The Soul of History: Breaking the Silence of Biography

This post was originally going to appear on Nuclear Unicorn first, but evolved into something written for Questioning Transphobia very quickly. Still, it has more than earned its place here and is part of the project of confession and catharsis that "The Daughter Also Rises" began, in the hopes of telling a true trans story- my trans story- and illuminating just how complicated this whole thing is. Enjoy! I was not so happy as I looked in the pictures on my parents’ walls. It was something that resonated with me as I read a beautiful, radical poem by Jo Carillo ‘And When You Leave, Take Your Pictures With You’ which used as a leitmotif pictures of Latinas working under the sun that might hang in the livingroom of a blanquita radfem. Like so many things in the anthology- This Bridge Called My Back- that poem is immortalised in, it made me think, not just about its own very important subject which is, alas, an all too salient issue even today… but about the pictures that were … [Read more...]

State of the ‘Corn, Update!

Brief posts on this site are very much like unicorns. Rare, nigh on mythical beasts whose appearance occasions the weavings of stories to be told to your mates over a few drinks. Anyway, what's this post about? Well as some of you may have noticed my most recent blog posts have been me reposting classwork, albeit with commentary. Fully original articles will be returning soon, however. But the other reason my creative energies have been a wee bit absorbed has been because I've been taken on as a writer at Border House where I've recently published a few things. Their editor liked a piece that originally appeared here (my 'World of Warshaft' one, about Blizzard and their rather flighty relationship with the concept of privacy) and I've been taken on as a staff writer. If you're interested, my two most recent articles can be found here: Ain't I a Gamer?, about the issues surrounding the invisibility of women in gaming spaces and the subconsciously perpetuated ideas that … [Read more...]

Feminism and I

In my recent writings I have taken great pains to criticise elements of feminism that I believe are failing the women this movement purports to serve. I stand by those challenges and will repeat them so long as there is need for them. But I should also dedicate this space to my own robust support for the ideals that undergird feminism and there is no better place to begin with an introductory question: what does feminism mean to me? What follows is my answer to this question, a modified version of which appeared on Reddit in a thread of the same name. I will not simply trot out the radical cliches about how "feminism is the belief that women are people" and it would take only a few seconds for an observer to note that I most definitely believe in equal opportunity and equality between the sexes. These two statements, for me, go without saying. The deeper definitions for me have more to do with the following: love and respect for yourself as a woman and a willingness to confront … [Read more...]

Castles in the Air

A poorly drawn castle on a floating island in the middle of a starry sky with a poorly drawn crescent moon above it.

In the many debates I’ve had about the truth of my existence the question of whether one can ever truly be trans is a pressing one. How do you know you’re a woman? What does this mean about gender? Does the fact of my existence better support biological essentialism or the theories of social constructionism? Thus it is that again my life is reduced to someone else’s ideological pawn. Must I validate anything by existing? Other than the already obvious fact of human diversity, of course. But nestled in this tangled mess is the burden of my own past, which I’ve recounted in some sketchy detail here recently. How to see it and how to understand it is an ever pressing question, the answer to which evolves over time. How we reinterpret our biographies is part of how we live our lives and how we measure its progress, in a way. One is often considered mature when they can look back on the relative immaturity of their younger years- a time when they were sure they were absolutely right. So … [Read more...]

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

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...]

I’m With You

Having been inducted into the Femmisphere by my good friend over at FemmEssay it is perhaps worth meditating once again on the unicorniness of the whole Nuclear Unicorn thing. So let’s get down and funky with it while I drop some serious verbal groove. Or funk. Or whatever. The point is that as the convenient illustration to the left shows, I am a woman. But we wouldn’t be here if it were that simple. I think that if I had to give a piece of advice to transsexual people who were just coming out, one that would be regarded as a rare gem of insight, it would have to be a warning, I am sad to say. We expect our enemies to come from the religious right and from the social conservative movement, and we are often reminded of why we must always be wary of them. But a trans person also must look over the left shoulder as some of our worst enemies are unabashed liberals. That’s been very hard for me to swallow, without question. My own ideological commitments, as the rest of this journal … [Read more...]

Why Not Coal-Fired Unicorn?

Well, several reasons. One, it doesn't quite roll off the tongue, and two it would be rather smelly. Who needs smelly when you can be radioactive? Radioactive. It's a marvelous word that encapsulates far more than the sum of its syllables, certainly. It's one of those nice words this language bequeaths to us as a gift for minds to twist into new shapes like so much play-doh or taffy. It can be very literal, or very figurative. This unicorn's radioactivity is best described as figurative, but with very literal consequences. Why don't I start from the beginning, hm? Nuclear unicorn was something that a close friend called me not long ago as we were giggling about something both macropolitical and personal. The fact that I could, apparently, threaten the world. It was in response to some news story, one so generic that the specifics melt away in the sea of samey text and dogma. Another bull handed down from His Infallible-ness The Pope about how those who defy gender norms are as … [Read more...]