Gender counselling 6

It seems insane. I seem insane. I make no sense to me. I terrify me.

So I wrote that I left Serra feeling opened up, not judging or perceiving but allowing and becoming aware; and when with Serra there were Understandings, word pictures of how things are, and indeed of I had reacted.

-I know the rules say that my phone should be off, and I am hoping for contact which if I do not answer will occupy so much head space that I will be unable to concentrate.

The phone rings, and it is someone else. Hope- dashed; but no-one calls this phone! I have hardly given out the number, people don’t call me on it! Text-beep. I grab the phone, look at the message. Again, not as I hoped.

-What if she doesn’t call? Serra asks.

Still on the floor, I come close to her chair and quote,

The Desolations are not the sorrows’ kin
Sorrow is gentle, singing her sons to sleep
The desolations know no word or music
Only a harsh inarticulate cry
inaudible to the poetry-pampered ear.

If Serra is my mother, saying she’s no good for you, you know, as well as at times that teen BFF that I never had, as I still presented male then, then F symbolises adulthood and freedom- in the game I play with Serra- even if in reality, I may have to make my own adulthood and freedom without her help. I am only aware now of the passionate intensity in my voice as I quoted because Serra pointed it out, and my anger was with her- even if you are right and this is going nowhere, I do not want you pointing that out to me. So my counsellor lets me again rebel against my mother, I separate myself and become free.

And that man. He wants to die (at least in my understanding of the situation). I sympathise. (Do I want to die too? God it is so pointless and boring, nothing and nowhere and endless, though I would not want to admit that.)

I cycle, and I get better at it. Thirty miles in three hours on Tuesday, over beautiful country roads much of it single track, with the seat higher risking back pain and avoiding that by extending leg and ankle more. Not instant perfection but slow incremental improvement through effort. And I give a lot of thought and effort to Quaker clerking and I am doing good there too.

At one point she leant down and touched my foot, and then realised she had crossed a boundary. It pleased me, and at the end I asked for and had a hug.

What is “Real Me”? Possibly that bouncy me isn’t, either. Questioning everything I do could open me for useful change, or paralyse me. So- as a practice, be open, for everything is beautiful, even me, judging, condemning, pretending, acting, hiding, all reasonable legitimate choices though I hate it all

Open! Love it all! Saying my affirmation on Friday morning I forgot one word. The words I forget are the important ones. I could not think of it, so looked it up: it is Compassion.

Today (Saturday) two moments of arrogance. I thought during worship of standing and saying

I am the Goddess.
Everything God made
God made for me.

but thought, no, I know it, and do not need witnesses. Perhaps it is good I did not share that, perhaps it would have been OK. And, what would George Fox have been today? I answered my own question: Revolutionary; speaking directly to the Hearts of some people; taking no shit; and Solid. Present. Clear. I knew in that moment I described myself.

Then a few minutes later I am exhausted, just wanting to get away, barely able to be polite. I contain multitudes, I am extremes, I cannot bear any of them-

I have resisted, and continue with my spiritual work of Permitting, though it is all impossible and insane. Had it been easy I would have done it already.

Monet, La Femme à l'ombrelle

Gender counselling VI

To see Serra Pitts, the psychotherapist at the gender clinic. It is like a deep massage, where she digs her elbows in to untangle all the knots, and yet always keeps one hand flat on my skin, of which I am intensely conscious. I came out exhausted, and Open- it feels like I have no presuppositions or assumptions, and can see the world as it really is.

However in the counselling room, what matters is not the reality for other people, but how I have conceived them in my own mind, or even what they symbolise for Us- I make Serra my mother then my mother and I discuss the World. So what it means for the people I describe does not matter, whether my picture of them is a hyper-realist one or a bad cartoon, distorted as George Grosz but also completely missing the point. Or even, not how I see them but what symbol I can make of them, for the work I do here. (Do I protest too much? I mention someone’s severe pain. I don’t want to disrespect, and I do want to talk of it.)

