Tag Archives: Transgender

The damage Rowling and Shrier have done to the transgender community

(I cover the book in this article, as well as JK Rowling’s new book, in more detail in the video at the end.)

I didn’t want to write about this today. I’d meant to work on my horror compilation for several hours armed with my favorite snacks, and while munching, I decided to check YouTube for any interesting news before getting started.

A concerning video popped up in my subscription feed (it has since been removed and replaced with this video. This article addressed the deleted video), and it was a person who was no stranger to being targeted on the internet. More than curious — and the saying, ‘Curiosity killed the cat’ applies here — I clicked on the video. And excuse my french here, but Jesus Fucking Christ did I lose it. The amount of ‘done’ that I am for today is off the charts.

Abigail Shrier, a journalist to my limited understanding, decided to write a book called, ‘Irreversible Damage: The Transgender Craze Seducing Our Daughters.’ It sounds just as horrible as it is, and as an author myself, I am sickened that this was okay to publish as ‘social sciences’ on Amazon. The story behind this book is just as disgraceful as the work itself, and Abigail should be ashamed of herself. Judging by her smiling author’s photo, she’s proud of the harm she caused.

Chase Ross, also known as ‘UpperCaseChase1‘ on YouTube, posted a video in which he addresses conspiracies directed at him over this book. He mentions that he’d been interviewed by Abigail Shrier, but she’d introduced herself in a brief email as a reporter for the Wall Street Journal, and she was extremely friendly and eager to interview Chase about transgender subjects. Having received many requests for this in the past, Chase accepted. This was the only information he claimed to have about Abigail, as he shows in a screenshot of the email.

Chase further discusses how kind she was. How she worded questions carefully and it seemed like a genuine and benign interview to hear Chase’s story. At no point, Chase mentions, did she talk about writing this book or disclose her true project. There were no red flags due to the skill Abigail had in her deceptive practices. This leads me to believe she carefully planned this.

This, to me, is a sign that she knew what she was doing. Abigail knew she would upset the trans community, which is why she withheld information. The fact that she took these stories — which are often personal and difficult to share — and twisted them into an anti-trans narrative that brings harm upon the very people who cooperated with her, not knowing what she was doing, is sick.

I’m not sure much can be done here. This anti-transgender fear mongering propaganda started with JK Rowling earlier on in the pandemic. It seemed that while the world was already suffering, Ms. Rowling had to aim low and bring up an issue that doesn’t exist. And it truly does not exist in the way that she fears it. This has caused a ripple down effect, and Ms. Rowling’s harmful misinformation and irrational fears are spreading as fact.

No one is trying to erase sex. No one is erasing women’s biology or their stories. Children are not being coerced to transition. Let me just make that all clear right now.

Why, in a world where transgender people are constantly faced with this hatred, would anyone believe any of this? Many reputable scientific sources support transgender people and affirm the positive effect treatment can have for many of us (and how puberty blockers are reversible and safe for transgender youth), yet people like Rowling and Shrier dig deep, as my previous insurance company did to also discriminate against me. This nearly kept me from getting a surgery that alleviated my dysphoria and saved my life in doing so. People like Rowling and Shrier find the few sources that agree with them, and when they can’t, they do what Abigail Shrier did. They deceive and manipulate a vulnerable community to make their narrative true.

I can acknowledge their fears. Women are disproportionately treated unfairly, sexualized, and go through very specific life challenges that must be spoken about. Many women fear cisgender men and for good reason. They’ve been hurt and traumatized by them, and I was as well before I came out as a transgender man. I am a rape and abuse survivor, and when I was assaulted and abused, I lived socially as a woman even though I did not feel like one. I understand.

But transgender people are not hurting anyone or their stories by existing and speaking about ours. Transgender people are at an exponentially high risk for being murdered, assaulted, and rejected by not only our families, but by society in general.

There are strict policies for transgender care, including the WPATH guidelines that lay out a step by step approach, starting with counseling, for anyone who wants to transition. Doctors who work with transgender patients are aware of these guidelines. They were applied in my case and I was fine with that. They ensure the transgender person is absolutely certain about making life-changing decisions.

It’s difficult to find affirming doctors, and it’s frightening for most transgender people to even go to the doctor out of fear of rejection. Transgender people have been violated in doctor’s offices or turned away from treatment, risking their health simply because they are transgender. This is in addition to other barriers to receiving healthcare as a trans person.

