Monday, April 28, 2008

Don't Be Shy...Ask Me Questions

This morning I had the pleasure of corresponding with a young college student about a transgender related relationship issue. I hope that I was successful in resolving to her satisfaction and clearing up some questions in her mind. She was a little nervous at first, but as one of my college professors and my parents once told me, the only dumb question is the one that's never asked.

I presume that like the person I'm talking about in the previous paragraph, some of you may have stumbled upon TransGriot while web surfing, Googling a question or for myriad other reasons.

One of the reasons I blog is to kick knowledge out about transgender issues, with an emphasis on African-Americans and what we deal with when we transition. Some issues are similar to my transsisters ad transbrothers in general, while others are unique to the African-American experience.

So if you have some burning questions on something I may not have touched on in the 700 plus posts I have here, feel free to leave a comment in this thread or hit me at If it doesn't get too personal, I'll answer it.

It doesn't even have to be transgender related. ;)

If y'all hit me with some good ones, they may even show up in a future TransGriot post.


Claire said...

No dish? Is the question too intricate to sufficiently anonymize with minor name and detail changes? I'm no-o-o-se-e-e-ey. =)

Melanie said...

What's your opinion on Bill Cosby?

Do you think for MtFs there is too much emphasis on SRS in and outside of the trans community?

Why do you think FtMs are underepresented in the Mainstream Media compared to us girls?

When are you gonna get a profile picture with less glare?

Why are you so awesome?

Why is the sky blue?

What church do you go to (denomination that is), and how different are Black churches compared to White ones?

Monica Roberts said...

What's your opinion on Bill Cosby?

Got mixed emotions. One one hand he's saying things a lot of us have been saying privately. On the other habd we rebt right-wing pundits who've always hated our community pointing at him and telling us we need to liste to him.

Do you think for MtFs there is too much emphasis on SRS in and outside of the trans community?

I think overemphasis on SRS is generally more prevalent among white transgemder people of means vis a vis people of color.

Why do you think FtMs are underepresented in the Mainstream Media compared to us girls?

A combination of factors. FtM's get the blessing of passability when they take testo, so many of them just faded into society. They are now as a group more willing to step into leadership roles in the community, which has heightened their visibilty.

The media has been used to covering M2F's transpeeps since 1953. I remember the first F2M I saw covered in the media was California's Steve Dain back in the 70's

When are you gonna get a profile picture with less glare?

When I stop long enough to have a new photo taken that I like ;)

Why are you so awesome?

I'm just being me :)

Why is the sky blue?

Check your fact-based science books for that one ;)

What church do you go to (denomination that is), and how different are Black churches compared to White ones?

I attend a church (Edenside Christian) here that's a Disciples of Christ one.

There's light years of difference between it and First South Main back home where I frew up and was baptised. Edenside is 98% white and has a female pastor who tells it like it is in 30 minute sermons. We have a structured service and are in and out the door in an hour and 15 minutes.

My old church is a traditional all-Black baptist church with rousing 1.5 hour sermons, gospel choir rockin' the sanctuary and an emphasis on serving the community

Mélanie said...

the pundits will always hate you might as well speak up to fix the problems... at first when I heard Cosby I was a typical dumb white male, thinking this guy seems to make sense without knowing much.
Now I think he might be on the conservative/old-school side; looking at other civil rights movements like feminism not everyone agrees and some people are ideologically stuck decades behind the times. (Cosby is also against reclaiming/using the n-- word but the younger generation seems to be trying to reclaim it)
But really I don't know much about Cosby, and I've only recently begun to focus on learning about the African-North Americans and racism from reading your blog.

He also sounds like that friend that would tell you, "get your shit together", but would do it out of compassion and may exaggerate the problem/only focus on the negative in order to rouse you and get you moving towards fixing it. Like how I like to criticize feminism but still know it's good

I wish I could become religious again just for the benefits of being in a social support group, etc. but with a non-practising Catholic family (my Dad fits the definition of a Deist) and learning what harm religion and the Theocrats have done I became an agnostic-atheist and I'd be lying to myself if I went to any church that claimed to speak for God, or that thought their religious scriptures were written by God
and besides I'm kinda lazy... Church every sunday morning? rituals? eww forget that! I go sleepy ZZZzzzZZZzzzZZZzzz

Did people really call you a "uppity n-" to your face? WTF?!

Hate to nitpick but you once said somewhere that it is impossible for Blacks to be racist* against Whites. That's an absolute statement. Absolute statements are evil.
A long time ago I read on a White disabled lesbian's blog she moved into a Black neighbourhood and got her car windows repeadly broken, and she walked across some graffitti saying something to the effect that the neighbourhood was better before whithey moved in. I'm not saying Blacks are all big meanies; her skin pigment was a minority, so she got abused by the majority, perhaps by only a very tiny fraction of assholes - it's human nature. Same would have happened to straights in Gaybourhoods, (in fact she also mentioned she heard the term "breeder" for the first time and was upset) men in err.. womynhoods? The strong pick on the weak.

*Your definition of racism is different from mine - your definition of prejudice is like my definition of racism; race-based prejudice/stereotyping. But that's not as bad as this: One I was answering comptability questions on a free dating site and for some questions it showed the % of people who responded to what. One question was something like:
"A black man crosses the street and gets hit by a car, smashes the windshield. He later gets convicted by a white judge of breaking and entering... Is this joke..."
A) anti-racist; highlights a discrimination issue
B) racist; portrays Blacks as criminals
C) racist; it mentions race
D) not racist
Well, around 2/3rds of the people thought it was racist simply by mentioning race... eeep!

