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It’s been five months since I had the surgery. It went well. I recently read that between 80–90 percent of female-identified post-operative transsexuals can achieve orgasm. I wish I had read that before. They always make it seem like there is a high chance it won’t work. Even the recovery was pretty smooth…save for that first day at home when the only mirror I could find to dilate with was a 5x magnification mirror — I cried. My vag even has a secondary clitoris in the canal. A specialty of my surgeon. While it is a little heteronormative, I am glad he has design and function on his mind. Even a few weeks after surgery, after the swelling had gone down a bit, it looked very typical. It wasn’t like some of the uncanny valley vaginas you see on surgeons’ websites; it isn’t shaven, clean, or dry. Rather it is verisimilitude; it’s wet, smelly, and covered in pubic hair. And even as much as I bristle at medical processes and their attempt to construct narratives around being transgender through surgical interventions — the last thing I heard before going under the knife was the assistant leaning over me to say I would wake a new woman — I am nevertheless fascinated by this venereal construct; it’s not the locus of my gender and sex, but it’s cool. …


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Many have recently wondered why J. K. Rowling, Harry Potter series author and prolific auto-retconner, has recently made so many anachronistic “feminist” statements about the transgender community. Not only does her writing and comments about transgender persons fall short of the standards of emergent fourth-wave feminism, but they also fall outside of established third-wave norms — the wave which saw the expansion of feminist discourse to include people of colour, black, queer, and even trans perspectives. Rowling’s writing on the topic more and more seem to conform to fringe second-wave radical feminist ideas about gender and sex essentialism — a form of feminism dominated by over-privileged middle-class white women. Some sources have stepped forward to suggest that this might be because she is a reptoid. These long-lost reptile-like humanoids are known to crawl out of caverns which lead up from the hollow earth — being holdovers of saurian evolution. Experts claim that Rowling’s ideas about static and essential gender are to cover her own mutable memetic human shapeshifting — essentially a distraction strategy to hide her true reptilian form. …


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This year is good — by all accounts. I count years by the academic calendar. I mean, politically it is a nightmare (this is why I avoid the calendar year — I’m always out of sync). And COVID is just the harbinger of how we cannot deal with climate change. But it’s okay, I’ve made my peace with it. No matter what we do, Earth will eventually become part of the Sun’s swollen coronasphere, and we will be ash and memory. So why not now? Why not expedite it? But this year has been a good year gauged by the personal metrics of neoliberal self-actualization. I bought a house — and I think I just broke the induction hob…I cook on magnetic fields! I got a new shiny vagina, and I finished my research-masters in a country I’d never even been too. Isn’t it the dream of so many North Americans to return to Europe? Reverse colonialism. I’m starting my Ph.D. I’m married, I get good psychological support. My family loves me. And yet, five minutes ago, I just heated a knife in my cast-iron pan via magnetic fields — or something — and burnt three marks into my upper arm. …


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From “Metropolis”

“I do know that for the sympathy of one living being, I would make peace with all. I have love in me the likes of which you can scarcely imagine and rage the likes of which you would not believe. If I cannot satisfy the one, I will indulge the other.”
Mary Shelley, Frankenstein

Recently I’ve been taking a nap around 2 pm most afternoons. In isolation, there isn’t much to do, and I am having bad hayfever. Last week, before one of these naps, I read in the paper that normal hospital operations were resuming in the Netherlands. My SRS was cancelled in February as we were moving into lockdown. I briefly wondered if this news would affect me before putting it out of my head until 3:20 when I received a real live phone call. I picked up my phone groggily, realizing I didn’t know how to answer a real phone call. The little green arrows seemed to suggest I slide the pulsating phone icon up; I did so and whispered, “hello.” A voice declared they were calling from the Velsen clinic, did I remember them. Yes. They then asked if I would be ready for surgery soon. How soon I asked? They replied, May 5th. I told the person on the phone I had just woken up and needed a moment. …


*Spoilers for Star Trek Picard and other Trek

I want to avoid the minutiae of the finale episode, so I will avoid the first half; it was fine. It reflects some of the larger plot issues of the series more broadly — though I believe they are mostly mitigated by outstanding performances (and the finale works better when watching part i and ii as a whole). However, the last half of this episode had lots of utopian Trek, which I need in my life right now (don’t we all). So let’s start with space flowers. This was a lot of sci-fi fun and ridiculousness, it felt apropos of the space hippy tropes from the original series, just on a bigger budget with 21st-century production technology. …


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19th Century Egg Diagram (unknown artist)

“It’s possible to name everything and to destroy the world.”
― Kathy Acker

*I’m trying out edgier titles. I felt like “The Tyranny of Categories” sounded a little stiff and unwelcoming.

