FAQHag Beach Party

This morning county investigators came to my house to inform me my food stamps/general assistance case had been forwarded to the welfare department (not the “hey did that check arrive yet” kind, the “there is way too much feces smeared on this wall” kind of welfare). They observed my living conditions, ask me why I moved to California and where I'm getting rent money if I'm reporting no income, and if I had access to mental health resources. I answered the door in an undershirt, panties, and bruises (look, we've all done things you regret). On my laptop table there are bookmarks made of duct tape with various suicide prevention hotline numbers written in six colors of sharpie. Now I'm not saying I would have cleaned my room had I known they were coming, but I would have done a better job at hiding the week's worth of candy bars and bottled water I have stashed under my bed.

Missing: The will and focus to write a thoughtful, poignant article on how being in a same sex relationship both validates my gender identity and gives cause for the occasional body dysphoria. Goes by the name of “get over yourself”.

In lieu of actual content, I've decided to rehash an old idea from when I first started writing for BelowTheBelt: my personal FAQ list. A veritable sideshow of the disinformed. Pickled punks of embarassment and bearded ladies of frustration. A wholesome family venture.

Hopefully you all caught the animatronic boytaur at the front of the ride who read you the disclaimer about how this is not indicative of any other trans or queer person's experiences and that if you quote me on some debate in a message forum (and you end up losing anyway) I will come for you. Alright. Fantastic. Let's begin.

When did you know you were trans?

If your initial reaction to reading the above wasn't “ugh not this shit again” but instead a very enthusiastic “oh this gonna be a good story”, drop everything you're doing, change the channels on your TV until you come across a televangelist, new age healer or Food Network personality and do whatever they tell you for the rest of your life. Knowledge is not a fixed point in time. A moment of clarity does not undo years of grasping at straws, filling vaccuums and standing against the wall at parties wondering why you don't seem to fit into your own skin like everyone else. Trans folk are not ticking time bombs of epiphany. Who told you to ask me that question? Was it my nemesis, Miss Goes On Every Trans Comm Ever And Makes Comments About How People Who Come Out In Their 20's Or 30's Probably Aren't Really Trans Until She Gets Her Ass Fucking Banhammered? You tell her to show herself and we'll settle this like 12 year olds who've just discovered the internet. And that I want my CDs back.

What's your birth name?

This is never okay to ask a trans person. Ever. Even if you're sleeping with them. Many trans folk won't even share birth names with each other, and two or more exchange birth names, it is understood that you are never to reference their previous name. If you really want to know, you're gonna have to wait 'til I fall asleep on your dining room table and rummage through my wallet like the rest of my friends.

Like, what do you call your genitals and stuff?

In my experience there is no right answer to this question. If you're a trans woman, any attempt to use common vocabulary to describe/reference your genitals in polite company (i.e. people you aren't fucking at that exact moment) will illicit moans and groans from someone. Penis, cock, dick. The only boo-proof word I know of is stickpussy, but only a n00b would interpret the faces people make when they hear that word as “agreeable”. Personally, my least favorite is “clit” or “clittie” because I know from my participation in the BDSM scene that such language is used by those that fly the sissy/forced feminization kite, and though it remains unspoken, it is understood that there exists a particular tension between those two communities. Rumors that I used to post pictures of “sissies” accompanied with two-bit dime store snark to a fashion blog are unfortnately very true. Fuck, what were we talking about? Oh yeah, my junk. That's not what I call it. Actually I call it my “stick shift”, or the “factory installed equipment”. For some reason, nobody ever objects to me using these terms in discussion. I believe it's because people see that I'm personalizing my relationship with my body and not speaking for anyone else. Also, it's fucking hilarious.

You should totally see/watch/listen to this movie/song/television show.

Now that I live in the San Francisco Bay Area, I purposely avoid watching documentaries or documentary-like television shows about tofuspace trans celebrities because whenever I meet them in person I embarrass myself, like I did with Clair Farley from Red Without Blue, my favorite documentary of all time. You can read more about it here, but for those of you who don't trust that I wouldn't link you to a NSFW (fucking google it, Dad) site, here's the abridged, basic cable version of what happened: I meet a person who I admire greatly and “much shit is lost”. If I ever move to Seattle or Paris, maybe. If I run into Calpernia Adams at a farmer's market in Raleigh, NC and accidentally call her a nerf heder then you know, them's the breaks, but while I'm within BART distance of people who's disapproval of me could shatter my credibility in the scene, it might be better to play ignorant convincingly and not get caught up in the hype.

Furthermore, I think it's about time that the community dropped this whole “drive thru enrichment” model. You can't say that no language works for everyone but then say “but you all need to read this book, it will have an impact on you if you're down with the struggle and all that”. You're putting average writers on pedestals and cutting off the blood flow of new messages and media by superfluously denying them this communal importance. Everyone should see Southern Comfort because it is painfully beautiful cinema, not because it “explores transmasculinity”.The truth is the money you would put towards a new copy of Whipping Girl or My Husband Betty would probably be better spent attending a spoken word/open mic or buying ingredients to make a dish for a queer pot luck. Lending your friend an overhyped tijuana bible of literary wank is not a replacement for providing support or a safe space to fellow queers. And your dish better be vegetarian this time. That whole “haha make the lesbian eat sausage by mistake isn't that funny” was good like, once, maybe twice. But try that shit on me again and I'll drug you, dress you up in a Nappy Roots t-shirt and baggy jeans and throw you in front of a crowd of tea partiers.

Also, that wasn't even a question, dickhead.

Is it true that you're helping to organize a skillshare/camp/conference in NorCal in the summer of 2011?

Is it true that I told you to shut up about it until I had set details?

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