Vaginal Discourse

Earlier this month, Cathy Brennan and Elizabeth Hungerford submitted a brief to the United Nations alleging that trans* rights were a major threat to (cis) women’s rights. Last week, Beth Elliott (of Beth Elliot fame) wrote [TW: Rape, Transphobia] a response. I recommend reading the whole thing– it’s a wonderful evisceration of the standard arguments against trans* rights.

Also earlier this month, I lost a friend and teammate. Yesterday the local paper ran an excellent story on her passing. R.I.P. Ruby.

[Trigger warning for anxiety]

At some point, I’m going to write a length post about both how trans*ness intersects with my mental health and how society devalues care for mental illness.

However, I’m out of Ativan, so that’s not going to happen. Instead, a pair of observations:

If you ever run out of anxiety medication, don’t wear a charm bracelet. I didn’t even know I liked charm bracelets, but my daughter picked one out for my birthday, and it’s awesome. Anyhow, as the last of my pills wore off yesterday, I started to develop the very subtle shakes that have become part of my professional and personal repertoire. With enough effort on my part, I’m typically able to keep these under the radar when I’m in public. That’s where the charm bracelet comes in.

“Is there a cat running around in the corner of your office? I’m pretty sure I just heard a cat.”

When I got home, my partner had just told our daughter that we’d be spending Friday afternoon at the fair.

“I’m going to ride a biiiiiiiiiig roller coaster with Mommy!”

“I don’t think they’ll let you on; you’re only three. Besides, Mommy is afraid of roller coasters.”

“Nooooo, silly Momma! Mommy’s not afraid of anything!”

This struck me as hilarious, until I realized that I’m a storyteller, a talking dog, and an airplane.

Over a decade ago (before I came out), the day my hair was long enough to pull back into a ponytail (or pony nub) was one of the highlights of the year. Now, 19 times out of 20, my having a ponytail means that FFS I’ve got yet another thing to take care of.

After a few days in the Adirondacks, rummaging through robber barons’ bookshelves, I’m somewhat refreshed. Here’s some things I’ve been reading to get the bad taste out of my mouth:

-Monica Roberts has a post up about silicone pumping amongst trans* women of color. It’s partly in response to this recent story from The New York Times.

-Matt Kailey tells the story of his first visit to a support group for trans* people.

-Do you like the good folks at Smith-Corona? Do you want tips on how to navigate doctors’ offices while fat? If so, you should check out Mrs. Arvoidupois’ guest post on Hanne Blank’s blog.

MtF Confessions is a Tumblr. It’s interesting, albeit frequently soul-crushing.

-s.e. smith has the lowdown on TSA’s new “chat down” procedure, and on the intersection of privilege and psychological profiling.

-Please phrase your compliments for Rebecca in the form of actual compliments.

Thank you again for all the recent donations. I’d say your premiums are in the mail, but I don’t have anything to offer ATM. In any case, when I get back from my whiskey and Ativan fueled vacation, I’ll be using the substantial amount of money I’ve raised to start electrolysis during days off from my paying gig.

Including the latest generous donation, I’m now up to $1600! Yay for everybody! Thank you! EXCLAMATION POINT!

My life promises to be hectic as always in the coming month, but you should be on the lookout for:
-Me asking you if you’d like to contribute a guest post
-My explaining to the uninitiated how one buys a cunt and otherwise accesses transition-related care
-A discussion of what comes next (i.e., is it possible to use this project as springboard to help other trans* folks access medical care?)
-A discussion of merchandise and artwork (Huh! What is it good for?)

Also, there’ll probably be another blogaround soon.

In the meantime, I’m going to soothe my frazzled nerves by crashing a friend’s lakeside family reunion. I’ll be bringing along Herta Müller, because she’s the single least depressing author my local library stocks. Seriously, I love her work, and nothing says relaxation like tales from the Ceauşescu regime.

xox
Kate

When I started this project, I was hoping it was something that I could spent a bit of time with each day, constantly making progress. To an extent, that’s happening. Lots of people are commenting in some of the threads. While donations are down after a phenomenal opening-week surge, they’re still trickling in. Still, I feel like I should be ramping things up.

I was worried about the stress of this project. I mean, to be successful, I’d have to be talking about my junk to an awful lot of strangers. This would also mean thinking about my junk quite a bit. And of course, that’s depressing. There are essentially two endpoints on the continuum– I could give up on any hope of having surgery, and do my best to put it out of my mind. While that’s not a terribly effective strategy, I’ve found that it can work okay for me for a while. On the other end, I could be really driven to get things done! That involves optimism, at the expense of having to face the problem. Realistically, from time-to-time, I’m going to need to hang out somewhere in the middle.

Like pretty much everyone else I know, I’m stressed about everything: my finances, my friends and relatives’ finances, my job, my career, my car, my kids school, and there are tons of things I need (and often want) to be involved in: carrying for my partner and our daughter, tending to the garden, captaining a roller derby team, trying to make time to write on the blogosphere, trying to make time to write, off the blogosphere. You know, figuring out how the heck my family’s going to get by today, tomorrow, a month, year, or decade from now. It’s all very stressful. To the extent that A Cunt of One’s Own gives me hope (and a great space in which to share some writing), it’s a great thing. However, it also needs love and care.