**Also, this is a little delayed, but I’ve been busy and it’s still important.

I have deleted Facebook from my devices, save for my laptop. There is so much shitty stuff that comes up that I just don’t need in my life. Whenever I log on I’m inundated by news of all the horrible things that are happening to our community; it’s overwhelming. I don’t use other social media, so it’s not a problem. Nevertheless, I was on Facebook on my laptop, five minutes ago, and I saw something which made me reflect on a topic I’ve been ruminating over lately: ever since the last attack on Contrapoints. The specific motivation for this most current rumination is a reposting by Sophie Labelle (Quebecois artists and activist, I think she is great FYI). It was a comic someone else had drawn and posted to the Facebook group “Transgender Shitposting.” It depicted two trans masculine guys. One had dysphoria and hated all trans people who don’t have it and who don’t want medical treatment (screen captures of the comic below). And the other character was in the opposing camp, happy with himself and unaffected by dysphoria or transphobia. I assume that these two characterizations are stand-ins for the recent Contrapoints truscum incident. If you don’t know what “truscum” is, it means trans people who think you need to be a medicalized trans body to be transgender, i.e. a transsexual. Recently, a Contrapoints video featured a long-time “trans” activist who was accused of being truscum. I am not sure if this is a fair characterization based on his offending tweets (maybe it is?). He seems to be more like a person who does not identify as transgender, as it does not reflect his experience, which is more in line with transsexuality. This is okay, as long as the person in question doesn’t try to exclude people who don’t have this medicalized experience from claiming the label “transgender.” …


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John Leech, 1843. The British Library

“You don’t believe in me,” observed the Ghost.

“I don’t,” said Scrooge.

“What evidence would you have of my reality beyond that of your senses?”

“I don’t know,” said Scrooge.

“Why do you doubt your senses?”

“You may be an undigested bit of beef, a blot of mustard, a crumb of cheese, a fragment of underdone potato. There’s more of gravy than of grave about you, whatever you are!”

— Charles Dickens

Last Christmas I had a premonition. I was suddenly obsessed with A Christmas Carol, I reread it, I watched two different versions of it. My partner thought I was mad — and she’s British and a literature teacher. I had gone back to Canada, something I rarely do, and I was surrounded by family. Even though my medical transition is now approaching four years, they rarely get to see me. To add to this sense of absence, I’ve been living abroad for almost ten years. I felt I was in a ghostly, yet festive, landscape. I didn’t know how to write about it at the time from a trans perspective. So, I shelved it. One year later, I’ve completed — mostly — a dissertation on transgender spectres. …


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“Every revolution evaporates and leaves behind only the slime of a new bureaucracy.”

—Kafka

“The time is out of joint.”

— Hamlet

Last night my partner bought me a gold Casio digital watch for my three-year hormone anniversary. The watch is anachronistic, dischronic, an artifact of 80s nostalgia. Mark Fisher views the prevalence of such nostalgia for the paraphernalia of the past as the cancellation of the future. The present is flooded by the ghosts of yesterday. My future won’t materialize. The time is out of joint.

***

I arrived at Utrecht Central Station to find the direct train to The Hague had just taken offline for construction. I now had to go backwards, around the Randstad loop. As I sat in the nonspace of the train, the rain lashed in rivulets down the long windows, a streaking star field of pathetic fallacy. Time felt dilated, the world was moving and I was staying the same, stuck in a long present moment. I missed my stop and had to get onto another train before disembarking at The Hague’s central station. The office building housing the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was adjacent to the station, one of only a few tall buildings cloistered together in the administrative centre of the Netherlands. I entered the building into a long rectilinear lobby. I approached a kiosk in the centre of the room and took a ticket for legalization of documents. I sat across from a bank of windows which were the service interface between the bureaucratic and the human world. Each window was fitted with a microphone and a drawer to pass papers through, a liminal portal between worlds. …


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“It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end.”
Ursula K. Le Guin, The Left Hand of Darkness

Transitioning can be wonderful, affirming, and lifesaving. But it can also be a deeply problematic process; unless you’re rich and have access to resources and services. And while access to hormones is becoming more available for those of us who reject the binary notions the trans healthcare system is based upon, accessing medical services is still mired in ideas of binary sex and cis/hetero normativities. …


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Audrey Hepburn drinking tea(?)

I have noticed an increase in the usage of “biological sex,” even on trans based blogs and social media feeds. This term is accidentally offensive at best, and a transphobic dog-whistle at worst — please stop using it! “Cisgender” is a better term to identify people who align with their sex/gender assigned to them at birth—not “biological woman” or “biological man.” And “assigned sex” refers to the sex a doctor labels someone when they are born—not “biological sex.” The first issue with concept of biological sex is that it enforces a rather dated and simplistic understanding of sex and biology. It suggests an exclusively dimorphic sex morphology: i.e. a “typical” female or male binary anatomy; this is not the case, bodies are more complicated than this. Many bodies defy classical sex definitions and dimensions. With regards to genitals, this also doesn’t work, as it omits intersex people — intersex people appear too often in the general population to be discounted as anomalous. There is a long history of violence and torture that has been done to intersex infants to make them conform to “typical” sex morphology — often at the expense of their mental health. And torture is the correct term here, as it is used to describe intersex infant genital mutilation in a human rights context. More specifically, and most internally (and therefore seemingly immutably), biological sex posits two chromosome types as the base reality of sex. …

About

AstraSubDomina

I’m trans, a grad student in gender studies, and a legal researcher.

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