Complexities of Closets

Cross-posting something from 2017 [here] that feels important enough to have on this blog. Coming out to one person or a group doesn’t magically change everything. Ideally, most people will respect the new information and will make an effort to alter how they talk about someone who has come out, but you can’t really control what they do or how they talk about you when you’re not around.

homojabi:

I think that cis/straight people have the wrong idea about what The Closet™ is, honestly. I frequently get asked questions like “So are you out or in the closet?” But the fact is that it doesn’t really work like that. Someone’s Out status isn’t a perfect binary that can be answered in a yes or no question. I know that movies and TV shows like to have the dramatic banner in the sky moment where they say “I’m transgender!” or “I’m bi!” and the parents find out and all the friends find out and suddenly everyone in town knows. But that’s not how coming out works for a lot of people. Coming out is not one event, rather, it’s a continuous series of many events that range from big to small throughout your life. For instance, coming out to your friends and coming out to your parents are generally two completely different decisions, and a lot of people are out to some people they know but not out to others. Some people never come out to their parents at all but they’re Out to everyone else in their life—our closets can be temporary, transient, or something that we only return to from time to time.

And then there’s the everyday closets. Do you correct the cashier when they call you sir? Do you say “my girlfriend” when you’re talking about your plans for the night with a coworker? Do you react to the “small” things like a relative asking when you’ll get a girlfriend or being called your dead name in passing? For the most part, we make decisions about Being Out every day, and often many times in a day. It happens every time we meet someone new, every time someone makes assumptions about us, every time we encounter a bigot or even another person who’s LGBT. The Closet can be a real choice for some people and if they don’t want to come out it doesn’t mean that they’re ashamed or that they aren’t proud of their identity. For other people, it’s important that they make every conscious effort to indicate their identity, be it through dress or conversation or some other way. But it’s important for cis/straight people to understand that The Closet is not a leap from people not knowing your identity to everyone knowing. Someone can be simultaneously Out and in The Closet at the same time, and most people are.

Knitting Goals for 2019

From my queue [all patterns are free]:

1) Irish Hiking Scarf by Adrian Bizilia

US 8 straight/single point needles, a cable needle. Yarn: Worsted, 350 yds (~7 oz). I plan on using: 1 skein, 7 oz (355 yds) of Yarn Bee Sugarwheel Colorway: Minted Macaroon. Weight: Worsted.

 

Gift for my grandma.

2) Irish Hiking Mitts by iknit2purl2

Require DPNs (US 6). Yarn: Worsted, 150 – 220 yds (~5 oz). I plan on using: 1 skein, 5 oz (232 yds) of Yarn Bee Soft & Sleek Solids Colorway: Kale. Weight: Worsted.

 

Project for myself because no one in my family will use them (fingerless gloves).

3) Bargain Matinee Prayer Shawl by Alice’s Embrace

Pattern calls for US 13 circular needles and bulky yarn. Use US 8 circular needles and something from my stash – that one skein someone gifted me back in 2015 that I still need to use – 1 skein, 14 oz (744 yds) of Red Heart Super Saver Solids Colorway: Cherry. Weight: Worsted / 4 / Medium.

I’m not entirely sure what I’ll be doing with this shawl once I’m done (I don’t have double the yardage in order to double up on the yarn, which basically creates the end result of bulky yarn when only using worsted). Because it won’t be similar to the size and proportion of the desired end result, it’s not going to be applicable for donating to Alice’s Embrace (their About).

4) Figure out what on earth I’m doing to do with my Mystery Yarn (one 3 oz skein of black worsted, two 2 oz skeins of fuzzy aqua probably worsted something or other).

5) Endometriosis Shawl by Caitlin Shepherd

I plan on using: 1 skein, 7 oz (355 yds) of Yarn Bee Sugarwheel Colorway: Grape Jamboree. Weight: Worsted.

 

I’m honestly not quite sure what I’ll do with it, but I’m hoping I’ll be able to handle the lace alright.

Knitting Gifts (Yarn)

Similarly to the needle post, I came up with my Xmas list on paper because I know how my family likes to shop in store for the holidays. I wanted them to get some say in the color, as long as they got the appropriate weight (4 / Medium) and bought enough, and in the past, we’ve easily been able to pick up Red Heart (Super Saver) in Walmart. (Are there better stores to shop at and/or types of yarn to use? Probably, but Walmart is closer to us, and RH is cheaper to buy than some other options.)