We talk of looking for work.

It’s odd. I came in, bouncing, tiggerish. I had been joking, fooling. Like this morning, with Peter talking about difficulties changing signatories on a club bank account. You take your passport and driving licence- they take fingerprints, DNA- do a strip search… free form associating until it becomes ludicrous. Only with the receptionist, and that woman waiting for her CBT. A cis-woman, I am certain of it, they must have cis in this block as well as trans. She thought my watch was gorgeous.

-How do you feel?

I slump to the floor.
-Do you want to stretch out? She shifts furniture around, and I stretch. Thank you. That is really kind of you.

It’s this job I could apply for, working on anti-trans hate crime in Scotland, lobbying, training, networking, campaigning.

I am in the garden (writing, now.) “Would you like a cup of tea? They’ve just made a pot.” Oh, OK. “That would be lovely, thank you.” Rather than going in to get it, not to be any trouble, I let her bring it to me.

It would be a chance for reasonable work. They might not judge my two years of “sorting my head out” too harshly, my dreadful CV. And with Serra is the first time I think of this job as interesting, as worthwhile possibilities, as something I could enjoy, rather than another judgment and rejection, or failure and despair like the last three. And, she says, I could tell them who I am, and I think yes, possibly my word would be enough, even though I could not prove it. Though right now- Saturday evening- it feels like only a chance for rejection, or failure. And a dreadful faff. So strange, how moods move.

Monet, Femme à l'ombrelle, tournée vers la droite

Starting again

If I do stuff and nothing happens, what’s the point? I got this wonderfully elegant admission of failure and argument for despair on Kiwifarms, where they laugh at people. Well, indeed. I mess around on my blog, and watch recorded TV. I only don’t fit the “living in my parents’ basement” part of the clich√© because my parents are dead, and I am a bit old.

That last job. We thought we would open our doors and people would come rushing in, because they always had: in Oldham I used to arrive at 9am in January in the rain and find people queuing outside for the doors opening at 9.30, in the hopes of not being turned away. We simplified the service we gave drastically to cope with the demand. Yet almost no-one wanted my particular service, and I would sit idle, writing my diary or reading TVTropes on the internet. I did try some marketing and building relationships with potential referral agencies, but to little effect. With a string of failures over six years, I despaired and gave up, and am still given up.

No, I don’t want to apply for that job in Edinburgh. I don’t want to move to where they have not had a Summer and people are in their winter clothes (Frances reports) to take responsibility again. Even though I can see it is a good choice from limited options. I don’t want to go where my family are where I might try to re-establish contact, or might not.

I don’t practise the piano because of the amount of work necessary, and even when I did mistakes crept in. Aged 23 I could play Rhapsody in Blue from memory, and now I make mistakes with Ludovico Einaudi. Well, I have the time to practise, and I don’t.

Dunno. That meeting was good. I don’t quite get the man, whose reserve might be even greater because of my way of letting it all hang out, but at least we are working together.

I cycled thirty miles on Tuesday, in three hours. It is a beautiful circular ride, on country roads mostly with very little traffic, and rolling rather than hilly, though some of the inclines are a bit tough for me. It is the furthest I have cycled this century, in a day. I maintain fitness and increase my ability to get about.

I notice small, incremental achievements caused by my action. I am completely lacking in confidence: my first question is always “How am I wrong, here?” which when in balance may make me usefully flexible and now puts me in a funk.  Notice all the achievements. Notice all the positives.

Monet, En Norvégienne. La barque à Giverny

The White Knight

The White Knight is the character who rescues those unfairly oppressed. In business the white knight rescues from the hostile takeover. Some suggest the White Knight rescues women expecting a romantic reward, and Urban Dictionary says the female equivalent is the mother figure. I like rescuing, but get warned off. “You’re not helping”, the critics say, “he is beyond help,” or that I should only help those who deserve it.

