Blog Archives

The shape of my gender

NOTE: This is a transgender-related entry. If you are confused by any of the terms used here, check out Ronen’s Trans Glossary.

ALSO NOTE: This article contains discussion of physical dysphoria.

In high school I studied the way boys moved and sat, particularly the way they crossed their legs with one ankle on top of the opposite knee. I enjoyed the shape of it, the geometric strength and openness of it, particularly when contrasted with the prim silhouette made by sitting the “girly” way. I trained myself to walk with a smooth step rather than a bounce. I wore loose pants and open button-ups over t-shirts. I wore bras and shaved my armpits and legs because That’s What Girls Did, but the only reason I ever practiced applying eyeliner was for the school plays.

I did not think of myself as transgender then. “Transgender” was the glossed-over tag at the end of GLBT; sexuality was a far hotter topic than gender identity even at my relatively liberal school. My vague definition of the word, at the time, mostly consisted of “drag queens.”

Family members, in the form of holiday and birthday cards, told me I was growing into a young woman. I would read those words and sense a wrongness, but when I asked myself whether I wanted to be a man instead, the answer was “Not really,” and I considered that the end of it.

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On the illusion and shaping of reality.

Image by vassiliki at sxc.hu

“You have a very active imagination.”

That’s what my dad said to me. We were sitting in the car (where we have most of our important conversations these days) on a rainy day, talking about my genderqueerness, and what my dad saw as the reasons I started identifying that way.

He was referring to the fact that I never grew out of playing pretend, and even as a child I took it very seriously. I put on a costume and I would become that costume. I would allow my outward appearance to transform my behavior. According to my father, my active imagination had led me to choose genderqueer as an identity I had wanted to put on. He wasn’t saying there was no internal basis, but he was using my imagination as an excuse. In essence, he was saying that what I thought of as my Real Self wasn’t ‘really’ real.

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My Rebuttal, or, the 5 Most Hurtful Things I’ve Heard Since Coming Out

NOTE: This is a transgender-related entry. If you are confused by any of the terms used here, check out Ronen’s Trans Glossary.

ALSO NOTE: This entry addresses points of transphobia, cissexism and homophobia which some may find unsettling or triggering.

Why hello, blogsphere. I seem to have disappeared from you for a full two months. I’ve been a busy bee, and I’ve also been sucked back into the weird, weird world of LJ RP, which has been dominating a large part of my brain space. I’ve also been reading a lot of Cracked articles, which probably became obvious at the title of this post.

The other day, I found my gender dysphoria flaring up in a big way, and I felt compelled to finally address the most hurtful of the questions and accusations put to me when I have tried to come out as trans. Where better to do it than here? (“Where better? Why, to the asker’s/accuser’s face,” you might say, and I’m getting to that. I promise. But I do hope that writing this will help give me the courage to try and do so, as well as educate others out there on the internet.)

So without further ado: my rebuttal.

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“But I didn’t pack straight!”

NOTE: This is a transgender-related entry. If you are confused by any of the terms used here, check out Ronen’s Trans Glossary.

Previously on Ronen’s Trip to Las Vegas: Some dudes thought I was a dude, other dudes were confused, it was all good to me.

Like I said, the trip started out as a bust. There were three people I was supposed to have met up with out there: two friends coming from two different states, and my brother. One friend’s grandfather died the night before he was supposed to leave, another tried to rent a car to drive out but ran into complications, and my brother’s new job decided to start three days earlier than it was supposed to. Which left me alone in Vegas.

Vegas really isn’t the sort of place to be alone in – not necessarily for safety reasons, since those are relevant just about anywhere you can go, but because it’s a place people go to be with other people. As a tourist attraction it’s essentially social: the gambling, the shows, the dining and the dancing all are engineered to be shared. So what was I to do?

My brother wound up coming to the rescue. He knew people who lived in Vegas and got me in touch with them. But as it turned out, that led to another set of problems. His friends had it in mind to visit some of the more exclusive dance clubs on the strip. The kinds of places that have dress codes and enforce them strictly. I texted my brother’s friend’s girlfriend, confiding in her that I hadn’t packed “girly club clothes.” She sent back: “You should be able to get in anywhere with a nice top, jeans and heels.”

