Update and Ring of Keys(!!)

So there’s not much new on the boy front.  I still feel overwhelmed when I think of it, but I talked to my therapist about it and she told me how the stories we tell ourselves can overwhelm us or lift our spirits.  So I’m trying to think of each element of this story separately: That my romantic night that I’ve planned for him is a simple romantic gesture that doesn’t have to mean that we’ll be together forever (hell, we’ve only with each other there 5 months so far); that I am excited for him and for his transition; that even though I love him I don’t have to commit my life to him because we’re still getting to know each other.  I feel physically relieved as I type some of these things, even as I feel a the pressure on because I’m thinking about it again.  So there’s that.

Then there’s last night.  I didn’t watch the Tony’s but I heard on NPR that Fun Home won for best musical.  At first I was uninterested because the (very) little that I read of Fun Home was a bit of a downer; but then again, I’ve always had a crush on Alison Bechdel (super hottie!) and Mo from DTWOF and wanted to catch a glimpse of what the actress portraying her looked like.  So I checked out this: 

and oohmyygod wow.  I was taken back to the time right before I began coming out at about age 25.  I remember seeing the butch janitor at my mom’s school when she, my niece, and I were getting her room ready for her first year of teaching.  She came, no, swaggered in, and I couldn’t stop looking at her.  I thought maybe she recognized me too.  I didn’t know what to say to her, and despite her butchness (I didn’t know what to expect), I think she was a little quiet.  Shy, like me.  When little Alison in the song sings, “Can you feel my heart saying hi?” I lose it every time.  That’s how it is sometimes, huh?  It was then, and was when I first went to the Castro with my mom (again, lol) and one gay boy my age just looked at me.  He had dark hair and was wearing an orangish polo and gave me a friendly, non-invasive gaze, recognizing me.  He didn’t look away. I’ll never forget it…..it put me at peace and filled me with such anticipation and wonder.

Anyway, I’ve seen this behavior again and again in the gay community.  People quietly acknowledging each other, listening to the newbies like they were little puppies discovering the world, not wanting to guide them but just let them be curious and playful as hell and scared as they are.  One of the things I love about my community, even though as I’ve become slightly more involved since then I haven’t seen it (I’m around families and allies and out youth more these days).

Another thing about that play that captures us well is the divide that gay men and lesbians/butches/faab transfolk sometimes have.  We sometimes have different tastes, and sometimes it feels like we’re from entirely different worlds.  When Alison’s dad, who’s secretly gay, tells her to put her barrette back in her hair from the Tony Awards performance, (which can be seen here: http://www.justjared.com/2015/06/07/fun-home-cast-performs-at-the-tony-awards-2015-watch-now/ it reminded me of the disconnect I’ve felt with gay men sometimes.  They celebrate our/by butchness and, yes, hit on us, but they also sometimes have the glittery taste that it has taken me awhile to embrace, even though I love it now.  Or when I’m talking to my gay professor and when there should be an instant bond with us, but there isn’t.  I’m just another student, and gel much better with my straight male professor and my female-identified hippie one.  It’s just all interesting.

We tend to talk about ourselves as community, but it’s important to remember that we’re sometimes from different worlds and we all have different tastes and personalities.  Just like family: none of us get along all the time, and there’s inevitably politics and misunderstanding, but, hopefully, we’re there for each other when we need it most.

Family Secrets – A Tribute to Ivan E. Coyote

Something I’m working on….haven’t figured out the right ending yet.

Family Secrets – An Homage to Ivan E. Coyote

by Sam Allen

I’ve always wondered who I got it from.

Not like a disease, but a flower that someone gave to me a long time ago, pressed in between the pages of an old photo album. A flower that I discovered late in my 20s; a symbol of love and endurance.

My uncle? Nah, a bad candidate. He was a child taken too far away too early, to a dark place full of urges that he was taught to indulge, and abuse.

My grandfather? Who knows. My aunt Betty tells me that he didn’t like his penis, the thing that most men (I’m assuming) take great pride in. “This thing,” he called it.

But still, what did I know back then, when she was trying to tell me something important?

Now I know that it’s because it was still too far removed. Not intimate enough to be like sleeping in the same bed with your childhood best friend, or making puppets with your stuffed animals during sleepovers. Girlfriend close.

