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Monthly Archives: March 2016

Rebel, Rebel

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So, thanks to electoral reforms, I have been struck off the electoral register. I am no longer allowed to participate in democracy. And if democracy is the will of the people, that means I am no longer considered a person.

The letter went something like this.

“Dear Deadname. We have been informed that you are no longer resident at the above address1. As a result we have struck your name from the register of electors. You have two weeks to respond to this letter.”

Despite me receiving the letter in the last few days, it was in fact dated a month ago. Go figure.

I did not provide sufficient proof of my identity. Like many trans people, my identity documents are patchy because I either can’t afford them, or I am not entitled to them.

Currently, I am prevented from changing my details at all by the fact that all copies of my deed poll are in the possession of my ex partner, who although not malicious, does not see the importance of me having them and therefore is in no hurry to get them to me.

I know that the reforms were not drawn up to specifically exclude trans people. But this is what will have happened. Trans people, divorcees, victims of domestic violence… basically there are a huge range of reasons why people change their names and none of them are because it’ll be a fucking jolly.

I’m not out to defraud the system. If I was, I might have changed my surname as well as my first. But no. I kind of just want to… live? Without a daily reminder of the unhappy circumstances of my birth? Outrageous.

Anyway. Decided that, as I’m now an outlaw, I get to do all kinds of outlaw stuff. I’m going to be the dead man in Yossarian’s tent. They won’t be able to touch me. Because I don’t exist.

…Right?

1Yes, the address they’re writing to me at.

Can I use talc on my packer?

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I do. But I was recently told on an ftm forum that I shouldn’t. So, I decided to do my own research. My conclusions? You shouldn’t believe everything you read on the internet.

From what I gather, this nugget about packer maintenance seems to have originated from Hudson’s Guide, an absolutely invaluable resource for any new-to-this-shit trans man (myself included; would recommend).

Anyway, Hudson states “there is some evidence that the use of talcum powder has been linked to cervical cancer”. This is patently not true. However, as Hudson was basically the only person telling us what we needed to know, it seemed better to trust in his advice than to go “cervical cancer? What larks!” and dust our dicks with talc.

However, there may be a link between the use of talc and ovarian cancer. Which, for post-oophorectomy trans men, is not actually an issue at all.

The theory goes like this- in the 1970s, delicate ladies were told by Johnson & Johnson to disguise the unsavoury scent of their unmentionables with a daily dusting of talc. Talc, being made up of fine particles, travelled up their hoohah, through the cervix, into the uterus, round the fallopian tubes and settled finally into the ovary, where they triggered the formation of tumours.

However, the evidence to back this up is weak. They rely on people self-reporting that they used talc many years previously, which isn’t terrifically accurate. Stronger studies have found no link whatsoever- human and hamster studies which compare talc-users to non-talc users (no idea why the hamsters are using talc, don’t ask me) saw no significant difference in the rate of ovarian cancer.

Even if the risk is there, it only increases the risk of ovarian cancer by up to a third. Which, although it sounds dramatic, the lifetime risk of developing ovarian cancer is less than 2%. So we’re looking at a 1 in 40 chance of getting ovarian cancer, rather than 1 in 50 (presuming we still have ovaries to get cancer in).

Also, talc used to contain asbestos. Which as we all know, is hella carcinogenic. So it could just be that these talc-users got cancer form their old-timey asbestos-ridden talc.

Regardless, the World Health Organisation classes talc as a “possibly carcinogenic” agent of class 2B. That’s the same class as:

  • Aloe vera leaf
  • Coffee
  • Kimchi
  • Progestogen-only contraceptives

Androgenic steroids are class 2A. Alcohol is class 1. Kind of puts things into perspective.

Below I’ve linked to everything I read before writing this post. I encourage you to read over them, to do your own research, and I’d be particularly interested in anything decisive that convinces me not to use talc. But for now, I will continue to do so.

http://www.cancerresearchuk.org/about-cancer/causes-of-cancer/cancer-controversies/cosmetics-and-toiletries#Cosmetics2

http://www.ftmguide.org/

http://www.pri.org/stories/2015-05-24/women-are-suing-johnson-johnson-over-talcum-powder

http://www.babycentre.co.uk/x25006277/is-it-safe-to-use-talcum-powder-on-my-baby

http://www.theguardian.com/lifeandstyle/2013/jun/23/should-i-stop-using-talcum-powder

Young, Trans and in Love

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CN: relationships

My being trans has, in some way or another, contributed to the demise of pretty much every relationship I have ever had. Put simply, when people make plans for the future, they don’t seem to include people like me.

