Questions… And Then Some

I love questions.  I’m just putting it out there.  It’s why there are two forms to contact me floating about the blogosphere.

And before I start out on my slightly awkward “it’s OK, I don’t bite” message behind my thinkings for today… I’d like to do a mini mention.  I want to thank all the brilliant people who have taken the time to read my ramblings, and to comment with such kind words.  Also to those who knew me in the Real World and who have contacted me to acknowledge my trans things in the best possible way: it’s given me faith in people yet.  Even the smallest little “Like” on a trans-themed post on Facebook is enough, and I’m grateful for every one.  Even if I’m not so good with the face-to-face emotional thing, rest assured that it is appreciated.

And so this post is a just-in-case-type response, for anyone in real life to whom it might apply.  If it doesn’t apply to you, I’d advise against reading, simply because it’s long-winded, rambly, and probably painfully boring to read if you don’t need to.

I fear that this will sound more adolescent-angsty than I originally planned, but my moods have been going downhill lately, and I lack the energy required to edit it all out… so apologies in advance if none of this makes sense.

The following badly-worded encouragements are not aimed at those mentioned above, and so I’ll do a little split so as not to rant in the ears of those who don’t deserve to have it inflicted on them.  And here it is…

I’m one of those people for whom feedback is important.  No, scratch that, it’s essential.  I can’t read minds, surprisingly enough, especially when the people I need to reach are several hundred miles (and a good few computer screens) away.  Nor can I read between the lines.

So it’s always hard when I need contact and yet I don’t want to pester people; it’s like trying to catch a ghost.  I always end up wondering.  Overthinking.  Dwelling beyond belief.  Too.  Much.  Thinking.  But please be aware that it’s not a choice to be coming out through the Web.  I’ve only been out as trans since after uni started, and I don’t want to have to shove it in anyone’s face without them having any clues beforehand.

Don’t get me wrong, if anyone’s managed to miss it by now (although given my posting habits, I can’t imagine such a possibility) and starts mispronouning me or whatever, I’m not going to stand there awkwardly and complain when they’re not there.  I’m not ashamed of my trans status, and I’ll correct people – calmly – if necessary.  My only point is that I’d rather not have to.  It’s just discomfort all round if I do.

The trouble I’m having is the silence on the other end of the connection.  As aforementioned, I’ve already had some fantastic responses, but many have been silent throughout… and some are stubbornly staying so.

I like to think I’m a fairly patient person, most of the time anyway.  The simplest case in point would be surviving life at an all-girls’ school for 13 years without killing anyone; that’s a fact I’m rather proud of.  I do get annoyed easily, especially when my mental health takes a turn for the worse, but it hasn’t stopped me trying.  Yet.  People have yet to break me completely, and things are looking up.

However… silence kills me.  I know there are always going to be people out there who will decide against acknowledging, just so that when they see me next, they will get to watch my reaction as they repeatedly disrespect my choices.  Purely for entertainment’s sake.  And I’m fairly sure some of them are already lurking out there, watching from a distance and having a good laugh at my expense… hopefully uni will help on the maturity front.  My Aspie Mentor says it can still take more years than uni can offer.  Fingers crossed, eh?

But this kind of silence is the niggling one: the one from people who you would expect to react in the right way, if there is such a thing.  And it’s not like I can go over and knock on said humans’ heads with a hearty: “anyone home?” to get the message across.  Although, it could be fun.  Let’s call that Plan B, shall we…?

My trouble is that since there’s been Complete Nothingness from some, I don’t know whether my reaction is justified or not.  Here are some possibles:

  • Not on t’internet enough to have kept up with it all.
  • Just too many friends with too much activity to see my humble posts floating around cyberspace.
  • Not enough interest in, you know, other people.
  • They can’t deal with what they’re reading and need more time to process.
  • They’re disgusted and want no more to do with a Freak Like Me but can’t even stomach the thought of sending a message my way.
  • Too much input, not enough knowledge to cope.
  • Accepting, just not sure how to word it.
  • So utterly cool that they don’t even see why it needs to be such a Big Deal (hint: it doesn’t).

And so on.  While I hope it’s one of the latter two in all cases, I fear that it isn’t.

So here comes the main point of this post: please let me know what you’re thinking.  If you’re having trouble dealing with it, then please let me know.  It’s disrespectful and frustrating when people refuse to accept it or even try and understand it, but it’s far worse (for me, at least) to refuse to even acknowledge it and simply try and avoid it at all costs.

