Wednesday, December 31, 2008

New Year Resolutions

New year, new beginnings. Or so we like to hope. In actuality, (Insert percent of resolutions broken each year)% of resolutions are broken each year. I personally have never placed much stock in New Year's resolutions and have historically never made them.

Until last year, when I made the resolution to make some progress with my transition. And I have. Over the past year I started hormones, went to my first laser appointment, and came out to me parents. This year I'm making the same resolution to continue to make progress toward transitioning.

Of course this year I also suffered a bit of a set back when I quit my job. I had to stop hormones and cancel future laser treatments but I have never thought I would not restart both.

It's been two and a half months since I got my current job. It's only in the last couple of weeks that my paychecks have fallen so that I got one at a time that nothing need to be paid and I would get another before anything would need paying. Thus a 'free' check that I could use as I wish with no regrets. So I've decided to take this chance to restart hormones.

Crossposted to my personal journal gillian-y.livejournal.com/

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas

I just want to wish you and all of your family a Merry Christmas.



And to those reading this on Christmas morning..

Get off the computer and go spend time with your loved ones.

That is all. Infowhore out.

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Trans Talk - Myth vs Fact

Transsexual Myth - Transsexuals hate their penis and can not be happy without gender reassignment surgery.

Trans* Fact - While this is true for some it isn't true for all, myself included. This myth comes from the fact that in order to be diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder a transsexual is expected to feel this way.

Some do dislike their genitals and do require surgery to feel comfortable in their bodies. Others may feel that surgery is their ultimate goal but then once transitioned find that being excepted as a woman is what they really need. Still others never feel this but may bend the truth to get medical help in transitioning.

Years ago while first researching transsexuality I came across this myth and not knowing any better excepted it as fact and set myself back by years. My thoughts at the time were something along the lines of, "Huh, I don't hate having a penis, so I'm not a transsexual."

I have since then read many transwomen's stories that have shown me that it's not about what's between your legs that matters. It's how you feel that's important. Feel like you're a woman but don't want to get rid of your penis. That's fine.

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Infowhore's Library - Kimya Dawson

Welcome back into the stacks.

This week I bring you some music. Specifically music by Kimya Dawson. The first song by Kimya I heard was 'I Like Giants.' It was on a friend's myspace page and as soon as I heard it I knew this singer was special. Kimya's songs are all personal to her. She loves people so much and it come through in her music. I have looked up at the stars and been humbled and felt small. I have been moved by her music.

These are eleven of my favorite Kimya songs. Enjoy.



Friday, December 19, 2008

Random Youtubery

Oh, dear. It's Friday and my internet column is no where to be found. So I'm doing a little bit of random Youtubery.

First up is a video entitled 'Probably the Funniest Cat Video You'll Ever See.' It is as the title suggests chocked full of cats being funny. Basically three minutes and twelve seconds of cat clips set to a rocking music score. Check it out and I dare you to not smile at least once.




Next up is another video that tickles my funny bone but from the geeky side. This vid is a spoof of a scene from the movie The Dark Knight. If you haven't seen the movie don't worry there's nothing spoilerific about it. Now the set up: the Joker has been caught by the police and is being held in an interrogation room. Batman has broken/been let into the room and is now questioning the Joker using his 'Batman voice.' Enjoy :)



That's all for now. I will try to post the column I missed this weekend.

Bye for now.

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Trans Talk - A little about my gender identity

It's Wedensday and time for Trans Talk, my weekly column about issues that concern transgender and transsexual folk. I'm be discussing news items, trans* characters in media and even talking about my own transness.

I guess now is a good time to talk about my own gender identity.

I would say I identify as a woman, that is when I think of myself I think of myself as a woman. I prefer to be called ma'am instead of sir(this happens much less often than I would like). However I don't identify as a 'woman trapped in a man's body.' I am not trapped in my body. I am my body. I may not especially like the way it looks but I is mine.

I've come out to a few family members(sister, parents, a cousin). Even though their response has been neutral to positive I still feel afraid to tell the rest of my family.

I was on hormones for about six months but after I quit my job I couldn't afford them. I've had one laser hair removal treatment. Again lack of money forced my to stop. Now that I have a new job and I am getting back on my feet, I think I will be able to restart hrt shortly after the new year.

I'm 27, at the time of writing this, which makes me think I should have my life together and be doing something with it. I don't feel 27. I feel much younger, even if I don't also feel foolish. Much of my life feels like I wasn't really there. Like I didn't belong, which in a way the me that was there wasn't me and therefore didn't belong in my life. Through most of my twenties I have been moving forward waiting for 'my' life to begin.

