Chatting With Trans Dead

Initially, I just intermixed communication with all of my groups of ancestral dead with deities, spirits, and the like. I didn’t necessarily sit down at a certain time and consistently check-in, and some ancestral representatives would go a while in between communicating anything. I needed somewhere that I could just write and process stuff (if I had felt comfortable sharing it online, it would fall under my tumblr #wtf gender shenanigans tag), and I sort of just referred to it as ‘chatting with my trans dead’.

As a person who menstruates, it was very noticeable in terms of timing to get in the habit of writing during my cycle. (Not to mention, that PMS and menstruating used to knock me out of being able to communicate with A/anyone other than my dead for a while, so it was easy to sit down with a Rep.) Eventually, I sorted those written pieces out into their own Gdoc (“T 2014” is the earliest year), and over time, other ancestral Reps and occasionally People would stop by with a writing prompt. Sometimes, I would be tasked with coming up with a particular to-do list and wouldn’t actually write anything.

Some of these entries are wildly out of date and inapplicable for sharing by 2019, but while scrolling through these Gdocs trying to find something else, I realized that there are other entries that might be shareable with a little tweaking and polishing. There’s not really anything that’s academically rigorous, highly researched, or new in the sense that someone else hasn’t already asked this question somewhere else, but I’m not exactly here proclaiming myself to be writing anything like that. It ranges from the silly (brainstorming decorating a Xmas stocking + stocking stuffer ideas) to the introspective (I wouldn’t be happy with Sacred Sovereignty as a subset of spirit-work/Job, and given that Someone gave me a choice, I declined) to the serious (psychiatric, therapy, and mental health stuff).

Genderfluidity & Switching

[Cross-post (here). Passive-aggressively subtitled in my mind – why saying ‘gender doesn’t matter’ when looking for a play partner and putting down switches can be irritating to me. Sometimes switching and scene work is an element of gender expression, even if I don’t want to drastically change my public presentation for everyone else in the world to see.

I am aware that ‘gender doesn’t matter’ is how some people personally self-define being bi and/or pan, depending on if they personally overlap between the two, and this is not going after that. It’s more directed at posts where that doesn’t appear to be the context and gender is assumed to fall in line with Dominant men / submissive women even while saying that gender identity and sexual orientation don’t matter in dynamics.

Also: There’s an overlap between switching in the sense of being able to fill either a top or a bottom role and switching in the sense of being able to be either a Dominant or a submissive. Some call a top/bottom switch versatile, but AFAIK that’s more of a gay/mlm label that’s borrowed and vanilla. Personally, the liminality of both switch meanings works with being nb, genderqueer, and genderfluid.]

Genderfluidity & Switching

This isn’t really intended to talk about nonbinary, genderqueer, genderfluid, and other potentially trans identities that are not binary in a 101, explaining to cisgender people manner. Be not afraid to Google, and remember this is merely from my perspective (this is not what every nb, genderqueer, and/or genderfluid person will experience). I have a separate post that goes into more of how I claim nb and genderqueer despite being able to potentially describe some internal perceptions of gender with other words, but not all of those descriptions are relevant to how I relate to top/bottom/switch, so I won’t be covering everything.

Masculine woman / female, which I also relate to Butch

I first ran into stone being attached to butch while growing up and feel comfortable with the combination of stone butch, but “What is Stone?” explains how stone isn’t exclusively tied to gender and can be used by femme and other non-butch people. I most strongly relate to stone as having “limits on touch/penetration/nakedness”, “being a sexual top”, and “pleasure is centered on another”.

Not on the gender binary, the Other

Dark Mori, flowing peasant skirts, make-up, voice pitched low, layers hiding my body until I turn into a Mystery. (“What is it?” An Eldritch Horror. “What are you?” Mostly void, partially stars. “I’m confused…?” Good.) Waistcoats, long hair, voice pitched high, color coordinating dagger like claws with suits as a polite Monster. Freak, genderfucker, I’ll scratch your back if you scratch mine.

Something in the direction of more masc / femme

Sometimes but not always, certain types of play or dynamics sift up masculinity or femininity. It may not be enough for me to want to use different pronouns, address / titles, or change my presentation, but the thing about scenes with a finite time period is that I can play around with this for a bit. F’ex, I could be a Daddy, Mommy, little girl, little boy, and not have to give up neutral address (Caregiver or little). Sometimes but not always, my partner’s gender will sift up feeling more in one direction or another. It’s not always easy to explain, but they can draw out certain pieces of myself (I’ve only noticed same-gender instances so far in my life).

A neutrality or a sense of not being able to specify

“Hello…Sir?” Meh. “Ma’am?” /gestures to body/ I don’t know, I just work here. “Person?” Tired Monster who doesn’t have the time or energy to terrify and mystify, who is just barely human. Partner, datemate, if gender is a social construct I would like to cancel my Gender Bill today. Connecting with not-quite-human perspectives is easier, so pet play, animal play, and non-sexual objectification is easier. It’s not an automatic that I would have to be a submissive in one of these scenes, depending on specifics and potentially how many people are in the scene, but from what I’ve seen so far, it’s far more likely. This neutral or unspecification area is also where clinical, task oriented, non-sexual Human/tool is also easier (something has been designated Work, and I am helping to accomplish that; the clearest example I can think of is a job where hierarchy fits in where I may simultaneously have a Boss and I supervise employees under me).

