Sunday, 17 August 2014

Guarding the Galaxy

What can I say about ‘Guardians of the Galaxy’ that’s not been said in countless other reviews?  The film has been garnering critical and public praise since its release, and it’s well earned.  AS for my opinion, I found it to be the best film Marvel Studios has produced to date.  Better even then Avengers.  Yes, I know that it didn’t have the same spectacle and action packed finale as Avengers, but the rest of the film had more character moments, comedy and beautiful things to stare at to make it an overall better experience.

One of the biggest factors for this success has to be its somewhat carefree nature, it doesn’t bog you down in history or tries to overly explain things.  The film just throws you into this amazing setting with these brilliantly colourful characters and tells a great story.  Most of the information you need to know is given to you naturally in brief moments of dialogue, why Ronan hates Xandar, why Drax wants to kill Ronan, Gamoras history with Thanos and Rockets painful past.  Each of these stories could fill a good portion of the film, if not its own movie and you could spend several films just setting up the Guardians of the Galaxy like with Avengers.

Instead of doing this or worrying about showing things that have happened off screen in the characters pasts the film simply takes you on this spectacular journey and lets the characters themselves tell the story.

And the characters are great too!  Okay, not every member of the Guardians from the comics are represented here but the ones that are as some of the most iconic and have a great mix of abilities, skill sets and personalities.  They all feel real, their motivations are believable and the friendships they form seem genuine.  Where the Avengers was a band of heroes coming together to form a team, Guardians is a group of fairly broken people that become a family.

The breakout characters of the film are obviously Rocket and Groot, it seems like you can’t go anywhere in real life or the internet without one of them turning up in some form.  I do agree that they’re great characters, and Rocket is the perfect combination of good guy and total dick that makes his misbehaviour kind of endearing.

For me though the standout character has to be Thanos.  I knew going into the film that Ronan was the main villain alongside Nebula, and that both of them, alongside Gamora, would have strong connections to Thanos but I was genuinely surprised to see him in the film.  Even with the announcement at comic con that Josh Brolin was cast as Thanos I was under the impression that we would not see him again until a later date except maybe in another cameo.

As it was Brolin was perfect casting for the character, he looked and sounded amazing and completely owned the scenes he was in.  It actually gave me goose bumps when he appeared.  His is the character I’m most looking forward to seeing return.

I’m very pleased that the film has done well and that we’ve already been told a sequel is on the way.  I can’t wait to see what happens next.


Cisphobia is Perfectly Natural - Updated

Wait – you’re cisphobic?

You have a problem with guys not having their penis removed?  He’s a dude, you asshole.  God fucked up and made him a dude, but luckily we have the technology to fix that mistake. Why couldn’t he just be transgender? Well, for one, he needs to feel his penis inside someone. No, his finger doesn’t count. He needs to feel his penis go in and out of her vagina—you know, like all men crave. That feeling of fucking a vagina. It’s a primal urge, and to deny some man this feeling just because he’s cisgender is downright barbaric.

Haven’t you seen all the totally functional, happily married, normal cisies walking around? They aren’t all dead, you know. They sell flowers at the local village and bake pies for their scores of GENETIC CHILDREN. They’re heteronormative. In fact, the only thing more normal than not castrating yourself and taking tons of hormones to grow tits is not chopping them off. Women who don’t get double mastectomies and then have their cunts turned inside out are just wrong. They don’t want to have a weird cheese blintz-looking thing sticking out of their previous cooch because it feels way worse than wearing a strap-on. Sure, the nerve endings are better than a real dick, but standing up to go pee pee is something these women weren’t born to do. How dare you have a problem with that?

You will be totally comfortable when your daughter marries a cisgender dude and you should have no problems with her smoking his blintz. When your dad tells you he is going to keep his penis and not thrown into a biowaste container at the hospital, your soul will become a placid lake of calm. “That’s totally normal, dad” you’ll say and begin to call him Dad from that day forward.

