Three Little Pills, or “Something resembling poetry about hormones.”

I wrote the following piece on a whim a few weeks back. I thought there might be more to it, but I hasn’t really come together, so I decided to just go ahead and share it. And be nice- poetry isn’t really my thing- but this gets at something personal about transition for me that I don’t think I’ve ever been able to properly write about. Someday it might grow into something longer, or perhaps something spoken. But for now, it is what is, and I’m happy with it. Without further ado, “Three Little Pills”:


Three little pills. 
That’s all it takes. 
Three tiny green ovoids, not much larger than a grain of rice,
Spread across my day to keep things even. 
Hell, they’re mostly sugar- just 2 milligrams in each is anything one might call interesting. 
6 milligrams per day. Almost nothing compared to the 130 kilograms that make me up. 
That’s 4.6×10^-7 percent of my body.
I’ll lose more than that in shed skin cells today.
It’s a lot of weight for so little mass. 
Three little pills,
One in the AM and two a night. 
And it’s enough change a body that once looked hard, bulky, masculine,
A body I grew to despise, that made me nauseous at the mere glance in mirror, 
A body that recoiled from even the most well-intentioned of intimate touches,
A body that screamed out to everyone but me “This is a man!”
A wrong body.
To one with softness, curves- breasts and hips, undeniably feminine 
A body that, even with its imperfections, I’m pleased to see reflected back at me each day,
A body that warms to soft kisses, and opens to loving embraces,
A body I’m proud to call a woman’s, 
A body that’s right. 
Okay, so they had a little help from two slightly bigger brown pills.
But that’s mostly to kickstart the process. 
It’s the three little guys, scored down the center, carrying their tiny payload
That really do the work.
Correcting a terrible birth defect,
A body that doesn’t match its brain.

Commentary on the “Sugar Baby” culture, or “Sharing some fantastic snark and rage about some really sad garbage.” (Reblog)

Exposé on Miami’s ‘Sugar Baby’ Culture Is Most Depressing Thing Ever.

Erin Ryan over on Jezebel wrote a really good little piece about a recent exposé on the “sugar daddy/baby” culture in Miami. I don’t want to steal the thunder from her wonderful snark, so please read it. But the take-way is:

What really sucks about sugar baby relationships is that most of the arrangements don’t seem like they’re entered into freely; they’re a desperate response to a shitty set of circumstances — a lack of job opportunities, lack of job abilities, and last, but not least, the insanely high cost of college education.


That’s something all of us feminists can be sickened over.


A Tragic Miscarriage of Justice, or “In Texas, the life of a sex worker is now worth less than $150.”

Jury Acquits Escort Shooter

When this article first came across my newsfeed, I actually had to do some research to assure myself that I wasn’t being duped by the Onion (and I think a lot of me really hoped that I was). Sadly, this is the real deal. In basic summation: a man in Texas was acquitted of murdering an escort that he ADMITS TO SHOOTING while he was allegedly trying to recover the money ($150) he had given her because she refused to have sex with him. Go ahead and re-read that sentence and let it sink it for a minute. The defense built their case around a Texas law that allows the use of deadly force to recovery property during a night-time robbery, and a jury found him not guilty.

I’m not even sure how to begin to form a response to his. My first instinct is just to jump up and down and shout “WHAT THE EFF IS WRONG WITH TEXAS?” until I go hoarse. But while that might temporarily make me feel better, it certainly doesn’t help anyone, and it definitely doesn’t make for interesting blogging. So I suppose I’ll jump on the most obvious problem here-  this case essentially functions as a state endorsement of vigilantism, and it turns non-violent theft into a capital offense. The general doctrine in the US is that lethal force may only be used when a human life is in immediate danger. Recently this notion has started to have some erosion as more states pass “stand your ground” types of laws that allow deadly force against an intruder in one’s home. While I have strong reservations about that legislation as well, this simply goes too far. This law allows individuals to exact their own brand of violent “justice” against someone who has stolen their property. While I’m sure much of Texas still harbors delusions that they’re in the “Old West”, we have a criminal justice system for a reason. Furthermore, capital punishment has long been reserved for only the most heinous of crimes, and the Supreme Court has relatively recently upheld the notion that the death penalty is only appropriate in cases of murder. But with this law in place, a relatively minor property crime now becomes a de-facto capital offense, as the victim is allowed to end your life to recover their property, without any kind of due-process whatsoever. It’s the ultimate express death penalty. And from my research, this is a law that pushed for by gun lobbyists (after all, if “deadly force” is going to be used, it’s unlikely to be with almost anything else). So what we have here is a horrifying dismantling of one of the most crucial right we have as Americans- due process- in order to slake the bloodlust of the gun activists.

