Mutual acceptance

File:Glassy embrace.jpgImagine everyone in straitjackets, all tight-laced up the back. I cannot loosen my own straitjacket at all, but I can loosen yours slightly- though it is very hard work, and I am so concerned with my own bonds that I do not want to address yours. If I loosen yours slightly, then you might loosen mine a bit, and eventually I might be able to loosen my own. I am aided to accept myself if others accept me. I can deal with non-acceptance from others, but that needs my own self-acceptance, and that in turn needs some acceptance from others.

I posted that on Facebook, and Z responded with a long warm message of how if others do not accept me it is their loss. I am grateful. How does acceptance by others interact with acceptance by self?

I journey into self-acceptance from a place where my instincts and spontaneous reactions were entirely wrong, probably inculcated in early childhood. When I transitioned, I was accepted, and treated warmly, in the Quaker meeting and the Citizens Advice Bureau where I worked, and random insults in the streets from strangers meant far more to me than that. The insult would affect me for days. I went back to the Scottish Country Dancing in South Manchester, and was a little late. I was putting on my dancing shoes when a man came in, and as he took off his coat he said hello. I smiled at him and he-

jumped.

He read me in that moment. I am certain of it. I do not think he was comfortable with a trans woman in the club. I never asked him about it, and nothing was ever said, but with fifty million years of evolution as a social animal, I trust my instincts on this.

It is normal for women to dance on the man’s side, there are usually more women than men, but in Cardiff the SCD class I attended had a number of poor dancers who insisted on dancing on the women’s side. So I danced on the man’s side until I got too upset with this, and burst into tears. My inner critic told me I was indulging in manipulative play-acting, and I was upset. I am not a man. I was welcomed there, accepted, I danced on the women’s side. One of the men- I noticed I was flirting with him, noticed my words and body-language, and was uncomfortable and embarrassed at my own reaction. I was frightened, I felt ridiculous, I feared being snubbed.

I am at least two beings, the one who cries and the one who reacts with contempt and fear at the crying, and the latter seems more under conscious control to me- I can consciously work out that I need to react with compassion to my own crying as I would react with compassion to someone else’s, it is behovely to do so, I can choose to do so. And if I do, if I accept my own anger, the anger grows less, like a child no longer clamours for attention once heard.

I am accepted by others. I want to pay that my full attention, to hear it, to take it in to myself. It aids me in my work of self-acceptance. I am not accepted by everyone. I am sensitive to that on a semi-conscious level, and it raises echoes in me.

Actually, now I am adult, I think none of those internal restraints are profitable. They hold down my emotional reactions, which get stronger to be heard; I do not feel and accept the emotions, so old emotion comes up and clouds my judgment.

And- I do not like all of myself. There is a thing I recognise in myself which disgusts me, and that is only one thing I am conscious of. There is more, still semi-conscious and denied.Jean_Jacques_Henner_-_Solitude.jpg

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“Sensei- Rei” comes the command. Already kneeling, we put our foreheads to the floor. This morning (Sunday 23rd) I felt moved to do that in the Quaker meeting.

On my mind was the thought of being two, and how this did not work for me. Terry pressed on me his copy of Self-Hypnosis for Cosmic Consciousness, a way of attaining mystical experiences which the author, Ronald A Havens, PhD., believes are accessible and beneficial to any human being, and not connected to any God. I thought how that more conscious I resisted, and how the more unconscious I prevailed: in transitioning to female, in my current Refusal.

I thought, “I must submit. It is the only way out of this impasse.” First I put my hands together in the prayer pose- GasshĂ´, Reiki practitioners call it- then felt moved to kneel, and finally to put my forehead on the floor. This is not my final surrender, and it is a step towards it.

“This is silly and self-indulgent” said Johanna my inner critic, and I thought, yes, and isn’t it Wonderful! And- what I loathe and detest in myself is my Submissiveness, and this is where my Submissiveness fits, and has value, and is Good, good for me and good generally. It would not have been possible but for that kneeling in the Dojo, and that kneeling is my habitual posture in my Ritual space. And I feel fear of that submission.