However, when it came to this trip to get yarn, I had to deal with unexpectedly needing to help them look in a different store because our local Walmart decided to cut back on their yarn aisle for Xmas crafty stuff. {The different store in question is not a store that some queer people like to support, but it was the next closest option.} I went in with the goal of: 1) a 7 oz, multicolored skein, 2) a 5 oz, any singular shade of green skein, and 3) a 7 oz, blue gradient skein.

I wound up getting:

1 skein, 7 oz (355 yds) of Yarn Bee Sugarwheel Colorway: Grape Jamboree

1 skein, 7 oz (355 yds) of Yarn Bee Sugarwheel Colorway: Minted Macaroon

1 skein, 5 oz (232 yds) of Yarn Bee Soft & Sleek Solids Colorway: Kale

Surprise! Grandma also decided to hand over some random yarn that was in a box bought at an auction at some point. Everything will have an aura of having been bought before you were born. One will have a label (phew), but one is simply Mystery Yarn.

Labeled:

1 skein, 3 oz, of Lion Brand (black). Weight: Worsted / 4 ply.

Mystery Yarn:

2 skeins, each of 2 oz of Mystery Yarn (aqua). Weight: Worsted? Idk, it’s fuzzy and I’m kinda not a fan.

Knitting Gifts (Needles)

I came up with my Xmas list on paper because I know how my family likes to shop in store for the holidays, but I didn’t really think ahead to sharing the specifics of what I got after they decided to order this online instead. So.

Why get a wide variety? I only have a pair each of single point aluminum needles in US 6 and US 8. I need US 7 needles of some sort, I want to compare DPNs (Double Pointed Needles) and circular needles, and I want to try wooden needles.

Anyone who has ever tried to google circular knitting needles: Why didn’t you just get an interchangeable set? You’ll have a variety of cable lengths and the interchangeable ends will cover a range of needle sizes.

Me: Their cost. I have no idea if I’ll even like this type of needle, I’m not sure if I have a preference for plastic/aluminum/wood, and cost. Do you know how expensive it can get to try to buy knitting needles when you’re just starting out?

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Needles

Circular, US 8, aluminum. Example lists 16 in, but I got a 36 in. Boye.

DPNs, US 6, aluminum, 7 in. Example is US 7. Boye.

DPNs, US 7, wood (bamboo), 7 in. Clover/Takumi.

Straight / Single Point, US 7, wood (bamboo). Example is 9 in, but I got 13 in. Clover/Takumi.

Ace Killjoy (Thoughts on Orgasm Control)

[Cross-post (Switchy SCC Writing: Orgasm Control). Context: The portions of tumblr I’ve been able to find most easily as community resources tend to be into sexual kink and incorporate orgasm control. A tl;dr for those not interested in the whole post:

Other than managing kneejerk reactions against Cishet Men, being on the ace spectrum just doesn’t quite deliver on the somewhat common control/denial/permission seen in erotic fantasies and some online communities for submissives. On the other hand, the matter of control and working around meeting a potential sub’s sexual needs means that I can’t throw it out of the toolbox from a Dominant perspective.]

@sccwriting Prompts:

#24.2: Have you ever done orgasm control/denial play?

#196.1+3: Is orgasm control part of your dynamic? How does that work for you? | What are the advantages for you from orgasm control? Are there negatives?

Definitions (as I have encountered)

Definition as I’ve encountered it – a submissive consensually giving their ability to orgasm over to their dominant, whether it’s through an honor system (submissive agrees to not masturbate unless their dominant gives them permission) or manually enforced (cock rings, cock cages, stopping sexual activity before orgasm, ‘chastity’ devices to prevent masturbation). It can be less involved by needing to ask permission ‘for’ their orgasm or more involved with toys, teasing, edging, and ruined orgasms (physically preventing ejaculation).

