Being Mean isn’t Helpful

g_L0A7550My brilliant and wonderful younger sister lives in South Africa, and she sent me a link to nice article from a local website, http://www.women24.com. The article is titled “15 ways to treat a transgender person” and it’s well-written and logical. I like it.

I’m a little shocked at how far South African culture has come, as such. This article could have been written by the best magazines in the US and I wouldn’t have noticed the difference.  At the time I left South Africa, the prevailing culture seemed to be a better fit with 1930s Germany than 2010s America.

Anyway, the “comments” section of the article includes a comment by a gentleman who wrote:

“Should we treat a person that believes they’re actually a transformer, walking about holding wheels and calling themselves “Optimus Prime”, like they’re no different from us… or should we find them the necessary help.

I can’t say I particularly care about someone that considers themselves transgender, but (like the transformer mentioned above), I’d prefer not to have to live in a society where we’re too concerned about being politically correct to point out the obvious.”

Although I dislike his condescending style, he raises a valid point — in the context of his apparently limited knowledge. The question of “Am I just imagining I’m a girl?” is certainly an early part of the cognitive journey of many, most or all t-girls – and he’s now taking that same step, albeit with an outsider’s perspective. He does, however, still have far to go.

It takes a wider perspective and much additional information to realize that, no, it’s not an imaginary thing — being a t-girl is as real as a dog being a dog, or a tree being a tree.

So, political correctness is not the best basis for respecting a t-girl’s decision to live as a girl. We can do better. We can rely on facts, and on reason — the sort of cold, hard facts and candid reasoning that this gentleman seems to value, as do I.

It seems to me that this gentleman seems to be simply be lacking information. This brings up the question of whether he’s prudent to be outspoken on a subject in which he seems to be … how do I say this nicely … fundamentally ignorant, and to do so in a forum that already takes these fundamentals for granted and proceeds beyond them, at a higher-yet level of functioning.

I’d say “no, he’s not prudent,” and for him to show his ignorance as such is a rather humbling thing to do. If he ever realizes that, then he’ll probably also realize how silly his choice of condescending tone is.

Secondary issues aside: assuming he’s a reasonable man and he’s simply missing some information, the most logical thing to do would seem to be: provide to him the missing pieces of the puzzle. Unfortunately, that’s not what happened. In the “comments” section, transgender-friendly people heaped scorn on the man, while adding very little information that’s likely to help him understand.

So, I joined the fray, and I wrote the following comment:

g_L0A7530“I’m a t-girl. Some people are nice to me about my gender identity yet many of them basically humor me. If I put them on the spot then they probably don’t see any more of a factual basis for my claims than you do. At least you’re being candid and yours is not an unreasonable point in the absence of more information.

Absent better scientific evidence, the earth-is-flat premise isn’t all that silly. The earth certainly looks a lot more flat than it looks like a ball from the limited perspective of most people. Going beyond the obvious, by gathering facts and looking at things logically and scientifically, do we learn that the thing actually IS basically spherical, as peculiar a notion as that initially seems.

Going beyond the obvious, by gathering facts and looking at things logically and scientifically, we learn that transgender people aren’t imagining the condition: the cold, hard facts of marble-slab autopsies have show that some people have male genitals and a brain structure that’s fundamentally female. And, people who claimed to be t-girls were, in fact, later validated by such evidence. So, t-girls exist as a matter of proven, scientific fact. It’s a genetic anomaly, but it’s as real and factual as black panthers, albinos and four-leaf clovers.

Building on that, fact-based psychologically valid approaches have been developed to help an individual figure out whether he’s a male imagining he’s a girl, or a t-girl realizing she’s one such genetic anomaly.”

I hope this helps. It seems to be a better approach than simply being mean.

Progress, Measured On the Eyebrow Threading Rejection Scale

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Reno, NV is generally a nice place to be a transgender girl, in my experience. One exception is the arena of eyebrow threading or waxing. As I understand my so-far-explored options in the Reno area, they are:

  • Get them done for $15 by a nice man who is very supportive of me transitioning as a t-girl and yet seems to not be very girl-friendly based on the, um, broad comments he makes about girls, inspired by his experiences in the salon where he works.
  • Get them done at an upscale place that charges $35 and then wants to know how much I want to add as an additional amount, for the tip. Whoa!
  • Get them done at an eyebrow threading place at Meadowwood Mall.  As a test of a t-girl’s self-confidence, this place is “The Gauntlet.”

As to the latter option, the lady who works at the main store, near the east entrance, is Asian Indian. I have nothing against that; some of my friends are from India and they’re fine people. Sadly, this girl subscribes to the “t-girl unfriendly” part of Indian culture. There’s a lot of that about. Until very recently, t-girls were not even allowed to get Indian government work cards, which meant they weren’t able to get legal employment, and so plan B was “illegal employment” since plan C is “starve and die.”  I gather that “plan B” in India doesn’t offer a rich set of options. One of them is “whore yourself out” which isn’t likely a great career choice when your heart isn’t in it.  