Driving home, Terry talked of severing the corpus callosum, and how the different hemispheres had different personalities. Well, yes. That is my favourite Materialist explanation of the Muse, or the Inspiration of the Spirit. So it could be two halves of my brain, in conflict. This puts me- conscious-I, I suppose- in fear and withdrawal. And yet I feel and think that Submission is my path.

Acceptance is submission.

Or, at least, I have opened negotiations with a characteristic of myself, that submissiveness, which I have found vile, in an attempt to find its value, respect it, and integrate it in a better-functioning self.

Twelve Coins

You have twelve gold coins, but one is a forgery. The forgery is lighter or heavier than the eleven true coins, but you do not know which. You have a pair of scales, in which you can weigh any combination of those coins against each other, but not against anything else. You can use the scales to weigh three combinations of coins. What combinations should you weigh, so that you will always be able to tell which is the forgery, and whether it is lighter or heavier than the others?

S told me that puzzle around 1990, and said she used it to get free drinks: in a week’s time she would buy the other a drink if he answered it, he would buy her one if he could not. I took four hours to work it out over two days, and it gave me intense joy. Leave a comment if you work it out.

There is a variant of Oware in which the second to move may always win, if she chooses the steps correctly. I have worked them out, and thought, it takes a special type of personality to enjoy that and be able to function in the world. Not now functioning, I think of that joy in pure intellectual puzzles. I am not using it for my advancement, but in Switzerland physicists have used the Large Electron Positron collider to work out what happened one billionth of a second after the Big Bang, and are now using the Large Hadron Collider to work out what happened in the second trillionth of a second. What is the use of that? Well, hospitals use particle accelerators to create unstable isotopes, which, ingested, produce positrons- antimatter- enabling the doctors to build up images of the brain as a diagnostic tool. This is called Positron Emission Tomography.

When S asks “what are the reasons why we should accept you as a woman?” Nicole says it is a matter of heart and soul, and indeed it is. (Read her post on Daniel, for goosebumps and tears.) And S, having worked through her anger at my barging into Women’s space, and found some liking for me, and still thinking, or feeling, that I am not really a woman, takes this intellectual, reasoning approach. I would rather she did, than surrender to anger. She may even, through reason, talk her own heart-response round.

I am glad to hear of her anger, because I did not feel anger from her, only withdrawal, and in that women’s space last year I felt apprehensive of anger. In January 2010 my ways of hardening myself to cope with the World finally broke down, and I am seeking all means to cope as my unprotected self.

I have played Solitaire obsessively, and this morning spent fifty minutes on one game, my 653rd, repeatedly making the moves and rewinding them to see what order the stack had to be distributed on the layout, and how to do that, to get it out- my 95th win. I found that satisfying, however empty I find my addiction to it normally. Whatever, it is worth spending time finding what delights me, and what, so like it, I falsely imagine delights me.

TEDx: Louie Schwartzberg on Gratitude, with some gorgeous images. Thanks to Jacqui.

Americanisms

I have been playing among the variations in our common language.

Fall/ Autumn is fascinating. Wikipedia says Fall was, originally, the English word in England, and “Autumn” superseded it. It is the time the leaves fall from the trees. “Autumn” is clearly related to the French “automne”, so our linguistic nationalism may be misdirected: we have abandoned our Anglo-Saxon heritage. But The Shorter Oxford English Dictionary (SOED) dates “Autumn” to late middle English, before 1500, and “fall” in this sense to the middle 16th century. So, perhaps, the US stuck with its linguistic nationalism, but the English reverted to our beautiful French word. Why should we not decorate our language with French? There is no shame in it, now, because we are no longer forced to.

Pavement/ Sidewalk. “Sidewalk”, the place where you walk down the side of the street, is etymologically more sensible. The “pavement” was that part of the street at the side paved with stone, or concrete, or tarmac, different from the middle of the street, which was bare mud for the carts. Now the whole road is “paved”. But our word preserves the link to the past, and no-one has difficulty understanding it.

Fortnight. 14 days, a useful word rarely used in the US. Like “Septante” in Français canadien rather than soixante-dix. We could learn from each other.

Elevator/ Lift. But, you know what a lift is- don’t you? More serious for failure of communication is the difference between the ground floor and the first floor, which may or may not be the same thing.