She. Or they, or he. It’s still hard to fathom a pronoun change for this love. Someone who cooked me dry beef patties and carrot and raisin salad when I came over from seventh grade, intentionally missing the bus again so I could spend time with her. Grandma.

A safe haven like no other world could be.

Grandma who didn’t know her grandparents, to the best of my knowledge. Just like my dad.

But she persevered nonetheless, taking class after class at the junior college and having her work published (stolen, actually) in a professor’s writings. According to her.

Mom says that she always felt she had a penis.

We were talking about family gays, and how I didn’t have many, in one of our evolving conversations about the nature, and mom’s feelings, about, my “homosexuality.” I call it queerness. 🙂

And suddenly, she says, her eyes casually off in the distance, “Well, one time granny told me that she always felt she had a penis growing inside of her.”

I stop.

Yeah, Granny had worn men’s BVD’s. She said they were more comfortable, and was once aghast that an ambulance crew had discovered her little-concealed secret. Cackling like only she could to recall the story.

And yeah, she also hated to French kiss men, or, rather, be Frenched by them.

These things my aunt had pointed out were emblems of her possible queerness. But I wanted more concrete evidence.

Something like this…

“But her brothers raped her when she was little,” mom says. I know that doesn’t explain it but I have to consider her argument respectfully.

“Well, gender identity and body image are things that are innate. Like, at 3 or 4,” I say.

Body image in a way that I can relate to if not exactly have. Maybe she was trans*, maybe not. She may have been right in the middle, just like me. Maybe not. I have to resist making her in my own image.

But this revelation gave me a possible, unexcavatalbe ground that I can stand on and return to. Talk to in times of trouble. Stories.

My grandmother was like me.

When I came home from Portland, I spent so much time plumbing my dad’s memories of his brother the child molester. The gay child molester. A baby boy of 15 probably committed suicide because of what he did to him. He was repeating what an uncle had done to him when he was only 12. Later, dad’s brother had relationships, and my dad recalled softly how Uncle Richard had come out to him before Harvey Milk made it a thing. Or maybe while. While they were backpacking through the mountains, something that I still cannot at all imagine my dad doing or wanting to do.

As for Granny, she came to me in a dream once when I was having a horrible time with agoraphobia and a fear of, basically, everything.

“Ooh! People!” She cackled. We cackled together.

I know that others search for their queer ancestors. I I follow the matriarchal line, holes and missing male relatives and all, on ancestry.com out of a rejection of the patriarchy. Ireland! Ellender! Exactly what I hoped for!

This is different.

It’s a portrait of complexity. Did she tell others about how she felt? I can’t shut up about it to the people I’m close to. Was she ever in a relationship with someone who affirmed what she felt? Something many people search for.

I should have been looking closer. Somewhere where “women” tell their secrets to others who look and feel like their own kind. Maybe.

LGBTQ* History! – Interview with Margaret Baker-Street

LGBTQ* History! – Interview with Margaret Baker-Street

So my friend, the life coach Margaret Baker Street, interviewed me for her podcast Coming Out Alive.  It’s on queer history. You can access it at the link above, or below:

http://loaradionetwork.com/margaret-street.html

 

 

With every person I tell this is becoming more real.

That’s all, really.

I just emailed my friend from PFLAG and added it to the bottom of the letter.  Wondering what her (supportive and fabulous, obviously) response will be.

Is it okay to be uncertain of some of the changes, even if I want my face to change?  Like, I’m genderqueer, and I like parts of my body.  I’m not sure if I’m going to be okay with everything but I hope it will balance out in the end.

Nervous about using mens’ restrooms already, if I go that far that I pass.

Needing to Process

Buck Angel is okay, but I don’t want to be like him.

I want to be like Mark from R.E.N.T. – quirky (already), nerdy, with a striped scarf hanging from his neck.

I remember sitting on the light rail train, and the woman next to me tapping me and saying, “You know who you look like?” Smile.

“Who?” I squeaked out.

Her eyes got big.  Her face blushed.  She had thought I was a guy.  “Nope.  Never mind,” she said, smiling.

Now was curious.  “Aww, tell me, please?”  Let it be Anthony Rapp (Mark from R.E.N.T.)

“Nope, not gonna happen.”  She grinned.  She was embarrassed.  Couldn’t get it out of her to tell me who she thought I looked like.

We sat there in happy, although slightly befuddled, silence until the next stop came up.