My basic point is that there are elements in Asian Indian culture that are very dismissive of t-girls. The chick who works, or worked, at the main shop eyebrow threading location at Meadowwood Mall in Reno seems to subscribe to some of these bad ideas. She clearly had issues with me, as being a t-girl.

She refused to do my eyebrows. Now, I realize that I don’t have a right to eyebrow threading services — but reason tends to be a good way of resolving concerns, so I tried to reason things out with her.

In the conversation, she kept calling me “sir” frequently enough that I found it appropriate to show her my NV Driver’s License that shows that (even though I’m a weird mix of male and female parts) I’m basically and officially female so could we please dispense with the “sir” and also ideally dispense with the the unreasonable refusal to do business with a t-girl? No. No success.

She suggested I go find the girl who worked the eyebrow threading cart in the same mall, since she’d be more enthused to take me on as a customer.

Historical sidebar: Since black culture and transgender culture often make for a useful parallel … my experience would be as if a black chick shows up at a business and the person there flat-out refuses to do business with her because she’s black. Whoa! And, no amount of reasoning changes the mind of the business person. Double whoa!!

So, finally, I went to the little cart in Meadowwood Mall, where the sign says that prices for females are $10 and the prices for males are $12.  I had my eyebrows done, and the lady announced the price was $12. I took out my by-then-weary driver’s license again to show that, see, I’m basically a female (although, yes, yes, I know, I’m a weird mix of male and female) but … no. $12. I wasn’t happy about it but I paid. After all, being treated in business as if I were a male was certainly better than being sent away.

I was stubborn. I came back a second time, a few weeks later, and tried to reason with the first girl again. That time around, she grudgingly took my money and did my eyebrows.

I should mention that during all this, I was generally made up and wearing female clothing and had long blonde hair to where even the very male security guard at the mall was savvy enough to figure out I’m basically female, and called me “ma’am.”

Even so, I gave eyebrow shaping in Reno a “D” as to my experiences so far, with the first Meadowwood mall chick getting an “F.”  Okay, I know I haven’t tried every eyebrow-shaping vendor in Reno yet, and that I can probably make an appointment at a t-girl friendly salon and be treated better, but my schedule tends to be super-busy, and I prefer a walk-in place. And, I’m sort of burned out on my walk-in-place experiences in Reno by now.

So, what I do nowadays is to simply let my eyebrows grow out of control until I happen to make a business trip to Southern Nevada or Northern California, where eyebrow threading or waxing has so far been a) t-girl friendly and b) affordable.

And so it was today, when I happened to be at the Great Mall in Milpitas, and I walked by an eyebrow threading place. I decided to use their services.  Their price list stated that prices for females are $10 and prices for males are $12.  The lady did my eyebrows quickly and pleasantly, and charged me $10. Better!  … and she got a nice tip for it. The results of her work are shown in the above picture, taken today.

Perhaps one day t-girl friendliness, as to this field of endeavor, will make its way east across the Sierra Nevada mountain range. I’m looking forward to that.

 

A Sad Christmas … Not, or: How to Deal with the Roof Caving In

The last two weeks have been … what’s a good word … challenging. I have a wonderful romantic partner in an open, safe, loving, polyamorous relationship. Two weeks ago, I had … two such romantic partners. One checked out, thus ending a six-year relationship as such.

This lady owned the house where I was staying and paying rent at the time. And, my credit and cash situation right now is really bad. She didn’t say “and leave immediately” but instead was OK with me staying there until I found another place to live. However, the post-breakup vibe made things very awkward and soon she basically said she’d appreciate seeing me outta there ASAP.

For a transgender girl to find a new place to stay isn’t the easiest thing in many circumstances. When broke, and with less-than-great credit, it’s way harder. And, it’s hard to imagine a worse time than mid-December.

I was very tempted to start feeling sorry for myself, and then … I realized that this is always an indication that I’m indulging in less-than-healthy thoughts. So, I contacted a friend of mine who owned an ancient apartment that I used to rent for $100 a month, in 1995 when last I was super-broke. The friend explained that the little apartment has ceased to exist but they have a larger, 3-bedroom unit that’s a pain to keep heated in colder-than-freezing Fallon, NV and they keep running the water and also electric heaters and they would LOVE for me to have it rent-free until the weather warms up as long as I pay the gas company deposit and monthly heating bills. After April, if I wanna keep renting it, it’s $500 a month. So, of course, I said “yes” and I’m already moved in. I just finished moving out the last items out of the previous place today. I even have my little Christmas tree up, this being Christmas eve.

My new place is a mile or so from my shop and the rent is half of what I contributed to the previous place’s mortgage, and I get the first 4 1/2 months rent-free. I save $500 in rent, I drive 120 miles a day less for 24 days per month and I spend 50 hours a week less on driving. I’m happy.

My Christmas tree has a wiring problem, but apart from that … life is good.

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