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They Slushied Unique!

Unique slushiedWell, it looks like they went ahead and shitcanned Unique, the first trans character on ‘Glee’. Relax everyone, this wasn’t an anti-trans thing where they quietly shoved out Alex Newell and then leaked a story to the gossip rags about “creative differences” while publically touting that he went on to pursue new opportunities. They also shitcanned the rest of the hated new class as well: Marley, Other Puck, New Quinn, and that gangly kid. Clearly they were all memorable, but none so much as Unique.

For those of you familiar with my other posts, most of them written in my young and fiery days as a newly transitioning woman, full of vim and vigor, piss and vinegar, and vitameatavegamin, I’ve gone on and on about Glee quite a bit. I was elated when they introduced Unique, had some heartache about the way they explained the character, defended her against conservative bullies like O’Reilly, but overall kept up the gushing. That was then. Now, after the fabulous 100th episode and a lackluster gay bashing very special episode, I’m somewhat incensed and want you to join me in my misery.

A quick aside, like I never do. I’m glad Ryan Murphy tackled the still very relevant topic of gay bashing. I am. But holy shit, could the show have done a shittier job of it? While I’m 100% certain this still takes place in tolerant old NYC, and probably every day, but by a couple of good old boys in a battered old pickup? I don’t think I’ve ever actually seen a pickup truck in New York City. Assuming they aren’t there on vacation, I would think it would be remarkably easy to track down these losers. Just look for the only pickup registered to Jim Bob Jethro on Manhattan and go arrest the sonofabitch. I think it’s a safe bet that it was probably him. Aside from that, even the event itself lacked the emotional depth we had long grown used to.

Remember when the show had Karofsky, the closeted gay bully who forced Kurt to change schools, then later got bullied himself by the evil leader of the Warblers and tried to commit suicide? I just described three episodes in one sentence that made me cry. Or when Kurt’s dad had the heart attack and Kurt sang to him? Or Quinn giving up her baby? Even Grilled Cheezus had more heart and he was just a sandwich. This was my thought process while the credits rolled. Glee no longer has any heart, and without heart, the apathy grows.

OK, I’m going to stop waxing nostalgic for the evil Vocal Adrenaline, lovely guidance pamphlets like “You and Your Hag, the Zizes-Puckerman romance, and guest stars with awesome names like Brian Ryan. And the slushies. Oh, the slushies. These stories are done and told. That’s fine, turn the page and life goes on. But they still had a character they could have used to inject some life back in to the show, that in my opinion, really died with the Mighty Finn. Unique still had a story to tell and huge challenges to overcome. Given the history of the show, it really wouldn’t have been all that hard to grant her early admission to NYADA and stick her in the unrealistically spacious Manhattan loft with the drearily self-involved remaining cast.

To Ryan Murphy and the writers of Glee, I thank you for the awesome work you did, especially in the area of promoting LGBT issues to the great unwashed. I think your efforts went a long way toward bringing America to the tipping point on rights and equality and no one can ever take that away from you. At the same time, you just brought your beloved platform into ‘Saved by the Bell: The College Years’ territory, or worse yet, ‘Showgirls’, and it just breaks my heart to see it. No longer unique, no longer effervescent, like a ginger ale that sat open on the counter for a good week, please, close your eyes and have a slushie on me.

Fosters Guy

FostersRemember when not too long ago I said I was going to move on to other things and write about those here? Yeah, yeah, that’s all going to happen, but give me a minute. Jeesh! As my son used to say at 2, “Don’ pooosh me!” For the record, we never did in the literal sense and were gratified that he was able to use the phrase in the correct cultural context. We are proud and all, but wish he would have stopped once he got to the ‘F’ word and other little horrifying utterances when grandma is around. Great, now you got me all off topic.

