Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Please Welcome Mike Our New Contributor


Hey all, my name is Mike. I’m a female to male transman and I’m a junior at the Evergreen State College, majoring in psychology. I’m eighteen, although my body thinks that I’m fifty. I have fibromyalgia, POTS, and various and a sundry mental diagnosis to go along with my copious amounts of emotions about the way the world works. I live in the queer dorm along with my dog Toby, so there might be mention of him. I’m also a quilter, although I don’t have much time to quilt with all of the homework that my professors love to give us. I’m something of a reluctant activist, although I love to write and don’t mind educating provided that it doesn’t involve hordes of people asking me what I plan to do with my genitals. I volunteer at the trans* organization on campus, as well as at a local museum for children. I find it fascinating how early people start teaching gender roles and how arbitrary those roles can be.

The main things I will probably write about are what it’s like to live with a few chronic conditions and various and sundry musings about gender. I’m not a big fan of gender roles and often get mistaken for a flamboyant gay boy, probably because transgender isn’t as well known as gay or lesbian. Other things among my pet peeves are questions about my genitals, confusing sex and gender, and dealing with ableism from people who really ought to know better. I tend to write about my pet peeves, mostly because it is stuff that I know about and like to explain.

I also like to tell stories. I like to be able to put people’s feelings into words so that they have something that expresses how they feel and so they feel less alone. Telling stories is the best form of rhetoric to me, simply because it helps to inspire empathy and it can be funny and interesting. It is hard to hate someone for being different when you can relate to a lot of the stuff they say. Stories can make history come to life and they can show what people experience. People are made of stories, and telling those stories can help a person feel more whole and accepted.

One of the most painful things about being part of a marginalized community is the fact that there are very few things in the media that tell a story similar to yours. It is possible to interact with culture and say, I feel this way, and have culture say, oh no, that identity doesn’t exist. There is a very large gap there, and I feel like part of my job as an ambassador and an activist for the trans* community is to go out and tell the stories that aren’t being told by the mainstream media. It is extraordinarily for people to know that not only are they not alone but who they are is valued and special. The media isn’t doing that for me or other trans* folk, so I will do it for them. The same goes for my disability. If I educate people, then maybe I and people like me won’t get nearly as many stupid questions.