I get an immediate good feeling from attempting to help. Perhaps I am even altruistic, but also I get something from it. I am interested in people, and applying my mind to “Who is this person? What makes them tick?” increases my knowledge and understanding of others- which clearly benefits me. I like to see myself as a good person, and part of that self-image is that I am a helper.

Then, everyone is interesting for at least an hour. I met a man whose OCD took the form of doing things alphabetically. His weird escape from reality into a tedious obsession would pall, quickly, but exploring it for an hour passed the time. Eventually the mental health team found something to motivate him. He was interested, took action, and achieved something. I was not paid to rescue, exactly, but to give a particular kind of useful assistance.

Merely paying attention makes people feel better. Face to face, I put my listening face on and they open up, and I can see the relief. It is not much effort.

Getting people to turn their lives around is of course far more difficult. In the past I have come up with all sorts of Good Advice, the person has not taken it, and I have become frustrated and angry with them. Now, I disengage. Possibly, they have taken it in: I found in my early twenties that I would react angrily to my father’s good advice, and find myself following it six months later.

I don’t generally find I am repaid. The good feeling I get has to be an end in itself.

He saved others, but he cannot save himself! gloated the bystanders at the crucifixion. My own life is a mess. I can come up with Good Advice for me, too, but do not take it.

You thought I should start submitting articles, and this seems a possibility: general interest with a particular perspective. It seems to me it needs developing: how, do you think?

Monet, The stroller (Suzanne Hoschedé)

Gender Recognition

It has been possible since the 1970s to change your gender in the Czech Republic, by applying to the local registry office. As in most places, you need to have gender reassignment surgery, which must be approved by a medical advisory board including a lawyer, two medical specialists and two physicians not participating in the surgery. This makes the British requirement of two psychiatric reports in support seem simple. In Italy, female to male reassignment requires mastectomy and hysterectomy, though some might not want all that surgery, otherwise.

Estonia requires a test to certify that gonadal and chromosomal gender match: if they do not, there are alternative procedures. Finland requires that you have been sterilised or are otherwise incapable of having children. In France, genital surgery is not required, but there must be an irreversible physiological transformation leading to an irreversible change of sex. It depends, perhaps, how you define “sex”.

In 2011, the Constitutional Court in Germany ruled that the requirement to be sterile and have undergone surgery were inapplicable. A marriage contracted before reassignment will remain valid.

Mexico has the most liberal law: you only need to have been receiving treatment, such as hormone treatment, for five months. Moldova may have the most restrictive: four people have successfully changed gender there since the breakup of the USSR, as opposed to 4000 in the UK. Had the same proportion changed sex, there would have been more than 200.

In Malta, the civil court decided that the purpose of a change to the birth record was the protection of privacy, not the recognition of a change of sex- so there is no “acquired gender” for the person to marry. Malta has had civil unions for gay couples only since 2014.

In Japan, the applicant must have no living child aged 19 or younger. This took effect in 2008- so our rights may be restricted, even after we gain them. Liechtenstein has the explicit provision that a gender change may not be reversed. Why ever not? No-one applies for gender recognition frivolously. In Luxembourg, the identity card and passport can only be changed after gender recognition. The general principle in case law is that gender is immutable, so there must be exceptional circumstances and Necessity. Whereas to me, gender change is entirely normal: rare, but not exceptional.

In Romania, you can only change your first name after the court has recognised your change of gender. In Serbia, the psychiatrist who diagnoses GID is obliged to talk to the patient’s family and friends in order to confirm the diagnosis. Only after surgery can the applicant change his/her name, and get a corrected ID card and passport.

Each US state has different rules. In Alabama, an amended birth certificate is issued which indicates that the sex has been changed.

The whole is a patchwork. We must be controlled, and made to jump through hoops; and where the authorities graciously deign to recognise gender change, our rights are not the same as those of others. But really someone’s sex is nobody’s business but their own.

Monet, Camille Monet on a bench

Anglo-Scots

Och, come oan! Ye ken “bidy-in”? No?