Today I want to gush about one of my new favorite shows out there. “The Fosters”. It’s airs on ABC Family one of the nights of the week. I’m never really sure since we filter everything through Tivo and constantly surprised by the weather as a result. Don’t tell me who the Oscar winners were, not to mention who got kicked off the island in ‘Survivor’, ‘Hell’s Kitchen’, or even ‘Lost’. I love ‘The Fosters’ for a number of reasons, all of which are worth mentioning, but mainly because they recently introduced a trans character and managed to do it way better than ‘Glee’. Just in case you tend to shy away from ABC Family because you think it’s going to be all ‘Walton’s’ or worse, ‘Family’, it’s a lot more progressive than I originally assumed. Once I determined that they featured ‘Kyle XY’, the first genetically engineered super being who is clearly gay, I was willing to give them a shot.

‘The Fosters’ is about a lesbian couple, the Fosters, who have one biological child, two adopted children (who are biological brother and sister), and for whatever contrived reason I can’t remember, end up fostering a girl and boy, who are also biological brother and sister. That the fostering couple is named the Fosters is clearly intended to double justify the name of the show in a clever little unsubtle way. Now in the second season, after undergoing the appropriate amount of drama, the fostered girl ends up in a group home for wicked girls. Sorry, I forgot it’s not the 1940’s anymore, and they did replace a paddle wielding Miss Hannigan type with Rosie O’Donnell, who is arguably a teensy bit nicer.

In the home for wicked girls exists a trans man, and to my gratified amazement, he’s treated like a trans man. Not a butch girl, not a confused rebellious chick, and not a scheming meemie out to fool everyone. He says he’s a dude, dresses like one, and acts with conviction and in accordance with his gender identity. While not allowed any privacy or accommodation, the subject of pronouns comes up more than once and reinforced positively by Miss Hannigan. Sorry… Rosie. On a field trip, they even portrayed a bathroom issue where the young trans man is blocked from entering a men’s room at a zoo. The scene is poignant and the outraged humiliation one generally feels when being denied access to facilities is well portrayed.

What I think I enjoyed most about this character is that they went with a trans man for a change. I’ll be honest, as a trans woman I’m often gratified at seeing my own up on the screen, either being portrayed with heart and elegance or being butchered. I’m also very well aware that trans women have more of a ‘freak factor’ that makes more interesting TV and is probably the reason we are seeing an increasing number of iterations. It’s time our brothers got a little more time in the sun, and it pleased me to no end that they got the main issues and characterization down very well. Well true, someone in a home for wicked girls usually doesn’t have the wherewithal to sneak out and obtain a huge dose of black market injectable testosterone and OD on it, it is an ABC Family drama, so some dramatic license is expected.

I really hope they keep the character. He is the most accurate trans man I’ve seen since ‘Boys Don’t Cry’, and it’s such a boost to Tribe Trans when the media somehow goes and gets is right for a change. The show is worth watching anyway, so long as they don’t cancel it on a cliff hanger like they did with ‘Kyle XY’, which in spite of including a “girlfriend”, was shaping up to be the best gay melodrama since ‘Queer As Folk’.

Ride’s Not Over Yet

CometOK, my last post was really all about schilling for a worthy endeavor, but the spike in my traffic reminded me that I seem to have maintained a readership in spite of going silent for a few months. Huh. Well, that’s a surprise. Here I thought everyone was here for the jokes or seeing what crazy way ol’ Michelle managed to publically humiliate herself this week. Therein lies the rub. The huge cascade of interesting things that had been happening to me for almost two straight years has finally become a trickle of molasses in January. Or this year, I guess March. Let’s talk about that for a minute. Not the weather; I haven’t gotten that pathetic just yet.

Somehow, in spite of my best efforts to remain in Neverland (the good one, not the one with the evil Peter Pan from ‘Once Upon a Time’ who is somehow related to 43 other fables), I went and kind of grew up. Ugh. I hate even saying the words! A few years ago, before I took my first Estrodial or Spiro, before I ventured out in daylight to anywhere but Belles or Spectrum meetings, a post-operative trans woman said to the table of transsexuals and cross-dressers, “It’s feels good to be in the right body, but it’s also depressing.” I asked her what she meant and she just held it out as a certainty without really explaining. Because of that, I chalked it up to bullshit. I mean who can’t explain their own experiences? Apparently she couldn’t, but it didn’t make it any less true.

