• Tag Archives queer
  • Fear Of Writing

    Writer: n. Someone living in a constant state of wtf by choice. ~Eric Andrew Satchwill

    Lately, I’ve been reading Page Fright: Foibles and Fetishes of Famous Writers by Harry Bruce. At one point, he quotes a number of authors talking about the abject terror they feel when they sit down to write, and it got me thinking about my own attitude towards writing.

    I don’t approach writing with fear so much as complete and utter bewilderment. I’m far too stubborn to not be writing, and compared with the fear involved in shifting one’s identity as I have, the fear of a blank page is laughable. Even so, when I stop and think about what it is I’m doing as I writer, I can’t help but be overwhelmed by the sheer audacity of it.

    You see, I’m not just putting down words, I’m creating worlds. I’m picking up human failings and fleshing them out into living, breathing people, and I’m putting them in some of the most absurd situations I can imagine. I take these situations and play them out to their logical conclusions until I suddenly find myself to be the custodian of several worlds, numerous diverse people, and the engineer of no less than three wars between them.

    And I had thought that all I would be doing was following one character through an ordinary day in his life.

    It’s not only the large scale, ‘I wasn’t planning on starting another war but apparently I am’ realizations that so thoroughly bemuse me while writing, it’s the details. It’s realizing that while the situation makes perfect sense based on the chain of events and the worldbuilding, the fact that I have a gay daemon and his lesbian slave trying to find a misplaced closet is completely and utterly ridiculous. It’s these sorts of things that make me stop, blink for several seconds, then burst out laughing. I can’t quite explain how it happened, but it did, and it works.

    And you know what? I love every absurd, bewildering, and downright ridiculous moment of it. I love knowing that I am tackling something that no sane person would try and that without me, none of these situations could play out quite the way they have. This is who I am. This is my calling.

    Whether I chose this vocation or it chose me, I am a writer and I am not afraid.


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  • Grab-Bag Week

    This has really just been One Of Those Weeks so rather than posting on a single topic, I’m giving you all a whole bunch of topics. Aren’t you lucky? And now, in no particular order:

    Standing Up For Yourself

    I haven’t always had the greatest track record in this area. Most days I’d rather let something slide than risk conflict or risk losing/not getting a service I need. This time however, I realized I needed to take a stand.

    Those of you on Twitter may have noticed me mention ‘awkward questions about my genitals’. Without going into too much detail, during the interview for an unrelated psych evaluation, the psychologist got overly curious about my trans history, to the point that I felt uncomfortable. I decided I needed to let him know how I felt about it, so I wrote him a letter. I kept it calm and reasonable, using ‘I feel’ language rather than accusatory, even if part of me wanted to call him an insensitive idiot, and other invectives along those lines. I also included some of the ‘what is trans*’ resources I received at the gender clinic, because I think it’s important to educate where I can, whatever the topic.

    And you know what? I think it worked. I got a call from him thanking me for the feedback and the articles, and apologizing for putting me in that position. Does that make what he did all right? No. Did his apology wipe the slate clean and repair my trust? No. But now he knows and can do better next time, and I have closure and have taken away his ability to hurt me. (This, by the way, is what forgiveness is really about. Letting go of the hurt someone else has caused, not ignoring the hurt and letting them hurt you again.)

    All The Fun Jobs Require A Degree

    Brain-mush and inappropriate questions aside, I actually enjoy psych evaluations. I love seeing what’s going on in my brain (and I kind of feel like it’s a licence to show off.) So I asked one of the ladies administering the tests how I could get a job doing that, and the answer was pretty much: “You need a degree.” This is pretty much true for everything I would like to do. Librarian? Need a degree. Minister? Need a degree. Even Graphic Designer; for anything in-house you’re better off with a degree. All of this pretty much leaves me with the question of how do I afford going back to school? Because one way or another, I’ll be going back.

