One love!…. Or Maybe More than One?

Hey beloved readers! So recently, after lots of encouragement and finally obtaining a Netflix account I’ve begun watching everyone’s favorite show about prison lesbians, Orange is the New Black.

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I just finished season 1, and I’m hooked! This show has a great story to tell with a cast of very original and highly diverse characters and there is SO much to love about it! I feel personally attached to every inmate on the show, from the maternal mafia mom Red to “Crazy Eyes” Suzanne, they’re lovable interesting characters. Not to mention I have a huge crush on Alex (she reminds me of one of my old flames) and I really love the queer/trans* representation in the show. Its one of the few big shows that features queer characters and that’s great! BUT, that being said, there a few huge issues with this show that have been weighing heavily on my mind that I want to address with you all.

A) the show is super beautifying prison and making it almost appear… desirable? although i’m seeing an improvement of that position now that i’m entering season 2.

B) ALLLLLLLLLLL of the lesbian and trans* stereotyping! representation in media is great, but c’mon now.

C) Larry’s (and other members of Piper’s family and friends) insistence that Piper is either STRAIGHT or LESBIAN and that there are no gray areas of sexuality!

D) and finally, my biggest issue, the force feeding of monogamy to a character who is clearly polyamorous.

This last issue is what I really want to talk about, because its something that is consistent in so many of the popular tv shows, movies, and books involving any kind of romance. “The protagonist falls in love with more than one person and must choose between the two!” Wait. Hold up. Has anyone ever considered the fact that maybe….. they can have both?

Now, I know I can hear some of you gasping in shock at this idea, but hear me out. Our society (especially hear in america), preaches monogamy so fiercely that you think they might implode from the sheer force of their own opinions. Consequentially, most of reject the idea of loving more than one person, especially more than one person at the same time. Belief in “soulmates” or “the one” is very common, and many people argue that you can’t truly love more than one person; “if you have feelings for someone else it must be because your feelings for your current partner are fading!”. While in some cases this can be true, this is not always the case.

So, let’s talk about *drum roll*……… Polyamory!

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Isn’t that the multiple wives thing like the mormons?”

No, that would be polygamy, which is one man being married to multiple wives, and that is illegal. What I want to talk about has nothing to do with marriage, but love and more specifically a component of romantic orientation. First off I want to begin by establishing that romantic orientation and sexual orientation are separate things which may align with each other, or they may not. Sexual orientation has to do with physical attraction and lust, where as romantic orientation has to do with emotional connections and love.

People who identify as polyamorous desire to maintain loving relationships with more than one partner simultaneously.

“Isn’t that just cheating?”

No, actually in healthy polyamorous relationships, all partners are knowledgeable and consenting about the relationship. Polyamorous people always keep their partners updated about other people they may be seeing and often times encourages them to get to know each and also form a relationship.

“Soooooo they have orgies?”

Although that is a possibility, generally no. Polyamorous relationships often involve non-sexual relationships and come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. Pretty much any combination of more than two people in a relationship, with variations of sexual and non-sexual contact, is a type of polyamorous relationship!

“sweet! I think I want to try polyamory! what do I do?”

Woah there tiger! lets take a step back. Polyamory, although it sounds like a good deal, can be very taxing- especially if its not something you’ve done before. People who wouldn’t identify as polyamorous and/or aren’t experienced in these kinds of relationships often deal with jealousy problems and its not like its all easy breezy. You might know how hard it is to up keep a romantic relationship with one person? Ok, now try imagining how much energy and time it takes to maintain a relationship with two people? how about three? Polyamory is not for the faint of heart to say the least.

I’ve been involved in 2 polyamorous relationships so far and I can attest to both the rewards and difficulties of being committed to more than one human being. But the point I want to make is there is nothing wrong with these relationships when conducted in a healthy manner.

So, the point i’m trying to make is: the media needs to stop perpetuating this idea that people (especially women) must choose between two people that they love equally. The partners in question who are forcing them to choose are honestly being selfish. I’m not defending Piper’s actions of cheating on Larry, that was wrong. But what I am trying to say is that when she discovered she still had feelings for Alex, she should have been honest with both of them about not wanting to choose. Who knows, maybe Alex and Larry would’ve actually gotten along really well! So i say, no more Edward vs. Jacob, no more Peeta vs. Gale, no more Alex vs. Larry! I’m sick of love triangles being portrayed in such a poor light, and I hope that someday maybe we can learn to accept people who choose to live their lives with more than one partner.

Thanks for reading y’all!

-{Grif}-

Some great info on polyamory 🙂

http://www.morethantwo.com/

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A/N: Thanks for all the support I’ve gotten so far! Please follow me, recommend me to your friends, and i’m super open to questions and requests! 🙂

Trans* or Trans? Which is the correct form and What’s the Deal?

*disclaimer* there is no official decision on which terminology is correct and much of the community is in debate about it. I’m simply stating the different sides and my opinion on it.

