“Gender Critical” Conversation

Is there such a thing as a Gender Critical discussion without resorting to name-calling and real life attacks?

I would sure like to try.

This started to be about Male to Female TransAthletes (because I have questions and thoughts below), but seems to have morphed into a post about how I have come to question MtF TransAthletes in the first place.

Of course, I feel I need to start with explanations that may sound like apologies in advance, but here goes anyway. I feel compelled to justify where I am coming from since you do not know me; background is crucial.

My Life with Transfolks

  • My former partner is FtM transgender and I was with him for 28 years, 3 of which as he transitioned medically. He remains my Beloved.
  • In my life in online Sex Work, I spend hours a day with people on the Trans Spectrum, always in a supportive capacity, helping to remove shame and self-hate and replace that with ways to understand society is the one that is weird or freaky, not them.
  • I would never align myself with Trans-Exclusionary Radical Feminists/ run of the mill Gender Critical folks because I know transfolks are who they say they are. I know that. Believe it with all my heart.
  • In not aligning with TERFs/GC people, I believe transwomen have a right to be in women’s prisons, homeless shelters, bathrooms and everywhere else women are wandering in and out of.
  • I would never want a transperson discriminated for being trans (non-binary). They have every right to work, dress, live as the gender they know they are.
  • I understand trans-hatred and weep at the violence, suicides and murders that transpeople suffer through every single day. The discrimination is abhorrent to me.
  • I do not believe anyone has to pass in order to be the gender they know they are.
  • While I do not understand it as much, I do not have any negative thoughts about being trans without gender dysphoria.
  • And lastly, I freely admit my own cis-bias and that I do not have ALL the information in the world about this (I do not believe anyone else does, either). I do not consider myself a spokesperson for anyone but myself. These are my thoughts; no one has given them to me.

A Bit About My History

I came out in the Second Wave of Feminism in 1987 and the groups I attended were extremely Pro-Separatist. I knew a woman who gave her boy child up for adoption because she was a Lesbian Separatist. I was not permitted in some areas with my children because I had my son with me. I was not permitted in some spaces simply because I had a son, with me or not. I wrote about my experience with the San Diego Lesbian Press and their Separatist ideals that eventually folded the paper because they would not accept money from men.

2nd wave Navelgazing Writer

I am much more aligned with the Third Wave of Feminism, but embrace the Fourth Wave‘s ideals as well.

2nd wave Navelgazing Writer

2nd wave Navelgazing Writer
4th Wave Feminism, still under debate

So My Question Is…

…can’t someone like me also have questions? Where are the discussions… they all are so polarized. I would love to explore my thoughts and beliefs, but find if I step to the left I am in quicksand and if I step to the right I am bludgeoned. I know I am not alone and if I, a really pro-trans person can’t ask questions, how is the run-of-the-mill person supposed to learn? How can we shift perceptions if there is nothing but anger filling the air? And if the discussion moves to transphobia, how can there be honest interchange between people. The conversation has shifted from the focus to the picture’s whole when sometimes, looking right at the subject can be crucial for definition’s purposes.

Where do I fit in?

Now, the MtF TransAthletes

transgender sports Navelgazing Writer
Laurel Hubbard

And then I get to Male to Female transwomen and I come to a halt. Mind you, I am confused about it all… will give you that much… but if a MtF transwoman has the same abilities as a ciswoman, why are they excelling in almost all sports where they compete together? And it happens when the transwoman begins in the sport immediately. It isn’t a gradual increase in speed or strength. It is as sudden as when they sign up for the competition.

transgender sports Navelgazing Writer
Gabrielle Ludwig is the tall woman.

I know many of the arguments about measuring testosterone, some requirements for hormone suppression or for requiring surgeries before they are permitted to compete. I know the International Olympic Committee is struggling to create a trans rule book because, it has “proved far more difficult than expected because this is such a tricky political and emotive issue.”

