Privilege and being taken seriously

30 12 2010

Tarald recently wrote an awesome post that I can really relate to. Tarald writes:

I like being the underdog and the outsider. But now it seems like I’m being forced out of this comfort zone of mine. I am not used to being a person of any significance, but now it happens that I am forced to realize that I am, in some contexts, that is.


And then there is the thing about male privilege. I don’t like it. And at the same time I have acted as if I had it most of my life. Being percieved as a girl, this behavior only seemed charming, in a “feminist statement” kind of  way. It was never taken serious, and had a taste of irony attached. Now that I am recognized as male most of the time, this same behavior makes me seem like a dickhead, just like any other man using his privilege.

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WordPress’s 2011 Weekly Post Challenge

30 12 2010

As long-time readers may know, I go through phases of fairly intense blogging and then I’m dead to tboyjacky for months on end. There are lots of things I want to say about transition, gender, sexuality, kink and other things but I often lack the motivation. Well, there’s nothing like a challenge to motivate me so I decided I’d take WordPress up on their Weekly Post Challenge for 2011. They have a Daily Post Challenge as well but since I have my anthro blog to maintain, I think a weekly pledge is enough. So I’ll try really hard to post at least once every week in 2011. I’m sure I’ll have to take a haitus once or twice for travel but I’ll try to stick to it for as much of the year as I physically can.

If any of you co-bloggers on WordPress, or wannabe WordPress bloggers want to do the same, I think it would be awesome for us to encourage each other. We could even have blog conversations to help keep things going. What I mean is, instead of leaving long comments on each other’s blogs, we can link to each other and create a new post instead. More info on how to participate here.

Blasts from the past series

28 12 2010

Although the original idea for having two blogs (this one and Jacky’s Place) was to have all the transition stuff here and everything else over there, after a while, like many trans people, I realised that I can’t neatly divide myself that way. I am a whole person. So a few months back, I started transferring posts from my older blog, Jacky’s Place. The idea was to have a gradual flow and also to have the older posts from the old blog get highlighted here upon their arrival, as they would be placed in a more recent position. The enthusiasm wore off and I just decided to do a full import of the old blog. Since my last post over there was in June 2008, and since the imported posts just get merged, time-wise, anyone wanting to read what I wrote on diverse topics would have to go back through the old stuff before that date. I don’t assume that anyone’s that big of a Jacky fan (except for that one stalker . . . you know who you are ; )so I went through and put them all in the category: “Blast from the past series.” So if you’re curious about what was going on in the mind of pre-transition Jacky, you’re welcome to check it out. Most of it is not gender related. Remember though that most of the posts were written by Nancy, the pre-transition me so don’t be too confused about female self-references! And of course, all of us change so it’s quite possible that I no longer completely agree with myself on all the finer points and nuances I previously made.

In the end, I do still have two blogs. I’ve deleted Jacky’s Place but I now also have Anthro Jack. This case is a bit different since I use this blog to spread awareness in my host community of the anthropological fieldwork that I’m doing. It’s a link that I give out freely to colleauges, students and blood family and it will also eventually contain information about professional presentations that I do. So these two blogs are much more different in intent and character than Tboy Jacky and Jacky’s Place ever were.

On adjectives

25 12 2010

For the first time ever, after I started my transition, I had to get used to changing the way I used adjectives in reference to myself when speaking French. Unlike English, French adjectives are gendered according to the gender of the noun or person that they describe. So, for example, the “green” in “green apple” is different from the “green” in “green curtain.” Pomme, or apple, is a feminine noun so a green apple is une pomme verte. Rideau, or curtain, is a masculine noun so a green curtain is un rideau vert.

It follows then that a feminine identified person would refer to themselves, when expressing fullness or certainty, for example, with a feminine adjective, as I had done all my life up until transition when saying Je suis pleine or Je suis certaine. Suddenly, as with the signature issue, I would catch myself about to use an adjective with a feminine ending rather than with a masculine ending. It took a while for things like Je suis plein and Je suis certain to come naturally. But eventually they did. As did referring to myself as my mom’s son rather than daughter and my siblings’ brother rather than sister.

Things wind up working out eventually.

On signatures

25 12 2010

There is a lot of stuff out there on various aspects of life during and after transition. Ya know, hormones, surgery, getting letters, changing names and sex designation, how to deal with family, colleagues, medical practitioners. All that stuff. But as with anything, there are things that you don’t realise you will have to deal with until they come up. Lots of little things.

For example, it struck me early on that I would have to re-learn how to sign my name! When I started having to sign Jacky XXXX instead of Nancy YYYY (HA! Ironic association of letters with genders there!), it felt so . . . weird. I hadn’t put any thought at all into my signature until my early teens, when I “naturally” adopted my own unique individual way of signing my name. Before that, I had experimented with different ways of “fancifying” my signature, with froo-froo ways of adding little twists and curls to the first letter of my first and last names and so forth. At some point, I wound up signing with a block letter (non-script) version of the first letter of each name, with the rest of each name in non-fancy script form. It stuck and, when I think about it, my signature reflects my general character: somewhat plain and straightforward looking on the surface, with ideosyncracies that become more apparent upon examination.

In any case, my signature remained unchanged for over 20 years. And as lots of us know, when one does the same thing over and over again on a nearly daily basis for that amount of time, it becomes second nature. Changing it on account of having to *think* about it can feel a bit unnatural. So, like the mistake many of us make in any given January when we write the previous year on our cheques, I started many a signature early in my transition with Na—. Then when I would cross out the mistake and start signing Jacky XXXX, it always felt a little like I was trying to commit fraud by signing someone else’s name. It took quite a few months before signing my new name felt natural, but eventually I was able to ease into signing with the same style that I had signed my old one for all that time. But even now, after a couple of years, I sometimes double check because I wonder if I accidentally signed Nancy YYYY!

So note to people embarking on this exciting journey of officially changing one’s name, for whatever reason: start practising your signature as soon as you pick your new name : )

I’d love to hear about other people’s experiences with changing their signature in the comments section!

On the necessity of Pride (for me)

24 12 2010

On the day before Christmas eve, my thoughts, for some reason, turn to pride.

I’ve rediscovered a song just today that has a certain amount of significance to me. The song is called Dragostea Din Tei by O-Zone and you can hear it here. I had heard it before this occasion but the song marked me one night about three years ago at a Montreal drag bar called Cabaret Mado. I had just performed in that evening’s show and stuck around for a while for the post-show dance party DJ’d by the famous Mado herself. She mentioned she was feeling “quétaine”(québécois expression meaning “tacky” or “cheesy”) that night and threw this number on. Now, there I was, standing by myself at one of the bars and observing the mostly queer crowd on the stage, which turns into a dance floor after the show. I was alone – it was a Tuesday night and none of my friends had been able to make it out. Being alone, I became reflective. I felt a bit lonely but not in a chronic sense since I normally have ample occasion to dance my heart out with my chronies.

I had recently decided to undertake the path to transition from female to male. So as I stood there in a crowd of queers, I reflected on how my position in the queer community would change. And of course, I reflected once again on the fragmentation that exists in the queer community. I won’t go into the details of that fragmentation here – that is a whole piece on its own, or more like multiple pieces. But it’s something that comes up in my mind and in the minds of many, if I’m to rely on the ongoing real life and cyber discussions on this issue. And on the eve of my transition not only from female to male but from bi qenderqueer female to bi genderqueer FTM, it was especially present in my thoughts.
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