The Sound of Insects: A Collection of Random 2:30AM Thoughts


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The music of insects at 2:30AM is exquisite. They harmonise beautifully with each other as the leaves sway in the wind. Why didn’t I know this before?

As I tap my foot and ask myself what keeps me from getting up and dancing in the back yard – it’s not the landlord; he already knows I’m weird – I observe all the random thoughts that meander through my brain.

I have a random memory of that guy I flirted with many years ago, when I was still living as Nancy. We both seemed to toy with the idea of asking the other out for a couple of weeks before he finally said: “So, what are you doing this weekend?” I replied that I was performing in a drag king show on Friday but that I was free on Saturday. I never heard from him again.

Oh, it’s ok. Don’t be sad. I’m not. I’ve come to be amused by the limits people keep on themselves.

My brain moves on and it occurs to me that some thoughts are like candy. My brain enjoys thinking about them so much that it could just keep thinking them for hours and not get bored. For example, the concept of thinking. Delicious.

But sometimes there is a glitch in the system – kind of like when there is a brown out and your screen does this weird jumpy thing. It happens so fast that you’re not sure whether you really saw it. Same with my brain. But then the brain candy is gone. Poof! And I can’t remember it’s texture or taste. Just that it was SO GOOD.

Those insects though. *tap tap*

For the first time in just about forever, as far as I know, I picture myself as myself. Well, it’s more like I feel/see the energy I’m projecting out into the world as looking like me and not like someone else.

It occurs to me that synesthesia makes life really interesting. Combined with an introvert brain, it makes it so that I’m never really bored as long as I have my thoughts. They are not just like candy. They take on a multisensorial nature so that I don’t just think them. I see, feel, hear, taste, and smell them.

Then there was this guy I danced with tonight who thought I must be wearing a wig. I let him pull on it. It was amusing.

But sometimes it’s really hard to choose between Skittles and Froot Loops.

3:00AM and the insects are still at it. I should really come listen to them more often.


Honouring My Father Through Complicated Mourning



Warning: This is an EXTREMELY LONG post. It is copied from a Word document that is over 11 pages long. I don’t expect many people will read it. And I don’t really care. I wrote it for myself, and decided to publish it on my blog in case my son ever wants to read it, so that he can know more about his own history.

Otherwise, some folks who have dealt with or who are currently dealing with complicated mourning might be interested. I know I am not the only person in the world who had a parent, or someone else die, with whom one had a complicated relationship.

Content warning: addictions, suicide, childhood abuse, racism, anti-semitism, anti-Black racism, white supremacy, emotional incest, sexism.

Continue reading

First Banana


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At the 19 year old’s request, I mash up a banana to put into the pancake batter he is mixing up. As I mash, I have a flashback to 18 year ago…

On a road trip somewhere, and my baby is hungry. I have a banana, but no bowl or fork to mash it with. I decide to do it the way humans have probably done things since the beginning of our presence on earth, and pre-chew some banana. He eagerly has his first taste of banana from my fingertip, gazing up at me in that adorable way that babies have as I chew up a bit more for him.

And 18 years later, I look over at his happy face as I scrape the mashed banana into the pancake batter. He’s not a little baby anymore, but he is still my banana-loving baby.

It Started With The Traffic Lights


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Here is the beginning of a story I just created, based on a combination of real life events and random stuff from the scary depths of my brain.* Or maybe it’s a whole story. I actually like stories with no clear ending, but I’m weird like that.


It started with the traffic lights. But no one really knew this was a sign of things to come.

No big deal, we thought. Some traffic lights are down. It’s happened before. Ok, it was a little strange to see that they were down near one metro station, then see that they were also down several stations down the line. Then to hear they were out all over the city.

But still. Traffic lights. Big deal.

Then they were down the next day, and the day after. And on the fourth day, some of us thought that it was a little odd.

But, ya know, friggin’ traffic lights. Who cares.

Life still needed to happen because your landlord wouldn’t care that the traffic lights were down when the rent cheque was due.

So we got so used to having no working traffic lights that we didn’t really think anything of it when they vanished.

Not to mention that by that time, the street lights had already started walking. In the daytime, we noticed it less because, well, the lights were off. But the first few nights of roaming lights and shadows were a bit disconcerting. Some folks even stopped going out after dark.

Not us, though. While it was a strange sight the first time we saw them traipsing around, going about the business that humans normally would attend to, we got used to that too. And the sight, very early one morning, of a big street light tenderly holding the hand of smaller one as they crossed the street, making their own light in the pre-dawn darkness, was strangely endearing. And eventually, we had only vague memories of the days of traffic lights and immobile street lights.


*The first sentence is based on a real-life occurrence: on my way home from work, several sets of traffic lights were down. Some of them were near work and some of them were close to home. Apparently, while I was busy working, a storm happened.