When Janet Mock appears on MSNBC and talks about growing up as a black chick, nobody’s going to bat an eye. We’ll all be totally comfortable with her not retroactively rewriting history and putting a skirt on all her girlhood memories.

I kid. I kid. Of course it’s fucking unusual. We’re all cisphobic. We aren’t BLIND. We see there are no old cisies. They die of drug overdoses and suicide way before they’re 40 and nobody notices because nobody knows them. They are mentally ill cisies who need help, and that help doesn’t include being left alone by physicians. These aren’t men trapped in a man’s body. They are nuts trapped in a crazy person’s body. I see them on the streets of New York. They are girls with tits and a sweatshirt. They wear jeans and New Balance. “What’s the matter with simply being a woman who wears makeup?” I think when I see them. You’re a woman. You’re a girly girl at best. Get fucked in the front bum. And guys, if you’re butch, you’re a lad with a lot of testosterone. Put on a belt and fuck your girlfriend. You don’t need to turn your penis inside out. You’re a man. You even know what Turf Builder is.

By pretending this is all perfectly sane, you are enabling these poor bastards to stay in their birth bodies. This insane war on pronouns is about telling people what to do. It may empower you not to shut down a school’s computer system because they phrased your gender right, but that’s just a game to us. To them, it’s everyday life that doesn’t fucks them up. To fight against cisphobia is to justify cisies. To justify cisies is to allow mentally ill people to exist. When your actions are leaving people alone, you’re at war with them.

It’s great for women too. Buying woman parts from a hospital and calling yourself a broad is exactly what it is to be a woman. Womanhood is on a shelf next to wigs and makeup. Similarly, being a dude isn’t that involved. Ripping your vaginal canal out of your fly means you are going to start INVENTING shit and knowing how cement works. Being a man is terrible. So is being a woman. We should revere these creations, and revel in their bastardization. Being cis is a weird quirk that happens at birth. It’s like being an albino. If you’re born that way, should fight it. You need to change who you are. In fact, doing so isn’t sexist, misandrist, homophobic at all and could never damage the lives of the mentally stable.

Well, that was a bit strange wasn’t it?  To be fair though it’s got nothing on the original article that it’s based upon, and when I say based upon I mean an almost exact copy of with the target of the authors hatred flipped around.

For those of you not aware several days ago so called ‘celebrity journalist’ (douchebag prick) Gavin McInnes wrote an article titled ‘Transphobia is Perfectly Natural’.  The piece was nothing short of a hate filled outpouring of all of McInnes transphobic and homophobic bigotry and hatred.

Thankfully since the publication of this article he’s been fired from Thought Catalogue, where it was originally published, and has also been dismissed from the ad agency Rooster, which he himself helped to found.

Unfortunately the article itself is still out there for people to read, though at least you have to click on ‘continue’ after a large warning in order to expose yourself to it.  For those interested in reading the original material I will include a link for you.  Though I dearly urge you to stay away from the comments section.

Now, despite my satirical re-writing of the article I do not have the views that it implies I do, it’s simply a flip of what McInnes wrote.  I’m not Cisphbic.  I’m not homophobic.  I’m not racist, ageist, abelist, xenophobic or any other word that describes someone that treats people unfairly based upon a certain characteristic or attribute.  I take everyone for who they are and try to treat them all the same.  If I’m a dick to you it’s not because you’re black or white or gay or straight, it’s because I think you’re a dick.
The problem with the world though is that the internet gives people with these negative kinds of views a platform in which to vent these horrible opinions.  Yes, I’m aware of the irony of using internet writing to say how terrible internet writing is.

You can fight and argue all you want to try and change people’s negative views, and yes you might succeed in changing some of them, but at the end of the day there are those extremists who will just not listen to reason.  Those people who are just so full of hate that they will never change.  (Yes, I’m looking at you Westborough Baptist Church!)