Tangentially related to denial is ‘forced’ orgasms, in which the dominant gives an order for masturbation, per their discretion continues sexual activity or stimulus (as with a toy) for at least one orgasm (instead of denial), or seeks out a dry orgasm (typically associated with prostate massage or ‘milking’, it’s an orgasm before the refractory period for ejaculation is up). It’s commonly associated with continuing stimulus for at least one more orgasm after achieving one aka in some porn, it’s tied up with ‘fucking machines’ and vibrators (like hitachi wands).

Response

With how much kink overlaps with sexual activity, I’m not surprised this is a thing, and I probably ran into the concept before I ever found out the actual terminology for this. For some submissives, it’s a relatively easy controllable factor in their life to hand over to a dominant, and it appears especially common when dealing with temporary distance or LDRs (long distance relationships). For some dominants, it’s immensely satisfying to have that permission element and the power to deny their submissive an orgasm, even if they don’t actually deny it. When I’ve come across personal experiences, it’s usually more focused on abstaining from masturbation either as a temporary measure before a scene where compliance is more important or over a long-term period where permission is more important (may get into teasing and edging). {Due to how popular this is to try, I am not trying to capture the entirety of everyone’s experiences.}

I find the idea of handing over orgasm control to a dominant to be intriguing, but I’m not sure I can handle the reality of it. I’m somewhere on the ace spectrum, and I have body dysphoria as a trans person; I can’t really confirm or deny to what extent one directly leads to the other, but as a fat person assigned female at birth, I can’t deny that I have some knee jerk reactions based on the social and cultural environment I was raised in. Dominants are strongly associated with cis men {resources are typically geared towards this perspective}, and I fluctuate on whether I can keep up my end of agreeing to orgasm control with a cis man. I’ve been told that I shouldn’t be sexual, shouldn’t masturbate, should practice abstinence until marriage (to a cis man), should strive for chastity and celibacy, shouldn’t be naked in front of others or sexual until I’ve lost weight; I’ve been told submissive inclinations come with a high libido, I should be constantly horny and struggling with celibacy, I should be comfortable with interacting with my body and want to fuck myself with any number of sex toys, I should want to have sex with other people, I should specifically want a cis man to fuck me.

Now, a reader may be going, ‘Hold on, you’re not fucking Society or Cis Men(™). What does this mean with real people?’ Sometimes, I’m sex averse and do not want me, a toy, or any part of another person interacting with my body in a sexual manner. Other times, my interest in sexual activity, libido, and sexual expression fluctuate towards conditional and situational willingness for sex. Given enough time to talk, negotiate, and work through the Issues that involve a partner and can’t be resolved all by myself beforehand, I can build enough trust for partnered sex and kink involving sex. A cis man will probably have an extra element to building trust, and he should be prepared for the possibility that he may not unlock my sexual mode let alone get his input along the lines of orgasm control acknowledged. Enbies, femmes, and the menagerie of other genders? Fewer Issues and a higher probability of unlocking sexual mode.

However, even when the stars have aligned, I don’t feel a deep burning desire for sex that creates the tension and feeds the arousal of orgasm control. I can’t say with 100% certainty that I would never figure out a compromise that worked for my partner if I’ve already worked out sexual negotiation anyway, but it would definitely have to be something she/ze/they initiated. On my dash, I’ve typically seen a link or overlap with forced orgasms, denial, and edging in personal experiences, hence going over a definition for a forced orgasm above. Personally, even if I undergo a drastic change within a dynamic and really love other aspects of orgasm control, I draw a line at forced orgasms. It’s not even a hang-up on the “forced” part, really, but I wind up associating this with objectification and being dehumanized into a sex toy / doll / slave isn’t one of my kinks (not the limit of sexual objectification but the roles I’ve often seen overlap this).

On the other side of the coin, I wouldn’t be opposed to orgasm control with a submissive. In theory, it could be a way to meet their sexual needs without directly engaging in sexual activity. I can’t say that I would never, ever want to have sex with a submissive, and there’s something about shifting the focus from what my body is or is not doing to a submissive that makes the idea of partnered sex easier. Writing that out definitely sounds like I might have service top inclinations (or really feeling stone right now [link isn’t affected by tumblr shenanigans]), but I’m not entirely sure how trying a dynamic will change my comfort with orgasm control. I can see myself enjoying the power and control over my submissive, but I might not get off on it, y’know? I could realize I actually like partnered sex and click with this means of control, but I might find out that my lower libido makes it hard for me to key into meeting their sexual needs. I’m just not sure right now.