Someone who bides with you, I said, reverting to English. M starts to get it, I see understanding grow in his face. A partner.

Hearing Frances speak, I just started speaking with a Scots accent. She thought I was playing the comedian, she never thought I was Scots. She took some persuading, as she had not heard any Scots in my accent before. But then when she said in Ayrshire people still used Lallans vocabulary, I was surprised she did not understand it.

She moved to Yorkshire at the age of 9, and the children at school mocked her for her accent. Strange: the accent then is plastic, and most people learn their accent from those their age, rather than family. In my case I adopted my mother’s English accent because I cared more what she thought than those my age; possibly Frances rebelled against her peers. She lived in London, then N–shire, and at work spoke with an English accent like mine, for professional reasons. I could not place her accent more precisely than “Scots”, I don’t have a good ear even for the differences between Glasgow and Edinburgh, though the Wick accent, with “til” replacing “to”- as in “go til the shops”, or Doric, with f for wh as in “fitt-e daein- faur-e gaein?” stand out for me.

So she has a Scots accent, but in Ayrshire she has to ask people to speak slowly and clearly, as if a foreigner, and to explain vocabulary such as “bidy-in”. Whereas I can recite When pedlar lads leave the marketplace, and thirsty neighbours meet neighbours; when market days are ending, and folk begin to take to the road [home], as we sit drinking ale, and getting drunk, and uncommonly happy… But I had recited Crowdieknowe since childhood, but needed Iain to tell me the “lift” was the sky.

Why would my Scots accent come out just then? It never did, you know, before I went to University, even perhaps before I went to Oldham. I didnae speak like that at home, or at school. I spoke standard English. I have spoken to Frances before. So I had a Scottish accent even though I cannot recall speaking with it.

surrender gracefully

Human Rights for Trans people

Being a post-operative transsexual person, though not pre-op or non-op, is a “protected status” within the meaning of the European Convention on Human Rights, article 14. This is the result of Carpenter v Secretary of State for Justice, in which a post-operative trans woman challenged the requirement to inform the Gender Recognition Panel of the details of her surgery. I found the case on Halsbury’s Law Exchange. What does protected status mean?

Article 14 provides, The enjoyment of the rights and freedoms set forth in this European Convention on Human Rights shall be secured without discrimination on any ground such as sex, race, colour, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, association with a national minority, property, birth or other status.

This means that the State must not discriminate against a person because s/he is post-op trans, in enforcing rights under the Convention. Cases cannot be pleaded against other parties. A case must be pleaded about another right; but even if that case is not established,  it opens the door to the trans person pleading discrimination.

I am unclear as to what that might mean. The Human Rights Act remains essential for British freedoms, even for “British values”; I feel I am more likely to need the protection of other articles than article 14 as a post-operative trans woman.

Though post-operative, I resent this shibboleth of The Operation as the sine qua non of any protection under any law. Post-operative trans folk are a tiny minority of trans folk. I am more likely to be treated badly because I am trans, rather than because I am specifically post-op. Though as it is difficult to discover a person’s operation status, or even their desire permanently to express themselves in their true sex, other trans people may be protected because would-be discriminators fear legal action.

I doubt the British state will treat a post-operative trans woman differently because she is post-op. If they did, they have a discretion to justify why different treatment because of my operation is appropriate.

Monet, Sur la plage à Trouville

Mustn’t grumble II

-it could be worse.

Today, I have saved myself ¬£8.49 by reading my water meter. The water company sent a plumber round to see if I could save water, who put a mechanism in the cistern so I could use less water flushing and gave me a smaller washing up bowl. I have used thirty m3 of water in just under seven months, that is 30,000 litres or 150 litres a day: I don’t fancy carrying it five miles on my head. That is about low/ average in the UK, about 77p a day. The charges went up 10% on 1 April.