A couple of years ago I finally said to myself, "I want to live as a woman." Quite a break through, I think, for someone not in therapy, who has spent most of the previous(7+) years convincing themselves that they were not transsexual. How does someone spend years reading about transsexuality and watching every show about transsexuality on tv, and researching transsexuality on the internet, not see that he was transsexual? I'm not sure but I did.

There are more things I'd like to say but I would rather wait and devote full posts to some of them.

See ya later.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Infowhore's Library - Intro and Trouble and Her Friends

So here I am and this is Infowhore's Library(cue fanfare).

In this weekly column I'll be taking a look at books, comics, dvds, movies, tv shows and video games and bring my on take on the ones I like.

Today I want to talk a little about Trouble and Her Friends a cyberpunk novel written by Melisa Scott. The story revolves around Trouble a retired cracker* and her ex-partner and ex-lover Cerise who is a syscop for a multinational company. After a new cracker begins using her old name, Trouble returns to the nets to find and shut down the new Trouble. Cerise is also looking for the new Trouble after he/she/it breaches the secuity of the company she works for.

I have a little bit of a history with this book. Currently I am about half way through the book for the fourth time. Three times I have started reading this book, read about half of it and then stopped. I'm not sure why I haven't been able to finish Trouble and her Friends in the past. The story is good, the characters live and breathe and the mystery of who the new Trouble has been gnawing on my brain for years now. I have high hopes that this time I will be able to finish it since I've been carrying it with me to read while waiting for the bus or on break at work.

With the story set in the 2080's the technology shown in the book is advanced beyond what we have even now twelve years after it was published. The bit of tech that gets the most screen time is the brainworm. The brainworm is a direct brain to computer interface considered dangerous and actually illegal in the US. The predecessor to the brainworms are dollie slots. A dollie slot is an implanted audio/visual interface that provides an immersive experience but doesn't touch the brain. Due to the brainworm's direct connection to the user's brain it is able to render the virtual world not only in sight and sounds but also in feelings, smells and tactile sensations.

As dazzled as I was by these advancements, I felt something was missing. Cellphones. As near as I can tell they don't exist in this book. At one point Trouble goes into a bar and asks the bartender to use the phone. Cerise receives a few messages from sectaries or security guards. For someone who is very important in mantaining the security of a company's data she seems to be unreachable any time she isn't at the office. As this book was published in 1994 and therefore written in the eary 90's its possible Melisa Scott simply failed to predict how the cell phone would become so integrated into everyday life. She wouldn't be the first. William Gibsion in his novel Necromancer had a scene where the main character walks by a row of payphones which begin ringing as he passes them. A scene which was replicated in the movie Resident Evil: Apocalypse.

Also of note is the large number of gay or lesbian characters. Besides the two main characters, many of the netwalkers they interact with are also gay. The large number is accounted for by the fact that before they all went their separate ways they were all crackers who because of their sexual orientation gravitated to each other and formed a kind of family. Given that they were written by a great writer who also happens to be a lesbian, it should come at no great surprise that they are well rounded characters, that are not stereotyped in anyway.

All in all I've been enjoying Trouble and Her Friends by Melisa Scott. She has crafted a nice cyberpunk novel. Characters are believable and behave like real people.

*I am using the term cracker (and not hacker) here and elsewhere because one it's the term the character's use to describe themselves and two they are crackers. They break into secure spaces on the nets to steal data and sell it on the gray markets. There's no wiggle room here. They are criminals.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Blog Update

Starting Monday the 15th, I will begin writing three regular weekly columns.

Mondays I will be writing about books, movies, tv shows, or video games. This won't be a review based column, more of a "Hey, this something I like and here's why" column.

Wednesday's column will be about trans stuff. From news items of interest to personal updates on my own transition, this is where you'll find it.

For Friday I will have a column similar to Monday's, except it will focus on media found on the web.

Besides these regular columns, which will post on their respective days at midnight, I will also have several random post types, which will post when ever I feel like. These will include Cool Alerts, Random (but fun) Youtube Video and OMG!! Have You Seen This. These will be for short random type stuff that I don't want wait to write a column on.

I also plan on having a Weekend Poetry Post but it won't be a regular post more of a if I write something during the week then I'll post it on the weekend.

So that's the plan for the future of this blog. I want this blog to be my voice on the net and these are the types of things I want speaking about.