Kneeling Before the Gods (cross post)

[Cross posted from a sideblog. Originally posted on 4 Dec 2017 and tagged #community.]

tahh-seaanen:

Can we stop treating kneeling before gods as if it’s some sort of dirty, disgusting, shameful thing only weak and foolish people do?

Kneeling is more than a physical action: It’s a gesture, it’s a show of trust. It’s putting yourself into a vulnerable position out of respect and trust for your deity. For some people, it’s about pushing past emotional or even physical boundaries. Kneeling is physically uncomfortable to me, but I have done it a couple of times, and will continue doing it, because it’s a huge show of trust for me.

I worship my deities. I honor Them, I give to Them, and sometimes, I kneel before Them. If I were weak, I wouldn’t even TRY. There’s no way I would trust my deities on that level. It’s not weakness that compels me to honor them: It’s loverespect, and trust.

Sure, piety can be taken to the extreme, but people such as Galina Krasskova and Timothy Jay Alexander do not speak for us all. They do not represent us.

Being a recon-leaning or ‘full recon’ (is that even the right way to put it? D:) isn’t a bad thing. Being a judgmental, hateful, bigoted assface about it is.

There’s nothing wrong with kneeling before your gods.

There is nothing wrong with choosing to capitalize references to Them.

There is nothing wrong with choosing to “worship” them versus “working with” them.

So stop ridiculing people who do.

answersfromvanaheim:

This is especially true if (specifically talking about Heathenry) you have historical references to people kneeling and prostrating in prayer. (Someone even took advantage of this to kill a guy while he was praying.)

Rune Poem (cross post)

[Cross posted from a sideblog. Originally posted on 11 Aug 2018 and tagged #seeds of love (for offerings).]

winebreadandart:

ost:min:kis:mik
Óst min, kyss mik
‘My love, kiss me’

A love poem to a Scandinavian lover.

Source: B465, before 1198

(via gasoline-selfesteem)

Legal Gender/Sex

Sharing a tumblr post below from 1 Dec 2018 not that long after the news that the Trump administration was looking into updating the legal definition of gender in order to restrict it to a cissexist definition (basically, genitals (sex) at birth = 1 of 2 genders (binary) = gender for life). AFAIK, it’s still just an idea that’s playing to part of his base and hasn’t become official policy to upend legal precedent.

Some people may not quite understand why legal gender matters when so much of gender dysphoria and transitioning seems social (we don’t present our IDs to strangers in introductions), but this is that annoying “pick M or F” box attached to anything related to paperwork – medical records, Social Security, state ID, passport, so many places. Back when I looked into the process for updating a gender marker, we were still in the Obama administration, which had made it easier for trans people to update their passports (lasts longer than state IDs (10 years vs 4) and helpful for those who didn’t meet their state’s requirements for updating a state-issued license or photo ID).

Even when I thought I was a binary trans person, I had a hazy relationship with the idea of updating my gender marker. Depending on your state, you might only be able to update certain forms or parts, and I honestly don’t know about the medical side other than anecdotal stories of, f’ex, trans men who struggled to get their insurance to cover Pap smears and trans women who struggled to get their insurance to cover prostate exams. As the cross-over tumblr post below goes into, my state does not allow for updating my birth certificate, and it’s surprising what all you need a birth certificate for until you want to avoid using one.

The idea of having a mixed legal gender (F in some areas, M in others) was a bit too confusing at the time, and it didn’t get easier with being unsatisfied with only having an MtF or FtM route (my state is not one of the ones to have non-binary gender markers, if I even wanted to risk backlash from others by outing myself like that). It definitely feels like I’m overcomplicating matters when I’m just looking at a form with those two boxes, but sometimes, I get caught up in whether a form wants my gender, actually means sex despite calling that line gender, and why. Medically, I am very aware of why a physician might need to know my sex, but does everyone who sees my state ID for the purposes of photo identification really need to when my gender identity and presentation are more relevant to what’s going on?