A great number of transgender youth are rejected and left homeless by their families. They then have to face possible rejection from their peers, and we also have people like Ms. Rowling and Ms. Shrier who push forward with anti-transgender propaganda, which increases the occurrence of discrimination within society.

So why on earth would anyone actually believe that children are being encouraged to transition just to gain greater social standing — in the case of a girl taking on a transgender man’s journey just to have privilege?

This isn’t how it works. This isn’t what happens. The very few people who de-transition are their own stories and their own experiences. They do not speak for the transgender community as a whole. It was not the fault of their physician for listening to them and believing them, and the physician most certainly didn’t push them to take hormones unless the person was a willing participant who signed papers to allow the treatment.

Please stop this madness. This is hurting an already vulnerable group of people. No one is going to transition to do anything malicious or to gain social standing. If nothing else, being transgender in America — or in most of the world — leaves you a pariah to society.

Cisgender women are women. Cisgender men are men. No one is contesting this. The only people who are having their gender and identity erased are trans people.

Trans. Lives. Matter.

©2020 Shane Blackheart

Photo by Lena Balk on Unsplash

Closure

I spent my entire life wondering why people did the things to me that they chose to. I was bullied. I had my identity questioned. I was a freak. I was physically, mentally, and sexually abused. I became a ball of depression, anxiety, and hate for so many years.

I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder, borderline personality disorder, panic disorder, and PTSD after years of trauma. I am also plural, which means I have more than one person who exists through my body sometimes. My alters and spirit guides are my supportive, loving family, not my enemies. At some point throughout my life, sometimes more often than not, I was doubted and not believed. It took years to be believed by mental health professionals, and just as much time to get others to see that I wasn’t faking it. That I wasn’t too young and attractive to be disabled.

When I came out as a trans man in 2015, I knew that my life wasn’t going to get any easier, but a huge change was going to take place. I was finally discovering who I was and I learned to accept that. I spent a long time learning new ways of existing and living on my own and being self-sufficient. I also had to cope with rejection in many different and painful ways.

I’ve made a lot of mistakes. I’ve hurt people I didn’t mean to hurt. I’ve been too loud and too honest with the wrong people, and I fell in love with my melancholy. My depression was like a toxic lover I tried to shake off but found comfort in. It was familiar. It was in my own head. The conversations and time spent with my alters and spirit guides through it wrapped me in a blanket of comfort, and it created a bubble around me that no one was allowed to enter.

I’ve nearly died a few times, and they were self-inflicted injuries. I’ve been in psychiatric wards — one time for a week at least — and I thought my life would remain static and unchanging. Always fighting for something. Fighting just to be able to live and experience life like everyone else. Fighting to be believed.

I wish I could’ve appreciated the change sooner. It felt so slow and impossible. In reality, the change for the better occurred over a five-year span — five years out of the thirty-one I’ve lived. In that perspective, it really didn’t take so long after all.

I’d taken dialectical behavioral therapy classes and learned mindfulness. I stopped drinking every day and I eventually stopped smoking to start my medical transition with testosterone. I’d found a counselor who finally understood me and believed me when I opened up about being plural, as well as other things that I often struggled to find someone to empathize with. I got my own place and started paying my own bills and I got the assistance I needed to get things done for myself. I became self-sufficient over these five years.

And now, after butting heads with an insurance company for three of those years and dealing with discrimination, I walked into the hospital on Monday, July 20th, 2020 at 8AM to get top surgery.

It’s been about a week and a half since surgery and everything went well. My mom has finally come around and accepts me, and she was sitting right beside me before and after coming out of surgery in the hospital. She’s cared for me at home until I can do things myself, and that’s been very important for my mental health. My dad has also come around, as she’s told me, which is unbelievable for someone so old-fashioned and resistant to change.

Two days ago mom said something that I thought I’d never hear. I’d confided in her that I always felt like the family failure. I was the only one who couldn’t work a normal nine to five job. I’m a disabled writer with severe mental illness, and I certainly don’t have it all together. I always felt like the strange one — the black sheep that didn’t belong.

“Oh, you think everyone else has it together?” she said. She then told me something I never knew about a family member I thought had it right. Who was accomplished in my eyes. And I realized then that I was living a false reality in my head.