Sadly, the destruction of due-process isn’t even the MOST disturbing implication of this case. To me, even more frightening is the complete devaluation of human life. From all angles, this woman was a victim. Whether this is a case of a plan to steal this man’s money, or a misunderstood assumption about what was being paid for is immaterial…given that this woman was under the control of pimp, she fairly certainly had no choice in what was going on. If she had refused, the relatively standard response from her pimp would have been a beating or worse. Furthermore, solicitation of a prostitute is a crime (and one widely codified as more severe than prostitution itself.) So if this man were expecting sex for his money, he was actively committing a crime himself, and at least to some extent, victimizing this woman. But despite the fact that this woman seems to bear the least responsibility in the situation, she ended up dead. Why? Because this man wanted his $150 back and he felt justified in shooting her for it, because that’s how little her life was worth to him. And in acquitting him of murder charges, the jury simply affirmed his belief…that this poor soul’s life was worth less than the cost of an Xbox. As sickening as that is, I’m STILL not to what I find the most disturbing about what’s going here.

One of the most upsetting things about this case for me is the realization that this woman died because of a man’s belief in his entitlement to sex. The problem with men’s entitlement belief when it comes to sex is a widespread one, and it presents itself in situations as relatively subtle as the constant complaints of “friendzoning” by men to as brutal as sexual violence. And in this case, it cost this woman her very life. This man believed that giving this woman $150 dollars entitled him to have sex with her, and when he did not receive the sexual encounter he believed he was entitled to, he shot her in the neck. Now, all of the testimony in place indicated that the matter of sex was never even discussed…this was simply an assumption that he had made based on the idea that he was paying her for her time. To him the exchange of money for time and companionship intrinsically implied the right to have sex with her. In my mind, there’s almost nothing to really here to establish that his man had been robbed of anything at all. But the results of this case essentially mean that simply because a man BELIEVES he is entitled to sex for a payment (even if there’s no direct justification for it), then the entitlement stands and he’s not legally culpable for taking her life to recover his money if she refuses to screw him.

There’s a darker implication here that I think is easily missed though. If he is entitled to sex with her by virtue of giving her $150 in cash, would he have been legally justified in raping her? Is her simple act of refusing consent an act of theft (which by Texas law opens her to lethal force)? It appears to me that logically, if her refusal to give consent constitutes theft, then by law he “owns” the right to have sex with her, and raping her would be legally permissible as she’s not legally entitled to NOT consent. So in one quick turn, you have essentially eliminated a sex worker’s rights over her body. She is now nothing more than an object, and her sexual function can legally (well, aside from the illegality of prostitution itself) be bought and sold without her consent. Imagine this…a young woman is sold into prostitution from Eastern Europe or West Africa to a pimp in Texas. Under the threat of violence (and possibly death) from her pimp, she is sent to service a john who pays her the agreed sum of money for some fairly violent and unsavory sex that is essentially rape. This woman now has two choices: endure the rape from this man, or risk being shot to death when she flees and he decides to recovery his money in the manner made legal by this law (and reinforced by this case). And where does this stop? What happens if a man takes a woman on a date and gives her a gift and expects sex? If she doesn’t give him the sexual encounter that he feels he is entitled to, can he shoot her to recover that gift? The distance between those two stories is frighteningly short. It’s all just one more disturbing example of how men are finding ways to increase and exert their dominance over women and their bodies.