During my entrance into the trans* community in the past few years, we’ve seen a flip from “trans” to “trans*” and back to “trans” again. Predictably, this has caused a lot of confusion amongst those under the umbrella, and those outside of it. We find those of us who blog about these issues tiptoeing around, picking one form or the other hoping that no one tries to take umbrage with the version we’ve chosen to use.

3b33606c32f21f092ebda750aa52d58a like, I joke, but being new to the blogging scene, these people terrify me (even though i’m one of those people….hmmm).

So, why are people so serious about the use of a silly punctuation mark? Well, the origin of the asterisk is debated, some say that it was originated by transmasculine spectrum people, and that they added the asterisk only when they wished to include those that were transfeminine/agender/nonbinary/etc. Activists who are against the use of the asterisk claim that using the asterisk implies that you MUST use the asterisk in order to include these identities and therefore devalues them as not “trans enough” to be included under just the word “trans”. Although I can understand where these activists are coming from and it definitely can be interpreted that way, there’s another side to this story. Many others have stated that the origin of the asterisk was actually from non-binary/other variant identities. People who didn’t feel the term “trans” was inclusive enough to fit their identity, actually began requesting use of the asterisk to promote inclusion. Trans* became adopted into use at the request of exactly the people that some activists argue the label is marginalizing.

So…. What do we do here?

Well, as you’ll see based on many other angry posts on the topic, most have gone back to the form without the asterisk in order to avoid controversy. Others fiercely advocate the use of the no asterisk form, hunting down those that do use the asterisk. But, many people within the community are still using the form with the asterisk, including some trans* authors and experts on the subject.

Why do I use the asterisk?

I can definitely understand how the use of this little punctuation could imply that some identities are “not trans enough”, but this was not the original intention of the notation. Furthermore, i tend to use Trans*, especially when addressing an audience of cisgendered people in order to remind them that Trans means more than just the FtM and MtF binary trans people they may think of off hand. Unfortunately our media does not promote awareness of non-binary identities, so I prefer to remind people in a subtle way that Trans* is an umbrella term.

So, final decision?

Its really up to you! Armed with the facts on the controversy and knowing what criticisms you may face, use whatever form you choose. 🙂