What does it take to be an activist? I hope I can be one... I'm Canadian and while I'm studying undergraduate Sexology in Montreal I live in the nation's capital, Ottawa. I'm a part-time writer and I want to be an activist.

You're an inspiring person!

Mélanie said...

I don't like Karl Marx - I used to like some of his theories when I didn't know better but then I learned something economists figured out before even the 1917 Revolution began:
His economic theories do not work. (Neither do Keynesian theories that some politicians love to use to get more money).
I don't know what works for sure but I know Marxism is overrated, and kind of annoying too with the holier-than-thou attitude some people have. Many people do not understand how capitalism works and have their perceptions of it clouded by marxist anti-capitalism propaganda. I'm not saying capitalism is perfect I'm saying it annoys me when people believe in marxism/anti-capitalism with a religious-like/cult-like fervor, which means they use fuzzy logic to argue their case and they'll ignore other human rights problems, and they'll do things that make no sense like push for super-expensive free University education for all, working class middle class and upper class alike even if it's impractical compared to having a good bursary program targeted for only those that cannot afford postsecondary education. (They had a student strike to do this at my University in Quebec even if local Quebeckers there pay so little tuition it's a joke... the srtike failed if you're interested; they had no support from the population)
(Note: This does not mean I'm blind to classism; poverty is extremely problematic and amplifies exponentially any other problems of discrimination people have. And I don't consider the welfare state to be socialist... as for which is better? more or less gov't? I lean on Libertarianism but I'm too ignorant and economics are too complex for me to know for sure; all I know is too much government is bad but where does the line get drawn?)

So what do you think?

Monica Roberts said...

When you're a minority, you want as much government intervention as possible to keep the majority from jacking with your civil rights and your right to exist.

Many Blacks believe that racism is predjudice PLUS power and I'm one of those.

Everybody can be and is a little bit bigoted ut prejudiced on one level or another. But when that prejudiced is combined with power, be it economic, military, or legal/governmental power, and it's used to retard the progress of a minority groupor individuals in that group, in our eyes THEN it graduates to racism.

Many Blacks feel that some whites fail to see or ignore the power dynamic, too many times are quick to confuse bigotry and prejudice with racism and apply the term to individuals who are speaking truths or comments that they aren't comfortable hearing.

Mélanie said...

1st paragraph:
Libertarian argument would be that the tyrannical majority can still oppress the minorities via legislation (for example, legal discrimination).

Oh great, I accidently erased my explanation of the limits of ideological/Natural Law / Anarchic Libertarianism.... grrr!

Ok here's a summary:

1) Assumption that all humans are naturally good. So that once government welfare is removed private charities will fill the void, people will use extra wealth accumulated from not paying taxes (which is theft/coercion) to voluntarily provide welfare

Humans just aren't that evolved culturally yet.

2) Since people are both Smart and Good prejudices will cease once people see each other as individual human beings, not members of collectives (and will be judged by individual ability/character etc)

Small problem: Libertarians may believe this but non-libertarians do not. Once again, humanity isn't ready. People can be stupid, ignorant too.
Other small problem: This is a historically blind stance that ignores current and past collective oppression

3) All government regulations on commerce will be abolished but since people are smart, they will educate themselves about product safety, corporate ethical practices before purchasing things. Consumer watchdog groups will spring up everywhere.

Sounds good in theory but even today there is so much companies can hide from us, and it would take too much time and effort to properly research every single product you want to buy.

4)Some "Libertarians" I met online argued for abolishing all anti-discrimination laws saying if you don't wanna hire or serve Blacks or Whites or Catholics or Atheists then don't. Someone else will do it and reap the benefits of more customers and/or more people to hire therefore more qualified people, and the discriminating business will suffer a competitive disadvantage from discrimination which will make it so businesses will naturally opt to be all-inclusive.

I don't have to tell you that bigotry can trump good business sense, and that if that were to happen the downtrotten would get disproportionately oppressed even more. Especially if for example a restaurant becoming White-Only attracts more racist customers than it loses. And more of those will exist than Black-Only restaurants

However these Libertarians struck me as closeted Republicans and eaters of Hater-Tots, being clueless about social justice issues
(Libertarians are economic conservatives, and liberal hippies when it comes to social issues... but another competing definition is, they're anti-gov't and want the gov't to stop oppresing people, getting into their lives. Social Libertarians are just plain hippies)

4th paragraph: Since all privileges are usually taken for granted the oppressors don't usually realize they're being oppressive, won't be aware of their privilege

PS: What does it take to be an activist?

Monica Roberts said...

What does it take to be an activist?

A passion to be as Dr. King called it, a drum major for justice.

Seeing a wrong and working tirelessly to right it. Speaking truth to power even when other people are reluctant or 'scurred' to do so.

Loving your fellow human beings

Monica F. Helms said...

"What does it take to be an activist?" Monica has a good handle on that one. I've learned a lot from her. I also learned that one must stand up to all opposition, even if its your friends.

The one thing that has helped me is the concept of "compartmentalization." Many activists don't realize it, but seperating personal from business can be hard at time. If the person is my friend, I will always stand up to what I believe, but I will never stop loving them as my friend. Never. I know that Monica understands this, too. Listen to her. You will learn a lot.

Monica Roberts said...

Two I don't talk about is what genitalia's residing between my legs (nobody's bidness) and my old male name (ancient history).

M. said...

Have you heard about the new DSM-V GID work group appointments? Very bad news.

Monica Roberts said...

Blanchard is the problem child on that one since he listens to our enemies Dr. Paul McHugh and Alice Dreger,

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