Transgender Olympics Navelgazing Writer

Not Convinced; Still Questioning

Yet, I am not convinced a MtF transwoman doesn’t have an advantage over a ciswoman.

And why aren’t there Female to Male transmen winning body building, wrestling or weight lifting competitions? Why is it that FtM transmen in sports are in weight restrictive sports like boxing, which involves speed as much as guts.

transgender sports Navelgazing Writer
Patricio Manuel

So, What I Want to Know…

Can someone explain to me, without resorting to “TRANSPHOBE” (because I am not), what I am not seeing? (And yes, I know it is my responsibility to learn, but there has to be a way for those seeking answers to find them beyond Googling. I prefer person to person connections… cis/transgender or otherwise.

Is there anyone willing to help? Is there anybody out there?

trans floyd Navelgazing Writer

Gay Life: 1978-1982

I’m working diligently on a memoir about my life in the gay community between 1978 and 1982, the time immediate preceding, then immediately post-AIDS. The writing is going well and I am loving where it is headed and how it’s unfolding.

I have so many stories from that time, I considered naming the book Sex, Drugs & Disco, but there already is one from pre-AIDS San Francisco. Not that books can’t have the same name, it just seemed too easy. The working title is In the Bushes which comes from when I pimped for a gay friend in Lake Eola, looking for sex for him. We were 17-years old.

Lake Eola Navelgazing Writer
An example of how much foliage was in Lake Eola back before they pruned so people would stop having sex in the bushes.
Lake Eola Navelgazing Writer
Another example of hidden places to have sex at Lake Eola.

Then there were my first forays into the gay bar scene, the drag queens, the drugs, the copious amounts of alcohol… and the sex. Lots and lots of sex. One of my girls asked to read some of what I had written and then pushed it away in the first couple hundred words. I knew then I was on the right track. laughing She shan’t be a Beta Reader!

During that time, I lived with several gay men in a few places, including the Parliament House, a gay complex. Lots of naughtiness ensued.

Parliament House Navelgazing Writer
This was circa when I was there 1978-ish. Notice the balconies where guys cruised each other. Also, you used to be able to drive through the place; not anymore.

I ran away to New York City, ran out of money in DC on the way home, was present for momentous occasions in our nation’s history and took part in many side trips into the infamy of DC life.

Watergate Complex Navelgazing Writer
The Watergate Complex. I had sex in there in 1979.

At the time, I had no idea I would write this book in 40 years.

But I am. And I am very excited about it.

Asthma? Really?!

I’ve been wheezing for almost a year now, but thought it was just because I was so fat. HA!

I was in the ER on Thanksgiving with my breathing sounding like I was playing a harmonica. After a couple of visits, they finally said it was an Upper Respiratory Infection. None of the breathing treatments there helped, but they gave me an Albuteral inhaler that did nothing for me. I just had to wait the URI out and my coughing finally left around New Year’s.

asthma navelgazing writer

But the wheezing has continued. The ER also gave me referrals to a Pulmonologist and a Cardiologist… for the wheezing and I have an enlarged heart.

I went to the Pulmonologist last Monday and after the battery of breathing tests, told me I had moderate asthma. Huh?! I was shocked. I really did think my inability to catch my breath when I walked (even to the bathroom) was because of my weight. Apparently not!

I was prescribed Symbacort, but it isn’t doing much and I am waiting for insurance approval to get some Spiriva.

Now that I know what it is, I am able to put symptoms together. My mom has had severe asthma since I was a kid, so I’m used to her asthma. Mine, not severe, still has similar symptoms I overlooked. My wheezing is like a whistle, not the gasping kind of breathing I have seen in her. When I walk, it does get louder and more musical, but generally, sitting, I just whistle.

asthma navelgazing writer

The feeling I get when walking is really odd. I feel like I can take half a breath and then something clamps over my lungs and I am unable to inhale any more than that half-breath. I lean over trying to breathe, catch my breath with that clamped down feeling. It does not go away until I am sitting again for a few minutes. Then back to the open breathing and whistling.

asthma navelgazing writer

I go to the Cardiologist March 26th. It will be interesting to see what the deal is with my heart, too.

