What Is Not Being Talked About Enough Concerning Orlando & Other Mass Murders: The Social Construction of Masculinity in the U.S.

insomniacrevolutionary

imageSo the media immediately jumped on what they thought were possible issues behind the mass murder: homophobia, guns, “radical Islam”, ISIL; but why is no one talking about masculinity? It is no coincidence that whenever there is a mass shooting we assume that it is a man. Yet this is the at the root of the problem. This is what happens when you raise young boys to not cry or express emotions other than anger or aggression so that they won’t be “sissies,” “fags,” “bitches,” or other slurs that instill fear of being seen as even remotely “feminine”–(what is socially constructed to be feminine) or gay (which goes against masculinity because men are supposed to be heterosexual or they’re not considered “manly”–hence why homophobia is more rampant and violent among men). They are told to “toughen up”, to “man up”, and many other terms that tell them that they have…

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In Between

It was a beautiful summer weekend in Vancouver and all I wanted to do was hide inside.  I keep trying to remind myself that I am only a couple of months into my transition.  Not being able to go dress as I wanted to this weekend is not the end of the world.  I am lucky it has only taken this short time to go out at all. 

I did have some things I had to get done, so I had to go out dressed in my old clothes.  I can’t wait to get rid of those clothes and the life they represent.  I almost talked myself out of a couple of errands.  I didn’t want to do them dressed like I was.  In the end, I had to get them done, so I forced myself.  What a change.  Before I accepted myself, I had the same arguments with myself, but to convince myself that I should only do things presenting as male.  Now I only want to live presenting as female.

On the way to the grocery store, I ran into a couple I know.  I haven’t seen them in so long, it was great to chat, but I was so self conscious because if how I was dressed. After the store, I got back home and hid until this morning.  I spent the time making room for my makeup and new clothes.  Even if I couldn’t dress how I wanted, doing little things like that gives me some comfort.  Besides, when I am alone, if I don’t look in a mirror, I am dressed however I want.  Imagination is a great thing!

Oh yeah, one other thing makes me feel a bit better, too.  Before bed last night, I painted my toes.  Now I am on my way to work with lilac toenails.  Something to keep me smiling no matter how Monday turns out.

Floating

When I signed up for this voyage, they failed to mention how confining it could feel.  Maybe it was never expressly stated, but it was supposed to lead to happiness, the life you have always dreamed of.  How nice it all sounded in the brochure.

Everyone seemed uncomfortable at first.  That’s what the years if training were for.  All those hours learning the role they meant for you to play.  The others settled into their role effortlessly.  They probably thought the same of me.  I appeared to, at least.  How could they know how unsuited I was for my role.  I never said anything.  Why would I? If I did, I might have endangered my spot on this trip that was going to be so amazing.

Now we have embarked and I am trapped.  The role I was so uncomfortable in at first has become unbearable.  I am stuck in this tiny craft, stuck with pretending to be something I am not.  I have to keep pretending, the others are counting on it.  It’s not their fault, I am the one who led them to believe I wanted to be here and wanted the role I accepted.  I may not have asked for it, but I sure did jump into it with both feet. 

I know there is only one way out now.  My earliest training taught me how dangerous that way is.  “You must never go there, that leads to unimaginable horrors.” It is the way I must go now, though.  I know there is no other choice for me.  I can’t stay confined in here, I just can’t.

I am sure no one saw me come in here.  I reach to open the hatch.  Look how much my hand is shaking.  By focusing my concentration, I am able to open it.  It takes all my will to step out into the nothingness.  I am still tethered to the spacecraft, but I am not confined anymore.  I am free.  I am standing on the edge of space.

My hands aren’t shaking anymore.  The nerves are gone.  Unhooking the tether takes little effort.  I didn’t think it would be like this.  The unimaginable horrors aren’t here.  Nothing is here.  As far as I am concerned, no one has ever been here before.  Oh sure, I have heard the stories of the others.  I can’t say I am following their path though.  There are no footprints in space.  Everyone’s path is their own out here.  I won’t leave a path for anyone else, either.  If I ever get to where I am going, I will gladly do what I can to help, but I can’t leave breadcrumbs for them to follow.

The tether is still in sight, floating around just like me.  If I stretch maybe I could still reach it, but I don’t want to.  I am floating in an utterly empty world, watching my old life drift away.  Someone else will fill that role I never felt right in. 