Y’know, what happens when I don’t look like I “match” my legal gender? When I was going through the process of getting my license ~2 years ago (I relied on my temp way longer than some people), I was Aware™ that I would be using this state-issued ID for the next 4 years, especially when it came to voting, and I needed to pick my best average baseline for presentation. In an unexpected plot twist, my small-ish rural town actually didn’t get all bothersome about how I look, and I was incredibly glad that I didn’t run into issues with voting in the 2018 midterms. Pretty much looking like my photo ID cuts down on double takes and scrutiny, but it’s part of being in certain closets and a privilege that not all trans voters experience (Voting Rights, #VotingWhileTrans).

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righteoussness:

To any cis people following me that don’t understand why the possible change to the legal definition of gender in this country can and will ruin lives, I want to explain. I live in Tennessee, which, if you’re not aware, is the only state in which statute specifically forbids the changing of gender markers for a citizen (note that in Kansas and Idaho it is also not allowed, but it’s not specifically forbidden, and there are currently legal battles being fought over the issue).

As a trans person in Tennessee, I cannot change my legal gender in /any/ situation. I will always be a “male” in the eyes of the legal system, to the school system, to my workplace, etc. This is a constant no matter what I look like, what my “transition status” is; it literally doesn’t matter. If I am ever arrested, I will be brought to men’s jail or even men’s prison. The officer and the warden won’t look at me or my safety, they’ll look at my license and that alone. Understand the risk of violence and rape this puts me under, even though I am not involved in any sort of criminal activity, this is a constant threat I’m under as long as I live in the state.

Since there are, thankfully, no other obvious legal sanctions against the trans community of Tennessee, I can aim for a fairly traditional life trajectory while transitioning. I have an entry level job, I’m in college, and I even got hormone replacement through informed consent, which is legal in the state.

Despite this, my entry level job is just that: an entry level job. I make less than 9 dollars an hour and get fairly irregular shifts, which is absolutely impossible to live on. Understand that my trans status makes both this entry level job more difficult and impossible to get hired in any better employment. I get called slurs by coworkers constantly, including by management. Despite this terrible job, every attempt I’ve had at applying to other jobs has been shot down once I’ve given them my (masculine) birth name. I distinctly remember applying for a job that was looking promising until one of the people I gave my name to said “So, ___ as in a boy?” directly to my face.

Bare in mind I have a right to schooling, yes, but I ask you: what is the point of me being able to get my degree if I can’t get hired by anyone after I get that degree? Especially in my field of education, it is extremely difficult for anyone “non-conforming” to get hired. No one wants a teacher that the parents of students might raise an eyebrow to. Now this is an issue that might be subverted to an extent if I’m in a scenario where I “pass,” which is quite likely, but that “passing” gets shot down the second employment sees my birth certificate.

My only option as a trans person born in Tennessee, and an option I’ve come to terms with, is that I must leave my home state to live a life of any quality. If you’re a citizen of the state and something of an economic pragmatist with little sympathy for the trans position, than this is at the very least the loss of one more teacher in a state that is in the middle of education reform in desperate need of more teachers. At the most, this is the coerced expulsion of a marginalized person from your state, who represents the expulsion of many other transsexuals in similar situations.

Please understand that if the legal definition of gender becomes absolute and unchangeable in this country, the expulsion of transsexuals from Tennessee will go from state-wide to country-wide. That is, members of the trans community of the country with the amount of privilege necessary to relocate will relocate. Those without the relative privilege will become even more marginalized and impoverished. This is not a negligible issue, this is not the frog in the boiling water. This is a breaking point in our country.

righteoussness:

oh my GOD .

image

he deleted the comment and blocked me i think but oh my god what a fucking idiot that was the entire point of my post

lezzyharpy:

just to add, ohio is similar w gender markers; even with a court order, i cant fix my gender marker on my birth certificate, even tho i hardly even lived there, i was born there then we moved when i was like two, but im still stuck w the wrong gender marker cuz of ohio , and the new shit would only make it worse

My contribution + reblog:

(Ohio specific) The thing that’s even more slightly confusing is that according to my state’s info on name change + gender marker changes [here] I could update my driver’s license but, for now, not my birth certificate (assuming I can meet with a physician, psychologist, and/or therapist to sign off on the Declaration of Gender Form). It’s possible that Ray v Himes may one day change the birth certificate bit, but it doesn’t really help us *now*.