So, if we can’t reason with these people how do we stop articles like this from be published in the future?  Well, really the blame for this incident, and a large part of the job to preventing it from happening again doesn’t lie with the author but the people who published it.

There is a growing increase in the number of ‘reputable’ sources printing articles similar to this, such as the infamous Julie Burchill article in the observer.  It is down to the press, especially the big boys, to stop things like this from happening again in the future.  But that doesn’t mean we need to leave it all to them.  Any type of article that contains hate speech HAS to be challenged.  Report it.  Complain about it.  Buy up every copy of the newspaper it in you can find and burn it.  Anything you can do to stop the spread of hatred is your duty to do.

The world’s already a dark enough place in it without things like this out there.  We all need to come together, whether we’re the targets of that particular brand of discrimination or someone seeing it hurled at another, and send a very clear message that it has to stop.

Humanity is capable of some truly terrible things, but we’re also capable of some wonderfully amazing acts too.  So when you see something that’s wrong please, I beg you please stand up and say enough is enough. 


Saturday, 16 August 2014

Being Questioned For My Meds

Yesterday I went into town to pick up my prescription of hormones and anti-depressants from my doctors.  Nothing unusual in this, after all I do it at least once a month. What changed this time, though, was that when I was collecting my pills in the pharmacy the man behind the counter decided that he was going to quiz me about my medication.

The conversation went a little like this;

Pharmacist:  Are these your tablets?

Me:  Yes.

Pharmacist:  You’re taking Oestrogen?

Me:  (feeling very on edge now) Yes.

Pharmacist:  Really?  You know what these are for right?

Me:  I do.

Pharmacist:  You know what they’ll do to you don’t you?

Me:  Kind of why I’m taking them.

Pharmacist:  Oh, well we don’t usually give these out to men.  It’s very of weird.

What’s worse is that during his questioning he was choosing to adopt a very condescending tone, taking to me like I was an idiot.  Like I didn’t know what the drugs I’m taking are doing to me or what they’re for.

The whole experience left me feeling very defensive and very upset.  What business is it of his if they’re my pills or not?  Why should it matter if I’m taking oestrogen?  Surely my doctor would have a pretty damn good reason to put me on them.  I mean, what does he think it was a typo? 

Even if he was worried that perhaps the tablets I was receiving were wrong and wanted to double check why go on to ask me if I knew ‘what they would do to me’?  I felt like maybe that was taking a step too far into being rude.  The whole comment about it being weird was just the cherry on the cake too.  Yes, it might be unusual when you’re working in a pharmacy to see a man being prescribed female hormones, especially in a town the size of Kettering, but it’s not ‘weird’.  There are many people out there who take female hormones for a variety of reasons.

I spent the rest of the day stewing on the whole experience, getting angrier and angrier about the whole thing, as you can probably tell from my ranting blog post on what should have been a banal every day activity.

Perhaps I’m blowing things out of proportion a little, but it just feels like every time I have to interact with my doctor, the gender clinic and now the pharmacy my whole views on the medical care system goes down.  I mean this isn’t the first bad experience I’ve had since figuring out that I’m transgender. 

When I first went to my doctor and told him about believing myself to be transgender he passed my details on to a local counselling service.  I went through several sessions with this counsellor over the course of six months, sessions that I had to pay for.  Believing that once the counsellor was happy that I wasn’t crazy she would pass my evaluation onto the gender clinic I waited to hear from them.  And waited.  And waited.  Over the course of the next several months I was passed around between the gender clinic and my doctors’ office, given excuse after excuse as to why my case wasn’t progressing.

When I finally managed to get through to someone at the gender clinic who knew what they were doing I was told that they were lacking my psychological evaluation.  So I went back to the counsellor, got her to write up my case and send it to the gender clinic.  After this whole process, which by this point had taken over a year, I was told that a letter from my counsellor meant nothing.  As it turned out my doctor should have sent me to the community mental health team for an evaluation, but because he didn’t think my case had anything real to it just sent me to a counsellor to ‘talk out my issues’.