There are even more ways to tear this apart and find implication, but I’m honestly emotionally drained and I believe my point is made. What we have here, at its core, is an absolute travesty of justice based on an extremely poorly considered piece of legislation, and the continued problems of an entitled male hierarchy bent on the control women’s bodies and sexualities. A victimized young woman receives no justice for her life being violently and senselessly cut short by a bullet, and we all lose a little bit more of our legal rights to consent (or not consent) to the sexual whims of men.

“Transsexual” Pornography and The Allure of the “Shemale,” or “How I stopped being angry at TG porn stars and wanted to hug Bailey Jay.”

Before I dive into the dicey subject, let me make a few key disclaimers. The overall social acceptability of porn and the feminist positions on porn are subjects for many many articles, and better written authors than myself have tackled them. I may have something to say on the subject at a later date, but for now, I’m restricting strictly to the subject of porn that falls very generally in the category of “transsexual”. Furthermore, my inclusion of words that I know to be offensive (and that I am offended by) is a conscious choice…they are unavoidable in the this particular subject. Also, I know this particularly article is very heavily focused on transwomen, and I apologize for that. While I’m aware of a growing amount of porn involving trans-men, I just don’t have any experience with how people perceive it.  Finally, I’d like to reiterate my primary disclaimer on this blog…this is a work of my own opinion, and I make no claims as to how the rest of the trans (or any other community I am a part of) may feel.

As I’ve talked about before, one of the things the things that trans folks seem to have to struggle most constantly against is the ton of stereotypes about us. I’ve discussed why that is before, so I’ll not rehash that here. But a key source of these stereotypes is porn, particularly when it comes our sexuality. Don’t get me wrong, all kinds of weird views of ALL women’s sexuality get propagated through skin flicks. But let’s face it…cis-gendered straight women are just a lot more numerous. That gives them at least a little more leverage in combating their stereotypes. Most people who attracted to FAAB women will probably have sex with a few of them over their lifetime. Just given our numbers, a lot fewer people will have an intimate experience with a transwoman.; that means a lot fewer chances to fight these stereotypes directly.

I have a number of beefs with CONTENT of TG porn. The biggest one is the sheer amount of it that is mind-blowingly transphobic. A common theme seems to be “straight” men being “tricked” into a sexual encounter with a transwoman. This just reinforces a number of ridiculous views about transwomen being frauds and manipulators, out to “dupe” straight men. Of course, there is also the language problem. Terms like “shemale”, “hermaphrodite”, “he-she”, “dickgirl”, “trap”, and the ubiquitous “tranny” are common in the titles as well as the dialogue of TG porn, which gives validation to the usage of these hateful, offensive terms. Lastly, there’s penetration problem. So much of trans-related porn features men being penetrated in some way by the actresses dick. My issue here is twofold. It perpetuates the male fantasy of the top transwoman. While I know that top transwomen exist, in my experience they are definitely the exception and not the norm. I know that I personally find the idea of penetrating anyone pretty awful and likely to induce a horrible bout of dysphoria, and I’ve heard that sentiment echoed by a lot of the transwomen I know. A quick glance at the casual encounters section of your local craigslist is all you need to see just how popular this fantasy is (More on that in a minute). Granted, I’m not interested in men for ANY intimate purpose, but the sheer number of times I’ve been approached in person or online by a man interested in blowing me or being fucked by me is astounding, and I know I’m not alone in this. But in all honesty, it’s my second objection to this situation that really grates on me. All of this presses into people’s minds that transwomen are a danger to men’s sexualities, that we are all out for your precious virgin bums, that we are trying to turn you all GAY. While that seems to be the sort of thing that gets a lot of men off, it’s also the sort of thing that many men find TERRIFYING. And terrified men are often violent men. And violent, terrified men murder transwomen. Again, other articles here discuss the ridiculous notion that being attracted to a transwoman makes you gay, so we’ll not recover that ground. But so many men are scared that even thinking we’re pretty is turning them gay…the idea that we all really like buggering the shit out of “helpless” dudes makes the situation a hundred times worse.