Cue me looking in despair at the clothes I had chosen to bring: a button-up shirt from the boys’ section at Target. A cheesy-fun polyester shirt with ruffles. Ties. T-shirts. Men’s skinny jeans. A sports bra and binder, but no proper bra. Sneakers – nice ones, but sneakers. The only makeup in sight was an old eyeliner pencil that had just happened to be in my shoulder bag.

I had packed with the intention of going to a bunch of queer events: a burlesque show here, an LGBT hangout there. I hadn’t packed straight.

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Getting read.

Yup - that's me.

NOTE: This is a transgender-related entry. If you are confused by any of the terms used here, check out Ronen’s Trans Glossary.

I haven’t posted for a week because my Vegas trip was last weekend – then after I returned, life got busy for a few days.

About the trip in general: long story short, it was something of a bust, but it got salvaged. What was supposed to be an awesome, epic weekend wound up being pretty good, which wasn’t the worst that could have happened by a long shot, but wasn’t so great either.

At the very least, what I got out of the weekend was a unique experience and a few blog ideas. The first idea came to me quickly on the first day, when something happened to me that had never, ever happened before: I got read as male not just once, but three times in a single day.

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The language box.


NOTE: This is a transgender-related entry. If you are confused by any of the terms used here, check out Ronen’s Trans Glossary.

Language is a funny old thing.

I’ve been engaged for half a year now, and in that time I have lamented, now and again, at the fact that I will eventually have to get married. Not because I don’t want to be, but because once I am (and unless I go through some sort of physical transition), most people will start referring to me as a “wife.” I will have to give up being a fiancé.

Except, like a silly person, I forgot that that particular word comes from French, where they like to tack that little extra ‘e’ on the end of everything that is, air-quotes, female. So in the eyes of the French, I’m actually a fiancée.

DAMMIT.

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Ronen’s Trans Glossary

Every trans-related blog worth its salt needs one.

This is not a fully comprehensive glossary. If something comes up the future that I think needs to be on here, I’ll backtrack and edit this post, and if anyone out there has questions, feel free to ask. If you’re interested in something that goes into even more depth than this, I urge you to check out Erin Houdini’s Really Awesome Trans Glossary, but the terms listed below should be enough to get you by on this particular blog.

If you’re reading these terms for the first time, I present to you a little exercise:

“Ronen is a genderqueer person whose preferred pronouns are neutral pronouns. Ze was AFAB but does not identify as FtM, because ze is not binary-identified. Ze identifies more as genderfluid, and hir presentation is a kind of femme masculinity. Ze is still in the early stages of hir transition. Hir fiancé John was AMAB and is cisgender, but their relationship is far from heteronormative despite the fact that Ronen was AFAB.”

Ready? Trans-late! (ba-dum-CHSS)

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What’s all this, then?

Even more than it used to be, blogging seems to be The Thing to Do. I’m not sure why, but a significant number of my friends and acquaintances have suddenly gone and started blogging over the last few months. So it got me thinking, maybe there’s something to this after all.

I’ve done informal online journal-keeping before, but never anything so formal it could really be called a blog. (Example of past journal entries: “I got a new haircut today! *insert picture*”) Blogging is supposed to be more than that: there’s an expectation of putting more work into it to appeal to a wider online audience, and one is generally expected to have a theme, even if the theme is “Stuff I Thought About This Week.”

This is, in fact, going to be more of a “Stuff I Thought About This Week” blog. My hobbies and interests are varied and changeable, so a blog focused on one particular activity or topic probably wouldn’t last long. Still, I’m hoping that I’ll be able to draw an occasional thread between the things I write about, even if at face value they have little or nothing to do with each other. A motley of topics, if you will (oh-ho-ho).

With that said, I do have a pretty good grasp of the things I like to think about. Here’s a list to give you an idea of upcoming content.

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