Again, don’t get me wrong.  If you have no intention of respecting my choices, then I’m not going to respond with kindness overflowing.  I reserve the right to judge, because it doesn’t take much effort to accept someone for who they are.  Sorry, but it doesn’t.  But at least it gives me closure, and possibly a chance to help you understand it and dispel some myths that might be getting in the way.

If you refuse to accept it, then tell me.  I’m unlikely to have much more to do with you afterwards, but at least we both know where we stand.

But questions are good.  They’re great, in fact.  And I’m always happy to answer them.  The only rule I have is not to ask me something which would make you hugely uncomfortable if someone had asked you the same thing.  Which is fair, I’d like to think.

I’m only making a Big Point of this because I’ve been getting frustrated with some reactions (or lack thereof) recently.  Anyone brought up to understand manners will be with me on this.  It is rude not to give an explanation for your behaviour, especially if it could be taken badly in the first place.

And a lot of said behaviour has got me thinking.  While it’s happened before, and admittedly it irritated me just as much each time, I wasn’t out as trans then.  So, now that I am, I can’t help but think: “is it ‘cos I’m trans?”…

That doesn’t sit well with me.

And so, I repeat, if you don’t understand but want to, send me something.  Let me know.  I like typing essays.  Everyone knows this by now.  And I’m happy to type essays for anyone who is willing to make the effort.

Just let me know.  Please.  I’m losing respect for people by the second, and I don’t want to, but I can’t help the way my brain works.  Correct me.  Please.

Questions are always good.  So send some my way.

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About JC

I'm a no-longer-nameless trans asexual autistic, chemistry undergraduate at a London university, pronoun enthusiast, amateur photographer and budding proofreader. Son of Optimus. Join me and be amazed. Or just join me. The sense of awe and wonder is optional.
This entry was posted in Background, Gender, Life, Mental Health, Musings, Soapbox and tagged , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

13 Responses to Questions… And Then Some

  1. Eli says:

    This doesn’t apply to me, but I’m American and we like to butt in when we’re not asked to, so: good for you for asking again for some clarity from the people in your life. I don’t have Aspergers, but as far as I understand, it makes reading social cues difficult. Good on you for asking in plain English for the responses and support you need to navigate this world. And it’s too bad the people you’re talking to couldn’t, wouldn’t, or just didn’t take that into consideration.

    In short, well done.

    -Eli

    • J.C. Prime says:

      Eli,

      Thank you for “butting in”… responses are always appreciated (especially ones as kind as yours), so please continue to do so! You’re right about Asperger’s – and it’s especially hard when you don’t even have facial expressions to analyse in full and painful depth (like I usually do!).

      Thank you again for your brilliant response – it just shows that I’m lucky enough to have supportive people online, even if I lack them elsewhere 🙂

      -JC

  2. Okay, I definitely fall into the last two categories.

    Although I have a touch of social anxiety, mine is nothing compared to yours. I feel, sometimes, that anything I say could be misconstrued as a comparison. So I don’t say anything.

    As for the trans aspect or the Asberger’s, again, with no personal experience to draw from and so, feel inadequate to respond. Neither one of these traits bother me in anyway, I just don’t know how to respond to your honesty in any way that might not offend.

    Rest, assured, I do read you. I will try to remember to like your posts, even when I don’t have the words to respond. Hugs

    • J.C. Prime says:

      It took me a while to figure out which categories you meant, and I actually had to re-read my post, but I think (hope) I get it now, and thank you!

      This post was created out of frustration with people who have known me for a long time and who are possibly-maybe-ish trying to avoid having to deal with me, and was in no way a complaint about anyone online, so I apologise immensely if it came across that way! (In fact, everyone I’ve come across online so far, yourself very much included, have been incredible sources of support, whether they mean to be or not and I’m hugely grateful for it!)

      With regards to your second and third paragraphs, it’s completely understandable, and I’m the exact same way; I’d rather not say anything in response than risk upsetting or offending when I don’t mean to (and I put off posting this post in particular because I was worried about just that), so I certainly wouldn’t hold it against you! Although I should say that even if you don’t have personal experience or you don’t feel like you can compare, I’d always like to hear your thoughts if you ever want to share them, and it’s equally fine if you don’t 🙂

      Thank you so much for such a kind response, and also rest assured that I know you’re reading me and supporting me in spirit if not in words! It means a lot that you cared enough to clarify!