D/s

While it’s easier to call up dominance while butch, sometimes the service top qualities get a bit blurred into submission. While I certainly feel like I’m more attracted to feminine people when butch, I can’t say that I would only ever consider consider femdom from the service top / switchy sub angle. When it comes to the Monster portion, it’s a bit hard to tell (alternating top/bottom in terms of scene). I want to hurt, I want to control the sensation play, I want to consume my bottom’s pain; I want to take the pain (you can’t kill a monster that easily), I have to let someone facilitate certain play, I want someone to See my pain (you can’t ignore monsters). When it comes to leaning one way or the other, I haven’t noticed a clear preference for one side of the slash over the other, but it does lead to some disconnect in certain online spaces where cishet experiences are more prominent (wax poetic about a Daddy Dom all you want, but I’m not going to be his little girl; you just might get the attention of a little boy, though). I went into the D/s under the neutral section a bit more than others. It’s possible to be ‘in charge’ of another submissive when dealing with some of the objectification and animal related areas (two animals can play together, f’ex), but typically, I’ve primarily heard of those who are Human in the scenario being the Dominant. It may not overlap with a slice of gender, but I also do have times where I want to facilitate that kind of play for a submissive and remain the Human in the scene.

Cool Story, Why Share?

There’s a reason why I tend to go with broader labels to describe my understanding of my gender to other people (nonbinary + genderqueer, some genderfluidity involved, they/their pronouns). Quite frankly, if I were to try to divulge all the little details and how they might potentially relate to being drawn more to top/bottom or Dominant/submissive for a particular kink and/or scene, it might just turn into a clusterfuck not even I would understand. I currently call myself switchy because I’m not sure I can definitely, 100% come down on one side of the slash over another in all scenarios. I can see myself flexing certain tendencies in a dynamic with someone where we work together without my switchiness, but I wrote “Gender Play” precisely because I’m not always the same me and/or certain scenes could bring out different aspects of myself to play in a manner of speaking.

Sometimes I like being the butch in the archetypal butch/femme pairing, and I may or may not want temporary he/him or masculine address. Sometimes the idea of being the Monster to someone’s Monsterfucker is intriguing, and I want to try on a different pronoun set to more clearly delineate the finite acting / roleplay quality. Sometimes I still find myself drawn to being a Caregiver, but I can’t always settle on just being a Mommy or Daddy, like overextending a muscle in a certain direction. This isn’t to say someone has to be a certain gender to engage in certain kinks or roleplay, but when I try to imagine different scenes depending on how the gender flows, some kinks have a quality of being flavored differently by my shifting gender. F’ex, I don’t mind the idea of being someone’s nb little, and I’m sometimes a bit surprised I can tolerate the idea of being someone’s little boy, but I don’t have an interest in being a little girl.

I’m aware that one play partner more than likely will not be compatible with the entirety of my interests and fluidity, and it will more than likely be easier to indulge in certain play with a separate partner. It’s not like everyone is some degree of switchy and feels comfortable taking on temporary top/bottom roles to indulge a partner, and there are the usual incompatibilities in kinks to keep in mind. However, I don’t particularly want a long-term partner to skip over part of me simply because it’s easier for them. For example, I may never do a Human/tool or non-sexual objectification scene with this person, but we’re going to be on different wavelengths if they can’t accept neutral expression of they/their pronouns.

Messy Family Ties

Sometimes it’s interesting to watch shows like Who Do You Think You Are? and Finding Your Roots (PBS version), but sometimes the strong selling of ancestry kits via DNA testing makes tracing ancestry get a bit wonky and messy. (I can’t speak to how racial enslavement destroyed the historical record of my ancestors or how PoC were ethnically described in different ways due to the historical time period, but this contributes to being able to trace family being a privilege that not all people experience. My ancestors assimilated, so my Irish, German, Scottish, etc. roots were gradually replaced with acceptably white American stuff.)

The messiness I’ve more run into is that I found out my maternal grandmother’s father was adopted (toxic ancestor J, so I don’t exactly have people who want to talk about him and whether this was official with paperwork or not). I’ve been raised with certain cultural snippets and attempts at grasping at heritage, even if it’s Americanized stuff like corned beef and cabbage on St. Patrick’s Day. My bio dead have encouraged trying to settle a little more securely into the area of cultural nodding, but I haven’t been able to bring myself to seriously consider one of those DNA kits (so many holiday specials, guys).

On the one hand, it would be interesting to see where my genetic roots can be traced and I’m a sucker for the history behind immigration (I’ve always been told the Irish side of the family came here because of the Great Famine), but on the other hand, it’s a little weird to think about how because of genetics I might not have the roots I’ve always been told. Granted, some of my ancestors are a little perplexed by this DNA nonsense because family doesn’t have to be blood, but worrying doesn’t always play by logic’s rules.