“Bye.”  “Bye.”  Grinning both.

 

“Dad.”

This is what an Irish American man said to me when he saw me get on the bus from Winco.

“You’re the spitting image of my father, except that you’re a lady!  Oh, I’m sorry!”

“No, it’s okay!  It’s flattering!”

“No, you’re not an ugly guy” was his message.  It never stops confusing me when men consider themselves, even the handsomest of handsome, unbeautiful.

 

Now I want to be in that state.

I’m getting read as female 100% of the time, and it bugs me.

Part of it is from the weight gain and subsequent boobage, but maybe there’s more?  Will my face continue to feminize itself if I don’t do something about it?

I want to be like Anthony Rapp.  A cute, nerdy, bespecacled gay boy who can belt out showtunes wherever he damn well pleases.

And that, my ladies and folks and gents, is why I told my best friend today that I want to go on T.

Actually, decided to go on T.  

I told my dad and everything.

But now, in the quiet house, I wonder if I’m just playing.  What if I don’t want that after all?  After I’ve told everybody?

I know that I’m tired of being jealous of one-month before and after shots of folks who have gone on T and have a slightly handsomer (to me) angle to their face.  

I want my face to shine through.  I want to be able to see it and not just superimpose it on myself when I look into the mirror.

I want to look at myself and feel better than I do right now.

I want to look like Anthony Rapp.

I’m a little bit more scared of how the way I think will change; I’m just getting used to, and starting to like, how I think now.

Men are different, my dad tells me.  You’re going to change.

It’s been years since I’ve felt fluid and a gnawing to write.  What if that goes away, or changes?

I know that I will be jealous of before and after / 1-month shots.  And I also know that I need to lose weight.

There will be time to do this as I save up (I don’t even know what T costs, or what it’s called medically, except for Androgel) for my scripts.  There will be time to build up an arsenal of information to tell my mom.  To come out to the rest of my friends, and to get support.  Lots of time.

I just can’t believe I’m doing this…….that I’ve made this decision.

Anthony Rapp.  Anthony Rapp.  Anthony Rapp.

I guess I’m still conflicted, aren’t I?  Does that ever go away?  Do you usually feel scared and uncertain before starting this, even as you see visions of a more masculine self and more masculine-perceived ways of doing things (I’m already kind of a show off, when no one’s looking) around family and close friends who are, in essence family.

So many questions.

Locked Out of Heaven

I’m listening to Rufus sing, “One more notch I scratch
To keep me thinkin’ of you
One more notch does the maker make
Upon my face so blue.”

And it makes me whimper.  I know that not all Christians think that way, but maybe think that way.

My dog notices.  His ears go up and I got to him, singing, “Jesus loves the little bubbies.” (His nickname is bubby).

This quells my impulse to cry.

I think I need something more in my life than the mundane world of coffee, work (at-home work for me), friends, family, etc.

I need something spiritual that lasts longer than a song.

While singing to Bubby I summon Tommy Gnosis’ aka Stephen Trask’s “We are Freaks.”

After rambling off all of the kinds of “Freaks” that he knows and sees, he says, “That’s the way God planned us.  That’s the way God planned us.”  It gives me chills every time.  Sometimes more than chills.  Sometimes tears.

I grew up a spiritual kid.  I don’t remember much about my childhood spirituality, but I do remember sensing an emotional change in the crowd sometimes, wondering if that was the Holy Spirit moving among us.

It drove me to an interest in an Oversoul, as well as to ethnomusicology later in life (and by this I mean my early 20’s, hehe).

I went to an American Baptist church in Stockton that was relatively conservative but, thankfully, never delved into politics in sermons or Sunday school lessons.  It was stricktly verboten.  And I feel like you’ll knock me for saying that word, but that was the strength of the spell that kept teachers from sharing their political opinions with their pupils.  To illustrate, I remember attending a lecture/rant on creationism during a Wednesday night youth summit, and most people popping their heads in, snickering, and popping them out.  We were not a political bunch.  Even if the ‘science’ of creationism fascinated me at the time.

I got chills when he talked about being a better person, feeling the Holy Spirit move.

But that changed as I got older.  My best friend started to get picked on for my boyish ways.

The way I stood.  The way I wore my hair.  I was generally their misfit and they would rather tell it to her than to my face.

