The Joke Is On Us. Literally.

Original art by: bifidus

Read an article  posted by Kira, a fellow transgender blogger, about how the media and society continue to make it increasingly more difficult for the trans community – and most importantly, our very real life-threatening struggles – to be taken seriously. This immediately got me thinking about whether or not there were any instances in my own life where I allowed people to get away with the off-handed commentary or “joke”. Funny enough, this was very simple to remember.

While involved in what was never meant to be a short stint in Sales/Marketing, we were having a group training meeting before heading out to the field. The leader of said meeting was aiming to draw a similarity between memorable, legendary people, one-hit wonders, and what it meant for us to be the former instead of the latter. When the time came for shouting out famous people, everyone was getting into the game to see how many they could get on the whiteboard.

And then someone shouted “Caitlyn Jenner.”

The next few seconds were an amalgamation of chuckling and mild affirmation, but with two quick moments standing out. The first was the guy next to me off-handedly saying something along the lines of “You mean Bruce Jenner right?” The second was someone quipping about transgender thing being confusing.

That moment happened so quickly in the midst of an already chaotic shouting match that there was only enough time for me to process feeling offended. Mainly because my leader knew I was transgender, yet continued to roll with the insults disguised as lighthearted, offhanded jokes. The majority of the crew didn’t have a clue I was transgender, but the momentary attitude shift of 15 twenty-somethings in response to mass media’s poster child of the transgender narrative was extremely telling.

I find that humor is birthed from one of two places: Either loose hearsay subject knowledge, or completely educated subject knowledge. What people don’t understand is that the former is exactly how the majority cis people are erasing those in the transgender community. With every offhanded quip and “harmless joke”, people are continually being conditioned to downplay the aspects of our reality that are inherently why so many of us are being murdered, assaulted, and given the short end of the stick. The education and awareness of the “T” in LGBTQ is severely lacking; cis people are using ignorance as a scapegoat to justify making their fellow uneducated cisgender friends laugh about our struggle for acceptance & equality.

We aren’t being taken seriously. At all. Our true fight for human rights keeps getting derailed by petty non-issues like the bathroom bill, fear-mongering bullshit. Activists are forced to squander resources to debunk the baseless myth of transwomen being pedophiles while the number of hate crimes against transgender people (the majority being women of color (WOC) like myself) continues to rise. And yet, the jokes keep flying and politicians keep using us to  pushing their single-minded agendas at our expense.

Meanwhile, passive onlookers wonder why so many activists and writers like the one I linked above are so angry. This is why I continue to advocate in my own, non-violent way. Using educated knowledge to open people’s eyes to transgender matters as well as improving the human connection as a whole has become one of my life’s purposes.

A Transwoman’s Respect For Her Father

Gendo Ikari meme created by Ren

My father and I have always had a unique kind of relationship. One driven by our individual aspirations and spiritual/philosophical insights. In my youth, he endeavored to imbue me with as much knowledge of “family” and “being a man” as he could. In college years after my parents divorced, we would often be cheering each other on towards achieving our goals in life. I know he did his very best to be a good father, and after learning why he left my mother I don’t fault him for making that choice.

In truth, more times than not, his good intentions for me weren’t always the best. He often assumed that I needed advice when I rarely did and I would counter his advice with what I’m already doing to keep everything in balance for my life. In reality, I probably learned how to debate and play “devil’s advocate” because of the intensity of our discussions at times. All I really wanted was for him to hear me and not believe that somehow my thinking was flawed due to my age, but that seemed nearly impossible. Even still I took away that he always said that he would be here for me.

When it comes down to it, he is someone that believes he always in the right and will rarely accept anything beyond his own Christian beliefs. More times than not, I only took bits and pieces away from our discussion while he probably took nothing of what I had to say. He is a mix of old school and new school influences, except he hasn’t taken the time to grasp the extent of how much times have changed. Relying on the past to counter my forward thinking only results in us butting heads – I understood him, yet he didn’t understand me. At least, we were still talking.

So when he found out via Facebook with the rest of my 300+ “friends” that I was transgender which resulted in him not speaking to me for three months, I could have felt betrayed. Instead, he became a hypocrite in my eyes. When he finally called me, I laid into him and, by doing so, opened up a dialogue for potential understanding of what he was trying to cope with. Over that conversation and the next, his willingness to accept me at the base level seemed like he would come around in time.

Our next conversation was a complete 180. He was no longer listening to me and began doing what he did before – using his past experience to vilify my present lived experience which he couldn’t possibly comprehend without living my life firsthand. I go into more detail in this post, but overall it was a table-flipped mess that I had no desire to salvage.

I haven’t spoken to or interacted with my father since that conversation eight months ago.

