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First blog post

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Hello! My name is Tom, my pronouns are he/him. This is my blog where I ramble about various thoughts in my head, write reviews of books I read, and may document parts of my life. Feel free to poke around.

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Breasts

(As a preface to this, I am a trans man who started taking testosterone when I was 18, which means I already went through estrogen-puberty and so have visible breasts. And no you do not have to take testosterone or have a double mastectomy to be trans.)

I have been considering top surgery for the last week. My breasts have been increasingly the subject of my dysphoria lately, and so I’m considering whether it would be worth it to have them removed. I really don’t want to do this, for several reasons: a) I generally don’t like to permanently make changes to my body, which is why I don’t have any tattoos or piercings and why it took me so long to decide that I wanted to go on testosterone, b) it’s a pretty serious surgery, which means the recovery time is not insignificant and I don’t know if that’s a wise decision, c) if my partner and I ever become parents of a baby I want to be able to breastfeed them, and d) my dysphoria isn’t debilitating and my breasts don’t prevent me from being a man, so surgery wouldn’t be strictly necessary either.

So, given all those cons, it’s a pretty safe bet to assume that I probably will not end up getting top surgery. But nevertheless, my dysphoria is still an annoying pain in the ass right now. I mainly get dysphoria in situations where I’m going to be part of a group of strangers who don’t know I’m trans (because despite my out-and-proud policy I still fear that other people won’t see me as a real man) and around people who specifically comment on my chest in negative ways (*cough*my partner’s mother*cough*). So that’s what makes me wonder whether I would be relieved if I got this weight off my chest (yes, pun very much intended, lol). In all seriousness, probably not. But it sure is tempting.

I just wish I had people in my life who would counter my dysphoria by affirming that my chest is fine the way it is and then my breasts do not make me any less of a man.

So instead, I will say this to you, trans man reading this who doesn’t want to or can’t get top surgery. Your chest is absolutely fine the way it is, and you are beautiful just how you are. Your breasts do not make you any less of a man or any more of a woman. Breasts have no gender in and of themselves, they’re just tissue. Everyone has breasts, some are just bigger than others. Are you a man? Boom, they are now male breasts. If you need to bind them, go for it, but please don’t do it for the sake of someone else. Just tell ’em men have boobs, and if they can’t accept that, then fuck ’em.

Trans People Reinforce Gender Roles

So, that title is not true. At all. However, I think this actually raises an interesting point.

(What I’m saying is based on my own experience and that of the people around me, so I may be wrong in my characterization)

Here’s the thing, trans people don’t actually reinforce gender roles or stereotypes or sexism or anything like that. That’s simply because trans people are all different and experience their genders differently. Many trans women are not stereotypically feminine, many non-binary people are not particularly androgynous, and many trans men are far from masculine. We are people, just like cis people, and we can be so many different ways.

But you know who does reinforce gender roles? Doctors who treat trans people. How so? Well, doctors are in a somewhat tricky spot. On the one hand, they have to treat people who are unwell, that’s the purpose of their profession. But they also have to abide by the rule of “first, do no harm” in their hippocratic oath. So when it comes to trans people asking for hormones, surgeries, or simple letters certifying that they indeed identify as the gender that they say they are, doctors are afraid that if they go ahead and provide them with those services, that it will come around and bite them in the ass if the trans person changes their mind in the future and tries to sue the doctor for any damages caused by their own bad decision. Doctors are really terrified of that. And it doesn’t matter that the rate of people who “detransition” is around 0.3%, they still don’t trust us because they see us as inherently mentally ill, not helped by the fact that a lot of trans people do indeed have mental illnesses, often caused by anti-trans trauma they have experienced. So what do they do? They try to “make sure” that a trans person is “really” a man or a woman or a whatever, and most often they do this based on how closely the trans person adheres to gender roles. Because to these doctors, that seems like the best way to tell. Or if you want to look at it more cynically, the doctors are regulating who gets to be a man or a woman, who is “fit” to become a man or a woman. It can manifest in really overt ways, such as a trans woman being denied surgery because she identifies as a lesbian, or it can be more subtle, such as a non-binary person who was designated female at birth not being given access to testosterone because they always liked to play with dolls as a child and currently wear dresses and makeup.

There are many more ways that doctors act as gatekeepers, especially when age and mental health and family support are involved, but here I’m just addressing the specific issue of medical professionals upholding the values of sexism.

So please, stop blaming us for supporting gender roles, start blaming the doctors!

Your Kid Is Not Too Young

Listen.

Kids have gender-related feelings and identities.

Kids are not “pre-people”. They are developing at a relatively fast pace, and going through lots of changes, but they are people from day 1. Adults do not suddenly stop changing on their eighteenth birthday. We simply slow way down , and become a little more stable.

If your kid can come to you and say “I’m not a girl, Daddy! I think I’m a boy.” then they can also come back and say “Daddy, I think I got it wrong, I think I am a girl after all.” Being trans is not an “irreversible decision” as some warn. Kids are never allowed hormones until they’ve reached adolescence (when kids’ hormones propel them into puberty). And kids are not allowed to access sexual reassignment surgery because of how intense the surgery is in terms of possible complications and length of recovery. So trans kids don’t even have any irreversible decisions TO make!