The last part (for now, or maybe forever), is based on a dream, daydream, or hallucination – can’t remember which – I had back in 1996 or 1997. A mommy street light was walking down the street with a child street light while carrying a grocery bag (the plastic kind, cause it was 1996 or 1997).

Coming Out as Trans: Non-Safety Related Dilemmas


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We often talk about how coming out is not a one time thing: in different contexts through our lives, we have to make decisions about coming out. We also often talk about how these decisions are based on psychological or physical safety. Like many trans folks that have “passing privilege”, even though I’m out quite publicly – anyone who finds out because of google and thinks they can blackmail me is shit outta luck! – I’ve had to make enough of these contextual decisions that I’ve lost count.

However, there are reasons other than safety that come up for me sometimes and these are what I want to talk about today.

This evening, in a conversation that had absolutely nothing to do with anything trans, a group of us were discussing childbirth. A cisgender man was talking about how as men – with a nod in my direction – “we” can’t ever understand what women who give birth go through. He has no idea that I’m a mother who gave birth to a child. Why would he? I’ve never “come out” to him. I haven’t actively hidden it – it just never came up and, like with a whole other things about me, I don’t tend to bring up my transness until it’s relevant to a conversation or context. It’s part of my efforts at rendering transness as “just another thing”, so banal that it doesn’t need to come up.

But in a moment like this, or in a moment like the one where a group of women I was with were sharing their birthing stories, I have to make speedy decisions.

There is a part of me that feels that my experience of childbirth is just as valid and deserves to be heard. That “hiding” it, even indirectly through omission, is to dishonour my birthing of a very important person in my life.

There is also a part of me that knows damn well that me speaking up about my birthing experience will result in a possiblr number of things: laughs, because people will assume I’m joking; disbelief; or curiosity. Either way, the conversation will change and become about me and my transness. The original point of the conversation would be lost. The women sharing their stories or the cis men acknowledging that there are experiences they don’t understand would stop and ask me a million questions about being trans (unless some of them are assholes who would start insulting and harassing me – quite rare in my own experience but I know it can happen).

In an ideal world, where the existence of trans people and the diversity of trans experiences were widely acknowledged as “just another thing”, the conversation would simply move on. Alas, we’re not in that ideal world. And as much as I believe in working to achieve that world, I’m not sure I want to do it at the expense of losing chances at different dialogues that I haven’t had enough of.

Dilemmas, dilemmas, dilemmas.

Trans as Communication


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I had a kind of epiphany yesterday. Quite a while ago, I stopped “feeling” trans, as in it was no longer a very relevant part of my existential identity. This was after a whole other process of shifting from feeling “male” to feeling “non-binary”, and eventually adopting the term “androgyne” for myself (I don’t like the word non-binary because, a) I hate defining myself by what I’m not, and b) I find the term clunky and ugly).

Comfy with androgyne, I stopped thinking about it for a while. Then I thought of something: trans isn’t so much an identity, for me, as it has been a way to communicate my way of being in this world.

This occurred to me because I was wondering, as I have before, what it would have been like had I been born in a society where, for whatever reason, hormone replacement therapy didn’t exist but where ideas about gender were more fluid. And it occurred to me that this would’ve been fine because I would have had access to other means of communicating who I am in a way that made sense in that cultural context.

Since I’m a product of western culture for the most part, with its emphasis on certain gender markers – physical and behavioural – playing with these markers has been the primary mode of communication to which I have had access. These markers refer back to shared ideas about gender – they are symbols. Using this mode of communication, I have communicated – or tried to communicate – my own transcendence of gender. Blending the symbols in a way that takes commonly understood meanings and twists them to mean “me” has been a way to affirm that I understand where the symbols come from and what they mean but that I can make them mean something else.

But I have never actually changed who I am. I have simply changed how I communicate who I am. And “who I am” is not trans, nor is it female or male.

Now, whether people accurately interpret what I communicate is a whole other story. In the end, it matters less to me than having a way to express what I need to express. If few fellow humans get it, I have other friends who do.

Fuck you and your accusations of “identity politics”



I repeat, for those in the back of the room who haven’t heard yet, pointing out gross inequalities (in income, access to health care and clean housing, in all around well-being) that arise out of an inherently unfair and discriminatory system is NOT identity politics. You can talk about “we” all you want and appeal to what “we” supposedly all have in common, but “we” are not all treated the same and therefore don’t all have the same opportunities. And until the folks who are treated “better” by the system work to dismantle that system and the oppression that goes with it, people who aren’t treated fairly will continue to fight. If you don’t want to help, then get out of the way! If this makes you uncomfortable, well here’s a tune on the world’s smallest violin.
And yes, I’m fully aware that oppression is multi-dimensional and complex. That’s why any “we” that is to thrive has to thrive on increased understanding of what people with different experiences face in society. Ignoring the different ways in which people are treated in the name of some lofty ideals about “we are all one” just perpetuates the blissful, and sometimes willful, ignorance of those who profit the most from the oppression of others.