Until then I remain,
Gillian-Y

P.S. I said Monday but I might have an idea for Friday's column. So, I might start Friday but I will definitely start on Monday.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Cool Alert - Becoming Dragon

Welcome to the first Cool Alert on Infowhore Speaks. What's a Cool Alert? Basically it's me dancing around, shouting and pointing at something I think is 'cool' or exciting that is happening right now or will happen in the very near future. For example, Dr Horrible's Sing Along Blog would have gotten a Cool Alert during the time it was available for free if this blog had been around at the time (and if I had any readers).

Now on to what this Cool Alert is all about...

I'm more excited than I have been for a long time. My head is exploding and its all because of Micha Cárdenas.

Who is the person you may ask. The answer: only one of the coolest people in the world!

Why? Because right now she is living as a dragon in Second Life. How does one live as a dragon? Well you start with a heads up display with head tracking, so you can see what your avatar would see and look around freely. Then add a body suit with sensors so your actions can be mapped to your avatar. Finally put these on a transgender, genderqueer media artist, theorist and trouble maker named Micha Cárdenas. Hook it all up to Second Life for 365 hours and you have Becoming Dragon.



From the press release:

Becoming Dragon is a mixed reality, durational performance in Second Life...

Becoming Dragon questions the one year requirement of Real Life Experience that transgender people must fulfill in order to receive Gender Confirmation Surgery (Sexual Reassignment Surgery), and asks if this could be replaced by one year of Second Life Experience to lead to Species Reassignment Surgery.



Micha Cárdenas' live blog: http://secondloop.wordpress.com/
Beautiful pictures from places she is hanging out in. Makes me wish my laptop could run Second Life.

Flickr photostream: http://flickr.com/photos/azdelslade



A calendar of events:
http://secondloop.wordpress.com/2008/11/26/becoming-dragon-dec-1-17th-calendar-of-events-and-poster/

More information about the project can be found here:
http://sharingissexy.org/wiki/Becoming_Dragon

Link to the performance in Second Life:
http://slurl.com/secondlife/Seventh%20Eye/186/12/35

Monday, December 1, 2008

Introductions - In which I am like a smoothy

It's time I think to introduce myself.

But which self do I introduce. No, I don't have multiple personalities but I do have multiple personas.

I'm not me, except when I am me but which me am I.

I could be the geek and tell you of my comic collection and love of anime. My computers past and present could become the topic of the day. PS3s, X-Box 360s and Wiis, oh my.

I could be the bookworm and regale you with lists of books I've read multiple times. Pictures of my bookcases could wallpaper this blog and reviews of every book would fill the posts.

I could be the writer and write about writing. Everyday I could check in with the total number of words I had written that day. You could hear about how I'm stuck on this part or how the words are flying faster than I can type.

I could be the transgender woman and report on every change that my new hormoans bring. My first shopping trip would make a lovely post, don'cha think. Hormoans and clothes galore.

I could be the depressed girl and write dark poetry. My blog could languish for weeks until I came back and apologized for not posting more.

The truth is I'm all these and none of these. Like a blended drink made from fruit, milk and ice I cannot be separated, only consumed.

Tell next time I remain your hostess,

Gillian-y

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Trangender Day of Remembrance

In one week, it will be Thanksgiving Day for Americans. Turkeys will be roasted or fried by those more adventurous. Families will gather and many thanks will be given for the good things over the past year.

Today however is not a day for giving thanks. Today is November 20th the Transgender Day of Remembrance, the day we remember transgender individuals who have been killed in the last year. Vigils will be held, tears will be shed and we will all hope that next year's list of names is shorter.

www.transgenderdor.org has a full list of the dead. We know their names and how they died but what do we know of their lives? The murder of a transperson is big news. The gory details get reported. How many times the were shot, how many time they were stabbed, how many times they were beat in the head. The shock from the murderer, "I didn't know 'it' was a man."

Where is the person who was killed? What can you tell me about the kind of person there were, of their dreams or hopes for the future?

It's there if you look. I looked and here is what I could find...



Kellie Telesford



She worked in a beauty salon.



Patricia Murphy



She was a drag queen in New Mexico and was Miss New Mexico Gay Rodeo Association of 2008. She could sew beautiful dresses in hours.

"She was an icon in the community," said Wade Kuenzi, assistant manager and bartender at her favorite bar, Sidewinders Ranch gay bar.

She was studying to be a nurse and cared for an elderly man.

Patricia had recently adopted a puppy in the wake of her breakup with Shawn Arquette, her boyfriend of 14 years.

She never wanted to hurt anyone. When she was attacked outside of Sidewinders in 2006, her boyfriend had a hard time convincing her to care pepper spray afterward.