    AndroGel Is Not A Good Long-Term Substitute For Delatestryl

    This may not be true for everyone of course, but for me it’s no contest. Delatestryl is an injection every two weeks that is effective, inexpensive, and covered under my insurance. AndroGel is a daily topical gel that is ineffective for me, can be transferred to others if I’m not careful, is expensive, and is, of course, not covered by my insurance. Granted, it might be more effective at full dose, but since I can’t really afford the starting dose as it is? Yeah. Unfortunately, I have very few options right now, since Delatestryl and all other injectable testosterone compounds are currently unavailable in Canada due to manufacturer shortage.

    In Spite Of It All, I’m On The Right Path

    One thing I have gotten out of this is yet another confirmation that I am headed in the right direction for me. Yesterday, even after all the awkward questions, my first genuine smile of the day was when I talked about my experience guest preaching at my church. Remembering how it felt to look at the text, to find the message in it, and to share it with others… it was amazing. Just the memory of that connection cut through all the crap of that day and reminded me of the most important thing: this is what I’m meant to do. This is my path. As crazy as it sounds, this queer trans boy is going to be a Christian minister. And I feel good about it.

  • I Got Her Pregnant, Now What?

    That title is probably going to confuse a lot of people, so to clarify: no, I’m not anybody’s baby-daddy, and I myself am not pregnant, either.

    No, I’m talking about getting my character pregnant, which is horrifying enough as it is.

    For some reason, I’m very uncomfortable with the idea of making my female characters pregnant. (Same with my male characters, though for slightly different reasons.) I don’t like the idea of turning the women in my stories into brood mares. It makes me feel like the rich, complex person I’ve created is suddenly made redundant, as though every other purpose she could have is overshadowed by her ability to make babies.

    This is probably me having a reaction to society at large, and more than likely my feminist streak showing.

    I know that ignoring pregnancy and the possibility of pregnancy leaves out a huge aspect of the human experience. I know that for some women it’s a blessing, while for other women it’s a curse. I know that some women will never know that joy, and that some are just as happy without it.

    What I don’t know, exactly, is how to deal with the issue without belittling the idea of motherhood while at the same time not making that the character’s single most important characteristic, or doing it just for the sake of a plot point. So of course, I get one of my characters pregnant. And it worries me.

    That I feel comfortable making a plot point out of just about any other issue but this one puzzles and intrigues me. Do I not want to deal with is because I’m a guy, or because I’m a guy who, under the right circumstances, could become pregnant? Is it just that I feel weird writing a birthing when I’ve never given birth and the most vivid description I have is my Girl Guide leader saying it’s “like pooping a pineapple?”

    Do I even have a point to this post aside from highlighting my discomfort with this issue?

    Please, weigh in, and while I don’t usually like doing these things by gender, ladies especially, let me know what you think. I’m sure you have a perspective here that I can’t grasp just yet.

  • When You Know More Than Your Doctor

    “So you’re doing hormone therapy, testosterone. How long will that be going on for, a few months, years…?”

    “No, it’s pretty much a life-long thing.”

    For anyone who has never experienced this, it’s pretty disconcerting to realize that you know more about your medical treatment than your own doctor does. Maybe it’s all the research I’ve done, but I find it incredible that anyone, let alone a medical professional, would think that hormone replacement therapy on this level would be a short round of treatment and then you’re good to go after that.

    I want to say, though I honestly didn’t think about it until much later, “Did your body produce oestrogen for the first few months of puberty and then stop? No. This is the same thing.”

    But of course she doesn’t know. She’s a GP, and the treatment of trans patients is well outside of her expertise. However, I don’t really want to be bouncing around getting my prescriptions from multiple doctors. I’d feel a lot more comfortable having one person handling the majority of my physical health care, so I take it upon myself to educate her.

    I tell her that though I still have a decent supply left on my current script that I got from the endocrinologist, when that’s done I’d rather get that refilled here rather than try to get in to see the specialist (will I need another referral? I don’t even know. That’s the sort of thing that confuses the hell out of me.) or try to catch my original prescribing doctor during his walk-in hours. I let her know, based on what the other two doctors were monitoring, what she should keep an eye on with regards to my blood tests. We also discuss what I may or may not need in terms of birth control (the information from the pharmacy includes the directive “don’t get pregnant”, but we agree that adding an hormonal contraceptive would be more messing around than either of us want to deal with.)