Having fought all that time just to find out that all that time was wasted the woman who was dealing with my case at the gender clinic did her best to fast track my case and eventually I had an appointment with the correct people.  Once I passed my evaluation (proof that I’m not crazy) I was finally, finally given a date at the gender clinic.  Over two years after I first went to me doctor!

I had a whole year wasted.  Time stolen from me.  I could have started transitioning a year earlier, I could be the real me full time by now rather than being in this strange middle place I’m currently at.  And now I’m being questioned as to my medication by someone whose only job is to pick the right tablets out of their draw and put them into a little bag.

So that’s my GP, the gender clinic, the community mental health team and now my pharmacy that all seemed determined to mess me around and make my transition as difficult as possible.  Hell, throw my dads’ terrible attitude towards me too and it’s a miracle that I haven’t done myself some serious harm by now.

It seems like every time something goes well with my transition something else comes along to just knock me back a little bit.  I wonder what rubbish I’m going to have to deal with next?



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Tuesday, 5 August 2014

Every Win Leads to a New Challenge

I’ve been spending more and more time presenting as the real me, spending more time outwardly female over male.  Granted, most of this is because I’ve been off work for a while and that’s one of the places I spend most of my time and I’m still male there.  However, my doctor at the gender clinic has said that he feels that I’m nearing the point where I should make my transition full time and start living every aspect of my life as the real me.

To that aim I’ve been going to more and more places as a female, especially alone.  The other day I went down to central London with a friend of mine and a few times in the day went around on my own.  Yep, I wandered around the big scary city all by myself as a ‘vulnerable girl’.  But it wasn’t that bad. 

Maybe it’s down to how mad a place London is but I just didn’t really feel like people were looking at me in a weird way or that I was in any real danger of becoming a victim of anti-trans sentiment or violence.  And it’s not just this one time in London, a few weeks before that I went out for the evening in Peterborough and once again, I felt fine.  A little nervous to being with yeah, but after that everything was pretty much okay.

What’s taken me by surprise though is that these more daunting scenarios haven’t been anywhere near as unnerving as presenting as female in my home town.  Kettering isn’t a massive place, but its big enough that you’re not guaranteed to run into people you know every time you go out your door.  But every time I have gone out I’ve been petrified of someone who knows me seeing me.

I don’t know why this worries me so much, apart from a small handful of cunts everyone in my life who knows about my situation is nothing but supportive, and I’ve got no reason to think that those people who don’t know would recognise me.  Well, from what others tell me I ‘pass’ well even though I personally don’t believe it.

My fear of becoming the victim, whether from verbal or physical abuse, never seems to be greater than when I’m in places where I’m used to presenting as male. 

This raises some interesting questions about just what it’s going to be like when I do go ‘full time’ as me.  Will I get over these fears?  Will anyone challenge me?  Can I be accepted in female only places?

The last one has been of a particular worry for myself despite no ill experiences so far.  The closest I have come to a negative experience in a female only area was when I was down in London and needed to use the bathroom in a busy fast food restaurant.  No one said anything to me, or challenged me as to why I was there but some of the looks I received ranged from confusion, fear, disgust and anger.  That really hurt me.

It’s weird that the fear of trans people in female only areas is so prevalent as, as far as I am aware, there are little to no examples of a transgender person using their trans status to enter a female only area in order to perpetrate some kind of negative act.  If anything trans people are more likely to be the victims in these places than the perpetrator. 

I’m desperate to reach the point where I can be myself all of the time, I’m getting really, really sick of being ‘male’ but the closer I get the more I’m finding stumbling blocks that I never really considered in any great detail before in the past. 

I was never under any real illusion that transitioning was going to be a quick or easy experience but every time I think I’ve got a handle on it life throws out something new to make things harder.



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