"The growth of understanding follows an ascending spiral rather than a straight line." ~Joanna Field

Wednesday, March 21, 2012

A response

So I was reading a post from a blog I follow, and I wanted to respond. However my response got quite long. So instead I am posting it here.

And my response follows.

I agree with some of the backing to your points, the feelings I think are behind them, but not the points themselves.
I can't speak for everyone, but I can speak for myself.

I don't feel the need to go around telling everyone I'm queer. And, in fact, I rarely do any more. Most people can figure it out for themselves based on my comments and actions. It comes up passively in conversations nowadays.
But I did go through a period where I did tell people. The whole "coming out" thing.

I guess the reason that people feel the need to tell everyone is because people tend to assume "straightness".
I'm not straight. No more than I am black, a man, red headed or long haired.
But people can tell that I am white, can see my short hair, assume I am not a man; all just by looking at me.
But they can't tell my queer status. And while that is fine (most people don't need to know) it can make for awkward times if I want to get closer to someone.
I want people to know I am queer up front because it can save a lot of pain later on. There are people out there that reject queer people. And the sooner into the relationship I can determine their stance, the less pain will be brought from the rejection.

As for a personal blog of a queer person not having much in common... I think that is a bit presumptuous.
I still have relationship issues, I still go to work, I still talk about reading and movies, if I had kids I might talk about them... I still eat, drink, do arts. I could still own a home, run a family. I still go to school. Honestly, the issues we could face are much the same.
It is very similar to saying you wouldn't want to read the blog of a black man because you are a white woman, what could you have in common?
I'm a reasonable example, I've had maybe two out of seventy posts revolve around a queer issue-- and that is because I am currently going through some things.

Keeping it to yourself on TV/Movies... do you protest the idea of a straight person playing a queer person? A Christian playing an Atheist? What about a perfect husband playing a wife-beater?
The joy of actors is that they can play roles that they don't fit into perfectly in their home life. I'd protest more the idea that someone has to embody who they are playing in their personal life-- we'd have a lot more murderers running around.

As for school... ideally no one would be bullied. But that dream is a long way off. Right now it is being targeted because of all the suicides. If a rash of 'drama geeks' were to suddenly decide suicide was the best option, chances are there would be action taken.
Honestly, I was bullied for a lot of things in school. I am shy, I don't do sports, I like video games and the internet too much, I got too good of grades... Only once was I ever targeted for being queer. And that one time I was beaten black and blue. All the other things were taunts, a push maybe. It is the severity of the bullying around this issue that makes it so important at this point.

I've always had a hard time understanding Pride parades. For any reason, race, orientation, religion... They seem excessive.
I don't wear a shirt that says "Gay Pride". The closest I have is one that says "4 out of 5 cats prefer lesbians". I wear that because a friend gave it to me, not because I'm queer.
However they are good ways to keep the issues at hand.
There are no straight parades because there is little need to celebrate a majority. They aren't under duress.

As for the Chritianity/religion/Jesus/God thing... Not everyone believes the same thing, as you said. Unfortunately some people believe in spreading hate and fear. With time, and luck, those people may become less common.

Honestly, I did find some of your opinions questionable, but I can agree to an extent. The only thing I found affronting was the idea that you should pray for people who you are trying not to judge. It seems inapproriate to pray for the person. Perhaps pray for an understanding of the person (for your own use), but the person them selves should be able to make the choice of hw and who and what for, when it comes to prayer.

I am sorry you could not keep your friend on Facebook because of their friends, and I am really sorry they attacked you like that. Unfortunately on every side of any issue there will be people like that.

I'm not trying to sound hostile, I hope it didn't come across that way >.>

Monday, March 12, 2012


Preface: Yes, I've not been updating. No, I don't think you care. Updates will be forthcoming after school settles down a bit.

Just thought I'd give an update, vis-à-vis this post from about a month ago.

I came out to the general populace as a name changer a few weeks ago. I told a few people about the name change in person, then I changed my name on Facebook, and invited people to call me by this new name. I also gave leave to message me if they had more in depth questions.

A fair number of people asked why, and depending on the person they got slightly different answers.
Generally I'd start out with "I feel it suits me better, for a variety of reasons.". If that didn't satisfy them, and I was comfortable with them having the knowledge, I'd give the canned speech: "I am no longer identifying as female, I am identifying as nongendered, a type of genderqueer where I do not feel either male or female. As such a gender neutral name felt more fitting." They then either went "Oh, cool." or asked more questions.
A large number didn't ask, just "liked" the post. That made me happy.

