As I have so frequently mentioned, I have depression! I’ve been actively treating it for about two years now, but it’s very clear to me that it’s going to take fairly involved management for the rest of my life. I would love to just crush it with my mind a la Jack Donaghy, but my therapist tells me I have to be realistic. So I’ve made myself a list of things that help me manage my depression as a long-term illness. This includes things that make me feel better in the moment, but it’s mostly about taking care of myself, and building a foundation during my better days so that I have support during my worst.
You guys, let’s face it. “Feminism” has a bad rep. “Feminism” sounds scary and evil. Time Magazine and Women Against Feminism — those bastions of well-informed activism — have unleashed a rallying cry: enough with “feminism.” Let’s do away with it altogether in favor of a shiny new movement for everyone! Honestly, I think they’re right. We do need something a little bit snappier. May I suggest People for the Ethical Treatment of Ladies (PETaL)? Think of the merchandise — flowers, ladyflowers, and tropical flower bikinis for summer, oh my!
And while we’re at it, let’s rebrand sexism! Better yet, let’s just rebrand oppression altogether. Doesn’t that sound like fun? Come on guys, hear me out: what do you think about when you hear the word “oppression?”
Murder. Violence. Dictatorship. Slavery. Human Trafficking.
All of those are objectively terrible things. No man, woman, or child in the Western world could EVER relate to those things. Nobody wants to be a murderer. Nobody likes thinking that they’re on the same level as King Leopold II, Hitler, and Pol Pot.
This post contains text below the jump that may not be safe for work.
For the most part, dating a transgender person is no different from dating a cisgender person (someone who identifies with the gender assigned to them at birth). But if you are a cis person dating a trans person, there are some things you should keep in mind that may not have come up in your previous relationships with other cis people.
I am a polyamorous queer cisgender woman, and nearly half of all the lovers I’ve had have been transgender. I take this as a compliment: like everyone I make mistakes, but I figure I’m doing something right if so many trans* people have chosen to welcome me into their hearts. Keeping in mind that I’ve by no means covered every topic, here’s what I’ve learned about being a good cis partner to trans people I date.
1. Recognize that your partner’s identity may change over time
This is important to keep in mind even if you’re dating a cis person, because anyone can discover something new about their gender identity. I’m dating a cis woman whose partner of nearly a year identified as a cis man for most of their relationship. Recently, though, they have started to identify as transgender. My girlfriend has struggled to adapt – in fact, I have been more consistent about her partner’s preferred gender-neutral pronouns than she has, because I met them after they came out as trans, while my girlfriend has known them as male for the majority of their relationship. But respecting your partner’s changing identity is key to maintaining a healthy relationship, and my girlfriend has been learning to embrace her partner’s feminine identity as it develops alongside their masculine identity.
2. Correct people who misgender your partner
I run into this issue a lot, because my partner uses they/their/them pronouns, and many people are not familiar with using the singular they as a gender-neutral pronoun for people they know. It can be awkward sometimes. I talk about my partner with the correct pronouns, but most everyone knows I’m queer and automatically uses “she” to refer to them because they think I only date female-identified people. Sometimes this happens with people I’ve only just met. Even so, no matter how awkward I feel, I always step up and tell people to use the correct pronouns to talk about them. If it’s awkward for me, I imagine how much worse it is for my partner to have to correct people about themself. As someone with the protection of cisgender privilege, it is my responsibility to help my partner be respected as the gender they are.
We’ll be changing the blog to a Monday-Wednesday-Friday update schedule. As you probably know, this is an all-volunteer venture. That means we’ve got full-time jobs, other activist pursuits, hobbies, friends, family, and general life stuff to balance on top of our commitment to the blog. So we’re slowing down our posting schedule at least temporarily, while we look for new editors.
If you’d like to support us, here are some ways you can show us a little love:
1. Spread the word about our editor (writer) search
2. Write a guest post for us (seriously, please!)
3. Read our articles (check out the right hand side of the page for recent posts, top posts, and RSS/email options…or click here for a list of some of our favorites)
4. Share our articles with your friends, family, and social media followers
6. Comment on our articles
7. Be an awesome intersectional feminist in your daily life
EDITOR’S NOTE: Disrupting Dinner Parties is intended as a space where discussion, even disagreement, lead to a fuller understanding of issues. Like all our posts, this article represents the opinion of its author, not of “DDP” as a monolithic entity. In fact, this post generated heated discussion among the editors, which you can see in the comments section at the bottom of the page.