You might ask, well then, if men are so scared of being gay, and of transwomen, why is there so much trans porn? Why is this “shemale” stuff so popular? The answer is right there in the question…because men are afraid of being gay (or bi). There’s no denying that we live in a society where women have a much greater freedom to explore their same-gender sexual interests than men (again, a topic for later article perhaps). There’s the old joke that a woman can screw a hundred girls when she’s in college, and still be “just experimenting”. But if a guy even touches some other guy’s dick once, he’s gay for life. I think this isn’t just a societal view, but a concept that men have internalized. I think a lot of men DO have same-gender sexual curiosities, but feel that exploring it would risk turning them permanent homosexual. So, what would make sucking dick ok? Well, if a girl had a dick, it would be “less gay”! And the analogy extends for anal sex. It’s a way of abrogating responsibility for their curiosity about cock. So now, the “shemale” (a beautiful woman with huge porn-star breasts and a big, functional cock) becomes an object of fantasy, which is then reinforced through porn. Next thing you know, said man is approaching any trans woman he can find in real life or online, asking to suck her dick. I think this same desire to shirk responsibility for dick-curiosity is expressed by the (so I’m told by a number of sex-worker friends) extremely common male request for “forced” bisexuality play. Because if the pretty lady is “making” you do it, you aren’t responsible!

Don’t get me wrong, in many ways, I feel bad for these guys. It’s not entirely their fault…society has hand-cuffed them, and the homosocial male culture has warped THEIR brains too. They’d be a lot happier and healthier if they could just explore their sexual desires as they wish without all the worries about the views of their sexual orientation. Everyone is damaged by rigid sexual binarism. If people could just accept the spectrum of sexual orientation, and not be so hung up on labels…yeah, I know. I’m dreaming.

Because of the damage I feel is caused by trans porn, I’ve personally struggled with my views of trans porn actresses for a long time. On the one hand, I’m firmly of the opinion that women have the right to do whatever they like with their bodies, including producing pornography. I also try my very best not to pass judgement on how people express their sexuality as long as they aren’t harming others non-consensually. I also recognize the difficulties that most transwomen face with secure employment and financing transition, and how that leads so many of us into sex work. But part of me has always felt a little betrayed by what they’re doing. Trans porn actresses are often very attractive and frequently intelligent and well-spoken, and if they could be visible doing almost ANYTHING else, I feel like they could be doing so much to help improve the image of our community. And since we do struggle so hard against the stereotypes that so many media types portray about us, it stings to see “one of our own” helping to cement those stereotypes.

But then a funny thing happened to me. I was reading one of my favorite trans blogs, wehappytrans, and I saw they had filmed one of their famous 7 questions segments with Bailey Jay, who is quite possibly the best known trans porn actress around. I was expecting to be angry or irritated. But I’ll be completely honest, I got a rude awakening. She turned out to be smart, and charming. She quoted Kate Bornstein. I related to her. She called out transwomen for their anger and cattiness towards each other. I felt guilty. I cried. And by the end I wanted to just give her a big hug. While I don’t necessarily agree with her career choice, I can very much get behind what she’s saying, and I’ve let go of my negative feelings towards the adult actresses in the trans community. We ALL have a hard enough time as it is, without tearing each other down. There are better ways to fix these problems. While I’m sure she will never see this, Bailey deserves a big thank you from me for sharing so much of herself in her 7Q video, and changing my views so thoroughly. So here it is: Thank you, Bailey Jay, for giving me an emotional smack upside the head and opening my eyes.

Even an opinionated pain-in-the-ass like me can have her point of view rocked.

Bailey’s 7 Questions on WeHappyTrans

On Disclosure, or “Why my genitals are none of your effing business.”

Something I seem to see to be being discussed frequently around the interwebs these days is difficulty of when a trans person is -ethically or otherwise- obligated to disclose their “trans status” to someone else. And it seems like a lot of cis-folks seem to have an awful lot of opinions about who is entitled to information about trans people’s junk. So, I’m just going to make this very, very blunt. NO ONE has any RIGHT to know ANYTHING about ANYONE else’s genitals. Sorry, but the fact that I was unlucky enough to be born with a brain that doesn’t match up with my body does not give people special privilege to details of whatever is, was, or may ever be in my pants. Now, I will grant one VERY VERY small caveat…but it’s with a great deal of reluctance. Trans folks who have not had GRS should think about disclosing to partners before everyone starts to get naked, but only because it’s a matter safety. It upsets me to make this recommendation, but the world is still a hostile place for trans people, and we still get beaten or murdered because someone isn’t happy with what they see when our clothes come off. But this SHOULDN’T be the case, and there is still no obligation to disclose. Still with me? Good, let’s go deeper (no pun intended).

So let’s get this out of the way…I’m not necessarily talking about being “stealth”. Some of this discussion may apply to those choosing to live stealth, but that’s a subject that can be a post all of its own. We’ll take this step-by-step. An individual’s right to privacy is well established in our country, even if it’s not necessarily always respected by our government or the corporations around us. Nonetheless, people are not required to spill the personal details of our identities to every friend, acquaintance or stranger we happen across. We do not have personal data sheets stapled to our shirts detailing who and what we are to anyone who cares to look. Furthermore, the even greater degree of privacy for our personal medical information is enshrined in law and common politeness. Both HIPAA and your parent’s admonishments that’s not polite to ask “what’s wrong with your _____” are testaments to this fact. Being trans is definitely a medical issue; we’re required to be under a mental health professional’s care for transition, and doctors and surgeons are folks involved in helping us change our bodies to match our brains. Sounds awfully medical to me. What makes being trans different? Why are those pieces of medical information somehow less worthy of privacy than others? Well, some might say, people who have STIs are obligated to share this information with potential partners. Yes, I agree, they absolutely are. However, that’s a matter of risk awareness. A person with an STI has the potential to do harm to others if they do not disclose. I don’t see any way that my choosing not to disclose my birth gender to someone has the potential to harm others.

Well, you might say, I have the right to know who I am having sex with! Sure, but hear me out. Let’s say you meet a woman, and you find her attractive, and you find that the two of you have chemistry and enjoy each other’s company. Eventually, you find yourselves about to get down, and the clothes start coming off. During the course of this encounter, you find that your lovely lady happens to no longer have functioning genitals. She was born female, but due to cancer or misadventure, her genitals were so badly damaged that she was left with essentially nothing functional. I would be a little offended by anyone who wanted to argue that she was required to disclose this beforehand. Furthermore, at no point do you have any obligation to continue a sexual encounter. If you find that whatever your potential partner is working with doesn’t rock your boat, then sail on my friend. Now if we take this a step further with the same situation…you do find a functioning set of genitals, and your encounter continues through whatever constitutes completion. Now, it happened to be that those genitals used to be shaped a bit differently, say…a penis…why should that make a difference? You still saw what was down there, and found it pleasing enough to keep going. Where is the difference between these two situations? Oh right, there isn’t one. But wait, you say, she didn’t used to be a woman! SO EFFING WHAT. She’s had GRS, so she’s almost certain also had her legal gender marker changed on all her government documents. So, she is legally female. Her hormone profile and genitals mark her as female, medically. You found her attractive enough to have intimate interest, so clearly you identify her as female. Hmm…if it looks like a duck, smells like a duck, and quacks like a duck…well, you might just be looking at an animal of the Anatidae family (you know…ducks). There is no logical reason to demand to know about her genital surgery, any more than it would make sense to demand to know if she had had a tonsillectomy.

Disclosure of one’s trans status is an intensely personal decision. It’s up to us to decide if or when to share this information with you. Period.