On March 29, 2018, the ACLU, the ACLU of Ohio, and Lambda Legal filed a lawsuit challenging Ohio’s refusal to correct the gender marker on birth certificates for transgender people, for any reason, at any time. Ohio is one of just three states, with Tennessee and Kansas, that has yet to change the extremely regressive and harmful policy.

¡Milestone!

Today is my birthday, and let me tell you, it’s a bit weird admitting to that after growing up online where it was Unwise for young children to share their age. However, I have reached a milestone – 25 years, a quarter of a century, far longer than I ever thought I’d live while suicidal. It may have first dropped by before I was a legal adult, but Junior year of undergrad was very fucking close, fam. Like, I wasn’t sure how I was going to make it to the intake appointment in two weeks, I was afraid of being institutionalized, and I had a friend hold onto birthday alcohol and acetaminophen (so I wouldn’t combine them) Close.

I wasn’t really in a place for those ‘here are random enjoyable moments’ lists, which isn’t to say they don’t help other people. Most of them are so small and fleeting (watch a sunrise, be the first to walk in freshly fallen snow, smell a flower, etc.) that they didn’t register for me. I had horrible insomnia and could see the sunrise, and it was the bleak, emotionless sign that my all-nighter was switching over into “I have to interact with people” mode. I had to walk everywhere on campus, and I saw a fair bit of cultivated nature (the tree outside of Glidden that would bloom in the spring, the holly bushes outside the one frat house on the walk to Kantner, so many leaves in the fall).

I certainly think there are things I should’ve done differently to manage my depression in hindsight, but something that wasn’t horrible was coming up with a to-do list that was long-term. True, at the time I couldn’t conceive of anything more long-term than a week or two, but my People saw that I needed something that was just far away enough in the future that I could hopefully get better and have other reasons to live before the task arrived. I’m sharing two body modification requests that explicitly tie into milestones for survival (I believe the palm idea was previously attributed to Loki in that Rocky Horror Picture Show Dream post, but Dad took over on the idea).

2020: Tattoo for Fenrir (II)

  • Purpose: Commemorate surviving 5 years. Honor Monstering gender, Otherness.
  • Right palm. Outline of wolf paw print; black ink.
  • Aim for getting it on / shortly after – 1/23/2020

2025: Tattoo for Njord (II)

  • Purpose: Commemorate surviving 10 years.
  • Knuckles/outer fingers. “HOLD FAST”; font and color details TBD. Other details TBD.
  • Aim for getting it on / shortly after – 1/23/2025

Some might be looking at Njord’s idea and having some questions about so many TBD’s being filled in, but the point isn’t to have a perfectly planned out idea today. It’s to have enough of an idea to want to stick around for the planning. Also, for those who are a bit confused on why that particular idea: “To hold fast means to hold onto the [rigging] lines fast when the ship is aloft in bad weather, so sailors would not be thrown off. These words served as a special reminder to hold on and persevere during tough times” (Source). The image is from the same source, and it is not the exact idea I want (in terms of font, color, size), but it’s an okay example.

Body mod isn’t going to “fix” anything, but it’s something I can plan for and live for when things get rough. It’s why some people focus on a pet (ex. who will feed Mr. Whiskers if I’m gone?), look forward to a movie, or get themselves involved in a show with another episode on the way.

Knitting History

I started sometime in undergrad with a Boye kit as a Xmas gift (I think it was 2015).

“I Taught Myself To Knit” Kit includes:

  • 1 book (beginner instructions and 18 patterns)
  • 2 pairs of 10 in. straight aluminum knitting needles (sizes 6 and 8)
  • 2 tapestry yarn needles
  • 2 point protectors
  • Cable needle
  • Stitch holder
  • Stitch counter
  • Knit gauge
  • Stitch markers

My past projects have mostly been vaguely scarf-like lengths of knitted fabric or acceptable scarves, including a cable scarf from the Boye book in a dark purple (for my mom), another scarf of that pattern in light purple (for my sister), and a freeform scarf to practice knitting with two colors that didn’t turn out half bad (olive green and white, kept for myself).