Now I am thinking about a new role.  Maybe I haven’t been training all those years for it, but it already feels comfortable.  I am still in the middle of nothing though.  How long will I float out here before I find what I am looking for?  Will I be welcomed when I find it?  Maybe this is unimaginable horror for some.  Floating with nothing in sight, no anchor, no role to call your own.  It is the antithesis to what we were told it was supposed to be.  We were supposed to glide along in a safe secure and oh so solid craft, insulated from nothingness, being who were trained to be.  Now that safe secure craft is out of sight.

I am all alone, drifting towards the unknown, with nothing to grab on to, no security, no insulation.  It is quite peaceful in reality.  No one telling me my role.  Until my destination comes into sight, until it’s clear, I will just float.  I will just be.

Going to Sleep (Fiction)

I know this is finally it.  All I have to do is close my eyes and go to sleep.  I have known for a long time this day would come, but am I really ready?  All of the pains of the past will be gone, but letting go isn’t easy.

I am laying here all alone at such a big moment.  Shouldn’t someone be here with me?  Has any of the last half century mattered?  Will anyone even notice that I was here and now I am gone? 

What is that butterfly effect thing?  If I travelled back in time and killed a butterfly, it would change the entire course of history, or something like that.  Surely my life has been at least as significant as a butterfly’s, hasn’t it? 

Has it really been a half century?  Not quite, but close.  Saying it that way makes it sound so long.  I don’t feel that old.  How does “that old” feel?

Are these really the things I should be thinking about now, or am I just postponing closing my eyes?  I haven’t always been happy, but I have enjoyed my life.  I am not afraid to close my eyes now.  Stepping into the unknown does bring some trepidation, but no regret for what I am leaving behind. 

There have been plenty of laughs and smiles through the years.  I am sure I brought joy to others.  That should be a good measure for a significant life, shouldn’t it?  Is this what they mean about your life flashing before your eyes?  It’s not really a flash, why did they lie to me? 

There is not much else to do but close my eyes now.  I have done this thousands of times, one more should be easy.  I feel like I should say goodbye to myself, too, before I drift off.  I am not positive that is necessary though.  Maybe it is just the shell that will be gone.  All my thoughts, all my experiences, the essence of who I am are not contained in my shell.  I can shed my body and I am still me.  That essence won’t disappear because the body does, right?

What a tired cliche, but if it’s appropriate this isn’t the time to come up with another one, so it’s back to that butterfly.  Is the butterfly the same creature as the caterpillar, just in a new body?  Is that what happens to us?  Some might agree with that and others would strongly disagree.  That is one advantage of being alone, I guess.  No disagreements.  That is the way it is.  I can close my eyes and even though the body will be gone, the essence will continue. 

That dissolves any reason I may have had to put it off any longer.  Just in case, goodbye me.  We may not have always got along, but we survived a lot and sometimes even thrived. 

There, my eyes are closed and I am drifting off.  Sleep will carry away the old pains.  I am not afraid or sad. 

Love and Sex

I always knew there was something weird about me, but I never dug deeper than that.  I think I was really afraid of what I would find.  I kept my life compartmentalized.  My urges to wear women’s clothes had nothing to do with why I constantly wanted to recreate myself.  My problems in relationships could not be tied to my uneasiness with myself in any way, at all.

I was married before i finished university.  She was a beautiful, slightly shy, small town girl.  University was her first time away from home, and her last while we were together.  We met the very first day of school.  Freshmen had to park in a big lot a couple of miles from campus.  She was waiting for the shuttle with a friend and we had nothing better to do than chat.  She always told me when I called their room the next day, she thought I had confused the two of them and really wanted to talk to her friend.

We were married for six or seven years.  It seems so long ago, it’s hard to remember the number now.  Those years went by fast, though.  We had our share of arguments, but they are even harder to remember than the number of years.  For the most part we were happy, at least I know I was, and I really think she was, too.  We loved each other and I think we still do, even if we haven’t seen each other in so many years.  About ten years ago, long after I had moved far away, a friend told me they ran into her and she asked about me.  She is happily married with kids that must be grown now.  It brought me joy that she was happy.  Also that she asked about me. 