I pay my own bills on time every time. I take care of my health and am compliant with therapy. I am working on a writing career I hope will take off with a bit of luck so I don’t have to rely on disability, and the hours and money I put into my books take up quite a bit of time and resources that I manage mostly alright. I rarely have to call anyone to ask for help, if ever. Most importantly, everything I have right now — my home especially — I fought for and got myself.

I looked at her for a moment before it hit me. I haven’t failed at all. And that was the weirdest feeling in the world. It was as strange as waking up after surgery to realize I didn’t hate myself anymore. I’ve spent my entire life hating who I am, hating my body, and feeling like I was destined to always fail. That I would never be good enough. It was all so horribly wrong, and it made me realize how much of my life was dedicated to gaining my parents’ approval and acceptance I thought I would never get. That, and I’ve lived my life based on the hateful statements and identities others placed on me.

It’s a bit scary to gain closure. Everything in my life that was horribly wrong I now understand, have worked through, and I’ve finally closed that last door that kept leading me backward. Now, I have a clean slate to work from. I’ve never had this much freedom and clarity in my life, so I’m not sure what to do with it. I’m used to being on guard and wondering when something will go wrong, or watching my back at all times because I didn’t know who was going to hurt me or abandon me next. Now, I don’t really care about all of that stuff. I realized it really doesn’t matter.

With this blank slate, I’ll lay out who I am now. I’m an artist, a writer, and a gay trans man. I struggle with mental illness sometimes, but I have my head family — my alters and spirit guides — to get me on the right track again. I have an amazing and supportive healthcare team and a family that accepts me. I have a few close friends, but that’s all I need. I’m single and mostly fine with that, as being single is what allowed me to find myself in the first place. I am self-sufficient and most importantly, I’m safe and in control of my own life.

I have to stop looking back. None of that defines who I am now. What matters is living in the present and making plans for a future I once thought I wouldn’t see. And I have so many things I want to do if we survive this pandemic.

 

©2020 Shane Blackheart

To be released into the ether directly after writing

Catching anything to make a coherent thought in my buzzing brain right now is a feat.

So far this month, a pandemic has broken out that is expected peak around the time I’m supposed to get top surgery after a two-year fight.

I fell into a bipolar mixed episode — mostly depression — that has lasted nearly a month. The crescendo has finally reached today.

My grandpa died the other day.

My new insurance denied a prior authorization for my testosterone I’ve been on for over a year. If I have to skip it, the mental side effects will be a nightmare. Not to mention the return of a certain monthly visitor named Red that I’m not prepared for and haven’t seen for some time.

After all that, I have no idea what to do with myself.

I’m already struggling to keep my head above water. Now I’m drowning, and I have to stay strong. As it is now, I can’t even go out for a distraction. We’re isolated because of the social distancing and quarantines from COVID19.

As I paced around my apartment hyperventilating, hands shaking to where I could barely hold my anxiety medicine without dropping it, I couldn’t access my coping skills. The volcano inside me was going to overflow, and I knew it would scorch my skin. One thing, however, shone through like an epiphany through it.

Write. I need to write.

It was my spirit guides and alter — Byleth, Daro, and Lestan — breaking through my moment of catastrophe to protect me again, reminding me that it was okay to take my emergency medication for moments like this and that writing was my best distraction. It hit me like a light in the dark as I agreed with them. It made everything come to a drastic, deafening halt.

I wasn’t sure I would be able to focus on the novel I’m currently writing, so I opened WordPress and stared at the blank page, not knowing where to start.

I didn’t want sympathy. I didn’t want to look like I was fishing for sympathy. But I needed to get something out and send it off into the ether, and posting something to my blog is like releasing it. As with my first book that deals with some trauma I experienced myself, writing it out and releasing it into the world is how I heal and deal with things. I suppose people will have different opinions on that, but it doesn’t matter to me.

There’s blood-letting, and then there’s what I call ink-letting. The one put too many scars on my skin. The other is just metaphorical bleeding onto the page — my heart cracked open like an egg to let the dark stuff stain the white, and for other eyes to, most likely, judge. Either way, it’s no longer in my hands or in my mind. It’s gone. Let go. Scrawled across pages that can be sent far from me into the open.

I write for myself first, as I did today. I write what makes me feel better, what heals me, and what takes me away from this reality where things and people happen to make me want to disappear.

My stories help me disappear. It’s the safest way I’ve found to do that yet.

©2020 Shane Blackheart


My music for therapy today, and inspiration: