Archive for January, 2009

Ugh!

Posted in about me, life, queer, rants on 01.27.09 by Maalik

I’m done with women.

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Updates… Sort Of

Posted in about me, coming out, family, friends, life, queer, transition on 01.26.09 by Maalik

I’ve been busy with schoolwork (read: lazy), so I don’t have any long posts to share right now, but I wanted to give a quick update.

One. Over the past few months I’ve really been avoiding relationships and crushes because I’ve been trying to find out what I wanted. I mentioned before that I didn’t want to date a lesbian because it fucked with my masculine identity, but at the same time it’s hard to find a straight girl who will date a pre-everything transguy. I’ve also been doubting my ability to be in a functional relationship with my transition issues and other personal things. That said, I’ve developed a crush on a friend and I’m not exactly sure how to go about it.

I haven’t come out to her as transgendered, but I think she has an idea because we talk a lot through Facebook where I often refer to my gender. She’s gay, but when I think of being her partner it doesn’t cause me any dysphoria. When we talk there’s some subtle flirting so I’m not really sure what she thinks about me. I don’t know…

Two. I had some friends come over who I haven’t really talked to since middle school. They don’t know about me so they referred to me by my birth name and used female pronouns and the like. The subject of my gender kind of came up in conversation and I actually got really nervous. The same day my brother called saying that he “saw that I’d changed my Facebook and wanted to talk” and I got nervous again. My biggest obstacle right now is that I’m having a hard time coming out to people. I don’t want to be Maalik the transguy, I want to be Leek who happens to be trans. And it’s not that I want to be stealth or anything, I just don’t want there to be this huge thing surrounding my gender. I don’t have the energy to go through the awkward stage of acceptance and that’s what’s stopping me from coming out right now.

Three. Read this. Explains me more than I ever could.

Four. This was a shitty post. I apologize, I’m not in a writing or thinking mood today.

I’m Alive

Posted in life on 01.17.09 by Maalik

Class started this week, so I’ve been uber busy. I’ve got some decent material to write about when I have the time.

Check Your Privilege

Posted in about me, life, political, rants, reference on 01.10.09 by Maalik

A link because I’m not in the mood for long rants today.

This Scares Me

Posted in about me, life, political, rants, transition on 01.07.09 by Maalik

This scares me. It should scare everyone, but it really scares me. I’m trying to understand how this could happen in our society and we hear nothing about it. I’m trying to believe that we aren’t hearing the whole story, that there’s something that drove these men- transit cops- to murder an innocent man. But the truth is that it doesn’t surprise me. The number of incidents like this in the past few years has been troubling, and while I’m sure it’s better than it has been historically, there’s no reason why these things should be happening in the year 2009. There is no reason why we should be afraid of the very people who are meant to protect us. And yet, I’m beginning to feel that way.

It scares me because this is what I’m signing up for. Even now I see it, when a salesperson follows me around in a store or a woman pulls her purse a little closer when I walk by. People who say that racism no longer exists are bullshitting themselves. This is what makes me question what I’m doing, more than anything else. Black, queer, transperson, atheist… in our society, being who I am, I cannot trust others to do the right thing. As much as I know that I have to transition, I also know that once I do I am putting a lot of trust in humanity- trust that it is obviously not deserving of.

Coming Out Letter (to Parents)

Posted in coming out, family, reference on 01.07.09 by Maalik

Mom and Dad-

If I could go the rest of my life without telling you this, I would. Because I know this isn’t something that a parent wants to hear and I know that it could drastically change your opinion of me. If I could wait- until I was further from home or more prepared, I would. Because I don’t know how you’ll react. But this cannot wait any longer. The reason I hated high school, the reason I have difficulty talking to people, the reason I want to go to school in Minnesota… it’s all related.

I’m transgendered.

Whatever preconceived notion you have about that word, disregard it for a moment. As strongly as I identify as transgendered, I hate to call myself that right now because I’m sure you already have a misguided understanding of the term. I know about the stereotype of “transvestite” sex workers and “men who wear dresses,” but the reality for many transpersons is far from this. First, what you must understand is that being transgendered simply means that one’s gender expression or identity is different from the conventional expectations of the sex one is born into. Tomboys are transgendered, though they may not identify themselves as such.

However, as I’m sure you may suspect, this letter is not to tell you I am a tomboy- it is to tell you that I am a transguy. Despite the fact that I was born female, I identify more strongly as a male and, for practical purposes, choose to identify as such in public. Perhaps this surprises you, but it shouldn’t. As a child I was always more content to ride bikes or play basketball than to play with dolls and as I matured this only intensified as my mostly feminine closet was overtaken by dark, baggy menswear. Externally I always explained that those clothes were more comfortable, but inside I knew that I wore men’s clothing because I was a man.

I know this must be hard for you to accept. I’ve spent many hours crying because I felt like I was pulling the trigger on the [birthname] in your happy family. I’m sure you had dreams of having a girl to get makeovers and buy a prom dress for and I constantly think of how I’ve failed as a daughter because I couldn’t live up to that. Think of that little girl for a moment though, and think of how I am not at all like her. Please realize that I have never been that person, that I never could be that person. And I sincerely hope that you do not condemn me for something that I cannot change.

I was standing in Jos A. Banks watching my brother try on suits when I had a panic attack. I saw you both helping him pick the right suit, saw the salesman assisting him, and felt ill. Though I had been planning this for a long time I knew then that I had to go through with it sooner rather than later. Because as I was standing there I was overcome with grief over the childhood that Maalik lost. Leek never got to play catch with his dad or try on his first suit… he never got to do any of the things that biological men take for granted. Occasionally being called “her” or having to use the women’s restroom, that’s okay. But when it happens everyday for seventeen years, when you’re constantly reminded by “M or F” check boxes that you were denied the life that felt right to you because a doctor marked F on your birth certificate… after a while it gets to you. And eventually it boils over and you’re faced with two options; you can kill yourself, or you can claim the life that was meant for you. I don’t want to die, I have too much hope for my future. So instead I have to tell you that I intend on taking the steps to claiming my life- Maalik’s life.

I’ve always felt this way, but it only became a reality to me recently. After I was introduced to the queer community and transgenderism, after I accepted that these feelings would never go away. I’ve researched this for years, discussed it with counselors and friends, talked to other transmen… and I’m sure this is the right decision for me. Within the next two years I will be changing my name to “Maalik [rest of my name].” I am also going to begin taking testosterone which will produce masculine characteristics (such as deepened voice and increased muscle development) and I will undergo surgery to create a more masculine looking chest.

As much as I would like your support and blessing in doing this, you must understand that it is ultimately my decision to make. You may feel like seventeen is too young to decide something like this, but know that I have felt this way for as long as I can remember- I have been wanting this since I was nine. I do understand your concern, however. The Standards of Care that dictate treatment of transgendered patients require that a candidate for hormones undergo several months of therapy to ensure that he does not regret his decision. This means that in order for me to medically transition I must receive a formal diagnosis of “Gender Identity Disorder” and that the medical community believes transitioning is in my best interest.

You’ve said that you only want my brother and I to be happy and all I’m asking now is for you to allow me that opportunity. I know that I will never be truly happy and comfortable with myself when I am outwardly presented as female. Everyday I get more and more frustrated with my situation and it is imperative that I begin to change it for my own well-being. I know this will not be easy for you to adjust to and I know that it may present you with your own difficulties, but I sincerely hope you can at least try to accept it. Please realize that this is not at all easy for me, to come out to my parents, to live everyday as such an outcast in mainstream society… for me to pursue this must give you some idea of how necessary it is to my well-being.

Love Always,
Leek

Transgender 101 (Or How to Relate to Mr. Maalik)

Posted in about me, coming out, family, friends, introduction, rants, reference, transition on 01.07.09 by Maalik
Okay, I feel like I need to write something to answer all of the intrusive questions I (will) get when I tell people I’m trans. While I understand that a lot of people are genuinely interested and want to be “accommodating,” it’s also not my job to give people a lecture on transgenderism whenever I come out. That said, people are going to ask and it’s a lot easier for me to just direct them to here than to write a hundred page essay every time someone wonders why it’s such a big deal that they fucked up a pronoun. First, a Trans 101 so that you can understand the basics and a list of FtM specific terms because I’m not going to define anything. Now that that’s out of the way…
What can I call you?
Names are incredibly important and in some cases calling me the wrong thing could be physically dangerous. My name is Maalik and I would prefer to be called that or any nickname derived from it. You may also address me using a masculine form of my middle name or my last name. That said, if I specifically ask you to use my birth name please do so.
What pronouns/salutiations do you prefer?
Use male pronouns unless I specifically ask you not to. I prefer the saluation “Mx.” (ie. Mx. Maalik [lastname]), but Mr. is also acceptable.
What is your gender?

Fuck you. But if that doesn’t work, transguy. The trans part is important- my upbringing was far different than that of a cisguy and who I am is different because of that.

Who can I tell?
No one. It’s not their business and it’s not really yours. If you were fortunate enough to have me come out to you, don’t fuck it up by telling people. Unless we’re in company in that I am specifically closeted to (family) or unless I tell you that I’m presenting as female, relate to me as a male. Don’t out me by using “she” and if someone who doesn’t know me calls me “she” pretend it didn’t happen and let your language show that they’ve made a mistake.
What else can’t I do?
Call me a girl. Tell me I’m a lesbian. Use “she, her, hers” when referring to me. Use my birth name… This is common sense here.
 

  

And if I don’t?
I don’t need people in my life who aren’t supportive. And at this point in my life, I won’t have them.