Tag Archives: Representations

“I’m not into trans”


[artist cred: Sophie Labelle who’s paid stuff can be found here: https://www.serioustransvibes.com/ . Sorry! I couldn’t find the actual source for this comic in her Tumblr archive and didn’t want to link back to one of those anti-trans meme sites!

description: a comic of a white cis man looking defensive sitting in bed with a white trans woman looking done with this. The caption for the comic says, “why didn’t you tell me you were trans before we slept together multiple times? I mean, don’t take it personally, but I’m not into trans women…” and “huh yes, you were very much into me, you’re just very transphobic.” and with a caption under the entire comic that says, “geez…”


I like to do text base role play. It’s one of my major coping mechanisms for life. I’ve been doing it since I was 14 and have likely written thousands of pages worth of stories and smut over the decade and a half since I began. I’ve spent now more than half of my life engaging in this medium.

I roleplay because I get to be people I’m not. I get to do things I can’t have. Namely, I get to pretend that I’m worthy of romance and sex. I can pretend that someone desires me enough to want to touch my body. To build a life with me. To do the things I so desperately dream of but can’t have.

A few hours ago, I asked one of my RP partners if I could play a trans woman with a vag like myself. His response to my vulnerable request to be me was to say that, “I’m not into trans”.

Continue reading “I’m not into trans”

The Spectre of Trans Women of Colour


[image from https://depositphotos.com/12854762/stock-photo-diffuse-woman-body-silhouette-behind.html

Description: a faded, black feminine silouette standing with hands up pressing up against the screen. This silouette is against what looks like a white screen or background, like it’s some kind of barrier between the presumably woman and the viewer.]

This piece is in response to a moment that occurred the other week (I wrote part of this, cooled off, came back to it, and finished it). I was at a really cool talk on trans necropolitics. But as I looked around the room, I noticed I was the only trans woman in the room listening to a lecture by a trans man of colour interviewed by an tenured white trans man professor. (Both of whose work I appreciate).

Hearing about brutally murdered trans women of colour and being in the room where no one else was a trans woman of colour was so distressing for me that I ran out of the room.

After reflecting on my reaction, I realized it was rash for me to leave, but at the same time, I’d like to stand with my choice even if it wasn’t the nicest thing I’ve ever done. By me leaving a talk as a trans woman of colour, it begs a few questions. Where are the other trans women and trans femme folks? Where were the white trans women when there were white trans men present? Why aren’t there any trans women of colour in the room when they’re the focus of the talk? Why does it feel so uncomfortable when I speak about trans women of colour when I’m white passing?

The talk was haunted by the spectre of trans women of colour.

Continue reading The Spectre of Trans Women of Colour

(Cishet) Men Should Read Gay Fan Fiction


[Image taken from: https://65.media.tumblr.com/92534fe84b34615a4ea697b665250b40/tumblr_nk921y0JwB1t4elojo1_500.jpg

Description: An edited photo of Liam Payne and Zayn Malik kissing. Both of them are conspicuously clothing-free, but we are only blessed to see a little bit of their torso with most of the focus on their faces which are mashed together gloriously in a messy, stubbly kiss. Liam is wearing a snap back backwards and has a hand carding through Zayn’s hair.]


Dear non-culturally queer, non-trans men,

You should be reading gay fan fiction.

Now I know this may squick some of you out, but here me out. Reading gay fan fiction will help you get laid and/or get dates! I know! Unreal right? And no, this is more than just a chance for me to drool over one my favourite pairings.

Continue reading (Cishet) Men Should Read Gay Fan Fiction

Surviving the Sarlacc

So you’re minding your own business when someone shoves you so hard that you fall down a conveniently placed pit and holyfuck, there’s a thing in the pit that vaguely looks like a vulva but with tentacles and teeth and not the fun kind! And the thing, the Sarlacc inside the pit is going to devour you as you slip precariously down the hot sand towards its hungry maw. You scramble, make some headway, but then fall down a couple feet and then there’s a tentacle wrapping around your leg pulling you closer and closer…


[Taken from http://flophousepodcast.wikia.com/wiki/The_Sarlacc_Pit

Description: Luke Skywalker, the protagonist of Star Wars, is standing on a plank high above this hole in the ground. Within the hole, we see a number of tentacles and sharp teeth. The hole resembles a vulva to the author.]