      Thanks once again, and hugs right back 🙂
      -JC

  3. doubleinvert says:

    There could be a variant to “They can’t deal with what they’re reading and need more time to process.” Often, I’ll read something that I can indeed deal with, but I’m uncertain how to respond in the moment. I prefer to respond rather than react and I don’t necessarily think quickly. There are times when it can take me time to process what I’ve read before responding to it. Which, I guess is a form of “Accepting, just not sure how to word it.”

    One of my big social anxieties is that I’ll inadvertently cause harm when I intend to be kind by poorly wording a response.

    I’m trans, and I know that being misgendered by those in the know can be very frustrating. But usually (in my case) it’s because those persons basically see that I am in essence the same person. It might be careless, but it’s not malicious. When I’m misgendered by those who aren’t in the know, that bothers me because I feel like I don’t “pass.” Then I have to remember that I’m not transitioning so that I can pass. I’m transitioning to correct a physical birth defect, to put it in the simplest terms.

    • J.C. Prime says:

      You make a very good point. I only start to get irritated when I feel like I’ve given people plenty of time to mull things over, but I do need to remember that the time needed for full understanding depends entirely on the individual, and is not directly proportional to their emotional maturity either.

      I’m exactly the same when it comes to wording. I hate the feeling that I might have upset someone, and will avoid it at all costs. With my transness, it only started to bother me when I began to think I was being avoided or ignored by people who should know better, and it felt like I’d given as much information out as I could, and after nearly a year, my patience was draining away… and hence the whining post!

      So far, I’ve not been misgendered by those who know I’m trans (in that I know for sure that they know), apart from my parents, but they’re working on it and I always appreciate the effort they’re putting in. Any accidental misgendering, from what I can tell, is due to the same reasons you’ve described, and as long as it’s clear that they’re not deliberately misgendering/mispronouning me to provoke some kind of reaction for their own entertainment, I have no problems with it. It’s only when I don’t know if someone’s aware or not, because I haven’t heard anything from them, that I get stuck wondering if they’re being difficult or just unaware. I don’t want to react badly to a false situation, but there’s only so much I can do without going crazy…

      But I’m in complete agreement, especially with “correcting a physical birth defect”, and thank you for stopping by and sharing your thoughts! And with that, I’ll stop typing, or I risk causing death by essay…
      -JC

  4. I want to say something to both JC and doubleinvert.

    Y’all talk about “passing” for your true gender, and how much it upsets you when you don’t. I can’t completely understand, but I am trying.

    When I am at work, I am constantly told I am “too smart” for the job, asked tons of random questions because “She knows everything!” My intelligence is something I take a lot of pride in, but I hate it when people make me think that they are so different from them. I feel isolated and ostracized from the very people I spend 40 hours (or more) a week with. I cannot “pass” for an employee at my job, even though I do everything right and work incredibly hard. Although this is hardly the same, I think it gives me some tiny idea of how very difficult and painful this must be for you both.

    I know how angry parents get when you say, Oh, isn’t he cute!” about a girl and vice versa. So why don’t people understand that you, as adolescents or adults would be even more offended? And you have every right to be. I will say, at least on rare occasions, I have called a man ma’am, and a woman sir. It wasn’t a slur or statement at all, it had to do with not paying attention or my tongue getting tangled.

    But I wish both you all the best and hope that your transition to your correct gender goes well and with as little pain (mental, emotional, or physical) as possible.

    • J.C. Prime says:

      You’re completely right – I think the example you’ve given is a very good one (and is also one which I can relate to), and it sounds like you do understand very well. In fact, I think it the hurt caused by being involuntarily set apart from others for your intelligence is very similar to that caused by misgendering or passing concerns, and can be equally painful. It’s the lack of choice you have over your own treatment by others, and the lack of power to do anything about it that can be frustrating – and many should (hopefully) be able to relate to that feeling – and I’m sorry you’re having to deal with that at work.

      Background: I’m the perfectionisty straight-A student type, and I frequently found that people would only acknowledge my existence when they wanted answers. I also used to get frustrated on the behalf of others classed as The Smart Ones, because they were being used as targets to beat, and were frequently watched/expected to perform well, mocked if they didn’t, and relentlessly pestered for help. I mean, this was school, but it was still irritating… 🙂

      While I have the chance, I’d just like to say that you have a really good grasp of This Gender Thing and the problems it can cause. Very well expressed (although my appreciation of your knowledge is less so!).