I’ll write what I learn as I go along.

 

I Am Depressed (Again)

I am terribly depressed.

Life circumstances, work being really slow, being diagnosed with new issues that require care and attention and, worst of all, my weight has hit an all-time high… all have combined to submerge me into the waters of depression.

depression navelgazing writer

Fat is Weighing Me Down

I am distraught mostly about my weight. I had an RNY Gastric Bypass, for fuck’s sake. Granted it was 19 years ago, but still. You know it’s bad when the Pulmonologist, who has just diagnosed asthma and sleep apnea, then prescribed several inhalers and a CPAP machine, asks, “Can you do the gastric bypass again?”

hate my fat navelgazing writer

Bring on the Psych Meds

I see the psychiatrist on the 12th and it cannot come soon enough. He changed the meds slightly last time, but I have fallen deeper and I am in that place of just not caring if I get out of bed, if I work, if I write. I just don’t care.

And I hate that I don’t care because I know it is depression and not me.

Diabetes Crap, Too

While my Hemoglobin A1c is a not bad 6.4, it is up from 5.8 a few months ago. The Lantus was upped again, to 85u daily, but about 4 hours after I injected it into my fat belly this morning, my Blood Glucose went down to a 38, the lowest I have ever seen it. I thought I was going to have to call 911, and probably should have, but I kept slamming juice pouches until it hit 60 and I began feeling… feeling… again. I ate a PBJ with very little J and my BGs have been better this afternoon… around 100.

And yes, I do know insulin causes weight gain.

It’s just overwhelming sometimes.

Reading Good Books, Though!

I love Audible so much I could cry. I listen to books for several hours a day and am plowing through piles of them.

Newer books I love:

The Originals: How Non-Conformists Move the World by Adam Grant.

originals navelgazing writer

By far the best “self-help” book I have ever read. My entire mental process has shifted and when I write, am writing without the self-judgement I was giving myself. Many, many other incredibly valuable pieces of information are in the book, from parenthood to dying. It’s just beautiful.

Daisy Jones and the Six by Taylor Jenkins Reid

daisy jones navelgazing writer

Besides the intricate personalities between band members and their intertwined stories, I listened to this thinking what an amazing writer Reid is. She has multiple characters and speaks as them in first person and each character sounds exactly as they should and so so different from the others in the book. Listening, you get different people speaking the parts whereas reading, you “hear” them in your head. I believe this would be one time when Audible is far preferable to reading it.

The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett & Black Beauty by Anna Sewell

Yes, I’m reading children’s books I missed growing up. My grandkids have read them, now it’s my turn.

I’ve seen several incarnations of The Secret Garden in movies (and a new one comes out April 10, 2020), but the book was so different than any of them and so filled with magic and the love of the earth, I was mesmerized with every syllable. Pure poetry.

secret garden navelgazing writer

Black Beauty is the horse’s autobiography, told by Black Beauty himself. Clever, wondrous idea! How did Ms. Sewell ever conceive of this is beyond me. And that this was the only book she every wrote! She began writing it when she was 51 and finished when she was 57, dying 5 months after its publication. I’ve not been into horses like a lot of my friends, but I can see why after reading this… a fantastic book.

black beauty navelgazing writer

Perk Me Up

Writing about the books helped. I don’t feel so desperate and alone with them.

I’ll go read now.

Holding the Space (for My Self)

I am going through a lot of life changes at the moment; feeling old, disconnected, left behind.

I’ve left Social Media for the second time and cannot anticipate being active in Facebook or Twitter again until I have a book deal. I just cannot concentrate on writing when I am active in writing groups helping others instead of myself.