My ancestors’ responses: You’re very Nervous & Anxious, you know that? You can’t lose your family’s names like that. Eat some food, look into some history, consider a language. Some of us weren’t exactly shy about spreading our culture in Ye Olde Days. So your little microscopic genetic bits don’t explicitly tie you to a place and people, so what? You’re not being asked to be an expert, Little Foundling, just take a seat at the table and mind your manners.

Thoughts on Humanization

[Cross-post (Humanization) written in response to “Objectification”, which touched on how dehumanizing already takes place in certain ways for me. Because of that, there are times when I need to be Humanized instead of objectified. I’m certainly not the first person to realize or write about this, but given that I have another post that touches on Monstering gender, I thought it’d be helpful to balance out that image.]

As a nonbinary trans person, who includes genderqueer among longer descriptions with more specific labels, I’m not unfamiliar with how some people like to Monster their gender and reclaim monstrosity (on other online places, I’ve definitely fallen into this category myself). Sometimes it is about how a person wants to present and interact with others, but other times it’s a humorous way to blow off steam in an online community, such as the cryptid stuff in the past year or so.

Ex. More Americans claim to have seen a ghost than have met a transgender person – The statistic comes from comparing a 2009 Pew Research Center survey on supernatural experiences, which found that 18 percent of Americans claim to have seen a ghost, and a 2015 GLAAD study on transgender visibility that found only 16 percent of Americans say they know someone who identifies as trans.

However, this isn’t a B-side horror/sci-fi movie, and I am not a literal monster, alien, mutant, cryptid, werewolf, etc. I have a human meatsuit, and I have to try to navigate this human body through a society that doesn’t particularly like, accommodate, or acknowledge that I exist at times. I touched on dehumanization and objectification in “Objectification” and how sexual objectification isn’t an absolute hard limit but is something I’m wary of (non-sexual varieties have less personal hang-ups). I mentioned Humanizing aftercare when I touched on possibly having issues with being able to do long-term objectification of a submissive (there’s a learning curve for everything), but I didn’t really get into what that might look like.

I’m not really trying to create a new term for others to use, but I can’t rule out that it may be effective for me to be able to point to this when trying to explain something else. For most people, it’s probably just part of aftercare, and that’s okay. Because my post on objectification included scenes (finite time limits) as being a way to work around some of my discomfort with long-term objectification, musings below may not be applicable for dynamic level scenarios.

As a submissive, the basic frame is for my partner to see and hear me with non-sexual touch (my humanity doesn’t lie in whether I’m fuckable at the moment). Some of the specifics vary on whether I ran into non-consensual external objectification (aftercare from life, in a manner of speaking ) or I need to readjust after a scene, so these aren’t blanket statements that will always apply.

— Re:Fat. A hug will probably feel appropriate because my partner has to wrap zir arms around me. Remove blame from my body – “My body is doing its best.” Connect to humanity in the terms of ancestors, lineage, species – “Your body has been finely tailored to survive a famine. Evolution doesn’t care about bikini season.” Example situation: An exercise routine has been added with Dominant providing accountability (mindset and approach are more positive because I’m bringing a sub perspective), but a stranger says something fatphobic, “I am not exercising for their approval.” “Why are you choosing to exercise?” “I want to increase my flexibility / endurance / whatever.” The emphasis on choice and restating the desired goal separates what is being done from a compulsion in this example.

— Re:Queer. Example situation: A date with some sort of discrete sex toy goes sideways after disgust or disapproval after a public display of affection. Use my name while checking in to see if I’m alright. There’s an over 90% chance I’ll want to continue the date out of spite, but the sex toy may no longer be alright / comfortable. Depending on the location and the region, continuing PDA or offering reassuring touch may need to wait until we’re in private. Depending on the specifics of the situation and what exactly we agreed to do on the date, I may or may not want to continue with discrete titles, deference, or asking permission to do something.

— Re:Trans. Because part of being misread and misgendered has to do with pronouns, this is an area where I can see reading a third person structured statement in order to use indicated pronouns, in addition to I/you dialogue. You know, no titles, use indicated name, reassuring touch of some sort that grounds into the body without kicking up dysphoria. Depending on which closets a trans person is out of and how often they experience misgendering, I can see statements being made up ahead of time, so the partner doesn’t have to solely ad lib on the spot.

As a Dominant, I’m not entirely sure I can give such concrete examples as above because it will depend on my submissive, what influences their approach to objectification, and what they find humanizing or appropriate aftercare. Working with the submissive frame of being seen and heard, I’d say the basic frame on the other side of the slash would be to listen, to see, and to be present and acknowledge my sub in the moment. In the event of me struggling with dynamic level objectification or the specific phrasing for a scene, I’d ask for a little patience and a warm-up (leading questions from the sub and enough practice to not feel like I’m stumbling).

Stone Butch Blues (Review)

Honestly, I had reblogged a post with a link to the free pdf version in Nov 2018 and promptly forgot about it while dealing with the tumblr policy update in Dec. The main body of the post has been copied below, and it pretty much sold me on giving this book a try.

Trigger Warning(s): Rape (Feinberg gives a warning before the story starts). Specifically, an incident of “corrective rape” from members of the football team in high school (Ch 4, pg 39 – 40) and allusions of rape from police officers after raids on bars against a variety of men and women (off-screen, in a sense) before and after the main character experiences it (Ch 5, pg 65 – 66).