I drifted out of the youth groups, and hated going to church because the pews were filled with the kids who used to be my friends.

My youth pastor came over to me one day as I was standing on the curb, now which I realize to be the farthest possible place away from the youth group while still part of the youth quadrant, and asked me, “Do you still read your bible?”  “Yeah, all the time!” I said, smiling.

Later that day it dawned on me that I didn’t believe in Adam and Eve.

I got into agnosticism….and Walt Whitman:  ” I CELEBRATE myself, and sing myself,
And what I assume you shall assume,
For every atom belonging to me as good belongs to you.”

I found Hedwig and the Angry Inch through Rufus’ cover of the Origin of Love (meh, I prefer the original), and play it every Sunday.

It’s my mass, my Pentecost, my Lent (Ash Wednesday!  Ash on Hedwig and Tommy’s forehead!), my holy rite.

Easter and Christmas I assign to pagan rituals, and they hold more meaning for me in their primeval love between life and death, birth and rebirth, the return of a Sun King to the world (Chrismas), earth and sex and Spring for Easter.

I think that’ll still be the case, whatever I morph into.

I still get chills from listening to Allen Ginsberg.  He’s a personal hero of mine, a little bit of a dead celebrity still alive in my heart, and on screen.  “The trees add shade to shade, lights out in the houses, we’ll both be lonely,” have some of the most exquisite pauses that I’ve heard/read ever.  Including music.

It’s a good alternative spirituality.

But right now, I need more.

I don’t believe in Jesus or the stories about him.  I don’t care, really.

“Locked out of heaven.”

That’s what I think when I associate gays and mainstream religion.

An estrangement from God, whatever form or entity that is.

Which is weird, because I still pray.

I think queers who are part of mainstream religions – Mennonites, Baptists, Methodists – are some of the most radical idea-having people around.

Jesus loves you, this I know.  For the Bible tells me so…….includes you.  Me.

Everyone the other religious people have told us – or maybe it’s just the ones who yell the loudest – have told no.  You can’t be in our heaven, unless you change.  You’re a sinner right now, and you’ll continue to be one, unrepentant and shunned, unless you change.

Or maybe it was the mean girls, manifesting their Girl Power – just the athletes, just the ones who bridged the line between girlish and boyish traits without actually crossing over it – without accepting the ones who were different.  The ones who were like me.

Maybe that’s what I have.  An adolescent estrangement from the powers who kicked me in the face (metaphorically) that day, when Jackie tried to teach me how to stand right, stand up straight, or loll like those other girls in the mezzanine.  Odd how they fraternized with the influential men and women.  Like meets like.

Anyway, I need to get over my childhood wounds.

Do I still believe in God?  God knows.  All I know is that maybe I need to do something about it.

from: http://dailypost.wordpress.com/2014/03/12/daily-prompt-if-you-leave/

I wanna be like you, but not really

I wrote this about a year ago about the feelings I have being around trans* guys. I always get antsy, like I want to change, but I think I’ve been through the whole “to T or not to T” process and have come out on the “not” side. It’s kinda conflicted and indecisive, kinda, and I hope it doesn’t hurt anyone’s feelings.  I have this image, like, I could experiment with T, just to see how it feels, but I feel conflicted about the changes it would bring.  I don’t like my face, but I like the softness of my body, the things that mark me as female/feminine, but still….I’m still wanting to “experiment”

I’m posting this as a part of the Brag Board on The Gender Book, http://www.thegenderbook.com/, an excellent book explaining non-binary genders in words, pictures, and, hopefully, song. 🙂

I wanna be like you, but not really: A Genderqueer Ballad

I wanna be like you,

but not really.

I wanna look like you,

but not really.

You have your path

I have mine.

You look great and

I look fine.

I think.

I think I see myself

in the mirror sometimes.

I think I see someone else

in the mirror too.

When my life is going right,

a glimpse, an eyelash, a nose

that is who I can be, who I could be

maybe.

I wanna be like you

but not really.

I wanna look like you

but not really.

Your voice glows and it growls

in a way that I want

but not really

Your face I see it, it’s becoming you

And I think, Is that me?

No, not really

Or maybe.

I’m me,

and I’m objectifying you

into something I could be

because…..you’re a possibility

a change

that I want, and that I envy

that could be me.

but that I don’t think, I don’t think

I really want.