Adolphus Simmons



He moved into the Bradford Apartments in early 2007. He quickly made friends among the other tenets. He dressed as a woman, experimenting with hair weaves and colors.

From his friend Tiffany Wells:
"Soon, he was doing everybody's hair and making money at it."

"Simmons made sure that you didn't just get a nice hairdo but a lift for your spirits as well."

"He was a jokester. He liked to tell jokes and make you laugh."

Simmons quit his job at Captain D's to focus on the hairstyling. His mother, Felicia Moultrie, had her hair done for free.

"He was cuttin' a fool, and laughing and joking," Moultrie said.



Lawrence (Leticia) King



Go here http://www.newsweek.com/id/147790/page/1 for a well written article. Skip page 1 and page 5 if you don't want to read about her death.



Simmie Williams Jr.



She was a sensitive 17-year-old and had recently signed up for Job Corps. She aspired to attend culinary school and to become a chef.

Williams was openly-gay and lived with a supportive mother but had not come out as transgender at home.



Felicia Melton-Smyth



She was a transgender activist for LGBT and AIDS groups.

She worked during the day in the billing department for the University of Wisconsin Medical Foundation.

On nights and weekends, Melton-Smyth was a part-time employee at the Shamrock, where she helped raise money for AIDS initiatives. She was known there for cracking jokes as she served Sunday brunch.

"Her unofficial title here was cruise director. She took care of fundraising, parties, decorations. She kept the place in line," said Cheryl Vigdal, who worked with her six years at the bar. "The smiles, the jokes she put out, that was priceless around here."

In her own words:

"Living with Purpose" an article about tranisitioning and her aids work.
http://www.ourlivesmadison.com/node/31


"In Loving Memory of Felicia Melton-Smyth" an obituary she wrote herself.
http://www.ourlivesmadison.com/2008/07/01/in-loving-memory-of-felicia-melton-smyth



Angie Zapata



When she was 5 or 6, she draped towels over her head to look more like a girl. She liked fixing her sisters' hair or dabbling in makeup more than playing sports.

She worked as a shift manager at a fast food restaurant

She worried she would never be happy. She had met a man she liked but he wouldn't commit because of her transgender status.

Angie loved her family, especially her nieces and nephews. She also loved her godson Diego. She would buy them name-brand clothing and definitely Nike shoes. Even if she had a few dollars left, she would spend it on them, said her friend and transgender mentor, Kitty DeLeon.



Jaylynn L. Namauu

She attended Baldwin High School but never graduated. She lived with her parents in Kihei until her early twenties. She enjoyed swimming at Makena Landing and Big Beach in South Maui.

She was living in Honolulu after getting out of jail for violating her probation for forging a check.

"As far as I know, he really had a good heart. He was a sociable person. He was a good person," her sister-in-law Crystal Namauu said.

"People tease him because of what he was. He would just tell you straight what he thinks, but he wouldn't let it bother him."



Nakhia (Nikki) Williams



She painted and wrote poetry.



Aimee Wilcoxson

She loved to laugh, loved Madonna and was an activist for transgender women with HIV.

When she was diagnosed with terminal cancer one of the things that most bothered her was that she was going to miss seeing Madonna play at the Pepsi Center. After being told she had been misdiagnoesd it was one of the thing she was looking forward to most.



Teish (Moses) Cannon



Her family accepted her. Pictures of her dressed as a woman were on display in the family's living room.

"Teish was loving, caring and compassionate," said Rhonda Gary, Cannon's aunt. "She carried herself with respect."

She was unemployed but formerly worked as a supervisor at a Motel 6.



This is how I want to remember these people. Not for how they died but for how they lived.






Sources:
http://www.abqtrib.com/news/2008/jan/12/victim-albuquerques-first-fatal-shooting-08-was-lo/
http://www.charleston.net/news/2008/jan/23/friends_mourn_loss_jovial_teen_killed_sh28386/
http://www.nydailynews.com/news/ny_crime/2008/02/11/2008-02-11_slain_transgendered_neighbor_a_friend_of-2.html
http://www.pridesource.com/article.shtml?article=29491
http://www.startribune.com/19283944.html
http://www.denverpost.com/breakingnews/ci_10580442
http://archives.starbulletin.com/2008/08/02/news/story10.html
http://transgriot.blogspot.com/2008/09/goodbye-nikki.html
http://transgendernews.wordpress.com/2008/11/13/friends-reject-polices-take-on-transgender-womans-death/
http://www.syracuse.com/news/index.ssf/2008/11/syracuse_police_identify_shoot.html