The early days of self-discovery are so exciting. You don’t know what’s going to happen, what you are going to be doing, what the consequences will be, and what you will be at the end of it. Every single day is a roller coaster of exhilaration of crossing a new inch stone and mortal terror of discovery and repercussions. Every tiny step of it is something you just could not have imagined a few years, or even a few months prior. A trip to the grocery store becomes a major achievement, not to mention hitting the Allentown Art Festival or Taste of Buffalo, surrounded by thousands, some of whom you are bound to know, and wondering if you will be recognized, outed and have your secret self thrust into the spotlight of harsh judgment or warming embrace. Every outfit is a dare, a new expression of your personality. Every intervention: hormones, electrolysis, laser and surgery becomes a new high, a new heady plateau in rarified atmosphere, closer to the golden glow of achieving the nirvana of self-realization. Scraped, bloody, humiliated, and filled with the holy spirit of feminine righteousness, we clamber to the peak. I am woman, hear me roar.

That was all really freaking awesome and all, but after enough roaring to necessitate a trip to the corner for some Ludens, the rest of life has to go and continue. Because I was lucky enough to keep my job through transition, and living situation, it’s basically the same life I’m continuing from before transition, except with more hassles. I still have to get my little guy to school every day and pick him up, do the grocery shopping, write the same performance reviews, and attend the same staff meetings. I still take out the garbage every Wednesday, snow blow the driveway, mow the lawn, and help my mom with her taxes. The difference is that it now takes me longer to get ready for work, I’m still dilating three times a day, and the supply list of shit I need every day is considerably longer. It’s all very routine, mundane, and not worth of being mentioned, even though I just filled your eyes with it all and made you wonder if you should just unsubscribe to this already. Seriously, don’t though. I’ll know, and make it a point to write some knockout material just to piss you off.

I miss the excitement. The uncertainty. Doing things that could radically change my future and lead to dizzying heights and soul crushing lows. This is a good thing. I lived through transition and the world didn’t end. It didn’t break me, or even really come close. OK, yeah, I had some dreary, weepy days in there over the past year, but I’m going to conveniently blame hormones on that, evidence or none. I had a little rest, and now it’s time to climb some new mountains.

Am I still going to maintain this blog and share my experiences? In the words of Tina Fey in one of her minor roles, “you betcha!” What I can add to the body of knowledge regarding transition is probably more limited, though I’ll still write trans posts. I’ll also be vectoring into other areas as I see fit, and promise to try to keep up the funny schtick as much as possible. All the transition knowledge I have to share is conveniently accessible if you access the ‘Topics’ tab up at the top where you can find my blathering on almost any topic, or will once I get around to updating the damn thing. Ride’s not over yet.

PS – The picture, in case are wondering, is in homage to one of the greatest trans blogs ever written, “I Hate Roller Coasters”, by my sister, Becky Kent. This one’s for you sis. :-)

PPS – Um, just so we are clear, Becky is still with us and doing incredibly well. Her blog is gone, hence the homage, but seriously, she’s fine and if I can ever convince her to do a guest post, I’ll prove it.

Inside Out, A Trans Documentary

InsideOut Photo 1Contrary to some hopeful rumors, I continue to breathe and move about the world. Not in a Kwai Chang Caine way where I skulk about the countryside involving myself in strangers lives and use to slow paced Kung Fu to solve all their problems, but nevertheless, I am here. I did take a little hiatus from blogging after I ran out of things to say that I haven’t already covered. In the mean time while I dream up and concoct some new spins on things you were only dimly aware of and not that interested in, I’d like to use my now cobwebby space here to let you know about a way you and 79,999 of your friends can change the world. Without further ado, I present your golden opportunity join the burgeoning crowd sourcing industry and lend your support to a worthy trans project.

Wanted: 80,000 People to Change the World!

 Inside Out – The Documentary is a feature film that will follow for one year the lives of five transgender and gender non-conforming children and youth. On Valentine’s Day Inside Out launched a 30-day campaign on its website (www.insideout-thedocumentary.com) asking 80,000 people to donate $10 – the price of a movie ticket – to fund the film.