    Still, at the end of the day this is the sort of thing that puts the doctor-patient relationship into perspective. We’re all human. Nobody knows everything about anything, not even doctors.

  • AD/HD and Self-Education

    I’m a pretty out guy about most things. I’m out about being queer, I’m out about being trans, and I’m out about my writing and my bow tie addiction. One thing I’ve been conspicuously silent on is my AD/HD.

    Part of it is that despite having ‘known’ for most of my life and getting an official diagnosis in 2004, I really don’t know all that much about it. I have a basic understanding of how Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity Disorder affects my life, and I know that a low dose of Concerta helps mitigate my distractability without damaging my personality and creativity, but that’s about it. My coping mechanisms are hit and miss; I’m flying blind.

    With all the rest, I took the initiative to go searching for information about myself. I dove into transgender and transsexual research and gender theory to the point that I now know more about what’s happening to my body on T than my doctor does. I pore over every writer’s blog and piece of industry information I can find. I even looked up how to tie a bow tie. The point is, with each of these things I went out of my way to educated myself. AD/HD, I’ve mostly ignored.

    Ironically, one of the things I do know about my AD/HD is that self-education works better than trying to learn in a traditional school environment. When I’m truly passionate about a subject, I can happily spend hours doing research that would be pulling teeth otherwise. Maybe the problem is that I was accustomed to the idea that yes, I have AD/HD but we’re not supposed to do anything about it, but it’s taken me a long time to realise that I want to know more. I want to know what I’m dealing with so that I can actually, well, deal with it. It’s time for me to educate myself, help myself, and work towards the things that really matter to me.

  • Queer Boy Archival Revival: In The Beginning…

    Originally posted to Queer Boy Blogging on February 6, 2010

    Man, when I was young I shoved my ignorance in people’s faces. They beat me with sticks. By the time I was forty my blunt instrument had been honed to a fine cutting point for me. If you hide your ignorance, no one will hit you and you’ll never learn.

    ~Faber, Fahrenheit 451, Ray Bradbury

    When I decided that I wanted to write a blog, I knew that I wanted it to be a place where I could examine my views and ideas, a place where I could define and refine them.  I spent a while mulling this over, and the above quote kept coming back to me.  It absolutely describes what it is I intend to do here.  Right now, I am a young man.  I have thus far been doing myself a disservice by keeping myself on the sidelines of discussion, and never showing my ignorance.  How am I to learn if I don’t know what it is that I don’t know?  Also, by the magic of the internet, I can promote discussions to expand the minds of others in the same way.

    In particular, I want to take an uncommon stand on today’s issues, particularly those which impact myself and my community.  I want to examine the concept of privilege, rights and community activism. I want to understand what people are doing in these areas, why they are doing it, and if in the end it’s doing any good. I also want to understand and solidify my own views on these issues, how it effects both myself and my interactions, as well as what I need to work on in order to become a better person, and what will lead to actual positive effects. I want to see where sensitivity to a cause becomes over-sensitivity and reactionary behaviour.

    I want to try to take an outside perspective on a community that I am a part of.  This means equally the queer community, the trans community, and to a certain extent the art community, because art is one of the many ways we influence opinion.  I also want to look at community efforts on a larger scale and look at the fine line between a need for better protection and the sense of entitlement rampant in contemporary society.

    This is an open invitation to participate!  Learn, discuss, tell me where I’m wrong and why.  Hopefully, we will both learn from this experience.

    * * *

    Looking back at my first post at Queer Boy Blogging, it’s interesting to see how much of this is still true for me. I’m still dedicated to the idea of putting myself out there to see where I’m right, where I’m wrong, and where my ideas just need a little refinement. I would rather learn than to be right at any cost.

    What has changed is my focus, the specific areas I want to explore. Honestly, my interest in community activism has never been that consistent, though I still feel that education is the most important part of any issue. So I go where my interests take me, through worlds of writing, of art, through my own mind and all the comorbidities within. I’m still going to blather on about things I know very little about, but I’m doing it with a mind open to being challenged.