So, besides my opening paragraph, what positive things could I say about him on this Father’s Day? A few things actually. Every year, I always remember the advice he gave to me as a young child while playing a fighting game.

Always stay on your opponent. Corner them until they can’t do anything but accept defeat.

This advice I have applied into every aspect of my life. My resilience and resolute attitude to learn and lead have served me well and continue to evolve as I take on more life-altering challenges. I don’t know the meaning of “give up” and I’m very grateful for that as a pillar in my personality.

As for something more recent, despite him tearing down the foundation of our relationship as who I am now, that exhausting conversation eight months ago opened my eyes to how much I had unconsciously disregarded my blackness and history. As a black woman, I see so much value in my race now than ever before. There is power in not allowing myself to fold under society’s perspective of being a minority. In loving myself more and more each day, my Black heritage is now something I carry with pride. The idea of being a “strong black woman who don’t need no man”, oddly enough, is pretty accurate to me these days. :)

Even though I’ve lost what seems like my entire father’s side of the family to “old school” thinking and lack of education of transgender matters, I don’t hate him. I did enough of that as a teenager. As an adult, I accept him and his inability to adapt and respect me just as I have done with my mother. All that matters now is that he can be a father figure to those in his life who value him. I will continue to thank and respect my father for the good he has given me and continue to move forward, regardless of him ironically (and almost hypocritically) distancing himself from the child he worked so hard to be close to all those years.

The Secret To My Evolution As A Creator

Ritsuko Akizuki by yuu fujimiya

When it comes to blogging, there may have been a time in my earlier days that consistency was actually something that mattered to me. A flow that allowed me to compose in a space with full clarity. To be honest, in loosely looking over my existence, the closest I likely ever came to that was in ranting over Live/DeadJournal about emo shit during my teens.

Lucky for me, I graduated from whining about how much life sucks to how deep the well of life and humanity truly goes. We all grow up, realizing that the “emo shit” we believed was making our entire world fall apart was nothing compared to the harsh realities of “adulting.” Those who were creators from a young age also find that the topics/themes/styles that once permeated their ideas also find they’ve become more cultivated and varied. Oftentimes, without ever realizing it until they’ve reached a level of confidence high enough to warrant looking back.

Since my text roleplaying days as a teenager, I have been a creator of sorts. A weaver of characters and, sometimes, worlds. A self-proclaimed wordsmith in my own right. This blog, in an attempt to remain relevant and active, has gone through countless evolutions over the years. Each iteration of myself claiming a fresh start or a more focused flow of consistent posts – always maintaining the “memoir” theme, but never quite pinning down a content methodology.

Well…beyond using pictures of cute 2D anime girls with glasses, that is.

As a creator, I wanted readership to matter. However, I had no clue and just tried different things in order to stay interesting. In most iterations, I didn’t give a fuck who read it. In fewer instances, this blog was private. Due to a lack of content methodology and floundering in why I blogged in the first place, Meganekko Memoirs has a LOT of shit posts in its archive which, in the spirit of this being a memoir blog, are still accessible today.

Sometime within the last year or so, I claimed Meganekko Memoirs was evolving again. Aiming to have a distinct focus on my personal transgender narrative while sharing insight and advice that may help encourage those struggling with their own transition. This was probably most fixed content methodology I’ve ever had, but that level of flow and consistency I spoke of earlier in this post and the beginning of this year still had not been established.

This troubled me greatly.

However, this post marks the first time in forever (if ever) that I’ve ever blogged three days in a row. What changed are the lenses I have been viewing my world through. Being knee-deep in Sales/Marketing drastically shifted my beliefs of having a stronger work ethic and the need to have clearer goals. I learned the hard lesson that I cannot blame outside factors for my own shortcomings. At the end of the day, I only have myself to blame for my lack of results.

I always believed I had been doing enough. However, the lack of consistency spoke for itself. So, upon exiting the sales world, I took an active approach and thought differently.

Rather than using the night hours to attempt to sum up the strength to compose as I once did, I now am capitalizing on the massive span of clarity I have always exhibited first thing in the morning. My best ideas have always come in my morning showers, but I was always too busy getting ready for work or exercising to ever act on those ideas. When I worked in the city, my best creative insights always was on the morning train. It just made sense to also offer up my morning energy to waking up earlier and taking an hour or so to make this blog relevant to my, and hopefully someone else’s existence.

I love the beauty and freedom found in weaving words and meaning together to enthrall a reader. Finally, I’m taking my goal to write more by the horns.

“Wearing glasses. Hiding secrets. Bearing truths.”

That was my tagline for a number of years. Though now, reaching this level of clarity of my own self in tandem with this blog, has guided me to a more fitting evolution.

“A [trans]formed existence through fresh lenses”

You’re welcome to join me.