I cycled 25 miles on Tuesday, including two on minor roads which turned out to be stony and unmetalled- silent, beautiful trees, but boneshaking and unpleasant. It took about two hours and forty minutes- so I cycled not quite the distance of a marathon in more than the time top athletes would run one. I could not find the “historic church”- has the sign been turned round? I thought of cycling a similar distance this afternoon but did not get round to it.

I don’t want to be a glass half full person! I want to be a glass overflowing person!

I typed some emails about Quakers this morning. Yesterday, I did one about the knotty problem of arrangements for business meetings next year. It is knotty because there are underlying issues. This actually took much of the morning, though perhaps it could have been done in less time had I had less. I spend a lot of time thinking about clerking.

I had a nap in the afternoon. Yes, yes, small children and old people, but-

He called me a “Cross-dresser”! What? Well, cross, certainly-

I watched two episodes of Person of Interest, which has only got to season 3 in the UK. It is reassuring to have clear goodies and baddies, and the mindless violence is quite fun, and the political message- the baddie was a corporate bigwig, making lots of money- fits my politics.

Should I apply for that job? It is a move of 300 miles north, for a contract lasting six months. I would be a professional tranny- campaigning, training and lobbying about hate crime against the trans community. It might shake me out of my rut, and given that a trans woman would be good for the role they might be more likely to look more favourably on my work history.

That can make me miserable. But that is no reason to stop it- I am, after all, angry and miserable most of the time… H does not have cancer, and having worried so much about seeing the consultant does not feel much better now.

I read a bit.

One of my first questions in any situation is, how am I wrong? I don’t despise myself as much as I did; I am still dissatisfied. I can’t see a way to improve my life, particularly, and have less fear than I had that it could get much much worse.

I have been coughing for about four weeks. It sounds dreadful, but I don’t feel otherwise debilitated. I took off the UK Biobank activity monitor. For a week, it has monitored the duration frequency and intensity of all my activity, not just exercise as I had thought, by measuring speed of movement in three dimensions. I wore it out of some desire to do something useful, and now from my movements they will know that I sometimes do not shower until the afternoon. Though I have not yet sent it back…

Human givens.

Delacroix, The Winter - Juno Beseeches Aeolus to Destroy Ulysses' Fleet

The Criminal Courts Charge

How the appearance of rationality can be completely divorced from the real world.

Since April, when a person is convicted in the Magistrates Court for a summary offence (minor offence, no jury, limited penalties on conviction) they have to pay a ¬£520 “Criminal Courts Charge”. There is no provision for remitting this charge, even where no penalty is imposed, or the accused has no money. If the plea is Guilty, the charge is ¬£150. The charges in the Crown Court, with a jury, are ¬£900 for a guilty plea and ¬£1200 on conviction.

As one defendant was led away, the judge asked the courtroom, ‚ÄúHe cannot afford to feed himself, so what are the prospects of him paying ¬£900?‚ÄĚ Judges have to be tough, but also fair. It is wrong to embitter someone in this way. When creating cruel policies, have a care for those who must enforce them. Fines are charged according to the accused’s income, but courts are not allowed to take the Charge into account when setting the fine.

The Howard League for Penal Reform, now campaigning for a review of the charge, has a number of sad stories: A 41-year-old man who stole two tubs of ice cream worth £9.58 from a shop in Coventry, West Midlands, was given a six-month conditional discharge and ordered to pay a £150 criminal courts charge, £85 costs and a £15 victim surcharge. Worse, they show that someone not guilty of the offence charged may consider pleading guilty, or accepting a caution from a police officer, to avoid the higher charge.

The government does not recognise any of this. Here is a pdf “fact sheet” from the Ministry of Justice about the charge, written before the Bill was enacted. How they will recover costs from homeless people is not addressed. Reading it, one would almost think this a liberal measure: This Bill makes provision to enable fines officers to agree new payment terms with an offender post-default, giving offenders further opportunity to take responsibility for their debts and reducing the administrative burden of enforcement activity. Irrecoverable charges may be remitted, if the offender “has taken all reasonable steps to pay”.

