Saving myself for no one

The concept of sexual intimacy is not lost on you or me. However, somewhere along the line – growing up in a Christian household, trying to be a good, heterosexual boyfriend to the few girls who gave me a chance, my admittance of being of an agnostic, free-thinking perspective, and embracing my identity as a pansexual transwoman – I lost sight of what I should and should not deserve. Rather, I never had much of a chance to really explore the idea of engaging in sexual intimacy. For specific reasons, I just accepted that my time had not come.

My long-standing belief has been that one should reserve sexual intimacy for the person they have committed themselves to in a monogamous, romantic relationship. I have since realized that this line of thinking has been the last bastion of traditional, Christian-centric thought that had somehow survived through everything that had drastically shifted in my lifestyle. The idea had been deeply engrained into me, despite being “born male”, and the shame of contradicting this thinking loomed near whenever temptation arose. My parents being religious & fairly traditional led me to put my own romanticized take on it, believing that if I remained patient & virtuous, one day I would be able to entrust my body to the person I believed was “the one.”

I recently read a novel that turned me on (pun intended) to the very common practice of two characters meeting one another. After their initial meeting, both of them recognized their instinctual attraction to one another over time with each chance interaction feeding the heat between them. Eventually, one makes a move and the other is equally overcome with ferocious passion. For some reason, the timing in which I was exposed to that story – right around when I turned thirty – caused me to have an alternative perspective. Prior to turning thirty, I would have asked “who could possibly jump into bed with someone who clearly had no romantic intentions to remain faithful to them”? However, in the face of physical aging, sparse intimacy over my lifetime, and the high level of self-love I had cultivated as the woman I was born to be, what I read now appeared almost natural and sensible as my former mindset seemed almost something an insane, brainwashed prude would do.

#1: I can be shallow as fuck about looks.

#2: I am light-years from being a “prude”.

“Turning 30” has been a recurring theme in this blog as of late and sexual expression is not excluded from it. As I often do, I wondered why only I had to be the one sexually frustrated, swearing off intimacy just because “the one” hadn’t come along. I could count on one hand how many times I had believed I would marry someone. This romanticized notion of keeping myself “pure” for “my first time” when I was already perverted, unabashedly playful in my sexuality, and near legitimately considered a succubus among my close friends rapidly became outdated through rigorous self-assessment.

Being met with my cold logic quickly turned to frustration. I was three weeks into being 30 and had yet to experience unrestrained intimacy followed by sharing a bed with my partner. Like an ignorant, virgin teenager, I was still wondering how people [read: my friends] have sex and if there were any steps to follow for a successful romp. And then I was smacked in the face with the truth: This was all my own doing. I repeatedly declined the idea simply because no romantic commitment would follow when there were multiple instances where sex likely would have been welcomed.

Another hard truth washed over me: The combination of my past upbringing and now my present life as a transwoman had somehow made me believe by default I should never feel safe experiencing sexual intimacy other than with someone who had confessed their love for me. An amalgamation of anger and sadness careened through my body. There had to be a way to rewrite this automated preset equation that I had left unchecked in the midst of my gender transition.

I want to be a good woman.

Only sluts sleep around.

How do you take love out of sex? I’m so clingy. I’d fall in love with them and get hurt.

Will I ever be loved?

But…

…why I should starve myself.

I’m desirable. Beautiful. Lovable.

If sex with someone I trust could make sense…

Experiencing intimacy with someone I feel comfortable with isn’t shameful.

Yes, I want to be loved. Sex doesn’t equal love. It never has.

I won’t be young forever. Live your life. 

Fuck who you want.

So I did.

The Joke Is On Us. Literally.

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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

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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.