Butt, Ass/ Bum, Arse, the more embarrassing something is the more euphemisms and dysphemisms we create for it. Both butt and bum are late middle English- used here first; ass and arse are both Old English, before 1066. Being linguistically nationalist- oh, yes- I cling to “arse” and “bum” and would deride and object to someoneFile:Andrew Stevovich oil painting, Bus Stop, 2001, 24" x 24" .jpg here using the alternative. And “Fanny” is something else entirely, talking of a man’s fanny is just weird. But for this word, the Army Rumour Service might have a different name.

Durex- in the US, a roll of cellophane and adhesive, like Sellotape; in the UK, a brand of condom. Leave a comment if you knew that. Still, better to keep repeating it, to avoid embarrassment.

Bangs/ fringe. I heard the word “bangs” and had no idea what it meant. Fall/ Autumn everyone knows, “bangs” is a word which may fail to communicate meaning. That is a problem.

On the trains, I understand Americans go to “track 1” rather than “platform 1”. I would not want to wait for a train on the track, I might get run over.

Period/ full stop. This was one of the fifty most objectionable to the British, according to the BBC. Either might fail to communicate on the other side of the pond, but why “Objectionable”? Time magazine says Americans could not care less. Or could care less. Or something. Objectionable, because we feel weaker, and we wish to maintain our independence. Indeed. Some of the objectionable words seem to be neologisms rather than Americanisms- “the old is better”, people say. Er, why?

What is the best word? The word which communicates an idea most clearly and elegantly. It is probably better to avoid using an americanism if it will cause apoplexy in the hearer and divert the discussion to the proper manner of communicating rather than the idea expressed, or if it will be misunderstood- which is a shame, if it really is the most expressive word.

Second picture copyright Andrew Stevovich.

Electoral reform

My new voting system would divide Britain into fourteen regions, each with forty constituencies. Each constituency would elect one member of parliament, the one with the largest number of votes. Then all the votes of the region for each party would be added together, and ten additional seats in the Commons would be allocated, to make the proportion of members for each party in the region most closely resemble the proportion of votes. The candidates who got most votes would be given these additional seats.

An example. The Conservatives are strongest in rural constituencies, the Labour party in urban constituencies, and the Liberal vote is more evenly spread. Suppose the Conservatives with 35% of the vote came first in 18 constituencies, and the Labour party with 45% of the vote came first in 20, the Liberals with 17.5% of the vote came first in two, and the British National Party with 2.5% of the vote came first in none. Ten additional seats would make the membership of the Commons most closely resemble the proportion of voters for each party. The BNP with 2.5% get one MP, the one of their candidates who got most votes in her own constituency. The Liberals, with 17.5% of the vote, have 4% of the seats. They get seven of the additional members, to make up their proportion of members to their proportion of votes. The Conservatives have 35% of the vote, and 36% of the members. The Labour party have 45% of the vote, and 40% of the members. The Labour party get the other two additional members.

I chose forty constituencies and ten additional members simply to illustrate the system. Within this pattern, the number of constituencies and the number of additional members can be varied. Scotland would be one region, because of its national identity. Yorkshire has a strong regional identity. London, the vast urban sprawl, would be another.

The membership of the Commons would be proportionate to the votes of the country. Coalition government would be the norm, but then the Labour party is a coalition, with voters, members and MPs having widely differing views. There would be no tactical voting: a Labour voter in a strongly Tory constituency could know his vote would count. There would still be protest voting- a Conservative sick of his party but unwilling to vote Labour could vote Liberal.

That brings out the main difference from the Alternative Vote, on which we had a referendum last year. There, in a single member constituency a voter would list the candidates in order of preference. If one candidate got 50%  of the votes, she would be elected. If not, the candidate with the least votes would have his second preference votes allocated between the other candidates. This would be repeated until one candidate had more than 50% of the votes.

The AV system as proposed would strongly favour the Liberals, as Conservative or Labour voters are far more likely to give their second vote to the Liberals than to the other main party. It would not, necessarily, make the membership of the Commons more proportionate.