Offenders may be imprisoned for failure to pay- my phrasing is more direct than the MoJ’s: If default in paying the Criminal Courts Charge by an offender is due to their wilful refusal or culpable neglect and all other enforcement steps have been exhausted, then the ultimate sanction of ordering them to serve a term of imprisonment can be used as a last resort. I searched the legislation but could not find the relevant provision- perhaps Parliament had this vestige of common sense- but the Howard League says it is still in place.

I read here that one policy objective is to “avoid causing hardship” (p1) and that the Government would be happy to spend ¬£20m a year on attempts to collect the charge, plus ¬£5m a year on imprisoning those who could not pay (p2). Words mean nothing here, including “Ministry of Justice“.

Aside from the practicalities, a person should not be punished disproportionately to the crime. Fairly detecting and prosecuting acts against the community benefits all, and should be paid for by the community. How can they not see this? How?

Monet, woman in a garden

Slut Hate

I started having a large number of views from a site called Slut Hate, so thought to have a look. It is a forum for “incels” and “volcels”, involuntary and voluntary celibates.

Not knowing what an incel is, I thought for a long time it was a forum for would-be PUAs. “Pick-up artists”, in case you did not know. I did not understand the thread at first, but it seems Stirner is getting at a character called “Norwood Cemetery” by claiming that photos of me expressing myself female are photos of Norwood Cemetery, and also implying that the claim is as accurate as those of Norwood Cemetery about Stirner.

SlutHate is a vision of Hell: people being horrible and alone. They try to trick women and imagine the women are victims rather than playing their own games, and they bitch at each other. I thought of commenting, “Oh, you are such lovely boys! You must get laid so much that you have to join a web site to try and learn how to get laid!”

I joined, actually, and had a private message from someone: “chimp chump nigga”, which I think is insulting. I thanked him for his lovely welcome.

Then someone suggested that my features indicate I am a “Slayer”- an alpha male who gets laid a lot. They have a lot of jargon like that: hypergamy is dating above your league, and they give this insane explanation- note the mimicry of rationality: When women practice genetic hypergamy, this often leads to pregnancy. The good looking guy who impregnated the woman leaves her, so the woman now needs a source of income to care for her child, so she resorts to financial hypergamy. In other words, she marries the wealthiest man she can get. She then uses this beta provider’s money to care for her child she had from another man. Oh, do they? Really? Never marry, obviously: you would be being fooled and exploited, and get only illusions in return.

I suggested they look at another page of mine, which of course stopped their interest. They only look if they imagine they are being mean to someone.

Consider the names of the members on-line when I last looked:

Aristocracy, bennyb, Bing [Bot], Clare, gandytime, gold, Google [Bot], Icecutter101, Jack_the_raper, John Rambo, MiddleChild, Nightporter, OmegaKV, Perfectionist, PinV, Severe Aspie, ThereIsNoGame, thereturnofabulldog, Yahoo [Bot]

“Jack_the_raper”? Seriously? Some might be pitiable, some moderately clever with repartee, but some of these blokes are really nasty. Or just want to be seen that way, as a oneupmanship inexplicable to me.

Rules: Encouraging homicidal behaviour is prohibited
Any content that obviously and not out of jests advocates for suicide or the harming of another person. Saving for philosophically in depth thoughts on the subject
.

What do you think? Are they all as vile as they affect to be?

Added: not pick-up artists, but incels. It was the first time I heard about incels. Now, the forums appear to have been taken down.

26 September 2021: I started getting views from another forum, lookism.net. The heading is, “degenerate trans mentioned me on SlutHate”. That “RuudVanNistelrooy” is still obsessing over this five years later is absurd. Poor fool. If it really is the same incel, my hope that they might mature out of such baloney in a few years has taken a shock.

Lookism’s rules say that it is happy with “locker room talk” but not “excessive” bullying, and that while “racial discussion” is allowed, it is “not a nazi website”. Each poster is allowed four sockpuppets. It is not a forum I recommend.

Ingres, Marie Marcotte