That’s what it feels like most days dealing with life for me. Now mind you, I’d -love- to have genitals that have (retractable) teeth and tentacles, this is not a fun or sexy experience. I chose the Sarlacc pit as a metaphor because it’s (nerdy, an amusing mental image) a monster that is always hungry waiting to eat you. And that’s what living under settler c(r)apitalism is like. And there won’t be a Luke Skywalker to save the day. And I’d rather not have to thank some white boy for saving me. I’m not and never will be a prize to be “won”.

I’d rather be able to find a way out of the pit. Or if there’s a Luke Skywalker present, he can help pull me out, but I won’t do more than thank him for his help. If he really wants to help, once I’m free, he could teach me some of those nifty Jedi powers and can use them to take over the universe make the world a more equitable place for us all to live in.


I’m fortunate enough to get to participate in the very first trans women writing retreat. They’re fundraising for many of us to attend so if you have cash, feel free to donate. As someone who’s really poor, they’re covering most of my costs so you’d be helping to pay for me.

We were asked to write a piece on why we write so that’s exactly what I’m doing.

I write for my own survival. I write because if I don’t, I’ll get swallowed whole. I’ll be digested to nourish the Beast and not have a will of my own. I’ll just be nutrients. For me, writing is a life line. It’s the only thing that makes me feel like I’m doing something. When I write, at least I can control over how I represent myself. And that’s something that can’t be easily taken away from me.

Continue reading Surviving the Sarlacc

I Feel Ugly

This piece is revised from a Facebook post I made. The night I wrote this, I was feeling angsty and I was hurting too much. I have no clue what set it off, but my usual chronic feeling of -part of me is missing and I need to complete it like I need to breathe, eat, or sleep-  decided to push itself to the forefront of my mind/body. I decided to work on my little rant further because other people chimed in with similar feelings. Here’s to hoping that it’ll have a little more impact now.


Continue reading I Feel Ugly

The Legend of Green Snake


[Taken from: http://www.californiaherps.com/films/snakefilms/SorcererAndWhiteSnake.html

Description: Two snake/human hybrids are depicted in this picture lounging in a bed of plants. Both snake/human hybrids appear to be young, Chinese women with long black hair. The green snake/human hybrid is laughing holding onto the white snake/human hybrid who is making a face.]

So! A couple months ago, I attended this series of workshops/community study called, “Through Thick and Thin” which was about fat queer women’s experiences. The culminating project for Through Thick and Thin was to make a video.

My video is a re-writing of a famous Chinese tale called the Legend of White Snake. The original story is more or less, about two snake spirits/demons named Green Snake and White Snake. White Snake falls in love with a human man named Xu Xian and eventually marries him. But shenanigans happen to try and divide their heterosexual union. Anyways. The story has numerous versions so I thought I could write my own. I felt connected to the potential queerness (femmeslash) of the story and felt it tied to my blood. Continue reading The Legend of Green Snake

“Diversity” and the Continued Erasure of Intersectionality


[Taken from: http://sociology.mrdonn.org/diversity.html

Description: the word, “diversity” is written across the top of the image. Below the word are five smiling, cartoon human figures. In the middle is a dark skinned man with short, wavy/nappy black hair wearing a yellow sweater and belted brown jeans. His arms are around two other people. On his right is a pale white man with short, straight brown hair. He’s wearing a red polo shirt and blue jeans. To the pale white man’s right is a presumably East Asian woman in a manual wheelchair with shoulder-length black hair. She’s wearing a goldenrod button up and violet pants. Her chair is facing to the left. To the dark skinned man’s left is a warmer toned white woman with long red hair. She’s wearing  a teal sweater with a white “H” in the middle and is wearing a shirt white skirt and knee high socks. To the left of the warmer toned white woman is a warm toned white man in a manual wheelchair with short, straight blonde hair. He’s wearing a green t-shirt and violet pants. His chair is facing forward.]