 This campaign marks the first time in history a community of this size has come together to fund a documentary. Achieving this goal will: ·      Make a newsworthy statement about the breadth of support for transgender and gender non-conforming people ·      Deliver a strong message about the size of the film’s audience that no distributor or festival can ignore – ensuring the largest possible mainstream reach.·      Make a difference in the lives of transgender and gender non-conforming children. Organizations supporting Inside Out include: NCLR, TYFA, Trans Youth Equality Foundation, TransActive, The Pride Foundation, Gender Odyssey, and Gender Diversity.

 Inside Out is the first film to take us deep inside the lives of these children and their families. It will inspire empathy, increase awareness, and broaden the public’s understanding of all trans* people.  Your donation will help make a movie that will really make a difference! I look forward to seeing your name on the big screen!

Website:        www.insideout-thedocumentary.com

Facebook:     www.facebook.com/InsideOutTheDocumentary

Twitter:           @InsideOutTheDoc

And with that we successfully conclude today’s public service announcement brought to you by Schweppes*. If you won’t drink something imbued with the great taste of Schweppervescence, well then who the hell will? Seriously though, I’m donating, and if you do, I promise to read through all the film credits on ‘pause’, stop, and nod appreciatively when I see your name. It may not be much of a reward, but still a far sight better than those bowling trophies you garbage picked a couple decades ago.

Peace, my brave little Vikings, and talk soon.

 

*Not really. Seriously, please don’t tell them I said that. The last person who ran afoul of the powerful ginger ale industry was forced to seek asylum in Walla Walla, Washington and endure a lifetime of restrained snarky chuckles while explaining to family and friends.

Finding Frank Goldberg

 

Frank GoldbergI have no idea why I didn’t think of this before. I think the mangy gerbil in her rusty wheel that powers my brain finally pooped out on diet of complete and utter crap I’ve been feeding her for the past 2 weeks. It occurred to me while driving to Burger King to try the new Big Mac rip-off (freakishly gross by the way) that the power of the blogosphere can actually be used for something other than smarmy self-indulgent ramblings. I know, right? Who have thunk it. If we can’t use this space to help one of our own, what are we really doing here?

Frank Goldberg is a Buffalo, NY area LGBT activist who went missing last week Monday night and hasn’t been seen since. I’m going to copy and paste the text from the Facebook page (link here) below because it says it much better, and not even a teensy bit in a smarmy self-indulgent way. Just a note – no one is misgendering Frank – she is genderqueer and uses female pronouns:

Our dear sister, Frank Goldberg (given name, Aimee), has been MISSING since Monday evening, December 16, 2013 around 9PM while she was visiting in Buffalo (home for the holidays from Portland, Oregon). If you see her or hear from her or hear of any information, please post here or message us directly at FindFrankGoldberg@gmail.com. We will update here with news as soon as we learn anything. And please keep her and our family in your thoughts and prayers.

At present, the Buffalo police have a detective assigned and the local effort also hired a private investigator. The latter is not meant to reflect poorly on the Buffalo police, whom I don’t want to come to my house and shoot out my tires, but because Frank is an adult and if found, they have legal obligation to pretend they didn’t if that is what Frank wishes. The gumshoe, however, will do what he’s damn well paid to and hopefully bring some measure of comfort to Frank’s family and friends.

At present, there are multiple theories out there. Frank is in a dark place and went off the grid. Frank did the unthinkable and hasn’t been discovered yet. Frank is hitching back to the west coast where she hails from. Frank is the victim of foul play. In any case, there have been no sightings, no clues, and hope is beginning to dim that we will see Frank alive and well again.

I’m asking all of you, people who read my blog for some reason, to take a look at the picture and try to recall if you have seen Frank in the past 2 weeks. I’m also politely, but firmly, asking my sister and brother bloggers to repost this in the hopes that the information circles the globe a few dozen times. We have the power to put this information out into the world where so many people will see it.

If you have information, or by some miracle happen to be Frank, I’m urging you to please contact the email address above. You may also contact me and I guarantee your anonymity if you need that to speak up.