My system, (not entirely original) would preserve the link between member and constituency, but also allow a Labour voter in a Conservative constituency to have a Labour MP, and complain to that MP. Purely regional lists give too much power to central party organisations: here, local members would select their candidate, and the second-placed candidates with the most votes would be elected. Independents could still stand, but have a better chance of being elected if they formed party alliances with candidates in nearby constituencies.

My system also illustrates that a very important question in voting system design is, one vote or more than one? More than one favours centre parties, and would particularly punish the Conservatives in Scotland, where the ruling Scottish National Party is on the Left, and few second preference votes would be Conservative.

After the Referendum defeated AV, voting reform is not a current issue, but I have enjoyed thinking through implications and criticisms, and tweaks to address shortcomings; and a different writing challenge. My pictures illustrate my belief that no-one can rule without the acquiescence of the people (influenced by persons of influence) and that unless the people are broken-spirited and starving, that means the consent of the people. It is far less painful with democracy.

What criteria are most important in designing a voting system?

Authenticity

I do not “want to be a woman”. I want to be who I am, and not to hide that from others or myself.

All my accretions and pretenses and lies to myself and habits which get in the way of that are things I have taken up in order to Survive, and they are the things in the way of my flourishing now. On this blog and in my retreat from the World I am working out what that might mean. Possibly it is anatomical: the amygdala in conflict with the frontal lobe- and the idea of the Real Me, under all the attempts of my parents and society to “civilise” me, is so attractive to me.

So much for the origin of this post, written in a Tea meditation, a desperate search for how to be. On the bus, a woman says, “these chairs are so uncomfortable, so uncomfortable” and I note how I place her immediately, the word “chehs”- one of those decanted from London- rather than the more correct and educated “seats”. When we all get off, and queue by the stairs, a little girl tries to push ahead downwards, and her mummy tells her to wait. Then a man with them grabs her by the back of her coat, and she immediately starts to struggle and cry out. Just to rub that in, for my benefit not yours, she fights the restraint of a man so much larger. I note a red heart just above her bottom- what a gorgeous birthmark! If it is a tattoo-http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/3/34/Hombres_leyendo.jpg

He picks up their pushchair from the lower deck, and says “cheers, mate” to the driver in a gruff but cheerful, salt-of-the-earth manner.

In the street, I note a woman in a long floral dress and a bulky floral headscarf, Muslim “modest” dress made beautiful. Is it just the Autumn sunshine making me feel this good?

Anyway, where was I? Oh yes. The Struggle for the Real Me.

Thing is, the pain and distress are real, the unknowing, the old self-protection mechanisms which I have taken up to survive and now hurt me, the difficulty in perceiving all this, because I feel that my false perception is reality and the constrained way of behaving is Right and Good- all Real. And so are the flashes of insight, and the Progress, and the absolute commitment to do this work, and the necessity of it. I thought my opening a bit whiny, and then looking back at it, it is positive.

What do I want from anyone else?

Nothing.

Ah. Can I say that, really? I know that is the right thing to say. I know that any other response causes me needless pain, am I really there yet? Not sure.

I know that is the place to be, loving the beauty of all good things, undaunted by bad, and that further on good and bad cease to have meaning for all is good. Actually, I am fair pleased with mysel that I have the theory!

Past issues

Colin, a transvestite who may still go by the “femme name” Fiona, was very good to me. He had a boat on the Norfolk Broads, and I spent many happy long weekends on it, driving up and down the rivers, visiting Norwich and the pretty little towns, country churches, pubs and restaurants, in an alcoholic haze. He came to stay with me in Oldham, and we went out together to the Village (the gay area of Manchester) and the Northern Concord weekends, taking lots of tranny photos of each other. Several on my page Snap Snap Grin Grin were taken by Colin.

He did not think I was sensible to transition. He told me of a friend of his, an accountant, who had transitioned and gone to college to learn to be a hairdresser, but reverted after nine months. He portrayed this as a ridiculous mid-life crisis, and the reversion a return to common sense. I felt at the time that if someone was uncomfortable in the presence of a tranny, they would find a TS accountant less disturbing than a TS hairdresser- imagine, one of them touching your hair! Now, I sympathise with the woman, I might have wanted a complete break from accountancy too.