I feel pretty ambivalent about the word, “diversity”. On the one hand, I was raised discursively to talk about diversity through queer organizing and anti-oppressive work. But I can’t help but despair at where it falls short and how I see it being applied incorrectly.

Continue reading “Diversity” and the Continued Erasure of Intersectionality

5 Aspie Stereotypes


Taken from: http://www.socialmemegenerator.com/user-submitted-memes/does-mayonnaise-cause-autism/

[Description: Patrick Star, an anthropomorphic star fish from the TV show Sponge Bob Square Pants, is raising his hand. The meme is captioned with the phrase, “Does mayonnaise cause autism?”]

This is purely an opinion piece and I’ve edited it too much to try  and not make it sound whiney.

I’m don’t claim to be an expert on Autism, it’s just what I’ve lived and am trying to figure out. I am writing this piece because I’m trying to articulate how I experience Autism and maybe raise consciousness on the lack of conversations around neurodiversity.

I’m using the phrase, “Aspie” to describe folks on the Autism spectrum because I don’t know what other word to use that is more succinct than, “people with Autism” or “Autistic people”. I’m aware that Aspergers has some differences from Autism as a whole. I’ll change my language when I find better language.

Continue reading 5 Aspie Stereotypes

The Titanium-Enforced Glass Ceiling

Many of us have heard of the glass ceiling that Second Wave feminists talked about. For those who don’t know, the glass ceiling is a metaphor sometimes used for the struggle (white cishet) women face trying to procure employment. They can look up and see all these opportunities above them and they watch as some people (usually white cishet men in this case) ascend to those opportunities. When they try to ascend to the opportunities above, they hit an invisible wall.

Source: https://s3.amazonaws.com/lowres.cartoonstock.com/business-commerce-women_in_the_workplace-ceiling-glass_ceiling-equal_opportunities-floors-glln50_low.jpg

[Description: A comic depicting two corporate white men staring at the ground which consists of a multitude of women reaching up unable to breach through the invisible/glass floor/ceiling. The caption says, “A ceiling? All this time I thought it was a floor.”]

I’ve spent the past decade trying to find paid employment. Most of my resume is volunteer/honorarium work. I was part of what I like to call the first generation of queer youth who had access to queer youth space. I developed a skill set and interest in queer youth social service work. I’d like to say that I’m skilled and have highly valuable insights. But finding employment has been a struggle. I see some of my former classmates who are making $80,000 a year doing work that I’ve done for free. I also can’t help but notice that I have twice the skills and experience of said former classmates (who are incidentally white and cishet). I don’t see very many people like me or other marginalized folks in positions of power. The only times I have found employment, it’s been where they were explicitly looking for someone with my identities (or were hiring en masse). If I was born a cishet, white, able bodied man like my dad, I wonder if I would be running an organization by now. I’m highly ambitious and have a lot to give, but employers don’t seem to want to value my skills with money. Although if I want to give them my knowledge for free while they pay someone with more privilege than I do, they’ll gladly have me around. No matter what I do, it feels like I can’t break that barrier between “(f)unemployed” and “gainfully employed”. I’m not Laverne Cox. I’m not Temple Grandin. I’m not so exceptional that I can defy all odds. The glass ceiling isn’t just there, it’s re-enforced with titanium so that it’s not actually breakable. Update: This has everything to do with respectability politics.

I could go on and rant about how difficult it is for me to get jobs, but it’s not a productive conversation. Yes, discrimination exists. It’s not useful for me to prove if individual employers discriminate because it’s so pervasive that it’s nearly impossible to tell. It would require far too much energy to prove the point and would only burn bridges with people that are my community or will still be prospective employers for years to come.