Have Dilator, Will Travel… GRS Journey Concluded

TSAEver wake up in the morning and suddenly realize, “Hey! Did I just have my original genitals replaced with other very different genitals? Holy shit!” Actually, some of you probably have. Today we are going to conclude my first ever six post story on this blog, up from the previous record of a one post story. Last we left me, I agreed with great trepidation to skip town 3 days earlier than medically advisable. We’ll get to that in a second; the opening question deserves a bit of time.

I’ve spoken to other post-op ladies, and it’s apparently not uncommon for one to emerge from surgery and be slammed with a “oh my God, what have I done?” feeling. Close, but not quite. From the time I woke up to present, 8 weeks later, never once did I wish I had the old meat and veggies back down there. I did, however, get that moment of slightly panicked breathlessness. Have nothing but time to think, I thought. It wasn’t a feeling of regret or worry. It was a feeling have having locked in to something big and life altering. It was the same attack of the willies as signing the first mortgage, saying “I do”, and most of all, bringing a crying baby home from the hospital knowing there are no backsies on that one. Until the surgery, I had a foot in both camps. Sure, I was living female, but it wouldn’t take a whole lot of effort to swap back and being one of the boys again. The gender fluidity I had since self awareness was gone for good. I picked a side and took it all the way. It’s all good. I chose wisely. You’re going to hear me roar.

My second McGinn appointment went very smooth for the most part. My gigantic bag was packed in the trunk and I cautioned my father and brother in laws not to say anything about me booking out early. I saw both Heather and Dr. McGinn briefly. “Your vagina didn’t fall out or anything, did it?” Na. “Looks good! We now permit you to go for dinner if you wish, but no walking around or shopping or anything. You are leaving Saturday, yes?” Absolutely on all counts. I emerged and my father in law broke into loud conversation as I awaited my paperwork and surgical certificate. “Did she say it was OK for you to fly today?”  My frantic arm waving and ‘shut the fuck up’ gesturing didn’t deter him a lick. I don’t know if they heard, and didn’t ask. I was free.

At the Philly airport I learned again why bringing a suitcase large enough to smuggle Louie Anderson is not such a hot idea. “Gotta pull some stuff out hun, or I gotta charge you another $90”. In pain and flummoxed by the idea of what to abandon to lose 9 pounds, I started to cry and explained that I just had surgery. The kind woman took my bag without another word and charged me nothing, though she did slap a ‘whoa, this motha’ is heavy!’ sticker on it.  Though I’m not saying crying to manipulate a situation has never once been practiced in the big wide world, I can say that sometimes it just happens, and if some good comes of it, so be it.

Going through the security line, I wondered how they were going to react to the fact that I had 2 dilators in my purse, and found out. I waited nervously, saw them stop the belt when my purse was mid scan, call someone over, then pulled me aside to say they had to scan it again. Oh, here we go. Tired of viewing the electronic image of what appeared to be two dildos, they took me over to the table and asked if they could look inside because, “we just need to see something.” They pulled out the felt pouch that housed them and I immediately went into a nervous talking jag and compressed the whole story of my GRS and need to dilate into a 30 second high speed spiel. The female guard looked at me blankly, put them back, and sent me on my way. To celebrate, I grabbed a slice from Sbarro and upgraded to get the garlic knot with it. They were fantastic.

The flight was uneventful, though turbulent, and I was very pleased to find that my vagina did not need to be popped like my ears on the descent. I was in the window seat and that could have been very awkward, especially for my seatmate who was trying his damndest to pretend I took I different flight instead. I wasn’t exactly looking my best. The plane landed at the furthest possible gate at the Buffalo airport, which frankly, isn’t really all that far unless you are hobbling with loins on fire. Exiting security I found my spouse waiting for me, and couldn’t have been gladder to be home.

In coming posts, I’ll explain the recovery process, go into detail how dilation often feels like being screwed by Iron Man with his armor still on, and present some handy tips and hints for those of you contemplating this journey. Hopefully you will listen better than I did.

Frankenpussy…Yeah, Not a Halloween Post… GRS Journey cont…

FrankenpussyWe last left our poorly planned protagonist a weepy pee and blood covered mess attempting to make it through the day and not foul up the quaint little bedroom too badly. I recalled the Billy Joel classic, “These are the Times to Remember” and decided he definitely didn’t mean this, but decided to capture them anyway in writing in order to provide ample fodder for future embarrassment. Sunday, after my family left, was a nightmare of splitting headaches chased with Vicodin that only seemed to exacerbate the problem. Why could they not have just given me some morphine to take home? Was that too much to ask?

