Hawaii is still advancing more and more LGBT rights, the Hawaii House voted a project of law which would protect from discriminations during employment based on the gender identity.
So I decided on a name: Jacob Cael. Jacob to keep a name my mom and dad agreed upon and Cael to keep my C. Cat has been my nickname for a very long time, so I wanted to keep the spirit of it.
When you are identify as any form of genderqueer and don’t fit within the bounds of your given name, the process of legally changing your name is a good one to know. The law and cost differ from state to state and also county to county. Based on my research for myself, I will list the process in Virginia to give an outline of what the procedure entails. For more information on individual states and counties, contact a local circuit court, local lawyer, or visit a local government website.
As I continue to think about myself and my gender, there are certain questions which sprawl through my mind. I often find myself quoting in my head Romeo and Juliet: “What’s in a name? That which we call a rose / by any other name would smell as sweet” (Shakespeare II. ii. 47-48). These lines are important to remember, meaning that no matter what the name, the make up of the individual remains the same. Names are assigned, only a signifier of the person you are. So why am I discussing names?
I am slowly admitting to myself that I really am trans, that I do want to transition. I feel more comfortable with male pronouns, with a masculine chest, with my hairy legs. So how do you tell someone that? How do you explain to someone that your gender is not truly female, the sex you were born, that you are really male? What can you say to someone to get a person to understand?
I’m beginning this post much sooner than I normally manage. That’s because it’s Spring Break! It’s so exciting to be out of classes for a week and travelling and not working. And it means I’m halfway through the semester to graduation. So I’m still stressed, but in a manageable, determined to have fun kind of way.
But you know the exciting thing about traveling? No one knows you. You can be whoever you want to be. It gives me a chance to see who I am comfortable being without anyone asking questions. And I can just be. I can just do. I don’t have to think or worry or anything like that. I can just wake up and do whatever I want that day. Well, whatever I have money for anyway.
Over the past couple of weeks, I have been thinking a lot about myself, my personality, and my relationships. Generally, I tend to live for other people. I place my happiness in theirs. I try to make things better when they go wrong. I try to make sure everyone can pay their bills, has a place to live, and that no one is worried about me. I tend to place everyone else’s happiness before my own. And I don’t think I can do that anymore.
I don’t think I can because if I don’t live for me, I will never live. I am about to graduate from college, and I have to make sure I have a job. It isn’t realistic for me only to apply to jobs in my current town, even if that means leaving all of these people and places that are so important to me. There are only so many private, non-denominational schools in the US, most of them either being in big cities or in the North. I can’t limit myself geographically or I might not be able to take care of myself, let alone anyone else.
Let’s just get this out there: I am an English nerd. I love grammar, poetry, literature, letters, words in general, and I spend most of my days, whether in class or elsewhere, thinking about the nature of words and communication. I find it fascinating that a single word can mean so many things, yet each word means something only because we give it that significance. My personal definition for pretty could actually be ugly or some other antithesis, but what gives words their power is the meaning we all, as a united English-speaking (or any other language) entity, entrust to them.
Over time, words change: in meaning, spelling, some even are dropped from the language, or added. According to TIME.COM, the words bromance and frenemy were added to the Oxford Dictionary of English in 2010, words I had never heard until a few years ago (TIME.COM). Language is constantly evolving. So how has the word gender evolved?
Last night I got out of the shower and realized how hot it was in my apartment. I put on some boxers, a pair of shorts, but then I paused. I thought of how nice it would be not to care about putting on a shirt. I thought about what it would mean not to have to worry about my breasts, about being modest or proper.
So last night, I closed my door and left the shirt off, just let myself wonder what it would be like if I really didn’t have all those worries.
My mom asked me to write a post for her about how to cope with the fear she feels for me every day. She is afraid I will be hurt because of who I am, and that is a valid fear as hate crimes prevail across the country against every minority.
President Obama signed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act (HCPA) in October of 2009 after ten years of advocacy by the Human Rights Campaign (HRC). According to the HRC, “The HCPA gives the Department of Justice (DOJ) the power to investigate and prosecute bias-motivated violence by providing the DOJ with jurisdiction over crimes of violence where a perpetrator has selected a victim because of the person's actual or perceived race, color, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability” (“Matthew…”). Before the passage of this act, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, and disability were not included in the federal protections provided by different incarnations of the HCPA.
As the days pass, I keep thinking it is my last semester of college. I am about to go out and find my first real job, one with an actual salary instead of an hourly wage, one with people not necessarily my own age. I am about to leave the haven that has been my college experience, leave the place where above all, I feel comfortable and safe being who I am, no matter what that means. And it’s scary to realize I’ll be leaving, that this wonderful experience will be over.
I chose my college specifically for its accepting atmosphere. As a women’s college it has both lesbians and straights, gender queer women and transmen. In my time here, there have been no instances in which I have felt uncomfortable being myself. No one has ever come up to me to tell me God hates me or that I disgust them, and none of my friends have ever had those experiences on campus either. A friend who went to another college told me the other day her room was vandalized and she was threatened when she came out at school. She ended up leaving the school. It makes me so thankful for the environment and the acceptance the other LGBT people on campus and I have experienced here. I don’t think I am quite ready to leave this safe place, but I must be by May.
Looking back on my article from last week, I wanted to look back on Gender Identity Disorder (GID). First, I don’t think it is right to call it a disorder. The general connotation of disorder is something negative, something inherently wrong. Having a different gender identity is not wrong, so I have to say that I hate that it is called a disorder.
According to the Oxford English Dictionary (OED), a disorder is “a disturbance of the bodily (or mental) functions; an ailment, disease. (Usually a weaker term than disease and not implying structural change.” In other words, there is something wrong, and it isn’t quite a disease, though it is close, the difference being an absence of “structural change.” The OED is the end all be all when it comes to the definition of a word, including its origins, where it has been used with that meaning, generally it is academia’s dictionary. So when we follow this definition, I again assert that I do not like the word disorder. There is nothing wrong with me; I just feel differently about myself than do most people.
As I continue to think about my gender identity, I keep coming back to when I was a child. Most people who experience some kind of gender identity issue report that the difference became apparent in childhood, so I keep thinking back, wondering and remembering.
I keep thinking about my love of Spider Man, my distaste for Barbies, my dislike of dresses.