What I do find useful is talking about the structures (titanium) that enforce the glass ceiling that I face. Or in simpler terms, why jobs and the whole system of employment is designed for someone like me to fail. I argue that the way employment is structured is a form of violence.

As a disabled person, I experience the world differently from other people. The system of the world was not designed for someone like me. I love to say that I navigate the world blissfully ignorant of a lot of what’s going on. I don’t read or don’t pay much attention to the non-verbal things around me. (I’m usually thinking and processing a million things, there’s no space in my brain to process such petty things as non-verbal language…) I can’t always hear what people say especially in loud spaces. I don’t act or react to things “appropriately”. I’m not respectable in how I take up space in the world. And because of this, I’m understood as less capable, less skilled, and less valid of a worker. Why hire someone who is odd and alien when there’s someone who’s skinny, transmasculine or cis, or has a normative body and brain patterns? It also doesn’t help that many people apply for one, maybe two jobs and so employers are forced to choose who is most worthy to be paid.

My experiences are far from alone. My primary barrier is stigma which blocks me from developing networks to gain skills and paid employment. In real life terms, my disabilities don’t limit me from much. I’ll never be able to work a job that requires hearing depth perception (not common) but I find ways to cope. I’ve been disabled my whole life and have developed a lot of coping mechanism to deal with ableist structures.

I knew someone who can’t work in fast-paced environment because it triggered their anxiety. I know someone who can’t work an 8 hour work day due to spoons. Then there are folks whose skills are undermined because they have a learning disability or use a chair. Or a host of other disabilities that aren’t addressed or stigmatized by traditional forms of employment.  It’s no wonder that less than half of all disabled people aren’t employed.

I’ve considered sex work as an alternative to traditional employment. But due to my history of being trafficked and all my gender dysphoria/body trauma/Aspie brain things, it’s not the wisest of ideas. I’ve considered domination seriously and may still consider it. Sex work always looms as a form of survival work for many trans/cis women especially those on the margins. It’s no surprise that there is an overrepresentation of trans women/POC/disabled folks doing sex work. We are the outcast, mostly ones who can’t fit in this violent system of employment. It’s very telling about whose skills are being valued, who’s skills are being encouraged and build, and who are falling between the cracks.

In order to get where I want to go in life, it feels like I’d need a whole community there for me ready to go to bat. To block out the voices that think I’m not useful and replace them with affirmations, to help create a safe space where I can forge a path and do what I want to. I need people there to work with me, that need me to go to bat for them and to help care for them while they help me process the world around me. It’s only through intentional community making and working together that I feel like change can happen to dismantle violent employment systems.

This is only a beginning of a conversation. Much needs to change and change won’t happen immediately. In an ideal world for me, all people would have all their basic needs met for food, housing, etc. All kinds of work would be recognized as valid. People could work however/whenever they want because we all depend on one another to make things run. But this isn’t an ideal world. We have to find direct ways to survive.

Here are my suggestions:

Invest in people – Communities are made up of individuals. Being open to hiring/having diverse folks is not enough. Like older feminist/POC movements, we see that many folks cannot gain the skills to be hirable in the first place. Yet cishet normie white boys (and some girls) get paid work, training, and opportunities to gain skills because of their, “potential”. We need to intentionally build relationships with marginalized folks who experience barriers and share/build skills. Marginalized youth become marginalized adults many of whom still need to access services because the system fails them. Once again, we don’t see the kind of “diversity” that we as a queer community talk about and champion.

Work with people – Since I was a baby queer, I’ve been asked to give workshops to various service providers on how to better work with queer/trans (and other identities) youth. In that time, I’ve rarely seen an openly queer person, few visible POC, no visibly disabled people, and no trans women at these trainings. It feels like all I’m doing is giving my expertise to people who have careers so they can be less awful. Yet I still feel like I’m not gaining any skills to try to do the work they do. In the last point, I talked about developing relationships. People who have established careers could very well learn from queer/trans/POC/disabled etc. folks while working with them.