Colin had other friends who tolerated his habit of dressing up in “little girl” costumes, which he had hand-made. Once we drove to the south of England to a company which made disgusting false breasts aimed at the TV market, including a model with a reservoir so that liquid could ooze out of the nipples. I loathed “dominating” him, as he was in control: I got him to kneel in the porch once, in winter, to cure him of it, and sat reading, but felt miserable doing that, and called him in.

Our friendship ended after I transitioned. He promised to take me to the theatre dressed male, but when he arrived he insisted on wearing drag. I drove him there, and strode off in my sensible flats while he tottered after in his far-too-pale foundation, laid on with a trowel, and a mutton dressed as fetus minidress, but just before we left his daughter had phoned and I had snapped at her, and that was the breach of our friendship.

Oh, I am angry and hurt. Now. I hardly know how much I am angry with him, and how much with the situation. His wife tolerated his cross-dressing as long as he did not do it too much, but sometimes she felt threatened by it: his freedom to cross-dress varied.

I hate the queerness of it, the restrictedness of it. I felt I could dress female in the Village when I was terrified dressing in the shopping centre and the supermarket. With some reason: I went with colleagues to a night club in Oldham once, and a bloke tried to snatch my wig. I loathe the transvestite scene, with its jargon- GG for the few wives and girlfriends who turned up stands for “Genuine girl”- and, I am genuine. Yes, yes, tolerance in all things, and if I find them disgusting how may I respond to someone who is revolted by me, and- Oh, the fear, and the unnaturalness, and the fetishism!

I dressed there when I was too frightened to dress anywhere else. And, dressing there, I had an acute sense of my own unnaturalness and wrongness which I have not entirely shaken off. Miserable thinking of it, I lash out here at the mostly inoffensive Colin- my first draft had his surname and the name of the town he lived in, and I thought of putting in a photograph of him, which would be unkind.

I have a right to exist. I have a right to be me, and not to pretend, and it is still hard to accept that.

Telly

File:Jim Caviezel in May 2012.jpgVagrant on the Metro. Four lads start to abuse him. So he beats them up.

That scene grabbed my attention. I like the setting up and subversion of expectation. A few weeks later, Person of Interest is one of my guilty pleasures. Two men, outside the law, battle injustice: one of them has lots of money. It is very like Quantum Leap- they find unconnected people in a crisis in their lives, and intervene: one is the action man, the other the adviser. The action man has a sensitive, caring side, though every week there is a fight, men hurling each other into walls, lots of fast blocking of blows which would make most people unconscious. It pretends to be hard, involving international drug dealers and special forces veterans, and is deeply sentimental, turning on the growing relationship between the two men and their care for the people in crisis. They are outside the law, and the law is not always right, but there is a great chasm between Good and Bad, and Good always prevails. There is a fair bit of that set-up/ subvert, which is fashionable atm. I video the serious documentaries and European dramas on BBC4, and watch Person of Interest.

Good Cop is a more thoughtful thriller. Sav, a thoroughly decent police constable in Liverpool, thwarts Noel Finch, when he is about to rape a waitress in a cafe toilet. Finch engineers a call-out which Sav attends with his colleague, and Finch and five others beat the colleague so badly that he dies. For some reason Sav goes back to the crime scene and finds a hidden gun. Finch also goes to the crime scene, and taunts Sav- you don’t have the bollocks to shoot me, so I am going to take that gun off you and stick it up your arse. Sav shoots him, and his world changes.

They achieve different things for me. Person of Interest amuses and entertains for 45 minutes. The crunch, thud stuff is a bit sickening sometimes, but I treat it like a cartoon. It is reassuring to be told that Right prevails- often, it does. Good Cop shows psychopaths in full, pointless viciousness, and the random hatred and anger of various minor characters, and a sympathetic hero who does monstrous things, because he must, in order to survive. It is Tragic. And it tells me what I need to hear, that there are times when there are no rules, and I must do what is in my interests, however threatening that is to my need to see myself as a good person.