This story has a complicated mix of oppression when it comes to Jess Goldberg and how she navigates coming of age in the 1960s and struggling to live through the ’70s and ’80s as a Jewish (read as white when it came to the civil rights movement and racism), butch lesbian who underwent some elements of transitioning to try to find more safety as a man, and who was working class and pro-union (in light of the not so distant striking of certain Amazon warehouses and that ridiculously large nation-wide US hiring event, it felt a bit surreal to read about not crossing picket lines and temp workers being used by the factories to try to do so). Admittedly, Jess wasn’t always the best partner to her sex worker girlfriend, Milli, but the acceptance, interactions with other working girls, lessons, and reality shown of the overall sex worker inclusive stance is worth a mention (after finding a sex worker’s review after Feinberg’s passing here). I chose “complicated” to describe the mix of social movements and pre-current social efforts precisely for the melding of different but interconnected political activism. It is not a history book, but it can’t be divorced from its historical context.

There were parts where it was like someone had scraped out hidden bits of rot from my heart, and I – the person who has undergone surgery to remove a sty in the past and had other not-crying-enough stys – I cried. Ugly, ‘why don’t you just @ me next time’, cathartic tears on more than one occasion. I obviously haven’t lived most of Jess’ life, and even moments where I’ve merely had the fear and threat hanging over my head isn’t quite the same as living some of these experiences. The fragility of moments where your heart hurts, but you can’t cry (the forced feminization at Old Butch Ro’s funeral, Annie’s homophobia tinting a stealth encounter with danger, the self-isolation and loneliness while trying to pass, trying so hard to avoid the ER and the hospital in general because it wasn’t safe). Hot, angry tears (institutionalization, all of the police brutality, the casual cruelty of civilians).  The not so clearcut relationship to women’s lib that comes out with Theresa and later trying to access reproductive health resources (the issue with getting help for a vaginal infection at that women’s clinic). The rediscovery of hope and living (Ruth is introduced in Ch 22, and this really stands out in that chapter’s rediscovery of feeding the senses). You can’t pin survival and being saved on one person, but damn, if you don’t hope for things to be better in the last chapters with Ruth.

Final Decision: E – Exceeds Expectations

fromacomrade:

here you can get a free PDF or an at-cost physical copy of Leslie Feinberg’s semi-autobiographical Stone Butch Blues, a seminal work of lesbian and trans fiction which is a must-read not just for communist queers but honestly for everyone ever

Stone Butch Blues, Leslie Feinberg’s 1993 first novel, is widely considered in and outside the U.S. to be a groundbreaking work about the complexities of gender. Feinberg was the first theorist to advance a Marxist concept of “transgender liberation.” Sold by the hundreds of thousands of copies and also passed from hand-to-hand inside prisons, Stone Butch Blues has been translated into Chinese, Dutch, German, Italian, Slovenian, Turkish, and Hebrew (with hir earnings from that edition going to ASWAT Palestinian Gay Women). The novel was winner of the 1994 American Library Association Stonewall Book Award and a 1994 Lambda Literary Award.

Feinberg commented on Stone Butch Blues in hir Author’s Note to the 2003 edition:

“Like my own life, this novel defies easy classification. If you found Stone Butch Blues in a bookstore or library, what category was it in? Lesbian fiction? Gender studies? Like the germinal novel The Well of Loneliness by Radclyffe/John Hall, this book is a lesbian novel and a transgender novel—making ‘trans’ genre a verb, as well as an adjective…

“People who have lived very different lives have generously related to me the similarities they recognized in these pages with their own struggles—the taste of bile; the inferno of rage—transsexual men and women, heterosexual cross-dressers and bearded females, intersexual and androgynous people, bi-gender and tri-gender individuals, and many other exquisitely defined and expressed identities.”

Brocean

Back in Feb 2017, I found myself in upg waters that I was very sure would be shredded for the historical inaccuracy and Weirdness of it if I were to share it publicly. Yes, I’ve shared some out there upg before and admitted when it was no longer relevant, but some people get a bit touchy and protective of Deities. Not to mention the Hellenic bit and accusations of hubris, and it was less risky to wait and see if this was another case of miscommunication before sharing anything.

From my notes:

Njord / Poseidon. From what I can tell, there was some sort of inter-pantheon Agreement […]. I think it might be a case of conflicting truths from more than one version of events simultaneously happening, so I’m not quite sure about the why or how it benefits both pantheons.

Like I said, I am very aware that this is not exactly typical upg. I can’t really point to any historical, lore, or cultural overlap justification, and I am not saying that these Faces are somehow better than more traditional and well-known Faces. This isn’t erasing or writing over Their respective mythologies about spouses, consorts, lovers, and the like. Quite frankly, I don’t expect this to really catch on or be seen by anyone other the handful of blog readers here.

I expect there will be people who don’t agree with this on the basis of inter-pantheon relationships, the fandom like quality of ‘shipping’ Deities, and the projection of human gender and sexuality on Deities. You know, those are fair points and there’s nothing wrong with questioning this. Personally, it turned out to be a way of interacting with Poseidon outside of Hellenismos without outright doing a Norse-Hellenic mashup.