I get it. Really. I never wanted to be this way. I wanted to be able to get married in a church, have kids that were legally my own, and never worry about having a job opportunity taken away from me because of who I am. But shit, bitch, turns out I can’t. I don’t get to choose “normal”.

And so, when it comes down to it, a lot of people would rather take “normal” over me.

In some ways, I realise it dramatically worsens the chances of me finding someone right for me. I am inherently unappealing to the majority of people. But these days, I’m trying to look on it as an opportunity.

When you love someone, it’s not just about saying three little words. It’s about putting another person first, always. Most people have to wait for a catastrophe to find out if someone really loves them. I get to find out pretty quickly.

The person I will end up loving will tell their friends and family about me being trans so I don’t have to. They will defend me from misgendering and snide comments because it is easier for them than it is for me. And, whether or not I decide to take hormones or have surgery, they love me and not my body, so they will respect my decision.

So far I haven’t found anyone like that. But I’m confident that I will. Because I know many trans people in beautiful relationships of all stripes. Gay, bi, poly, with kids, without, remarried, whatever. I think we’ll end up happier overall, having a test like that so early in our relationships.

I’m with someone at the moment. He’s not new to trans people. And he’s known I was trans ever since he met me. He makes me very happy. But I’m not falling for him until I know how he deals with telling his parents about me.

And when he does, I’ll fall in love with him. Because then I’ll know for sure the kind of man he is.

The Gender Recognition Lie

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In 2004, the UK passed some pretty exciting and world-leading legislation that allowed transgender people living in this country the right to live legally in their chosen gender without being coercively sterilised.

It requires that the individual live for two years in the gender (male or female) that they wish to go by from now on, that they wish to live as that gender until death, that they have received a diagnosis of gender dysphoria and that they present a body of evidence to a panel of strangers, all for the low price of £140.

For all that, you might, if you’re lucky, get something that looks a bit like a birth certificate.

I have friends who were refused on grounds such as not yet having had top surgery. Which, considering the legislation supposedly covers those of us who don’t want to be forcibly escorted out of the gene pool, seems a little… backwards.

The whole process is riddled with flaws. In fact, our close neighbours Ireland recently implemented a self-determination process. If you say you’re male, you are. Which makes sense if you think about it- being trans isn’t exactly a walk in the park. It’s the medical stuff (that we’re being bottlenecked into) that has serious and irreversible consequences, not the legal bit.

In any case, it turns out that “gender recognition” is a lie.

If a man gives birth to a child, he will be listed as the mother of that child, despite the fact that he is a man.

See, for a piece of legislation that supposedly granted us the rights to be ourselves without suffering sterilisation, it seems to really suggest that they’d rather we didn’t reproduce. Because, if we do, suddenly that legal status we thought we had is suddenly revoked.

I didn’t think this could be true. But I asked, and there are trans men who supposedly had gender recognition for years… until they made the mistake of using their uterus.

The Gender Recognition Act, 2004

In the civilised world they practice eugenics
-quietly!-
Make you run the gender identity gauntlet
Three years on the list at Leeds to be told
“We don’t do that here anymore
(but we used to
if that’s any consolation)”
-which it’s not

Ask you why you don’t want to be a real man
With scars on your chest
Injections at regular intervals
Over and over
-until heart disease gets you?
They’ll freeze your eggs
-at a fee, of course-
let you have your recommendation, then,
if it means so bloody much to you-
two years living in role
playing the part
football, beer, casual misogyny.

1970s stereotype
(so as not to confuse the panel)
and then find out it was all a lie
you’re not the man you thought you were
complete strangers know otherwise
better luck next time (if you can stand it)
next time, leave your womb at home-
the Act demands it.

The Adventures of John Thomas

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CN: Shark week, blood, packing

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“I love you very much – you are my son.”

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So I planned to come out to my mum shortly before returning home. As in bag packed, ready to go, just in case.

My mum offhandedly suggested we play Scrabble, so I set everything up. Scrabble would be good. Scrabble, chatter, nice cup of tea. A nice relaxing atmosphere in which to bury bad news.

Eight turns in, she glances at her watch and goes, “I have to go!”

Well. That fucked up my plan. I thought I had all the time in the world, and now she’s hurting about the house trying to find her handbag, phone, keys…

In short, the atmosphere is not calm. It is not relaxed. It is tense, and I am tense with it.

Once we were out the door, though, I told her. And I don’t want to tell you about the exchange we had because some things are private, and private they should stay. But it went well, and for that I am grateful.

As I was leaving to go to the train station, she hugged me, saying, “I love you very much- you are my son.”

I think that’s all I need.