It's been interesting, and I'm sure it will continue to be in the next 11 months (I've told myself I need to use and identify with this name for at least a year before I will legally change it. I want to be sure (and get the money together). ) There will be a lot of places where if I had the legal identification, it'd be easier. I almost want to just do it and, if it doesn't work, change it back later. But that feels like the wrong way to go about it. Even though it'll be harder to explain in the getting a job setting, etc., I'll just have to muck through it. I'm just thankful that I don't have to go through the mess of trying to change my gender marker, because it doesn't bother me enough that the legal world sees me as female, and because there is nothing more fitting to change it to. I feel so sorry for those for whom that is a necessary step.

There have been a few awkward moments already where I don't know what to say or do. But for the most part it has been great.
I wasn't sure if I'd tell my professors about the name thing. Then I realised that at least my program head would be necessary, if I was going to use her as a reference later on.
Talking to people who I've met once or twice before, so know my old name, but I don't expect to meet frequently in the future...
Basically deciding when and where it is necessary to give out what name.

I've gone the 'easy' route and decided that everywhere at all times is the best way for me. I can clear up the messy bits as I go.

At the LGBT youth group I go to I introduced myself as my new name after coming back from reading week. Then I actually started participating. Talking to people, socializing.
Not to say I didn't speak to anyone there before, but not enough people that they remembered my name.
They all know me as my new name, and they don't stumble or falter in using it. It feels great
.My friends are all trying really hard. I'm trying to be lax about correcting them... it's awkward for me to do because they tend to get angry at themselves for forgetting. And I'm not upset or angry, just trying to help cement the name in their minds. Ah well.

Not to mention the fact that I still "screw up" as they put it. I still chastise myself with the old name. I used to often alliterate the name with words, and those sayings are still stuck in my head a bit.
And there are still times where my old name feels right. They are very infrequent, and make sense when you consider I've had it my whole life.
So really using my old name is still... acceptable, if not ideal.
Anyway. I just wanted to put it out there that this name thing has been near-uniformly positive for me. And I know that people have a hard time when they read all these scary coming-out stories.
My coming out stories from this and from coming out as a lesbian, years ago, are near-uniformly exceptional. If you are thinking about it and/or want some positive examples you're welcome to contact me. I'd love to tell you about all the wonderful, fabulous, exceptionally accepting people in my life.

Oh, as a side note, I was down town today with a friend and we took a look in some LGBT friendly (centric) stores. One was a book store. I was so excited. I wanted to read about 3/4s of what was in there.
There was a great looking book on FtM and other female-assigned-at-birth genderqueers and their stories. And one that was an FAQ about sexual and gender minorities (Is it a Choice?). Full shelves of "Lesbian Lit."! Mysteries, fiction, real life, spirituality... There were "normal" books too, but most of the store was LGBT stuff. I wish I had money, so badly.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

The First Question and the Meaning of Life.

Yes, I know I missed bookmarks last week. No excuses, I just didn't feel like reviewing anything -shrug- I'mma try and do more though, so be alert.

Anyway, what I wanted to do today is very related to those Story Fragments I was running a while back (and I have a few more of those to share later).
It's a big thing I wrote two/three or so years ago, when I was in a philosophy class.
It's not exactly original, and it's a bit pretentious, but I think it is interesting and I just found it again recently.

So I thought I'd share. Have fun:


The First Question and the Meaning of Life.