Thoughts on Objectification

[A cross-post (Switchy SCC Writing: Objectification). I can’t really predict if there’s going to be interaction with that post on tumblr or what kind, but this provides the context for what I wrote about Humanization, so I figured it’d just wind up being less confusing to share here.]

I must admit that I gave up on scrolling through the entirety of the uncaptioned images with prompts for @sccwriting’s prompt history, so I’m not sure if there’s a prompt number for this or not.

Sexual objectification or objectification kink can be defined as the act of treating a person as an instrument of sexual pleasure, and/or broadly implies treating a person as a commodity or an object. The inclusion of negotiation and consent makes it different from the common vanilla definition of the above often without regard to others personal dignity or emotional experiences. In my experience, most people don’t outright talk about objectification, but they do talk about different types of play that fall under this broad category.

Most often the focus is on the use or attributes which defines the object.  Common types include:

 Role: bimbo/himbo, personal slut, sex slave

 Toys & Parts: fuck doll, live dildo, T&A, etc

 Degradation: party favor, house slut, performer/entertainment

The most often expressed benefits include a clear sense of role & purpose (utilitarian); the feeling of being removed of guilt or shame; and a lighter conscious knowing that matters of safety and care are left to the one in control. Sexual objectification is often no different in other forms of objectification in that the submissive or bottom will often experience being “turned on by turning off” – shutting off the brain, silencing the chatter, and allowing themselves to go into a state of dissociation (sub-space) and just “enjoy the ride”. – Sexual Objectification Part I

Types of play include, but are not limited to: sex slave, human sex doll, removal of birth name (refer to self in third person; “This slave is Master’s property”), hood play, caging (placing in a literal cage, may not be part of animal play), pet play (common ex: pony, puppy, kitten), and human furniture (source, Furniture of the Flesh: Objectification Kink). Some people separate pet / animal play from objectification out of a sense that these types of play are more about animalization than sexual objectification (as someone with an interest in non-sexual pet play, I tend to separate most animal play from objectification), and some people also find overlapping areas of humiliation play or involve other kinks with the human furniture.

On a theoretical, cerebral level, I can understand objectification kink. Hell, depending on who you’re talking to, Master/slave and animal play count, so I’ve perhaps unintentionally participated. I can’t say I’ve never thought about it (there’s some overlap in bondage and human furniture), but the stumbling block for me is sexual objectification. I’ve most commonly experienced this on my tumblr dash with people talking about sex slaves, human sex dolls, and humiliating talk (whore, slut, cunt, etc.) that intrinsically link objectification with sex. Yes, you do you, and all that about personal dynamics, but I can’t ignore that this is how I’ve typically run into it and I have fluctuating feelings of being uncomfortable.

Broadly speaking, I already have issues with cultural and social level messages about objectification and dehumanization. Regardless of how people talk about being / having fat and critique obesity / BMI categories, my body has enough “extra” fat that I can’t ignore being reduced to a fat body (headless images accompanying ‘obesity epidemic’ news reports, ‘you should tolerate ___ because you’re lucky someone’s interested in you’, jokes about fat people crushing their sexual partners, ‘you should wait to do ____ until you lose ___ pounds’, etc.).

As a queer person, I have a tangled relationship to sexual objectification. Growing up, the first places I found same-sex sexual activity was in porn and the main source of same-sex attraction was fanfiction (whether we’re talking about fluff or lemons). I initially identified as a lesbian, but there was this insidious problem with existing as a queer person and even non-sexual activity being a sexual show for men (not to mention the ones who have this idea that they can cure wlw if they’ll just have sex with them). True, a fair number of us queer people need places and spaces to reclaim our sexuality and sexual expression, but I can’t ignore how heterosexual people, particularly the conservative Christian types, reduce me to solely being Evil, Sinful Sex.

Also of note: In the past, I’ve blogged about how I came to find being able to point towards a label – ace spectrum – to be helpful even though I’m not asexual per se because it’s a way to communicate that I, as individual, am not broken and sex with the ‘right’ person will not fix me. This isn’t an invitation to open up debate to whether ace spectrum truly exists or is part of the LGBTQIA+ community, btw. It’s just a little surprising and mystifying how trying to explain that my fluctuating and sporadic experience with sexual attraction, low libido, and fluctuating interest in sex draws out the “ALL humans are sexual” crowd. I didn’t suddenly turn into a Conquest for someone to proudly get me to have sex that would change me – not having the straightforward ‘spark’ of sexual attraction that allosexuals experience when meeting doesn’t mean I won’t or can’t have sex with someone. It also doesn’t mean I’m childish or not fully human (robotic).

Despite my internal sense of gender changing over my life, I can’t outrun my biological sex and how people objectify bodies AFAB or read as femme / women. I can experience that type of humiliating talk and being reduced to a sex doll by overhearing the wrong conversation between men, and at this point in my life, it doesn’t seem to be something I can reclaim agency or power over by experiencing in a controlled environment like a scene. I feel small, depending on the specifics I may even feel misgendered, and I wind up getting angry rather than getting turned on. As a trans person, I’m a bit wary of the dehumanization of objectification. Cis people often have a curiosity about trans bodies (especially genitalia), might only know about trans bodies via porn or sex work, and in the US at least, have levels of transphobia that make it hard for fantasy about objectification – f’ex, The Discrimination Administration and a desire to legally erase trans people.