Long ago, when I first started dancing, my local scene was full of non-consensual touch*. Friends told me terrible stories of how they had been groped, grinded, ass-smacked, neck-nuzzled, or even licked non-consensually on the dance floor. I was shocked, but believed wholeheartedly. I had seen a fair share of these behaviors with my own two eyes; however, from outside the dance-partnership, I had no way of knowing whether it was consensual or not.
A new friend and I were hanging out this past week, when we began talking about past romantic experiences. She asked about my recent ones, and I mentioned that I had dated a few people recently, but nothing serious. She told me a bit about hers, the subject changed to high school for some reason, and I joked that despite skipping class to make out with my boyfriend, my academic and professional future have turned out pretty well. “Ah ha!” She said. “You’ve been holding out on me. Who was this boyfriend?” I replied that at one point he had been my fiancé, and that we were together for several years. She didn’t ask why the relationship ended, and we went back to the conversation. At one point I joked, “so what’s your life story?” She replied that she didn’t think I could handle her life story, with a laugh that I recognized as masking pain.
I thought it was interesting, considering some of the things I’ve lived through, that I appeared to her as someone who couldn’t handle whatever was behind that laugh. I wondered what she would think if she heard my life story. Would she still think that I was someone who could not understand or empathize with her pain, or whatever it was that she meant when she said she thought I couldn’t handle it? After her comment, I worried that telling her my story would feel like a competition – who had endured the most? Whose pain exceeded the other’s tolerance threshold? Who was more accustomed to fear, shame, or grief?
I am a femme genderqueer trans person. I am panromantic, I can feel romantic attraction to all genders, and bisexual – though not in the way you might think (mostly gynosexual and skoliosexual). I’m partnered but ethically non-monogamous. I’m an intersectional feminist. These identities are important to me; I’ve spent a lot of time discovering, agonizing over, and cultivating them. But navigating through the world I all too often hear people say “Why do people need so many labels?” “Why can’t we all just be people?” “How am I supposed to keep track of all this, it’s overly complicated.” and it’s no surprise that these people tend to overwhelmingly be cisgender heterosexual people.
And it’s to you that I speak now: it really isn’t entirely your fault, we’ve all been raised in the same white-cis-heteropatriarchy so your own labels have been normalized and thus are largely invisible to you. Also, like a good liberal person, you probably feel like being post-labels is somehow more inclusive or progressive. But I’m here to tell you that we’re not there yet, labels still matter for lots of reasons, and maybe always will.
Content note: letter to a survivor of sexual assault
from one surviving ass black girl to another
I see you
my fist is up right next to yours
I want you to know
when this is all “over”
interviews are published
hashtags stop trending
investigations are closed
if it isn’t really over for you
that is ok
if you still see the photos in your dreams
if you still feel the eyes of the world
burning into the back of your head
if your life gets too quiet and
you still hear painful words hurled echoing in your mind
if your heart ever churns out billows of rising shame
even though your head knows better
if you ever feel broken or angry or tired
even though you’ve been called every type of
brave and gracious and amazing
that is ok
from all the surviving ass black girls to you
our fists will still be up right next to yours
As a woman, I feel we must survey and analyze every situation that occurs in a public place, in order to determine the safety factor. You know, how safe it is for a woman to act herself and be comfortable without guarding her words, dress, actions or gestures in order not to be harassed, intruded upon or attacked. The categorization of possible risks in public situations will then determine how said woman should adapt her behavior, dress, words, etc. in order to minimize any negative contact. For me, I had a lot of time to reflect on this autopilot vigilance this weekend when my best friend came to visit. Several incidents occurred that made me realize the pressure I feel to maintain a safety bubble, and how much it weighed on my decisions. It also made me want to do something about it.
So I’ve been feeling sluggish and achey today, craving some of that juicy sweaty endorphin-y exercise goodness. Preferably involving some kind of dance, but I’m not terribly picky as long as it’s not running or marathon crunches. And so I’m sitting at work, bored and fantasizing about moving my body to a thumping rock beat, and I notice an ad for a workout place – right by my work! Oh, how exciting! Click click click!
. . . Oooh. Hang on. The picture’s kind of a red flag:
Creepily similar, perfectly coiffed women looking fierce-yet-feminine and *definitely not sweating* in their matching outfits? Not really my vibe, but I’ve heard it’s a good workout, so I’ll keep reading . . .
“This workout will target problem areas like the back of the arms, thighs, seat and abs.”
Seriously? Seriously. Seriously??
My body is not a problem to be solved.
My body is a soft animal that loves sunlight, touch, and melted cheese. My body is my wisest teacher. My body works day and night to support me in whatever I decide to do. My body is me, and I am my body.
I am not a problem to be solved.