On Monday I had my first follow up with Dr. McGinn and my spouse’s father and brother kindly drove in from Jersey to take me there. Her office set up seems designed to enhance feeling of awkwardness for both her and her patients. The waiting area is the hallway between her office and the examination room, that requires her to scooch by everyone to go from one to the other. Furtive side-glance acknowledgement exists between you, but you both understand it’s not the time to talk, even though you really want to. Personally, I would have removed some ceiling tiles to crawl above, dropping down in front of the exposed patient like Batgirl. It’s not like she can really get any cooler, but that move alone would double her patient load.

In the mean time, I got to chat with Debbi, who was lovely to deal with in completing my 93 point pre-surgical checklist, and frankly, it was a treat. When my time finally came, I got to see Heather first, who we last encountered giving me the ‘here is everything that might go horribly wrong’ spiel right before they put me out. As she removed my bandages, I found why sitting up felt like I was perched on a WW1 German helmet sewn between my thighs, because the packing was actually sutured on. Next she removed the internal packing material, seeming to endlessly pull a thin strip of batting out like a magician with scarves. I imagined a tiny pissed off mummy in there spinning around as he’s being unexpectedly denuded. I’m not 100% there isn’t, and that he’s armed with a sharp little sword he likes to jab about when agitated.

“When I take this off, it’s going to feel like you are going to pee all over me, but don’t worry, you aren’t.” Catheter removal is so much fun, and she was right; I was sure I was going to pee in her face and then we would have this horrible thing between us forcing me to flee and never come back. Luckily she was right on the money. “Want to take a look?” Hells, yeah I did! Well, it sure wasn’t pretty. Not by a long shot. First of all, holy Bride of Frankenstein with all the angry looking stitches! I felt my neck for bolts just in case, and Heather assured me everything looked good. There was also quite a bit of swelling, and the vaginal opening was stretched open so far it looked like I just serviced the starting lineup of the Buffalo Bills. “That’s just from the packing. It will close on its own and in a few months, no one but your gynecologist will be able to tell the difference.” While no colorful little butterflies came wafting out, I was grateful that no bats did either.

With my feet propped up in the stirrups, Heather showed me how to dilate. I have to say, this whole process from start to dilation initiation really destroyed any body consciousness and squeamishness I used to have. It’s impossible to feel modest when someone is assisting you in sticking a purple plastic dildo up your vag. Dr. McGinn finally joined us and I was thrilled that she was now allowed to admit I existed. She expressed her pleasure on how well the surgery went, and pronounced the hot mess between my legs as looking just damn tootin’ fine. She didn’t say that, but I translated from medical speak. “Make sure you dilate five times a day, even if it really hurts.” I promised I would, though once again discounted the possibility of it actually hurting. I never learn, do I? That’ll get its own post.

The next couple of days became very routine. Wake. Dilate. Eat breakfast. Sit in chair till it hurts. Dilate. Lay in bed till it hurts. Go back to chair. Dilate. Call people. Any people. Seriously, I’ll talk to anyone at this point. Eat. Dilate. Open daily gift (sent with love from Sandy and Tricia).  Eat candy. Lots of candy. Dilate. Fall into uneasy sleep.

By Tuesday night I was about fed up with this schtick. I called my spouse and she suggested heresy. “Why don’t you just fly home after your Thursday appointment?” I could not believe what she was suggesting. I’m supposed to be here until Saturday! What if Dr. McGinn finds out? Anyone who knows me well should be very surprised by this; I’m not exactly known for being a rule follower. Dear lord, what the hell happened to me? What’s she going to do? Find an unused penis and stick it back on me? “So? You’re miserable and you can’t tell me you can’t rest up and dilate just as well at home.” The spell of medical compliance was broken. Book me a ticket. I’m coming home.

Next time in the thrilling conclusion of a tale too long told: McGinn again; why I hate to fly; and the enormity of swapping out one’s genitals .

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