Mutually develop skills – In building intentional relationships with folks from marginalized identities, career people can gain knowledge on how to best work with marginalized folks through feedback, support, and hands on experience. The career people should in turn give opportunities, feedback, mentorship, and support in developing skills for the marginalized person they’re working with. The purpose is for the marginalized person is to gain skills so they can be employable more sustainably than a one time workshop and for folks with careers to have opportunities to gain more skills than a one-time workshop. This should of course be a paid opportunity with a regular income because survival is incredibly difficult especially in cities like Toronto where the cost of living is so high…

Intentionally make people part of your communities – Many marginalized folks don’t have much community support. I’m privileged for the knowledge and mastery I have over finding the right people. I’m privileged for passing for white and having a very high degree of education/language. But I have friends for whom they have only a couple people who have their backs. And having people who have your back really helps when shit goes down and it will go down at some point. This means developing relationships where you depend on the other person hopefully just as much they depend on you. This takes time and you may not always get it right. There are also people who are too toxic or hurting or just don’t jive with you. You aren’t being forced to have anyone that isn’t right in your communities, but I encourage everyone to see the commonalities between different populations. But this also means that you aren’t a hero or a saviour having friends who are marginalized in various ways. They are your friend, not your trophy to tell others that you’re not bigoted.

Dating – In addition, many marginalized folks may not get many dates. Once again, no one is forcing you to date someone you don’t want to, but it’d be great if you took a moment and evaluate how your learned behaviours may impact who you find sexy. I read a study done on OKCupid, a popular dating app and it showed that all racial populations were willing to respond to messages by white people regardless of gender and sexuality but were least likely to respond to messages by black people. All other racial categories were somewhere in the middle. I hear phrases within queer communities, trans communities, POC communities, and disability communities that someone wouldn’t date a trans woman.  Disabled folks are rarely on the radar of desirability outside of disabled communities. This isn’t a thing about preferring certain bodies, this is about how some bodies are understood as, “wrong” as, “not worthy” as, “not human”. And who you’re willing to date has something to say about who you’re willing to hire or make community with.

We are all complicit and all responsible to oppression in all aspects of our lives. This isn’t an attack on any one person, but it is something I want everyone to think about. In what ways am I complicit in oppression? What can I do with the privileges I have to educate myself on these oppressions? What can I do? I hope that this changes how people think somewhat.

Really awesome article I found that I wanted to link to: clicky

One Direction, Fandom, and White Supremacy

I went to a One Direction concert a couple days ago. (FYI, Leeyum was delicious and wet and sprayed down the other boys with a fire extinguisher… THE FIRE EXTINGUISHER IS HIS PENIS, the absence of Zayn in the harmonies sounds profoundly wrong, and it was lovely hanging out with friends and going to my very first stadium-sized concert).


Photo taken by Shane Camastro.

[Description: A dark stadium lit up with a few spot lights. THOUSANDS of people can be seen in seats on the ground and filling two upper tiers to the brim. Two silhouettes in the foreground can be seen of two figures with hands raised.]

As I surveyed the audience from the nosebleed seats, I couldn’t help but notice how many people were there. I heard it was estimated 10,000 people were in the stadium. In the nosebleed seats, there were a lot more families with young children (both boys and girls) but the vast majority of the seats were taken up by (white) girls and young adults.

On the one hand, seeing so many girls in one place was empowering. It’s not every day that you see a sea of girls in one place. Exiting the stadium post-concert, I exclaimed to my companions that it looked like a mob of zombies in front of us due to the sheer number of people. I naively imagined that we could enact powerful change with such numbers. Imagine if the money for the tickets to see this concert were instead collected and used to create more sustainable systems of food production… Over many concerts, this money could change the world!

Continue reading One Direction, Fandom, and White Supremacy