennå. Om litt under 7 timer er det på tide å dra til flyplassen. Jeg gleder meg vilt til festivalen ejg er invitert på, Transfabulous!

På lørdag skal jeg altså snakke og lese dikt. Jeg har strevd en del med å oversette dikt fra Framandkar og skrive foredraget. Engelsken min kunne vært bedre, men jeg er overaska over hvor god den faktisk er. Nå blir utfordringa å snakke engelsk. Det har jeg vel ikke gjort siden Jeg hadde engelsk på skolen, siste gang i 1994. Heldigvis får jeg en del språktrening før det blir min tur, så det går nok greit.

Hele festivalen virker utrolig spennende og eksotisk. Samtidig er det litt skummelt å dra til en storby for før første gang. Altså, jeg har vært i storbyer før, men ikke i London. Komme jeg til å finne fram? Kommer jeg til å te meg som en skikkelig bonde i byen?

Nei, nå må jeg bestille taxi og sove. Natta!

Les mer på den engelske bloggen min.

Support Norwegian transgender doctor!

Those who has been reading here a while, know that the Norwegian GID-clinic has a monopoly and abuses their power. This has caused Esben Esther Pirelli Benestad, who is transgender zerself, to take action and help several people in need of treatment. Esben Esther is the best known transgender activist in Norway. Ze is now at risk of loosing zer licence to practice bacause ze helped one person to get mastectomy. This would be devastating for the norwegian transgender population, as several people are dependant of zer courage and will to help transpeople in need. I urge you to take action and sign the petition!

English translation:

I who sign this agree that:

1. Esben Esther acted on strong ethical gounds when he broke the law and that all charges should be dropped.

2. The GID-clinic’s national authority should be examined and questioned. They should only have monopoly on the surgically altering of genitals. Competent doctors should be made useful and more doctors should be taught trans-competence.

3. All gender/sex/body relted treatment should be on the gounds of the applicant, who should be treated individually. «The genuine» transsexual is a outdated theory and should be recognized as such. A variety of needs and ways of understanding gender should be included in the service of treatment.

Please sign!

Viktig underskriftskampanje: Støtt Esben Esther!

Esben Esther Pirelli Benestad er en lege med samvittighet. Hin har hjulpet mange av oss som ikke passer inn i GID-klinikkens snevre definisjoner og egenproduserte diagnosekriterier. Dette er hin nå meldt til Helsetilsynet for. Uttrykk din støtte til Esben Esther (og dermed til alle oss hin har hjulpet) ved å signere oppropet.

Jeg som skriver under er enig i at:

1. Esben Esther hadde etisk nødvendig grunnlag for lovbruddene og anklagene må droppes.

2. GID klinikkens landsfunksjon må utredes og utfordres. Klinikken på Rikshospitalet trenger bare ha enerett på underlivskirurgien for der er det hensiktsmessig å sentralisere den mest spesialiserte kompetansen. Enhver fastlege skal ikke kunne behandle, men de som har kompetansen må brukes der de er, og kompetanseheving hos flere må vektlegges.

3. All kjønn/kropp relatert behandling må vurderes på individuelt grunnlag og på søkers premisser. ”Ektheten” må avskrives som utdatert og tanken om mangfoldige behov og forståelser av kjønn må inn i behandlingstilbudet.

How to Respect a Transgender Person

I don’t think this should be necessary. Basically it just explains that common sense also applies to interacting with transgender people. But it seems that especially journalists have a hard time with social rules, so I’ll post it anyway.

Please, do not try to print any of my former names! And I’m getting sick of being asked about that. Some time in the future, when everyone can see that those names don’t fit, I’ll tell everyone without hesitating, but for now, I don’t feel comfortable with even hearing them, and really ain’t able to get them over my lips.

Thank you!

How to Respect a Transgender Person

from wikiHow – The How to Manual That You Can Edit

If you have recently learned of a transgender person in your life, you might not understand their identity and you may be unsure of how to act around them without offending or hurting their feelings. The term «transgender person» in this article means a person who does not fully identify with the gender they were assigned with at birth. There are transgender people all over the world (e.g. US, Mexico,[1] India[2]) and in a wide variety of cultures (e.g. Native American,[3] Thai[4]). For such people, it is not always easy to explain their gender situation in today’s society. Here’s how to understand and respect someone who challenges your ideas about gender, and who does not easily fall within the category of «male» or «female».

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

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!

Transrevolution?

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.

Jonah Nylund, photo Lars Pehrson

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!

Trans in the media

Yesterday was a crazy day. I started on TV early in the morning and was mostly busy with interviews all day. I even got to talk some of my book, the reason why I do this media-thing in the first place. Norway is a small country and trans-issues are not very well known, so I’ve done a lot of educating. I’m not afraid to talk about myself, and some transsexuals find that intimidating. I’ve been told to shut up because I’m not representative for the whole trans-community, especially in terms of being gay. That makes me really angry, bacause it was one of the reasons I didn’t come to terms with my identity earlier. I haven’t heard from any of them this time, but I know where to go to get my head chopped off. I’ll just give it some time.

It’s exhausting to answer questions about myself all day, but I’ve got to meet many nice journalists and got some very positive comments from strangers irl and online. It feels good. And I do think what I do will benefit others in the long run.

Some things puzzle me a bit about how the media like to portray transsexuals. Why is it so important to print my old name? It doesn’t reveal anything about me, really. And very few people knew me by my intermediate female name and not by my male name. I’m happy that no one has tried to print my given name, bacause that would be a link to the past with a lot more consequences.

I try to make my gender-experiences less freakish by linking them to common human experiences, but it seems like the media don’t like that. I guess they would like to portray me as a freak. It doesn’t bother me all that much, because I think they’ll have a hard time to accomplish it. I honestly don’t think people see me as a freak, not in person anyway. And that is what matters.

Norway is a small country, in good and bad. I recently read Gender Outlaw’s post about transmen in the media, and how it makes him frightened of hate-crimes against transgender men, including questioning his own safety. I’m convinced that this is almost non-existent in Norway. I feel free to speak, free to be visible and free to talk to the media without facing the terror of hate and violence. It’s a real privelege! I wish everyone could have the same freedom of speach as I do! And feel safe.

(I’ve posted links to the interviews on my norwegian blog, but wasn’t sure if anyone not speaking norwegian would be interested.)

Talking to the press

My book will be realeased this monday and the days are filled with interviews and planning. I don’t expect people to believe me when I say I’m not just happy for the attention, although it is true. I do like educating people about transsexualism and gender-issues, but it’s weired to see myself described in the words of the journalist instead of my own. After all, I’m used to to the writing and taking the decicions myself.

The reasons for doing it anyway is that I want to spread my book. I want people to buy it and read it and hopefully learn something. I also want to educate journalists and the people reading/watching/listening to the interviews, even if they won’t buy/read my book.

But sometimes I feel I’m trying to swallow camels. Especially when the form is very tabloid. I also have trouble not telling the things I should keep to myself. Keeping my daughter out of it is not that hard, but playing nice with the norwegian gender-clinic is very, very hard. After all, they are not, and have never been, nice to me. But the time has not come for that yet. They might deny me a diagnosis or treatment if I show my anger.

Let me tell you this: As a Norwegian citizen, there’s two systems you have good reasons to fear; the child service and the psychiatry. Both have very few limits as to how they can make a persons life miserable and they are usually above the law.

I guess I’ve already said too much.