The Daughter Also Rises, Episode II and III

(Parental Advisory: This post discusses penises and sex. Please dismiss all children and small animals from the room and fill out your form letter to Focus on the Family in advance to save yourself some time; cheers!) This might just be one cliché all too many trans women of a certain age can relate to. When I first saw the anime character Ranma my first thoughts were: “damn you to hell, you lucky bastard.” That was back in seventh grade. This is the part of the story where I tell you things you might have been expecting, where I tell you how I snuck into my mother’s closet every time my parents were out and tried on her clothes. It’s also the part where I tell you that I had a strange sense of envy every time I saw a character on TV that somehow managed to change sex, and how even as I didn’t acknowledge myself I thought that was really cool. It’s the part where I tell you about the high school classmate who made me extremely jealous of him by coming to school dressed as a … [Read more...]

The Daughter Also Rises

It isn't unusual for a new year to inspire reflection. Though it sucks when it gets caught on your blazer.

We are the masters of our own stories as human beings and our understanding of the world around us rests, in part, on how we rationalise where we’ve been. In other words, how we remember and understand our lives as they have been so far. This is true of all humans, not just trans people, but it takes on a special significance for us sometimes because when you get right down to it, our pasts are what sire the discrimination and othering that we face. For the last two weeks as some of my entries here have indicated, this has been on my mind. I’ve done a lot of reflecting on where I came from and how I understand myself as a trans woman. It is enough for me to say that I just know this is the right course, naturally. I cannot argue with the results: my future is now impatiently awaited, my energy feels boundless at times, I can actually envision myself doing something worthwhile in my future. I cannot, and do not argue with how I feel and the rightness of it all. Yet I still feel … [Read more...]

State of the ‘Corn, 2010

I present to my loyal readers (all 4 of you) a once in a lifetime rarity on Nuclear Unicorn: A short post! As some of you may have noticed, the theme of the blog has changed considerably to something I feel is cleaner, more readable and more professional. As well as wider. With the monsters I tend to write, the extra width is a huge help. One of the bigger changes recently has been the new and improved About Me page complete with illustrations and the new resting place of the old banner that once graced the top of the front page, for those of you who thought my bad colouring was just the bees knees. The main purpose of the about me page's expansion was to provide an explanation of the tortured logic that led to this blog's name, and to provide a permanent home for the slug family since their appearances are rather rare (drawing pastries with eyestalks on them is hard work, yo.) Pictured above is a scratchy sketch I made of what it is I envision when I think of a nuclear unicorn. … [Read more...]

Out in the Rain: Gender Activism and its Discontents

Last time on Nuclear Unicorn I took down an MRA’s  transphobic blog post on trans peoples’ lives. What was most striking about the article were things I didn’t even get to discuss despite the prodigious girth of my response; chief among them was the fact that the author’s entire supposed purpose in writing it, his thesis, was left largely unproven. It became clear that he was following a very classic pattern that cis people indulge in when criticising trans people publicly. It’s a classic transphobic syllogism: I don’t like x. I also don’t like trans people. Therefore x causes and enables trans people. This idea afflicts most gender activism as trans people of various types tend to be excluded from it or cast as some kind of bogeyman in various gender studies narratives. Some genderqueers, androgynes, and other non-binaries rail against transsexual people for, as they see it, playing into the gender binary. The execrable Julie Bindel, and feminists like her, follow a similar … [Read more...]

Blunted Spearhead: The Cis Man’s Burden

(Trigger Warning: If you find yourself triggered by blatant transphobia, transmisogyny and un/misgendering it’s best to leave this post, for today.) Generally speaking whenever one comes across flagrant transphobia, particularly of the hopelessly cliched variety, it’s best to not waste your time deconstructing it. It’s just another way we, and other people who constantly have to bat away a barrage of clichéd bullshit, are oppressed and held back- compelled to waste our time justifying ourselves and giving 101 lessons to people who probably won’t care to come within a hundred miles of “Getting It”™. But occasionally it serves a useful purpose, and this is one of those times. Our post comes to us from the mystical world of Men’s Rights Activism, a sort of bizarro world where men are oppressed and live under a Matriarchy where women have all the privileges. It’s kind of like the Underdark. That’s the short, brutally unfair summary. As you will see, however, the bizarro world nature … [Read more...]

The Single-Story of Trans Experience

Yesterday’s post may prove to be a jumping off point for an exploration of how to tell my own story. It’s been on my mind since the events that led to me penning that piece and quite fortuitously when reading through Border House Blog I came across a link to one of the best TED talks I’ve seen in quite a long time. It’s worth taking the time to listen to this woman’s words. What Chimamanda Adichie’s beautiful lecture makes clear is a point that has relevance for many oppressed, marginalised, or othered communities. It is a powerful rebuttal to the insistence of the privileged that they wield no power. Oftentimes you find people writing the most baroque, intellectual arguments against the idea that power, as we often describe it when regarding Kyriarchy, even exists. Yet Ms. Adichie’s stories make one thing powerfully clear: a story itself contains power. Is your story told? Are the stories of your people valued? Do people outside of your community hear those stories? Who tells … [Read more...]

Happily Never After

I tend to say a lot on this blog. Brevity has never been my strong suit, despite it being the soul of wit and all that jazz. For me to be brief feels like a self-betrayal, or perhaps it’s just a bizarre form of laziness wherein I’m too lazy to do less work. Life’s funny like that. Life’s funny in a lot of other ways too. Despite being as verbose as I am here I often don’t go into great detail about my personal life or personal experience as a trans woman, in spite of my recent preaching about the power and potency of lived experience; it’s something I’ve been dwelling on and a recent article by one of the trans community’s more brilliant writers, Cedar, has crystallised some oblique issues I’ve been having. Her article delves into deeper matters but I’ll talk about a particular personal matter that it sent me thinking long and hard about. Let me begin- because I only truly begin after writing two paragraphs already- by saying that I don’t consider anything I say here to be truly … [Read more...]

PC is for Cookie

In one’s travels through the Tubes you’ll often find rather a lot of fecal matter clogging it all up. Perhaps the grandest of these turds is the notion of ‘political correctness.’ There have been long and thoughtful deconstructions of this ultimate, Voltron-like straw man, but suffice it to say: the next time someone chides you for being “PC” just replace ‘politically correct’ with ‘respectful’ in your mind to keep your focus on what it is the speaker is actually trying to communicate. Privilege is many things. Pervasive, invisible, colourless, odourless, noxious. It’s a lot like carbon monoxide. In this particular case, privilege manifests itself as the simple belief that you are entitled to a higher level of respect than other groups of people. At heart, that’s what it’s really about. The idea that being decent and respectful- values many of our parents raised us with- is somehow uncouth or even verboten when one is talking about Black people, or Muslims, or trans people is simply … [Read more...]

Feminism’s Folly

One of the many ironies of the trans life is the fact that oftentimes your worst enemies can be found among the very people you should be able to trust most. One who spends much time in any number of activist circles will not take long to learn this the hard way. The LGBTQ movement as a whole is legendary for its internal strife and battles between cis LGB people who feel the T really ought not be there. Never mind the Q. But today we’re going to focus on the other bastion of sad, activist irony in this sordid and political mess: feminism. Feminism, near and dear to my heart, is a force for good in this world, ultimately. Its basic tenets have lent me much strength in recent years, and a great deal of pride in myself; the perfect antidote to the shame that trans women are so often made to live with. It was second nature for me to find the numerous intersections between feminism and trans activism, and to see how the issues trans women face are often times part and parcel of wider … [Read more...]

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