My existence isn’t a theoretical game or a political debate, and being someone’s sexual experiment doesn’t necessarily mean they actually respect me as a person. While I think I’ve heard of one trans person who accepted ‘it’ as a pronoun (part of it had to do with being a native speaker of a language with more contextually happening than what English speakers use ‘it’ for), it’s not something I’ve ever run into in person. However, I have run into a person who thinks ‘it’ is what they should use for all trans people, and let me tell you, in a moment like that, I need as much humanization as possible. (The hypothetical it/itself person is generally not talked about precisely because they’re often hypothetical; almost all English trans 101 resources caution against ‘it’ as a pronoun because of its use to dehumanize trans people.)

Realistically, I can understand why someone might be interested in objectification, but I would have to really talk about it with a potential play partner and make sure we’re both starting (and remain) on the same page that we are both human. It’s possible that most of my concerns could be worked around with a lot of trust, situational awareness (not doing this play too close to external objectification instances), only trying non-sexual objectification, and restricting this to a scene with a finite time limit. I might be willing to try it once with a very trusted nb or femme Dominant, but I’m honestly not sure if I can make any commitments towards this type of play with a man right now (higher trust bar). I can see myself being more willing to accommodate a submissive interested in this, but regardless of which side of the D/s it would be, I can’t see myself extending this outside of a scene very well initially. It is possible that a submissive would have their own reasons for not wanting objectification outside of a scene, but personally, I can’t rule out that I – even as a D – would need Humanizing aftercare.

Not Simple Transitioning

Why write this?

A cis person at a party: So, if you’re trans, are you going to transition?

Me, put on the spot while trying to enjoy myself: Uh . . . What?

Me, over two years later in this vagueblogging post: Transitioning is not as simple and easy as the media would like to portray it as, and this individualized path is made more complicated by financial, medical, and other access barriers. Surgical status and whether someone is pre/non-op should not be used as a way to invalidate someone’s identity, and barring interaction with my body or sex where it would be necessary to know, I should not have to tell you about an aspect of my body or potential medical care in order to be Trans Enough.

It also gets complicated because most cis people asking questions about transitioning have something in particular in mind (usually surgeries), and transitioning can cover more than that (broadly split into medical (surgeries and HRT) and non-medical (social and legal / paperwork) below. It might be surprising for some people, but it is possible to not want any of the medical options while wanting the social stuff.

Medical: Surgeries

“The Surgery” isn’t truly singular, and even simplifying it into “top surgery” and “bottom surgery” isn’t entirely accurate. My goal isn’t to provide a complete intro to all the surgery options, but Trans Masculine Surgery Options and Trans Feminine Surgery Options provide a good overview. For example, in trans masc / FtM people, “bottom surgery” can actually be made up of hysterectomy and/or oophorectomy, metoidoplasty, scrotoplasty, uretheroplasty, vaginectomy, and phalloplasty.

It depends on what the person wants (it’s not all-or-nothing), what their insurance covers or they can afford out-of-pocket, prerequisite steps, which surgeries can be done together, and the pro v con evaluation of a specific surgery. Add in needing to travel (unless you live near certain larger cities), recuperation time and assistance (something I’ve heard people really remind those wanting a bilateral mastectomy), barriers to access (some surgeons still prefer mental health consultations and a letter of recommendation over informed consent), and medical incompatibilities (some people are unable to have or qualify for surgeries due to separate medical issues), and it’s no wonder that the collective surgeries are personally complicated.

Personally, I’m in this limbo of possibly getting state-sponsored health insurance, and I would much rather tackle being able to go to a general practitioner for the first time in almost six years. You can get your blood pressure taken for free at a blood drive, but it’s kinda not the same, you know? I’ve tended to lean more towards non-surgical options because any surgeries I would like are too ‘castle in the sky’ right now. {This is not to downplay how other trans people need surgeries, but because I have other viable methods as of this writing, I do not personally consider any particular surgery a need.}

Medical: Hormone Replacement Therapy (HRT)

Me, morphing into a gremlin after midnight: *hisses at hormones*

Like, don’t get me wrong, HRT is absolutely necessary for some people and some medical providers are more willing to do the informed consent approach rather than requiring mental health assessments (letters). I just have such a love-hate relationship with thinking about HRT because I flat out do not want some of the effects, and there’s not really a way to guarantee selective changes in Puberty 2.0. It’s not like anyone gets a choice in Puberty 1.0 either, but I have to consider if the changes I want outweigh the changes I don’t want.

The route of FtM or MtF that gets talked about a lot doesn’t automatically match what nonbinary trans people want or even what all binary trans people want (Approach to Genderqueer, Gender Non-Conforming, or Nonbinary People). Non-Binary Transition Workshop is a Youtube playlist, which has videos that cover introductory explaining, what all is part of transitioning, and how nonbinary people might want to approach it. Back on the topic of hormones, it’s not even a matter of not liking needles or anything (there are delivery methods other than injection). Personally, I think I have to try non-hormonal options so the little inner gremlin will accept that I did consider alternatives before rushing to HRT.