Thus, at some point I need to start growing the blog- more specifically, increasing readership and convincing strangers to make donations. That, in itself strikes me as a bit creepy and depressing. However, it’s a function of my need to raise money. That’s just the way it is. I do think things are going swimmingly after nearly a month, but I can’t let the stress of growing the blog counteract the hope and strength it gives me. This, along with all of my other obligations is a reason I’ll likely miss the occasional stretch of days. I need time to put this in perspective. I need time to take care of myself.

So, I may occasionally go a while without posting anything. Do not take that as I sign that I have given up.

[Trigger warning for transphobia and prisoner abuse]

Back in 2006, the Wisconsin Legislature passed Act 105, the “Inmate Sex Change Prevention Act”. [Good thing we had a Democratic governor at the time. Whoops!]

The act banned the state from providing trans* prisoners hormone therapy or surgery.

This happened at the exact same time I was struggling to secure medical care for myself. It was nice to know that three blocks away from my house, my bosses at The State of Wisconsin were willing to spend their time demonizing folks like me.

I thought about this a lot as I drove down the Northwest Tollway to Chicago, where the Chicago Cubs were graciously paying for my tits*, and the State of Illinois was patiently holding my semen.

After I spent a substantial amount of time, money, and emotional energy getting things squared away, I recall writing** state legislators:

Hey assholes,

I’ve given my life to eating jello salad, protecting your crops, and teaching your children, and you fuckers are having the people of Illinois subsidize my medical bills? Nice work.

xox
Kate

PS: To hell with the Packers.

Needless to say, I had a car, and a job, and a studio apartment that was not a prison cell. So, unlike three trans* women that sued the state when the Department of Corrections took away their hormones, I had options.

A while back, a court sided with the trans* women in ruling Act 105 unconstitutional. Because the State of Wisconsin would rather spend bazillions of dollars defending its bigotry than actually shelling out a few thousand bucks a year on life and money saving drugs, the state appealed.

Today the Seventh Circuit of the U.S. Court of Appeals upheld the earlier ruling in favor of current and future trans* inmates. Snippets from [TW] the ruling are below. Read more…

A few weeks back, I had a great idea premised on my having tons of time and energy. Whoooops! Anyhow, I thought it would be instructive to dedicate a page to documenting any and all known fundraisers tied to medical expenses. You know, it’d be something relaxing for my days off.

Just to underscore the odds of my actually making that happen, I’ve been recently overwhelmed with the number of personal tragedies in my neighborhood, in my life, and on the Internet. With that in mind, I wanted to draw your attention to a pair of worthy causes that caught my attention this week:

The Aliza Brain Trust

On Monday, July 25, 2011, Aliza Shapiro, the big brains behind Truth Serum Productions, was admitted to the hospital and is being treated for a stroke caused by a cerebral hemorrhage.

As a self-employed event producer, artist, and activist in the Boston music and queer arts communities for over 15 years, Aliza has neither employer benefits nor deep resources to support her during this rehabilitation time. Aliza’s Brain Trust is a way to help support her by raising money for her treatment and expenses during her recovery, as well as fostering the amazing community connections Aliza has created and is a vital part of.

Help a Financially Screwed Woman of Color with Mental Illness Survive for a Bit, a benefit for Tasha Fierce

My name is Tasha Fierce, and I’m a writer/blogger who is also a queer woman of color and who has bipolar I disorder. Right now I’ve been officially unemployed since I got laid off in May 2009 and was not/am not able to find a job. I’ve done writing for money, and odd jobs but now I’m symptomatic again and I CAN’T write OR work so I’m trying to figure out what I’m going to do because my insurance premium is so high I’m having to get help from my mother who doesn’t really have the money to begin with. I have to have insurance or the cost of my medication would be even higher. I have no regular income, and when I do it’s in the $50 range, to last me 3 weeks. Our house is being foreclosed on, so I need money to move, of which I clearly have none. So if I don’t have money to move, I’m on the street in a couple months.

Anyway, that’s my sob story. Basically, if you donate you’ll be doing these things:

* helping me buy food/groceries
* helping me pay for medication/doctor bills etc.
* helping me save up to have an apartment to go to when foreclosure is done
* helping me get out of this hole so I can write again
* helping me pay for utilities etc.
* helping me be less anxious/depressed about money so I can write again

There’s probably more, but I can’t think of them right now. My organizational thinking is kind of impaired.

Any amount helps, and if you can’t donate, please spread the link so hopefully people who can will. Thank you so much for even reading/caring.

<3
Tasha Fierce

Read more…

Bloomberg Businessweek:

The nation’s third-largest health insurance company is the latest to leave the individual policy market in Indiana in another sign of diminishing competition to benefit consumers who purchase policies through a state insurance exchange under the federal health care overhaul.

However, [Deputy Insurance Commissioner Robyn] Crosson, in her letter [announcing the news to the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services], said Aetna was leaving the Indiana individual market over a rule in the federal health care overhaul that insurers essentially must dedicate 80 percent of the premiums they collect to medical care. Anything less than 80 percent would be paid as rebates to policyholders the following year.

Crosson said Aetna and four other insurers — Pekin, American Community Mutual, Cigna, and Guardian Life — cited the 80 percent rule, known formally as the medical loss ratio, as their reasons for leaving the individual market in Indiana over the past year.

Leave it to for-profit corporations to decide that profit is more important than helping people. Who could have possibly predicted this?