When Sadness Hits

Holding the space Navelgazing Writer

My kids and grandkids are halfway across the country, busy busy with their own wonderful lives (and I am happy for it!), but I miss them all terribly. My own mom, 6 miles away is having a hard time with her memory and being physically slower. I visit her and my puppies as often as I can, but with working so much, it is a challenge. Plus it is about $32 round trip with Uber (which I LOVE).

I no longer have close friends with whom to talk about politics, books… life in general… because they have moved on with their lives, too.

Holding the Space Navelgazing Writer

Holding the Space

I know I sound pitiful and need to perk up, so I talked to my youngest, Aimee, who is a healer better than I ever was, and she said to hold myself as if I were holding her new baby girl. That image was a lovely one because I would hold the baby so lovingly, smiling at her, making her laugh and kissing her all over.

I’ve written about Holding the Space for others, but clearly, it is now my turn to do so for my Self.

Holding Space Navelgazing Writer

I’ve thought about looking for new friends, in Writer’s Groups or in Second Life, but I am in a sort of hibernation mode for now. I want to keep whatever energy I have close to me, foster my own writing, not working on anyone else’s.

My writing is going well and I think it’s one of the best things I can do for myself as far as Holding the Space goes. I am up early in the morning, writing while listening to Lindsey Stirling and then nap again before starting work around 11a or 12p. Work is going really well, too. My work writing is great, my work social media (required) is going really well. I love what I do so much. It’s really quite awesome.

So, here I am. Alone. Looking at myself in the proverbial mirror and evaluating what is left of my life and deciding what to do and where to (metaphorically) move next.

I can do it.

Holding the Space Navelgazing Writer

 

 

Watching St. Elsewhere

I looovvveeed St. Elsewhere on its first go ’round from 1982 until 1988. Now, here I am watching it in 2020 on HULU and it is stunning how much different medical care is now from the then-state-of-the-art care.

stelsewhere

  • St. Eligius did not have a CT Scan, there was only one in the city.
  • The doctors and nurses wore no gloves except in surgery. This was right before AIDS became a household word and they did wear gloves in the AIDS episode, but otherwise, none in the ER or with patients.
  • Needles! Needles and syringes were handed around like licorice instead of potential needle sticks. I mean, NEEDLES 6 inches long. I can only imagine how many times they were poked just making the show. Universal Precautions were not even created until 1985.
  • People walked around with bloody gowns (especially Ehrlich who was played by Ed Begley Jr.).
  • People serving food licked their fingers. ACK!
  • Issues like the The Troubles in Northern Ireland were prevalent.
  • Ism’s abounded! Sexism (women were smacked on the bottom all the time… nurses, candy stripers, doctors, all), Ableism (show about a deaf man and patient demonstrated how easy it was to discriminate against people who were different at that time), Homophobia, Classism, Racism of all kinds… just stunning how blatant it was not so long ago.
  • Babies of the doctors (Jack Morrison, played by David Morse) were in playpens on the patient floors, back in nurses’ stations, but still.
  • Phillip Chandler (Denzel Washington in one of his first roles), stopped for Running While Black. Sadly, still an issue today.
  • Breast cancer was just getting traction in the news, a major storyline on the show.
  • Mark Harmon (Bobby Caldwell) was yummy as ever, even after he was attacked by razor blades.
  • In the AIDS episode, the patient was put in an isolation ward and Dr. White (Terence Knox) was permitted to not take care of the guy because he was married and had kids. That would never happen today.
  • Howie Mandel (Wayne Fiscus) represented a new wave of doctors that were amusing, kind and not always professional. Docs swung that way for awhile, but then it went to far and it is seriously in the professionalism quadrant now.
  • The shows that discussed rape were archaic compared to how rape cases are treated now. However, I will tell you even today’s care could use a serious upgrade.

I just started Season 3, so am sure I will write more as I watch more.

After St. Elsewhere, it is on to ER! I can hardly wait!

ER