Non-Medical

Ah, social transitioning and paperwork (see “Legal Sex/Gender” or Part 3 of that Youtube playlist). AFAIK, state requirements for updating legal sex/gender are shifting away from requiring certain surgeries, but there still can be that pesky mental health assessment bit. Sometimes, the whole matter of presentation (clothing, accessories, hair, etc.), going by a new name, and using new pronouns can appear simpler than the components of medical transitioning, but sometimes, it doesn’t feel easier.

Jump through the hoops, sell your soul figure out the money, get all the paperwork in order, and you can get a surgery (generally, a one and done sort of deal). Jump through the hoops for HRT and prepare yourself for years of lab work and checking hormone levels, acquiring the HRT method on schedule, and possibly self-administering. (Some people don’t want to spend the rest of their life on HRT, but even just wanting the full effects of your dosage can take a few years.) Constantly introduce yourself, remind people of your pronouns, correct assumptions, and figure out just how much energy it will take to perform enough to not get misgendered. *sighs*

Butch

Due to how I rearranged my posting schedule here, I’ve technically not yet posted my review of Stone Butch Blues (it’s scheduled for later in Feb). I had kept a few personal notes in a separate draft that I thought might clutter up the #reviews and opinions post, but then – surprise, surprise – the personal bit got too personal, so I focused on other drafts.

Personal History

I didn’t experience bullying or physical attacks where ‘butch’ or any related words used to refer to masc lesbians were involved while growing up. I’m pretty relieved that I haven’t experienced the rape that Jess does in the story [1]. My experiences growing up over 30 years after the setting of Stone Butch Blues that included living in a rural area in my teens are obviously different (my classmates worked on their family farms, in 4-H, in FFA, hunted, and wore enough camo that I didn’t stand out as different).

And yet, I can’t say I was sheltered from ‘butch’ and related words. My grandmother was the first person I remember using ‘dyke’ to refer to me in a warning about others potentially using it if I wore a certain ‘masculine’ outfit with such short hair. (My mother chalked it up to generational differences, and sometimes, I had to agree. I wasn’t forced to wear dresses or skirts as an automatic part of being properly dressed for school regardless of uniforms, which Mom did experience, and plenty of girls in my generation wear pants that wearing jeans isn’t a masc thing.)

I still remember the ass on campus who ‘joked’ about how his cock could fix butch lesbians, and at the time, I was the only butch lesbian within earshot, so it definitely raised my personal awareness of potential danger from rape. {Did he specifically and directly threaten me, personally? No, but rape jokes aren’t funny when only a year or two later there would actually be someone attacking women on campus. Joking about any sort of sexual assault on a college campus isn’t exactly funny.}

I also remember how comfortable it was to wear my grandfather’s hand-me-down work clothes – 70s era jeans, in particular – while working in the E Shop. I also used to wear his long-sleeved overshirt – where he worked on one patch, his name on the other – when it wasn’t too hot, but an oversized men’s t-shirt that didn’t rid up in the back, wasn’t sheer, and allowed for full arm movement was a staple. (Some of these clothes also survived my time in the Paint Shop, so they definitely looked lived in.) Work boots. My carabiner with my keys (in addition to my shop key, my dorm was old enough that I needed a general dorm key and a room key). Multitool (with knife). Working as a techie was hell on my body in a physical sense, but how I dressed felt right.

Stone

While I had tangentially read about stone butches when trying to figure out how to Google the questions I had about butches when I was younger, I didn’t really connect stone to what I was trying to figure out. I didn’t really think about it until I stumbled upon Xan West’s WP, specifically What Is Stone?:

I am interested in talking about stone in a way that does not assume it is attached to specific gender identities. I think stone identity can be useful for and accessible to a wider range of folks if we stop assuming that it is tied inextricably to specific genders. I want folks to be able to access the idea that they might be stone, because I think it can be a really helpful framework.

I might find it easier to connect stone with butchness, but I think that poking at this long enough turns up a connection with stone and other genders. I can pull out quick tidbits that jump out from West’s post, but honestly, prodding around at to what extent stone helps to explain some aspects of myself is big enough that it might deserve its own post for thorough chewing:

[…]

B. Limits on touch/penetration/nakedness

C. Being a sexual top

[…]

F. Sexual orientation – pleasure is centered on another

In the process of trying to Google something about Stone Butch Blues, I wound up finding a post by Coyote at The Ace Theist where the book is mentioned – Tapping at “Stone”: me & a stone (a)sexuality:

“With that said, conceptualizing a simultaneous stone & ace identity becomes easier when you remember some of the specific subgroups that exist within that diversity of experiences I mentioned, including:

This isn’t to say that ace = stone, and there’s a fair bit about the ace specific complications around focusing on pleasing a partner because it’s not uncommonly suggested that an ace person should compromise and have sex with their partner. However, there are areas where the differences get a bit gray and hazy if you will.

[…] the help of the wayback machine can confirm two interesting details here: 1) “placiosexual” was defined according to the person running that blog as “when one feels little to no desire to receive sexual acts but expresses interest/desire in performing them on someone else” and also that 2) they described placiosexuality as “within the asexual community.”