She was the last woman that I truly loved that I had a physical relationship with.  She is not the last woman I truly loved.  She is not the last woman I had sex with.  The combination of the two scares me though.  Maybe I can see why now.  Connecting the dots has not given me a clear picture, maybe I haven’t connected them all yet.  I can see that all those things in my life I kept separate, were never separate.  I am not a real man.  If I sleep with a woman I love, she will find out I am not a real man.  I don’t want to relate to a woman I love as a man anyway.  Why does love and sex have to be so complicated?  I can continue to love if I keep sex out of the equation.  Not a perfect solution, but it is easier.

There have been some very wonderful women in my life that I have had great relationships with.  I still love them and I like to think they still love me.  That is not the case with the ones I have slept with.  Like the fights in my marriage, the sex was mostly forgettable.

Maybe the dots will keep connecting until the picture is more clear.  Maybe one day I will fall in love with a woman and she will fall in love with the woman I am.  Maybe then I will have what I had in university, but better.  Maybe we can live happily ever after.

Thanks for Reading

I wasn’t really to sure what to write about today, so let’s see what comes out!

First, I really do appreciate all of who read this.  I don’t have that many followers, but just having one regular reader makes me feel good, and I do have more than one.

Before I ever thought about transitioning, I would go through phases of buying female clothes and accessories and then letting shame take over and getting rid of everything.  Two or three years ago, when I was the buying part of this cycle, I had the thought that it would be so amazing to live a full weekend as a female.  In my fantasy of that time, it would have to be on vacation in a different city.  My fantasy became reality this weekend, but in the city I live in.  It has felt so wonderful and natural, I am dreading going back to work tomorrow as a man. 

In reality, I don’t have the wardrobe yet to live as female full time.  I am slowly working on this, it is quite expensive, though.  There is an amazing person who I consider a true friend who wants to take me shopping.  If you are reading this Wonder Woman, I can’t wait for your help.  I know I won’t end up looking like an old lady if I let her pick out clothes for me. 

An extremely kind and fun lady with bright blue lipstick gave me a makeup lesson yesterday.  I did go for the bright blue lipstick for myself, but she totally pulled it off.  It may be a look I try for fun one of these days.

A question for anyone still paying attention, are you supposed to pick perfume because the bottle makes you smile when you look at it?  OK, that wasn’t exactly the case, the cutest little wasn’t a scent I would wear, but this bottle was pretty close.  Instead of a ladybug, it looks a little bouquet of wildflowers. 

Last random thought for this week.  Who knows anything about Bulgaria?  I shared a seat with a very friendly lady on the way home Friday.  We had a great chat, and she is from Bulgaria.  I admitted my ignorance and she educated me a little.  Now I want to learn more.  I guess that’s how we get smarter.  I can’t imagine another circumstance that would compel me to learn more about Bulgaria.

I do hope everyone has an amazing week.  Don’t forget to find enjoyment in your life.  As I learn to make myself happy, I am finding more and more true enjoyment in my day to day life.

Massacre

There is not a lot I can say about Orlando that hasn’t been said by many others.  I am so sad for the people affected by this.  The victims and their families and friends have suffered terror and tragedy that is unimaginable to me, because of hatred.  It makes me so sad that we live in a world in which hatred like this can exist.  My heart goes out to everyone affected!

As we keep in mind the outrage and grief this tragedy has caused, can we also acknowledge that these are by far not the only victims of crimes like this?  Just looking at the transgendered community worldwide, it is estimated that one trans person is murdered every 21 hours, on average.  That is the equivalent of the Orlando massacre every 44 days, and that is just the transgendered community, it does not include any other targeted communities. 

I just heard today that a gay man was attacked on his way to the vigil for Orlando right here in the city I live in.  Hatred and violence are very real concerns everywhere.  I feel like crying because I have to worry about my own personal safety just because I choose to live in a way that is authentic for me.  My decision does not harm anyone else, if anything, by making me happier I am probably even nicer to the people around me. 

One other thought on violence against transgender people (yes, all these groups being targeted are just people, like anyone else).  Canada has recorded zero hate crimes against transgender people, ever!  Before celebrating, look at the reason.  In the Canadian Criminal Code, there is no official recognition of transgender people as a class that hate crimes could be committed against.  So these crimes are not tracked and are not reported as hate crimes.  A bill has been introduced to change this, let’s hope it passes.

Violence is not acceptable, period!  Violence based on another’s lifestyle is deplorable!  Having to fear for your safety because you don’t conform to someone else’s idea of right and wrong is horrible!  What can we do to change the culture that has allowed this kind of hatred to exist?