Good Cop started with a police officer lured at random to a house, and attacked. After two police officers were lured to a house and murdered last week, the final episode was cancelled. Perhaps this shows respect for the women killed- but the BBC uses violent death as a form of light entertainment every week, there are more murders on the telly than in real life in the UK, and it is a shame to pull such a thoughtful thriller.

What justification is there for the use of murder as entertainment- not just Great Drama probing the heart of the human condition, but conveyor-belt entertainment?

Albertine

The Narrator writes from the perspective of an older man, looking back on his deluded affair with Albertine, leading to their marriage. She never loved him, he never loved her, they were caught in their illusions. And so it seems that there is no joy in any of their meetings. Why are they meeting again, I ask myself.

I thought I wanted something, and thought I might have it, and felt joy. Now I think I probably won’t.

But- even if the perception was wrong, the belief illusory, the joy need not be. There was joy for a moment, even if based on falsehood, and it was real joy. I wish to delight in every scrap of joy, there is little enough of it. Actually, I am not absolutely certain the belief is illusory- and I hate unknowing, I would have preferred to destroy the possibility just so’s I could Know. I have to recognise that, and consciously resist it.

And- that what I wanted is probably illusory does not take the joy from the situation as it is, which has delight too.

In Meeting, Peter ministered on his son and son-in-law walking in Switzerland while he and his daughter pottered about, getting a little worried they were taking so long, and his joy on their return was like the joy of the father of the Prodigal Son, it seemed to him.

Another lesson on being positive rather than negative. Being positive I have so much more delight, so much more motivation and energy. My hurts have nearly overwhelmed me, and so that is the only way to be. There is enough hurt, without dwelling on it.

Trans women in the Kama Sutra: There are two kinds of eunuchs, those that are disguised as males, and those that are disguised as females. Eunuchs disguised as females imitate their dress, speech, gestures, tenderness, timidity, simplicity, softness and bashfulness. The acts that are done on the jaghana or middle parts of women, are done in the mouths of these eunuchs, and this is called Auparishtaka. These eunuchs derive their imaginable pleasure, and their livelihood from this kind of congress, and they lead the life of courtesans. So much concerning eunuchs disguised as females. Thanks to Shiva Shakti.

At the CAB conference, a session for managers, we discussed this scenario: a volunteer who is a wealthy parent tells a lone parent on benefits, “these people should not have children if they cannot afford to keep them”, and then complains when the lone parent goes off on one. How should we handle the situation? My hackles start to rise at the words “these people”- these people are individuals- and I wanted the wealthy volunteer to be persuaded of that. Others say that her attitudes do not matter- as long as she obeys the rules, including not saying things like that, and provides the service according to the rules, she may think what she likes. I want her able to say what she believes, and to be challenged constructively. What do you think?

and- “Admit to what you feel greedy about. It will point to your most tender desire.”
~ Danielle LaPorte, truthbomb.

I love all of me.
I love the greed, and the meanness, and the cowardice
I love the whining and the self-pity,
I love the stupidity and the stolidity
and the ugliness.
I love the lack of spontaneity
and the voice which says I am play-acting.
It is in those parts of myself which I judge and condemn that-

what? Not sure, and I am asserting that because it feels right rather than because I have really taken that into myself. It is at the least, part of this whole human being which I must love and care for.

Added: Rumi wrote something similar:

This being human is a guest house.
Every morning a new arrival.

A joy, a depression, a meanness,
some momentary awareness comes

as an unexpected visitor.Welcome and entertain them all!
Even if they’re a crowd of sorrows,
who violently sweep your house
empty of its furniture,
still, treat each guest honorably.
He may be clearing you out
for some new delight.

The dark thought, the shame, the malice,
meet them at the door laughing,
and invite them in.

Be grateful for whoever comes,
because each has been sent
as a guide from beyond.

LGB

-Why LGB? Why not LGBT?
– Because we don’t want men making passes at the lesbians.

So I was told in 2006. Six years later, the National Lesbian Gay Bisexual Group, a SONG or Self-Organising National Group of Citizens Advice, is still LGB not LGBT. The last time I went to the conference, in 2006, they had an evening reception, and I went, to make that point. This year there was no evening reception, but there was a fringe meeting at 8am on the last day. Having been dancing and drinking until 1.30, I was there.