      Thanks again for sharing your insights 🙂
      -JC

  5. Reneta Scian says:

    As a trans person the things you talk about are all too common. Luckily in America, specifically CO I generally don’t have to explain myself, and when I do it’s generally very copacetic. Americas are both kind of nosy, and also very uncomfortable on a whole talking about gender outside of any sort of accepted false dichotomy. It’s why intersexed issues and rights are still such a big deal. And if they don’t want to talk about or acknowledge that, then you can imagine how they feel about trans people. But I have gotten the silent treatment, and it is transphobic in nature usually.

    But it reflects multiple issues in our culture, one being the stigma of vulnerability which is part of pathologization, ableism and other phenomenon, and the second being that “trans” is a contradictions to the status quo (sexism, heterosexism, and cissexism). As we are both likely aware, silence can indeed be louder than words. I encompass a lot of things under the “Stigma of Vulnerability”, because weakness, imperfection and just differentiation from the “status quo” driven model of character labels those with qualities like gender variance, sexual orientation, mental and psychological atypicality, disability, et cetera as “The Undesirables”.

    Society, media, and other cultural messages uphold and institutionalize that attitude, and facilitates people by normalizing it. Because of the discomfort people take with gender variance they can be “highly inclined” to be so uncomfortable with it, that they are afraid to make an affirming or dissenting statement. The adage, “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all” comes to mind. But the silence is almost always out of some form of “culturally approved” ignorance. Healthy books, and educational resources for school aged children are totally devoid of any mention of gender variance, sexual orientation, or intersexed conditions.

    Finding these things in College level class-rooms is much too late, and most people will immediate assume prejudices about these newly learned subjects (as a good portion of their world view is already built at that age). But it reflects the cultural codification of said topics, and represents and endemic issue behind the behaviors you expressed concern with. And that is something those who seek to maintain that mentality know, that if you teach the young about it they will not feel the same way about it as those in adult society. Cultural indoctrination, so to speak. Justification for prejudice always falls apart in view of the facts.

    In this case, what I am saying in my usually and verbose way is that you aren’t in the wrong at all to feel how you do, and it is the way in which culture puts the burden on trans people to make concessions to cis people in the way we interact and socialize, a “tyranny of the majority” sort of mentality. The burden shouldn’t lie on us, as we are just part of the diversity people represent, but it won’t be until we live in a culture that recognizes diversity that we’ll ever see as a whole who truly diverse we are. But you are doing exactly what you can and should do to bring awareness, and I applaud that. I wish you well, and hope my verboseness isn’t over the top.

    • J.C. Prime says:

      I will come back and edit this later when I have more time to respond, but I just wanted to let you know that I loved reading your response (and verbose = perfect for me!); it’s so incredibly well-written that I doubt I have the skill to do anything other than enthuse 😉

      EDIT:
      Apologies for the delay! Right, on to the proper responding… your first paragraph. I have no personal experience of America at all, but it sounds similar to the UK in the all-too-familiar “lets avoid acknowledging until it goes away”-type attitude, which I guess is why the Transphobic Silent Treatment is as common as it is. I’m sorry that you’ve had it as well though; it’s not pleasant knowing that the mere fact of your existence can offend someone (albeit a very petty person!) sufficiently that they feel the need to refuse to acknowledge it completely. It saddens me more than it probably should, given that there are worse consequences by far of being trans amongst narrow-minded people, but still. Internal sigh.

      In your second paragraph, I have no comments other than to nod emphatically in agreement and look on in awe of your superior writing skills!

      You make a very good point in your third paragraph (sorry, I have to keep referring this way because otherwise I’d confuse myself!), one to which I had given a fair amount of thought while trying to understand the motivations of others – a thankless task if there ever was one – and again, you’ve put it better than I could.

      In your fourth paragraph, again, I can only agree with little else to add! I think “cultural indoctrination” is a good way to put it, as is the observation that justification for prejudice breaks down with, really, very little pushing!

      And finally, thank you for confirming what I’d hoped (that I’m not just being melodramatic and paranoid). Even though I posted this a while ago, the concerns I had have only multiplied, and the timing of your response was excellent. Thank you again for the digital applause (and if I could return it several-fold through the computer screen, I would), and your “verboseness” is hugely appreciated in this little blogspace, that’s for sure!

      -JC

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