Albert Camus once said that the first question all philosophers face is that of suicide. All else comes secondary.
The truth in this statement strikes me every time I take a moment to contemplate it. Those who value life most tend to be those who have overcome death.
The idea of overcoming death is, in itself, rather odd and multi-faceted. You can overcome death by surviving war; you can overcome it by surviving the death of a loved one. But the way closest to ones heart is the question of suicide. If you contemplate suicide, you have contemplated the meaning of life.
But what do you find there? I cannot answer that question for you; I can only answer it for myself.
In class today we are discussing the meaning of life, and that got me thinking about my past, my future, and the way in which I interact with this world.
I believe in that short sentence, even if Camus himself did not.
I believe that every person, at every moment of their life, must overcome first the question of whether or not they want to live. Many people do this unconsciously, the desire to live so strong it requires no thought. Others are not so unburdened.
The choice of life may seem a simple one; who would not want to live? But for some of us it is a question that dogs our heels every time we stop to take a breath.
What do you value in life?
Why do you continue to wake up every day and live?
Who or what gives you the strength to continue?
These are questions that often pull forth long answers, despite seeming rather simple.
If you chose to live you are obligated, if only implicitly, to consider the life you chose. The unexamined life, after all. Would it be better for you if you had not chosen that life? Would it be better for someone else? Which matters more? What counts as 'better'?
In considering your life, consider what it means to be human, to be alive. What qualities are required for you to call something human? Sentient? Alive? Do they differ?
Do you fall under your own definition?
Now think on the meaning of morality. What is good? Is it simply the absence of evil? Then what is evil? Simply the absence of good? What would be required for you to call a person ‘good’? ‘Evil’?
Do you have any of these qualities? Do you consider yourself good?
If you do not consider yourself good, why do you choose to live the life you have? Do you choose it to appease family? Friends? Society in general? Or do you just feel that it is how you are ‘supposed’ to live? Or do you believe that even the ungood deserve to live? What about the truly evil?
Maybe you do consider yourself a good person. Do you recognize the evils in you? Do you work to prevent them? What makes you a good person? The assurances of people around you? Or your own heart?
If you were told that your memory was to be removed of every event in your life, the only thing you were to remember being your name, date of birth and the similar, would you cry out in rage? Joy?
What is it that makes you the person you are? Is it the combination of memories, experiences, thoughts that you have running through you? Or is it something less tangible? A moral fiber, a soul that would carry with you regardless of where or when you were?
I can speak not of other people. I have not lived like them, as them. I can only comment on the experiences I have had, and draw conclusions from them. From those generalizations I can structure my world. These generalizations are what I need to answer the first question, and the basis of the answer to the second.
Life is an ever changing word for me, much like the stuff from which it is made of. There is a distinct difference between life and living. To be living does not require life, and to have life does not require being living. Life is a process, living is an act. I do not value living, but I value highly life.
I have often said to people that I do not value life, that my life is meaningless in its inaction. This is but a partial truth. I do not value my living, the quality that many consider essential to life. I would willingly give my living to any cause that my death seemed warranted. If my dying were to advance the cause, and I did not find it objectionable for other reasons, my living would be given freely.
Many people will not believe this, for if I would give my living so easily, how am I still alive? Fact of the matter is, I have yet to be convinced that dying, mine or anyone else’s is necessary for anything to be advanced.
Often when considering the meaning of life people will ask the questions of: If there is only a short period of time in which you would continue to live, what would you do with that time?
This question, for me and many others, varies immensely depending on the amount of time in question.
What you consider a short time to live is a main component. Some people consider several months a short time; some consider several years a short time. How long would you consider a short time in life?
I was once asked as a matter of minutes, about half an hour, to be exact. I considered this for a few moments but came to the conclusion that I would prefer to live as ordinarily in those last few minutes as possible. Find somewhere to get comfortable, think about what I had done with my living, with my life, and search for the happiness in my life. What would you do if there was only a half hour left? How does it fit in with your thoughts on what makes a person? A good person?
This is a change from if given a few days, here suggested as a week. To this I came about to the conclusion that I would want to see family, friends. All my loved ones. I would want to tell them, one last time, how happy they have made me. Then I would want to become comfortable, as above.
If there was only a week left to your living, how would you spend it? How does this relate to what you valued above? How does this define your life?
The final question I was asked was that of twenty years. If my living were to be ended in twenty years, what would I need to do to feel complete? This question was the easiest for me. Twenty years seems like a vast amount of time to me, possibly as a byproduct of my youth. But also, possibly, because I have often been in a place where the thought of twenty years of living was unbearable.
My answer, however, is simple. Twenty years of living, I would like to do just that. Live. I would like to go to school, I would like to work, and I would like to meet some special people, share experiences and life with them. After that, I don’t think any special considerations would need to be made.
How about you? Is twenty years a long time? Why? Why not? Would you make changes to how you live now?
How would you react to being told that your life was to be cut short? If you were told that you were to have ten, twenty, thirty years of life left, but it was cut short. Would you be angry? Would you bargain, try to get more time? How long do you consider enough? Seventy years? A hundred? Maybe you consider twenty years to be sufficient. Do you know why that amount of time seems like enough? How would you react getting less than that? Getting more? When you consider life as a long chain that will eventually break, does your perception of the world around you change? Your system of values, morals?
As to the meaning of life, what meaning is there without purpose? Perhaps meaning is purpose, or perhaps purpose is meaning?