Freedom of what?


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It seems to me that many of the people arguing for freedom of speech these days are:

-fighting for the right to express retrograde views that have upheld an unequal society for centuries;

-fighting for the right to express things that have been shoved down our throats as “the truth” for far too long (white supremacist beliefs, gender essentialist beliefs, etc.);

-expecting their views to be acknowledged as universal truths;

-acting as though views that support a racist, sexist, and so forth status quo is somehow edgy and sexy;

-acting as though people disagreeing with them, even respectfully, is some form of persecution;

-not understanding that it’s often their arrogance and refusal to acknowledge that their truth is not universal or objective, and not their little opinion, that drives people to get angry with them and refuse to engage with them;

-not understanding that their “opinions”, like those of most other people, are based on their own partial view and life experience, not on cold, hard, objective truth;

-not understanding that inserting their opinions in discussions of people’s experiences of an unjust world, as though they somehow know better than those who are directly affected by various forms of bigotry, actually is oppressive;

-and, as many have pointed out, not understanding that people telling them that they are full of shit is not actually taking away their freedom of speech.

Tl;dr: If you want to be taken seriously, do your research and base your opinions on something other than your limited life experience.

Everyone welcome?


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Many years ago, when I was a baby activist, I was involved in a bisexual activist community group. Inspired by other community groups who applied a more intersectional (I didn’t know that word then) approach than our white, cisgender, able-bodied dominant group did, I wanted to add a memo to the poster for one of our social events. It went something like this: “People of all colours, genders, ages, and abilities are welcome!” A couple of people were on board and we tried to tweak the wording (in French, because we were in Montreal) with the knowledge we had at the time. One member with a voice that carried – in the social sense, and incidentally an older cis guy – scowled at us and strongly suggested we just write: “Everyone welcome.” The others, weary of arguments and tired of playing with words, agreed.

At the time, I didn’t have the words to express why it was important to be more explicit than that. I just had a gut feeling. I felt like when I was a child and teen, unable to argue against the seeming rational discourse of older men in my family, no matter how racist or sexist they were, but knowing deep in my guts that they were wrong.

Over the years, I’ve read and listened to the experiences of people whose experiences are not my own. For example, a disability and poverty activist who I consider to be a leather sister has written much about inclusion or lack thereof in leather circuits. Many BIPOC (Black, Indigenous, People of Colour) have blogged and tweeted explanations about what it’s like to not know when one is truly included. This led me to reflect on my own prior experience as a woman and being put on my place more than once by men who felt I should have known I wasn’t included even when it wasn’t stated because, “logic”. And now, as a trans person/androgyne, I often question whether someone like me is genuinely welcome at events that don’t specify “trans folk welcome”.

What it boils down to for me is this: if the society you live in renders people that look like you invisible, it’s hard to feel included by default. When you don’t see yourself in depictions of the “default” human being, it’s hard to feel like you are even considered to be human. When people don’t explicitly mention “your kind”, it’s hard to know whether you’re even on their radar.

So unless an event includes a welcome statement that is worded to show that organizers are aware of the existance and are welcoming of the presence of people like you, you’re left wondering whether your presence will genuinely be welcome. You wonder whether people will give each other meaningful glances like: “What are THEY doing here? What made them think they belong here?”

Same goes for dating profiles. When people say they are “open to everyone”, that doesn’t tell the reader who this person considers to be human enough to be included in that everyone. Heck, it doesn’t tell us whether they know we exist.

In an ideal world, this wouldn’t be a question. Everyone would mean everyone. But we’re not in an ideal world. So while we continue to strive for that, those of us who want to make sure people on the margins know they are actively included should be as explicit as we can. Without resorting to tokenism, let’s listen to what helps people feel genuinely welcome and appreciated in a space. Let’s not assume that “everyone welcome” says anything beyond “whoever is deemed normal by mainstream social standards is welcome”.

And most of all, let’s go beyond mere words and follow through with our actions. Let’s not assume that people will just trust that they will feel welcome just because the sign explicitly said they are. Let’s listen to what people need and accept that trust takes a long time to build.

A Series of Newsflashes


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Pointing out social divisions and disparities in access to material and social well-being that exist because of systemic discrimination is not being divisive.

Acknowledging that people have different experiences in society because of prejudice and stereotypes based on skin colour, religion, gender, sexual orientation, mental and physical ability, size, age, or socio-economic status is not a game of identity politics.

Standing up for respect, dignity, and well-being for all is not about political correctness.

Being in favour of social progress only so long as it’s done in a way that preserves your own personal comfort and wealth is not solidarity.

Patting oneself on the back for throwing money at charities does not fix the problem of how some people have more access to wealth and material well-being in the first place.