The fringe meeting was about a project in London. I had gone for an interview- one CAB person and two gay men not attached to the CAB- and I looked at the gay man who got the job with a jaundiced eye. I did not think he organised his presentation well, and I found his delivery poor. After, as soon as I could get a word in edgeways between the gays, I made my point again. Why LGB? Why not LGBT? Every organisation is LGBT. No-one is LGB.

They are a campaigning organisation, they tell me, and the issues are different. Perhaps- but right now The Issue, with huge publicity, the support from a majority of straights, the backing of the EU and absolute certainty of passing, is equal marriage, and I want to be campaigning for  that because I want maximum publicity for LGBT equality. (US readers, read and weep.) And- I want this as a social group. This meeting is where we get together, and that is where we want to be. I want to spend time with queers, because I relax. Straights are just weird.

I can join if I self-identify as lesbian. I was told that in 2006, and felt shy of it, as I was asexual at the time. Now I feel uncomfortable- if T members cannot be tolerated as T, some T folk are excluded. They propose I set up a group for T folk. But, there will be hardly any of us!

Actually, if I could get travelling expenses to pop into London twice a year for a coffee and a natter with a couple of other trans women, that would be a good result. And if I could do a bit of diversity campaigning and get support from CitA, that would be positive too. I might make a few phone calls.

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More on reincarnation. I thought the whole point, in traditional religious dogma, was as a response to karma in previous incarnations. So my current state might fit the karma of a macho warrior-rapist, perhaps a viking. That would mean I was a lesbian trans woman because I had been ultra-manly in past lives.

Acceptance

File:Malczewski Jacek Umywanie nog.jpg“Do you want women to accept you as a woman? If so, what are the reasons why we should?” My friend could accept me as “a lovely person who wants to be a woman,” but not a woman.

What is a “woman”? Here, we mean a person with two X chromosomes, a uterus, ovaries, female skeletal structure who is probably straight. Why not? That is the vast majority of “women”.

I am not sure I “want to be a woman”. Menstruation sounds a bit of a pain. Much as I complain about my narrow hips and wide shoulders being a tell-tale sign, I am not sure I want to learn to use a different skeleton. Being attracted to men? Well, that is a large part of the personality, and I am not sure I want to change attraction. I would like a beautiful alto voice, and am not sure I want to give up being able to go baritone.

I am quite certain I want to express myself as female. It is more important to me than being accepted by other people, and that is extremely important to me. Over ten years that certainty has not wavered. I am not going to revert: that would make life easier in so many ways, but for the fact that I could not bear it.

What do I want of others? I want them to use my name. Now, it is simply my name. The old male name is not my name, I have Affirmed a Statutory Declaration that I will never use it again. If they refer to me I want them to use female pronouns, “she”, “her” and “hers”. I do not want people to avoid me, or to get into conflict with me, and so acceptance as a “lovely person” is better than seeing me as a horrible woman.

File:Malczewski Jacek Portret kobiety.jpgWhat are the reasons why you should accept me as a woman?

It is being kind to me. Being cruel makes the world a more unpleasant place, including for the cruel person. Being kind makes it pleasanter. Being cruel drives people apart, being kind builds connections, and connections are good for people.

There is no benefit to anyone in rigorous, logical categories, in this specific case or generally. They can never be the whole truth. A lot of women do not fit that strict definition, XY, uterus, ovaries, even if you miss out being straight. The map is not the territory. The categories are a jumping off point to greater understanding- if you cling to the category you prevent greater understanding.Why call me a “woman”? It seems weird, but, well, I am one.

I have no idea if those are sufficient reasons. How might I deal with non-acceptance? There are many strategies: demand, challenge, passive-aggression, whining, argument-

the only one which works, really, is forgiveness. How many times should I forgive? As many as seven times? No, seventy times seven. I obey Jesus’s gentle suggestions, not in order to be good, but for my own benefit.

I had not heard of Jacek Malczewski, a Polish symbolist, 1854-1929, before seeking out illustrations for this post. I started out seeking pictures of Rejection, but was waylaid by his beautiful strangeness.

http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/commons/7/74/Malczewski_Jacek_Meduza.jpg