Getting new clothes that your kid is comfortable with has no negative consequences, and neither does using the name and pronouns they ask you to.

Signed, a trans adult who used to be a kid

Critiques of the 10* Commandments

The context for this, as I understand it, is the Jewish people were just liberated from Egyptian slavery and were being led to Israel by God through Moses. Because the journey was far and difficult, people began to do stuff God didn’t like, and Moses went to pray or something on top of a mountain to “chat” with God about it.

Anyway, these 10 Commandments, are they orders to be adhered to, literally, always, and by all people? And how do we know that any of that really happened? Or that it was God’s commandments and not Moses making it up because he didn’t like some of the stuff his people were doing?

Let’s take a look at the 10 Commandments.

1st Commandment

I am the Lord your God who brought you out of bondage. You shall have no other gods but me. *You shall not make for yourself any idol.

(I included the asterisk because some consider it part of the first commandment while others consider it as its own)

Okay so the first sentence is

I am the Lord your God who brought you out of bondage.

Now, to be fair, I don’t speak or read modern or ancient Hebrew, Aramaic, or Greek, so I don’t know what the original text says, nor was I there at the time so I don’t know the cultural nuances. But anyway. It’s one thing for God to call Himself “your God”, because technically He is a God and so that makes Him “our” God so-to-speak, the same way the sky is “ours”. But Lord means king means master. And while yes He may have inconceivable power over us, being omnipotent and all, but “Lord” carries a connotation of intentional superiority. Also, God didn’t bring me out of bondage, or my ancestors for that matter, so if this is how and why we’re supposed to thank Him, then I don’t see how that applies to me.

The next part is: “You shall have no other gods but me.

So, there are other gods? Since when? Or does He mean He’s the only god that actually matters? If that’s the case, why can’t we also worship them? God doesn’t give any justification for it.

Next, He says: “You shall not make for yourself any false idols.

Again, why not? You can’t just demand that people do things without giving them a good reason. And God didn’t exactly define what “idol” means, so how are we supposed to know what counts as an idol and what doesn’t? Also, God said no false idols, so real idols are cool then? How do we distinguish them?

2nd Commandment

The second commandment is

“You shall not invoke with malice the Name of the Lord your God.”

Now, I actually like the way this is written. I’ve always heard this passage as a prohibition against speaking about God in a less-than-reverent way, as well as sayings such as “oh my God” or “God-damn-it” and the like. Which, at least the second part, I guess is understandable, I mean, I wouldn’t like it if people used my name any which way. But at the same time, why does God care? But this version says “with malice”(I had never heard that before) which I like much better if it means “don’t hide behind God to be a dick to people”. On the other hand, if it means don’t talk to God in a hateful way, I basically get it, but He has got to understand that He’s given MANY people a pretty good reason to be angry.

3rd Commandment

The third commandment is:

“Remember the Sabbath Day and keep it holy.”

This probably requires a more Jewish understanding and also just what the Sabbath even means, so, I won’t say too much until I find out more. My current understanding is that the Sabbath is the day God rested after He created everything (but I don’t understand why Christians decided to just replace regular Sabbath with Sabbath on Sunday to celebrate Christ’s Resurrection), which okay whatever but why do we have to praise God for creating us? We didn’t ask to be brought into existence. I certainly didn’t! In fact many of us wish we’d never been born. I’m not saying ‘thank you’ for a crummy gift I never wanted. In fact, God didn’t create us for us, He created us for His own pleasure. And I’m supposed to be grateful?

4th Commandment

“Honor your father and mother.”

Why? God, dude, you seriously need to start explaining this stuff, otherwise don’t get pissed when we don’t follow your rules. Anyway, what does it mean to honor your parents? Does it mean obedience? Does it mean we have to love them? What if your parents treated you poorly, perhaps even abused you? What does honoring an abusive parent even look like?

5th Commandment

“You shall not commit murder.”

I mean yeah okay I guess. But what consists of ‘murder’? Taking a life? Intentionally killing a human? What about abortion? What about eating meat? How does self-defense play into this?

6th Commandment

“You shall not commit adultery.”

AGAIN, why not? Because it hurts people’s feelings? I mean, that’s a pretty good reason, but why specifically mention adultery, as opposed to making a commandment to honor our promises, and doing no harm? And what is adultery? A married person having sexual relations with anyone other than their spouse? What about polyamorous relationships?

7th Commandment

“You shall not steal.”

Why not? How is ‘stealing’ defined? Could it be rephrased as ‘Do not take that which does not belong to you’ without altering the meaning? Is this command constantly true, or true in most cases? Is Robin Hood “stealing” from the rich to give back to the poor wrong but the rich exploiting the poor totally cool?

8th Commandment

“You shall not bear false witness.”

I assume this means lying? I mean sure, but it’s been commonly understood that lying is okay under certain circumstances. So are God’s commandments constantly true or are there rules about the rules?

9th Commandment

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s spouse.”

O…kay? How is that different from #6?

10th Commandment

“You shall not covet your neighbor’s house.”

Again, how is that different from #7? Or why not make #9-10 one commandment that says you shall not covet, period?