-{Griff}-

~~~~~A/N: Sorry this post is late, my computer is temporarily out of commission. More posts soon! As always, topic suggestions always appreciated! Shout out to a good friend of mine for bringing up this topic with me and inspiring this post ;)~~~~~

What is Gender Fluid?

Hello lovely readers! So as my first post I want to discuss the concept of gender identity and what exactly gender fluid means. Many people outside of the queer community (or sometimes within the queer community), are confused by non-binary identities or have never heard of them before. So lets start with some simple definitions:

Sex– male or female assignment in relation to genitalia, etc. This is what is listed on your birth certificate or driver’s license.

Gender Identity– gender that you associate with based on how you feel on the inside, regardless of what bits might be hanging out in your nether region.

Gender Expression– what you choose to wear that may depict you more as one gender or another

Cis-gender– gender identity matches with the sex that was assigned to you at birth

Trans-gender– gender identity does not match the sex that was assigned to you at birth

Ok, so now that we have these terms properly in place we can discuss some various gender identities. Society typically views gender as very clear cut dichotomy: male or female. Nothing in between. But in reality, much like sexuality (which i’ll save for another post), gender is a flexible scale (See Figure 1). ***Disclaimer: i like using visual aides, anticipate lots of these in later posts***

gender spectrum

So, as you can see, there’s a separate scale for biological gender (or sex), gender identity, and gender expression. This means that even though you may identify a woman, and be biologically a woman, you could express as a man. There are all kinds of mixing and matching between the three spectrums, creating endless numbers identities! But, I’m going to focus primarily on the second spectrum, of gender identity. Generally when discussing trans*gender identities, the first thing that comes to mind are Male to Female (MtF) or Female to Male (FtM) trans* people. These are people who’s gender identities are exactly opposite what their assigned sex is. These kinds of trans* people are often cruelly criticized by the media, such as the case of Bruce Jenner recently coming out as trans* as she makes her transition process public (I might do a separate post on trans* people in the media later).  Even though this is very negative publicity, most people are aware of FtM or MtF people due to the media.

Less commonly discussed, are the gender identities that fall in the purple section of the identity spectrum. These identities are what’s known as non-binary identities, meaning that these people identify somewhere outside of the typical male/female dichotomy. Some people may choose to just label themselves as non-binary, but within this category there are several specific identities.

Agender– People who do not identify as any gender, the concept of gender does not apply to these people

Genderqueer– an umbrella term encompassing any mixture of the genders, these people may be more male or more female or any combination of genders

Bigender– the feeling of having two seperate genders within the same body

Trigender– people who identify as neither male or female or a mixture of the two, but instead construct their own third gender

Gender fluid– an identity that fluxes and changes between any combination of genders within and outside of the binary

So, I identify as gender fluid but, no two people’s gender identities are the same. My experience as gender fluid by no means defines the identity as a whole. I am only using myself as an example.

What being gender fluid means to ME:

I was assigned a female sex at birth, but as long as i can remember, I’ve never felt truly female. As a child my parents noticed i was uncharacteristically “tom-boy”ish. I never wanted to play with dolls or other “girls'” toys, i refused to wear feminine clothes, and if i had the choice i always played games with little boys instead of girls. I loved power rangers and teenage mutant ninja turtles and my hot wheels; i loved fishing and wanted to wrangle crocodiles like Steve Irwin. And i know some feminists who are reading this are saying “just because you didn’t like female gender roles/stereotypes doesn’t mean you’re not female!” and i agree! These things do NOT mean you are trans*. You can defy gender stereotypes and still be cisgendered! But, the real indication for me was that I never felt comfortable labeling myself as a girl. Often when I was grouped in with other girls and referred to as a girl, I just had this feeling in the pit of my stomach that it was wrong. But just as often, I wanted to wear dresses and make up and loved being a girl. I was confused by this feeling for most of my life, especially when I was going through puberty and I both desired and hated the secondary sex characteristics I was developing. It wasn’t until college that I finally understood that I was gender fluid.

For me, my gender fluidity fluxes between being primarily male or primarily female. I generally will maintain one gender or the other for a few months at a time, but sometimes it changes as frequently as every few days. When I get dressed in the morning, this is generally the major indicator of how i’m feeling that day; I will pick out a skirt and pretty top and put it on and suddenly feel awful and incredibly dysphoric and immediately have to take it off and put something else on. Which brings us to some typical gender fluid FAQs.

What kind of gender expression do gender fluid people have?

Well, everyone is different! Some gender fluid people may only express as their assigned biological sex, others may express as only the opposite gender. Many non-binary folks prefer an androgynous expression, which is actually INCREDIBLY attractive (seriously though, just go google androgynous models!) like, can we TALK ABOUT THIS???

androgynousThis is Beck Holladay. You can follow them on Instagram (@mickypancake)

But anyways, personally, I express as casual androgynous most days (mostly due to limited budget on clothes). I have actually recently purchased a binder and packer with the intention of trying to express as more male on certain days. But if the mood strikes me, I also LOVE sundresses and skirts and I will express as extremely female on certain days. Honestly how you choose to express is up to you! 🙂

What pronouns should I use with gender fluid people?

Once again, this is really a matter of preference. Some gender fluid folks just stick with their original pronouns, others choose something gender neutral. Some popular gender neutral pronouns include: They/Them/Their/Theirs/Themselves (this option is popular because it is already commonly used in the english language), Xe/Xir/Xir/Xirs/Xirself, and A LOT more! (full list: http://nonbinary.org/wiki/Pronouns). I’ve opted for the alternating female/male pronouns because I feel my identity mostly vacillates between either male or female.

Can I transition as a gender fluid person?

Absolutely! Whether its a transition that involves hormone treatments/surgery or just a social transition involving new pronouns/gender expression, transitioning is very much a reality for all people under the trans* umbrella. I’m socially transitioning currently which is part of why I’m writing this blog.

Does your gender identity affect your sexuality?

In my case, I would say that the two are pretty closely associated, but this is not true for everyone and gender by no means has to control your sexuality! But we’ll save discussions of sexuality for another time 😉

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In general I’m a pretty open person, so if you ever have questions about gender, sexuality, or what I had for breakfast or whatever, please feel free to ask! I’m taking suggestions for future post topics, so please leave suggestions in the comments below about what you’d like to see next and I’ll try my best to cover all requests! 🙂 I hope y’all found this informative and keep checking in for new posts! Unsure of when my next post will be, could be tomorrow, could not be till next Tuesday. I’ll get on a regular schedule eventually i promise! Signing off for now!

Stay Sexy! 😉

-{Griff}-

So…. Why are you here?

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Well, let’s do a quick Q&A:

Name (or in this case, pen name): Griff

Gender: Gender Fluid

Preferred Pronouns: She/him/her/his/herself

Sexuality : Bisexual

Age: Early 20s, just about done with my bachelor’s degree

What are you doing with your life?: Pursuing a degree in molecular genetics, hoping to get my Ph D and go into disease research of some kind, probably cancer (because fuck cancer). In the meantime, i’m working as a barista at starbucks and trying not to lose my mind.

Why did you decide to make this blog?: I’m currently going through a transition period in my life where i’m introducing my friends and family to my gender identity, my new pronouns, and the fact that some days i will dress as a man and some days i will dress as a woman. There’s not a lot of resources out there for non-binary folks and so i want to share my experiences, spark thrilling conversations about gender, sexuality, and feminism, and have a few laughs along the way.

Honestly, I just hope anyone who stumbles upon this blog will my life as amusing as i do and learn a few things. This project is 50% for my own sanity, and 50% to let other young queer people know that they’re not alone.

DISCLAIMER: My blog will contain adult language and will probably include some triggering discussion topics including transitioning, discrimination, sex, sexual assault, domestic violence, depression, anxiety, self harm, eating disorders, and possibly some others. These posts will be appropriately tagged, but be warned.

You’ll be hearing from me with my first real post later this week! 🙂

-{Griff}-