It’s hard to look at that definition and not see an echo of stone. […] I think a lot of stone folks would object to being considered ace, and that’s fine by me. But the existence of multiple people who use the “placiosexual” label and consider it to be ace-related suggests to me an existing tendency to read asexuality and stonelike tendencies as not just compatible, but naturally related and in coalition with each other.

I’ve explained in older posts about how I came to gray-asexuality, and I’ve found it easier to call myself ace when trying to explain certain situations and reactions (even in recent posts), but I can’t help but to think that this isn’t quite clear cut as that. My gut says that I’ve been using ace as a relatively more well-known shorthand for what might actually be more of a stone experience, but I think I need to let things percolate and prod some more.

[1] When I tried to go looking for a list of pages or chapters to avoid while writing up the review, I found other thoughts on the book or general warnings, so I made a point of trying to include what I could remember and easily refind (tracking all of the allusions would be a longer list).

Trigger Warning(s): Rape (Feinberg gives a warning before the story starts). Specifically, an incident of “corrective rape” from members of the football team in high school (Ch 4, pg 39 – 40) and allusions of rape from police officers after raids on bars against a variety of men and women (off-screen, in a sense) before and after the main character experiences it (Ch 5, pg 65 – 66).

Dark Moon Rising (Review)

Dark Moon Rising: Pagan BDSM & The Ordeal Path by Raven Kaldera (2006) [$5 pdf / ~$20 Amazon with New – Used variation]

Blurb: Throughout history, from the Hindu Kavadi ceremony to the Lakota Sun Dance, the Ordeal Path has been an honored spiritual road to the magic of the flesh, and to touching the Gods. Today many Pagans are discovering this path, by accident or by design. Simultaneously, many practitioners of secular BDSM are finding themselves having spiritual experiences in the middle of their most secular scenes. This book explores the crossover points between both these communities and practices, a cross-section which is growing steadily, baring controversial articles on topics as diverse as sacred pain, bondage, hook suspension, cathartic Pagan ritual, the spirituality of dominance and submission, and being the slave of the Gods. With contributions by noted authors and activists in both communities, and stunning photography by artist and Shibari-Do master Bridgett Harrington, Dark Moon Rising is an awe-inspiring gateway into the Realm of the Underworld…and back again.

I downloaded the $5 pdf sometime between 2012 and 2015. It survived my factory reset back in autumn of 2016, so I know I’ve had this book long enough I should’ve done a review earlier. If you use the link attached to the title above, you’ll be able to see a preview that includes the full table of contents, but I want to pull out just enough to get an idea for the organization of the book. I’ve also linked to online places where some of these articles, rites, prayers, etc. have been shared [more Articles and Rituals since I’m not listing the full table of contents].

Part I: Introduction and Definitions

The Ordeal Path: Introduction to Neo-Pagan BDSM [here]

Words Of Power: BDSM Definitions For Pagans [here]

Part II: Sacred Pain

Sacred Pain: S/M as Spiritual Connection

The Many Paths of Earthly Bondage: Bondage as a Tool Towards Spiritual Release by Bridgett Harrington

Sacred Toys, Holy Tools [here]

The Invisible Toybox: Incorporating Energy Work Into BDSM [here]

Part III: Journey to the Underworld

Journey to the Underworld: Ritual Catharsis

Staging Sacredness: The Practical Considerations of BDSM Ritual [here]

Master of the Underworld: Sex Magick from the Top Perspective [here]

The Way Of The Ordeal Master

Shadow Play and Monster Work [here]

Chaining Fenris: A Ritual for the Inner Beast [here]

Part IV: The Path of Service and Mastery

The Path of Service and Mastery: Spiritual Dominance and Submission [here]

Sacred Masks: BDSM Archetypes [here]

Dedication to Sacred Service [here]

Dedication to Sacred Mastery [here]

Oath of Service [here]

Part V: Guardians of the Castle

Guardians of the Gate: Patron Deities

Part VI: This LeatherPagan Tribe

Conclusion: The LeatherPagan Tribe

That Fenrir ritual was the inspiration for my Gleipnir’s Ingredients posts, in case anyone thought that sounded familiar. After some time in online BDSM spaces, I must admit that some of the introductory parts were already incorporated into my knowledge base, but I found the variety of ideas and perspectives at least interesting if not directly applicable to some component of my life and path. (Previously a godslave dynamic with Sigyn, but recently, I’ve been rethinking how this can factor into playing with humans.)

Kaldera does have definite Norse influences, but there’s inter-pantheon references throughout, rituals in Part III, and articles for other Deities in Part V that can provide inspiration even if those Deities aren’t your People (ex. Aphrodite, Baphomet, Babalon, Herne, Ianna, Lilith). The only personal drawback I found to the dedications in Part IV came from my limited inter-pantheon clearance, but that’ll be a personalized issue. As someone who’s already been interested in kink and Paganism separately, and as someone who’s returned to this book repeatedly throughout the years to brush up on ideas, I’d give this my highest mark (based on the O.W.L. system).

Final Decision: O – Outstanding